When faced with the issue of the treatment and care of victims of crime, the major political parties in eight provinces across Canada have put aside their differences to work together to establish victims’ rights bills. I am pleased that the members of this assembly have demonstrated their wish to stand by that nationwide example of statesmanship and concern for the plight of victims of crime.
The need for private member’s Bill 113, An Act to establish the Rights of Victims of Crime, may perhaps be best understood when we compare how our justice system treats victims with how it treats the criminals. Our justice system indeed protects the rights of those accused of crime, and properly so. The accused are automatically provided with specific rights, rights which have been entrenched in law, so as to ensure that the basic principles of due process of law are upheld.
But how does the justice system, how does society, treat the victim of crime? Where are the provisions entrenched in law that would regularize police and legal procedures with respect to the treatment of victims of crime who, in the aftermath of the criminal act, must often face the sentence of prolonged suffering? Where is the established legal framework that would provide that victims of crime become not only a part of the process of criminal prosecution but also a part of the equally important process of self-rehabilitation?
Let us remember that under the law the accused are innocent until proven guilty. Victims of crime, in their pain and loss, never cease to be innocent. And in this is to be found a great injustice, a sad inversion of what we all fundamentally believe about the difference between right and wrong. It is this injustice which Bill 113 seeks to address and to alter in Ontario.
Studies show that 60 per cent of all information which results in the conviction of a criminal comes directly from the victim. Our criminal justice system works because of the direct participation of its victims. Still, depending on the crimes committed against them, 30 per cent to 90 per cent of victims do not report them to police. As Pat Marshall of the Metro Action Committee on Public Violence against Women and Children indicated to me, surveys show that women who do not report crimes of violence against them frequently cite the mistrust of our judicial system as their reason for not reporting.
Dr Irvin Waller, professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, was involved in the design of the United Nations Declaration on Crime Victims. He tells me that victims’ rights bills the world over have recognized that declaration and have instituted practical changes that both recognize and appreciate the victim as the driving force of justice. I might add that Professor Waller has also worked on victims’ rights bills for France, Australia and Manitoba, and he has monitored Ontario’s efforts with respect to victims’ rights since the federal-provincial justice conference in 1981.
In 1984 the victims’ rights task force emanated from that conference. They issued a report. That report has been with the office of the Ontario Attorney General for the past five years. The Attorney General has also had 13 months to study my first victims’ bill of rights, Bill 220, which I presented to the House in February 1989.
We must also acknowledge, however, that a limited number of programs have been established in certain municipalities in Ontario that do provide specific services to victims of crime. I am informed that the London family violence program is an excellent example. But there is no systematic, province-wide program that both informs and supports victims and nothing in law that ensures that victims are entitled to such programs.
Services such as rape crisis centres and other victim help groups receive some funding from government, but a great deal of their time is spent guiding and supporting victims through a justice system that places their needs after the needs of our courts and after the care and rehabilitation of the perpetrators of crime.
Crown attorneys view illegal acts as crimes against society and not necessarily against the individual victim. This view, however, can blind one to the sight of the faces of victims who are left in situations of prolonged suffering, of continuing victimization and with less assistance and support than that accorded the criminals at taxpayers’ expense.
Let us consider for a moment that more than 250,000 Ontario residents will be victims of crime this year. Every day in the newspapers we read about these victims. In the media they are portrayed as the wronged, as the key players in courtroom dramas, and so often become unwilling celebrities in cases which publicize widely their private suffering.
Victims, however, are not accorded the same play in the legal process. Carole Cameron, president of Victims of Violence, a national group based in Ontario, informed me of a case in which the mother of a murder victim in Welland learned about the trial of the case two weeks after it was over. She heard about it from a friend who read about it in the newspaper. Neither the police nor the crown attorney had bothered to contact the mother since the arrest of the accused.
The bill which we have before us today would serve as an important corrective to incidents such as that one. Bill 113 would require that victims receive information about the cases they are involved with, including the dates established for bail hearings for their assailants, including when and how present victims’ impact statements are made.
I was informed of another case involving a family in which three children were victims of incest; they were sexually assaulted by their father for over six years. As adults they decided, not lightly, to press charges against their father. When they went to the police station, they were simply told to sit down at a typewriter and make their statement, without being previously informed that this would be the basis for their case in court.
These examples demonstrate why victims feel that they are the ones on trial. They feel that our justice system applies to them the reverse of the legal procedure reserved to the accused. Victims feel punished by that system as if it were they, and not their assailants, who had broken societal norms of conduct.
Pauline Duffet of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres has told me that the majority of women do not report their rape or assault because they do not think they will be believed. Bill 113 would redirect attitudes of our judicial system and also of society towards victims who for obvious reasons are unable to articulate their own pain without the kind of support available to them in this bill.
As I indicated earlier, Ontario and Alberta do not recognize in law the rights of crime victims. I know that all members of this House would agree with me that victims deserve justice, respect, compassion and supportive understanding from our society. That is what Bill 113 is about: ensuring that victims of crime are no longer the secondary and, therefore, somehow less important focus of our legal and social service support systems.
Many elements of this bill come from a statement of basic principles of justice for victims of crime that was agreed to by the federal, provincial and territorial justice ministers in March 1988. Ontario’s Attorney General participated in those discussions.
We are pleased with the federal government initiative, Bill C-89, and Bill 113 complements that bill. It would establish in law the right of a victim to be treated with dignity and compassion. It would entrench in law the victim’s right to social services, health care, medical treatment and counselling. The bill would make easier and more immediate access to such services for victims a priority for our justice system. As such, the bill assumes a definition of justice in terms of a balance between victim rehabilitation and criminal prosecution.
Victims should have the right to be informed by the police of the progress of their investigations relating to their cases and of laying charges in connection with them. Victims should be routinely informed by police of the protection available to them to prevent unlawful intimidation. All members should be aware of a program that has been established in Quebec since 1983, called Infovac. That is exactly what Bill 113 calls for our government to do.
Bill 113 would also establish the right of victims to be informed by the crown attorney of their role in prosecution, of court procedures and of the outcome of all proceedings. It would establish the right of victims to make presentations to the prosecuting crown attorney before plea bargaining, before sentencing and before interim release.
In terms of compensation to victims, this bill would make offenders directly liable for damages to their victims as plaintiffs in any civil action, including those undertaken for emotional distress and bodily harm.
Victims of crime in Ontario deserve the best care and support that society can offer. Therefore, on behalf of the victims of crime, I ask all members to join with me in passing the bill of rights for victims of crime in Ontario.
Miss Nicholas: I am really pleased to have an opportunity to speak on Bill 113, presented by the member for Burlington South, and I would like to express my support in principle for the bill today. I think it is important that we recognize that victims of crime, whether that be through sexual assault, robbery or violence, need to have some treatment and attention and not just be the forgotten souls in a criminal activity.
The Ministry of the Solicitor General has undertaken a number of initiatives that do give attention to the victims of crime. While we can always do more, I think maybe I will just point out a few initiatives that have been undertaken to show that there has been more movement to the attention of victims of crime in recent years.
I look at Bill 113. Paragraph 1 of section 2 reads, “Victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for their personal dignity and privacy.” I think that is very important, the courtesy and compassion. Recently, the Solicitor General introduced the new Police Services Act. In the preamble, which states about five principles of police services in Ontario, one of them specifically gives recognition to victims of crime. It stresses “the importance of respect for victims of crime and understanding of their needs.” I think this reflects a major shift in attitude which is focusing more and more needed attention on the range of support services that are required by victims of crime.
The Police Services Act not only establishes the principle of respect for and understanding of victims’ needs; it also establishes the practice. I think this is something we really had to look at and I am glad that the Police Services Act has. It makes victim assistance explicitly included among the responsibilities of our police officers. It is a major step forward in reaching out to those who have been subjected to crime and violence. So I think that the Police Services Act in its own way has addressed paragraph 1 of section 2 of Bill 113 from the police perspective. I am glad to say that the Solicitor General has undertaken that.
Another paragraph in Bill 113, paragraph 3 of section 1, reads: “Victims should have access to social services, health care and medical treatment, counselling and legal assistance responsive to their needs.” In this regard, I think we are aware of the Solicitor General’s increased funding to sexual assault centres; it has been increased to $1.8 million over the next three years. That represents a 300 per cent increase over the last year to sexual assault centres. The major service in the sexual assault centres is providing counselling. It has short-term emergency counselling and long-term counselling within a social and mental health context. The sexual assault centres were saying they did not have enough money to provide all the services they had a mandate for. I think that this increased funding will go a long way to ensuring that not only are they a home that victims can run to to find emergency shelter, but that victims will also get the counselling that is needed as victims of crime.
Another activity which the Solicitor General has been undertaking is operating a pilot test project, a 24-hour volunteer base service to assist police officers to help victims of crime. This is known as the victim crisis assistance and referral service or VCARS for short. This program is providing victims with emotional support, the practical assistance and the referrals to other services they need to cope with the consequences of a criminal act. It can be as varied as it needs to be. It can be counselling, it can be sitting with you, escorting you to something you may have to attend, it may be helping you with how to provide evidence in court. They may talk to you about the system. They may tell you, if you have been a victim of a robbery, how to get clothes or to get items back in your house to help you try to resume your life as quickly as possible in a normal way.
There is an evaluation under way because this pilot project is only in a few centres at the time. I think that all accounts are that it has been a very profitable program for all. The VCARS program has been very helpful, and I think that this evaluation will go a long way in helping us determine what we should do in the future with similar programs across Ontario.
In the act -- Bill 113; to the member for Burlington South, I am already calling it an act, if that is any indication -- Bill 113 asks that victims be informed of the progress of investigations that relate to their crime. It is not common practice currently for police officers to keep victims of crime abreast of the investigation or whether charges are laid, and that is something, certainly, that this bill requires. I should, however, mention that information is not kept from the victim in most cases. If the victim does call up and ask how the investigation is going or whether charges have been laid, this information is readily available, but it does put the onus on the victim to call the police officers. It is not a practice of police, but it is available if requested. I think that it is there, and it is open to people.
I think there are a number of other things that have been done in the Ministry of the Solicitor General. I think they address a great number of the specific sections outlined in Bill 113, but I did want to bring to the members’ attention the Police Services Act and the move towards the needs of victims of crime; the increased funding to sexual assault centres so that counselling can be a very important part of the service that they provide, and VCARS, the victims of crime assistance referral service. I think also that the police are being sensitized to the needs of the victims of crime.
Mr Kormos: We too congratulate the member for Burlington South for his initiative in presenting this bill, and we will be supporting it at this point, second reading, and looking forward to its referral to committee. Indeed, it provides for a great deal of consideration and discussion and perhaps even expansion.
I can tell members that having practised criminal law, primarily in Niagara, for the last decade, the judicial districts of Niagara North and Niagara South are particularly fortunate, policed by a police force which indeed on its own initiative has demonstrated sensitivity to victims, fought with restraints in terms of budgets and time and the person power available to it and has overcome, to a large extent, the difficulties, the burden, generated by those restraints; overcome them and, on its own initiative, as I have said, conducted itself in a way that very much resembles the content of this particular piece of legislation.
Similarly, the crown attorney’s office, in both Niagara North and Niagara South, has demonstrated a particular sensitivity to the needs of victims in both judicial districts in Niagara. As often as they can be, indeed, victims are consulted and given an opportunity to speak with the crown attorney when it comes time to sentence an accused. The matter of the presence of victim impact statements has become commonplace, as I say, not as a result of legislative requirement but as a result of the concern, sympathy, empathy and attentiveness of the crown’s office and its personnel and of the police force in Niagara and its personnel.
Similarly, during the course of interim release considerations and the position that a crown ought to take on the occasion of a judicial interim release hearing, victims are, as often as they can be, consulted, and their opinions are put to the courts.
All of this, as well, must take into consideration the role that members of the bench have taken in Niagara. They too have demonstrated an eagerness and a willingness to include the consideration of victims in disposition of matters, and they have displayed a sensitivity to the needs and the rights of victims in the course of conducting trials, in the course of considering judicial interim release of accused persons and in the course of sentencing.
But that is, as I say, based on the desire of these components of the criminal justice system to pay heed or give effect to what they perceive as an interest that victims have in the course of that criminal justice system, and it is not as a result of legislative fiat. It is important that victims of crime can know that they are not going to be subjected to the whim of an institution as to whether or not they are involved in the process; that indeed they have a right to be involved in that process.
It is important for victims to know and understand that it is not a matter of being extended a mere courtesy when they are regarded in a particular light, but it is a matter of having a right to be regarded in that particular way.
We have some concern because the principles expressed in section 2 of the bill indicating that victims should be informed by the police of the progress of investigations and the charges laid and, if no charges are laid, the reasons why no charges are laid -- indeed, it is important that victims be allowed at least that. The sad reality is that police forces, and certainly police forces like those in Niagara region, are without the person power, without the resources and without the financial support necessary for them to fulfil this type of obligation completely. Indeed, had they been funded and supported with resources in a way that was necessary to give full effect to their role as understanding, compassionate and hardworking police officers, the member for Burlington South may not have felt compelled to include subsection 2(4) of this particular bill, the one that requires that victims be informed by the police.
It is important that when this bill is passed as law, resources be made available to police forces in Niagara and elsewhere in Ontario to ensure that this right will be one not just stated but one that is a reality for victims.
Similarly with subsection 5. Victims should be informed by the prosecuting crown attorney of, among other things, the victim’s role in the prosecution, court procedures, dates and places of all proceedings and the outcome.
Crown attorneys and crown attorneys’ offices are overburdened with case loads that are just overwhelming. They too need the resources to be made available to them to ensure their role in advising victims of rights that they have in the course of a matter through the criminal justice system. Again, the province should pay more than mere lipservice to the matter of victims’ rights and make sure that not only are they contained in statute but given effect in reality by virtue of proper funding and proper resources being given to the municipalities, upon whom these obligations will fall when this bill becomes law.
I want to talk a very little bit about section 3 of the bill. Section 3 talks about certain presumptions being made in the event of civil proceedings. Section 3, in my view, is a particularly important one because, once again, it endorses what we know is already a right of a victim to seek redress in civil litigation against a wrongdoer. What it does in part is encode what courts have been told by appellate courts in this province for some time now, and that is to say that the victims of sexual assault, by the very nature of that offence -- sentencing judges in this province have been told that judicial notice can be taken of the fact that a victim of a sexual assault has suffered emotional trauma. It is absurd to think anything else.
If the victim of assault is or was a spouse of the assailant -- once again, it is absurd to suggest that the victim of that type of assault could not be suffering, at the very least, emotional pain as a result of being victimized in that particular way. It is trite to suggest that it be stated in such a way that the victim is not required to have to prove that emotional pain and that emotional suffering, among other things, in the course of civil litigation.
I would be pleased to see this group of offences expanded. As often as not, victims of break-and-enters tend to be senior citizens. Senior citizens are regarded by the types of persons who would engage in break-and-enters as being more defence-less, more vulnerable. As often as not, they are living either alone or as a mature senior couple without children living in their home. What that means is that their home has fewer people coming and going to it and from it.
As well, as senior citizens, because of the fact that they tend to be retired, they have available to them lengthy periods of time to take vacations. So as I say, it is not uncommon for police or people involved in the criminal justice system to see seniors particularly victimized by those thugs in our community who would break into and enter people’s homes.
Mr Kormos: Can you call it any other way? Come on, Mr Speaker. We are talking about a violation of someone’s home, which is as significant as a violation of his or her person. I say that not to diminish the one but to tell you that I would be very interested in, and I am sure the member for Burlington South would be pleased to engage in a dialogue to lead to an inclusion of, let’s say, break-and-enter of a dwelling house as being among those crimes for which it is not necessary for a victim to establish suffering, pain, damage.
The sad thing about that proposition is that I suspect there is hardly a family in this province that has not been affected either directly or indirectly. If they themselves have not been the victim of a crime, a family member or a close friend or a neighbour probably has been.
When the crime is sexual assault or spousal assault or an attempted sexual assault, the pain, the trauma is so self-evident, but it is equally present in the case of break-and-enters. As I say, as often as not, it is a senior who comes home to find a house in complete disarray, in shambles; items missing which have no real financial value to the thief but which are irreplaceable for the victim; items of sentimental value, photographs, jewellery, wedding rings, engagement rings. These are things which will inevitably be dumped into a stream somewhere or will be hawked or pawned for the smallest amount of money; things that are, as I say, irreplaceable.
So I should be pleased, and I am sure the other members of this Legislature would be pleased, for there to be a consideration of some other types of crimes included among those crimes for which it would not be necessary for a person seeking compensation to have to prove damage, to have to prove emotional trauma, emotional injury. Again, it is in no way suggesting that there be a diminishment of the impact of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault or even, indeed, spousal assault on its victims.
The whole role of compensation for victims is, sadly, inadequately dealt with by current legislation. The Compensation for Victims of Crime Act -- and of course this has been mentioned time and time again -- requires that the application be made within one year after the date of the injury or the death. Well, that is absurd, particularly now when we are confronted here in the province of Ontario with the scenario which is currently being investigated and, sadly, not through the course of a public inquiry conducted by the government. Of course, I am speaking of the St Joseph’s Training School for Boys investigation being conducted by the Ontario Provincial Police.
We are talking about sexual assaults and other assaults that took place on young boys as far back as the 1950s and the 1960s, a school that has been closed down, as I understand it, since 1974. We are talking about an investigation that took place in 1960 in which the allegations of sexual assault and physical violence on young boys were confirmed by the government of the day, yet not a single charge was laid. Those young people, now adults in their forties and fifties, have not even enjoyed the decency of having been acknowledged as being victims. They have lived with suffering and with pain and with scarring that is undeniable, yet they have not even been extended the courtesy, the basic decency of being acknowledged as victims.
Those victims of sexual assault at St Joseph’s are not entitled to compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Their one-year limitation period is long, long past. There is a government, however, that acknowledged and confirmed the violence imposed upon them, and for that the government has to accept some responsibility because that same government, the government of Ontario, suppressed that information, buried it, engaged in a coverup, engaged in a whitewashing that is obscene.
As I say once again, it is important not only that this legislation be enacted to establish the rights of victims but as well that there be consideration of an extension of limitation periods so that victims more than one year after the fact, or five or six years after the fact, depending upon the type of offence, can similarly engage in litigation, because as often as not, particularly in cases of incest, we may well be dealing with scenarios wherein an acknowledgement by the victim of having been the victim of a crime does not occur until after an extended period of time.
None the less, we applaud this legislation. It is long overdue. It is important that it be pursued diligently by the government; that is to say, that it not be the subject of being set aside and put on the back burner and not be the subject of the types of delays that this government is notorious for when it comes to important legislation. It is important that victims across Ontario be told that there is an acknowledgement of their pain and that there is an acknowledgement of the individual responsibility of criminals; that is to say, that once a criminal has paid his or her price to the state, has served a jail sentence or paid a fine, his or her crime against the state has been absolved, if you will.
But the indignity and the pain and the injury inflicted on the victim are not dealt with in criminal courts. There is room for it, there is need for an expansion of the consideration of compensation for victims, but there is also an acknowledgement here that the process of engaging in civil litigation against wrongdoers should be made easier, should be made more accessible to victims and indeed should be one which perhaps should be pursued more frequently, because perhaps the more important wrong to be righted is not the wrong against the state but the wrong against the individual, whom the criminal justice system so often inadequately considers.
Mr J. M. Johnson: I rise to support the bill presented by my colleague the member for Burlington South and to commend him on an excellent proposal to solve some of the problems that the victims of crime have in our society.
The member has stated quite clearly many of the principles involved in the bill so I will not be repetitious of him, but I think it is appropriate at this time possibly to bring to the attention of this House a resolution that I presented on 17 November 1988. I would like to just read that resolution in this House:
“That... the Attorney General should review the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act to determine whether that legislation is adequate to meet the needs and redress the losses of victims. Such a review should take into account recommendations made by the standing committee on the Ombudsman; the standing committee on procedural affairs; and the areas identified by the past chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board as requiring special attention.”
It might be needed for clarification that this resolution did receive the unanimous support of the House at that time, but I am very sorry to say that the Attorney General did not accept my excellent advice that a review should be conducted to determine if changes are needed. I think that review is needed much more today than even at that point in time.
I might just mention one example of why I say that. I will make reference to an article appearing in the Toronto Star dated 9 August 1989, “Murdered Girl’s Mother Fights for Compensation.” This is a lady by the name of Sandra Carmen, a 42-year-old lady whose 14-year-old daughter was murdered near Owen Sound in March 1987. This occurred just a few miles from my home, just a little north, and I was very personally concerned by it.
“‘My life sentence is really a life sentence,’ said Sandra Carmen, 42, whose 14-year-old daughter was murdered near Owen Sound in March of 1987.” She goes on to say: “I have no desire to see people who are convicted of crimes denied their rights. I just want to see a little more equity in the way victims are treated.”
“Carmen is appealing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board’s refusal to compensate her for the income and career loss she suffered because of the trauma she suffered after her daughter’s death.” Her daughter was killed by two shotgun blasts. Her semiclad body was found dumped in a ditch and she had been sexually assaulted. She got nothing but a little bit of sympathy, which is not really satisfactory.
Just by way of determining the justice of that decision, I checked with a couple of funeral parlours in the immediate vicinity. One funeral home quoted an average funeral cost of $3,500. Another said a respectable funeral cost $3,200. I was very disillusioned with what $829.13 would buy.
Another article that disturbed me greatly appears in the Globe and Mail, 30 March 1990, just recently, by Sean Fine, the Globe and Mail reporter. “A man accused of fatally shooting a baby boy was released on $5,000 bail with the prosecution’s consent because he is not considered a danger to society.” A crown attorney involved in the case suggested that it was not a problem.
This disturbs me greatly. Someone charged with first degree murder is free on bail. I do not want to get into the legal ramifications of such a procedural affair, but I would suggest that if we allow easy bail and we allow people like this to be released without any consideration of the problems that could occur -- I would concede that if society allows this, then society has a right to make certain that if any innocent person suffers because of this early release, then we have a heavy responsibility to make sure that those innocent victims are truly compensated for what we in society consider a just decision. This bill presented by my colleague would go some way in solving that problem.
In closing, might I just leave the members with one major thought. If we want a more tolerant, caring society, a society that supports rehabilitation of our criminals and does not seek vengeance and punishment of these people, then one way to attain that goal would be to make certain that innocent victims of these criminals are treated in a very fair and compassionate way.
Mr Fleet: First, I would like to congratulate the member for Burlington South for bringing forward Bill 113. It is a bill which I support, and in particular I want to emphasize support for the intent and the opportunity that this provides.
There are two particular benefits to having the bill come forward at this time. First, it reminds us that victims of crime must never become victims secondarily, or victims all over again, while in the criminal justice process. The second benefit of having the bill come forward at this time is that it provides me with an opportunity to reiterate the very real and substantial commitment that this government has made to address issues pertaining to victims of crime, and particularly female victims of crime, for almost five years. So I am pleased that the member has now brought forward this bill.
There are some problems with the drafting of the bill. I do not want to go into those in any great detail, but I will refer to some of them as we go along, to indicate as well why the Ontario government has been so committed in providing services and the real and substantial allocation of financial and human resources to assisting female victims of crime.
We have spent in the last year some $41 million on the Ontario joint family violence initiatives, which involve some 23 different programs and services. Of the $41 million, $35 million has been spent on direct shelter and support services for abused women and children. In addition, another $3 million was spent providing financial support for enforcement initiatives. These were introduced as new initiatives starting in 1986. Then again, in January of this year, the Minister without Portfolio responsible for women’s issues issued a new set of announcements dealing with the very specific needs of sexual assault victims, and that is $28.8 million in new funds over five years. During the fiscal year we have just entered, the expenditure will be some $6.6 million.
I would like to just touch quickly, in the time that is available to me, on the kinds of programs to give a sense of the range of activities that the government has addressed. There is the victim/witness assistance program. It is operated through the Ministry of the Attorney General. It is a pilot program with 12 sites across the province to support victims as they are dealing with the criminal court system. We have, in addition, particular training that has been provided to police and crown attorneys, as well as correctional staff and probation officers, to try to deal with the issues of victim services to sensitize all of the people in the system to the very real problems facing, in particular, female victims of violence.
There are a number of areas in the bill which have been proposed by the member for Burlington South that deal with the sensitivity that is important to recognize the needs of victims as they are being dealt with and are impinged upon in the system, and particularly the right that victims do have to be treated with courtesy, dignity, compassion and respect. That is exactly what the emphasis is already, what we are doing and will continue to do, and I am pleased that this bill highlights that important consideration.
In addition, there is the victim crisis assistance and referral service operated by the Ministry of the Solicitor General. That provides assistance particularly involving some volunteer counsellors. It too is on a pilot project basis, because we are interested in making sure that we are as effective as possible in delivering services.
There has been additional support to crown attorneys to allow for specialized case preparation in cases of wife assault and sexual assault, and it allows for a much more complete consultation with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. From my personal experience as a lawyer in the system, I can tell the House that is exactly what takes place. There is greater sensitivity and it has had a real benefit for victims.
There has also been the revision of the sexual assault forensic evidence kit, and that has been undertaken with the Solicitor General’s office with various community groups. That is on the verge of being completed, I understand, and there is going to be further training of police and hospital officials when that kit is distributed across the province.
These are just some of the programs and services that demonstrate that over the last five years this government has been particularly sensitive to the very specific needs of female victims of violence. I would also like to emphasize the degree of commitment of financial resources. In the current fiscal year it is going to be something approaching $50 million. That is a really significant allocation of resources, and in the final analysis that is the most important benchmark of commitment of a government.
The way the bill is set out, it provides for the most part a set of what really amounts to policy guidelines. I am going to touch on a few of the concerns of the Ministry of the Attorney General in that respect, because for the most part those are being done on an ongoing basis. I have referred to some of those things already.
One of the other things I noticed on my own, in terms of reading through the bill, is the definition of “victim.” Some might argue that the definition in the bill is too narrow. It deals only with the Criminal Code, and one might ask whether other kinds of provincial offences might be appropriate to consider to include victims. I say that not to criticize what is there now, but to consider whether in the subsequent consideration of this bill it ought to be expanded.
In addition, though, the heart of the problem with the bill comes on the question of enforcement of so-called principles -- in effect, policy guidelines that the bill sets out -- that the bill does not have any additional provision to enforce. There is a danger that victims would feel there is a benefit in law that is not really enforceable, and that has a deleterious effect on the administration of justice and in effect on the position they have as victims. It is important that we provide resources and that there not be any sense that victims have that the system is promising something that cannot be delivered.
I know as well that the Attorney General’s office is concerned about a perception that might be gathered in this respect about the function of a crown prosecutor, a crown attorney or an assistant crown attorney. They are not in the exact same role as a lawyer for the victim, nor can they be, and the reason is that the crown attorneys do carry out a quasi-judicial function, a certain element of impartiality -- they have special access to the police -- and there is a difference. But they do have to be sensitive to the concerns of victims and that is exactly what the existing guidelines deal with. It also bespeaks the fact that this probably would require amendments to the Criminal Code, which falls under federal jurisdiction.
But again I congratulate the member. I think it is important that we emphasize the needs of victims, as I have touched on. I would like to be able to go on at greater length. Time does not allow, but I would like to thank the members for this opportunity on this occasion.
Mr Runciman: I would like to put few comments on the record in support of the bill of the member for Burlington South before the House today and to indicate my strong support for it, but also to acknowledge his leadership, not only in our caucus but I think throughout the province with respect to victims’ rights. Certainly my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative caucus are very much aware of the member’s very strong feelings in this area and I think this bill is indicative of how he feels and we feel. I am sure it is the sentiment in the House today that the members of the Legislature feel this is the kind of initiative that is long overdue.
I have had some personal problems related to the lack of victims’ rights in my own riding. They do not tie in directly with this legislation, but I think that if this kind of legislation is adopted in the province it could have an impact on the thinking of others dealing with victims and perpetrators of crime.
I am thinking specifically of those individuals confined to forensic units in psychiatric hospitals who have committed violent crimes but are found not guilty by reason of insanity. There was a situation in my own riding recently where a gentleman who had been found responsible for the brutal murder of a nine-year-old boy in Toronto back in 1971, the sexual assault and mutilation of that child, was confined to Penetanguishene, and then some 15 years later was released into the community and committed another violent crime. Fortunately the victim in that instance was able to fight off the attack, but this gentleman has once again been found not guilty by reason of insanity and is going before a review board to find out just where he will be directed for the remainder of his life.
I want to say that the mother of the nine-year-old boy who was murdered in Toronto, Carol Ann Deasley -- her son Kirkland -- has been refused, at every turn, the opportunity to present her case, her views, her feelings and those of her family to the review board. This is someone who has suffered through many years following the brutal murder of her son. The people who are charged with the responsibility of this individual, the gentleman -- I could not call him a gentleman -- John Finlayson, who committed the murder, allowed him out on to the street once again and do not wish to listen to Mrs Deasley and her concerns about this individual.
The judge who chairs the mental health review board -- I cannot recall his name -- was called by a reporter recently to see if Mrs Deasley could present herself before the review board hearing and provide a victim impact statement. The judge said: “We don’t want to listen to any of that emotional stuff. We don’t want to hear that kind of thing. We want to hear the facts. None of that emotional stuff.”
That is indicative of the thinking of too many folks in officialdom, if you will, in this province. I think that we have to start, as my colleague’s bill says and what he has said earlier in his opening comments, paying more attention and expressing more concern towards victims of crime in this province.
We talk about an individual being incarcerated at significant expense to the taxpayers, but we also see individuals like Mr Finlayson receiving extensive psychiatric and psychological treatment and assessment. But we have a victim like Mrs Deasley, who has to be concerned about this individual getting out on to the street, not being aware of when he is out in the community. What kind of trauma has she had to suffer throughout her life? What kind of psychological or psychiatric care has been made available to her by the state to deal with the kinds of difficult circumstances that she has had to face throughout these many years?
I am indeed very sympathetic. It has perhaps been mentioned earlier that many are concerned that Ontario, in terms of major jurisdictions, is the only jurisdiction in North America that has not passed legislation like this that would recognize the rights of and assistance for victims of crime.
In a letter to Mr Jackson, Irvin Waller, who is a professor of criminology, indicates that surely Ontarians can have justice for all, even for the victim. I think all of us, as indicated by the debate here today, share that view. It is long overdue, and once again I want to put my commendation on the record for the member for Burlington South for not only this initiative, but his ongoing battle on behalf of victims of crime in the province of Ontario.
Mr Jackson: I appreciate the comments of all members of the House today regarding this bill. I guess they have come to the same conclusion that I have over the years, that to know and understand what victims go through in the province of Ontario is to know anger, to know frustration. When we, as legislators, come to that awareness and understanding, we are impelled to respond with legislation and that is what I have done with this bill.
It is a response to hundreds of cases that have been brought to my attention through my work as women’s issues advocate for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, by being advised by my visitations to rape crisis centres, to shelters for battered women, to understand the evolution of these services in Ontario. They did not come freely and easily from legislators. They were fought for because of the dignity that victims felt for their rights and for their cause.
Just as the evolution of rape crisis centres was a response to a need to help victims and as shelters were established in response to victims’ needs, we are now seeing today a further advanccInent of that agenda with the rights of victims to be more entrenched in our judicial codes so that they can expect a certain level of support, information, understanding, awareness from our crown attorneys and the court system, and from our police, who are doing a good job but in fact could be doing a much better job when it comes to the treatment of victims.
I want to thank several members of the House for their comments. The member for Scarborough Centre, in her support for the bill, also indicated that she was very proud of her government’s initiative, as we all are, of increased funding for sexual assault centres. But she should be reminded that the centre in Hamilton, for example, still has over a year and a half’s waiting list for incest survivors in order to get counselling services. That is too long a time frame to wait to live with your own victim’s circumstances without the support services that a victim deserves in this province. So those waiting lists are chronic and they continue in virtually every part of our province.
I thank the member for Wellington. All members of this House supported his recommendations for a review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. In a year and a half nothing has been done from the Attorney General’s office to review the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, and yet we have one of the lowest rates of access in all of Canada for women here in Ontario.
In spite of the positive announcement of the government to raise the maximum levels in this province, and I commend the Attorney General for that, we still have one of the lowest average awards in Ontario at around $2,400. Case after case, these are presented to us. There is reference from the member for High Park-Swansea about expanding the scope of this bill and I encourage him to participate, as I know he will when -- if this bill is passed today -- it is referred to the justice committee. Then we will have opportunities to examine at first hand some of the concerns and incidents that we see occurring for victims, which we as legislators find intolerable.
I would like to thank my colleague the member for LeedsGrenville for his kind comments. I know that he has, inside my caucus as well, been very active on the issues involving victims’ rights in this province.
I want to thank all members of the House for their participation in this debate. For me personally it is the summation of about two and a half years’ work listening to victims’ rights groups and to women’s associations. It was through that understanding that I developed this bill. To achieve that objective, I wrote to over 100 countries around the world and received back considerable information on their bills of rights, and I used that as an amalgam to establish this bill and added some rather unique Ontario-based resolutions inside the bill.
I want to thank the assistance and co-operation of people like Mary Lou Fassal of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, Pauline Duffett of the Ontario Rape Crisis Coalition, Trudy Don of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, Carole Cameron of the Victims of Violence National mc, Pat Marshall of Metrac, and Professor Irvin Waller of the University of Ottawa. I would also like to thank my assistants, Guy Giorno and Alex Roman for their work.
I want to thank the hundreds of victims who have taken the time to inform all members of this House of the importance of this bill. Without their teaching us how to listen, we would never have really heard them, would never have understood their cries for justice and compassion.
Finally, I would like to thank the members of this House who have set aside their partisan views to support this bill and whose basic compassion has led them to a common conclusion that victims of crime in this province deserve and will obtain one of the most progressive and caring victims’ rights bills in Canada.
In 1975 the electoral district of Hastings was abolished and the electoral district of Hastings-Peterborough was created. Then 1986 saw part of Hastings county transferred from Hastings-Peterborough to Prince Edward-Lennox. These areas included the town of Deseronto, the township of Thurlow, the township of Tyendinaga and the Tyendinaga reserve.
The electoral district of Prince Edward-Lennox, originally established in 1933, is now composed of portions of the county of Hastings, portions of the county of Lennox and Addington and the complete county of Prince Edward.
Lennox and Addington county, in addition to its agricultural and historical strengths, has realized substantial economic growth in recent years. With an announcement in May 1988 the Goodyear tire plant was located outside the town of Napanee in the township of Richmond. The plant, now in phase I, operating with 350 employees, expects the first tire to be produced this month. With the Goodyear location announcement, local spinoff has been realized in many forms including real estate and economic benefits. A generating plant in Bath also contributes to the local economy.
To the west, Prince Edward county can boast of strength in agriculture, tourism and small business, in addition to a major cement plant industry. The nucleus of the county, the town of Picton, draws tourists from across the province to stroll the quaint streets, to browse in the unique shops and to bask in the sun of the nearby stretches of white sand beach of the Sandbanks Provincial Park.
I would like to turn my focus today, however, on the history of the portion of Hastings county located in Prince Edward-Lennox. This area of the riding has a population of approximately 13,000, representing 22 per cent of the population of my riding.
Mohawk Track 55, the Simcoe Deed, now known as the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, covers 17,000 acres in Tyendinaga township. Population of the reserve has risen from 1,400 in 1985 to 2,000 in 1989. Although classified as a midsized reserve, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have become the most heavily impacted reserve in Canada. This is due to the federal Bill C-3 I which governs status and non-status Indians.
Located in this area is the home of the First Nations Technical Institute, a non-profit, seven-member board institution funded from all levels of government. Just this past October the institute introduced a new aviation technology program.
Each year in May, Mohawk Sunday, a memorial service in honour of the re-enactment of the 1784 landing, is held. Natives adorned in their ceremonial head-dress, carrying their Queen Anne communion silver, brought from Mohawk Valley, pull to shore in canoes to complete their ceremonial service. I have had the honour of attending this ceremony in the past and was deeply moved by the historical significance of this event.
Tyendinaga township itself was created out of lands surrendered to the crown by the Mohawks of Tyendinaga reserve in 1820. The early I 800s saw many men employed in the lumbering trade. Today the major focuses in the township are agriculture and aggregate resources. It has a great many gravel pits in that particular area. As I have said many times, we do not have all good land down in Prince Edward-Lennox. A lot of it is very shallow.
Deseronto, incorporated as a town on 7 January 1889, celebrated its 100th anniversary last year with a number of special events recognizing this memorable day. In addition to the celebrations, last year also saw the initiation of a community resource centre to co-ordinate social services for Deseronto and the area. Among other businesses, Deseronto hosts a marine yard and a woodworking business established in 1944, still owned and operated by the same family.
To the west, with its nine concessions first surveyed in 1787, lies the township of Thurlow, bordered by the city of BelleviIle to the south. Thurlow has good reason to be proud of its agricultural background. Many fine dairy farms are located across the township. Thurlow may also easily boast of its cheese factories, cement plant, distillery and a family-owned mill in operation since the purchase in 1857.
A large majority of Thurlow residents are employed in nearby Belleville, a city of continuous economic growth. Thurlow itself is expanding and has high potential for future economic growth, which by every indication will be realized in the near future.
During my campaign for election in the fall of 1987, I spent a good portion of my time in the town of Deseronto and the townships of Thurlow and Tyendinaga. The people of this area are grass-roots people, people who are politically minded, people who keep abreast of all the issues locally, provincially and federally.
Whether attending an information meeting, bringing greetings at an official opening, enjoying a sports event or having the honour of presenting a scroll from our province, the people of South Hastings have been warm and open with me, expressing their concerns and views on various topics. One message has been predominant: the desire for South Hastings’ residents to be recognized by incorporating their geographical area into the riding of Prince Edward-Lennox.
I wish to emphasize to the House today that I strongly support the views of South Hastings’ people. To change the riding name to Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings would give fair recognition to these people who feel they are not properly identified.
Mr Pollock: I am pleased to take part in this debate too. I want to say to the member for Prince Edward-Lennox that I appreciate his comments and I want to make the House aware that I will certainly be supporting Bill 115, changing the name from Prince Edward-Lennox to Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings.
I would not really have any problem with just changing the name from Prince Edward-Lennox to Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings either. I have talked to people from that area and they seem to be of the same mind. They really do not care whether it is South Hastings or Hastings, just as long as the name Hastings is in there, because after all this should have been done back in 1986 when the riding boundaries were changed.
If we were to hold up this bill for any length of time, I think it would be remiss, because the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission meets every 10 years. They last met in 1984 to decide to change the boundaries, so they will no doubt be meeting in 1994 to take another look at the boundaries. If we held this up for any particular time, we would be running into the next Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission meeting.
As the member for Prince Edward-Lennox mentioned, this area used to be part of the riding of Hastings-Peterborough. There are approximately 12,000 people in the area. There are four municipalities: Thurlow, Tyendinaga, Deseronto and the Indian reserve.
I would like to put on the record that it was an honour for me to represent those people from that area here at Queen’s Park for six years. I went to 4-H clubs with youngsters from that area, played ball in junior farmer tournaments with lads from that particular area and went to dances, and I also sat on Hastings county council with people from that area. These people are good solid citizens and believe in fair play.
It was not my idea that the boundaries be changed. They moved my riding farther west. I know that when I was a teenager there used to be such things as harvest excursions and people were saying, “Go west.” When the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission actually moved my riding west, I really did not want to go. I was quite satisfied with my riding the way it was, but I really did not have any choice in the matter.
A few things I would like to talk about are some of the things that took place in that riding while I was a member. Shortly after the 1981 election, I got an invitation to attend the official sod-turning ceremonies for the Belleville and District Fish and Game Club. From those sod-turning ceremonies, they went on to build a building they can certainly be proud of. It will house approximately 400 people for a banquet. They have a games room. They have all kinds of parking there. That building received some Wintario funding. It is a credit to that area and I compliment the Belleville and District Fish and Game Club members for constructing that building.
They built a new senior citizens’ complex in Foxboro. This allows the senior citizens from that particular area to remain in their local village. This senior citizens’ complex has a homy atmosphere. I visit there on many occasions and the people seem to be happy and quite satisfied with the senior citizens’ complex in Foxboro.
In Deseronto they had built a new arena before I became the member there, but I was able to reap some of the benefits of that because some of the teams from Deseronto went on to win all-Ontario championships and I attended all those banquets where they recognized teams from that area. Deseronto is quite the hockey town.
In the township of Tyendinaga they remodelled two recreation centres, one in Read and one in Melrose, and this was done with Wintario funding. They also built a new TVOntario tower in Tyendinaga. Of course the wheels started turning when I was the member to build a new township garage in the township of Tyendinaga and this was officially opened in 1988. The honourable member for Prince Edward-Lennox was on hand at that particular time, and I appreciated the invitation from the township to join it on that special occasion.
I always made a point to attend the official landing of the Mohawks. This is a ceremony where the Mohawks come ashore in their canoes and they give thanks there. Then they carry their canoes across the road to a cairn and have another ceremony. Then they break up and go to their respective churches for their Sunday morning church services.
I have been at Mel Hill’s house. He has a museum in one room of his house and he has a lot of Indian artefacts there. He also keeps the Queen Anne communion set there. This particular set has a lot of history behind it. It was given to the Mohawks of Mohawk Valley in New York state by Queen Anne back in 1711. At the time of the American War of Independence, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte decided to leave New York state and move to Canada. They could not bring this Queen Anne communion service with them because anything of any value was confiscated. So they buried it and went back at a time when there was less friction and dug it up and brought it to Canada, where it rightly should be.
They have a computer centre on the reserve. As far as I know, it is the only computer and technology centre for native students in any reserve across Canada. This is a credit to that particular reserve. I understand that reserve boasts of more post-secondary students than any reserve across Canada.
While I was there, one of the industries that moved into the area was Milliken carpet in Deseronto. They put out a good product and employ people in that particular area. They are good corporate citizens. Of course, Corby’s in the township of Thurlow employs a lot of people and the new Sears plant is now in that area of Thurlow. It has been annexed by Belleville, but it used to be in that area of Thurlow which was a part of the provincial riding of Hastings-Peterborough.
Here are just some of the facts on this new Sears warehouse. It has four times the floor space of the Dome. It has roughly 25 acres of floor space. They estimate that when it is in full production, it will employ 1,500 to 1,700 people. It is a credit to the area. There is already a spinoff from Sears having moved into that particular area.
Mr Keyes: I am also very pleased to speak in favour of Bill 115, as put forward by my honourable friend the member for Prince Edward-Lennox. Bill 115, An Act to amend the Representation Act, 1986, deals with renaming the electoral district of Prince Edward-Lennox to the electoral district of Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings.
There have been many instances in the past when representation acts were introduced to change the existing boundaries of ridings across the province. We have also witnessed and participated in commissions which were initiated to determine the number of electoral districts into which the province should be divided.
The Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission, which operated from June 1983 until March 1986, had as its mandate the responsibility of ensuring that all the citizens of this province would receive proper representation as a result of its recommendations and proposals, which of course it formulated after holding province-wide hearings.
There are indeed many similarities, when one discusses complete redistribution as undertaken by the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission, when we talk about the renaming of a riding as has been recommended by my honourable friend the member for Prince Edward-Lennox. That is what he is proposing today and that is what I support.
I want to say to members of this House that perhaps the most important factor that we must realize today is that, as legislators, we are accountable to the constituents we serve. In order to be effective parliamentarians we must ensure that our communities receive the recognition they deserve and that they have access to their member, that they feel they are a part of that particular riding; and of course access to their member so that their concerns and their views can be readily communicated not only to this House, but to the respective standing committees of the House and to the ministries with which one has desire to work.
Through the renaming of the particular riding in question, the request to name it Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings, the citizens residing in South Hastings, the portion that has had the honour of representation by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox but not in name within the naming of the district, will feel a much deeper sense of belonging if it forms part of their name. It is this feeling of fair recognition and representation that should guide our deliberation today and the full support of this House.
In making a comparison to the honourable member’s request for renaming, I just want to go back to some historical data, to refer to other occasions in this House when members from all parties have made similar requests for change of names of their riding. I want to refer to some of the statements made, as I went back through Hansard, through the courtesy of the legislative research library, to put on the record what some of those people said about the necessity of recognition of people and the role of ourselves as legislators.
In June 1983 debates were held concerning redistribution of the electoral districts. That of course was the commission I referred to earlier that went from 1983 to 1986. At that time Ross McClellan, a well-known former member of this House, an MPP representing the riding of Bellwoods, stated in this House, “Each and every person who lives in this country is entitled to have fair representation.”
During that same debate Jim Foulds, the MPP for Port Arthur, also a well-remembered ex-member of this House, asserted, “There is also the important principle of the accessibility of the elected representative to the constituent or the citizen, and the ability to make personal representation to the elected representative.”
“I believe the job of the elected politician is not only to participate in the debates of Parliament or to be a parliamentarian, but to rub shoulders and arms and to get into the real heart, soul and guts of his or her community. This is the only way we can represent those people adequately and well.”
Our honourable Treasurer of today, the member for BrantHaldimand, on that same occasion asserted that, “Redistribution of the population into constituencies in this province is one of our most important democratic responsibilities.”
My own riding of Kingston has undergone a great number of modifications in the number of people it has represented and in its title. It goes back to the research of 1885, when the franchise act of the day stipulated that, in addition to the city of Kingston, the electoral district of Kingston should also contain the township of Kingston and the village of Portsmouth, which had previously belonged to the electoral district of Frontenac. These became included in actuality, although not in any additional name, at that time in 1885.
Then in 1894 the representation act of the day removed Kingston township from the riding and restored it to the county of Frontenac, leaving the village of Portsmouth with us. Another 30-some years passed, and in 1929 another redistribution act added to the electoral district of Kingston the islands of Amherst, Howe, Wolfe and, included with Wolfe, Simcoe, Horseshoe and Mud islands. They were reaffirmed as being appropriate municipalities within the electoral district of Kingston in 1954.
But it was not until 1966 in this House that, again on demand of the citizens in the area, particularly from the islands and from the member representative of the day, W. M. Nickle, that a representation act, which was then known as Bill 92, renamed the electoral district of Kingston to that now melodious and beautiful riding of Kingston and The Islands.
That little history lesson is simply to illustrate that the naming of a riding is very significant to the residents of a particular area and, therefore, Millhaven is in the very fine riding of Prince Edward-Lennox and, hopefully soon, South Hastings. These points are made to illustrate the intense feelings that people have about the name of the riding.
I know that the honourable member from the third party has on occasion risen in this House to likewise to have the name of his riding changed. But it is my understanding of a few moments ago, while it passed in this House for second reading, no change was made in that, and it is something perhaps the honourable member must bring to the attention of this House subsequent to today’s positive motion to have that rectified.
As I have said, each subsequent and additional change of name ensured that the citizens not only received fair and adequate representation, but they were included in name as well as reality in the decision-making process, and so they have been encouraged and acknowledged. I see this act today, put forth by the honourable member for Prince Edward-Lennox, to be somewhat similar to the number of occasions that I have referred to with a renaming of the riding that I have the pleasure to represent.
Of course, I support so wholeheartedly the renaming of the electoral district of Kingston to Kingston and The Islands because I myself was born on Wolfe Island, as a farm boy, lived my career there until about 21 and moved to the great city of Kingston. So this is my life today supporting the honourable member for Prince Edward-Lennox.
I am very honoured to be the first inhabitant and son of Wolfe Island to serve the residents of the island and the city of Kingston in this capacity and this House as I have had the pleasure to do since 1985. I am sure that just as I am honoured to have served my people from where I was born, so is my honourable friend from Prince Edward-Lennox. He feels a deep sense of pride not only in the people he has represented so well, but now in his request to represent all of his people through the renaming of his riding to Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings.
I am pleased to support the bill and I encourage all members of this House to do likewise. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak on the member’s behalf, on behalf of his citizens as well as my own, in support of this bill.
Mr Wildman: I am pleased to participate in this debate. While I am reminded of the phrase, “A rose by any other name is still a rose,” I wonder whether we need to be as concerned as some members are to try to ensure that all parts of their ridings are signified in the names of the constituencies. However, I respect the local member’s concern. Obviously he is responding to the views and concerns of his constituents, and in that sense I certainly would have no reason to object, particularly when the neighbouring member, the member for Hastings-Peterborough, is in support of the change.
I have some sympathy with a nice, neat name. The first on the list alphabetically in this House of all the constituencies is the constituency of Algoma, which is the fourth-largest constituency in Ontario. It is approximately 400 miles from one end to the other. I represent a very diverse area of the province, many, many small communities very widely dispersed, all the way from Hornepayne in the north to White River, south to Sault Ste Marie but not including any of the city of Sault Ste Marie, and east from there to Blind River and the very small community, or at least part of the very small community, of Algoma Mills. That community, for some reason which is beyond me, frankly, is divided between my constituency and the constituency of Algoma-Manitoulin.
Mr Wildman: Actually, no. At the time of the last boundary change the then member for Algoma-Manitoulin and I both said, “Move the line one way or the other a couple of miles,” so that all of Algoma Mills, which is a very, very small community, could be either in Algoma district or in AlgomaManitoulin constituency. It is not a big place.
But at any rate, when we say Algoma, we know that we are talking about the whole of Algoma district, which is a very large area. We do not try to say that this riding should be named Hornepayne-Algoma Mills or White River-Blind River. In other words, you could run into problems if you tried to represent every part of the riding in its name.
However, in southern Ontario and southeastern Ontario, where there are communities that are closer together and perhaps have very long histories and have been in the past recognized in the names of their constituencies, I suppose it makes sense when there are a number of different counties represented by one constituency to represent them in the name. I note that we are saying South Hastings in the proposed change as a way of trying to differentiate from the other riding that has Hastings in its name, and I accept that.
I wonder, though, why, it seems to me, it is the constituencies that already have the longest names that want to get longer. I mean, we already have Prince Edward-Lennox. Now it is going to be Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings. I note a few years ago my friend the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, the united counties, wanted to make a change in the name of his constituency. As a matter of fact, in his case he wanted to shorten it. He wanted to change it so that he recognized Grenville as part of his constituency. I believe that proposal was supported in the House, was it?
I think we should do everything we can to accommodate the local member on a thing like this, and his or her constituents. It seems to me that if we are going to make an effort to expedite the passage of this particular private member’s bill so that the constituency, the electoral district, will now be called Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings, it would be equitable for us to consider very carefully the proposal made by my friend the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and to look at the possibility of expediting the passage of the private bill. I am sorry, I was under the impression that it had been a private member’s bill.
Mr Wildman: If it was a private bill I can see a somewhat different situation, but perhaps we could look at the possibility of expediting the passage of that as well, as long as the Deputy Speaker has no objection.
I found it interesting to listen to the history of the area as interpreted by the member for Hastings-Peterborough, because he is a member who is very concerned with his constituents and has been known to work very hard on behalf of the very small communities of his area. I am sure he is very well known and understands the concerns and feelings of the constituents of the area that he represented but which is now part of the other riding. I respect him for that.
I appreciate also the concerns of the current member. I do say that while this is private members’ hour and we all, as private members, have the right and the obligation to consider individually the proposals made by private members in this debate, I think that members of my caucus will be united in the view that if the local member and his constituents wish this change, then everything should be done to expedite it by the Legislative Assembly and, hopefully, by the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission.
In that view, I will just say briefly and finally that we support the proposal. I think that if we are going to make this kind of change in this case, we should look very carefully at similar suggestions that have been made by other members to see whether we can assist them in making similar changes. The only proviso I put on that is that, representing a very large area, a very diverse area with the very short, neat name of Algoma, I think brevity has some advantages over complexity in the naming of constituencies.
I think I understand very much of what he is going through. Several years ago, following redistribution, I put in a private bill. I am pleased that my friends and colleagues the member for Algoma and the member for Kingston and The Islands remember that particular occasion when I was suggesting that the very historical riding of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, following redistribution, included the east half of the county of Grenville. It is part of four very important counties in Ontario, and particularly in eastern Ontario. As the name presently stands in my case, it is Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and some 12,000 people in the municipalities that I represent here at Queen’s Park from Grenville county effectively are not recognized. It may only be in perception, but perception, as we well know here at Queen’s Park, becomes reality very quickly.
My suggestion was based on some of the historical facts. Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, back in the days of wartime, had the SD and G Highlanders; they were the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders but they were affectionately known as the SD and G Highlanders, proudly wearing the Macdonnell of Glengarry plaid as their fighting colours. I thought that possibly recognizing the riding -- and I understand that Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and East Grenville becomes a bit cumbersome; however, cumbersome or not, my suggestion is that we shorten it to SDG and East Grenville, and it possibly would be less cumbersome, but would incorporate everyone who is included in the riding, the 57,000 people who are in the riding that I very proudly represent.
Right now left aside -- and I realize that my neighbour to the west, Leeds-Grenville, incorporates approximately the west half of the county of Grenville geographically; population-wise it is a lot bigger. However, population and geographics should always be recognized. So possibly the change of one name of a riding would follow that a second riding would have to have a slight change of name. But I think it is all done in respect for people we represent, and right now the town of Kemptville, the village of Cardinal and the townships of Edwardsburgh, South Gower and Oxford on the Rideau are not recognized in the name of the riding that I represent.
To go back to the riding that I represent, very similar to the member for Prince Edward-Lennox, I quite often travel Highway 401, and as I get to that Deseronto exit that is about halfway home. So it is always a friendly reminder. The worst half is behind me, and the first half is always the worst half. From then on you are going downhill. Affectionately, his riding is always a point in my trip home or my trip to Queen’s Park.
The history, I know, in the honourable member’s riding is very agricultural, as it is in mine. And I am always proud to tell people that half of the bicentennial farms are situated in the riding that I represent, bicentennial farms that were recognized back in 1984 by this Legislature and by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. To my friend and colleague the member for Prince Edward-Lennox, I look forward to recognizing him henceforth as the member for Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings and I hope some time members look at the name of the riding that I very proudly represent.
Mr Mahoney: I am indeed pleased to have been asked by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox to speak on behalf of and indeed in support of this piece of legislation which is very important to him. In doing so, I tried to analyse, other than being his seatmate, why. I think what I have determined is that it is important, particularly having listened to the very fine speakers who have just talked in favour of this bill, perhaps to bring a different perspective towards the support of this legislation.
The member represents a substantially rural community. My community of Mississauga West, of course, is primarily an urban community. So I bring an urban perspective, along with the member for Durham-York, who is coming up to cause me some grief at the moment. I bring a perspective that I think is particularly significant, coming from the big city, so to speak, or the Big Smoke, as it is sometimes referred to, in talking about what I consider to be some of the most wonderful country in this province.
This particular community represented by the honourable member is really a fantastic place to visit, to vacation in and to tour. I would like to just take a moment, if I could -- I am sure the member and others have done this many times; I have done it -- to drive members along one of the most scenic routes in the entire province of Ontario, and indeed in all of Canada, and that is the Loyalist Parkway, which runs from one end of the member’s riding to the other.
The history in this part of Ontario is very, very strong, very similar to the history in the area spoken about by the member for Kingston and The Islands. If you drive along this particular area you really get to get the feeling of Canada, get the sense of the great province of Ontario and indeed of this great country. You start off coming out of Kingston and Amherstview, a place where I have spent a little of time in playing hockey in the past, enjoying that great community just outside of Kingston.
You drive along from that eastern gateway to the parkway into Millhaven. Members, particularly the member for Algoma, were asking if Millhaven was in this riding. We can arrange a short stay for the member if he is interested. The accommodation, I understand, according to the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is second to none. We will see that he gets steak and a good breakfast any time he would like to go there.
But everyone knows Millhaven. Unfortunately, it is known primarily as the home of that penitentiary, but in reality it is some of the most spectacular country you could see. The lake view and the waterfront properties are breathtaking, and I am really quite impressed with that.
As you leave there, you go along through Bath. Some of the members could probably spend a little time in that particular part of the country. You see an awful lot of early Ontario architecture and great history. Moving on to pick up the Glenora ferry, that is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable trips, to ride the ferry over to Picton.
Ms Bryden: I do feel that when a member desires a change in the name of his riding he must have good reasons for it. I think there is a time when one has to bring up to date the events that are going on in your own area so that people do recognize that the description of the riding is a true description of the communities involved.
I share the thoughts of the previous speaker, the member for Mississauga West, that it is a beautiful area. It is an area that I enjoy visiting on my vacations and it is an area that we hope will continue to be kept in its present state and not taken over by developers or too many highways and things of that sort. But I do hope that some day, whatever the name of the riding is, it will become a New Democrat riding.
I was first elected to represent the riding of Wellington-Dufferin-Peel. The Peel section included all of Caledon, and the people in Caledon for many years were quite concerned that their identity was lost because the name Caledon did not appear in the name of the riding. There was concern that, not having the name, you really did not represent that group of people. The honourable member has tried to address this issue by taking in names of all the people in his area, the same as the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry has, by hoping to add the name of one more township.
I think that we take for granted that people should accept the fact that by calling an area such as greater Peel just by the one name anyone living in this area will be considered as part of that great area. But there are several members from Peel. They used to be all Conservative; now, for some reason, they have changed for a short while. But maybe if they are more conscious of where they are living, they will be a little more interested in the voting procedure.
I can recall a constituent of mine driving up Highway 401 and approaching the new town of Halton many years ago. The sign said, “Town of Halton, former Georgetown.” He said, “How would you like to be from an area that used to be the former community?” If you lose your identity, it is not good. I think the member for Cambridge had a similar problem many years ago. I think it has been resolved, but at one time it used to be Hespeler-Galt-Preston; now it is all Cambridge.
There is a loss of identity, there is a loss of personal feeling that you belong to a community. So the member has made the right decision to proceed in this direction, and I will assure him of my support. I do understand it will be called for third reading today and I can indicate the support of all members of our party, the three of us.
Mr Jackson: I wish to commend the member for his bill, An Act to amend the Representation Act. He was not a member of this House when we last debated the Election Act, but many of the comments that he made were reflected in that debate, the very strong commitment to his riding, to making sure that the people feel very much welcome and accommodated by the name of their riding. It is a pride of ownership in their representation. So we fully support that.
During that debate as well, some few years ago, concern was expressed in similar terms for the riding of Oakville South and its relationship to Burlington South. We had a change from the old riding of Oakville, which included the city of Oakville. It expanded to take in a portion of Burlington from the riding of Burlington South. There was a lot of concern expressed by the residents of East Burlington, in the area from Appleby Line to Burloak Drive and from New Street to the lake, who are now part of Oakville South. There has been a persistent and consistent request from the citizens of that area that the riding name of Oakville South be modified to reflect its partial Burlington representation. I underscore the name of the street which binds the two communities, Burloak Drive, as a potential name for a riding. I would hope the member for Oakville South is listening. His predecessor fully supported the principles that the member for Prince Edward-Lennox states today in his resolution.
So I fully support it, and fully encourage its application for at least two or three other instances in this House. I respect the leadership he supplied to this bill, and for that reason we will be supporting it. Should the member for Oakville South be so inclined to represent in this fashion a bill similar to that of the member for Prince Edward-Lennox, then he would have my full support, and I would certainly ask him to consult with the member for Prince Edward-Lennox because of the work he has done. I wish him well and I certainly will be supporting his bill.
Mr Tatham: I am very happy to support this bill based on the fact that several years ago a committee went across the province of Ontario. We visited 26 counties, and wherever we went we found that the people have a great love and affection for their own area and they like to know who they are. This matter of coming together with counties was such that they wondered about their identity. They wondered what would take place if they amalgamated. I know in our own county of Oxford we put 18 municipalities down to eight. There was a great deal of wonderment about what names should be used. In one instance, we took three municipalities and put them into one. They had to have a vote on this matter. So it is something that I think we are very much in favour of.
Mr MacDonald: It is certainly my pleasure, in wrapping up the debate on this bill, to thank all the members of the House today for joining the debate. I am very pleased they have gone along with this bill and supported it. I do appreciate it.
I do want to pay tribute to the member for Hastings-Peterborough who did represent this part of the riding for a good many years. When I did tour the riding there was nothing but very great things said about him and I do pay tribute to his standing up today and saying what he did.
Naturally, I am here today to bring recognition to those people in that part of the riding and that is solely why I am here. I again thank the members very much for joining the debate and supporting the resolution.
The Deputy Speaker: I would need a majority vote to send it to the committee; if not, it is going to have to go to the committee of the whole House. It would appear to me that the vote would be committee of the whole House in that case.
Miss Martel: Today this government announced the transportation capital program at a staged performance at Union Station. I waited for some announcement regarding Highway 69 north. I was confident some commitment would be made to improve northern highways. After all, if this government can give away $2 billion to the greater Toronto area in one morning, surely it is not too much to expect that northern Ontario could receive a small piece of that pie.
Not one word was mentioned about northern Ontario, not one dime allocated to road improvement in the north, not one word even hinting at a commitment by this government to the four-laning of Highway 69 north, no indication that the Liberals even have a plan of action for this route.
This is in spite of disturbing accident rates in 1989. In district 7, for example, from Midland to Bala, there were five fatal accidents, seven people killed, 48 personal injuries and 123 property damage accidents. In district 12, the Parry Sound area, there were two fatal accidents and two people killed, 79 personal injury accidents and 152 property damage accidents. Farther north, from Still River to Sudbury, in district 13, there were six fatal accidents, nine people killed, 79 personal injury accidents and 156 property damage accidents.
Safety on this northern highway continues to decline. That is why ministry funding last year in the Port Severn area did nothing to resolve the problem. We need a commitment from this government to the four-laning of Highway 69 north to stop the carnage on this transportation route.
Mr Eves: I want to remind the Legislature today of Daffodil Day. On an early spring day many years ago a group of cancer society volunteers decorated the tables for a cancer tea with daffodils. These early spring blossoms, they felt, represented a sense of hope and renewed life.
Today, Daffodil Day is celebrated all across this country. It has turned into a three-day event, supported by numerous volunteers, to aid in the battle against cancer. Today, presold daffodils will be delivered. Tomorrow, those of us who have still not supported the Canadian Cancer Society will have the opportunity to purchase them at subway stations, on the street and in malls throughout the province. They will be available on Saturday.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask members to support this very worthwhile cause. Fifty cents of every dollar collected will go towards research; the other half will go towards valuable projects such as public education and patient services. At least one third of us will have a contact with cancer during our lives. Last year, volunteers raised $1.5 million from the sale of daffodils. This year it is hoped that even more money will be raised to support this very worthy cause.
The cancer society has also begun its residential campaign and I would like to ask all Ontarians to support the battle against cancer. I would also like to commend the thousands of dedicated volunteers across the province and this country who have made further research and services for cancer patients available to all.
Mr Tatham: “And what is so rare as a day in June?” “The paths of glory lead but to the grave.” “Ay free, off han’ your story tell when wi’ a bosom cronie, but still keep something to yoursel’ ye scarcely tell to onie.”
So hundreds of librarians and trustees have worked on a draft Ontario public library strategic plan that will bring Ontario fully into the information age with all principles intact: the right to information, equity of service throughout the province and the right to intellectual freedom. The draft plan will be released simultaneously at 21 libraries across the province on Saturday 7 April.
I commend my colleague the Minister of Culture and Communications and her ministry for having had the foresight to organize Libraries 2000 and fund the Ontario public library strategic plan. We can help as well by encouraging our local library people to respond to the draft plan.
Mr Wildman: There is a great deal of discontent among moose hunters in northern Ontario regarding the present moose lottery system. A large number of hunters have been unsuccessful in the draw for an adult moose tag for a number of consecutive years. The time and cost involved in a hunting expedition can be expensive; many hunters feel it is not feasible financially or otherwise to participate in the hunt if they have not been awarded an adult moose tag.
The cost of a moose licence, therefore, is very expensive if you have to pay it before you get into the lottery. The position of many hunters is that the moose licence cost should be refunded to those hunters who are unsuccessful in the draw for an adult moose tag and who do not wish to participate in the hunt for a moose calf.
This would provide a much more equitable approach rather than having the provincial government and the Ministry of Natural Resources collecting money that does not benefit the hunter and, as a result, requires the hunter to pay even if he or she is not successful in entering the draw. I know some people may not find this a major issue, but it certainly is of significant importance to many constituents in Algoma and across northern Ontario.
The people of Ontario are well aware of how this government is trying to pull the wool over their eyes on the issue of auto insurance. My constituency offices in Orillia and Penetanguishene have been flooded with calls and letters.
Finally, the Liberals in this province are starting to wake up to the inability of their government to provide a fair and equitable solution to the rising cost of automobile insurance. Liberal ridings throughout the province are introducing and passing resolutions against this bill. Ridings in North Bay and Sudbury have passed these resolutions, and they have been introduced in Hamilton Centre. I know that many staunch Liberals, in Muskoka-Georgian Bay and Simcoe Centre ridings, are also opposed to this bill. Most recently, it has been brought to my attention that the Liberal association in my own riding of Simcoe East has passed a resolution condemning this bill.
The people of this province are opposed to Bill 68 because it sacrifices fairness for accident victims in the name of political expediency. It results in Ontario taxpayers paying more for fewer benefits. I can tell the members that it is going to eliminate a lot of insurance agents too.
So far, this government has refused to listen to the people of the province. Now it is refusing to listen to its own party members. When will they wake up and smell the taffy? It is starting to stick. Ontario is saying no to Bill 68.
Mr Pelissero: This year, 1990, marks a bicentennial celebration for the town of Grimsby and for West Lincoln, not because of the founding of those communities, for they were already well established 200 years ago, but because the first municipal council meeting in Upper Canada was held there, on 5 April 1790.
The meeting for township 6 was held at the request of the Court of Common Pleas for the district of Nassau, which at that time included the Niagara Peninsula. The meeting was held at the home of John Green in the village of The Forty, now called Grimsby. At that meeting, the officers chosen were a clerk, a constable, an overseer of the poor, a pathmaster to oversee the roads and two viewers of fences and appraisers of damages. Besides the selection of these officers, the only business recorded in the minutes is a discussion of the matter of the distance allowed between fence rails.
These minutes are the basis for a re-enactment of that first municipal meeting, to be held in Grimsby tonight, Thursday 5 April 1990. Councillors from West Lincoln and Grimsby will play the roles in a brief drama, called Fathers of The Forty, written by local author Dorothy Turcotte. In addition, there has been a logo contest, with the winning entry made into a flag which is being flown in both municipalities this week. Other special events will take place throughout bicentennial year.
Mr Allen: At the University of Guelph, the administration is persisting in a plan to take over the student-run campus bookstore and threatening the same for a coffee shop, both run by the Guelph Campus Co-operative, a long-standing student institution. University officials, including the president, have declared that they are following a specific mandate from Queen’s Park to take over student-run retail operations on campus to create additional revenues for the university.
If the university proceeds, it may face federal government charges. But what has to be most troubling is that the roots of this heavy-handed attempt appear to lie with the Liberal government here at Queen’s Park. That the Liberals should be resorting to such tactics is an open confession of their failure to adequately fund Ontario’s universities.
Government support has fallen once again to the bottom rank of provincial systems. Even so, it is difficult to comprehend how this nefarious combination of Queen’s Park Liberals and the Guelph administration can seriously contemplate actions that would effectively wipe out the major activities of a long-standing student co-operative. Have the two technocratic bureaucracies lost all sense of the importance of people learning to work together and running their own affairs?
In Toronto, millions have been spent to restore the Winter Garden. In Cornwall, the Liberal government is arranging with the city to demolish one of Canada’s oldest theatre buildings in order to build a provincial government building.
The Capitol Theatre in Cornwall was one of the very first theatres in Canada to show motion pictures with sound. It is very much a historical building. Although neglected for some two years, an Ontario Heritage Foundation expert reported on 28 January, “There is no reason why the Capitol cannot be repaired.”
On Monday, Cornwall council is ready to remove the historical designation, tear down the building and sell the property to the province. On Saturday, the people of Cornwall will be showing their disapproval.
The provincial government’s behaviour has been deplorable on this issue. According to all sources, the proposed site could accommodate an office building together with a restored theatre. This is what the province must insist on from the city of Cornwall, and I fully agree.
In keeping with the changing shape of Ontario’s socioeconomic profile and, more specifically, changes in the domestic and foreign marketplace, the East York Board of Education has endorsed a major Pacific Rim initiative. The East York Board of Education has taken a bold step towards preparing its students for the competitive workplace of the 21st century. The trustees approved the recommendations of the education committee to launch a Pacific Rim initiative program set to begin in September of this year.
The program is designed to increase the awareness and understanding of such countries as China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. The further intent of this initiative is to increase opportunities for students to develop an understanding and appreciation not only of economics but of culture, values and languages as well as trade initiatives.
These broad goals will be achieved through student and teacher exchanges, seeking partnerships with Pacific Rim businesses, establishing advisory groups and appointing a Pacific Rim special assignment teacher to provide leadership in this education initiative.
I feel that these are most worthy goals. I am pleased and reassured by the efforts of the East York Board of Education and I look forward to and support the development of this most timely and important endeavour.
Mr Velshi: I would also like to inform members of this House that grade 8 students from John XXIII school in my riding are visiting us today, sitting in the gallery, and I would appreciate our welcoming them.
The Martin Luther King story has been told and retold until it has become almost a legend; a legend, I believe, that is central to our history and to our understanding of what we stand for as a people.
When I speak about this great man, images sweep through my mind: images like the face of Rosa Parks as she sat in a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, late on a hot afternoon in December back in 1955; an image of her being told to move to the back of the bus to give a white man her seat, something she had been told to do all the years of her life. But something rose up in Rosa Parks that day and she refused to yield her seat.
I can imagine that young Alabama preacher’s face when he heard about this astonishing act of defiance and courage. That preacher was Martin Luther King. When he heard about Rosa Parks’s courage, something rose up in him as well, something strong, something fierce, something that told him, “Yes, the time has come for all men and all women to be as equal under the law as they are in the eyes of God.”
Then images come faster to me, flooding my memory: images of Martin Luther King marching down dusty roads all over the southern United States, marching in the face of armed troops and guard dogs and threats to the lives of his children. And wherever he marched behind him marched a swelling company of his followers. I can see their faces now, lit by courage and a new hope and a wonderful kind of joy that they were part of this incredible journey through history.
Then images crowd one upon the other: Martin Luther King at Selma, Alabama; Martin Luther King at Little Rock, Arkansas; Martin Luther King in Washington, his words ringing out from the Lincoln Memorial; and then Martin Luther King on a motel balcony in Memphis.
I have a final image of my own feelings on that terrible day in 1968, an image that the heart of all people had been shattered, that our light and our courage had been torn out of us by the bullets of a single assassin. That was wrong, of course, for the heart grew stronger and stronger, filled by the courage and determination of people around the world who reached down to pick up the torch that had fallen from Martin Luther King’s hands.
I recall the sermon he gave at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday morning, 4 December 1967, a few months before he died. Martin Luther King told the congregation how he wanted to be remembered after his death. “Tell them,” he said, “not to mention that I got a Nobel peace prize. That’s not important.” He paused and then he continued: “I would like somebody to say that I tried to feed the hungry. I would like somebody to say that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked and visit those who were in prison. I would like it to be said that Martin Luther King tried to love somebody.”
He said much more that December, but I think it would please him to know that his words have been remembered and that here in a northern city, in another country, 22 years after his death, those words are cherished by people whose lives are so much more than they might have been because this one extraordinary man lived and dreamed and struggled and died.
“I have a dream,” cried Martin Luther King, and his words of true freedom and equality and justice were transmitted by television signals and radio waves, by cable and letter and by the spoken word to every corner of the earth and heard by every man and woman who knew in their hearts that freedom and justice should be their universal human birthright.
His dream, the power of his courage and his belief in what all human beings can achieve transformed the world. It rolled back laws that had oppressed blacks in America for more than a century. It opened doors and opportunities for all of us and for all our children and for all the children yet to come.
There are those who say that dream has died, that the light has gone out, that the groundswell of the forces of change are fading with his memory. But just 22 years after Martin Luther King was laid to rest, we are equal partners in a society where freedom and justice for all are enshrined in law. Twenty-two years have passed, and we are living in a place and time where no one moves to the back of the bus, where no one is left without protection against discrimination, where every child has an equal chance, where we are all invited to sit down at the table of brotherhood.
But do not think that I am saying our journey is over. In Canada we live in a just society, but millions of our brothers and sisters in distant countries do not, and our journey will not be over until the dreams of a just society are realized. While it is true we have equality under the law, we still find inequality in the course of our everyday lives. We have food to eat and clothes to wear, but so long as one child among us goes hungry or cold, our journey will not be over. We must always measure ourselves against the yardstick of Martin Luther King’s hopes for what we should achieve.
Sometimes we despair that cruelty and hatred will never be wiped from the human slate, but those are the times we should remember his words, “It is only when the sky is darkest that you can really see the stars.” Martin Luther King never stopped believing that not only his dream but also the dreamers would prevail. The dream lives on.
Mr B. Rae: First of all, in following the member for Scarborough North, I want to simply say that we are very proud to associate ourselves with the eloquence of his remarks. I might say in passing that we are delighted to assess the performance of his government and indeed of all governments on the basis of the standards set out by Dr King.
I think it is almost trite now to say, but it is certainly worth saying again, that few people in the world have so changed the course of human history and so served as an example to the rest of us as Dr Martin Luther King. Like all members of the House, I knew him only through the power of television and through the force of his words and of his example. And, of course, it is in reading more about Dr King and his extraordinary contribution and courage and his incredible dedication that one gets to an even deeper appreciation of the life he lived and of the example he set.
Last week when I was speaking to a rally of Lithuanians in Nathan Phillips Square, a little kid up on the ramp was holding up a large picture of Dr King -- larger than life, larger than the child -- and showing it to all the people. When you think about it, it is an extraordinary time in which we live when the life of a pastor from the southern United States serves as an example to the Lithuanian community in this country and to freedom-loving people everywhere and is seen as their symbol too. I saw something marvellous in t hat, just as I saw something marvellous in the fact that the other picture being held up by the child next to her was that of Mahatma Gandhi.
The fact that we now have a world in which all of us, regardless of our race or colour, are able to appreciate the lives and the courage and the contribution of others from different races and different backgrounds and even from different times, I think is a marvellous symbol of the fraternity and the sorority, the brotherhood and the sisterhood, the fellowship that sustains all of us in even the most difficult of times.
Dr King was a man of great eloquence. He was a man whose eloquence was not only of words but of deeds, whose vision extended beyond simply talking about the legalities of civil rights to making these rights real in the world, whose vision of freedom and hope and love extended far beyond the United States to include the people of North Vietnam. He had the courage to speak out at a time when it was controversial and when he was branded as a communist for so doing.
Perhaps it is worth recollecting that although many were prepared to mourn his death when he was shot in April 1968, his views were not respectable in the time in which he lived. He was perhaps more widely recognized and appreciated outside the United States than he was within the United States. He was also someone who, at the end of his life, realized -- and began writing and talking about this more and more -- that the cause of civil rights could only be achieved in a world in which freedoms were real. They could only be achieved in a world in which social and economic justice became as important as the fact of racism and of discrimination, and which came to understand that it was only through creating a new international order of world economic and social justice that people could be truly free.
To those who said equality and freedom were somehow antithetical or opposed to each other, to those who said that freedom and justice were somehow opposed to each other, he gave a very different vision and a very different answer. He said more clearly and eloquently, I believe, than any figure in our recent history, what he believed.
He reiterated what I believe to be a fundamental truth, that it is nonsense to talk about freedom unless we are prepared to recognize that people have to have the means to be free; that it is nonsense to talk about freedom unless we recognize that poverty is as much an enemy of freedom as political oppression; that poverty is as much an enemy of the notion or the idea of individual liberty and an end to discrimination as any other act of government; and that economic inequality and the oppression that follow from that and the oppression that, yes, follows from the economic system in which we live, just as surely as the cleaners in Memphis lived when Martin Luther King went down to be with them on their picket line. That is an enemy that must be overcome and that is the enemy that all of us must once again join in overcoming.
Racism is not an abstraction; racism is a very real enemy that many citizens of our province encounter each and every day of their lives, whether it be a young native person coming off the reserve for the first time, heading into the city and finding that he or she is the victim of the most difficult and most oppressive forms of racism, a little black child going into school, a person applying for a job, people with disabilities who are discriminated against, or people who speak French, Italian or a language other than English who suddenly encounter a prejudice or a reaction to what it is they are saying.
We remember Dr Martin Luther King and his memory best not simply by what we say today but by the actions we take as legislators in this province and by the actions we take as citizens. That is how we shall overcome: not simply by praising Dr King but, if I may say so, by imitating him.
Mrs Marland: Before I make my statement, I would like to say that I too recognize the eloquence of the words of the member for Scarborough North today. Regardless of the fact that I obviously come from a different political persuasion than the leader of the official opposition, I do not think we ever hear more eloquence from any member of this Legislature than we do from the member for York South.
It is a particular privilege for me to rise today on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus to recognize the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. What a joy it would be if we were not recognizing an assassination but an ongoing life, one that was more committed to other people than any life we have known in the past century. It has been 22 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, but the years that have passed since that tragic day have not lessened the greatness of his work or the heroism of his actions.
Today I stand not to talk so much about the man as about his vision. His most powerful and famous speech, “I have a dream,” has become a worldwide symbol that inspires hope in the hearts of oppressed people everywhere. He was able to articulate his dream, the dream of equality between peoples and the dream of peace between peoples. The dream captured the attention of the world and in 1964 he became the youngest recipient ever of the Nobel Prize for peace.
One of the problems that minorities have is the absence of a role model, someone in a position of power whom youngsters can look up to and think, “I can make it too.” Martin Luther King became a role model for his own people as well as for other minorities, and his vision continues to inspire new generations.
Our own native people have a saying that before you pass judgement on someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. It will bring about understanding of a different culture, a different point of view. Martin Luther King’s marches for freedom helped all North Americans walk a mile in the shoes of millions of black citizens.
In remembrance of Martin Luther King, here in Ontario we can remember his vision of millions of people walking towards understanding, walking in the other person’s shoes; and at a time when tensions are rising over our linguistic duality and our changing population mix, we can try a little harder to be the sort of people he dreamed of: open-minded, fair and generous towards others.
Martin Luther King will always live on in our hearts as the most significant role model for which all of us may strive. May we reach that goal, and as we reach for it, the goal of caring for each other in a total way without limitations of our differences.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force, so beautifully exemplified in the life of our Christ, is the most potent instrument available in mankind’s quest for peace and security.”
Hon Mr Wrye: Two weeks ago the Premier addressed the challenge of managing growth in the greater Toronto area in a way that preserves the natural environment, promotes long-term prosperity and maintains a high quality of life. The government believes the way to keep the GTA moving and growing in an environmentally responsible manner is rapid transit. This is why I am pleased to tell the House we are meeting that challenge through a continuous program of rapid transit development over the next decade.
This program will require more than $5 billion worth of infrastructure investment to address the following projects: looping the Yonge and Spadina subway lines into a single system in the Finch-Steeles area; extending the Bloor-Danforth subway to Sherway Gardens; extending the Scarborough RT service north of Highway 401 to the Malvern area; building the Spadina streetcar line to Bloor; constructing the Mississauga busway from Mississauga City Centre into Metropolitan Toronto; building an Eglinton West rapid transit line connecting to the busway; extending the Harbourfront LRT east to Greenwood Racetrack and west to the CNE, and building the Sheppard subway.
This expanded municipal rapid transit network will be matched by extensive improvements to roads, highways and GO Transit. Some of these are already under way under the transportation capital program announced last year.
Our rapid transit agenda for the 1990s also includes a number of important new GO Transit initiatives to benefit commuters from outside Metro. Our goal is eventually to provide all-day, two-way service on all lines. Immediate improvements include service extensions to Oshawa, extra rush-hour trains on the Lakeshore East line and extension of the Richmond Hill service farther north to Bloomington Sideroad.
A program of this complexity requires the co-ordination and the co-operation of many levels of government and the public. Therefore, I am announcing today the formation of a transit implementation group representing the municipalities and the major transit operators. This group will provide a detailed implementation plan of the rapid transit agenda by fall.
We are now ready to move forward with our rapid transit plan for the 1990s. It will respect the environment and maintain a high quality of life, it will sustain development and our ability to compete and it will involve the public in a process of extensive consultations. When completed, the GTA will have a rapid transit network linking its major city centres that is 20 times larger than the original Yonge Street line.
Hon Mr Black: I rise today to pay tribute to a group of Ontarians who have brought honour to themselves and to our province. They are the winners of the Ontario Amateur Sports Awards for 1989, an honour that our government gives to recognize and encourage excellence and leadership in amateur sports.
The Ontario Female Coach of the Year is Marian Sweetnam of Lindsay. Since 1979 she has coached the Lindsay Lightningbolts swim team. Many of her athletes, including her daughter, Nancy, have distinguished themselves internationally.
The Ontario Male Coach of the Year is Andy Higgins, a Dryden native, who has been the head coach of the University of Toronto track and field teams since 1971. His many contributions to sport include the active role he played in the formation of the High Performance Track and Field Centre at the university.
The Ontario Team of the Year is the Heather Houston Curling Rink of Thunder Bay, the 1989 ladies’ world curling champions. Team members are Lorraine Lang, Diane Adams, Tracy Kennedy and alternate and coach Gloria Taylor.
The Ontario Disabled Athlete of the Year is Joanne Bouw of St Catharines, who was also given this honour in 1986. This cerebral palsy athlete continues to set records and win medals in track and field around the world. She is also a coach.
The Ontario Male Athlete of the Year is from equestrian sports, Ian Millar. Mr Millar is the first show jumping rider ever to win the world cup for two consecutive years. He has competed internationally for 18 years and has worn the maple leaf in four Olympic Games.
The Ontario Female Athlete of the Year is Vicki Keith of Toronto. In 1989 she set seven world marathon swimming records in crossing Sydney Harbour, the English Channel, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Ontario and the Catalina Channel. Ms Keith used the most difficult stroke of all, the butterfly, to raise some $700,000 for the Variety Club in the past two years.
Mr B. Rae: On behalf of our party, I simply want to join in congratulating the athletes who have received the awards from the government of Ontario. They are a symbol for all of us -- all of us, I say, Mr Speaker -- and I want to offer my congratulations as well to the recipients of the awards.
Mr B. Rae: I might also say in one brief response to the Minister of Transportation that there was a significant oversight in the information package which he provided for members. There was no mention of any of the ridings through which these particular lines will be going. I cannot understand why those riding associations would not have been told, because that is obviously a relevant piece of information at this time.
Mrs Grier: Let me assure the member for York South that representatives of every possible riding in the GTA were there for the minister’s announcement this morning; so it was very clear where the lines were going. I was there too and I would just like to say to the minister that I regret that I did not stay until the end of the announcement, but I felt it was prudent to rush to my printer and order my election signs. It seemed to be the most appropriate thing to do --
Mrs Grier: The Premier asked me the other day to find some charity in my heart for this government, and I wish he were here today because I want to tell him I have found some charity for this government as a result of the announcement today. I welcome their conversion and support for public transit. It is long overdue and it is indeed welcome.
I welcome the fact that the announcement we had today is a comprehensive package and that it is integrated with GO Transit. I welcome the fact that there is some move towards implementation and some faint prospect that some of these proposals will be in place before the end of this century.
However, and there is always a however, the announcement yet again gives responsibility to the greater Toronto area. Many of us do not quite know what this entity is, what its statutory authority is, what its mandate is and, most important, what its accountability is. We know that the implementation committee is going to be composed of political representatives from all the areas involved, but that is a very diverse accountability.
If what the government is saying by this announcement is that because it pays 75 per cent of the capital costs then the responsibility is primarily its and the GTA is the vehicle with which it is going to done, let’s be explicit about that. Let’s lay out the ground rules for the GTA.
If it is a case of the piper calling the tune, we are concerned about the opening that is left in this announcement for private sector involvement in the Sheppard line. We think that if this announcement and the lack of a firm commitment to the Sheppard line is leaving a vacuum for the private sector to move into, that is not acceptable. Public transportation is a public responsibility, and the priority of a system has got to be service to the public, not the densities and the aspirations of the government’s friends in the development industry. Let’s make that very clear from the very beginning.
Finally, one glaring omission from the whole package of announcements is a commitment to accessibility of this entire system to the disabled and those who need assistance in using public transit. It is not too late because the plans are not finalized, but certainly I hope that the minister will take very seriously the long history of requests to make our public transit system accessible to all the citizens of this region. We certainly will be pushing to make sure that is included as we move through the development of the package.
Mr Pouliot: The minister should not be so quick to rejoice again for the people of the GTA. Five billion dollars could have allowed the minister to four-lane the Trans-Canada Highway in its entirety. There is not a single penny for public transit in nine tenths of the province -- not a penny, not a dime, zilch for the people of the north. The minister is consistent, but he is not reasonable in his approach. Before the government issues the writs, it should look at the --
Mr McLean: I want to congratulate the Ontario Male Coach of the Year, Andy Higgins, a Dryden native. The Ontario Team of the Year is the Heather Houston Curling Rink from Thunder Bay and the Ontario Disabled Athlete of the Year is Joanne Bouw of St Catharines.
The Ontario Male Athlete of the Year is from equestrian sports, Ian Millar of Perth, and the Ontario Female Athlete of the Year is Vicki Keith. To Vicki Keith and the other winners, they are all champions. On behalf of my party, I congratulate all of them.
As my party’s spokesperson for sports, recreation and fitness, this is the first year that I have not received an invitation to attend the sports banquet. Matters of partisan politics should not enter into this very special awards banquet. I hope the minister is not wanting to take it out on me for his failure to close the five parks in eastern Ontario and the regional offices of western Ontario. The criticism that he is getting should not be laid on me.
Mr Cousens: I am pleased that the government has responded to the transportation requirements of the greater Toronto area with its announcement this morning. I think they took the title from us when we said, “Get moving.” Finally they have taken that and said, “Let’s move.” I really look forward to seeing this happen within my lifetime. I sometimes fear that with the announcements that we get I might not live long enough to see it all happen.
Mr Cousens: I know these guys opposite might do it to me; they would love to. But I still know that the people of the greater Toronto area need to get in and out of this place, in spite of the fact that the Attorney General is here and a few others.
Within this announcement, I think we really have to look at it that there are at least eight major projects to be developed in the greater Toronto area and none of these projects has been ranked in any priority sequence. We only know that the Yonge-Spadina loop is an important item and that the Harbourfront line will be given priority if Toronto wins the Olympics bid.
There is no guarantee that we will see these projects completed within 10 years, and who knows whether or not these mystery trains will go by the hospital beds that were promised two years ago that still have not arrived. But that becomes another part of the kind of promise we get from these Liberals.
We are talking about private sector financing. It was not that long ago that this government was saying it did not want to deal with the private sector. Now that they are looking for the private sector, I wonder what will happen. Will this government go ahead and spend the money anyway, if it does not get the private sector on the hook?
The exact alignments for the new projects have yet to be determined, so environmental assessments cannot even begin until the alignments are finalized. The Ministry of Transportation is betting heavily on lightning-fast environmental assessments. Once these alignments are chosen, then we can get on with the kind of time frame that the minister promises.
Many of these projects that have been announced today are old ones. They were called for in the TTC’s transit development document entitled Network 2011. We had heard before in other announcements the Harbourfront-Spadina light transit line; the Sheppard subway has been announced; the Eglinton West rapid transit line has been announced; the improved GO Transit services to Milton and Georgetown have already been announced; the promise to improve GO Transit to Oshawa is a recycled announcement.
The government has no firm commitment whatsoever from developers. I would like to know just how they are going to get that commitment and whether or not these projects will proceed even if that commitment is not forthcoming. The minister’s recycled announcements get better mileage than most TTC subway cars.
We are pleased to see significant things beginning to happen here in the province of Ontario. The government has had five years in which to do something. Now maybe we will be waiting another 10 years for the things they promised five years ago. None the less, I am an optimist. With an election coming, we can expect to see some of these things begin to happen.
We need to see the Spadina-Yonge Street loop; we need to see the improvements to GO Transit; we need to see the highways improved; we need to see the infrastructure built upon. The public relations experts who are advising the government have finally got through, along with ourselves. We have been saying transportation is the number one item in this province right now. They have to do it. They have to be environmentally sensitive; they have to be sensitive to the needs of people; they have to be sensitive to the needs of the greater Toronto area. If they follow through with this, this will be a good announcement. But I suspect we will see another 100 announcements before all this begins --
Mr B. Rae: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Like all other members, I received a circular while sitting down this afternoon at my seat, an invitation to a reception welcoming Jouzas Kuzmickas, who is vice-chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament and member of the Supreme Council of Lithuania, in room 113 of the main Legislative Building at six o’clock.
I just wanted to inquire as to who was the host of this event and whether there have been any discussions about the nature of the gathering or whether there are going to be speeches. What is this? Is this something which is just being -- we had some discussions earlier on. I had some discussions with the member for Oakwood last week.
Mr Fleet: Perhaps the members opposite will wait for an explanation. I understand that the invitation was distributed by a page; I had no knowledge of that until I arrived in the Legislature. My understanding is that it is a reception that is being hosted by the Premier, although he will not attend. It was extended to all members of the Legislature.
I understand that these arrangements started only yesterday afternoon. That was when I first heard about it. In fact, I was waiting to speak with the member for York South but I knew, because question period was about to start, I was going to have to wait until after he asked his first question. I will be pleased to fill him in on all the information I have.
Mr B. Rae: I just want to signal that I find it strange that the Premier would be organizing a reception on behalf of all the members of the Legislature when none of us have been told about it. I just find it a very strange way for the Premier to proceed.
Mr B. Rae: In the absence of the Premier today, I have a question for the Attorney General. We have to communicate by scrums because he is not here. I understand the Premier has told the media that there will be no further public inquiry into the matters involving the relationship between the development industry and the government of Ontario.
I want to ask the Attorney General if that is in fact the position of the government, and why he would be making that decision today when it is perfectly clear from the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada that what it objected to was not that the terms of the inquiry were too broad but, rather, that the terms of the inquiry were too narrow which, I might say to the Attorney General, were precisely the points that I made and the leader of the Conservative Party made when the Attorney General set up his inquiry.
Hon Mr Scott: I have not had a scrum today and have not communicated to the press. But like the honourable leader I have received the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada which makes it plain that the present inquiry cannot continue. The judgement of the government is that the decision of the court must be respected.
The honourable member will want to recall that this inquiry arose out of certain articles in a Toronto newspaper which were taken up, quite appropriately, in the House. A police investigation was immediately launched. Under questioning in the House, a royal commission was appointed and the court has said, as the honourable member knows, that the royal commission process cannot be used to conduct an investigation into wrongdoing. That must be done in a criminal court where the normal protections available to citizens are at hand.
The government has indicated from the beginning that it is determined to get to the bottom of these allegations. The police investigation I understand to be continuing, but the royal commission cannot proceed, by order of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr B. Rae: The Supreme Court decision makes it very clear on page 36. First of all, on page 35 it says, “There seems to be a complete absence of any broad policy basis for the inquiry.” Then it goes on to say, “The terms of reference simply make no mention of an examination of the overall system governing how government officials deal with charities specifically or with respect to outside interests generally.”
The court makes it very clear that what it objects to is the way in which this government tried to narrow the focus of the inquiry in such a way as to eliminate any broad policy considerations. What I am asking the Attorney General is, if he really has nothing to hide with respect to the broad policy implications of the relationship here, why does he not establish the proper inquiry that we asked him to establish last year, that is to say, an inquiry that deals with the broad problem of the relationship between the development industry and his government?
Hon Mr Scott: Respectfully, the member can play around with all the innuendoes he wants, but we have nothing to hide and have said so many times. The reality is that the Supreme Court of Canada, in a six-to-one decision differing with the eight judges in Ontario who decided the matter and who supported the inquiry, has concluded that an inquiry cannot be conducted in which the individuals who are concerned, who are at stake, are compelled to give evidence.
As the honourable member knows, any inquiry, no matter what the terms of reference said, would ultimately come down to certain people giving evidence under compulsion, which is the royal commission rule. The Supreme Court of Canada has said that the effect of that, and not only the terms of reference, is to deprive citizens of the benefits of a police investigation and the benefits, if necessary, of an appearance in a criminal court. Simply, only the police and the criminal process can do that.
No matter how we describe the terms of reference, if the actors in the drama cannot be examined under oath before the inquiry the process would be meaningless. The court has made that perfectly plain.
Mr B. Rae: What the court has made perfectly plain is that the way in which the government drew up its inquiry caused it problems. The court has not said there cannot be an inquiry. The court has not said there cannot be royal commissions carried out by the province. In fact, the court makes it very clear that the province has the right and responsibility to deal with matters under its jurisdiction. The development industry, the government of Ontario, municipal officials, these are areas in which this government can make decisions if it so chooses.
Hon Mr Scott: I think the honourable member overlooks the impact of this decision, which has implications not only for this inquiry but for other royal commissions going on and very likely for legislative committees of the Legislative Assembly. When the court says, although it may not have intended the result, “The province has created an inquiry that in substance serves as a substitute police investigation and preliminary inquiry with compellable accused,” you can see the ramifications of this decision. When you are looking into questions of wrongdoing and you have compellable accused, the inquiry cannot proceed except in a criminal court.
My friend may feel there will be people on this side who feel that the judgement of the eight judges of the Supreme Court of Ontario, which supported the inquiry and its purpose, is to be preferred, but that is not the issue. The issue is that the Supreme Court of Canada has spoken and this process cannot take place.
Mr B. Rae: Let’s be very clear. We are not talking here about some fine legal arguments; we are talking about the basic political responsibilities of this government. The Supreme Court of Canada has made a ruling, which all of us respect; that is fundamental. But the Supreme Court of Canada has also said that it is the terms of reference and the nature of this Liberal government inquiry that is faulty, not all royal commissions.
Is the Attorney General saying that any royal commission inquiry into the relationship between the development industry and the government of Ontario in terms of charitable organizations and the government of Ontario, any broad inquiry of that kind, he considers to be impossible because of this ruling? If he is, I say to him that he is hiding behind the ruling and using the ruling for his own political purposes.
The reality is this: The court has said that the effect of the inquiry is what one must examine. You cannot do indirectly what you are prevented from doing directly. If there is an inquiry into wrongdoing, that inquiry cannot be conducted if the wrongdoing might amount to a criminal offence except inside a criminal court.
If a broad inquiry were instituted into the development industry, there might be nothing wrong with the terms of reference, but as soon as that inquiry began to talk to people about matters that might amount to wrongdoing, it would have to stop, because it would be engaging in that investigation and taking that testimony by compulsion. That is the effect, I believe, of the Supreme Court of Canada decision.
It is not a novelty in this sense. Only last week, as the member will know, the Supreme Court of Ontario gave a decision in the Beckon case, which is a case having to do with the ambit of coroner’s inquests, and came to a very similar conclusion.
Mr B. Rae: Is the Attorney General then saying that his terms of reference and the fact that they were narrowly construed, the fact that it named particular people, the fact of Mrs Starr and the Tridel Corp, had nothing to do with the court’s decision? Is he making that point?
Hon Mr Scott: Of course I am not making the point. The court looked at all the circumstances. What the member wants to do is see if he can narrow it down to one fact or two facts and assign motives and say it is because I am hiding something. I am hiding nothing.
The reality in this particular case is that the court looked at all the circumstances of the inquiry and concluded that while it may not have intended this result, the province has created an inquiry that in substance -- in substance, not in form -- serves as a substitute police investigation with compellable accused, and that this is not permissible.
We intend to respect that decision. There is nothing for it but to do so. But I want to emphasize once again, as the Premier has said, that the police investigation is ongoing. If there are people who have broken the law of the government of Canada or the law of the province, they will be brought to justice.
Mr B. Rae: The Attorney General says the police investigation is ongoing. On 9 September 1989 Metropolitan Toronto Police Inspector Leo Campbell, who is heading the investigation for the inquiry, was quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying, “Any criminal investigation has been suspended,” and in fact was suspended quietly in June 1989, because the inquiry is ongoing. I want to ask the Attorney General these precise questions: When was the police inquiry suspended? When precisely was it resumed?
Hon Mr Scott: The Solicitor General probably will be able to provide the detail, but let me say to my honourable friend that the investigation was not suspended in that sense. Inspector Campbell is an investigator for the Houlden inquiry and was under the direction of the Houlden Inquiry. An investigation has been conducted and is being conducted by the Metropolitan Toronto Police and, I believe, the Ontario Provincial Police working together. Whether there was a hiatus, I cannot tell the member the date. We launched an investigation and it is ongoing.
Mr Brandt: I have a question for the Attorney General. Since the Attorney General is aware that the inquiry was called not only to look into potential areas of criminality but also -- I think this was one of the key focal points, at least it was enunciated by his government -- to restore confidence in the system, what does the Attorney General intend to do now if there is no possibility, from what I interpret his words to mean, that any form of inquiry can be structured or held to look into these allegations and problems?
Hon Mr Scott: Yes. First of all, there is the police investigation under way. Second, the member will recall the auditor made an investigation into the relationship between the Minister of Housing at that time and one Chiesa and gave the then Minister of Housing a completely clean bill of health, by the way. The public trustee has made an investigation and that report is already public.
There are, I believe, certain matters of complaint arising out of these allegations before the Conflict of Interest Commissioner which are either proceeding or have been awaiting the result of the Houlden inquiry, and there are certain matters that are within the purview of the Commission on Election Finances and which it has before it and to which it can respond. In that way, and through that process, the facts will become known.
Mr Brandt: When the inquiry was being proposed, the Attorney General will recall there was an informal meeting held between the Leader of the Opposition, myself and the Attorney General, at which time, although there were differences in the way in which we wanted to approach this matter, I think there was a commonality of appeal on the part of the opposition parties to expand the terms of reference of the inquiry and to not focus them as narrowly as the Attorney General did. Our concern was that there were other matters that were not specific to some of those named in this particular case that should be looked at.
Will the Attorney General not admit to this House that one of the reasons the Supreme Court decision was brought down in the substance and form in which it was, was specifically to do with the fact that he botched up writing the terms of reference?
Hon Mr Scott: I do not believe I botched up writing the terms of reference, and as I had very active support from the leader of the third party, who I believe agreed with the terms of reference, if I did botch up, he is going to have to take some of the responsibility with me.
But the reality is this: The case is being made, no doubt, that if the names of certain actors had been removed from the terms of reference or it had been less focused in terms of reference, the commission would have been allowed to proceed. In my respectful view that is an error, because it does not look at what the court was really concerned about. The court was concerned about forcing people, by virtue of the Public Inquires Act, to give evidence without any of the protections that a criminal court makes available in cases that may amount to self-incrimination. So if the terms of reference had been drafted differently, the terms of reference might have passed muster, but it is clear that none of the persons we are concerned with would have been required or able to give evidence.
Hon Mr Scott: That is precisely what the Supreme Court of Canada has said and that is why I am confident this decision not only affects and terminates this inquiry but may indeed terminate some others or restrict significantly the way royal commissions and the legislative committees of this House can be used.
Mr Brandt: As I understand what the Supreme Court decision indicated, an inquiry was quite proper and most appropriate in terms of an area of provincial responsibility. I am sure we have agreement with the Attorney General on that point. However, when it got into the precise investigation of individual actions within the context of that particular inquiry, there was some problem.
Is the Attorney General saying to us then -- by their very nature every inquiry I can think of will at some point or another involve the review of the activities of an individual within that inquiry -- and is his interpretation of the Supreme Court decision one that says there will never be another inquiry on the part of the provincial government? Is that what he is saying? By extension, that is the logic I get out of his argument.
Hon Mr Scott: That is the trouble with taking something and extending it too far. That is not what I intended to say. What I intended to say was that it is apparent from this decision -- although the terms of reference may in some instances have a bearing, as they clearly did here -- that when an investigation begins and compels people to give evidence that may incriminate them, it is an invasion of the criminal law field. That position was reached by the court without even considering the charter arguments.
Now let me give an example that is in a sense academic. It would not be inappropriate, it seems to me, to launch an inquiry into election practices in the province; but if the ambit of the inquiry led the commission to ask questions that might indicate a person had breached the Criminal Code in the election contributions he made, that would be absolutely prohibited by virtue of this court’s decision. The court’s response, and we must accept it, is that at this point the matter becomes a question of wrongdoing for a criminal court so that the persons involved can have the protections of the criminal system. That is the way the Supreme Court of Canada has adjudicated this principle of fairness and it for us all to comply with it.
Mr Brandt: I want to turn to the Solicitor General, if I might, for a moment. Some 10 months ago this House was advised of a full and comprehensive investigation that was to be undertaken by the OPP relative to areas of potential criminality, as the Solicitor General is aware. We have been advised now that this investigation was quietly suspended while the inquiry was under way.
Can the minister advise this House, in order to get to what I believe to be the essential root of this entire question, namely, the restoration of public confidence in this system -- it deals with campaign funds, as the minister knows; it deals with the independence of certain operations of government from other operations outside of government -- in light of the fact that this inquiry will not be continuing, what actions he intends to take to fulfil his responsibilities to the people of Ontario?
Hon Mr Offer: In response to the question let it be very clear that there were in fact at least two investigations being undertaken, one directly related to the Houlden inquiry and another that was a police investigation, a joint forces operation comprising both the Metropolitan Toronto Police and the OPP. In that investigation, and that is the one I will particularly speak to, the joint forces operation and investigation has been ongoing for a number of months. It involves five or six police officers specifically charged with the responsibility of that investigation and it has never been stopped.
Mr Brandt: Since in the past we have had some difficulty in getting any information in connection with the activities of the OPP relative to these ongoing investigations, what is the minister’s intent with respect to any form of public disclosure relative to the investigations themselves? Is it the minister’s intent to continue, as he has in the past, to keep this House and the people of Ontario totally in the dark or is the minister going to release a report at the end of the investigation?
Hon Mr Offer: I think the honourable leader of the third party should be aware that this investigation has been carried on by a joint operation between the OPP and the Metropolitan Toronto Police. There are six officers involved in this investigation. They have been conducting that investigation. This investigation is continuing and will continue until it has been completed.
Mr Brandt: Could the Solicitor General also comment on the review of this matter that was being undertaken, as he is aware, by the Commission on Election Finances, by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and by the public trustee? They do in fact have other ministries, other departments in which they report. Would the minister give some undertaking to the House on behalf of the government that there will be access to this information on the part of the opposition parties, and through us, obviously, to the public, as it relates to its investigation of any potential wrongdoing that was undertaken by the individuals involved?
Hon Mr Offer: I think the question of the honourable leader of the third party points to the fact, and the observation is to be made, that a number of investigations have been undertaken from the beginning and that there are different forms for each investigation. One was, of course, that which was particularly attached to the Houlden inquiry, and others through, for instance, the public trustee’s office and the Commission on Election Finances. The member’s question points to the fact that those particular investigations were ongoing.
In my responsibility and role as the Solicitor General, I am involved and particularly responsible for the police investigations. On that one aspect of investigation, there is a joint operation comprising the Metropolitan Toronto Police as well as the Ontario Provincial Police composed of five or six officers, with a view to fully investigating the matter and acting accordingly.
I think the honourable member should be aware that with respect to all of these investigations, there are different forums in which each of these investigations is to be undertaken and has been undertaken.
Mr B. Rae: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I ask that the record be corrected. I never attended, as was stated by my colleague from the Conservative Party, at any time any discussions with the Attorney General with respect to the establishment of this inquiry. I refused to, precisely because of the problems we are now into.
Mr B. Rae: I have a further question of the Attorney General. Mr Justice Lamer, in his decision, makes it very clear what is wrong with this inquiry, what is different from the inquiry that was set up by the Liberal government, what makes it different from all the other inquiries that have been the subject of review by the Supreme Court is that private individuals are named and Criminal Code wording is used in establishing the reference for the commission.
Mr Justice Lamer says at the end of his decision, “It is therefore clear that provinces should be given ample room within their constitutional competence to establish public inquiries aimed at investigating, studying and recommending changes for the better government of their citizens.” Why would the Attorney General not take those words from the judge as meaning to say you can establish a commission of inquiry that looks into broad questions dealing with the relationship between charities and this government, between the development industry and this government and establishing confidence in the system with respect to how public officials and Liberal Party officials conduct themselves? What the Attorney General cannot do is go on a witchhunt against particular individuals who are named in his terms of inquiry.
Hon Mr Scott: Any inquiry about election expenses is not ruled out by this. What is ruled out is an inquiry that directs itself to whether contributions were illegally made or illegally received, which is what this whole case was about from the beginning.
“One of the implications for allowing the inquiry to go on is that the inquiry can compel a witness who is really one of the named ‘suspects’ to answer questions under oath, even though that person could not have been compelled to provide incriminating evidence against herself in the due course of a regular police investigation.”
What the honourable member wants to know is that regardless of the breadth of the terms of reference, if these witnesses were to be giving evidence, that would, as Mr Justice Lamer says, in effect be to do indirectly what you cannot do directly. That is, of course, I believe, a fair reading of the court’s decision and it must be obeyed.
Mr B. Rae: I think the Attorney General has a responsibility to the people of this province, and that responsibility is to establish an inquiry that will restore confidence in the integrity of the way in which this government’s planning decisions are made and the way in which municipal officials’ planning decisions are made. He has a responsibility and the Premier has a responsibility to establish a sense of integrity that people matter more than the power of some private individuals.
What the Supreme Court of Canada has said is that you cannot have an inquiry which names individuals and which is a substitute for a police investigation for a preliminary inquiry. That is what we warned the Attorney General about nearly a year ago when he went off on this track. Why not get to the bottom of this matter in terms of the relationship between those who have power and those who are elected?
Hon Mr Scott: At the end of the day we must come back to the facts, and the facts are that after a series of articles in a newspaper in which the names of people whom most Ontarians had never heard of became provincial bywords, the matter was raised by my honourable friends in the House.
Not satisfied, and I understand why, certain people wanted a royal commission. We established a royal commission designed to canvass the matters of irregularity that were raised. It was attacked by the people who were called to give evidence before it. It was not attacked by me; it was attacked by the people who were subpoenaed to give evidence and who were participants before the inquiry, the very people whose names had been mentioned in the newspapers and raised in the House.
We brought the matter to a court, as we were obliged to do, and eight judges of the Supreme Court of Ontario unanimously supported the correctness of what we were doing. Now the Supreme Court of Canada has reversed that determination. I am sorry it has happened, but it has happened, and we must live with the results.
Mr Brandt: I can see that the Attorney General is heartbroken over the decision. I want to give him an opportunity to heal his heart, because I can see that he is just distraught in the extreme about what has happened here.
Aside from the OPP investigation and some of the other reviews that will be ongoing, what is the intent of the Ministry of the Attorney General and the government of Ontario with respect to the next step that should be taken relative to restoring what I believe to be a very important and fundamental part of this entire exercise, namely, the public’s confidence in the system?
Whether the Attorney General believes this or not, that is what is on trial here. What is on trial is whether or not the government operated appropriately and whether the actions taken by certain individuals were appropriate. The Attorney General has a certain responsibility here. I ask him, what does he intend to do?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member is of course entirely right. In the minds of many citizens, the system is on trial. But trials take place in courtrooms; they do not take place in the Legislature and they do not take place in the newspapers. What the Supreme Court of Canada has said is that when there is a trial, particularly if there is an allegation of criminality, it should take place in a criminal court, where protections are available.
I have brought to the honourable member’s attention the fact that a police investigation within the Solicitor General’s purview is being conducted. If it produces charges, they will be prosecuted to the limit of the law. The Commission on Election Finances has certain rights. The Conflict of Interest Commissioner has certain matters before him. The public trustee has matters before him. All those matters can take place, including, if necessary, if there is evidence, criminal trials. But I am with the honourable member. Criminal trials cannot, and the Supreme Court of Canada has said now must not, occur either here or in the newspapers.
There is a matter of conflict, which is not a criminal offence. There is a matter that relates to the conduct of certain ministers of the crown as they relate to this particular matter. What does the Attorney General intend to do beyond simply, as I read it from what he has said to date, whitewashing the whole thing and hoping to sweep it under the rug?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member says there are matters at stake about improper influence and about the conduct of individuals, particularly ministers. The honourable member will know that the kind of conduct that has been alleged is prohibited by the Criminal Code and other federal law. The police are precisely investigating those questions. When the investigation is complete, the crown law officers will prosecute any charges that have been laid. I commit the House to that proposition.
The honourable member then goes on to say that there may be questions of conflict of interest. There may be, and I understand that there are some allegations of conflict arising out of this matter before the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. He will decide those cases in the way his statute provides, I am confident. That is the appropriate response to these problems in the light of the decision that has been given today.
Mr Faubert: My question is for the Minister of Housing. I understand that the Ministry of Housing has advised the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations and the Federation of Ottawa-Carleton Tenants’ Associations that the government is discontinuing its funding of tenant hotlines. This withdrawal of funding has naturally caused a great deal of concern among all those interested in support of tenant rights and tenant advocacy. Would the minister please advise this House of the reasoning behind this decision.
Hon Mr Sweeney: Approximately two years ago, the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations drew to the attention of the Ministry of Housing that while both it and our ministry operated an open line for tenants during regular day hours from nine to five, there was no service for tenants after hours, and indicated five o’clock to eight o’clock. At that time, to test whether or not such a service was necessary, we supplied funds to the tenants, association to set up such a hotline from five to eight o’clock each evening and from ten to one on Saturdays. We did that for one year. That was extended for five months and then extended for another six months, I think it was, for a total of 22 months.
At that point in time we realized that this service should be available across the entire province. We had a request and had provided the service in Ottawa, but we also had requests from places like Kingston and Hamilton, for example, just recently, and decided it would be more appropriate to use those same funds as a province-wide hotline. That is what we have done.
Ms Poole: The minister has indicated that his decision was based on cost-effectiveness, since too few calls were being handled by the tenant hotlines. However, when making his decision, did the minister also consider the high quality of the service provided by the tenant federations in both Metropolitan Toronto and Ottawa? Was he aware that the tenant hotlines offer a much more comprehensive service than rent review, including tenant advocacy, information on landlord and tenant matters, the Rental Housing Protection Act, municipal bylaws and referrals to legal, social and housing agencies?
Hon Mr Sweeney: My honourable colleague is certainly correct that the quality of the service being offered was quite high. I do not think anyone has suggested that it would be otherwise. However, I would draw to her attention that after two years of operation, the Metro tenants’ phone service was drawing approximately six calls a day. For that, we were paying a very, very high rate indeed, in excess of $42,000 a year.
The province’s hotline has now been in operation only this week, and we are drawing 17 calls a day, half of them from Metropolitan Toronto. So I would have to say that if we can cover the entire province, if we can do it in both official languages, if we can provide service to the hearing-impaired and if we can provide service to more people, then that is a more efficient use of the resources that I have available. If I had resources to provide this service in all of the communities across the province that wanted it, I would certainly attempt to do so. Quite frankly, I do not, and I have to make the best use of the resources that I do have available.
Mr Allen: A question for the Minister of Community and Social Services: I want to ask the minister about Caroline Meredith. Caroline Meredith is a young woman who is severely mentally and physically handicapped. In her original family, she was sexually abused. In the subsequent family with which she stayed, she was sexually and physically abused. The principal of the school to which she went pleaded with an aunt and uncle to look after her for the remainder of her school years, which they have done. But now the two of them work; they can no longer afford to keep her at home. She will be 21 and ineligible for further school or support after 21 June. There is no place for her to go because the Ministry of Community and Social Services has refused to provide a one-to-one person who will support her after her departure from school. What does the minister propose to do for Caroline Meredith?
Hon Mr Beer: The honourable member has underlined an area that, quite frankly, is becoming particularly troublesome in terms of the resources that are available to meet the growing number of people who are passing beyond that age when they can be supported within the school system, and we are increasingly being faced with requests to provide similar support.
I am not aware of this specific case and will certainly make a commitment to the honourable member to look into that case in particular, but I would say that we are developing programs, trying to look at a number of different ways in which we can assist those individuals, whether on a one-to-one basis or in some group home setting. I think that during the rest of this decade we are going to find increasing pressure on this, and we are going to do our utmost, working with our partners in the community, to ensure that we can meet that need.
Mr Allen: The issue may be more urgent than the minister is aware, because a month ago the Merediths, the uncle and aunt, wrote to him to tell him that as of 25 June, if there was no program available, this young woman would be deposited at the door of his office with all her luggage. and he would have the care of her in his own hands. They are not alone. There are waiting lists, for example, at the Reena organization, which is one of the bigger service agencies for day care provision for such young people. You do not get into that institution unless somebody dies. The waiting list is almost permanent.
In Hamilton, there are waiting lists to get on the waiting list. In the Metropolitan Toronto Association for Community Living, with 60 on the waiting list, they are expecting 40 more as soon as this school year ends. Do people in this situation really have to resort to the threat or the actuality of dumping their wards, their children, at the minister’s door in order to get real support for their real dilemma?
Hon Mr Beer: Certainly no one wants to see that situation arise, and I believe that we can all understand the frustration and the concern that is faced by parents, relatives, family, friends, who feel that there is no other option. I can assure the honourable member that in each case that does come to the attention of our ministry, we do sit down to attempt to work out a solution to that particular individual’s problem. I would say that we are aware of that greater need and are trying to look at how we can better allocate our resources so that those waiting lists can be cleaned up. In fact, are there other ways in which we can assist those individuals? This is a real problem and a real issue, and we are going to do our very best to ensure that the resources are there to help those individuals.
The Minister of Government Services has released a press release as of an hour ago. Unfortunately, we now all know that we have another low-level radioactive waste site in the city of Scarborough, in the district of Malvern. We are very concerned to know of this secondary location to McClure Crescent. My question to the minister is this: I understand that he has known about this site since 22 March, which is now 12 days ago. We would like to know what his plans are to ensure the security of the site and the safety of the area residents.
Hon Mr Ward: As the member knows -- I believe she was fully briefed today -- the Ministry of Government Services hired consultants to do some routine tests for environmental contamination on some vacant lands, owned jointly by the province and the federal government, in the Malvern community in anticipation of some further development. During the course of those routine tests there was a preliminary indication that they felt there may have been some trace elements of radioactivity. It was further examined by the joint team under the guidance of the low-level radiation unit from the federal government. As soon as it was confirmed that there were some spots with higher readings than were acceptable, the sites were immediately fenced. Further testing is going on and a joint team is working on coming up with some proposals for remediation.
Mrs Marland: I will give the minister the benefit that he did not hear the question while he was coming into the House, because the information he has just given me is in the press release. My question, however, is not in the press release.
We have the example of the McClure Crescent contaminated soil that still has not been removed. The concern that we have is, what is he going to do to guarantee the security of this site while he decides what to do with it and can he guarantee the safety of the area residents in terms of health? Why does he not move both lots of soil, McClure Crescent and this site, to the radioactive site that is licensed by Ontario Hydro?
Hon Mr Ward: I am grateful for the question. The member knows that the federal low-level radioactive waste management office has responsibility for removal. The member also knows that we have been trying for years to get the federal government to move the soil out of McClure Crescent. She knows that these lands are jointly owned, 75 per cent by the federal government and 25 per cent by the province of Ontario. I know she will do everything she can, as I will, to press upon our federal counterparts the need to remove this material.
I do want to say this, though, that the levels do not, as I understand it and on the advice that we received from the officials involved on the team, represent a health hazard. As a precaution the sites have been fenced. We will work jointly with our federal counterparts, as well as the local medical officer of health, to make further determinations. We are looking at ways in which the contaminated soil can be appropriately identified. If it is just a case of removing pieces of plastic tubing, for instance, that may be buried there, they will be identified, extracted, removed and disposed of elsewhere.
Mr Pelissero: My question is to the Minister of Education. On Monday night an information session was sponsored by the Grapeview Parents’ Association. Representatives of the city of St Catharines parks and recreation department, the Lincoln County Board of Education and the Ministry of Education were in attendance, and I was in attendance.
We heard that for the last three years Grapeview School, which was given permission to be demolished in September 1989, was the Lincoln County Board of Education’s number one priority. We heard that since 1987, 2,500 new homes have been constructed and that another 1,200 will be built in the next two years. The city of St Catharines and the Lincoln County Board of Education are willing to co-operate with respect to a sports facility.
Hon Mr Conway: It is that time of year again. I must congratulate the member for Lincoln for making -- what shall I say? -- very vigorous representations on behalf of his community. He is quite right in observing that the Grapeview School situation is a recognized pressure. The meetings to which he makes reference are meetings of which I am keenly aware. I expect to be making the annual capital allocation for elementary and secondary school purposes within two to three weeks.
Mr Pelissero: At the same meeting, as I mentioned, we learned that a new subdivision is under consideration in West St Catharines. Does the minister have any advice to either the Lincoln County Board of Education or the Lincoln County Roman Catholic Separate School Board with respect to funding for new schools in new growth areas?
Hon Mr Conway: Yes, I have some advice for my friend the member for Lincoln, and for our friend the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, who seems to be agitated on this subject. I would advise the member for Lincoln to tell his school boards that they would be very wise to make every effort to make full and efficient use of existing physical plant, and I really mean that. I know something of the situation in the Niagara Peninsula and while I recognize that there are growth pressures, I also recognize that there are taxpayers supporting both school boards in that area who would want me to say on their behalf that, whatever we do, we should take into account maximum use of the multimillion-dollar facilities that are already there.
Our friend the member for St Catharines-Brock just sent me a note about some other pressures in that area. To the extent that there are going to be growth pressures, I would observe as well that as a result of recent legislation school boards that face growth pressures should be looking to the lot levy as a way of assisting the relief of growth-related pressures in that area.
Ms Bryden: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. I am sure the minister is aware that Downsview Services To Seniors in North York, which operates a unique daytime care program for victims of Alzheimer’s disease, announced last week that it had been forced to close the program because of a lack of adequate funding support from his ministry. I understand that this very important program for Alzheimer’s victims was offered only a four per cent increase in its grant, below the inflation rate and ignoring the fact that the service requires one-to-one operation and would cost $65,000 more next year.
As a result of this, these six Alzheimer’s victims may be forced into already overcrowded hospitals and nursing homes. What is the minister prepared to offer in the way of alternative services in their own neighbourhood so that they can be kept in the community and can improve the quality of their lives?
Hon Mr Beer: The honourable member raises an issue that is very important to the work of our ministry and to many of the community associations with which we are most involved. The honourable member would want to know that we fund something in the order of $400,000 to that particular association. Officials from my ministry met with them earlier this year, I believe in January or February, to look at a number of the program areas they had and to talk about the need for more funding. That funding is continuing. We are continuing to work with the association.
What we did say was that they might want to look at some of the programs they were doing in terms of whether there were other services in the community, so that they could focus on some of the unique things they were doing. It is our belief, through my officials in the area and working with them, that we will be able to accommodate the individuals the member referred to. But I want to stress that our funding of that organization continues. It is one that we have been working with for some time and will continue to work with.
Ms Bryden: What I am talking about are six Alzheimer’s victims for whom services will not be provided in this particular agency. Those six will have to go into hospitals or nursing homes or stay at home with no assistance at all to their care givers at home. So we are talking not about whether that organization, Downsview Services to Seniors, will continue, but whether these six will receive services on the one-to-one basis that is required for their care. Therefore, I am asking that the minister consider, in his review of long-term care, instituting a program to help such victims of Alzheimer’s disease in order to keep them in the community.
Hon Mr Beer: Certainly, within the context of long-term care and the kind of support that I believe we will be able to make to a number of organizations in the community, Alzheimer’s day care being one very important component, we would be able to do that. I will certainly look into the specific case in terms of the six to see what can be done to help them. As I say, it was my understanding that we would be able to find support for all of the people involved, but I understand from what the honourable member has said that there is this specific problem. I will get back to her.
When we are looking at the strategic document I will be releasing shortly around long-term care, this is one of the critical areas where we want to make sure that we can do more throughout the province in terms of helping those who are providing important day care programs, not only in the Alzheimer’s area but in many others.
Hon Mr Ward: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I may have inadvertently misled the House earlier today when I indicated that, with regard to tonight’s reception for the vice-chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament, the invitation was extended by the member for High Park-Swansea. In fact, it is being hosted by the Minister of Citizenship. It was done on very short notice because of uncertainty about the itinerary. I apologize for any inconvenience, unavoidable though it is, that this may have caused members.
Mr Sterling: I have a question to the Minister of Transportation. People in the greater Toronto area may be very happy about hearing about $5 billion in expenditure for the greater Toronto area, but the people in eastern Ontario are sick and tired of being treated as second fiddle to this area. Yesterday we had the fifth fatal accident on Highway 17 between Arnprior and Renfrew. The people in that area have been asking the minister for a four-lane highway there for years. Mayor Terry McCann of Pembroke says: “We have to be realistic. Four lanes are necessary.” The county warden, Kevin Hall, described the accident as outrageous. The people of Renfrew county are more determined now than ever to have a four-lane highway.
My question to the minister is, why is he going to waste $10 million on intersection changing and three-laning certain parts of it when in fact the number of accidents in that area is horrific and a four-lane highway is needed right away?
Hon Mr Wrye: Clearly, I very much regret the very tragic accident yesterday, in which unfortunately a number of individuals lost their lives, and have asked for and received a preliminary report on the causes of that accident. But my honourable friend would know, because we have had discussions on this, that we have put together a very aggressive plan of improvements along that stretch of highway.
My friend and colleague the Minister of Education has taken a great leadership role in ongoing discussions with me because he is very, very concerned as well, as are all honourable members from that area, about this issue. We have put in place a very aggressive schedule in which we plan to four-lane the highway to Arnprior -- the honourable member would know that we expect that to happen by the middle part of this decade -- at a cost of some $150 million. At the same time he would want to know, and he does know, that we intend to put in place a number of passing lanes, I believe an additional 12 passing lanes, along the stretch immediately west of Arnprior in an effort to reduce the kind of tragic situation which occurred yesterday. Our experience in the past has been that those passing lanes do reduce those situations.
Mr Sterling: The $10 million that is expected to be spent between Arnprior and Pembroke represents one fifth of one per cent of the expenditures that the minister is going to spend in the GTA over the next 10 years. The minister knows that this area of Highway 17 is becoming known as a killer strip and that there have been a number of fatal accidents along that way. Why on earth would he not look ahead and listen to the local politicians of the county of Renfrew, who are not getting support from the member for Renfrew North in terms of their quest for a four-lane highway? The town of Renfrew and the town of Pembroke could use the extra help in terms of spurring economic development in both of those towns. Why not build it now and prevent these kinds of accidents and provide the economic development that area so sorely needs?
Hon Mr Wrye: One is terribly tempted to remind the honourable member that in the days when he had the responsibility, as a member of the executive council on this side of the House, Highway 416 went absolutely nowhere. One would be tempted to remind that same member that Highway 417 went absolutely nowhere. One would be tempted to remind him that all of the improvements that have now taken place within the regional municipality went very slowly indeed.
I would also ask my honourable friend, perhaps when he returns home this weekend, to remind the government of Canada, which has put money into the Trans-Canada Highway system in every other province other than this, that we too, as we move forward very aggressively all over Ontario with the kind of improvements that he wants and that I want, could use even a few million dollars of help from the federal government.
Ms Oddie Munro: My question is to the Minister without Portfolio responsible for women’s issues. A significant part of the Canadian film and television industry is in Ontario. I have always been proud of the contribution of women to this industry, yet a recent 1989 study prepared for Toronto Women in Film and Video shows that women in this industry are under-represented and paid less than men. In light of this report, I would like to know what the government is doing to improve conditions for women in the film and TV industry in Ontario and to encourage young women to consider entering this career.
Hon Mrs Wilson: My ministry, the Ontario women’s directorate, contributed $15,000 towards the preparation of this report. The report provides valuable data that we will use to improve employment patterns for women in the film and television industry. My ministry will also continue to work with Toronto Women in Film and Video to encourage initiatives, particularly within Ontario government agencies, that will respond to the findings of the report.
We need to encourage women to take part in non-traditional careers, such as film, in order that we can have a strong economy and contribute to the financial and economic equality of women. The Ontario women’s directorate is involved in developing a number of tools, such as videos, manuals and role-modelling programs, for use by educators and trainers in their work with young men and women so that we can encourage young men and women to base their choices of educational and career decisions not on narrowly defined stereotypical ideas about what is men’s work or women’s work, but instead on their talents, abilities and interests.
Ms Oddie Munro: I think we are aware when we take a look at the representation that women are notably not present in the higher management and creative positions, which to some extent amounts to role stereotyping. I am wondering if the minister could specifically tell me what kind of action she would foresee to encourage women to take a look at the management and creative positions that are available to them.
Hon Mrs Wilson: The report did indicate that there is some improvement. Last year, the 34 per cent of the graduates from film and broadcasting courses were women; the year before, the number of women graduates was 23 per cent. We are working with the data that will come out of this report to encourage more women to enter and to graduate from film courses. Along with role-modelling programs, we are working with various communities, with trainers, with educators to provide them with the tools to make those encouragements to young women, and to young men, to look beyond the traditional into the nontraditional. Our economy needs to make use of all the human resources in order to keep our economy competitive.
“Whereas the staff of the Sault Ste Marie jail is forced to work in an environment that is stressful and dangerous due to items such as a steel ruler, a utility knife and an unknown amount of replacement blades, and most recently, a pair of scissors that has not been recovered; and
“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to instruct the Honourable Richard Patten, the Minister of Correctional Services, to conduct and record, with copy available to all petitioners, an investigation as to the lack of action taken by the administration of the Sault Ste Marie jail, in order that staff may work in a safe workplace and be treated with dignity.”
Mr Villeneuve: I, too, have a petition that is not lengthy and is most important to the economy of eastern Ontario, if the Speaker would please allow me to read it. It is signed by 6,683 very concerned residents and business people, park employees and campers from Canada and the United States. It is oriented towards helping to save our parks. It reads as follows:
Mr Dietsch: I have a petition in support of the Temagami native land claim from several people from the St Catharines-Brock area. In substance it reads that they would like to demand the immediate withdrawal of logging permits and to halt the construction and exploration activities on crown lands in the 129 townships named in the caution filed by Chief Gary Potts in 1973. I submit it on their behalf and I have affixed my name thereto.
Mr Pouliot: I too have a petition signed by people from all across Ontario, and it concerns the outrage over the proposed provisions of the new Ontario motorist protection plan. People from Thunder Bay to Manitouwadge to Toronto are indeed concerned and deeply saddened.
“Whereas there is a widespread anxiety among the public about the forthcoming legislation under the health care review act, in that the terms of the proposed legislation leave many traditional care givers, such as those offering pastoral counselling through religious institutions, school counsellors, social workers, many unregulated psychologists and holistic health workers, without protection under the act; and
“Whereas such care givers as those named above provide great service to countless communities in Ontario whose residents would be effectively cut off from such help if only medical doctors and registered psychiatrists are allowed to provide mental health counselling, in addition to which these traditional care givers provide their services without costs falling upon the OHIP program, which means that OHIP costs would rise drastically if all these groups were prohibited from practising their healing skills without vulnerability under the act; and
“Whereas there is an issue of civil liberties involved, in that citizens should be free to have access to the kinds of health care they choose, in accordance with their own religious or secular philosophy of healing, and the monopoly on health care services by a narrow group of practitioners is a disturbing trend;
“Therefore, we urge (1) that the proposed legislation be changed to allow unregulated care givers to continue to offer their services without fear of arbitrary legal action on the part of the government and (2) that the references to ‘harm’ in clause 27.04 be deleted, or at the very least be defined in such a way that counsellors are protected where no negligence, fraud or misconduct can be shown to have been involved.”
Mr Philip: Not to be outdone by my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon, I have a petition that is signed by people all across Rexdale, from Steeles Avenue on the North to Highway 401 on the south, and from the Humber River on the east to Indian Line on the west. This petition is signed mainly by people who deal with Frank Bauco’s auto service station on Albion Road.
“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario to express to the Liberal government our great disapproval of its policies concerning automobile insurance and request that Bill 68 be withdrawn.”
Mr Mackenzie: I also have a petition signed by residents of the city of Toronto concerning Bill 68, and in summary they are not happy with the speed of the legislation, the specific changes to the plan, the windfall to the insurance industry and specifically wanted the last whereas read.
Mr Laughren: I too have a petition. I will not read the entire petition because that really is too time-consuming and I know that there is a restricted length of time for petitions in the Legislature now according to the new standing orders. Basically, this petition does not use these words but really calls the government’s legislation a piece of junk.
“We, the undersigned, hereby register our deep concern and outrage over the provisions of the new Ontario motorist protection plan. We respectfully request that the Legislature consider substantial amendment of, or complete rejection of, the Ontario motorist protection plan as presently proposed. We further respectfully request that a plan be devised more nearly in accordance with the results of the independent studies undertaken at the request of the government.”
“We respectfully request that the Legislature consider substantial amendment of, or complete rejection of, the Ontario motorist protection plan as presently proposed. We further respectfully request that a plan be devised more nearly in accordance with the results of the independent studies undertaken at the request of the government.”
Mr Philip: I have another petition signed by constituents of mine. In summary this petition, which is addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, takes strong exception with Bill 68. The petitioners ask for the withdrawal of this bill. The petitioners object to their tax money being transferred to the large insurance companies which have been showing very large profits, the largest ever in the last quarter, and they object to the fact that they are going to get less coverage and pay more money for their insurance under this bill. They, therefore, ask that the Legislature try to impress on this Minister of Financial Institutions that the people of Ontario want this bill withdrawn.
Adams, Allen, Beer, Black, Brown, Bryden, Carrothers, Charlton, Collins, Conway, Cordiano, Cousens, Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Elston, Eves, Faubert, Ferraro, Fleet, Fulton, Furlong, Grier, Haggerty, Hart, Jackson, Kanter, Keyes, Kormos, Laughren, LeBourdais, Leone, Lipsett, Lupusella; Mackenzie, Mahoney, Matrundola, McClelland, McGuigan, Oddie Munro, Offer, Pelissero, Philip, E., Phillips, G., Polsinelli, Poole, Pouliot, Rae, B., Reycraft, Roberts, Runciman, Smith, E. J., Sola, Sterling, Stoner, Sullivan, Tatham, Ward, Wong.
Mr Mackenzie: The purpose of this bill is to prevent the hiring of strikebreakers and to control access to a work premise that is affected by a strike or lockout. The bill prohibits an employer from hiring or using the services of a person to do the work of an employee who is on strike or locked out unless that person is specifically authorized to do so.
Similarly, when a picket line is established to the place of access to a work premise, access is limited to persons specifically authorized by the bill. The bill repeals a provision of the act dealing with professional strikebreakers and strike-related misconduct.
Allen, Beer, Bryden, Carrothers, Charlton, Collins, Cordiano, Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Elston, Faubert, Fulton, Furlong, Grier, Hošek, Keyes, Kormos, Laughren, LeBourdais, Leone, Lipsett, Lupusella; Mackenzie, Mahoney, Matrundola, McClelland, Morin-Strom, Oddie Munro, Pelissero, Philip, E., Phillips, G., Pouliot, Roberts, Smith, E. J., Sola, Stoner, Sullivan, Tatham, Wong.
Mr Allen: This bill proposes to prohibit the sale of tobacco directly or indirectly unless the vendor is licensed either in sales across the counter or through a vending machine. It also requires that the preceding act, namely the Minors’ Protection Act, be repealed and it significantly increase these fines pertaining to the offence described in the act.
Beer, Brown, Bryden, Carrothers, Charlton, Collins, Cordiano, Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Elston, Faubert, Fleet, Fulton, Furlong, Grier, Hošek, Kormos, Laughren, LeBourdais, Lipsett, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Mahoney, Matrundola, McClelland, McGuigan, Oddie Munro, Pelissero, Philip, E., Phillips, G., Poole, Pouliot, Roberts, Smith, E. J., Stoner, Sullivan, Tatham, Villeneuve, Ward, Wong.
Mrs Grier: I appreciate the strong support from government members for the introduction of this bill. It is a bill that would prohibit the sale of irradiated food and food that contains ingredients that have been irradiated, and I look forward to second and third reading.
Brown, Carrothers, Charlton, Collins, Cordiano, Daigeler, Elston, Ferraro, Fleet, Fulton, Furlong, Grier, Hošek, Kormos, Laughren, LeBourdais, Lipsett, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Mahoney, Martel, McClelland, McGuigan, Oddie Munro, Pelissero, Philip, E., Phillips, G., Poole, Smith, E. I., Sorbara, Stoner, Sullivan, Tatham, Villeneuve, Ward, Wong.
Mr Charlton: I thank the members of the third party and of the government party for support on this bill. This amendment to the Ontario Energy Board Act is for the purpose of giving the Ontario Energy Board additional powers to regulate Hydro rates and to investigate matters such as capacity price and source of supply, and I look forward to the second reading debate.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, you are going to recall that I made some brief reference to Beauchesne yesterday, and I know that you are very familiar with Beauchesne. I made some brief reference to Erskine May, and once again I know you are extremely literate with respect to Erskine May. I made reference to those two treatises because I understood it to be valuable for members of this Legislature to understand them, not as well as the Speaker would but certainly at least in a modest way, so that they could apply those same principles when they are, at some point in the future, eventually voting on the motion before the Legislature now.
It is indeed a time allocation motion. I have had to explain to people down in Welland-Thorold and here at Queen’s Park that in this House filibusters are not permitted. There simply cannot be, according to parliamentary rules, a filibuster. As a matter of fact, if members look in their Oxford English Dictionary, they will find that the word “filibuster” is a uniquely American word and that it does not have as part of its origin a British tradition.
What it is is an American phenomenon, because what happens in American jurisdictions is that once a member has the floor, that member could basically do anything he or she wants, read Huckleberry Finn if he or she wishes; that in itself is not a bad thing; more people should read Huckleberry Finn. Again, the anecdotes are legion about the ability of American representatives to filibuster. But we cannot filibuster here at Queen’s Park, nor as I understand it, on Parliament Hill. It is not part of the British tradition.
What is required of anybody who has the floor is that he speak to the motion and that is exactly what I am going to do this afternoon, as I did on Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday afternoon. At that point, if we have been able --
Mr Kormos: It is a simple matter of dealing here with a weighty subject that requires thorough analysis. I am sorry if this appears to be a lengthy commentary on my part, but all that does is illustrate how horribly serious this legislation is and makes it all the more reasonable that time allocation not be imposed, that there not be a guillotine on the opposition.
Mr Kormos: -- for its understanding of the rules, for its understanding of tradition, and not just a comprehension of tradition, but an internalization of tradition. That is really what the Speaker, and the skilful Speaker that we have here at Queen’s Park, is all about. I say that about the Speaker regardless of the persona. The Speaker has no persona; there is continuity in that regard. One does not welcome the new persona when it exchanges the chair with the Speaker, does one? One simply carries on.
What I am getting to is that the test is that matters be relevant, that matters be germane to the motion before the House currently. That is the motion by the Liberals of Ontario to kill the opposition, to muzzle, stifle, snuff out; this is a snuff bill. This motion before the House is a snuff motion. It is designed to snuff out, to hammer out, if need be, opposition.
I was listening late last night to the events on Parliament Hill. I was pleased to hear some of our colleagues in the federal House protesting closure as vigorously as we are protesting it now. I noted that our New Democratic brothers and sisters in the federal House on Parliament Hill are prepared to fight as vigorously for a defence of democracy and democratic traditions as we are right here at Queen’s Park. Indeed they called what is happening on Parliament Hill jackboot tactics just as we called these jackboot tactics yesterday and the day before, and we continue to call them that now because that is what they are, short, simple and sweet. Jackbootism rears its ugly head once again at Queen’s Park.
It is not a matter of -- again my apologies. It would be so nice for all of us to leave early, to go home. It is just starting to appear spring-like out there, but the fact is that democratic principles are too important. They are too important to me, they are too important to you, Mr Speaker, and they are too important to the members of this House to dismiss this with only brief consideration. That is why I am going to tell members something. I am going to tell them that this is not the first speech or the first commentary that has ever been made on jackbootism here at Queen’s Park.
Mr Kormos: It is called a neologism and if it is not in the dictionary this year, it may well be in the dictionary next year. That is how in the English language -- the English language is an interesting thing in itself, because really what is current -- if you read Fowler’s Modern English Usage you will understand that the English language is fluid; it grows, it matures, it evolves. It is such a wonderfully hybrid language and it is something that grows.
As I say, yes, I am confident “jackbootism” is not in the dictionary this year, but as a neologism and considering its currency of use, considering that its usage has not only been frequent, necessarily so, because of the tactics of the Liberals here at Queen’s Park, but its usage on Parliament Hill is becoming more and more frequent, and necessarily so because what else can you call it? You call a shovel a shovel where I come from. You name it the way it is; you call it the way you see it.
Precedent comes in arguments that have been made previously. Precedent too is something that -- an argument is given life once it is enunciated, especially a good argument. That is why I am going to spend a little bit of time, and I appreciate that this is more than a few seconds -- the fact is, can I help it that the argument that was made back in 1982 against closure --
Mr Kormos: Need I tell members that back in 1982 closure was effected right here at Queen’s Park? What I am going to tell members about now is the argument made by the then member, Mr Renwick. This was in response to a motion for closure by the government of the day.
Mr Kormos: I am going to get to what the then member, Mr Martel, had to say. Let’s talk a little bit about what Mr Renwick had to say, because that is what is relevant to this discussion. It is worth while reconsidering what Mr Renwick had to say back on Thursday 9 December 1982. Now Mr Renwick said --
Mr Kormos: He said it at eight o’clock at night. Mr Renwick said, “I intend to dwell at some length on the question of why I am in opposition to the government motion for a number of very good reasons which are of immense concern to me.”
wick then are equally valid, perhaps even more valid, in view of what has happened to this government, to the Liberals, and the speed with which they will invoke closure, and especially in view of the contrast of the fact situation in 1982 to what we have now.
Catch this, Mr Speaker. Mr Renwick says, “I suppose my starting point is the easy and simple statement that the parliamentary process makes people uneasy because it is people in confrontation over basic, fundamental principles about the system they are involved in because of basic differences on the issues before us.”
It remains true today, does it not? That is part of what we were talking about yesterday when we made references to Beauchesne and Erskine May, is it not, Mr Speaker? You know that; you know it better than any of us do because of your familiarity, your intimacy with Beauchesne and Erskine May.
“There is always a tremendous pressure around to say that it should be much more polite, that it should be a sort of Oxford Debating Society or some kind of organization where everybody has his say, there is some kind of consensus and everybody goes home quite happy about it.”
I bet there are Liberal members who when they participate in this debate, I bet there are Liberal members sitting right here now who when they stand up and participate in this debate are going to say, “This nastiness has to be avoided.” They are going to say: “What’s going on here? Why can’t we be more friendly about this? Why could the opposition not say, ‘Okay, fellows and gals, two days is a little bit heavy, but let’s settle for closure after three days of committee of the whole.”’
We are going to have Liberals stand up here and say, “You guys are not compromising.” Of course we are not compromising because you cannot compromise democratic principles, can you? You cannot compromise with jackboot weaponeers. There are going to be people from the Liberal ranks stand up and say, “Why could this not have been done a little bit milder, with less energy, with less anathema for each other?”
How can you not help feel antipathy for people who wear the jackboots and are prepared to trot all over the principles of this Legislature? How can you not feel antipathy for those types. In some places they are called small-f fascist. How can you not feel antipathy for those sorts of people with those sorts of tactics? How can you not?
Mr Renwick goes on. He talked about the Brothers Grimm, the House leader of the government party and the government whip, the Brothers Grimm. Interesting. He said, “I did not understand it for a long time because, in my practice of law, for a long time I was engaged in the corporate world of law, the commercial world of law and only latterly was I engaged in the world of criminal law.”
I am probably far more familiar with members of the provincial Parliament than Mr Renwick was when he started because I practised only criminal law for the last decade. So when it comes to understanding motive and the need for motive, when it comes to understanding –
Mr Kormos: Grease and payola. Was that not a horrible scenario this afternoon when the Attorney General declined to amend the terms of reference to the Patti Starr scenario? Was that not an incredible abuse of power when the Attorney General refused to rewrite the terms of reference for the Patti Starr investigation so that indeed the truth could be uncovered? Was that not a sad state of affairs when the Attorney General this afternoon dismissed any prospect of the people of Ontario ever finding out how deep Patti Starr was into the government and the cabinet?
Is that not remarkable? Is that not illustrative of the arrogance of this government and, really, is that not illustrative of the same arrogance that motivates this government to move the motion that is before us today, a motion for closure, a motion designed to stifle debate, a motion designed to silence the opposition? That is what we are talking about here and now, are we not? We are talking about a majority government with its arrogance, with its supercilious attitude, with its jackboots stomping all over the fundamental principles of democracy, the fundamental principles that I talked about yesterday as being annotated, as being enunciated, in Beauchesne. Should I read them again, Mr Speaker?
Mr Kormos: Really, what we are getting down to ultimately -- and I should warn the Liberal House leader now, because the whole argument of Mr Renwick and the reason why I state his argument and adopt it is that the ultimate plea is that once the House leader hears this argument, he will feel compelled to withdraw the motion. Once that motion is withdrawn, we can carry on with the real business, and that is considering Bill 68 in committee of the whole House, considering the 30-plus amendments that the government proposes to present and the 20- or 25-plus amendments that the Conservative Party proposes to present.
Why does the House leader for the Liberal Party persist in moving attention away from Bill 68? The House leader, quite frankly, would prefer that I did not mention Bill 68 at all during the course of discussions about this closure motion. Sadly, in view of the fact that so few Liberal members are here to hear the arguments that I am to make against closure, I am fearful that they might come in when the bells ring for the vote on this closure motion and, like the trained seals that they have revealed themselves to be so often, simply vote in favour of it because their House leader said so, instead of because in their hearts they think it is the right thing to do.
We know that we have a responsibility to conduct ourselves according to those long-held democratic principles that were talked about in Beauchesne and that you, as the Speaker, understand so well, those principles that were talked about in Erskine May and that you, as the Speaker, understand so well.
Again, I am being quite candid about the fact that I am making reference to a speech given by Mr Renwick back in 1982. At that time the House leader and the government whip were referred to by him as the Brothers Grimm. Perhaps to be fair it should be the Siblings Grimm. So here we have the Siblings Grimm sitting in front of us. Mr Renwick went on to explain how in the practice of corporate law he was somewhat, in some ways, ill-prepared for the realities of the Legislature. It was only as a result of his latter years’ practice of criminal law that he became sort of tuned in. That I can understand so well.
Now, “It is quite common,” he says, “that they always team up the detectives. There is one tough guy and one nice guy,” the old Mutt and Jeff routine. The minister knows that from his days of practice in law, his visits to the police station late at night to try to ensure that an accused person is not denied any of his or her rights. He is familiar with the Mutt and Jeff routine, the tough guy and the nice guy.
Back in 1982, the government House leader was the nice guy, the government whip was the tough guy. I would not put it that way now. As a matter of fact, I think roles would be reversed. The Brothers Grimm, the Siblings Grimm, as they are today, are the movers of the motion.
And whom did the government House leader call on to second the motion yesterday? “Why the government whip? Will the government whip participate in the debate?” Jim Renwick asks back on Thursday, 9 December 1982, and it is a rhetorical question. He answers it, “Not likely.” That is what he said. But do we know what he was really thinking? Mr Renwick, God bless him -- I had the opportunity to meet him and spend time with him -- said, “Not likely,” but that is not what he really wanted to say at that point in time at 8 o’clock on Thursday, 9 December 1982. He said, “Do they want to participate?” He said, “Not likely.”
I would be quite surprised if he were to stand up and deal with the substance of the issue. My, things have not changed in eight years, have they? Things have not changed very much. Jim Renwick was surprised. If these clowns would even stand up --
Mr Kormos: No, but the Deputy Speaker at the time was a very good friend of yours, Mr Speaker. Perhaps he will be here later this afternoon. Perhaps he will make his own unique contributions to the discussion.
Mr Ferraro: A point of order, Mr Speaker: I am just curious as to whether or not the word “clowns” is parliamentary and acceptable to this chamber, especially when the grim member for Welland-Thorold is not giving the Liberal members an opportunity to speak.
The Acting Speaker: I unfortunately agree with my learned colleague, who does not have the floor, that I do not think that it is necessary at this point in time for the honourable government House leader to put that. I think we had better do that later. No further points of order? Then, the honourable member for Welland-Thorold.
Mr Kormos: Things have not changed a whole lot in eight years. Things have not changed, because Mr Renwick very properly said, “Let me again refer to what I referred to when the government moved the first closure motion in the standing committee on administration of justice, when it” -- the government – “reached back into the Dark Ages of the 19th century to find a disembodied principle.” Indeed, it was found “in Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice to say that what they were doing in the standing committee on administration of justice was within the framework of parliamentary practice.”
Mr Renwick says: “We objected at that time. We challenged that matter when it came before the assembly at some length, and I never repeat an argument a second time. All I want to say about it is that the government does not understand some very simple matters related to the practice of the assembly.” Just as in 1982 the government of the day did not understand some very simple matters related to the practice of the assembly, nor do these guys, the Petersonian Liberals. They are trying to ram Bill 68 through without a full hearing. They are trying to muzzle the opposition; they are trying to muzzle criticism of the bill.
We heard about how a staff person of the minister’s office went so far as to phone up an American shareholder trying to lean on him a little to silence one Star, president of Kingsway here in Canada, who broke ranks.
Mr Kormos: Remarkable. Look at what Jim Renwick had to say back in 1982: “The government believes that because it has a majority of members that is the end of the matter.” Listen to what Mr Renwick was able to say about the government back in 1982 and tell me if it is not applicable in 1990.
“The government believes that because it has a majority of members that is the end of the matter.” Nothing has changed, has it? Nothing has changed. It does not happen to be the end of the matter. Again, things have not changed in the last eight years, because the parliamentary process is superior to whichever party in the assembly either has the majority or is in the minority now. That is true and that is a truism only so long as legislators are prepared to still give effect to parliamentary procedure and parliamentary practice, because once legislators abandon parliamentary procedure, once legislators embrace an antiparliamentary, antidemocratic approach to things, why, then we have chucked it all out, have we not, Mr Speaker?
“Impugning motive” does not mean what so many Liberals wish it meant. It does not mean you cannot question motive. Once again, you, Mr Speaker, as an experienced trial lawyer, a person who is intimately familiar not only with Erskine May and Beauchesne but with the standards for a conviction and what is available to persons as a defence know full well that examining motive is crucial, is it not? I mean, motive can add to circumstantial evidence in a way that nothing else can. Motive can move circumstantial evidence from the vague to the very certain.
So let’s look at the motive for presenting a motion like is before us now. Come on, Mr Speaker. Does this time allocation motion provide a considerable or reasonable period of time within which to discuss Bill 68? Come on, Mr Speaker, of course not. I know you know that, and I know you feel this way about it, but like other times that you have been in the chair, you cannot express that opinion. You have to take a neutral role. I know you feel very strongly about this, as a person who is fairminded and for whom justice is a considerable virtue.
Mr Renwick goes on, and were I able to craft these words in this way, I would have done it myself: “I want to try to illustrate what that means in the context of the motion that is before us this evening. The government House leader” -- of the day -- “participated for a long time in the debates with respect to the new Constitution of the country. Unfortunately” -- he is being modestly sarcastic here – “a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing, and he learned what was dangerous. He learned that strange Latin phrase ‘non obstante’ meaning” -- of course, as you know, Mr Speaker – “‘notwithstanding,’ and he grasped on to it because he knew he would some day be able to stand up in this assembly and move a motion that said, ‘Notwithstanding the standing orders of the assembly,’ this was the way it was going to be.” Remarkable, is it not? History repeats itself, does it not, Mr Speaker?
The rules of this House provide for reasonable amounts of debate, discussion, criticism by the opposition, and the motion presented to us is one that basically says: “Nothwithstanding the rules of the House, we want to crush the life out of the opposition. We want to prevent the opposition from discussing a very important piece of legislation.”
Mr Renwick goes on to say: “He justified it on the basis that this was a single instance in which he knew he was going to use it, and in Latin that is known as ‘ad hoc.’ Just on this one occasion it is going to be done this way. Just on one occasion he is going to move a motion on behalf of the government that begins, ‘Notwithstanding the standing orders of the House,’ which have evolved over a period of time to govern the relationships of difficulty in confrontation between different parties with different political principles and views. He was going to do it only once.”
But that was back in 1982 he was going to do it only once. These guys, the Liberals in Ontario, want to do it time and time again. They have not got the fortitude to simply spit it out and say: ‘We don’t like the standing orders the way they are. We want to impose our majority rule on every facet of the operation of this House,” so they keep playing the game of bringing these closure motions, time allocation motions. They do them ad hoc.
The member for Brant-Haldimand is still with the Legislature. The member for St Catharines is still with the Legislature. The member for Renfrew North is, and the member for London Centre, who is cited in the transcript. I have checked; the names are the same and the Hansard, I am sure, is accurate. These people called closure motion, and Mr Renwick was talking about it. They called it everything but democratic. They called it everything but fair. They called it everything but parliamentary. Do you want to know something, Mr Speaker? They called it that after there were 47 hours of second reading on the bill, 35 hours in public hearings and 34 hours in committee. As he is referred to in the transcript “Mr Nixon,” now the Treasurer; “Mr Bradley,” now the Minister of the Environment; “Mr Conway,” ex-House leader, now Minister of Colleges and Universities, etc, and the Premier of Ontario --
Mr Kormos: The now Premier, referred to as “David Peterson” in the Hansard transcript. They condemned a closure motion on a bill for which there had been 47 hours in second reading, 35 hours in public hearings and approximately 34 hours in committee --
Mr Kormos: Darn it, darn it, darn it. We are talking about a bill right here that has had perhaps, at the very best, maybe 12, 13 hours in second reading, less than one whole week in consideration of clause-by-clause in committee, and we did not even get beyond the introductory remarks that the Speaker, sitting as Chairman of the committee of the whole House, permitted in one and a half afternoons.
David Peterson, Bob Nixon, Jim Bradley, Sean Conway -- I mean, they condemned this motion for closure. That is why it is so useful for me today to make reference, as I propose to do, to the Renwick argument, because that argument is one that was given light by virtue of having been articulated right here in this Legislature. As I say, it is going to take a little bit of time to go through that Renwick argument. I could try to articulate it myself, but it would take three times as long as it did Mr Renwick because of his unique talents and his unique command of the English Language.
Mr Renwick said: “If Sir Winston Churchill were alive today, I believe he would say in a way we would all understand that this kind of nonobstantive ad hockery is something “up with which I will not put.”
“I think that is what Winston Churchill would have said today. He would have said you cannot do two things. You cannot say, ‘Nothwithstanding the standing orders of the House,’ we are going to do something and then justify it on the basis that we are going to do it only at this particular time.”
In that respect, these guys, the Liberals, have learned. They do not try to pretend that this is one shot only; they do it time and time again. What has happened is that, because they have gotten so used to doing it, it comes naturally to them now. They do not have to think about it.
Part of the reason, part of the motive, for a time allocation motion is because they are presenting legislation that is so thoroughly bad that it will not withstand debate, legislation that is so antipeople that it will not withstand debate. When we talk about motive for time closure, that is what we are talking about. We are talking about a government, and in particular a Premier and a Minister of Financial Institutions, that wants to avoid the political backlash, the political fallout, from legislation that is going to be and has been condemned by just literally hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands or more here in Ontario; that has been embraced by the private, very profitable, corporate automobile insurance industry but by virtually no others.
The real motive on the part of the government here is to avoid debate, to avoid criticism of the bill, to avoid being exposed as mere servants of the private, corporate auto insurance industry. Do members remember how much profit they made in the third quarter of 1989? I told this assembly yesterday how much profit the insurance industry in Canada made in the third quarter of 1989. That was yesterday. I knew it. I knew that if people were not taking notes, they would forget some of these figures, and some of these figures are so important.
The profit by the overall insurance industry in the third quarter of 1989, which includes the auto insurance industry in Canada, was a record profit for the last eight years, $317 million in the third quarter alone. That is going to translate into profits of probably $1 billion and change; not $1 million, but $1 billion and change. This government, so pathetically, so shamefully, so cowardly, afraid of criticism, afraid of debate and afraid to subject its legislation to analysis; is that not the most despicable form of cowardice, to be acting for the profits of a powerful and wealthy industry, the auto insurance industry, to condemn innocent injured victims to significantly less compensation than they deserve, to condemn 95 per cent of all innocent injured victims to receiving no compensation for their pain and suffering or their loss of enjoyment of life, to condemn taxpayers to a tab of around $141 million to $143-million subsidy? Taxpayers of Ontario are going to have to pay that to the auto insurance industry because this government is in the back pockets of the insurance industry and is prepared to forsake and betray --
Mr Faubert: On a point of order: Mr Speaker, under the rules of debate, the standing orders, under section 23(i), it clearly says that the speaker will be called to order “if he imputes false or unavowed motives to another member.” We should rule on that.
Mr Kormos: What we were talking about was cowardice, huh? Now we are talking about cowardly cowardice. These guys and gals do not even want to debate the closure motion. They do not want to debate Bill 68. That is clear, that is accepted. They do not want to debate Bill 68. They cannot.
I did not want to miss the opportunity to commend an organization, and I tell members this is an organization that, in large part, consists of members of the bar in Ontario. They formed an organization called the Committee for Fair Action in Insurance Reform. They have acquired members and supporters, although initially a lawyers’ organization that was formed many years ago -- primarily lawyers, it should be said -- to give expert advice to the Osborne inquiry, for instance. Remember that, the one that condemned threshold insurance, the one the government paid for with taxpayers’ dollars?
Miss Martel: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Before my colleague starts congratulating whoever it is he wants to congratulate, I do not believe we have a quorum in the House. We need one more member. There are 19.
Mr Kormos: They published a tabloid, and I have to tell members it was a short-run tabloid. The people who attended the Liberal convention at Windsor this past week, I am told, had it distributed among them. The Liberals should know all about polls and polling. It was an Environics poll, their very own pollster, which showed Liberal support down across the province, which, remarkably, showed Liberal support down by almost 10 points in the Golden Horseshoe, down through Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara, over to Haldimand, a remarkable 10-point drop in support down through the Golden Horseshoe.
FAIR published this, and the poll was most important. The poll was conducted between 7 February and 15 February. That was back when the committee itself was just wrapping up. The survey sample was stratified by census division to accurately reflect the distribution of the Ontario population. The results, accurate to within plus or minus 4.5 per cent, reflect real and widespread disapproval of the government’s no-fault insurance plan, no-fault opposed by over 60 per cent.
The first question asked was this, “Overall, based on what you have seen or heard about the Ontario government’s proposed no-fault insurance program, are you in favour of or opposed to the proposed system?” Two thirds, or over 66 per cent, of the respondents are opposed to the government’s plan.
That is a substantial number of people. It is not that the government, the Liberals and their Premier, their leader David Peterson -- I speak of him as the leader of the party, not as a member of the provincial Legislature -- and the Minister of Financial Institutions have not been trying to sell it. Lord knows, they have been trying to sell it. My goodness, when you saw the packaging that went along with the Ontario motorist protection plan, you had to gasp about how much taxpayer’s money was being squandered on that particular exercise.
I do not know what the ad firm was that the Liberals had on that, but it probably are not the ad firm any more, especially when the Liberals read these statistics and find out that 66 per cent of people do not support the legislation any more. Interesting, is it not? Are members surprised? I am not, because that was back on 7 February. Do members remember 7 February? That was just when the committee hearings were starting to wrap up.
I will bet my boots right now that if that poll were taken a month later, 7 March to 15 March, you would see well in excess of 66 per cent opposed. Perhaps you would see as high as 75 per cent of people opposed to this shabby, crummy insurance scheme, the one that the Liberals do not want to see debated in the Legislature. They do not want to see it debated because they know that people out there are more than eager to hear --
Mr Kormos: I hear somebody flapping his lips about Manitoba. I tell members this, that before I am finished we are going to talk a whole lot about western provinces and how they provide more affordable insurance, and always have, provide better and bigger benefits than this scheme ever will, retain the right to sue. Can members believe this? Retain the right to sue and, believe this as well, do not discriminate against young or old drivers. Indeed, drivers in Manitoba, British Columbia and Saskatchewan receive credit, receive deductions by virtue of being senior citizens. Is that not remarkable? Yes, we are talking about an insurance scheme here and now, which the Liberals want to oppose, that is going to put senior citizens into Facility Association where they are going to be paying thousands and thousands of dollars a year in auto insurance premiums. Is that fair? Does that reflect any commitment to seniors on the part of this government?
On the contrary, it shows that these Liberals are prepared to sell out senior citizens, and that is exactly what Bill 68 does. If senior citizens are scared, they are rightly scared. They are frightened, they are fearful of what is going to happen once this legislation is passed, because they know that they are going to be forced into Facility Association where the premiums are in the range of thousands and thousands of dollars.
Mr Speaker, I should tell you that this point in this discussion is all about why the Liberals want closure, why they do not want to see full debate, because they have had an opportunity to see the results of the poll performed by Angus Reid pollsters.
The second question asked by Angus Reid is this: “Under the proposed no-fault system, unless your injury is serious and permanent, you would not be able to sue for compensation regardless of how the accident occurred or who is to blame. Instead, you would receive a predetermined amount of money. Do you think this is fair or unfair?” Two thirds of the respondents with opinion said they thought it was unfair. That is why this government does not want to debate Bill 68. That is why this government wants to impose closure, time allocation.
The third question that was asked by Angus Reid in their poll was, “When no-fault insurance was first proposed, the government said insurance premiums would increase by no more than eight per cent.” We all heard that. “The government has now stated that an unspecified number of Ontarians could pay up to 40 per cent to 50 per cent more in insurance premiums depending upon things like the type of car they drive, their income and their driving record.” The question put by Angus Reid was: “Does this make you feel more positive about the no-fault insurance proposal, does it make you feel more negative or does it make no difference in how you feel about Bill 68?” Listen to this, because the Liberals sure did. That is why they are trying to impose closure on us. The Liberals heard the results, too. Fully 70 per cent of the respondents who had an opinion feel more negative as a result of the government’s own statements.
Those figures are from 7 February through 15 February. That is why the Liberals in Ontario, this Premier and this Minister of Financial Institutions do not want to debate their auto insurance bill here in this Legislature. That is why they want to impose time closure.
The remarkable thing about the briefest period of hearings -- and again, we had to fight like mad to get those from the government because it would not have had hearings at all if it could have gotten away with it. The minister, before ever consulting through House leaders the opposition parties, told a public forum that the bill was going to be passed by 21 December, give or take a day -- preferably 20 December, a day earlier.
What was remarkable is that the government fought public hearings and once they were wrested from the government the government fought to keep them as short as possible. Do you want to know something, Mr Speaker? That committee refused to sit Monday mornings. I said: “Committee, we have hundreds and hundreds of people who want to make submissions about this legislation. Surely we can accommodate them by sitting Monday mornings.” No. The majority on the committee decided no, there would not be any Monday morning sittings. It is not as if the committee sat five days a week. The committee only sat four days a week.
I said: “Committee, you have hundreds and hundreds of people out there across Ontario who want to talk about this legislation. Please, sit evenings to accommodate them. Sit evenings. Surely we, as legislators, can take some of our evenings not only to accommodate the numbers but to accommodate those people who work for a living, to accommodate those people who would only be available in the evening hours.” The Liberals on the committee said no, no way, would not do it.
Did the Liberals on the committee pay much heed to the requirements of people across Ontario in terms of them wanting to make submissions to that committee? No. Again, why not? Why did they try to restrict? Why did the Liberal majority on that committee itself try to restrict the number of people who came forward to discuss the legislation? The same reason why they are trying to impose closure on us now: because they knew that the vast majority of people appearing before that committee opposed this legislation.
Let me show you how serious that was, Mr Speaker. Against the legislation: the Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped. They presented a brief called The Disability Giveaway: How the Ontario Government Subsidized the Insurance Industry by Cutting Compensation for Disabled People. They appeared in front of that committee on 10 January. The Ontario insurance industry was for the legislation.
Who was against? The Advocates’ Society. They appeared on 10 January. They called Bill 68 an “ill-conceived and unsuccessful attempt to relieve premium stresses for Ontario drivers.” They opposed the legislation, but who supports it? The Ontario automobile insurance industry.
Associative Rehabilitation appeared on 23 January. They had this to say about the legislation. I tell the members why this is significant: because we are looking at motive. We are looking to why this government would want to pass a closure motion. I am telling the members to illustrate that, to illustrate why, because it is my contention that it is not out of any concern for parliamentary practice; it is out of lack of concern for parliamentary practice. The reason they do not want full debate here in this Legislature is because not only is the legislation had, but the vast majority of people in Ontario know that it is bad and the vast majority of people in Ontario have said so. That is why it is important to take a look at who appeared in front of those brief committee hearings and spoke out against the legislation.
Associative Rehabilitation said: “We believe the legislation as drafted represents one step forward” -- they were talking about the modestly enhanced no-fault portion of it; we have had no-fault in this province for a long time – “and two steps back. The threshold must be changed to include psychological and mental injury.” The government has refused to listen to those people, along with many others who have expressed the same concerns.
Steve Crouse from Kitchener, Better (Auto) Accident Treatment For Injured Victims in Ontario, appeared on behalf of his organization, BATFIV, on 9 January. He said this about Bill 68: “We do not wish to see Bill 68 passed because we feel it is a step backwards from the tort system we already have.”
I should read the note. I just got handed a note and the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations wanted me to read it. It is from a woman called Anita Ling. She wants me to know that she deposited a petition containing 1,540 names with the Premier’s assistant about one hour ago, a petition condemning Bill 68 and this legislation as being bad, as being designed to create incredible profits for the insurance industry in Ontario and doing it at the expense of drivers, taxpayers and innocent injured victims. I appreciate the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations asking me to read the note and I am pleased to have been able to share that little bit of correspondence.
As I started to say, Canadian Auto Workers, Local 222 in Oshawa represents one of the largest locals of hardworking men and women here in Canada. Indeed, it is a local that does not make public statements lightly, that analyses issues well, that considers the pros and cons, that does not want to appear brash or ill-advised. Indeed, their contribution to their local political scene is one that in itself is worthy of commendation.
Canadian Auto Workers, Local 222 in Oshawa says this about Bill 68: “In short, Bill 68 will punish rather than protect the members of our union.” They are talking about thousands of hardworking men and women -- and members know this far better than I do -- who have fought too hard for too long to earn the benefits they have. They see Bill 68, after thorough and careful analysis of the legislation, as being something that will strip those rights from them. That is why this government does not want to have full debate.
The Canadian Mental Health Association on 9 January said this about Bill 68: “Instead of passing a discriminatory piece of legislation which will require costly legal challenges all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, let’s remove the discrimination through amendments before the bill becomes the law.” They opposed Bill 68.
Who supports it? The Ontario automobile insurance industry. Of course the auto insurance industry supports this bill. It is a $1-billion payday for them. Who else opposes Bill 68? So far we have the auto insurance industry in support of it and we have a whole whack of people, hardworking men and women, health care professionals among others, saying no to Bill 68.
The Canadian Paraplegic Association says this -- let’s reflect for a minute and think about who those people represent. It warrants pausing for the briefest of moments because we all make it in here in our ambulatory and healthy bodies. We are talking about an organization that speaks for those people, those victims, who tragically have had the life crushed out of their limbs, who have had their spines torn and twisted. They will never be able to enjoy the physical comforts that all of us here in the Legislature enjoy this very minute.
The Canadian Paraplegic Association said this: “This proposal is very unfair. The government is proposing to take away the rights of 95 per cent of the people in Ontario and they are not giving adequate benefits in place.”
That is why this government and the Liberals sitting here in this Legislature do not want to have a full debate on Bill 68. That is why they want to impose closure. That is why they want to stifle the opposition. That is why they want to muzzle any criticism of Bill 68: because far too many people in Ontario know how bad this is going to be.
Who else opposes it? The Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals, the spinal cord and acquired brain injury programs. Once again, these people know what they are talking about. These are the people who deal with victims whose bodies are tragically torn and mangled, and these are the people who work hard trying to make these bodies whole again from a medical point of view. What do they say about Bill 68? They say that the threshold is far too severe and restricted.
Who else opposes the legislation? So far we have the Ontario automobile insurance industry supporting it, and once again I say that of course they support it because it is a $1-billion payday for them, a billion bucks in the bank in the first year alone, a billion bucks that they do not have to earn but is taken from taxpayers, drivers and innocent injured victims.
Now look at the little games, the cheap shots that the Minister of Financial Institutions engages in to try to rehabilitate this sick piece of legislation. Remember what the Minister of Financial Institutions did? Lo and behold his little Mike Wilsoning of the no-faults. We told him this from day 1: how dumb and how stupid the $1,500-a-month cap on payout for long-term care was. We told him that $1,500 a month does not even begin to provide adequate care for people having long-term disabilities who require that care. So he doubled it to a $3,000-a-month ceiling, maximum payout. That in itself is doubtful as to whether or not that is going to provide adequate care for a person requiring long-term care, but the ceiling is still the same. The fact is that a person could use up that in a period of some 10 years easily, 10 years and change. So a young person who is a victim who has to rely upon that, or even a not-so-young person, well within his lifetime would see himself thrown out into the streets and on to the welfare rolls. We knew that, we told the minister that, and Cheshire Homes Foundation knows it, which is why it does not support Bill 68.
In the city of Cornwall a resolution was passed and published in the local newspaper on 9 January condemning the legislation. In the city of Orillia a resolution was passed on 8 January condemning the legislation. In the city of Sarnia a resolution was passed on 5 February condemning the legislation. In the city of Sault Ste Marie a resolution was passed on 20 November condemning the legislation. In the city of Welland a resolution was passed condemning the legislation. The city of Toronto: On 30 January city council resolved that city council would endorse the Canadian Bar Association -- Ontario position regarding Bill 68. That was a condemnation of this thoroughly bad legislation.
Cycle Watch said that Bill 68 would leave injured bicyclists with very limited rights to sue for personal injury damage. Cycle Watch exposed a thorough flaw in this legislation, one that the drafters had no intention of ever perceiving, one that they had no intention of ever correcting unless it was abruptly brought to their attention the way it was by Cycle Watch. That is why this government does not want to have thorough committee of the whole discussion about Bill 68. That is why they want to impose closure.
But who supports the legislation? Why, the Ontario automobile insurance industry supports it, the friend of Liberals far and wide and a friend who puts its money where its mouth is, because it sure does make its contributions at election time: over $100,000 in the last provincial election in recorded donations to Liberal candidates from the Ontario automobile insurance industry. That is pretty pitiful when you are talking about an industry that says it was going broke, that it was losing money hand over fist. We know that just is not true. We know that when the insurance industry says it is losing money, what it means is that it is making profits.
Who else opposes the legislation? The Driving School Association of Ontario Inc. Among other things, they said this, “Unfortunately, self-employed persons will not be able to sue for disability, business losses, pain and suffering if they are an innocent party in an accident.” That is right for 95 per cent of all innocent injured victims. They will not be able to have recourse to the courts to obtain compensation for pain and suffering; indeed, they will be denied any compensation for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. That is what Bill 68, this insurance scheme, does to innocent injured victims.
The sad thing is, the cowardly thing is, the pathetic, pitiful thing is that the Liberals are not prepared to discuss that during the course of committee of the whole hearings, nor are they prepared to debate that during third reading. They want to stifle debate, they want to muzzle the opposition, they want to avoid any criticism, they want to avoid any exposure of how shabby this legislation really is. They are already facing 66 per cent of people in Ontario who have an opinion saying no to no-fault legislation. They know that and they know that even more people oppose the legislation now than did two months ago on 7 February through 15 February.
The other problem is that the Driving School Association of Ontario proposed some very constructive recommendations to the Liberals sitting on that committee. Mind you, they only had 15 minutes in which to do it. The Liberal majority on that committee decided, by virtue of its majority, that people making submissions would only have 15 minutes to make submissions. That meant that Ralph Nader was told: “Too bad, so sad. We know you came all the way from Washington, D.C. You have got 15 minutes to say what you have got to say, and then we are going to ask you questions for maybe 15.”
That is why Mr Justice Barr, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Ontario, who wrote a very careful and learned analysis of Bill 68 and how bad it is for drivers and victims and taxpayers in Ontario, acting on behalf of nobody but himself, a person with years of trial experience hearing cases involving innocent injured victims, was told: “You have 15 minutes to make your pitch. Make it. The clock starts now.”
The Liberals are intent on stifling the opposition. They are intent on imposing closure on the opposition. We have an opportunity to debate that. Mr Justice Barr did not have an opportunity to negotiate the time allotted to him for a very learned, skilful analysis of Bill 68, one which the Liberals should have been thankful and pleased to have heard, one which they tried to curtail and shorten and abbreviate just as they are trying right now to shorten and abbreviate any real or meaningful discussion of this legislation.
Once again, the auto insurance industry was at the hearings saying, “We support the legislation.” Who else was opposed to the legislation? The Electrical Workers Compensation Council of Ontario. They said this about Bill 68, “Bill 68 severely restricts the right of injured accident victims to be fully compensated for their loss of income” -- we raised this as an opposition with the minister and he stood, jaw banging against the top of his desk, when he was confronted with it – “and most importantly, Bill 68 will increase the cost to employers and taxpayers of providing workers’ compensation benefits.” That is what was said by the Electrical Workers’ Compensation Council of Ontario. That is why it opposed Bill 68 and that is why the Liberals do not want to have full discussion of this legislation either in committee of the whole or on third reading.
The Employers’ Council on Workers’ Compensation, appearing 17 January, said this: “In short, Bill 68 restricts legal suits by workers injured in motor vehicle accidents. We are distressed that the already precarious financial situation of the WCB is to be worsened by Bill 68.”
What is the most pathetic thing about that? It is that estimates that we were able to obtain demonstrated that some extra cost annually, at least in the first year alone, of some $50 million was going to be burdened on to the workers’ compensation system. What that meant was that injured workers were going to pay the bulk of it. The government had no idea. The government had never costed the impact of this legislation on injured workers in Ontario. The government, quite frankly, did not give a tinker’s damn. They were quite prepared to let injured workers carry the burden once again. That is what is really pitiful, really pathetic about their approach to Bill 68.
The Hamilton Automobile Club said this about the threshold: “The presently drafted wording of the threshold is unduly restrictive and does not allow all the most severely injured in automobile accidents to sue. We strongly urge reconsideration of the threshold language.”
All these people I am talking about, all these organizations representing tens and hundreds of thousands of people are opposed to Bill 68. Who supported it? Who came to that committee? Who told the government, “We want Bill 68 passed”? The auto insurance industry did.
Mr Kormos: The problem with the member for Guelph is that he speaks before he thinks and the problem with the member for Guelph is that he speaks too often. That is even in view of the fact that he speaks rarely. Let me tell members about the member for Guelph. I appreciate that this is an aside.
Mr Kormos: Exactly. My concern is that one of the motives for this closure motion is that the member for Guelph may have insisted that the House leader prepare it because the member for Guelph is fearful that the Minister of Financial Institutions is going to hang him out to dry again. The Minister of Financial Institutions is not prepared to sit through the committee of the whole and he is going to force the member for Guelph to sit through committee of the whole.
The member for Guelph knows how uncomfortable he was in the short committee hearings that we had here at Queen’s Park and in four communities in Ontario. He had to tell the press, “Last week we got hammered.” The Liberals got hammered by the opponents of the legislation. It is in his interest to have abbreviated discussion in committee of the whole.
Maybe the whole thing could be resolved if the Minister of Financial Institutions would talk to the parliamentary assistant, the Liberal member for Guelph, and explain to him that the minister is prepared to sit through committee of the whole. Maybe then the member for Guelph, the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Financial Institutions, will not be so fearful about committee of the whole and will ask the House leader to withdraw the motion.
We were talking about an argument earlier that we are going to follow through on on Monday, and the ultimate request subsequent to that argument, one which dates back to 1982, is to prevail upon the House leader to withdraw the motion. That would avoid all of the problems that would be inherent in a vote on the issue. It would make it unnecessary to further debate the issue if the closure motion were merely withdrawn. I think there is a strong argument to be made for that, and we are going to follow through on that argument come Monday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon.
But for the moment, talking about why the Liberals do not want full and thorough debate during committee of the whole, for instance, the group called Heritage of Children of Canada oppose Bill 68. They said this, “We find the threshold draconian and against all principles of democratic and natural justice.” That is why the Liberals do not want to see a thorough committee of the whole consideration. Draconian is right. This motion before the House should go hand in hand with Bill 68, because this motion is as draconian as Bill 68 is.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -- once again, hardworking men and women who help build our communities, representing thousands and thousands of workers here in the province of Ontario and elsewhere -- they too, before speaking out on things like legislation that is pending, would ensure that they have a thorough and careful analysis of what is contained in the legislation.
They have this to say about Bill 68, “The elimination of compensation for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life for 90 to 95 per cent of innocent motor vehicle accident victims is totally unacceptable.” The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers opposes Bill 68 too.
Who supports it? The Ontario automobile insurance industry. They are the people who are going to enjoy the billion-dollar payday once this legislation is passed. The Ontario automobile insurance industry is going to have a billion-dollar payday, and every penny of that billion bucks is going to come from the pockets of taxpayers and drivers, from drivers as a result of premium increases that are going to be as high as 50 per cent. Most sadly, it is going to come from innocent injured accident victims, who are going to be denied compensation for their pain and suffering. That is why the Liberals do not want to see a thorough discussion, a complete discussion and an appropriate discussion of Bill 68 and its amendments in committee of the whole.
Let me tell members what the Labourers’ Provincial District Council of Ontario had to say about this. They opposed Bill 68 and they see it as bad and dangerous for drivers, workers, taxpayers and victims in Ontario.
Let me tell members what Lakehead University Student Union said about this legislation. They said, “It was a concern because of the unfair consequences this legislation will have on post-secondary students, particularly in northwestern Ontario.” Those people and those organizations oppose Bill 68. Who supports it? The Ontario automobile insurance industry.
The Metropolitan Toronto Police Association, in a letter to the Premier dated 21 December 1989 -- the date of that letter is significant because that was the date by which the Minister of Financial Institutions -- I almost called him Murray Elston inappropriately -- was committed to ramming this insurance legislation through this House, and it was only because the opposition fought for committee hearings, brief as they were, that it was not.
That letter to the Premier, whose scheme this Bill 68 really is -- I mean it is his chain that the insurance industry yanks when wanting to talk about how legislation ought to be drafted -- a letter representing thousands and thousands of hardworking policewomen and policemen here in the city of Toronto and area, had this to say: “This piece of legislation is one of the most ill conceived in living memory. It will have a horrendous effect upon the fabric of society and will severely compromise and curtail the rights of Ontario citizens.”
The Metropolitan Toronto Police Association not only represents a large number of people -- that is enough said; it is trite to say that -- but it represents people who are confronted with the sad realities of injuries on a day-by-day basis. They understand, virtually as well as anybody would, what it means to be a victim of a motor vehicle accident. They understand far better than most do what it means to be crippled, to lose the use of limbs, to be handicapped, to be disabled as a result of being an innocent injured victim.
The Metropolitan Toronto Police Association said this about Bill 68, about this insurance scheme being proposed by the Liberals: “This piece of legislation is one of the most ill-conceived in living memory. It will have a horrendous effect upon the fabric of society and will severely compromise and curtail the rights of Ontario’s citizens.” That is telling and it is obvious that factor helps motivate the Liberals to want to curtail meaningful debate and discussion about this bill right here in the Legislature.
Ralph Nader: We have talked more than a couple of times about his attendance before the committee. He appeared there on 15 January. He of course has familiarized himself with insurance schemes across North America. He said: “This plan, for at least 90 per cent of the accident injury cases in this province, would eliminate compensation for pain and suffering and even compensation for economic loss if an injury does not make the verbal threshold. In short, Premier Peterson is asking the people of Ontario to buy a pig in a poke.”
All these people and organizations representing tens and hundreds of thousands of people, indeed millions of people here in the province of Ontario, are opposed to Bill 68. Who supports Bill 68? Who supports the Liberal government in its bid to ram Bill 68 through this Legislature? The Ontario automobile insurance industry, because they are the ones that stand to make the big bucks.
Ontario Association of Children’s Mental Health Centres: This is what they have to say about Bill 68: “The overall scheme discriminates against persons with a mental disability. The scheme also discriminates specifically against children under 16.”
The Liberals were confronted with this time and time and time again during the course of those brief committee hearings. Unfortunately, and this is where the minister misses the point, the minister was not at those committee hearings. He was not there to respond to questions about the impact of certain clauses in Bill 68, about the intent of the legislation in so far as it applied to, let’s say, kids under 16, who suffer most as a result of this legislation, along with perhaps seniors.
The parliamentary assistant, the member for Guelph, did his very best to respond but his heart just was not in it. As often as not, with great candour the parliamentary assistant, the member for Guelph, acknowledged and conceded that he was ignorant of the purpose of a particular clause, that he was unaware why a particular clause or section in Bill 68 was worded the way it was worded.
He did his very best -- he fell back on the civil servants who were there accompanying him -- but at that his very best did not suffice. He was unable to answer so many of the questions that were put to him in the short committee process. It is mandatory, it is virtually compulsory now that there be complete committee of the whole hearings and that the minister be present so that he can be questioned and required to participate in a debate about the legislation and about the amendments contained in Bill 68, and the additional amendments being proposed by the government.
The Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations represents seniors, those good folks in our communities across Ontario who have worked hard all of their lives, who have raised their children, who have worked hard enough that they can begin to enjoy their retirement. In summation, after a thorough consideration of the impact of Bill 68, they said, “In our view the bill should be scrapped,” not amended, not tinkered with, not jerked around with, but scrapped, dumped, dropped, abandoned.
They saw nothing about Bill 68 that is going to improve their lot. Indeed they were well aware, just as Don McKay, the general manager of Facility Association was aware back in the fall of 1989 and just like Mr Justice Osborne was aware in the fall-winter of 1989, that Bill 68 was going to force more and more seniors into Facility Association where their premium rates were going to be in the thousands and thousands of dollars.
The Ontario Federation of Labour, representing once again tens and hundreds of thousands of hardworking men and women here in the province of Ontario, said this: “Bill 68 is seriously flawed. In its current version the bill will have significant and detrimental implications for the average working men and women who are our members.” Those hundreds and thousands of people who are members of workers’ organizations, trade unions associated with the Ontario Federation of Labour, all know that this is bad legislation, all want the legislation scrapped, all want it dropped.
The Ontario Head Injury Association: It has been said so many times. Mr Rempel and his son Jeremy were among the most articulate and effective of spokespeople speaking out against Bill 68. Young Jeremy was the victim of an accident that leaves him now in a wheelchair at times and leaves him a head injury victim. Notwithstanding that, young Jeremy has displayed a strength and courage that permits him to come to this committee, expose the Liberal members of that committee to the realities of being a head injury victim and try to explain to them that this bill, Bill 68, ignores head injury victims, victimizes them a second time.
The Minister of Financial Institutions is not content with a person being crushed to the ground by a reckless driver or a negligent driver and being victimized in that way, but the Minister of Financial Institutions wants to victimize that same person a second time when the Minister of Financial Institutions would deny that same person compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.
If the Minister of Financial Institutions had been at those committee hearings he would have heard those pleas. He would have heard the Jeremy Rempels who came before that committee and said: “This is bad legislation. It is going to have an horrendous impact on the fabric of life in Ontario.” But the minister was not there. He chose not to attend. Whether he was told not attend by the Ontario automobile insurance industry, who knows? Only he can tell us that. That is why it is important that we have committee of the whole discussions of the bill on a clause-by-clause basis and why the amendments to the bill be considered thoroughly.
Mr Kormos: Now the Liberals, people like the member for Niagara South, from down Port Colborne-Fort Erie way, do not want to have debate about this legislation. The Liberal member for Niagara South wants to see Bill 68 rammed through the Legislature without debate. The Liberal member for Niagara South has had the people come to his constituency office, saying, “Please, don’t support this legislation.” The Liberal member for Niagara South, like other Liberal members here, cannot name a single individual who approached him endorsing this legislation. other than those individuals associated with the automobile insurance industry. The Liberal member for Niagara South did not spend one minute in discussion of this legislation during second reading.
The Liberal member for Niagara South -- listen to this, Mr Speaker -- has not even read Bill 68. The copy of Bill 68 that was given to the Liberal member for Niagara South is like the copies of so many family Bibles that sit on people’s mantles with the pages unturned. The back is not even broken on the copy of Bill 68 that was given to the Liberal member for Niagara South some time ago. That is why he does not want to have full and thorough debate in committee of the whole, or to have full and thorough debate during third reading. It is pathetic and he --
Let us look at what the Ontario Provincial Council of Labour says about Bill 68. They say. “The proposed Ontario motorist protection plan is totally unfair to the workers of our province.” What have we got now? We have the Ontario Provincial Council of Labour, the Ontario Federation of Labour, Canadian Auto Workers, Local 222, from Oshawa, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, all condemning Bill 68.
Do you see what the most tragic thing about this is, Mr Speaker? The most tragic thing is that all these people vote. Insurance companies do not. All these people we are talking about who are opposed to Bill 68 vote and will vote in the next general election. The insurance companies will not. The insurance companies will throw their wealth around. But what I cannot understand is how pathetic it is to see Liberal members selling out drivers, selling out taxpayers, selling out victims for what is going to amount in the best of times to a $500, $600 or maybe $750 donation from the auto insurance industry at election time.
Mind you, there have been a couple who have received more, and perhaps the favours exchanged were worth that more substantial remuneration. But it is incredible that Liberal members are prepared to sell out innocent injured victims for what, in the total scheme of things, amounts to a few hundred dollars worth of donations from automobile insurance industries at election time. That is sad.
This government, the Liberals in Ontario and the member for London Centre, as leader of the Liberal Party and as Premier of Ontario, have made a real big impression on teachers in Ontario. If he ever was on a Christmas card list, those days are long gone. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation says this, “The legislation should include the right to sue for psychological pain and suffering.” They do not support Bill 68 either. They say that, along with a whole bunch of other people.
Catch this, Mr Speaker: The Ontario Teachers’ Federation -- again, you are talking about thousands and thousands of people, hardworking, skilled people, talented people who contribute a whole lot to their communities here in the province of Ontario -- says that Bill 68 is regressive, lacking in fairness and that it is punitive. The Ontario Teachers’ Federation requests that the government of Ontario withdraw the proposed legislation and send it back for redrafting.
The Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan recommends that serious psychological injury or impairment be permitted to pierce the threshold, and that is exactly what the government has refused to do, exactly what it refuses to debate, exactly about which it has indicated, from very day one, there will be no changes. That is about the threshold, because that is the very heart of this whole legislation.
The Pain Management Clinic says this about the threshold, “The threshold wording, as it stands, is unjustifiably discriminatory.” People Against the Insurance Nightmare said that Ontario residents are being forced into a new insurance scheme that “summarily revokes fundamental justice and tramples basic human rights.” This organization of concerned community members and victims says that the people of Ontario are being forced into a new insurance scheme that summarily revokes fundamental justice and tramples basic human rights.
The Police Association of Ontario: We have already learned what the Metropolitan Toronto Police Association thinks of Bill 68. Let me run that one past members again. The Metropolitan Toronto Police Association, those hardworking men and women who protect us on a daily basis and sadly have so much personal contact with the horrors of motor vehicle victims, say this about Bill 68, about the Liberals’ scheme that they are trying to ram through without full debate: The Liberals’ Bill 68 is “one of the most ill-conceived in living memory. It will have a horrendous effect upon the fabric of society and will severely compromise and curtail the rights of Ontario citizens.”
Let me tell you what police officers across Ontario say. The Police Association of Ontario says this, “As a result of the grossly unfair, even punitive loss of income provisions found in the plan, members” -- their members – “will be forced to pay higher insurance premiums for income protection plans through their employers.”
The myth about even controlling auto insurance premiums is thoroughly debunked. “There simply are not going to be controlled premiums. The insurance premiums for drivers across Ontario, if this legislation passes, are going to go up by as much as 50 per cent.
Mr Kormos: People to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere. We talked a whole lot about John Bates and PRIDE yesterday, members will recall. John Bates is the president of PRIDE, the organization called People to Reduce Impaired Driving everywhere.
PRIDE says this about Bill 68, about the attempt of the Liberals to generate incredible new profits for the auto insurance industry at the expense of drivers, taxpayers and victims. One wonders why the Liberals would propose such a short period of time in their closure motion, because it is really quite simple. This legislation, this insurance scheme that the Liberals are proposing, is going to create, in the first year alone, $1 billion of new profit for the insurance industry in Ontario by taking that money from taxpayers, by taking that money from drivers and, as I have said, most sadly, by taking it from innocent injured accident victims.
Each and every Liberal member who would dare support this time closure motion or dare support this bill is denying innocent injured accident victims compensation that is rightly theirs. That is the saddest thing of all.
PRIDE says this: “The threshold introduces an unacceptable air of uncertainty about who will and who will not be able to sue. The exclusion of pain and suffering as being legitimately compensationable is harsh and thoughtless.”
I remember well and I suspect that other committee members remember -- the Liberals who were on that committee do not because they prefer not to remember -- when trade unionists representing tens and hundreds of thousands of workers appeared before that committee telling the Liberals that the legislation should be scrapped. I remember when Rob West from the St Catharines and District Labour Council came before the committee. The St Catharines and District Labour Council represents a whole lot of Canadian auto --
Mr Kormos: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We will live with the fact that it was dumb. The problem when that happens is that sometimes I lose my spot, so rather than risk missing something, I should go back to the Police Association of Ontario.
The Police Association of Ontario condemns Bill 68. That association represents police officers all over Ontario -- small towns, big cities. Down in Niagara South, the police officers from the Niagara Regional Police Force who live in Port Colborne and Fort Erie and vote in Niagara South are represented by the Police Association of Ontario. The police officers from Niagara region who live in Niagara Falls belong to the Police Association of Ontario and are represented by it. They know that as a result of the grossly unfair, even punitive loss-of-income provisions found in the plan, members will be forced to pay higher insurance premiums for income protection plans through their employers. They do not want to see Bill 68 passed. They see Bill 68 as bad legislation, indeed, dangerous legislation.
St Catharines and District Labour Council: When you are talking about a group of trade unionists who live in the area of Thorold, St Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Grimsby, Pelham, these tens of thousands of hardworking men and women who are represented by the St Catharines and District Labour Council, these men and women who live in Grimsby, Pelham, Fenwick, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St Catharines, Thorold and Niagara Falls, they say that the burden placed on individual workers who may be required to use sick leave credits or sick pay to offset the already limited responsibility of the insurance company for lost wages incurred by accident victims is unfair. Those workers say that Bill 68 must be scrapped.
Do you want to know something else, Mr Speaker? Those workers have no intention of voting for a government or for members of a party who would propose such unfair legislation and who would desert the drivers, the victims and the taxpayers of Ontario in favour of the profits of the Ontario automobile insurance industry. They have no intention of voting for Liberals in the next general election.
One moment, Mr Speaker; this one warrants some respectful silence. All these people I am talking about oppose Bill 68. The insurance companies in Ontario support it. Let me tell members about another organization that opposes Bill 68. This warrants some silence. The Sudbury provincial Liberal association, at a meeting held on 28 January, passed a motion which concluded as follows: “The association recommends that the government of Ontario reject the Ontario motorist protection plan in its present form and requests our members to vote against the legislation.”
Wait a minute, Mr Speaker, in case anybody missed that. Seriously, this warrants repeating. What I have been doing is going through a list of those people and organizations that oppose Bill 68. They know that Bill 68 is bad legislation. The Sudbury provincial Liberal association passed a motion. It was not just a recommendation they made to their members; they passed a motion calling upon their member, a Liberal, to vote against the legislation, Bill 68. They recommended that the government of Ontario reject the Ontario motorist protection plan in its present form and requested their member to vote against the legislation.
The town of Milton passed a resolution condemning the legislation. The town of Aurora passed a resolution condemning Bill 68. The town of Vaughan passed a resolution condemning Bill 68. Mr Speaker, seriously, this warrants everybody’s close attention. The Sudbury East Provincial Liberal Association, at a meeting held 29 January, passed a motion which concluded as follows: “The association recommends that the government of Ontario reject the Ontario motorist protection plan in its present form and it requests our members to vote against the legislation.”
I do not understand how the Liberals here can justify their continued support for Bill 68 when their own riding associations democratically call upon them to oppose it, when the people of Ontario call upon them to oppose it. Workers and trade unionists are calling upon the Liberals to condemn and oppose Bill 68. The Police Association of Ontario asks the government to oppose Bill 68. The Metropolitan Toronto Police Association asks the government to drop Bill 68. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation opposes it. The insurance industry in Ontario supports Bill 68.
The Committee for Fair Action in Insurance Reform opposes Bill 68. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers opposes Bill 68. The Lakehead University students’ union opposes Bill 68. The auto insurance industry supports it and wants it passed.
Ralph Nader, an internationally acknowledged consumer advocate, opposes Bill 68. He is saddened by the fact that, as he says, Americans have for a long time looked to Canada and provinces like Ontario for leadership and progressive legislation. Now he sees such dangerous and regressive legislation. He talks about the elimination of compensation for pain and suffering and even compensation for economic loss if an injury does not make the verbal threshold. He says, “In short, Premier Peterson is asking the people of Ontario to buy a pig in a poke.”
The Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations said, “In our view, the bill should be scrapped.” The Ontario Federation of Labour has this to say: “Bill 68 is seriously flawed. It will have significant and detrimental implications for the average working men and women who are our members.” The Ontario Pipe Trades Council condemns the legislation; the Ontario Provincial Council of Labour condemns the legislation; the Ontario Psychological Association condemns the legislation; the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation condemns it; a whole bunch more, along with the Sudbury provincial Liberal association.
I suppose what I should do is commend the members, the voting members of that association; greet them, say hello to them and commend them for their good judgement. along with the Sudbury provincial Liberal association, which called upon all Liberal members to vote against Bill 68.
But the Ontario automobile insurance industry is telling these Liberal members to support Bill 68 and to make it become law as quickly as possible. The Ontario automobile insurance industry is pleased that these Liberals are trying to suppress the opposition, trying to muzzle the opposition, trying to prevent meaningful debate.
Hon Mr Ward: Pursuant to standing order 53, the business for the week of 8 April is as follows: Monday 9 April, resuming the adjourned debate on government notice of motion 30 in relation to Bill 68. At the conclusion of the debate on government notice of motion 30. we will proceed to committee of the whole House on Bill 68.
Tuesday 10 April, we will deal with any previously unfinished business; on Wednesday we will deal with any previously unfinished business; Thursday, for private members’ public business, private members’ ballot items 41 and 42 standing in the names of the member for Algoma and the member for Sarnia, respectively.
For the orders of the day, at the conclusion of any previously unfinished business of the week, if there is any, we will proceed to third reading debate on Bill 68, and if there is any additional time, we will have second reading debate on Bills 106, 107, 96, 108 and 114.