Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, you might recall that I was talking about the comments made by one D. W. Monteith from Newmarket. Mr Speaker, I am so pleased that you made note of the visitors here in the gallery. These folk came down here to Queen’s Park at midnight. There are another 35 telephone calls here. These people came down here to Queen’s Park at midnight on Thursday 26 April 1990 to see something very special. They came down here at midnight on Thursday 26 April 1990 because we have a whole bunch of people here at Queen’s Park right now who do not think the Liberals should be able to shut down oppositions either. We have a whole bunch of people right here at Queen’s Park sitting in these galleries. You know what, Mr Speaker? There is room for more.
We are doing something very special this evening. This House is sitting well beyond what the rules normally call for. We are into the 30th hour or so of this debate. I am speaking of the 30th hour that I have been speaking on the issue. I tell you, Mr Speaker, there is a whole lot more to come. You are talking about a speech that is the longest speech in the history of the provincial Legislature and, Mr Speaker, as of midnight tonight you are also talking about the longest single speech at any one time: from 6 pm until 12 midnight tonight. The fact is, we broke the Queen’s Park record some weeks ago for day-to-day speeches, and today we broke the record for the longest single speech. But you know what, Mr Speaker? There is more to come.
I will tell you what I want to talk about for just a minute. We are going to get back to Mr Monteith’s record shortly. You know, Mr Speaker, that 8 January 1990 was the only day that the Minister of Financial Institutions appeared at the standing committee on general government during its consideration of Bill 68. The House leader has a hard time understanding why we find it repugnant that the Liberals would want to spend but two afternoons in committee of the whole over Bill 68. Why, these guys want to crush the life out of democracy. The Liberals here at Queen’s Park do not just want to impose closure on the opposition; the Liberals want to impose closure on the people of Ontario, on the drivers and taxpayers and innocent injured victims. That is what is happening with this motion.
Back on 8 January 1990 the Minister of Financial Institutions appeared in front of the general government committee for about one afternoon. He appeared there to unload his salvo, to dump all over, if you will, people like John Bates from PRIDE. Do you know John Bates, the president of PRIDE, People to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere, Mr Speaker? Why, Mr Bates is just about one of the finest people that this province has ever seen. You are talking about People to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere, an organization that is committed to speaking out for the victims of drunk drivers, that is committed to speaking out and coming to the aid of the families, of the young people and old, but the young and old whose lives are crushed out, snuffed out by the drunk on the highway. You are talking about John Bates, who has probably given this government more guidance on how to respond to the problem of drinking and driving, and the carnage that that creates on the highway, than any other single person.
What does the Minister of Financial Institutions do? Without John Bates being there, without any representative from PRIDE being there on 8 January 1990, the only day that the minister showed up -- the only day of its complete sittings that the Minister of Financial Institutions showed up, graced that committee with his presence, if such can be grace -- he showed up there to dump all over people like John Bates from PRIDE, to dump all over him. I tell you, Mr Speaker, John Bates from PRIDE deserves better, especially from the Minister of Financial Institutions. John Bates has dedicated this latter part of his lifetime to making life better for people here in the province of Ontario, but the Minister of Financial Institutions did not leave it at that.
You see, Ralph Nader had been here in Toronto some couple of months prior. Ralph had come up here from the United States to talk about the tragedy that threshold insurance posed for Canadian drivers, Canadian taxpayers and Ontario’s innocent injured victims. These are the same innocent injured victims whom we have been talking about. I tell you that it is the case that, if Bill 68 is permitted to become law, over 95 per cent of them will not be entitled to any compensation for pain and suffering or for loss of enjoyment of life. Mr Speaker, does that impress you as fair? There is not a fair-minded person in this province who would find that acceptable. But the insurance industry is oh-so-pleased about that, that threshold which is going to guarantee that at least 95 per cent of all innocent injured accident victims here in the province of Ontario do not receive a penny in compensation for pain and suffering or for loss of enjoyment of life.
The insurance companies find that quite acceptable. You know why, Mr Speaker? Because that is going to put $823 million into the insurance companies’ pockets in the first year alone, that is why. The insurance companies of the province of Ontario are prepared to bolster up their profits to tune of almost $1 billion on the broken backs, the broken legs, the broken arms, the fractured skulls of kids and other victims of drunk drivers, careless drivers, negligent drivers.
Back to Mr Nader here at Queen’s Park. In the latter part of 1989, Mr Nader came up here to tell Canadians, based on his experience as a consumer advocate and his experience with the insurance industry. We are talking about a consumers’ rights expert whose testimony has been accepted by dozens and dozens of congressional and senatorial investigations into the insurance industry in the United States of America.
The Minister of Financial Institutions felt real brave appearing on that day -- the only half day he ever showed up in front of that general government committee. Remember that this is the same general government committee where the member for Guelph, the minister’s parliamentary assistant, after we appeared in Sudbury said, “Oh my; we” -- those are the Liberals -- “got hammered by the opposition.”
What was the opposition? You remember, Mr Speaker. You know who opposed Bill 68 in front of those committee hearings. You know the insurance industry was there advocating it and the insurance industry was looking at a billion-dollar payday, and quite frankly still is. The insurance industry figures it has at least rented if not actually bought a government.
The auto insurance industry here in the province of Ontario thinks that Bill 68 is rightly its. I will tell you, Mr Speaker: That same insurance industry figures that it has at least rented if not actually bought a government. So representatives of that same auto insurance industry from here in the province of Ontario were appearing in front of that committee telling these Liberals sitting on that committee -- and it is not that the Liberals on the committee were Allen or were unknown to the insurance industry, because what we had discovered, in short order, was that some of the very same Liberals sitting on that committee, on that general government committee, whose job it was to hear submissions about Bill 68, had been receiving insurance company donations at election time. You see, it might be unparliamentary to suggest that that should be called grease, but where I come from we call that grease; we call that payola.
Mr Speaker, I am telling you, you have people sitting on that committee who have received not insignificant donations from auto insurance companies during the course of their 1987 election campaigns. You know what, Mr Speaker? They did not even declare that obvious conflict. Those same Liberals sitting on that general government committee had been the beneficiaries of some awfully impressive insurance company largess. Why, it is no wonder premiums are so high; look at what the insurance companies are spending those premium dollars on. Some of the very same members who were sitting in deliberation of submissions being made to them by people from all across Ontario had themselves been the beneficiaries and the grantees; had been able to pocket, for their campaigns, money donated to them by the auto insurance industry here in the province of Ontario.
I suppose that some of the damage could have been undone had those same people stood up and said: “Look, I’m quite eager to sit on this general government committee. I want you on the committee and you in the public to understand that in fact, yes, I have received donations from the auto insurance industry.” That would have gone a little bit of the way towards -- you know the old adage, Mr Speaker: Justice must not only be done -- I will bet there are a few Liberals in the lawyers’ ranks who forgot this a long time ago -- but it must also seem or appear to be done. People have to be satisfied that what is happening is legitimate and fair.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, I want to get back to what I was talking about, but I have to tell you that people are listening all over the province. Greta Parrotta in Welland just called in. She says no-fault is no good. In fact, in spite of the fact that some of the people in her household have to go to work tomorrow they are going to stay up all night to watch this with the rest of these folks. So God bless Greta Parrotta.
Jane Brain from Hamilton-Wentworth called on behalf of several single mothers: “If Bill 68 goes through, these moms won’t be able to drive their children to school. Citizens of the future are being threatened by this bill.”
Why will the Liberals not listen to Jane Brain? Why will the Liberals not listen to Alan Wilson of Barrie? Why will the Liberals not listen to Greta Parrotta of Welland? Because these people are not insurance company executives; because these people cannot make $1,000 contributions at election time; because these people do not have boardrooms in big high-rises with thick, plush carpets; because these people work for their livings and the Liberal Party of Ontario is not interested in representing people who work hard for livings. I tell you that, Mr Speaker.
Pat Poirier from St Catharines is listening and he just called in and said it is time the government was accountable to the people. Delema Duquett from North Bay had been trying for four hours to call us at 965-1224. She finally got through. She says “Keep it up,” that the Liberals have forgotten them up there in the north. You bet your boots they have.
Why will the Liberals not listen to people like Delema Duquett? Because she is not an executive from a big insurance company with big donations to make at election time. That is why. Mr Speaker, could you please make them listen? Could you? Because that is all we want. All we want is the Liberals in this province to do what the people of this province want done. All we want is for the Liberals to say to the insurance companies: “The insurance companies are on their own. We’re going to finally decide to represent the working people of this province instead of the big, wealthy, powerful insurance industry.”
All we want is 29 Liberals, because that is all we need to defeat this motion: 29 Liberals who want to be re-elected. We are looking for 29 Liberals who like their jobs and want to get re-elected, because those 29 Liberals will vote no to defeat this time motion and those 29 Liberals will vote no on Bill 68. I tell you what, Mr Speaker: Remember I told you earlier about Jeanne Dixon’s predictions? I do not know about the rest of it, but I can tell you this: Those 29 Liberals will get re-elected. That is a guarantee.
Lisa Curtez from Mississauga says “No way” to Bill 68. Lisa Curtez has a six-star rating and her auto insurance has gone up 50 per cent before Bill 68 even gets implemented. Lisa Curtez is scared out of her wits and she is going to be among those people, among those almost a third of a million people right here in the province of Ontario who, once Bill 68 is passed, will face premium increases of as high as 80 per cent.
Mr Speaker, I tell you that the general government committee heard submissions about Bill 68. I tell you, the insurance industry supported Bill 68. The insurance industry wants Bill 68 passed so bad. The insurance industry -- you want to know something? They ain’t phoning in, but they are watching. The insurance industry is not phoning in, but I tell you they are watching, because they are as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. They have already started to spend the money that they were planning on making by virtue of Bill 68. Those Lamborghinis and those Ferraris have already been ordered and the down payments have already been made. There are going to be an awful lot of insurance company executives awfully disappointed if we can manage to find 29 good Liberals who want to get re-elected.
I will tell you about who has been appearing in front of the general government committee. We are going to get to Ralph Nader, because he appeared there. I want to talk to you about what Ralph Nader told that committee, because that is the important thing. You see, the Minister of Financial Institutions was not there. He would dump all over Ralph Nader when Ralph Nader was gone, but when Ralph Nader showed up did the minister confront him? No way; no sirree, Bob. I tell you: No, sir, he would not show up and confront him, not for love or money. The fact is that on 8 January 1990 the Minister of Financial Institutions dumped all over Ralph Nader.
There are more telephone calls. Peter and Mona Holt from Toronto Island: “The Liberals have forgotten drivers, northerners and tenants.” Gary from Welland has been up for 36 hours but he will stay up all night to watch.
People are concerned about what is happening here in this assembly. People have never seen anything like this because people have never seen the Liberals try to impose such unpopular legislation. People have never seen the public of Ontario sold out so thoroughly and so quickly and so promptly by a government that could not give a tinker’s damn for the drivers or the taxpayers or the innocent injured victims, those 95 per cent of all innocent injured victims who will not get a penny, not a nickel, not a dime in compensation for their pain and suffering. Those are the people who are being sold out so that an insurance industry that is already very powerful -- we know that, because it can pull the strings of a government -- and very wealthy can find and earn new profits, windfall profits, of $1 billion in the first year alone.
Mr Kormos: Most people should be in bed at this time of night, you and I included, Mr Speaker. But what is happening here is far too important. That is why William and Dorothy Payson from St Catharines call in and talk about how Bill 68 is going to inevitably drive up their insurance premiums.
John Bates from People to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere called in. I tell you, Mr Speaker, John Bates is one of the finest people, one of the most selfless people I have ever met. John Bates, the president of PRIDE, is one of our great Ontarians and I say that without hesitation. The man is a kind, unassuming, gentle person and I tell you this, he is intolerant. You know that? John Bates is intolerant. It would seem that intolerance would have become a nasty word in our society and, indeed, to a large extent it has. But John Bates is intolerant of the drunk who would thoughtlessly smash down the kid into the asphalt on the highway. John Bates is intolerant of the reckless, negligent, careless driver, the very same sort of reckless, negligent, careless drunken driver who is likely and possibly to be treated better under Bill 68 than his or her victim. That is exactly what we would like to talk to the Minister of Financial Institutions about.
You know what, Mr Speaker? I wish John Bates were right here. I wish John Bates were right here in this assembly so that people could look at what a great Ontarian looks like, I tell you that. If John Bates were to come here, we should be proud, as members of this assembly, for him to grace us with his presence. And the Minister of Financial Institutions dumps all over him. John Bates came to the general government committee. Was the Minister of Financial Institutions there to confront John Bates? No, no, no.
So that is why we oppose this time allocation motion, the two scant afternoons, the two two-and-a-half-hour periods that the government and the Premier of Ontario want to ensure that there is no meaningful debate about Bill 68. All that the House leader’s time allocation motion permits is but two scant afternoons for committee of the whole. That is not even enough time for the Liberals to read into the record their proposed amendments. It makes a mockery, a sham, a pathetic mockery and sham of this assembly and of democracy in this province.
John Lent from Timmins phoned in some time around 5 or 10 minutes ago and he has been trying to get through for over an hour. He and his family are right behind us. He says no to time allocation and he says no to no-fault. James Singh from Willowdale is watching and he is saying, “No way to time allocation, no way to no-fault.”
Remember, I was going to talk to you, Mr Speaker, about the kinds of people opposing Bill 68 at the general government committee. The Metropolitan Toronto Police Association was there on behalf of their thousands and thousands of good policemen and policewomen saying no to the Liberals’ no-fault. No-fault? There is lots of fault with it. About the only people in this province for whom it is any good are the auto insurance industry, because it is going to make new windfall profits of $1 billion in the first year alone. Can you believe it?
It is an industry that I tell you is not doing badly, thank you. It is doing quite fine. In 1989, the insurance industry in Canada enjoyed record profits for the last eight years. Profits for the insurance industry in Canada for 1989 were in excess of $1 billion, and this government wants to hand over to the auto insurance industry in this province another $1-billion windfall and I tell you, Mr Speaker, that is the first year alone. Do you think it is going to stop there? Not on your life. It is not going to stop there, I tell you that.
Nobody has ever talked about one-time-only premium increases. Because I tell you this, Mr Speaker: If your premiums go up by as much as 50 per cent in the first year, you can count on it, they are going to go up by at least that much in the second year and then more in the third, in the fourth, in the fifth. Look at what we are talking about. We are talking about a corporate automobile insurance industry whose purpose is to make profits. It is as simple as that and nobody is disputing that. But understand, for the briefest of moments, how an insurance company makes profits. Do not forget, their goal is to make the most amount of profit.
We have got business people sitting right here who understand that that is what free enterprise is all about, and when you leave something up to the corporate sector that is what you are left with, an industry that wants to maximize its profits. But how does the insurance industry do that? How does the insurance industry maximize profits? Well, you know how: by charging the greatest amount of premiums and paying out the least amount of compensation. It is not that hard to figure out, is it? It is pretty obvious to the most casual observer. There is nothing mysterious about it. Insurance companies have the proverbial short arms and deep pockets. That is the nature of the beast.
There is nothing that has happened lately in this province that has caused the leopard to change its spots. Boards of directors in the insurance industry have not become occupied all of a sudden by Mother Teresas. They have not become charitable organizations. They are the same profit-making organizations they were last year, and the decade before and the decade before that.
Ralph Nader came to tell the people of Ontario that Bill 68 will not fly. The Ontario Teachers’ Federation came to tell the Liberals of Ontario, “Bill 68, no-fault, no way, no thanks.” St Catharines and District Labour Council -- you remember, Mr Speaker -- Rob West; he came to this general government committee to tell the Liberals on that committee that the 15,000 workers he represents from the St Catharines area and the St Catharines and District Labour Council oppose Bill 68. They oppose threshold insurance.
The provincial Sudbury Liberal Association passed a resolution condemning Bill 68. Indeed, the provincial Sudbury East Liberal Association passed a resolution condemning Bill 68 and calling upon Liberal members to vote against it, and in the case of Sudbury, calling on its own member, because, as the members well know, that riding is represented in this Legislature, at least until the next general election, by a Liberal.
The Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Labour -- they all oppose Bill 68, while the auto insurance industry is real gung-ho about Bill 68. If you are an auto insurance executive, Bill 68 is just about a perfect piece of legislation, no two ways about it. They did not even dare ask for that, remember that? Remember in front of Mr Justice Osborne, the multimillion-dollar provincial inquiry? The Liberals are giving the insurance industry more than the insurance industry dared even ask for.
Jessie Provan, East York, has been trying to get through for hours. She is 36 years in Canada. She blesses me, and I appreciate that. Lord knows. Mr Speaker, I need as many blessings as I can get. I tell you that right now. You know that better than I do. Jessie Provan is a senior from East York. She is going to stay up all night.
Here is a worker from State Farm Insurance who phoned up. He said it is already set up. It is a go. What does that mean, Mr Speaker? Does that mean that the whole parliamentary function has been usurped? Does that mean that the Liberals were bold enough to dare count their chickens before their eggs hatched? Does that mean the Liberals had their marching orders and that the only thing they can avail themselves of now is the Nuremberg defence? Does that mean it is in the bag, it is all wrapped up with a bow? Not if I have anything to do with it, not if the rest of the New Democratic caucus here has anything to do with it and not if we can find 29 Liberals who want to get re-elected in the next general election. A worker from State Farm phones up and says it is already set up. He says, “Quite frankly, the whole scene is disgusting.”
A lady called at 12:15 to say good night. She is smarter than all of us. She is going to bed. But she adds that she hopes we are still going when she gets up in the morning. That is easy for her to say.
Mr Kormos: I am just amazed at the occasional squawk that comes out of Liberal benches here. When I hear that squeal of pain, I sort of feel like a dentist. I feel as if I should be asking the nurse to administer more Novocain, because I know we are getting close to a nerve when the Liberals start doing their jack-in-the-box routines, jumping up and down, doing points of order, doing this and that in every which way they can.
Do you want to know something, Mr Speaker? Their House leader promised them that I was going to be out of here by around 10 o’clock, 10:30. Do you know that? No, not on your life, because we have a time allocation motion to talk about.
I wanted to talk specifically about what Ralph Nader had to say on 15 January in front of the standing committee on general government. If I had the 15 January transcript, which I had here a moment ago, I would be referring to that. As it is now, I might have to refer to 8 January. But, Mr Speaker, I am going to talk more about the people who oppose Bill 68. Those are the people who came before the general government committee. Those are the people about whom the parliamentary assistant, as I told you before, said, “We got hammered.” That is to say, the Liberals got hammered by the opposition.
The first day that committee sat was 8 January 1990, at least in terms of hearing submissions. I have told you this before, Mr Speaker, but I think it warrants impressing upon you, if you will permit me. What we are doing here is trying to get these Liberals to acknowledge that the people of Ontario want to see a full debate about Bill 68; that they will not tolerate jackbootism; that they insist that the Liberals not be permitted to hijack Parliament, to hijack the Legislature, and I have little difficulty joining with them in that regard.
On 15 January 1990 -- I thought I would never find it -- Ralph Nader appeared in front of the general government committee. One of the things I wanted to try to tell you, Mr Speaker, and this is important, when we are talking about why we feel it is so imperative that there be full discussion of Bill 68, is that the general government committee -- mind you, it was dominated by Liberals. You see, how it works is that you have six Liberals, two New Democrats and two Tories. I tell you, that is depressing, no two ways about it. The fact is that the Liberals vote in a bloc. You have the trained-seal syndrome. You have a whole bunch of Liberals who are really good at holding the red ball on their noses for hours on end. But think for themselves? Not for a million bucks. Oh, for the insurance companies, a billion bucks, but for themselves, not for a million bucks.
So you got Liberals on there who resisted every New Democrat move to try to open up the process. We are talking about Liberals who ran -- I am not old enough that my memory should be starting to fail me, and I distinctly remember the Liberals in this province running on a campaign that there was going to be open government, a campaign of consultation. They were going to consult.
Gail Baldwin from Mississauga: Her friends are coming down. Well, come on down. But she cannot come because she has been in an auto accident. She knows that if Bill 68 had been passed before her accident, she would not receive the compensation she is entitled to. So we all wish Gail Baldwin the very best, I know that, and a speedy recovery.
People have accused me of delaying Bill 68. Do you want to know something, Mr Speaker? Every day that we have been able to prevent Bill 68 from becoming law, there are people out there who are tragically the victims of motor vehicle accidents who will get compensation that is rightly theirs. Do you want to know something? If I can be accused of delaying Bill 68, why I --
Mr Kormos: You see, I told you. Bring on the Novocain, Mr Speaker, we are touching a nerve, honest to goodness. Tell them not to worry, we are not going to pull it, we are just going to drill a little more. This is the proverbial political root canal, ain’t it? It is tough out there when you have made promises to the insurance industry that are getting all fouled up now. They promised the insurance industry that this was going to be wrapped up lock, stock and barrel and it is not.
Do you want to know why, Mr Speaker? Because hundreds of people have been phoning in to Queen’s Park tonight alone, to 965-1239 and they have been phoning in to 965-1224. They have been waiting for as long as one, two and three hours to get through on those lines, people like Gail Baldwin who is sending her friends down to Queen’s Park because they have a right to be here.
Mr Kormos: Arnold Walker from St Thomas called in. He has been watching this for a few weeks. He tells the opposition that we have his full support. He says that we are doing a great job. We appreciate that because it is phone calls like this that people are calling in to 965-1224 and 965-1239, people phoning in to those phones right here at Queen’s Park, right here in the members’ lobby, that are giving me the energy and the enthusiasm to make this last lap. I am going to be here at noon tomorrow.
Mr Kormos: You remember what happened on 15 January 1990, do you not, Mr Speaker? Vicky Turgeon from Welland and her son Todd are watching. They are up late at night and I appreciate their staying up to watch, but they are also seeing something really important happening right here in this province of Ontario. They are seeing hundreds and thousands of people telling these Liberals to take their closure and stuff it. Vicky Turgeon and her son Todd from Welland are watching this and they know what happened.
What happened on 15 January? Let me tell you what happened. Paul Jewell from Toronto knows that the Liberal majority is being used against democracy. The Liberal majority is being used to snuff out democracy. Paul Jewell from Toronto knows that.
John Morden and Barbara Gravenhurst have been trying for some time to get through. Mr Speaker, will you please listen to this? And it bothers me to have to say this. This disturbs me a great deal. Profanity? Yes, this is a profanity and it bothers me a great deal to say it, but John Morden and Barbara Gravenhurst say that they should remind the Liberals what Hitler’s regime did to democracy in Germany and that the Liberals in Queen’s Park ought to listen to the people of Ontario. That is a profanity. When people here in Ontario speak of their government and Hitler’s regime in the same breath, it is a sad day for the state of politics, is it not?
But the people cannot be fooled. The people know that what is happening is that legislation that is incredibly unpopular and incredibly bad is being forced upon the people of Ontario because the government sold its soul.
Jack Lavell, and Shane and Shawn; I know Jack Lavell, and he has sons, twins I think, Shane and Shawn. They phoned in with support. They note that the insurance companies are already training the employees on no-fault insurance before the legislation is passed. That shows you the arrogance of this government, a cocksure government that figures it is all wrapped up with the bull.
You know, you have got more people coming in here all the time, Mr Speaker. The people of Ontario and the people of Metropolitan Toronto should know that Queen’s Park is going to be open all night. There is going to be room in the members’ gallery for a whole lot of them, and their presence right here at a quarter to one and at one o’clock and at 1:30 and two o’clock is oh so important to all of us. There is something important happening here right now and you know it, Mr Speaker. It is happening here right now and you know it. These good people sitting here in these galleries know it and the people calling in on the phone to 965-1224 know it too.
On 15 January 1990, I have got to tell you, the general government committee -- it was never intended to be. The Minister of Financial Institutions -- and we are talking about legislation that was only introduced in the fall of 1989 -- had promised the insurance industry that it was going to be passed before December 20. The minister of Financial Institutions --
Remember what happened back in January of 1990? As I told you, the Liberals had no intention in November -- Mr Speaker, you and I were in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, for two days in November 1989. The general government committee was never intended to be. As I told you, the Minister of Financial Institutions -- I have got to move this chair out of the way because I need a little bit of room here, Mr Speaker -- promised the insurance industry that Bill 68 was going to be passed before the Christmas break, that Bill 68 was going to be passed before December 20, 1989.
He did not announce it to the Legislature; we read it in the newspapers. We said, “No, we won’t let the Liberals get away with that nonsense, not as long as we are in opposition, not as long as we can talk and walk and breathe.” So we leaned on them, we leaned on the Liberals a whole lot. But they have got this incredible majority. You know, Mr Speaker, sometimes that gets depressing, does it not? Sometimes it gets real depressing, because it is an arrogant and supercilious majority.
Michael Sands calls in from Toronto. Michael Sands says he would like to register his appreciation. He says, “Mr Smith Goes to Washington doesn’t hold a candle.” To boot, I think that was in black and white; this is in colour. Mr Smith Goes to Washington, a great Capra film, but if I remember correctly, it was in black and white. Is that correct, Mr Speaker? And this is in colour and this is live and people do not have to be watching us on their TVs, because there is room for them in these galleries right here at Queen’s Park, right here this morning, through until one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock. It sounds like an old Bill Haley song, does it not?
But I tell you there is room for those folks right here at Queen’s Park all night, all morning, and if one of them would please bring in an early edition of the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star, I have got some people here who would love to have it, because the fact is that New Democrats can chew gum and walk at the same time.
Steve Tanner from Sudbury, a college student from Sudbury living in Toronto, called in at 965-1224, and it took him a while. I just know that one of my colleagues sitting with me here is going to give me the other number.
Helen Brown in Welland, Grace Brown, Robert Brown, Robert Brown Jr and Brenda Brown -- the whole family is up. They are watching TV. It would be nice if they could be here, but Welland is, what, a 90-minute drive? Bless them.
Steve Tanner from Sudbury wants to know if David Peterson will buy his car when Steve cannot afford to drive because of auto insurance costs. I do not think so. You see, the problem is the Premier is a millionaire. That is not a big secret. The Premier is a millionaire.
The Acting Speaker: Let me see. The honourable member for Welland-Thorold has moved, not the adjournment of the debate, but the adjournment of the House. Now, I have to think about this for a minute. Yes, I think that is in order. If you would you like to speak to that, you can speak to that.
Mr R. F. Johnston: I was going to say that the government House leader has again confused matters for us and is trying to confuse you, Mr Speaker, as I know you will not be confused. Although it is true that the member has now twice adjourned the debate, after a considerable period of time of debating in this House, he has not, to this point, moved the adjournment of the House, which is his right to do, without any kind of impact on his adjournment of the debate. Such a motion is non-debatable and should be put to this House at this time.
The Acting Speaker: It being almost 1:30 in the morning, I thought someone would like to know that we are discussing, under orders of the day, item 51, resuming the adjourned debate on government notice of motion 30 on time allocation --
The Acting Speaker: When you are the Speaker, you will be able to do what you want to do. I am the Speaker, so I can do what I want to do. It is going to be a long morning, I can see that -- An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Insurance.
The Acting Speaker: Sorry. Resuming the adjourned debate on government notice of motion 30 on time allocation in relation to Bill 68 -- I did miss that; I am sorry -- An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Insurance.
Mr Kormos: I tell you, Mr Speaker, phone calls are coming in. People are calling us at 965-1224. People are phoning right here at Queen’s Park. Mr Speaker, get your pen ready because more people have called. People are calling 965-1239 and 965-1224.
A young fellow, Mike Ellis, vice-president of the Young Liberals in Markham -- his mother, Sandra, called. She, Mike, Marlene, Stephanie Ellis and Kristin Snelgrove, five life-long Liberals, are voting New Democrat in the next election because they do not want to have anything to do with time allocation and with Bill 68. This young fellow was the vice-president of the Young Liberals in Markham, and he and his family will have no more to do with Liberals in Ontario.
Rick Alakas calls from Welland with his support. I tell you, Mr Speaker, Rick is a working guy. I know Rick. He is a working guy, a factory worker. He knows what premiums are all about; he knows what premium increases are all about.
David Ashby calls from Welland and he says he wants to move in with the Premier because if his insurance goes up any more he will not be able to afford a car to get to work and David Ashby is hoping maybe the Premier will provide accommodation. The Premier could; the Premier is a millionaire. It is true, the Premier is a millionaire. He inherited it; a heck of a way to acquire a million bucks.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, it may not be important to you, but it is important to me that -- I can hear the bells ringing, I can hear those phones ringing, 965-1239. People are phoning, area code 416, 965-1239, and they are phoning 965-1224. We have people sitting right up here in this gallery who came down here to Queen’s Park, as is their right, to find out exactly what is happening here. I tell you, Mr Speaker, people across the province are saying, No way to the Liberals, no way to no-fault.”
Once again, I tell you, Mr Speaker, we are going to talk about Ralph Nader’s comments to the general government committee in just a few minutes, but Owen Ronson from Toronto calls in and wishes us great success. You see, Mr Speaker, those phone calls are important because when those phone calls stop I may just have to sit down. It is as simple as that. If those phone calls stop, we may have to give up the fight.
Paul Smith from Kitchener calls this great television. You know, Mr Speaker, what is happening here is great. Why? Because people across Ontario are saying no to the arrogance of the Liberal Party at Queen’s Park. People across Ontario are saying, “No way to no-fault.” People across Ontario are saying, “Never again to Liberal jackboots here at Queen’s Park.” Paul Smith from Kitchener calls and says this is great TV. He says he is a Tory but might go NDP. He says, “Keep it up.”
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, Carla Brunsdale phoned up. It is 1:35 in the morning on Friday morning. The people who are watching this at home are watching this live. The people who are watching this are watching this happen live.
Mr Kormos: Once again I tell you, Mr Speaker, I take those kinds of interjections as encouragement because I know that when the Liberals start squealing and squawking like that we are hitting close to home. As I told you before, I know that the drilling is hitting close to a nerve, and I appreciate that for a whole lot of Liberals this process is akin to a root canal. But you see, Mr Speaker, the problem is that they are the authors of their own misfortune. They have got choices about whether they are going to support the insurance industry, about whether they are going to support the profits of the insurance industry or indeed whether they are going to support the people, the taxpayers, the drivers and the innocent injured victims here in the province of Ontario. The impression that is being created is that the Liberals have sold out the drivers of Ontario in favour of the interests of a powerful and wealthy auto insurance industry.
Ken Ridgewall from Windsor says Bill 68 should not pass and he is opposed to this time allocation motion. He understands that the issues are too complex to be dealt with in the simply absurd two afternoons that the Liberal House leader suggests in his motion. So Ken Ridgewall from Windsor phones in and says Bill 68 should not pass. Once again, he says he has always voted Liberal, but not again, never again. I tell you, Mr Speaker, he is telling you right now that his votes in the future will be with the New Democratic Party.
Do you remember what happened on 15 January 1990, Mr Speaker? This is what I was trying to get around to telling you before. We as a minority in the opposition had a great deal of difficulty getting the Liberals to even have that committee sit. We had a great deal of difficulty even getting the Liberals to have a committee listen to submissions here in the province of Ontario. And you know what, Mr Speaker? It was inevitable that there was just a plethora of submissions to be made to that committee by people from all walks of life.
Mr Mackenzie: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not think the members of the House should be subjected to the member opposite, who is drunk as a skunk in this House, interrupting in this Legislature the way he is.
Mr Kormos: What was happening was that at this general government committee, dominated by Liberals -- there were six Liberals on it, and that is what I started telling you about a little while ago, Mr Speaker, six Liberals on this general government committee. It became clear to all of us that the demand by people and organizations and groups and bodies across Ontario to appear in front of this general government committee, the numbers were just going to be overwhelming.
Let me you this: You know that the general government committee sat during the House’s break; that is to say, it sat after Christmas, before the House resumed sitting in March 1990. Now what happens when a committee sits during a House break is that the committee members collect their regular MPP salaries but they also get paid extra money every day. They get paid what is called per diems. I do not know what it is, something like $70 or $74 a day, plus another $20 or so for a food allowance, tax-free.
So these committee members are collecting their full MPP salaries plus grabbing another $100 or so a day, give or take a few bucks, but that is tax-free. Now the good people down in Welland-Thorold who work at Union Carbide, who work at General Motors in St Catharines, who work at the Tubes, who work at the tire plant, at General Tire, they do not make $100 tax-free in a day. Do not forget what I told you: that is above and beyond MPPs’ regular salaries. But it is there.
We in the opposition prevailed upon the Liberal majority to please sit, because the committee was only going to sit four days a week, Monday through Thursday. But then the committee was only going to sit Monday afternoons. I said: “I don’t understand. You’ve got hundreds and hundreds of individuals and organizations that want to appear before this committee to make submissions about Bill 68. Each and every one of us is being paid an extra $100 or so a day, tax-free, and you don’t want to start this committee sitting until 1:30 or two o’clock in the afternoon and then you want to fold it up at five in the afternoon. Well, that it just not kosher. It does not wash with me.
Mr Kormos: I had just got the colouring book and crayons for him. I figured he was having a temper tantrum and he needed something to occupy him. The crayons are non-toxic, so if he happens to chew on the end of one or two of them, he is not going to suffer any physical ill effects. If he acts up again, we will send the colouring book and crayons over and it will cool his jets a little.
Once again, when I witness those types of temper tantrums here in the assembly, it encourages me, because it means that we are getting through. It means that the arguments we are making against this time allocation motion are starting to reach home. That is what it means.
Let me tell you once again about this standing committee on general government. We asked the committee to please sit Monday mornings. The Liberal majority would not permit it. We asked the committee to please consider sitting in the evenings so that working people could appear before that committee and make submissions. The committee would not. It has used its majority -- thank you, sir.
Mr Kormos: I feel forced into reading each and every one. A man from Owen Sound called to voice his displeasure with the Liberals. He said that Eddie Sargent always stood up for the little guy, but not the Premier. He asks, “How can things open up in eastern Europe yet close down here at Queen’s Park?” That is an interesting question.
Arlene Rousseau -- this is the second time that Arlene Rousseau has called in. She called in several days ago. She calls in from Windsor and says her assessment of her Liberal member there is that he is on his way out.
Wayne Archer calls in from Collingwood and says that he does not know where the Liberals got the mandate to jam this down our throats. He says they will not get a majority next time. That is an interesting comment from Wayne Archer.
Terry Jenkins from Ottawa is deathly against Bill 68 and even more so against closure. Here is Terry Jenkins from Ottawa, who is really close to the closure motions that the Tories are ramming through that Parliament in an effort to get the GST passed. Their clones, the Liberals down here at Queen’s Park, are using closure to ram through Bill 68. You have to understand that Terry Jenkins knows what is going on, Mr Speaker.
Why will the Liberals not listen to Terry Jenkins from Ottawa? Why will they not listen to Cathy McMillan from St Catharines? Why will they not listen to Arlene Rousseau from Windsor? Why will they not listen to Wayne Archer from Collingwood? Why will the Liberals not listen to these good people? Because they are not insurance company executives, that is why. These are working people. People from all over Ontario are telling the Liberals that they are not going to tolerate jackboot politics here at Queen’s Park.
Darcy Scott phones in from Toronto -- could be related to a cabinet minister. He calls in, “What could be more undemocratic than millions of drivers being screwed -- skewered” -- that is what he has here, not screwed; I misread that – “by a handful of insurance companies?”
Mr Kormos: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity, as you well know, Mr Speaker. I am encouraged and buoyed up by the rattling, ranting and raving coming from the Liberal back benches. These guys are squealing because the pressure is on. The problem is that there is some squealing coming from the back benches. I do not know what he had for supper, but it sure as heck does not agree with him.
Linda Frisky calls in to ask, “Why won’t the Liberals listen?” Linda Frisky is just like Joe Petty and Ron Broughton. Linda Frisky and Rick Albarico and Diane Milligan keep saying that one little voice counts. They say, “Please keep calling.” Linda Frisky calls and she says --
Frank Cameron from Etobicoke is talking about time allocation. We are not talking about Bill 68, because we cannot. We are not talking about the auto insurance scheme that the auto insurance industry wants implemented here in Ontario, because we cannot. We are not talking about the threshold system that the Liberals imported from the United States of America, because we cannot.
You know, Mr Speaker, all we ever wanted to do was debate Bill 68, but the Minister of Financial Institutions and his gang, his chorus line here in the front row, the tired old chorus line of has-beens, would-bes and wannabes -- you know what a wannabe is, do you not, Mr Speaker? -- the Minister of Financial Institutions and the Premier of Ontario and all of their has-beens and wannabes do not want us to talk about Bill 68 and the last thing in the world they want to do is debate it.
Frank Cameron in Etobicoke is one off am sure up to 1,000 people now who have called in just as this debate has resumed tonight. He is one of 1,000 people who have called to say that this time allocation motion is just plain downright unconscionable.
A lady in her 60s calls in from Kitchener. She says, “My husband and I should have been in bed hours ago,” but she waited until she got through on the phone lines. “If premiums go up as much as Bill 68 will mean, that is a simple matter of fewer people will be able to drive.”
As you know, Mr Speaker, especially hard hit are going to be the senior citizens, are they not? We know because of what we learned, well, in the Thursday 12 April 1990 edition of the Toronto Star, and this is what the lady in her 60s from Kitchener -- and God bless her for staying up late so that she can get her call through, and she has every right, because you want to know, Mr Speaker, what that lady from Kitchener is talking about?
Do you know where this fight is going to go to? This fight is going to go to the ballot box. This fight is going to go to the ballot box, because you want to know something, Mr Speaker? The people in Ontario will not forget what this government is doing to them right now, this very moment. Gary Wilson from Kingston says, don’t worry, he and other viewers will pick up the fight when we stop.
Michael Perron calls from Welland, and once again, I think this is the second time Mike Perron has made it through tonight. He sends in his 100 per cent support. The message for the Liberals is, “Get your golf-clubs out, you’re done, just like the Leafs.”
You know what, Mr Speaker? There are going to be a whole tot of Liberals who are going to have a whole lot of time to improve their golf game if they insist on ramming this Bill 68 through, because boy oh boy, they ain’t going to get re-elected.
Really, I suppose you have got to wonder. Perhaps that is an unfair thing to say, because I bet there are a whole lot of good golfers over there. Lord knows, they do not pay a heck of a lot of attention to running the government, do they? I mean, they are letting the insurance industry run this shot, so you cannot really -- they have got a lot of time on their hands. The Liberal backbenchers have got an awful lot of time on their hands, so I suppose they have a good golf game.
Frank Kutzy from Kitchener phones up and says, “No-fault insurance, the way the Liberals have sure got it planned, and the insurance industry in Ontario, is going to end up like the WCB, a mess.” Now Mr Kutzy is a seriously doubting Liberal, sort of like a doubting Thomas; this is a doubting Liberal.
Here is one, a regular viewer 100 miles north of North Bay: “Liberals are making the cost of everything go up. Make them stop.” To those folks 100 miles north of North Bay I say we are doing our very best.
An interesting insight from Mrs Mullens. She phones in and says we have her blessing: “Fight these immature Liberals all the way.” Mrs Mullens, we know that. That is why we bring toys like the colouring books and crayons for the Liberals to occupy themselves when they get a little rowdy. We have had to give these out before, and we have got a few sets left and there are a few Liberals here who are going to qualify for colouring books and crayons of their very own before much time goes by.
You know, Mr Speaker, somebody asked me why we are filibustering, and I have had to explain to them this is not a filibuster. This is not a filibuster, because here in Canada, here in Ontario, you cannot filibuster. I mean, more than one Speaker has told me that right here in this assembly. You cannot filibuster here in the province of Ontario. It is something that is Allen to the parliamentary system.
I looked up filibuster in the Oxford English dictionary. It said, “to obstruct, to delay.” It is the Liberals who re obstructing, it is the Liberals who are delaying, because we say the order of the day clearly, and the sense of fairness among Ontarians is that Bill 68 ought to be debated. But it is the Liberals who are obstructing the debate about Bill 68, so you see, we are not filibustering. It is the Liberals who are filibustering. We are just trying to perform our job as members of this Legislative Assembly. That is all we are trying to do. I tell you that right now.
What do we hope to achieve? I tell you, Mr Speaker, we know that it will only take 29 Liberals voting against this time allocation motion to defeat it. We hope to persuade 29 Liberals that they like their jobs good enough to vote against time allocation so that we can have a full debate about Bill 68.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for reminding me as often as you have what the rules are. I know that I cannot stand here and simply read text. In the United States, in a system where filibustering is considered apropos, people are permitted to do that, but here in Ontario, one cannot simply stand and read a text. You know what I mean. You cannot stand and read the Bible, no matter how much you would like to. It probably would be good for all of us for me to stand up here and read a little bit of the Bible. I cannot stand here and read Mark Twain, let’s say. That is not what is permitted.
You know that I have to remain on topic, and you know, Mr Speaker, that the Speaker’s chair will reign me back in when I stray off. I appreciate that. You know that I have to work real hard to develop a series of arguments that obviously, from the point of view of debate, have some relationship one to the other but at the same time are not merely repetitive. Again, I appreciate you, Mr Speaker, in your assistance and in your guidance in avoiding mere repetition.
Look at what is going on here right now. There is not a single Tory, not a single Conservative, and there has not been one for a good chunk of time. There is a smattering of Liberals. Not even both of the siblings grim are here. Only one of the siblings grim is here. That is the Liberal whip. There he is. He just jack-in-the-boxed. Both of the siblings grim are here. Here I am with three of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, and there we have, at 2:05 am on a Friday morning, more than a good handful of folks sitting up there in the visitors’ galleries.
If one had to describe the House at two o’clock in the morning, there have been moments in the course of this evening and early morning when there have been more spectators than there have been Liberals sitting in the House.
Mr Kormos: People are heckling. People are egging me on. Why, I suspect that more than the occasional member, and I suppose from any number of caucuses, may well have dozed off at least for the briefest of moments. Those things happen. What happens is that there is just an incredible wave of support coming from the public across Ontario, just phone calls and phone calls and phone calls and phone calls. The fact that people come here to Queen’s Park at one and two in the morning to watch this debate take place indicates that the interest is widespread.
Mr Kormos: That is a little bit better. It is a little bit better. I have no difficulty about where my colleagues in the New Democratic Party stand on this matter. I know that they are going to vote against this time allocation motion. I want to know where they are going to vote. We have no hesitation about how they are going to vote.
Mr Kormos: Who is that member? Darn it. I keep forgetting where that member is from because he does not make a whole lot of impression in the House. Durham-York. The member for Durham-York dismisses those people in the gallery. Those people will perhaps take that message back to Durham-York and let their relatives, their friends and their business associates know in Durham-York just exactly what is going on.
What kind of roadblocks have been put in our way? That has been asked of me. I do not know. I guess the Liberals have done just about everything they could. I know they are getting sort of panicky and frustrated and I know some of their own backbenchers were starting to grumble about how come their House leader was not doing anything about me. They were starting to feel some of the pain and pressure of people across Ontario, just like this newest collection of telephone messages.
Tommy Glesby calls in from Welland. Do you want to know something, Mr Speaker? Tommy Glesby is a fighter too. Tommy Glesby represented Canada as a boxer in the Seoul Olympics. He is somebody about whom we are very proud down in Welland-Thorold. He is a fine young man, a fine young athlete and a fighter par excellence. Tommy Glesby calls in, a young guy who has a great future -- he may well be watching with his dad Bill and his little brother Bill Jr -- and says he is 100 per cent behind me.
I cannot think of anybody whom I would be more pleased to see with us than Tommy Glesby, a young Olympic fighter, somebody who has represented this country and represented it well. You might remember those boxing matches over in Seoul and the feistiness and just overwhelming talent of that young boy.
Some people have asked me am I worried that I am trivializing the issue. Some people have asked me that. The answer is no, I am not worried about that, but I suppose that calls for a second level of inquiry. When I stand back and look at it, notwithstanding that I do not worry about it, do I regard myself, being as candid as one can be about oneself, as trivializing the issue? I say no. I say that if I ever felt that way, I would be persuaded to the contrary by the number of people who are sitting here in the galleries at 2:15 in the morning and the hundreds and hundreds of phone calls we have received tonight and early this morning alone.
Mr Speaker, it is incredible. I dare say that you, as a Speaker, have never seen anything like this, the people phoning 965-1239 to encourage us to carry on this debate, and the people phoning 965-1224. I can hear the phones ringing from where I am. The people of Ontario would dissuade me from ever suspecting that I am trivializing the issue.
We are talking about a time allocation motion. We are talking about an effort on the part of the Liberal majority here at Queen’s Park to stifle, to snuff out opposition and debate. I tell you, Mr Speaker, that debate, the role of parliamentarians, the role of members of the opposition, is so important that we are not going to relinquish it without as complete a fight as we can muster.
When I watch young boxers like Tommy Glesby fight, win as often as they can and lose some -- no boxer is any less an athlete by virtue of ever having lost a fight -- I say to you, Mr Speaker, no, I do not worry about trivializing the issue. I worry about the Liberals snuffing out democracy.
Charlotte Smagata, the Smagata family in Welland, calls in. She and her daughter were badly injured in a car accident in September. She knows that if it had happened after this legislation was passed, they would not have the compensation available to them that is going to be made available to them now.
A call came in in support for us from an insurance adjuster. He says that the companies are behind Bill 68, and suggests that companies are behind this time allocation motion too because the companies have a strong interest in making sure that Bill 68 is not thoroughly debated. He says the companies are behind it, but the employees are not. He was a Liberal; not any more.
There are more phone call coming in. These are people who are giving me the energy to stay on my feet and keep on talking. Anna Kuker calls, says thanks for the conviction and the commitment. I wish she would not use the word “conviction.” I could live with just the word “commitment,” but I understand what Anna Kuker is saying. I appreciate it very much. We appreciate it. The Liberals should be listening.
Back on 15 January, Ralph Nader appeared before the general government committee. His commentary alone on Bill 68 and what it means to Ontarians justifies and in fact defines and gives shape to our cry for a full debate. One of the things that he pointed out he raised as a preliminary. He raised this at the very onset. He said first -- this is important because one of the critiques by the Minister of Financial Institutions of Ralph Nader was that Ralph Nader was an American. He says that the threshold system that the Minister of Financial Institutions is trying to force on some people here in Ontario a very American system, very American.
Ralph Nader came up from the United States to appear before the general government committee. You know who Ralph Nader is, Mr Speaker. Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, I dare say not just a leading American consumer advocate, but probably a leading North American consumer advocate, and perhaps a worldwide acknowledged consumer advocate. Ralph Nader has taken on General Motors and Ford and the big corporations in the United States and other places. Ralph Nader is a fearless crusader for the rights of consumers.
Mr Kormos: He came up here to talk about what Bill 68 is going to mean to drivers, taxpayers and innocent injured victims here in Ontario. He was well aware of the criticism that had been levelled against him.
Indeed, some of the not very creative heckling, in fact pretty pathetic heckling -- that is why I am glad there are folks here, because the TV camera really does not give you an impression of what is going on -- I hear those telephones ringing; it is incredible -- the TV cameras do not give a real impression of the fact that what we have is lacklustre heckling. We are talking lacklustre. We are talking seedy.
Remember what Ralph Nader opened with when he appeared before the general government committee a week after the Minister of Financial Institutions unloaded his -- Mr Nader said, “First, I would like to indicate the interrelationship of the issues before this committee and similar issues in the United States and hope that some of the experience in the United States can be helpful.”
Now this is what the important part is. This is very important because Nader was very conscious of the fact that what is happening here in Ontario is being watched very closely by many American jurisdictions.
Mr Speaker, I said a long time ago that I was going to loosen my tie at 1 am. Here it is, 2:20 in the morning and here I am with the tie-knot still tight. I tell you what, Mr Speaker, I am going to loosen it and I am going to undo my top button. There, that is a little more casual. Wow. That is like being reborn. Why, what a rush of energy. I told you, 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, Mr Speaker -- it has been eight and a half hours now. I think we will go on for a long, long, long time.
Christine Mayne calls in from Eglinton and Yonge. She says that this government move forcing people to work long hours is bad for health and safety. I tell you this, the government move and its support for Bill 68 and its support for time allocation is bad for its longevity. You cannot expect a long lifespan when you are supporting jackboot tactics.
Bruce Henderson from Burlington calls, a lifelong Liberal, but he promises this: He has been a lifelong Liberal, but if Bill 68 does through, that is it. It is like hundreds and hundreds and thousands of other people.
Nick Trombetta calls in from Mississauga and he says, Great fight, keep it up.” Here are more phone calls that have just come in, Mr Speaker. Mr Husexin Kuday -- and I think, Mr Speaker, you would find that is an interesting name and I hope I am pronouncing it well -- calls in, “Liberals cannot be heroes without the people and they are ignoring the people.” They are.
Steve Doan from Wallaceburg, Ontario. I know the family name because we have a lot of Doans living in Welland; they are good people. I do not know whether Steve Doan is related to the Welland Doans or not; he lives in Wallaceburg. He went to Tim Horton’s tonight, everybody was talking about this issue. He wishes that his member would hear the message. Steve Doan called in and wishes his Liberal member would hear the message.
Sean King from Oshawa says he speaks for 15 people when he says, “Keep it up.” Will the Liberals pay for his transportation when he can no longer afford to drive? So Sean King from Oshawa, there you are.
Paul Barrett from Agincourt says, “I want to drive my car in Toronto.” He supports this opposition to time allocation because you see that is -- once again, these people understand far better than the Liberals sitting here do, how important it is to have full debate.
Mitch Tyler calls in from London. He says, “Thanks to the good work of the New Democrats the voters may yet see the last of that evasive little” -- we will leave that as it is. In any event, Mitch Tyler from London -- and I appreciate very much Mr Tyler’s comments, but the problem is that there is a comment here describing, I guess, some London member that would be unparliamentary.
Bob Sterling from Oakville calls in. Bob Sterling says that the opposition is doing a tremendous job and the government should be put in its place. The government’s place should be over here in the third party’s status. That is where the Liberals may well end up if they keep on carrying on with this crummy time allocation motion. He is in the trucking business. Most truckers are opposed to this legislation.
Jean and her husband Roy called from St Catharines. Jean and Roy say: “We’re behind you all the way. We’ve always been Liberals, but now we are not so sure.” Jean and her husband Roy from St Catharines say, “What are the Liberals afraid of?”
It is people like Barry Edson who have long-time documented careers in the Liberal Party who have written letters dumping the party. The very best he can say is, “Say hello to my Liberal ex-friends here at Queen’s Park.”
Greg Hemple from Port Dalhousie calls in. Greg Hemple has been watching for eight hours and that is pretty good because I have been speaking for around eight and a half. Greg Hemple from Port Dalhousie calls in and says that he is never going to vote Liberal after this.
Brian Adset calls from Burlington. He says that the Liberal member for his riding -- that is the House leader -- refused to debate this bill in the riding. Brian Adset says that he is not about to vote Liberal or for that member again.
I have to say that I would be getting tired now if people were not phoning in. I would be getting tired and I would feel compelled to give up if people were not phoning in. That is why we have people answering the phones at 965-1239. There are people answering those phones right now and I know that sometimes it takes 30 minutes, sometimes 60 minutes, sometimes longer to get through. People have told us that. But I am so grateful and, more importantly, the taxpayers and the drivers of Ontario are all that much more grateful for those phone calls. So the people who call at 965-1239 -- I hear the telephone ringing more and more and more. That of course is area code 416. We are here in Toronto at Queen’s Park at 965-1239. Of course, the other number they can call is 965-1224.
All I can tell them is that we appreciate their calls. Their calls are a real source of energy to me. People like the member for York South and other members of the NDP caucus are answering those phones right now at 2:35 in the morning here at Queen’s Park.
Mr Kormos: You will remember, Mr Speaker, that -- gosh, when was it -- last week we gave away a copy of the book One Hundred Monkeys to Chuck Bougie of Terrace Bay. We gave away a copy of a videotape of last Thursday’s debate to a Barrie resident for sending in his torn-up Liberal membership card.
I mentioned this a couple of times. I have an autographed copy of this book called The Tabloid Zone, Mr Speaker. I want you to have a copy of it because it is written by William J. Thomas, who is a prominent columnist here in the province of Ontario carried by quite a number of newspapers, written several books of Leacockian humour, and a screenwriter. I suppose the most decent thing he did was the script for the made-in-Canada TV movie about the development of the Trivial Pursuit game. So from William J. Thomas an autographed copy of William J. Thomas’s book The Tabloid Zone. It is a collection of among his most humorous columns.
I tell you that it is superseded shortly by a book about Malcolm his cat. Bill Thomas wrote the other day -- and you might have heard that right here at Queen’s Park during members’ statements I read some lengthy excerpts from Bill Thomas’s letter to me about his awareness of how important pets are, especially to seniors. Remember? Bill Thomas had some really harsh things to say about politicians who would not protect the rights of seniors to keep pets in their homes. He was talking about seniors who were in, let’s say, housing designed for them, or private corporate apartments, who are deprived of the opportunity to keep pets. So he is an incredible guy, an incredible writer, an incredible humorist.
I have an autographed copy of The Tabloid Zone to the -- why this book is remarkable, because one of the features in it is the article “Dancing with the Four-Armed Man.” If there ever was a Liberal, he is undoubtedly the four-armed man, because he can manage to pick your front pockets, your back pockets, take your wallet, your watch and grab you by the ankles, turn you upside down and shake every last nickel and dime out of you. That is so characteristic of the Liberals here in Ontario.
So “Dancing with the Four-Armed Man” is a very appropriate thing to give away in this context of an arrogant Liberal majority. Do not forget the number is 29, we need 29 Liberal backbenchers to vote against this time allocation motion. So the 29th phone call that mentions The Tabloid Zone will get a free copy, autographed, of The Tabloid Zone by William J. Thomas, and you will enjoy it. Bill Thomas and The Tabloid Zone to the 29th caller, the 29th caller who calls in at 965-1239. Do not forget, that number is 965-1239, or at 965-1224. So we have a whole bunch of phone messages here, but the 29th message to mention The Tabloid Zone gets a free copy of an autographed The Tabloid Zone by William J. Thomas, a scriptwriter, screenwriter and author.
Domenic Velluci is not voting Liberal again. He phones in with his 100 per cent support. That was Domenic Velluci who just called. John Battaglio from Greensville calls in and the message is started, “By the time this bird government is finished” -- I suspect that the person taking the message felt that the balance of it was going to be unparliamentary, in any event.
Mr Kormos: I do, Mr Speaker. I have the floor. The reason I got it is the people who are phoning in. If it were not for these phone calls, if it were not for the fact that the Liberals know that people are watching right now, they would find some way to shut me up. They would find some way to shut me down, but they cannot as long as they know that people are watching. We can show to them that people are watching because of the phone calls we are getting. Is that not right?
Ron Deslauriers from Onaping calls in. He has been watching since he got home from the afternoon shift. He has been watching this as long as you have, Mr Speaker. You and Ron Deslauriers have a lot more in common than you think. He has been watching since he got home from the afternoon shift. He says: “This is history in the making. The Liberals should stop hiding behind the numbers and start debating.” All we have ever wanted to do was debate Bill 68, and the Liberals will not let us. That is what this time allocation motion is all about.
Audrey Carey calls us from St Catharines this evening. It is quarter to three in the morning. This is Friday 27 April 1990. Audrey Carey calls from St Catharines, says, “Stomp on those Liberals.” No, no. You see, it is they who have the jackboots. It is they who want to snuff out democracy. So Audrey Carey calls in. She knows what is important. I have a feeling that Audrey Carey has lost any confidence that she ever might have had in the Liberals here at Queen’s Park. Do you know that, Mr Speaker? I suspect that Audrey Carey has lost any confidence she ever might have had in the Premier of Ontario and the Attorney General, in the House leader, in the whip, in the Minister of Financial Institutions. I am sure that she has lost all confidence that she ever had.
Gail and Phil Rash from Unionville said they have been to three information meetings about Bill 68. The insurance companies simply did not show up. That has sort of been my experience, because I have been to a whole lot of information meetings about Bill 68, and the Liberals never show up. They do not want to debate Bill 68 here at Queen’s Park; they do not want to debate it out in communities across the province either. That is what this time allocation motion is all about, their refusal to debate Bill 68.
Jay Rotman says he wishes the Liberals had given more thought to Bill 68. Lawrence Hall asks, “Are the Liberals going to pay for my full-body armour?” Gail and Phil Rash in Unionville, Ms Duquette in North Bay, Lawrence Hall, Peter North in Oshawa, John Battaglio from Greenville, Dominic Velluci, these are all people whom the Liberals will not listen to, because they are not insurance company executives. To the Liberals of Ontario, these good people simply do not count.
Manon Lepaven calls and says she was Liberal. She says Bill 68 is wrong. Bill 68 is simply no good. Why does the Premier, Manon Lepaven asks, refuse to permit a debate about Bill 68? There have been some answers suggested. It is clear now that the overwhelming public opinion is that Bill 68 is bad legislation and has to be dumped, so it would seem that the Premier is not afraid of what he is going to do to public opinion, because the public in Ontario rejects Bill 68 completely in any event.
What the Premier is afraid of is the fact that there are 29 Liberal backbenchers in his caucus who want to keep their ridings. What the Premier is afraid of is that one, two, three, 15, 20, 25, 27, 28, 29 Liberals, just like the two Tories who broke ranks up on Parliament Hill -- I mean, you are talking about sinking ships. There are Liberals here who realize that the water is coming in faster than it can be bailed out. There are 29 Liberals here who can be guaranteed --
Mr Kormos: Does that mean I am on again, Mr Speaker? Manon Lepaven calls in and says she was Liberal, she is not any more. She says, “Bonne chance.” I appreciate that. Manon Lepaven says she is going to keep watching. She says this is better than First Choice. You want to know something? She does not have to pay for this, either.
It has been a long night so far, and it is going to be a lot longer. We have a whole lot of Queen’s Park staff here who are putting in double and triple duty. They have to be here. Their sense of commitment to their job is that they are simply not going to walk away. These are men and women with families. They have been called away from those families. They do not, as I understand it, have the right to refuse overtime, so it is not a matter of choice on their part.
I suppose to a large extent that is in keeping with the general Liberal approach to workers. Before you know it, this government will have these same workers working on Sundays. This government shows no interest in protecting workers from having to work Sundays. That is clear when it comes to its view on Sunday shopping. So all I want to say, Mr Speaker, is a sincere thank you to the staff here at Queen’s Park -- the security staff, among others -- who are doing double and triple duty. They have shown great patience, they have shown great tolerance and they have managed to maintain a sense of humour throughout what must have been for some, if not most, if not all of them, a tedious past nine hours. So I simply want to say that all of us acknowledge their contribution to this process and thank them for simply being here and acknowledge that it is a hardship for them and their families.
Al Cutler called in at 1:35 this morning from Downsview. He is fearful of the increases that almost one third of a million drivers in this province are going to face if Bill 68 is passed. That is premium increases of up to 80 per cent. He wonders if the decreases are merely for the Liberals. But Al Cutler says to carry on and keep it up. I tell you, we will.
I tell you, Mr Speaker, people like David Fleming are so important to this process that is taking place here. People like David Fleming are the ultimate watchdogs, are they not? If it were not for people in this province who showed an interest, who showed a passion for justice and fairness, the Liberals would just run roughshod over literally everything. So you see, David Fleming, Al Cutler and Michael Corte -- he is from Burlington -- these are the people who are the real safeguards in our society. But you see, these are the same people who the Liberals want to guillotine. These are the same people who the Liberals want to impose their time allocation on. These are the same people who the Liberals want to muzzle, because when you muzzle the opposition, what you are doing is muzzling the voice of the people of Ontario.
You know where that is, do you not, Mr Speaker? Down in Niagara. Bertie township has a long, wonderful history. As a matter of fact, just the other night we were up at Niagara-on-the-Lake, where volunteer awards were being given out, five-year, 10-year, 15-year awards. The Minister of the Environment was there on behalf of the Minister of Citizenship. We had a whole bunch of people from Welland-Thorold receiving well-deserved awards, people from Vive-la-Joie, people from the Welland Lacac, people from the Thorold reed band. There were also people from the Bertie Township Historical Society. So his uncle was a reeve of Bertie township. It has a great history.
Somebody says he has been watching for four hours and he is pleased. Paul Hope from Cambridge -- well, there is hope. Paul Hope from Cambridge is totally opposed to what the Liberals are doing. Maybe Paul Hope was there --
Paul Hope from Cambridge -- I have a feeling that maybe this gentleman was there when the Premier of Ontario, back in September 1987, three days before the general election of that year, said that he had a very specific plan to reduce auto insurance premiums. That is why Paul Hope calls us at 965-1224 or 965-1239. That is why these phone calls are important.
It is going to get tougher and tougher; there are no two ways about it. It is three o’clock in the morning and people out there are getting tired of the Liberal arrogance. People out there are getting tired of the Liberals refusal to debate Bill 68. So it is going to be harder and harder for us to keep phone calls coming in. Do you know that, Mr Speaker? It is going to get harder and harder, no two ways about it. Things are going to slow down for a couple of hours. I am going to be able to go through the 100 or so phone calls that we have not been able to talk about yet.
You know the ones, Mr Speaker. Ones like Richard Rousseau from Windsor. Richard Rousseau is opposed to Bill 68. He says, “The member for Windsor-Sandwich will be forgotten after the next election.” I do not think it has to be that way, because the member for Windsor-Sandwich will probably find himself a job somewhere around Windsor. He is not an old man. Richard Rousseau is perhaps being overly harsh to suggest that the member for Windsor-Sandwich should be merely forgotten. So to Richard Rousseau in Windsor we say thank you.
Jeanette Deacon calls and commends me for my zeal and honesty, and I thank Jeanette Deacon for her comments. She says, “The Liberals are penalizing older people and are going to drive up the cost of OHIP.” You see, Mr Speaker, Jeanette Deacon has been following these discussions and understands how Bill 68, with its subsidization of the insurance industry through OHIP, is going to drive up the cost of OHIP and take away much-needed money from that health care system. Jeff Spingsted --
Mr Kormos: Thank you. A winner from Mississauga, Sharon Buntin, number 29. That is exactly how many Liberals have to vote against time allocation and against Bill 68 so that they can (1) keep their ridings in the next election, and (2) show the people of Ontario that they are not on the side of the big auto insurance industry but on the side of the people.
That is why it was the 29th call. Sharon Buntin from Lakeshore Road in Mississauga wins this autographed copy of The Tabloid Zone by my good friend William J. Thomas, a columnist, humorist, writer and, as I say, author of a soon-to-be-published book on a number of columns about Malcolm, his cat. The publisher is Jag Communications in Hamilton. The cover photo was done at Pupo’s Super Market in Welland, which is just around the corner from where I am at Bald and Dennis. Pupo’s is on the other end of Maple Avenue. It is up there by Maple and Riverside Drive. Pupo’s is a great place and the Pupo family has been operating that family grocery store for years and years. Great business people, great grocers.
The photo has, among others, Margaret Thomas in it, Bill Thomas’s mother. His 83-year-old mother is in the jacket photo here. Margaret Thomas is the mother of more than a couple of Thomases: Bill, a brilliant and very talented writer, columnist and humorist, and his brother Dave, who is the local registrar of the Supreme Court in Welland.
So this book will be sent out to Sharon Buntin of Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga with our best wishes. William Thomas has autographed it. We are going to get some autographs of the NDP caucus and, just like the One Hundred Monkeys book, any Liberal who wants to be re-elected and will vote against Bill 68 will also be permitted to autograph this book for Sharon Buntin.
Mr Kormos: It has been difficult for the people who are witnessing this to have to live with these 30-minute interruptions. The good music that the good staff play is -- here are more phone messages -- sometimes soporific. It remains that a whole lot of people may well think that is not going on. Well, it is going on, let me tell you. It is carrying on.
We have been talking last night and this morning, because it is 3:45 now, since six o’clock last night -- that is just shy of 10 hours -- trying to persuade the Liberals here that they are barking up the wrong tree and that the people of this province expect far more from a government than they are getting from these Liberals. As is sometimes my style, I almost said “these clowns,” but I meant these Liberals here at Queen’s Park.
Ken Lawrence from Welland called in and said he wonders why the Liberals work so hard for the insurance companies. It is strange that Ken Lawrence would want to know why the Liberals work so hard for the insurance companies. He has a distinct impression that a whole lot of people do in this province.
As Ken Lawrence says, he is wondering why the Liberals are so beholden to the auto insurance industry here in Ontario. Why? Was it the mere $100,000 and change that the Liberals got in the last general election by way of contributions? Is that what makes them so beholden? Is it something else? What does the insurance industry have on the Liberal Party of Ontario? Have they got photographs? Or just some of the letters? Why is this government and why is the Liberal Party so beholden to the insurance industry in Ontario?
People like Ken Lawrence from Welland called in to this number, 965-1224. I know it is late at night, early in the morning, but I also know that there are people out there watching and listening, just as there are people who come up here to sit in the gallery to see what is happening in their Parliament right here at Queen’s Park in Toronto. That is why people are calling in, 416-965-1224. That is why I want people to phone in and let us know what they think about what is going on.
They can be like the hundreds and hundreds of other people who have called in tonight witnessing what is happening right here at Queen’s Park. I know it is tough for people at this time of the morning to get to their phones and punch out that number, 965-1224 or, if that number is busy, 965-1239.
As you know, Mr Speaker, the number that people have been calling all evening and all morning is 965-1239 or 965-1224, right here at Queen’s Park. They can be a part of the process that is happening right here and right now.
Mr Kormos: Thank you, Mr Speaker. A little bit of sober thought would be appropriate right now, because people who are listening would find this a sobering observation. It may be futile for me to speak of anything as a sobering situation for some of the members here tonight, but I tell you, people like Veral MacLean from Bowmanville is deadly serious about his concern about what the Liberal Party here in Ontario is doing to this Legislature. I hear those telephones ringing right now. The telephones are ringing back behind me right now.
Bob and Linda Goss and Tonya called up at 2:12 this morning. Bob works at General Motors. They live down in Dain City. You have heard me talk about these folks here in this Legislative Assembly not too long ago. Linda Goss is the director of the local Red Cross and she works just incredible hours making great contributions to her community, and Tonya, who is just a delightful young lady, was Miss Winter Carnival in Niagara, Miss Niagara and, just a month ago, was crowned Miss Teen Canada right here in Toronto. She is a delightful, bright, capable young person who possesses a cornucopia of talents, who has a wisdom and maturity far beyond her really youthful years, who lives in Dain City.
Mr Kormos: He wrote a whole bunch of books. Bill Thomas is one of the greatest humour writers here in the – Mr Speaker, I showed you this, did I not, The Tabloid Zone by Bill Thomas -- William J. if you do not know him? This book goes to Sharon Buntin. She won this book earlier this evening.
But to Bob and Linda Goss and Tonya, Miss Teen Canada -- and we are very proud of her and so is her school. She is a student in grade 12 at Notre Dame Collegiate in Welland, an outstanding student, an outstanding athlete. She is involved in the peer tutoring program at her school. She is a youth volunteer with the Red Cross, and now she has added to all of that a very busy agenda doing appearances as Miss Teen Canada.
They call and they say. “Don’t give up.” I say God bless them, because they are great people to have stayed up until 2:12 in the morning. I tell you, it is a great inspiration to hear from hardworking, committed community people like them.
Norm McIntyre from Mississauga hopes there is not a Liberal sitting after the next election. I tell you, there are going to be Liberals after the next election -- of course there are -- but there are going to be a lot less Liberals here after the next election than there are here right now because, you see, the people of Ontario do not like seeing closure imposed by the Liberals here any more than they like seeing closure imposed by Brian Mulroney and the Conservatives up on Parliament Hill.
Mr Kormos: Look what has happened once again. We are getting close to a nerve. They are starting to squirm; they are starting to squeal. They are starting to holler. They are starting to scream. Time for another shot of Novocain.
Greg Hemphill from St Catharines tells us we are doing a great job. He says, “Tell the Liberals to go away.” Go away. Go, farther, farther. Do you know what, Mr Speaker? With the Liberal attitude towards democracy and debate, this Legislative Assembly right now could do with a little bit of Liberal going away. We cannot make them go away. They have a majority here that is as arrogant and supercilious as any government has ever been, either in this province or any other province. People of Ontario know that. But the voters of Ontario can sure make them go away. Do you know what? Come next general election, the voters of Ontario will.
Tell you what I am going to do right now, Mr Speaker. Let the Liberals call an election right now. Let them call an election, end this debate, and we will put it to the electorate. Let’s do it. Get the House leader here. Get the Premier here. Get whatever they have here and call an election. The people of Ontario are quite ready to go to the polls on the issue of auto insurance, people like Dave Allen.
Dave Allen knows that auto insurance, as it is contemplated by Bill 68, is going to suck $46 million in the first year alone out of OHIP. That is what Bill 68 is going to do. I appreciate hearing that from Dave Allen. He is right.
Donna has been an insurance broker for many years. Listen to this, Mr Speaker; there is support for Bill 68 in the province of Ontario -- from the insurance industry. Donna, an insurance broker for many years, says Bill 68 is the best thing that ever happened to the business. From a personal point of view, it makes her want to get out of the business. That is an insurance broker here in Ontario.
Mr Kormos: The member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore took this call from Donna, who has been an insurance broker for many years. She is phoning in here at four in the morning. Donna says Bill 68 is the best thing that ever happened to the auto insurance business here in the province. You bet your boots -- a billion-dollar payday for the auto insurance industry in the first year alone.
Mike Freeborn in Brantford -- catch this -- asks, “When did the Liberals turn into Ottawa Tories?” It is not “did they?” It is “when did they?” Remember that we have been telling you for a long time, Mr Speaker, that Liberals are Tories too. Remember the closure motions that Brian Mulroney has been bringing in Ottawa to force the goods and services tax on to an electorate that does not want it? Remember Brian Mulroney? He is still there, using closure to force GST through the federal House, and down here --
Mr Kormos: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I appreciate the chance to talk to you. I appreciate telephone calls from people like Mike Freeborn in Brantford, who asks, “When did the Liberals turn into Ottawa Tories?” What this time allocation motion demonstrates is that Liberals are Tories too. Take Brian Mulroney, and he might as well be the Premier of Ontario. Take the Treasurer of Ontario, and he might as well be Mike Wilson. The problem is that Liberals are Tories too.
Carl Gillis from Ottawa calls this morning. Here it is four o’clock on a Friday morning, 27 April. The milk trucks are starting to do their deliveries. One of nicest things about where I came from in Welland is that Sunnyside Dairy used horse-drawn milk carts up until as recently as around 15 years ago. In view of what the Liberals are doing to our environment, perhaps Sunnyside Dairy would have been well advised to have kept on with the horse-drawn milk carts.
Carl Gillis from Ottawa is opposed to time allocation. He says: “This is attracting attention from all over the province of Ontario. Ask the Minister of Tourism how he is voting on this issue.” The Minister of Tourism’s voters are concerned about where he stands on Bill 68. That is why I would love to have an election on this. I would love to have the Premier walk in here.
Steve Lalanne from North York calls the Liberals machiavellian. Once again, this is a tough one for some of those guys, because you are talking about a historical reference and I think it has been a long time since the prince has ever been in Classic Comics. But “machiavellian” is perhaps giving them a little too much credit. None the less, I am not afraid to tell you what Steve Lalanne of North York thinks about the Liberals. We are not afraid to talk to Steve Lalanne. That is why this closure motion is so dangerous, but it is a closure not just of the opposition but of the people of Ontario.
Robert Hood from Sarnia says, “If they spend so much time trying to fix the standing orders, why go to closure?” That is why they make a time allocation motion. They want to utilize their vast majority to force their way with a motion right through the standing orders. These guys are taking the standing orders and just chucking them. They are gone; forget it. As long as this government is prepared to abuse this majority in the manner that it is, forget the standing orders.
Mike Bunton from Mississauga had mentioned the book. Brian Pychell from Thorold comes in; he was the second person to call mentioning William J. Thomas’s book The Tabloid Zone. He says, “Keep up the good work.”
The message that David Krangle from Mississauga left is, “No-fault is bull -- ” and I am sure he must have meant “feathers” after that, “No-fault is bullfeathers,” because the person taking this message just put a stroke after “bull.” Maybe he figures David Krangle meant, “No-fault is bull.” Okay. He was a Liberal through and through, but David Krangle from Mississauga says, “No more, no way, never.”
Lori Desjardin from Welland phones us this morning and she says, “It is so obvious to all viewing what is happening here last night and early this morning, that the Liberals are puppets and the insurance companies are pulling their strings.” She says, “Pete, cut the strings.”
George Mann from Niagara Falls says: “The Tories, the Conservatives in Ottawa are skewering everyone. The Liberals say they oppose the Conservatives yet they are doing the very same thing.” George Mann from Niagara Falls knows that the Liberals are doing some skewering of their own.
Remember 15 January? Ralph Nader was here at the general government committee. I started telling you a little while ago, Mr Speaker, that Nader very specifically acknowledged the relationship between what was happening specifically in Ontario with Bill 68 and what could be happening in the United States as a result of the Ontario phenomenon. Mr Nader said, “Certainly, I have seen enough state legislative hearings citing Ontario and British Columbia and I hope that my remarks will be considered in that broader context.” What Nader was saying is that what happens here in Canada is not in isolation. What happens here in Ontario with respect to Bill 68 is being observed very closely by other jurisdictions. He already indicates that he has been involved in a number of state legislative hearings wherein the Ontario and British Columbia experiences are being cited.
Do not forget that just a week earlier the Premier of Ontario had dumped all over Ralph Nader at that same general government committee. He did not have the courtesy to meet Nader when Nader was here, to address Nader head on.
“Second,” Nader said, “it does seem clear that any discussion of insurance and motor vehicle accidents inevitably extends to an inclusion of issues of justice and fairness for injured people.” What he is doing, when one listens to his comments, is explaining what his perspective is, where he is coming from. He says that a discussion of insurance and motor vehicle accidents inevitably leads to a concern, to addressing attention to what is fair and just for injured people, which means the legal framework or the legal system of rights and remedies.
“It also involves overall broad auto accident prevention policy of the same jurisdiction,” another important point, something about which Nader is undoubtedly a leading expert. It inevitably and similarly involves discussion of auto accident prevention. He says, “You really cannot separate any of these three from one another.”
Nader goes on to say something about the United States which is oh so well known here in Canada, because this very same phenomenon happened right here in this country. Nader says, “Since the contrived insurance liability crisis started in 1985 in the United States” --
Mr Kormos: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Do you ever watch Saturday Night Live when they do a little skit called The Whiners? Well, here we are. This is The Whiners. I wish people could sit and watch. You listen to it, but sometimes the tone of voice sets you right on edge. It is like the sound of fingernails scraping against an old slate blackboard. I wish they would stop whining.
Keith Craig from Kitchener says they are not listening. That is the whole problem, because the Liberals do not listen to people like Keith Craig and they do not want to listen to people who want to speak on behalf of Keith Craig. They want to listen to the auto insurance industry, they want to listen to the big developers, but they do not want to listen to the Keith Craigs of the world from Kitchener.
We are not afraid to listen to the Keith Craigs from Kitchener. We just wish that we could find 29 Liberals who would vote against this time allocation motion. One is coming over. I do not know whether she is going to indicate her opposition to the time allocation motion or not. I have had private conversations with more than a few Liberals who are deathly afraid of what Bill 68 is going to do to their political careers.
We have Nader operating from three basic premises and he says you cannot consider each one of them in isolation. Then we have Nader talking about the contrived insurance liability crisis in 1985 in the United States. We are all familiar with that same phenomenon right here in Ontario. That was the Brampton motorcycle case, the $6-million judgement, one about which -- some of these guys better check their history -- there was not a single penny paid out by the insurance company during the whole course of that litigation. Once the appellate courts finally dealt with the judgement, there was not a penny paid out.
In the interim insurance liability costs went sky high all over the province and of course every single insurer is telling every single insured that the reason for those sky-high prices is judgements like the one that happened in Brampton. Yet when the appellate courts overturned that, so that the insurance industry did not have to pay out a penny, did the insurance industry similarly roll back the prices that it had charged? No. That was the contrived insurance liability crisis, the same as what Ralph Nader was talking about in 1985 in the United States of America.
Nader indicated that at the point of the contrived liability insurance crisis in the United States he had been very concerned about policymakers taking too narrow a focus on the more immediate perceived urgency of insurance rates without getting down to the fundamental cause of claims in the first place. Do members hear what Nader is saying? He is saying that what you do is you get down to discuss the fundamental cause of claims in the very first place and the rights of injured people to protect themselves as a consequence of their injuries, as well as the administrative process in the courts and regulatory agencies.
“Look; for example, if this committee were considering the damage done by leaking of water in homes in Ontario, and the focus was entirely on how do we pay for the damage, how do we pay for the subsidence, how do we pay for other expenses, obviously we would all be asking, ‘Well, why don’t we focus on the cause of the leak?”’
Well, why do we not deal with prevention as a top priority? That is the question. That is the question John Bates of People to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere would ask this government on, I am sure, a daily basis if he had the chance. But no, the Minister of Financial Institutions dumps all over John Bates of PRIDE.
Mr Baker from Toronto is another fellow who compares how the Liberals have fouled up the workers’ compensation system in this province to what they are prepared to do to auto insurance. He, like many other people, said, “The Liberals have already made a mess of workers’ comp; why don’t they straighten up one mess before they start making another?”
Mrs Bonnar -- the family name, I believe, is Bonnar -- says that four years ago her husband was in an accident. This bill would make it impossible for her to get a car to visit her injured husband, because she knows, as the Minister of Financial Institutions told her and everybody else in the province, that when Bill 68 passes, drivers are going to face premium increases of up to 50 per cent, and almost a third of a million drivers right here in the province of Ontario are going to face premium increases of up to 80 per cent. Nancy Wood’s article in the Toronto Star confirms that and explains why.
You heard that Nader tried to simplify his arguments so that, as I say, even the Liberal members could understand him. He has a really broad understanding of the role of insurance, I suppose not just purely as an economic function but as a social function. He says he has always seen the insurance function as
Let’s run this past you for a moment, Mr Speaker: The Liberal Party in Quebec in 1970 campaigned on the issue of public auto insurance. The Parti Québécois won the election and instituted the public insurance program that the Liberals campaigned with. The Liberal Party in Quebec campaigned in 1970 on a policy of public auto insurance, and the Liberals run a public auto insurance system in Quebec right now.
No, wait a minute. That is Premier Bourassa. Do not forget he is the Premier of Ontario’s good friend. He is the one who comes here to Toronto to lunch with him, to wine him and dine him, or to persuade him to run for the federal leadership. Obviously, the Premier of Ontario has something that Premier Bourassa finds very attractive.
It is Bourassa who has been touting the Premier of Ontario. There is simply no doubt about it. Bourassa has been touting the Premier of Ontario as the sort of guy whom lie would want to see as federal leader of the Liberal Party.
Now, you have to question. We know where Bourassa is coming from. You have to question what it is that the Premier of Ontario has that makes Bourassa so eager to place him at the helm of the federal party. Interesting perspective. It is that same Premier Bourassa, a Liberal, who runs a public auto insurance system in Quebec.
Steve Kozak from Oakville was brought up a Liberal. He and his friends will not vote for them again. He has two children, and if he loses the right to sue, the right to use the being more than just a compensation function. Listen to this, and this is what is so very important to the argument. Again, I am confident that if some Liberals could understand it, we would be a lot closer to finding those 29 Liberals who are going to vote against Bill 68, or who are going to vote against this time allocation motion, for sure.
He writes that the insurance function “is very much a function to be used” -- that could well be -- ”for determining risks first, ranking risks second, and, thirdly, generating disincentives for reckless behaviour.” Remember these three qualities: determining risks, ranking risks and then generating disincentives for reckless behaviour. “Now, that starts with the design of the automobile,” Nader stated, “the design of the highway and the behaviour of drivers, as well as the traffic mix.” Again, that is not difficult-to-understand sort of stuff. You know what Nader is talking about, Mr Speaker, and these people should too.
So you see, we have got to talk about design of the car, design of the highway, behaviour of drivers and the traffic mix. He says that “If you are going to avoid the accusation of being a mere Band-Aid, you must start with a policy focusing on prevention.” That is how you have to start. That is not a little bit of wrapping, not a little bit of ribbon and bow you attach to it later. You start with a policy of prevention. You use that as your starting point.
What he says is, “That does not just consist of a government policy in terms of regulating the auto industry, but it is also very much an insurance industry policy that should be paired with its underwriting and compensation benefits.” I tell you right there, what does that give rise to? It gives rise to a realization that that is yet another way that public driver-owned systems can work so much more effectively.
Even Nader, back on 15 January 1990, understood that the western systems in Canada -- in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia -- were real alternatives to the auto insurance industry as we know it in Ontario, safer alternatives, more affordable alternatives, more efficient alternatives.
Mr Kormos: Vander Zalm and the Social Credit Party: the second most right-wing government in Canada. The second most right-wing government in Canada runs a public auto insurance system. I used to believe that Vander Zalm and the Socreds were the most right-wing government in Canada. That is before I had a chance to witness Queen’s Park and the Liberals at first hand. I know now that Vander Zalm is but second to the Liberals of Queen’s Park.
So there you go, Mr Speaker. The Liberals run public insurance in Quebec, the Tories run it in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Socreds run it in British Columbia, and you know what? Not one of those jurisdictions would dare dismantle those public, driver-owned, non-profit auto insurance systems. They would not dare dismantle them, because those systems provide insurance more affordably, more fairly, and deal specifically with what Nader tried to talk to the general government committee about.
People are using those phones. Mr Crangal from Mississauga -- Mr Crangal is still a Liberal. The message that he asks us -- because, you see, it would seem that the Liberals will not listen to him, so we will convey the message -- is: (1) Mr Crangal is still a Liberal; (2) He wants the government to know that as a Liberal he does not support Bill 68. I trust that the purpose of his message was to ask this government to not support it.
Mr Jenkins from Kitchener -- now wait a minute. Who is the young man here? Mr Jenkins from Kitchener made reference to me as “a young man doing a good job.” The “good job” is appreciated, but the “young man” is -- I am just overwhelmed. Mr Jenkins from Kitchener has been watching since 2:30 and he says, “No-fault is all fault.”
Willard Knight calls from Port Hope. Willard Knight said, “It seems like the Liberals in Ontario are some kind of rightwingers.” Willard Knight from Port Hope is learning that Liberals are Tories too.
Tony DaSilva from Brampton says that he has been trying to get through for the past three hours. He says, “Why are the Liberals being such jerks?” He is watching this. He spent three hours trying to get through on those phone lines, 965-1224 and 965-1239. He has had a chance to watch what is going on in here for the last three hours and he says, “Why are the Liberals being such jerks?” I do not know why. Mr DaSilva from Brampton recognizes that the opposition is speaking out for everybody. We are not speaking for the insurance companies, no two ways about it. We are not beholden to the insurance companies; they have spokespeople over there in the Liberal party. We will speak out for the seniors, the workers, the young people, the students and the farmers.
Deb and Don Ellis from Hamilton say something that is not overly subtle. They say, “The people who put the Liberals in can also put them out.” Do not forget, drivers can vote; insurance companies cannot.
Barb and Danny Daneliuk are from the riding of the member for Hamilton Centre. She is not getting in again. There are going to be New Democrats running against the Liberal candidate in Hamilton Centre.
Nader pointed out that here in Ontario a major portion -- he conceded not the greater portion, but a major portion -- of the auto insurance dollar is paid out for property damage, for repair and replacement of vehicles. So Nader says that anybody “who is concerned about the cost of insurance has to be concerned about the cost of claims, has to be concerned about the design of the motor vehicle, with flimsy bumpers, with repair-prone engineering modules in the car and with the auto repair fraud which goes on.”
Somebody might mention that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has a ghost car. I presume that is something that Dan Aykroyd drives around in, because Lord knows we have not seen his body-shop ghost car --
Mr Kormos: Yes, it is an invisible car, all right. It is an invisible program. We are not even talking Casper here; we are talking non-existent, we are talking zilch. You cannot see it, you cannot feel it, you cannot touch it, you cannot hear it. It is all part of the fluff; it is all part of the smoke and mirrors. A ghost car. We have not heard of a single instance of the utilization of this ghost car; we have not heard of a single investigation, a single arrest, a single charge.
To boot, do not forget, Mr Speaker, we know how you can use an undercover car, or ghost car if you will, in the instance -- we have talked about this before -- of motor vehicle repair. You know how they do it. They take a spark plug wire or one spark plug and they short it out. They take it in to a repair shop and they see whether the mechanic replaces your whole engine or just replaces the spark plug wire, or somewhere in between. How do you fake a broken windshield? How do you fake a crumpled rear quarter panel? How do you fake --
Mr Kormos: Mr Garshowitz calls from Toronto. He works with an insurance company. He says Bill 68 will not benefit any drivers, just the insurance companies. He works for an insurance company; he knows what he is talking about.
Tom Noble from Windsor has just called in on either 965-1224 -- I know it is a quarter to five in the morning -- or on 965-1239. Tom Noble says -- the same message we have heard from a few other people – “The Liberals have messed up worker’s comp. Now they want to mess up auto insurance.”
Nader did his very best to explain to the standing committee on general government what the focus of its attention really ought to be, if one was really interested in resolving auto insurance difficulties here in the province of Ontario, and quite frankly anywhere else.
He says, in the areas that he spoke of, that he did “not see much attention given to these areas with any specificity.” He told the committee, “For example, a 10-mile-an-hour bumper would probably do more than any other single factor other than airbags to cut down on the claims in the auto insurance area, certainly for property damage.”
Other than air bags, a 10-mile-an-hour bumper would do more than any single factor to reduce property claims. (1) It is a rather modest proposal. (2) It is not a difficult one for even the dullest of minds to comprehend. (3) It is virtually self-evident. Did the minister’s parliamentary assistant, the member for Guelph, do a single thing on behalf of the Ministry of Financial Institutions to initiate with the feds a requirement for a 10-mile-an-hour bumper here in Canada? No, not a thing. That is pretty shabby, pretty pathetic, pretty dismal.
Nader says, “So we must ask ourselves, what is the legislation proposed before this Legislature going to, first, signal to Ottawa to move more quickly in establishing crashworthy standards for cars?” We know the air-bag technology is there. Indeed, Canada -- Ontario -- is one of the major manufacturers of air bags and one of the developers of air-bag technology. You would think this government, if it gave anything more than a tinker’s damn about industry here in the province of Ontario, would be doing a whole lot more to enforce and require installation of air bags in any new car being imported into the province of Ontario. You would think that.
“Air bags are ready to go, but they ought to be accelerated in terms of standard equipment. In the United States, three million air bags will be produced this year on the driver side of new motor vehicles.” Look at what is happening: three million air bags in the United States, for the driver’s side only. “Twelve insurance companies are giving ... discounts for air-bag-equipped cars, ranging from $30 to $60, and that will go up as more cars have air bags installed as standard equipment.
“So the signal from the province,” Nader states, “since I understand you cannot set auto safety standards at the provincial level, should be to the national government to accelerate its crash prevention and injury prevention standards. The same holds true for bumper standards. At the provincial level certainly the stronger regulation of fraudulent, duplicative, unnecessary repair practices is in order.”
So you see, Mr Speaker. Nader is addressing a singularly logical matter, one that cries out for action on the part of these Liberals and one that was thoroughly ignored by the Minister of Financial Institutions, by his parliamentary assistant and by anybody else who was involved on the government side throughout the course of these standing committee on general government hearings.
I could probably end right there, but I know that people are phoning. The member for York South is back there answering phone calls. People are calling 416-965-1224, or for other people who want to call in on the other line it is 965-1239. The member for York South, the leader of the New Democratic Party, is out there answering those calls and is going to bring those messages in to me. I appreciate that those calls are going to slow down. Heck, it is 10 to five in the morning. Mr Speaker, when are they going to rerun this one?
Look at what Nader had to say. Listen here: “As I have said on a prior occasion” -- this is oft-quoted – “we in the United States have traditionally looked to Canada for emulation in social insurance and social welfare advances.” Nader therefore is “particularly alarmed at any process in this country which begins to slide backwards.”
Do you hear what he is saying? Nader is alarmed because Nader, as a consumer advocate, recognizes that the United States and the American jurisdictions so often look to Canada for leadership on social welfare and social issues. Nader then sees it as a matter of great alarm and concern when he sees, in an American context, a backsliding.
He points out, “There tends to be a contagion to this type of slide, particularly when you read the statements, private and public, of the insurance companies and the reinsurance companies, most prominently Lloyd’s of London” -- it seems to me there is somebody very prominent in the Liberal cabinet who owns a little bit of stock in Lloyd’s of London, but so be it, that is okay. Whether it is a blind trust or not, who knows? The old blind trust, right? – “which are quite candid about reducing the protections under the civil justice system down to common denominators existing in Britain and perhaps eventually in Korea.”
Nader is not unfamiliar with the types of pressure tactics that are used by the insurance industry or the reinsurance industry, like Lloyd’s of London, because he points out that a number of years ago in Alaska, 21 recommendations were presented by Lloyd’s of London which “spelled procedural and substantive weakening of the civil justice system in terms of injured people achieving adequate compensation.”
What Nader is saying is that the insurance industry has not been ambiguous about this. Their position has always been quite clear: Diminish the rights of people to utilize the court system. Do members understand why Nader felt obliged to say that? He said that this is a trait, not one that is necessarily criticizable, but it is clear. The insurance industry is not ambiguous about this. The insurance industry has consistently sought to reduce people’s rights to use courts.
He says. “The question really that needs to be pondered is, is it so necessary, given other corrective alternatives, to reduce the rights of the most vulnerable people in your province, people who are injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents or crashes?” He is talking about the most vulnerable people. He is asking, is it necessary to reduce their rights?
Marlene Ellis from Scarborough says, “The Liberal Party is perpetrating a fraud, another piece of junk they are trying to ram down our throats.” Marlene Ellis from Scarborough says that about Bill 68 and about this time allocation motion.
John Daly from Toronto says that he has been trying to call all night. We apologize. There are only two lines: 965-1239 and 965-1224. Those are the lines. We have only two of them. John Daly from Toronto says that he has been trying to call. He wanted to call with a vote of support and he says that he is proud of the opposition for hanging in.
Paul Coffey called in for the second time. It is about how somebody needs to dry out -- amen. I do not know. I think Paul Coffey noticed that somebody had a wet sleeve on his jacket or something. I could not imagine why he would suggest that anybody else would have to dry out around here.
Nader again: “The question that really needs to be pondered is, is it so necessary, given other ... alternatives, to reduce the rights of the most vulnerable people in your province, people who are injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents or crashes? Is it so important to reduce their rights as the way to entertain the hope that the insurance rates increase will be moderated? This is what is so troubling. There is a clear intent on the part of the bill to take away certain benefits.” He is talking about Bill 68. He talks about a clear intent. “I do not think anybody would deny that -- most prominently pain and suffering, enjoyment of life and benefits for a significantly injured person.”
Catch this, Mr Speaker, because Nader hits the nail right on the head. He says, “There is a clear intent on the part of the bill to take away certain benefits ... pain and suffering, enjoyment of life and benefits for a significantly injured person. There is no similar guarantee of reduced rates.”
Nader was saying this back on 15 January 1990. Since then the Minister of Financial Institutions has announced that there are going to be premium increases of up to 50 per cent and we have learned that for almost a third of a million drivers here in Ontario premium increases are going to be as high as 80 per cent.
He says, “There is a certainty of taking away certain rights on the one hand, but not a certainty of reducing rates on the other, even if that was considered a civilized exchange,” which he does not believe it is.
He talks about the rights of injured people. These are things “which not only compensate them as human beings rather than as mere damaged chattels but also generate a modest amount of deterrence, disclosure and ethical growth of the law in making perpetrators of harm more accountable for their misdeeds.”
He talks about a $200 lawsuit down in Atlanta against Aetna, “which has under discovery generated the disclosure of internal Aetna documents advising its claims adjusters how to avoid paying legitimate claims, just out of a simple $200 claim -- the disclosure has been in the Georgia newspapers and the Georgia media -- as an indication of the extra, individual contribution of lawsuits to broader awareness, broader reform and corrective action.
Nader says this: “I have always objected to no-fault on a number of grounds; that is, it undermines several of the functions of the tort system, one...being deterrence, a kind of ethical judgement on bad actors, negligent, reckless drivers in this case, but it could be reckless and negligent automobile manufacturers as well, which intertwine with the sequence that leads to the accident. It also generates more disclosure and it generates an ethical growth.”
Ethical growth is something about which the Liberals in this province do not know a whole lot. Ethical growth is something that is foreign to the Liberal Party in Ontario. Ethical growth was stunted when Patti Starr sat on the Liberal Party of Ontario. That set ethical growth back a good decade or two for the Liberals of Ontario. That Frigidaire and the Sherwin-Williams coating did not help much either.
Mr Kormos: It took us back to the years of Mitch Hepburn. I suppose that is the only place you can go back to. We do not have much of a history, and the sad thing is that the modest history of Liberal government in Ontario is marked, is it not? Patti Starr, Frigidaires and Sherwin-Williams, big donations at election time from the insurance industry, and then of course the insurance industry wants the payback, does it not? The insurance industry wants the payback. I mean, it is an old -- one hand washes the other.
“Some of our greatest reservoirs of ethical development under the law have come from appellate decisions arising out of personal injury cases: Cardozo, Oliver Wendell Holmes. These are really marvellous expansions of obligations of people to one another to take due care, to engage in proper warning, proper notice, the whole framework of accountability.
“Workers’ compensation is an ethical dead end.” If we have not learned that here in the province of Ontario, then we simply have not been paying attention. It is an ethical dead end, and in the United States, he writes: “It is a deterrent dead end. It is a disclosure dead end” -- boy. we have had that experience here in Canada, have we not? In the province of Ontario it is a disclosure dead end – “and as a compensating function, it is frozen in time. That is the no-fault system. The question is, do we want that type of structure to be imposed on an auto injury arena, which desperately needs a dynamism to the legal processes that affect it? Do we really want to treat human beings as chattels?” That is what the Liberal Party is doing by virtue of Bill 68. “Do we really want to treat human beings as chattels? We should remember that if your car is damaged, making your car whole is repairing your car.”
Catherine MacInnes from Guelph phones in. It was 4:56, four minutes to five, that Ms MacInnes called in. She says we are doing an incredible job, following it for three weeks, very moved with what we have done in our fight for democracy, opening Parliament to the people -- opening Parliament to the people -- people have power and a say, trying to make a system just and fair. “We need full debate. We need to scrap 68. We have to start looking to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.”
Fern Burnett -- these are all people, Mr Speaker, who are calling in on 965-1224, these are people phoning us at 965-1224, right here at Queen’s Park, area code 416, and the ones who cannot get through on 965-1224 are calling us at 965-1239, both area code 416, right here at Queen’s Park in Toronto -- 965-1224.
The Acting Speaker: I have been advised that a quorum is present, so with a great deal of privilege, I would like to recognize the honourable member for Welland-Thorold, who is participating, for those of you who have just joined us, in orders of the day, item 51, resuming the adjourned debate on government notice of motion 30 on time allocation in relation to Bill 68, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Insurance.
Mr Kormos: People have been phoning in at 965-1224 or 965-1239. People are on their way to work from various parts of Toronto right now. I want them to know they can drop into Queen’s Park on the way to work. There are not a whole lot of members here. Lord knows, there are precious few Liberals. Lots of parking on the north side. Come on in and drop in and just say hello.
Phillip Jones from St Catharines calls in and he says that, “When governments conspire with corporations against the public interest, this is directly contrary to democracy.” Phillip Jones is dead on. “When governments conspire with corporations against the public interest, this is directly contrary to democracy.”
Vince Azarello from Mississauga is talking about a political party being on the take. He ain’t talking about the New Democrats. He says, “It’s as if they were on the take.” Well, I have got a feeling that Vince Azarello’s view of the Liberal Party is shared by a whole lot of people out there across Ontario.
Fern Burnett -- I started mentioning Fern Burnett -- phones in with the message, “You deserve a medal.” I do not know whether she is talking about you, Mr Speaker, for your excellent, excellent conduct of this assembly since -- why, gosh, for almost 12 hours now. I agree with Fern Burnett. You, Mr Speaker, deserve a medal. You have put up with a lot of nonsense from a lot of numbskulls over the last 12 hours. You had to have some people gently guided out of the assembly before they slipped and fell and hurt themselves, right, Mr Speaker? You had to guide them out of here gently, and I know it is late at night and early in the morning, but you have done an incredible job, Mr Speaker. You deserve a medal.
Mr Kormos: My leader has got more right here. He is there answering the phone at 965-1224, and Irene, phoning in from Windsor, says, “Bill 68 and closure is just another problem they have to add to property tax increases in Windsor.”
Mr Kormos: Yes, the phone number is 965-1224. You know a Liberal member asked for the phone number -- 965-1224. These Liberals have been sitting here for the last 12 hours. You would think they would know the phone numbers to call in by now.
Why are property taxes rising in Windsor? Well, for the very same reason that they are rising in Welland and Thorold: Because this Liberal government has been cutting back like mad on its grants to municipalities, because this government has been imposing financial burdens on municipalities that municipalities simply cannot afford. And you know what? This government, the Liberals here, squeal like stuck pigs when the feds in Ottawa cut back on the transfer payments down to Queen’s Park. Well, what do you think they have been doing to municipalities across Ontario for the last four or five years, huh?
Gord Robinson, calling from Halton Hills, says the insurance companies are sticking it to his son for $4,000 a year in auto insurance premiums, yet his son, indeed, will be serving the public as a paramedic.
Mr Kormos: Oh no, he is a good New Democrat, I tell you, and a fine representative of those 15,000 workers -- a fine New Democrat and great representative of those 15,000 workers -- and I do not think Rob has ever voted Liberal in his life. I do not think he has ever voted Tory in his life. I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that Rob has voted New Democrat each and every time he has had a chance to vote. He is a fine candidate, a fine representative of 15,000 workers down there.
Mr Kormos: This is a member from Brampton. I tell you, Mr Speaker, the member from Brampton is a member of the Liberal caucus who is thinking about opposing Bill 68, but I want this member to more than think about it. If this member will commit himself to opposing Bill 68, he is guaranteed re-election in the riding of Brampton South. God bless him; stick with it. I tell him, oppose Bill 68 and he is guaranteed re-election, I tell the member for Brampton South that right now. The member for Brampton South opposing Bill 68: God bless his constituents. His constituents are going to think better of him for it, I tell him that right now, and I want more to come on over, come right over here.
The Acting Speaker: It has been brought to my attention that the ayes are 7 and the nays 22. That being the case, I have no alternative but to carry on, forge ahead and recognize the member for Welland-Thorold.
Mr Kormos: Good morning, Mr Speaker. I tell you, I am as happy to be here this morning as I was at midnight and as I was some 12 hours ago at six o’clock yesterday afternoon when we started this exercise.
People have been calling from all over this province. They have been calling 965-1224; they have been calling 965-1239. On those two lines, in the course of the last 12 hours, we have received almost 400 phone calls condemning the Liberals, condemning their closure motion, condemning the Tories in Ottawa and, Lord knows, Liberals are Tories too.
People like Juan Barnsley from Hamilton calls and says, “Give ‘em Hades.” Jamel Singh from Thornhill says that the Minister of Financial Institutions should listen to the people and not the insurance companies. Harry Persaud from Richmond Hill says that we should say no to Bill 68. He says a whole lot more attention ought to be paid to the level of insurance company support of the Liberals, their party and their candidates at election time.
Robert Taylor of Toronto says, “The Liberals should be renamed the unspeakable party.” Michael Smith in Toronto says, “Bill 68 provides nothing for pain and suffering.” It provides nothing for 95 per cent of all innocent injured accident victims; 95 per cent of all innocent injured accident victims will receive not a penny in compensation for pain and suffering or for loss of enjoyment of life.
Maureen Cunningham from Scarborough calls and says, “Got to hand it to you for saying no to no-fault.” There are simply no two ways about it. Of these almost 400 phone calls -- at least, that is what my count has been and it might be under a little bit -- there have been New Democrats but, more significantly, there have been Tories and Liberals, huge numbers of Liberals.
A common theme running throughout all these calls is: “We used to be Liberal, but no more. We are not Liberal any more because of what the Liberals are doing to democracy here in the province of Ontario and because of what the Liberals are doing to the drivers, taxpayers and the innocent injured victims with Bill 68.”
Alec from the east end of Toronto called 965-1224 and said, “Congratulations to the opposition,” on what he saw as a job well done. Paul Wiseman from Markham gives us support. “The only persons who get no-fault are the insurance companies.” The only party for whom no-fault insurance is really no-fault is in fact the auto insurance industry. Now, Paul Wiseman says that the Liberals are in bed with the insurance companies.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I believe the member for Durham-York is flouting the rules of this place. It is well known that no one is supposed to read a speech into this House. As far as I am concerned, that goes for reading interjections. The member is using a book there to teach himself various kinds of interjections to hurl at the member speaking and that seems to me to be grossly unfair. He should do it in the ad lib fashion that we expect from all members.
Mr Ballinger: This weekend the hospital foundation in my riding of Durham York is holding a roast for a very good citizen of the community. I am one of the roasters and I am using this pun book to prepare my retort.
Mr Kormos: I do not understand how the member for Durham-York can claim he is writing a speech. I offered him crayons about two or three hours ago and he never took them. It seems bizarre to me that he can suggest he is indeed preparing a speech.
I want to get back to those good people who have been calling. We have had people sitting here all night watching this whole proceeding. Angelo Bucciarelli was up here watching for the biggest chunk of the night. Angelo Bucciarelli works with National Group Realty Services in Downsview. Angelo Bucciarelli was interested enough and concerned enough about what is happening right here in the province of Ontario and Angelo Bucciarelli from National Group Realty Services spent a big chunk of time right here at Queen’s Park watching what is happening.
Mr Moscattini is a former officer with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force. He has seen a whole lot of kids hurt. He says that Bill 68 requires more debate because it is not adequate to protect kids, little people, youngsters, children.
Mr R. F. Johnston: An unseemly interjection under section 20(b) has been made, as you will know, Mr Speaker. You can refer to your book if you look to it. The member for Brampton South has asked for a number, which I am about to give him if he will sit down and somebody will write it out for him. Please take a seat. I am reading the member the number. The number for Tony DaSilva from Brampton is 459-6134. Please call him back and have a chat with him. I am sure he would be happy to talk to the member about his views on auto insurance.
The Acting Speaker: That was not a point of order, but we are just trying to keep an even keel around here so people will not get upset. I passed the window this morning and the birds were waking up. Now it seems like that is happening in here. We were doing fine for quite a long time.
Mr Kormos: Susan Berg from The Book Exchange at 625 King Street in Welland sends this postcard. I should tell you, Mr Speaker, that The Book Exchange is one heck of a bookstore. People come there from all over Welland, Wainfleet, Pelham, Ridgeway, Fort Erie, down in Welland, Ontario, at 625 King Street. Sue Berg, who is just a heck of a lady, has run that shop by herself and supported herself and her three kids for a long time.
She sends a postcard that says: “Dear Pete, The face of this card will give you something nicer than a lot of Liberal faces to look at, Susan. No-fault, no thanks.” It is a picture of a locomotive on a 32-cent stamp, and I agree with her. I would rather look at a locomotive on a 32-cent stamp than this many Liberals any time.
We have more calls here. Mr Cooke called from Oakville. He is saying that if his member, one Mr -- help me, Mr Speaker -- Carrothers. Is that a member of the Legislative Assembly? That is who Mr Cooke would like to have call him.
The Acting Speaker: I remember Jack Stokes used to say there is nothing out of order and he would get in a big fight with everyone. Well, I am just trying to bounce along this morning, so what is your point of order?
Mr Callahan: I want the member to tell me whether the number that he gave to me of 459-6134, Tony DaSilva, is actually that of a member that I represent in the Legislature. My privileges have been breached if that number is a lie. If it is not in fact true, he can tell me if the number is correct.
Mr Kormos: I should help the member for Brampton South. I can only say this, I do not know what number he dialled, but when I used to practise law, I would get these calls at two and three in the morning from people charged with impaired driving. Inevitably, the police would dial the number instead of letting the accused dial the number, because they would always foul it up and get somebody with a number that was close. I cannot explain what went wrong there, but maybe if the member knows any police officers --
Mrs Sullivan: Unfortunately, because the rules have changed, I cannot find the specific place, but I believe there was an innuendo in the remarks of the member for Welland-Thorold relating to the member for Brampton South and I believe we should ask the member for Welland-Thorold to withdraw his remarks.
The Acting Speaker: I have nothing but the highest regard for the chairperson of the select committee on energy. What were the remarks? I try to listen very closely when sitting in the chair to all that is taking place so that we do not run into difficulties. I had the opportunity of asking the leader of the official opposition to retract earlier, some time in the last 12 hours, which he very kindly did. I do not think the honourable member for Welland-Thorold had indicated anything to contravene our standing orders.
Mrs Sullivan: Mr Speaker, you have asked me a question. In my view, the remarks of the member for Welland-Thorold related to the competence, or to his judgement of the competence, or a judgement about the competence of the member for Brampton South. In my view, they were against the rules. Unfortunately, I cannot quote to you the specific rule, but indeed I believe that they are out of order. Not only are they out of order, but they are in fact prejudicial to the dignity of this House.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Since she cannot remember what the member for Welland-Thorold said, perhaps you can check for her and look it up. Mr Speaker, the member for Brampton South did accuse the member for Welland-Thorold of misleading the House and I would expect you to ask him to withdraw that.
The Acting Speaker: I wanted to bring that to the attention of the member for Halton Centre. We try to have some give and take here in terms of operating under our standing orders. The member for Halton Centre, whom I have nothing but the highest regard for -- I am not going to investigate Hansard because I listened closely to the honourable member for Welland-Thorold. Notwithstanding what you are searching for, I did not hear him say anything contrary to our standing orders.
It has been brought to my attention by the House leader of the official opposition that indeed the member for Brampton South did indicate that the member for Welland-Thorold was lying. I did hear that. And the House leader brought it to my attention. You see, that gets me in a tough position because when he does that, I have to turn to him and ask him to withdraw because I sort of heard him say it, but it was not while the microphone was on.
Mr Callahan: Listen. Those guys talk too much; they do not listen. I was given a telephone number for a constituent of my riding which I think as a privilege of my membership in this House I am entitled to, and it was given to me as 459-
Mr Callahan: Listen. Why do those guys not settle down? I was given the number of 459-6134. It was recorded as well by a colleague of mine. If that is the wrong number, let him tell me. If it is not, then my accusation stands that they are either giving me the wrong number or they are misleading the House.
Mr B. Rae: The member for Brampton South has said to me on a number of occasions this morning that the phone calls we are receiving are fake and that they are somehow being invented. I want to say to the member that that is absolutely false. Anybody can sit in the lobby, and there have been lots of people sitting in the lobby, including for several hours the Attorney General earlier in the proceedings. He was there; he heard the phone ringing. If the member from Brampton does not believe that the people of Ontario think that the Liberals’ insurance bill is a lousy bill and that they are phoning spontaneously to the Legislature, all I can say to you, Mr Speaker, is that the member from Brampton does not know what he is talking about it and that he is --
The Acting Speaker: I am not going to recognize the member for Brampton South. He has had a good amount to say in the last few minutes. I have done my utmost to allow him to vent his steam. Now I want to bring to his attention that indeed he did not say the member lied. He said he was misleading the House. That is what it was, and he repeated it again. Now, you are not supposed to do that. It is getting on in the hour. I am a little tired; you are a little tired --
The Acting Speaker: Okay, the member for Welland-Thorold probably is not. That is wonderful. I want to ask the honourable member, please, never mind getting into the details about the phone calls. Just withdraw, as the official leader of the opposition did and the honourable member for Hamilton East did earlier in the day. Serving in this position, I have yet to have to name a member. I do not want to. Please withdraw.
Mr Callahan: Mr Speaker, I have always considered the integrity of this House and honourable members always telling the truth. If I am mistaken, if the number is not 459-6134 and I have made a mistake or my colleague has, then I withdraw.
Mrs Sullivan: As you know, Mr Speaker, I was confused about this section of the standing orders, about which I was critical of the member for Welland-Thorold. I want to tell you that I would like to refer you to 23(h) (i) or (k), and perhaps you will take that into your consideration as the proceedings go on.
The Acting Speaker: Yes, I will recognize the honourable member for Halton Centre for bringing that to my attention. As I have indicated in the past, notwithstanding what some members think, when we are sitting in the chair we try not to doze. We try to listen to our monitors when we are in our room so that we can catch the flavour of the debate as it progresses. Under the circumstances, as I indicated, I had been listening to the member for Welland-Thorold and I have reprimanded him from time to time about what I think is improper use of language under our standing orders and parliamentary procedure. But in terms of specifically naming him under our standing orders section 23(h) (i), (j) and (k), as you indicated, I cannot recall any specific aspect where I would have to do that. But I will listen carefully on your advice and will do so at another time if it is required.
Mr Kormos: Thanks once again, Mr Speaker. Some people just will never learn. Here is a note from a man from Brampton South who indicates that members should not be broadcasting numbers in the House. What a dummy; what a dumb thing for the member for Brampton South to do.
David Wolf calls again from Brampton. He obviously was agitated by what the member for Brampton South did. David Wolf expresses some embarrassment about the fact that his member is in the House. He is actually wishing that his member were not in the House. The member is obviously not doing so well with numbers this morning.
Anne Klar from Oakwood calls me and wants me to go on. She was a Liberal but no longer. Her member used to be a Liberal cabinet minister. What is her name? Heck, she is not even on the chart any more. Boy, when you get dumped from this cabinet, you sure get dumped. When you get Starr-struck, you get wiped right off the page; you are over to the right or somewhere of the whole page.
Now, Pat and Susan Johnston called up and, Mr Speaker, I hope your colleague is listening because Pat and Susan Johnston from Whitby say that “You and Sam” -- I guess she is talking about me – “are the best show in town.” I do not know who she meant by Sam. I appreciate Pat and Susan Johnston calling in.
Jim McCann called back. He again was disgusted by the member for Brampton South’s conduct. He wants Liberals to call him. That is, Jim McCann wants Liberals to call him. He lives in the riding of the member for St George-St David but Jim McCann would love to have members call him.
Lorne Brown called from Burlington. Lorne Brown just called and he said he would talk to the member for Brampton South but he would really prefer somebody with a little more maturity. Lorne Brown is prepared to talk to the member for Brampton South but would prefer somebody with a little more maturity. Lorne Brown, we understand, we understand.
Mrs Sullivan: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It seems to me that the member recounted a message from a person named Norm Brown of Burlington relating to a call received. It seems to me that the House ought to have a more accurate account of that message and, in fact, if it were ever received, and if the message had been received as it was recounted in the House.
Mr Kormos: What I am going to do is -- we have already subjected some people to having their telephone number bandied about. Now, let me tell you, Mr Speaker, this message from Lorne Brown in Burlington says that he would talk to the member for Brampton South, but he would prefer someone with more maturity. I am going to send this message down to you, Mr Speaker.
Don Clarke from Marathon -- you know, Mr Speaker, the member for Halton Centre, why is she not listening to what these people have to say? You see, she is like so many other Liberals, she just wishes that all these people would disappear because her allegiance is to the interest of an auto insurance industry, not to the wellbeing of these good people, almost 400 of them, who have been phoning in over the last 12 hours.
The member for Halton Centre is just upset because nobody has been phoning her. They have tried, but the member for Halton Centre will not listen unless it is an insurance company executive. The member for Halton Centre will not listen unless it is a representative from that big, wealthy, powerful auto insurance industry here in the province of Ontario.
Mrs Sullivan: On this one, I believe, I do have a point of order. I believe that the point of order relates to 23(i), imputing false or unavowed motives to another member, suggesting that I will only receive calls from insurance company executives. That is not the case. I speak to anyone who calls me from my constituency.
The Speaker: I have listened carefully to the member. I have found in the past that, in this House, when members are speaking they often give points of view, not always the same. The member gave his point of view; you gave your point of view.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, I tell you that Don Clarke from Marathon calls and says, “We are tired, we are watching, but we are not phoney.” Don Clarke is quite right. The folks up in Marathon watching with Don Clarke deserve to be listened to. That is all that we are asking.
Mr Kormos: Linda Clarke from Marathon is prepared to send a copy of her phone bill to the member for Brampton South, as long as he pays for it. Linda Clarke from Marathon wants to send a phone bill to the Liberal caucus so that they can pay it.
Mr Kormos: I brought a soother. If the member for Halton Centre wants it, I can send it over to her. She is doing an awful lot of whining and squealing. This kind of plug would quieten her up and it is perhaps fitting. We expected we would need one before the night was over. It is called a pacifier.
Charles Taylor from Scarborough called, Bob Sterling -- we talked about him -- Mr Cooke and Dr Paul from Toronto. We talked about Paul Barnsley. Mark State was in the gallery earlier. He is calling on behalf of Carter Brown, who is still in the gallery, at least he was when he called.
Brother J. State was a Liberal but now says, “Time for a change in government.” Here is a fellow who came down and saw with his own eyes. Here is a fellow who knows what the time allocation motion is all about, who knows that it is a crummy antidemocratic motion; here is a fellow who has seen the conduct of the Liberals at first hand, not censored, if you will, by virtue of the restrictions placed on the cameras here in the Legislature. Notwithstanding that he has been a Liberal, he comes here and sees what is happening. That is why every day of this Legislature these galleries should be filled.
Mrs Payson of St Catharines takes exception to the member for Brampton South for saying the calls are phoney. She is getting really upset with the Liberals: “They’re running scared.” They are. They are running scared. She says: “Excellent job. Keep on doing it.”
Breda and Anna Yates from Kitchener support our action. Mitch Temesy from Amherstburg: “With you. Appreciate what you are doing. Want to see you at five am,” when he gets up. He saw us at five am when he got up. He saw us at 6 am and he is seeing now at 6:30. It is 6:30 in the morning on Friday 27 April 1990.
Victor Wiens from Pembroke says: “Bill 68 is really unfair. Seniors won’t be able to pay increases under Bill 68.” I do not know what the count is there now in terms of the number of telephone messages that have been phoned in. Over 500 people have called in on the two phone lines that we have had available to us. Over 500 people have called in over the last 12 hours to express condemnation of Bill 68 and of what the Liberals are doing here at Queen’s Park.
Emily and Bill Prince of Oakville; Mrs Prince calls to say that her member, and her member is the member for Halton Centre, should vote against Bill 68. Emily and Bill Prince are not going to wait for Halton Centre to call them. They are going to call her. Emily and Bill Prince might give a call to the member for Halton Centre right now.
Rob City says, “Books are fictitious; concerned people aren’t.” Here is Roberta Corrie, Willowdale, a staunch Tory but joining with us today. Jodie Brown from Windsor called to say that she was going to bed, which is where a whole bunch of people here should be.
Gerry Forbes of CKFM wants to send me a number; CKFM, good for them. Dave Martin, Weston: “Doing a fine job. Hang tough.” Robert Colterman, Scarborough: “Glad somebody has the guts to stand up to these guys.”
Eru Stach was at the public hearings in Thunder Bay. He knows that the Minister of Financial Institution was not there. Eru Stach from Thunder Bay knows that the Minister of Financial Institutions did not come to Thunder Bay. Do you want to know something else, Mr Speaker? He did not go to Sudbury either. He did not go to Windsor, did not go to Ottawa, did not even come here to Toronto other than that first afternoon. Eru Stach says. “At the public hearings in Thunder Bay, large numbers opposed Bill 68.” We are trying to accomplish open debate against a bad bill; he thinks that is okay.
We did not mention Horst Romar: “The Premier’s hand is so crazy and cruel just to show us Liberal rule. It just goes to show that the Liberal way must give in to public opinion some day.” Horst Romar from Kitchener has done a couple of couplets here that would make poets proud. Horst Romar says, “No way.”
A man from Burlington wonders whether those who follow the Premier’s tune realize what happened to those who followed the Pied Piper. Here are more calls. Lou Bortnick from Willowdale says he made a big mistake voting Liberal last time.
Ms Duquette from North Bay called earlier. She is fed up with the Liberal from Halton Centre, who keeps jumping up and down. Ms Duquette paid for this long-distance call just to say that she was fed up with those sorts of antics.
Port Colborne says: “Give Peter credit. Have faith in him. Keep it up. Bill 68 is as bad as GST.” You want to know something, Mr Speaker? This closure motion on the part of the Liberals is as bad as the closure motion used by Brian Mulroney in Ottawa to push the GST through. Not only is the legislation as bad as the GST, the tactics are the same as the ones the Liberals in Ottawa are using.
People are on their way to work. People are getting ready to carry on with their busy schedules. I know there have been people paying attention to this all night and they have got to be a little tired. But I want people to know that they are entitled to come down here to Queen’s Park on their way to work this morning to see what has happened to democracy, to see what the Liberals are doing with their Mulroney tactics, with their closure motions --
Il est une de nos traditions dans cette Chambre-ci d’avoir disponible la traduction simultanée pour les francophones de la province. Un principe qu’on accepte ici, c’est que les francophones et les anglophones peuvent avoir le même droit de suivre les discours de la Chambre.
À mon avis, c’est quelque chose d’affreux et c’est très important pour vous en tant que président de le considérer. Est-ce possible que nous laissons tomber toutes nos traditions, ici, d’égalité dans la province ? Est-ce possible pour nous d’avoir un discours, des débats qui continuent sans avoir de traduction ? Il est acceptable pour les anglophones qui aimeraient avoir des renseignements au sujet de ce qui se passe ici, mais pas pour les francophones.
The Speaker: I listened very carefully to what the honourable member has said. I appreciate his drawing to my attention that the simultaneous translation is not available. I was not aware that it was not available at the moment. However, I will certainly look into it and report back to the House as soon as I can.
The Speaker: Order. It is being taken by Hansard and it is also being recorded by the electronic Hansard, which I believe is required, and I will certainly look into it and report back as soon as I can.
Here is a call from Steve Latinovich. The Latinovich family goes back quite a way. Casey Latinovich, Steve and Mike’s father and a few other brothers -- Steve is a great hockey player, by the way. He played some really good hockey here in Canada, and --
Mr Kormos: It is true. Steve Latinovich is well known throughout Europe, where his professional hockey career took him, playing for European leagues. Steve and Mike are both active in the community in a variety of ways, not just in their own jobs, profoundly making a good impact on the community, but are involved in volunteer work with youngsters and always eager to lend a hand.
Mr B. Rae: I hesitate to interrupt my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold, who is doing such a superb job on behalf of the people of the province, but it is a substantive point that has been raised by my colleague the member for Scarborough West. I have been looking through the rules -- obviously, very quickly. I do not find anything in the rules with respect to the question, and it may be because I have not found it. But the fact of the matter is that, by virtue of an agreement between the parties, we have always operated on the basis that when the House is in session simultaneous translation will be provided.
I think we are entitled to a report from the government House leader as to why it would be that the Liberals would agree to the House continuing to sit when those services are not being provided. I think that it is an important point, not one that I raise lightly. Particularly in light of everything else that is happening in the province these days, and indeed in the country, it might be a good idea whether the government could tell us whether it is now its policy that it will require the House to sit without providing translation services.
Hon Mr Ward: On the point of order that was raised by the leader of the official opposition, I guess it does not surprise me that he is so singularly uninformed that he does not realize that the government does not control the operations of this assembly. In fact, that is done by the Speaker and through the Board of Internal Economy. They do not take directions from the government with regard to issues such as security, the opening of the galleries or the translation.
I would suggest to the member that a motion has been made and suggested. The Speaker has indicated that he will reserve a decision. The standing orders do say that you cannot reflect upon a decision by the Speaker and I would suggest he let the debate continue.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Mr Speaker. I think the government House leader is correct, obviously, that it is your responsibility. I think it is also your responsibility, since this important service is not being provided to the Legislature now while we are in session, to adjourn the House until the service can be in order.
The Speaker: Order. I listened carefully to the point the Leader of the Opposition made in regard to the comment I made previously on the previous point of order, and I listened to the government House leader and I listened to the official opposition House leader. We have so many translators on staff. I was not aware that they had gone home. I took it seriously when it was brought to my attention and I will certainly, as soon as possible, find out what has happened and report to the House.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the fact that you are going to report to the House and I would expect you to report to the House. But in the meantime, we do not have a service that is expected in this province, especially in consideration of the fact that we have passed Bill 8. We expect these services to be provided across the province, and this place should be an example and you have got to show that example. I would ask you to adjourn the House and show an example for this place.
Hon Mr Ward: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member for Windsor-Riverside probably does not like the fact that the debate in this House is covered by the rules of debate. The rules of debate state only that, “Every member desiring to speak must rise in his or her place and address the Speaker, in either English or French.” There is no provision in the standing orders for anything beyond that. I would suggest that the rules of debate are being followed and the debate should proceed.
Mr D. S. Cooke: When the standing committees have travelled this province during the break, this was of great consideration of the chairpeople of the various committees, whether simultaneous translation was going to be provided. It was provided in each of the designated areas or where the hearings were being held, even in Thunder Bay, which is not a designated area but where presentations were going to be brought in from communities that were covered by designated areas.
Mr Speaker, I am asking you, not the government House leader or the other members of the House, to use your judgement and to recognize that this is very important and that you should exercise proper judgement and adjourn the House now.
I listened carefully to the member for Windsor-Riverside. I appreciate what he has said and the request he has made to the House. I would ask for his consideration that I, within the next 15 or 20 minutes, see what I can do to see that it is reinstalled.
Mr Allen: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: In this House when we consider points of order we often make reference to catalogues of precedent that have been established in various legislatures and in our own as to how we conduct ourselves and how we interpret the fairly simple, straight rule that the government House leader offered. I think one would have to concede that the precedent is now well and thoroughly established in this House that we are addressing, whenever we are assembled together, two language constituencies and that not only do we therefore do that as a matter of convenience but we have recognized it as a matter of right with respect to both of those two language constituencies.
For us now to proceed, having recognized that fact, regardless of who awoke at what time to the fact that the simultaneous translation had stopped, now that we are aware of that fact it seems to me it is absolutely incumbent upon this House, and certainly symbolically incredibly important for us, what decision we make at this very point in time. We are now aware of something, and if we decide now to continue we will be, I think, establishing a very regrettable change in that precedent, that we do this as a matter, somehow, of convenience and not as a matter of right to the persons of those two language groups in this province, that one now suddenly assumes quite a different status than the other.
That equality was present in the context of years of activity since the institution of simultaneous translation. For us now to alter that by implication in any way is an extremely serious step. I wish you would take that argument to heart and at the very least adjourn this House until you come back with a decision as to the force of that argument.
The Speaker: Order. In response, I have checked the standing orders. There is nothing in the standing orders that says it must take place. Therefore, I request that we continue the debate and I will, if I have someone here in the chair, go out and ascertain how long it will take and be back to the House.
The Speaker: Prior to the vote, I advised the House that I would take under consideration the matter that was raised on a point of order. I have looked at the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly’s Report on Simultaneous Interpretation, which was presented by the committee on 12 June 1986. On 10 July 1986, the House approved that report.
There are other recommendations. However, I think the one that might be of interest to the members would be recommendation 6, which says, “A simultaneous interpretation unit, composed of seven full-time employees of the Office of the Assembly (three for the House, three for the Amethyst Room and one backup interpreter) be established.”
Because the House approved these recommendations, I would hike to inform the members that the interpreters are on their way and should be here at any moment, but I feel it would be my responsibility, because the House has passed that set of recommendations, to suspend proceedings to the call of the Chair when, in a very short time, the interpreters will be present. I will not be ringing the bells. I will inform the member who has the floor when the interpreters are here and I will return to the House. I thank the members for bringing this matter to my attention.
Mr R. F. Johnston: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: It struck me earlier on as well that it is very important that we have accurate recording of our proceedings here, which is one of the reasons I raised the question of French translation not being available. But the other thing that has struck me is that the normal assistance we receive from Hansard, people who record the interjections and the responses, has not been available.
As you know, under standing order 20(b) interjections are not admissible, within the standing orders at any rate, but from time to time the person who has the floor tends to respond to somebody who is making an interjection. Without those recordings here, because we no longer have what was called the garbage track in the old days, there is no way of being sure that we are getting an accurate recording of what is taking place here in the House.
I would ask the Speaker to rule on whether or not we can actually have an accurate recording of the proceedings when we do not have those people here who are recording from time to time the actual interjections which are taking place, to which the member for Welland-Thorold may from time to time refer.
Hon Mr Ward: I would just point out that this Legislative Assembly is served by electronic Hansard, both audio as well as video. Frankly, I do not see what impact there is in not having, as happens from time to time, someone at the desk.
The Speaker: Thank you for drawing that to my attention. As a matter of fact, I realized that myself some time ago. I believe it is in order to have Hansard and to have electronic Hansard. The tapes are rolling in both rooms and I feel it is within order to continue.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, I cannot begin to tell you how much correspondence we have received from across the province of Ontario about this time allocation motion. One of the things I have tried to do as best I can is impress upon you and the members of this assembly how much there is to be said about Bill 68 and what there is to be said about how bad Bill 68 is going to be for so many people right here in the province of Ontario.
I tell you, Mr Speaker, the greatest danger that could be performed by this Legislative Assembly would be to underestimate the serious and significant impact of this bad bit of legislation and to underestimate the scope of the interest and, more importantly, concern by people from all walks of life from across Ontario.
William Gillan wrote to me on 23 April and he said: “Thank you for your efforts on our behalf in speaking out against the motion introduced by” -- and he put this in quotation marks -- “‘our government’ to limit debate on the automobile insurance act. If this act is the culmination of a specific plan to lower automobile insurance premiums I think you will find the enclosure interesting.” This quote is attached: “When you give an assurance or promise or make a sworn intention, you obligate yourself to make it come to pass. If you say you are going to do something, you should do it. One’s regard for another is based in no small degree on whether or not the person keeps his or her word. People who keep their word are trusted and admired, while those who break it often never get another chance.”
It should be clear why Bill Gillan from Scarborough felt it was important to send that little comment to me because, as you know, Mr Speaker, back in September 1987 the Premier of Ontario promised the people of Ontario that he, the Premier, had a very specific plan to lower auto insurance premiums. That was the intent, that was the effect and that was the content of what he said in Cambridge, Ontario, three days before the general election in September 1987.
So I put that to the members. That was an assurance or a promise, no two ways about it. The Premier promised that back in September 1987, almost three years ago now. “If you say you are going to do something, you should do it.” The Premier said he had a very specific plan. He did not even promise something in the future. He did not say, “I’m going to look for a specific plan,” but he promised the electorate that he had a very specific plan. Look at the conclusion that has to be reached, the conclusion that one is irresistibly drawn to: “People who keep their word are trusted and admired.”
One can question, and many, many do here in the province of Ontario, whether or not the Premier kept his word, because people who keep their word are trusted and admired, while those who break it often never get another chance. That is exactly what the 500 or so phone callers have said over the last 12, 13, 14 hours. Even in the days preceding this, in the phone calls, the cards and the letters, literally hundreds and hundreds of cards and letters, people in Ontario are saying that the Liberals may never get another chance because the Liberals broke their promise and the Premier of Ontario broke his promise that he had a very specific plan to reduce automobile insurance premiums here in the province of Ontario. So Bill Gillan’s comments are most appropriate.
Phone calls are still coming in. People are calling the two telephones that we have personnel in the members’ gallery behind us here. We could not give our office numbers because our office staff have gone home, but people have been continuing to call 965-1224. People are still calling and I can still hear the phones ringing right behind me -- 965- 1224. If that line is busy, they are trying 965-1239. People on those two lines have been working for the last 14 hours. That is how long ago this most recent bit of comment on my part began about this just incredibly bad, this incredibly cruel, this incredibly disrespectful time allocation motion, this so Mulroney-like motion. It is a Mulroney-like motion. Once again, as I told members so many times, really all it does is illustrate that Liberals are Tories too.
That is why Ted O’Halleran calls in from Willowdale. Now some members, whose attention has not been good overnight, should not confuse that with Hanrahan, because Hanrahan called too. This time it is O’Halleran from Willowdale. He agrees with the opposition.
An interesting one is one from Paul Zippel from Walkerton. Guess what Minister of Financial Institutions’ riding Mr Zippel is from? Mr Zippeh calls in to us this morning. He watched this debate until 1 am. He had to go to bed; he had work to do today. He says it is unfortunate and sad that this type of Mulroney closure motion could happen in a democracy.
Chris and Pat Meskis call in. They are from Welland. They said they have not seen such a good job since Jimmy Stewart in Mr Smith Goes to Washington. I tell you once again, Mr Speaker, that Capra movie is a great one; but this is in colour. With all due respect to Jimmy Stewart and to Frank Capra. Mr Smith Goes to Washington is, as I recall it, in black and white.
John and Yvette Gore from Cobalt, Ontario, phone to say thank you. They say what has been going on with this Liberal attempt to shut down debate is disgusting. They have been trying since 7:30 last night to get through. They finally got through to one of the telephone lines. People who have pens will write these down: 965-1224 or 965-1239.
Mr Kormos: Well, what this man from Hamilton says is that the Liberals just ain’t going to get away with it. Just watch. You know what happens, Mr Speaker? It is like the dentist with the drill. When you get close to a nerve, they start screaming. These guys need another shot of Novocain. How many times is it over the course of the night? People are phoning us. Over 500 people have phoned us over the course of the last 14 hours, keeping two phone lines busy back here in our gallery.
The Attorney General of Ontario spent a couple of hours back there listening to the people answering those calls, and he was welcome. Any Liberal member would have been welcome to come back there and see the impact that this bad legislation is having on people across Ontario and see how completely and thoroughly opposed people in Ontario from all walks of life and from all parts of Ontario are to time allocation, to closure and, bottom line, to Bill 68. This auto insurance legislation is a threshold scheme.
Mr Gorham calls from London. He had called earlier, and I recall that. He had called at midnight. His family has been Liberal since 1930. He has been staying with us all night and all morning. I remember Mr Gorham’s call from London. I read his comments out shortly after midnight. He has been with us ever since midnight. It is 8:04 in the morning now. He is staying with us to see what kind of surgery the Liberals are going to perform on his pocketbook. When Mr Gorham says there is a need for reform in our health care system, he ain’t whistling Dixie.
Marge and Don Sayres are from Windsor. They called in this morning. They were Liberal; they are now New Democrats. I say, good for them, because we are not beholden to the auto insurance industry. We have no intention of fighting for big profits for the auto insurance industry. We have no intentions of doing that at all. The auto insurance industry has got its spokespeople right over here in the Liberal caucus. That is where the auto insurance industry’s spokespeople are. The auto insurance industry pays them big bucks come election time; big, big donations. We are talking about 100 Gs at a crack. In the last general election, we are talking about 100 grand plus that the insurance industry gives to these Liberals as a campaign contribution. My goodness.
Don Comi, the head of the Niagara District Injured Workers’ Organization, called back again. He had been watching all night. He mentions that some time ago the Legislature burned down. Well, the Liberals just want to shut it down. The Liberals are not going to burn it down; they just want to shut it down, lock it up and keep the opposition out of any debate.
Burt Dandy on Manitoulin Island calls to say “Keep it up.” He may well still be a Liberal, but he says to keep it up and he says when people find out what is in Bill 68, they oppose it, as compared to simply reading what their local Liberal member puts out in fluffy little householders that have lots of words and say nothing.Doug Dixon from Mississauga says, “Great job; full support; if Patti is a snake, then the Premier is a serpent king.” Interesting play on words. Doug Dixon is a little bit of a wordsmith himself.
Sandra Ellis was up till 5:30 this morning. She is from right here in Toronto. She is coming on down to the Legislature, as she is entitled to do. We have got galleries here that will seat a whole lot of people. This is their building, is it not? This building belongs to the people of Ontario. There was a time last night when we had some real concerns. We in the New Democratic Party were scared about the message that was being given for at least a little while last night, because the Liberal House leader, who planned this whole jaunt into the late evening and early morning hours, neglected to arrange for staff to accommodate visitors who would want to see -- and have every right to see -- what is going on here at Queen’s Park.
The Liberal House leader not only does not want to debate Bill 68, but also he would like to see the public excluded from this chamber. I bet dollars to doughnuts that if the House leader had some way of pulling the plug on these TV cameras and the cable TV coverage, he would do it. The Liberal House leader would not have been happier to avoid the 500-plus phone calls that came because the television cameras provided a window here into Queen’s Park.
George Baker from Keswick, Ontario -- and that is just about as good a place to live as anywhere here in Ontario; it is a great community -- says, “No-fault, no way.” He says “no damned way” he is voting Liberal again. He is going to vote New Democrat. That is what George Baker just told our people sitting back here right behind me answering the phones. These are people who are answering the phone numbers 965-1224 and 965-1239.
Jackie Stanicki is from Welland. I know Jackie. Jackie is a fine young lady, a bright, young professional working with children in child care and working with young, disabled adults. Jackie is a bright, worldly young woman. She says it is pitiful that the opposition has to go to these lengths to oppose this bill. She wishes there was more democracy here at Queen’s Park. She is right. It is a shame.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would note that there is not one Tory in the House still and there has not been one for most of the night. It seems to me that we are short of a quorum.
Mr Kormos: I was telling you about John Goy from Miller Lake in the Bruce Peninsula. He called in to either 416 -- that is our area code -- 965-1239 or 965-1224. John Goy has been a victim of a motor vehicle accident. He is very much opposed to Bill 68. More important, he understands that a discussion of Bill 68 requires a thorough consideration of all of the facets of the legislation, which means that the time allocation motion, the one the Liberals are trying to ram through, has to be opposed.
John Whitehead from Toronto and Jeff Harrington are both against Bill 68, and they are against a government that would try to muzzle the opposition. He shows such disdain for the parliamentary process.
Bill Cruse from Downsview calls us this morning to tell us that Bill 68 is more of a pain than his toothache. Chris Cutler phones from Flamboro to say that we are speaking for a lot of them out there.
Did I mention that Willie Nelson had called? Perhaps it is Wilson. People back there are so hurried in their message-taking because the phones just keep ringing. He calls and wishes us well, and I certainly wish him well. He says we are doing a good job, and I appreciate Willie giving us a call. I know you do, Mr Speaker, because he is from St Catharines, and it is important for members of this assembly to understand that the opposition to this time allocation motion is not restricted to one pocket, one narrow chunk of Ontario. It is widespread across Ontario.
Colette Lecompte from Thorold says that what she plans on doing is writing to the member for Brampton South and sending him her phone bills, so that the member for Brampton South can pay the charges for her calls to Queen’s Park last night and early this morning. Maybe the member for Brampton South, when he gets the phone bill from Colette Lecompte, would grace her with some acceptance of responsibility by paying those long-distance telephone charges.
Here are more calls. David Fraser from Georgetown says that he used to be a Liberal. He is now a New Democrat. He drives for a living. He knows how important affordable and available insurance is and, quite frankly, he knows how important it is to have a full debate on the issue. How can you cast a meaningful vote about Bill 68 unless there is full debate.
A young woman resident of Massey, Ontario, calls to say that she is sure not keen on this insurance bill and that this debate is the greatest thing she has seen yet. Randy Heinz from Midland calls in. He wonders whether he is going to be able to get assistance from the government to pay these rate hikes.
Tom Hogg from Scarborough says, “If the insurance companies get away with this” -- Look what people are saying. You see, Tom Hogg is not even saying, “If the Liberals get away with it”; he is saying. “If the insurance companies get away with this, it may become too expensive to drive.”
Dawn Breault is a wonderful young lady from Welland, Ontario. I know Dawn, she is a great lady. She worked as a nurse in the psychiatric ward in Welland for a long time. She was well respected by her peers, well respected by her supervisory people, all the doctors, all the other nurses and I tell you, the patients had nothing but positive things to say about her. Perhaps there is no greater compliment that could be paid to a worker like Dawn Breault, who is a very dedicated psychiatric nurse.
However, as a result of a motor vehicle accident -- once again, Dawn was a completely innocent injured victim -- she is not able to work. She is not able to do the work. Dawn Breault knows that if that accident had happened after Bill 68, it would have been a non-compensable one. Dawn Breault and people like her know that Bill 68 is all about taking compensation away from innocent injured victims and charging greater and greater and higher and higher premiums.
Here is an interesting call from Debbie Boychuk. She lives in Brampton South. She lives there, but she phones in to say that she is considering moving to Welland. I tell Debbie Boychuk to come on down to Welland-Thorold and we will do the best we can to make it as easy as possible. We have got a mayor down there, Mayor Roland Hardy, or Bill Longo from up in Thorold. They would be glad to show her around. We have got housing -- rural, urban, high-rises, low-rises. Debbie Boychuk would enjoy it down in Brampton South. I would like to think that Debbie Boychuk could feel comfortable that she lives in a riding where the interests of the people who live there are reflected in what their member does in the Legislative Assembly and not the interests of a big, wealthy, powerful corporate group of insurance companies.
I got a call from Rick Mann. I think he called in earlier, I am not sure, the name rings a bell. Quite right, there was a Mann from Niagara Falls. It is not an uncommon name. Rick Mann from London, though, calls in. He apologizes for sending the Premier to Queen’s Park. It is not Mr Mann’s fault alone. It took more than just Mr Mann, so he should not have to bear all that responsibility.
Conrad Limoge from Windsor calls to say, “Good job.” He says, “What are the companies going to do with all the money?” He is right. That is why we are fighting this time allocation motion with everything we have got.
You know, Mr Speaker, as I told you earlier this morning, this is my last chance. Once I give up the floor, once I have finished talking -- and I have been talking on this one today for 14 1/2 hours, and that has been steady and before that we had talked for some 23 1/2 hours. So we are talking about 38 hours that we have been talking about this, and we mean everything we say, and I am afraid, I am scared, because I have canvassed the issues.
Look at the material, Mr Speaker, that I want to draw your attention to. It is spread out across the floor in file folders and in binders and piled up on these chairs. I want to bring your attention to this material because a whole lot of it is submissions that were made to the standing committee on general government, and the Minister of Financial Institutions was not there to hear those submissions being made, just like the minister was not there on 15 January, when Ralph Nader came before the committee to share with us his familiarity with this type of insurance, this threshold insurance.
So I am frightened. I am afraid that perhaps I am not eloquent enough. Perhaps I have not and will not have spent enough time discussing this. Perhaps I have not been able to argue the issues effectively. I am fearful that I have not done service to those people we seek to protect, the taxpayers of Ontario who are going to be out some $141 million to $143 million if this bill goes through, because that is the extent of direct taxpayer subsidy of the private corporate auto insurance industry here in the province of Ontario if Bill 68 passes.
I am fearful for the drivers of Ontario, because if these Liberals are permitted to pass Bill 68, the drivers of Ontario are going to face premium increases of up to 50 per cent, and we have just learned in the last couple of weeks that for almost one third of a million Ontario drivers there are going to be premium increases of up to 80 per cent.
So I am afraid for the drivers of Ontario, and mostly I am afraid for the innocent injured victims. I am afraid for the victims of the drunk drivers and the careless drivers and the negligent drivers. I am afraid for the victims who suffer broken legs and broken arms and broken backs and fractured skulls and who, notwithstanding the fact that they endure pain none of us have fortunately ever had to even imagine, notwithstanding the fact that as a result of these injuries they are going to suffer a loss of enjoyment of life that no reasonable person could deny, these same people, because of Bill 68 and the greed of the auto insurance industry and the willingness of the Liberals at Queen’s Park to sell out the drivers and the taxpayers and the innocent, injured victims, because of that --
Mr Kormos: [Failure of sound system] The Liberals are the ones who at five minutes to six yesterday moved to abandon six o’clock as a closing time for the Legislative Assembly. They kept the security staff here all night. They kept the other Queen’s Park staff here all night.
Mr Kormos: I do not mind being here. But if these guys cannot stand the heat, well then get out of the kitchen. If these guys cannot muster up the energy to do one of their all-nighters, well then do not call for all-nighters. If these guys would do a little less sucking and blowing, this whole province would be further ahead, because what I am trying to tell you, Mr Speaker, is that we in the NDP are not beholden to the auto insurance industry.
Pat McGovern from Scarborough says she is speaking on behalf of her husband, too. She says she is disgusted with the arrogance of the Peterson government – Peterson, I am sorry, the Liberal government, because I know that you as a Speaker do not like it when I refer to members by their names. We are talking about the millionaire’s government, the millionaire boys’ club. Really that is what it is, is it not, the millionaire backroom boys’ club?
We are talking about a Premier who is a millionaire who has never had to work to support himself or his family in his whole life, who does not know what it means to fulfil commitments to a mortgagee, a bank or a credit union that is on your back because you missed a payment because you had no choice, because you got laid off for a month at a time. When you have assets of $1 million and change, you do not worry about layoffs. You just clip the coupons. You just have the bankbook validated once every few weeks.
What we are getting to is the source of the disdain that the Premier and his party have for due process here in the parliamentary assembly. That is why Pat McGovern from Scarborough says: “This government was elected to represent people, not insurance companies. Why don’t they start representing the people?” Dale Wilson from Scarborough says that we are going to get true democracy by opposing this time allocation motion and by permitting a full, healthy and careful debate.
Brian Winfield from Gananoque calls and says, “Are the Liberals going to ask the insurance companies to reduce premiums in view of the fact that the insurance companies are going to be making fistfuls of big bucks?” That is Brian Winfield from Gananoque. Tom David says, “Keep it up.” Tom David said he had never voted New Democrat before but he is going to now.
Diana and Jay State from Hamilton phone in with support for our position. They are deeply concerned that the Liberals are taking away the rights of individuals. They are concerned that the public has not been fully apprised of what is going to be happening under Bill 68 and the concern that we are slipping into a totalitarian society.
Mr Kormos: Florence Brochu has known me for a long, long time, ever since I was -- well, she has known me for a long time. Florence Brochu calls and says, “It’s the opposition that is speaking for the little guy.” We are proud to do that. We all thank Florence Brochu for calling in. We are pleased to talk to people like Florence Brochu. She is one of the people that make this province great.
It ain’t the insurance companies that make this province great; it ain’t the big developers; it ain’t millionaire premiers that make this province great, not by a long shot, not by any stretch of the imagination. Anybody who thinks that way had better reassess what is going on around them. It is people like Florence Brochu. It is hard-working people who take chances every day and who expect their government to protect them at least a little bit from the wealthy, the powerful and the big corporations.
John Hill from London is a university student. He knows that Bill 68 would adversely affect him. That is why he wants to see Bill 68 thoroughly debated right here at Queen’s Park. You know, Mr Speaker, people ask me why I am filibustering and I have to explain to them I am not filibustering. I looked “filibuster” up in the dictionary and “filibuster” is a uniquely American thing that you cannot do in parliamentary systems. To filibuster means to obstruct. We are not obstructing. We wanted to discuss Bill 68 a long time ago. Rather than let us discuss Bill 68, the Liberals and their House leader, with the involvement of the Minister of Financial Institutions and certainly with the approval of the Premier of the province of Ontario, moved motions forcing us to discuss closure.
All we have ever wanted to do is debate Bill 68 properly and try to impress these Liberal members with the fact that thousands and thousands of people are going to be hurt really badly if Bill 68 is passed. That is all we have ever wanted to do. So I am not filibustering; nobody in the New Democratic Party is filibustering. We are trying to protect democracy. We are trying to protect long-time traditions in this parliamentary system. We are doing the very best we can.
As I say, what makes us afraid is that, notwithstanding that we are doing the very best we can, it may not be enough because the Liberals have a majority that is arrogant and supercilious and that is prepared to snuff out democracy. People are calling 965-1224, people like Michael Northcott from Toronto. Michael Northcott calls to say that he has been voting Liberal all his life, but no more. Mike Northcott from Toronto says he will be voting New Democrat next election.
Paul Ivan Brochu, another Wellander, calls to say he is fed up with the corporate domination of this government. He is fed up with this government’s forsaking the interests of the people of Ontario in favour of the interests of big, wealthy, powerful corporations. Mrs Benjamin from Rexdale calls because she knows that closure is wrong. She knows that this bill is too important not to be debated. I appreciate her calling. I know that everybody in the New Democratic Party appreciates the energy that people like Mrs Benjamin and Paul Ivan Brochu lend to the struggle that we are engaged in right now to defeat this time allocation motion.
People ask me what we hope to achieve by our opposition to this time allocation motion, which is as vigorous as it can possibly be by our official opposition. You know, Mr Speaker, part of me actually thought that the House leader for the Liberals would see the indecency of this motion. Part of me still has enough faith in some human qualities, and the fact that those human qualities should be universal and should be possessed by all people.
I hoped that if the Liberal House leader heard the arguments and, more important, heard from the thousands and thousands of people in Ontario who have been calling every day like the 500-plus who called in the last 12, 13, 14 hours, some of them waiting two or three hours before they finally got through two clogged phone lines, the Liberal House leader could break free from the domination of this auto insurance gang here in the province of Ontario long enough to say: “I’ll withdraw the closure motion. I’ll withdraw the time allocation motion so that Bill 68, the auto insurance legislation, this threshold legislation, this threshold insurance, can be debated, and there can be an exchange.”
But we are some three or four weeks and some 40 hours and change later and the Liberal House leader has not withdrawn it. I am left with this then, because I will still welcome a note from the Liberal House leader, a note brought to me right now that says “Sit down,” so that he can withdraw the motion. I will sit down if he is going to withdraw the motion so that we can start talking about Bill 68.
We could start talking about Bill 68 this very morning. We can start talking about Bill 68 right now because, once again, who is doing the filibustering? The Liberals are the obstructionists. They forced us to spend almost a month discussing a time allocation motion when we could have been spending that time debating Bill 68.
It has nothing to do with time. It has to do with the fact that the Premier of Ontario does not want to debate about Bill 68. Why? That is an interesting question. The Premier of Ontario knows, as the result of polls that have been done, that the vast majority of Canadians thoroughly reject Bill 68 because they know that it is a threshold scheme; they know that it is going to raise premiums; they know that it is going to provide less protection, and they know that it is going to generate incredible taxpayer subsidies of the private corporate auto industry right here in Ontario.
So many people so thoroughly condemn Bill 68 that the Premier surely is not afraid that a debate about Bill 68 would develop more negative opinion about it in the community, because there is no more negative opinion to be developed. Other than the insurance industry and a few stragglers, there is nobody out there who supports Bill 68, is there?
The concern that clearly must be in the Premier’s mind must be that if the Liberal backbenchers are exposed to an exchange, a debate about Bill 68, rather than the fluff that the Ministry of Financial Institutions and the insurance industry pumps out -- I have a feeling that the Premier of Ontario is afraid that there may just be 29 Liberal backbenchers who want to keep their jobs and will vote against Bill 68. Because that will be the only way that they can keep their jobs come the next general election.
I tell you that, Mr Speaker, and that is why the Premier of Ontario -- because he is calling the shots, no two ways about it. Ultimately, the Premier of Ontario is the one who is making the decisions. That is why the Premier of Ontario does not want debate on Bill 68.
Mr Kormos: Thank you. I appreciate that. That is phone number 965-1224 right here in Toronto, right here at Queen’s Park. The member for York South has been back there answering the phone along with a whole bunch of other MPPs and staff.
Mrs Kirsh from Toronto calls to say that this Liberal government here at Queen’s Park has taken a leaf out of Mulroney’s book and is treating the taxpayers, the residents, the voters of Ontario with disdain.
Some people ask me, “How can this not be a filibuster?” I say, “Because we have rules.” Again, Mr Speaker, with your guidance and your skill, you have helped me understand that in my short time here in this provincial Parliament. You have helped me understand that during the course of a debate one cannot merely read. In the traditional American filibuster, you could stand there and read the Bible from Genesis on. You could read Samuel Clemens. You could recite the alphabet. You could recite gibberish. But here in the parliamentary system we have rules that prohibit you from reading.
You can make reference to notes and you can make reference to written matter to which one is referring, but you cannot read. Two, you have to stay on point. I know that, Mr Speaker, I understand that. Three, you cannot be repetitive. Those are the basic rules and I understand them, with your help, and I know that over the months your guidance and your direction has been invaluable. I am sincerely thankful to you for that.
Does Elaine Ziemba ring a bell? God bless her. Elaine Ziemba calls from High Park-Swansea to say she supports what is going on here. “Keep up the good work,” she says to the opposition. We appreciate Elaine Ziemba calling in. Too bad the government will not listen to people like Elaine Ziemba. But then again, she is not a big auto insurance executive, is she?
You know the rules. You cannot be repetitive, you cannot read and you have to stay on topic. Right now we are not talking about Bill 68, and I know that. We are talking about this time allocation, this closure motion. That is what we are talking about right now. That is what we have been talking about since 3 April. The Liberals have made us talk about this since 3 April when it is far more important to be discussing Bill 68. But look at the lengths that the Liberals will go to to avoid a debate, a discussion, about Bill 68, about their threshold auto insurance scheme.
Cheryl Balsilli from London calls. She asks that these Liberals make reference to the history of our country and the history of parliamentarism here in Canada. I think about Sir John A. Macdonald and I think about what they are doing to a tradition that is now over a century old and has involved the contribution of so many wonderful people.
Murray Erola from Welland calls to give the opposition his full support. Murray Erola calls from Welland, and Cathy Woots calls from Oshawa, Ontario. She says: “Look what’s happened in eastern Europe. Even the communists knew enough to side with the people. What about the Liberals?”
People ask me how have I kept up what I am doing. People ask me that. They ask what kind of source material am I using. The hundreds, by now thousands, of phone calls that we have received here at Queen’s Park have provided a strength and energy, a desire, a motivation that could come from no other source. That is number one.
The hundreds of letters from people across Ontario -- once again, sure, lawyers sent me letters. Who better to help us understand what this legislation is all about? Sure, lawyers sent letters, but so did hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other people from all walks of life. Senior citizens, young people, students, factory workers, nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, teachers and police officers sent letters condemning Bill 68 too.
They sent letters, many of them having been innocent injured victims of motor vehicle accidents. They sent letters knowing that if what happened to them would happen to them after the Liberals could force Bill 68 through this Legislature, there would not be compensation for them in the scheme that has been concocted by the Liberals and the auto insurance industry here in the province of Ontario.
You know what, Mr Speaker? I was present at three weeks plus of general government committee hearings. I was there at those hearings listening to the submissions that were made and reading the documentation filed. What source material am I using? The guidance, the advice, the direction provided by those same people who went to great effort to make submissions to those general government committee hearings. I read the material. I read material like the letter from Mr Justice Haines, retired judge of the Supreme Court.
I listened carefully to Mr Justice Barr, retired judge of the Supreme Court. I listened carefully to people like John Bates from PRIDE, People to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere. I listened carefully to people like old Jock Shields from out in London way, one of the most experienced driver trainer instructors in the province of Ontario, if not in the whole country of Canada. I listened carefully to what these people had to say. The Minister of Financial Institutions was not there. He was not there to hear these people. He was not there to receive their submissions. He was not there to ask them his very special questions. That is my source material, if you will.
I get notes like this from Randy Hines in Midland who asks, “Will the Premier come to Midland to a town hall meeting on Bill 68?” Well, Randy Hines, give the Premier a call. Lee Martin from North York calls and says: “This atrocity has to stop. The Liberals are in for a rude awakening.” Lee Martin says, “Hang in there.”
John Matheson of Barrie calls in this morning. It is five minutes to 9 am on Friday 27 April 1990 right now. We have been debating this since 3 April and for the last stretch since six o’clock last night, some 15 hours now. People have been phoning in for the last 15 hours, and people have been coming down here to Queen’s Park to sit in the visitors’ galleries for the last 15 hours. People were coming here at one in the morning and at two in the morning and three in the morning, and there were people who stayed here all night. John Matheson from Barrie said: “The Liberals are not standing up for the rights of Ontario.” Obviously, the NDP must fill the vacuum.
I say to the government whip: Have your Premier call an election. Let’s have an election about Bill 68. Let’s do it right now. It is almost 9 am. It is just a couple of minutes shy of 9 am. Get the Premier in here. Let him stand up and announce an election is going to be called. Let the people of Ontario decide at the ballot box about Bill 68. What are those Liberals afraid of? That if they put it to a vote by the electorate they will have broken their promise to the insurance industry? The Premier has demonstrated no concern whatsoever about breaking promises that he has made to the public of Ontario, yet the Premier seems to be awfully beholden to the auto insurance industry, such that he is so fearful of what would happen in a general election that he would not dare call one on the issue of Bill 68 and threshold insurance. John Matheson from Barrie says there is a vacuum.
Colonel Ross Tandler says, “Thanks for trying to stop this time allocation motion.” That is Colonel Ross Tandler. Ross Tandler calls and he says, “Thanks for trying to stop this time allocation motion.”
Mr Kormos: We have more messages coming in. Ivan Boric from Sudbury says, “Fully behind the New Democrats.” Beverley Josephson from Owen Sound: “Just left the Liberals royally and never coming back.” Stanley Pasternak from Don Mills says what so many others have said during the course of these discussions, that the real tragedy -- again, it is perhaps an unfair thing to say -- would be that if any of the legislators involved should become victims, or their children or their families, the sense of responsibility would be overwhelming, the sense of grief would be overwhelming.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I am reminded that it is nine o’clock in the morning at this point. I draw your attention again to sections 130(a) and (b), but specifically (a) of the standing orders which requires that the House or committee of the whole House have a full Hansard service for such meetings.
I would just say to the Speaker that it has been our thought and practice in the past that full Hansard for this House includes the translation services that are available, the microphone pickups that we have for individuals who have the floor at the time they are speaking, and also includes people who sit between the members on either side and take down remarks of interjections, because in many cases those interjections are responded to by the member who is speaking and who has the one mike that is functioning at the time of the speech, and therefore records that. That is the full Hansard we have at this point.
Now I have understood, as we had this discussion earlier on, that during the night, because your office was not fully apprised of the nature of the government’s motion that this extension was going to take place, it was not possible to have people here to provide that kind of full Hansard service we have come to expect under our system, which is so important to us now that we no longer have the backup tapes we used to have for all members’ mikes, which used to be open at all times to pick up the interjections.
I would just ask the Speaker, if I might, if we could have some indication from him when we might expect to have the representatives of Hansard who sit here picking up the interjections, to give us the full flavour of this place, which would allow me then to give interjections that the member for Welland-Thorold could respond to, which there is no point in doing at this point because of rule 20(b) on the one hand, and on the other hand, the nature that it is not going to be on Hansard anyway, and it would look very confusing to have him respond to something that cannot be recorded.
The Speaker: We discussed this matter earlier. I still feel that the regular Hansard tapes are running and everything is recorded other than the out of order interjections. The people at the Hansard desk were allowed to go home quite late and they are expected back some time this morning, but I will certainly, because of the serious consideration of the member for Scarborough West and the great concern he has for this, look into it, and I will certainly report to him directly.
Ms Guyatt -- Mr Speaker, listen to this -- from Ancaster, called in tears, in anguish. She has been watching this debate. She is an accident victim. Ms Guyatt, in tears, explains that -- our phones behind us here at 965-1239 -- the pain and the disruption her injuries cause is indescribable, but that she knows that under Bill 68 she would receive no compensation for them. If the Liberals’ insurance scheme becomes law, if it is permitted to be rammed through, Ms Guyatt, with her pain and suffering and anguish and family disruption, would not receive a penny in compensation for pain and suffering.
Mr Kormos: We are talking about something, and have been for some time now, that is vitally important to people across Ontario. There are no two ways about it. Every new person you talk to, every new person you meet, every new city, town or village you travel to, every new letter you read and every new telephone call you receive persuades you, all that much more so, that what we are talking about is vitally important to the future of every one of us here in the province of Ontario. If anybody doubts that, he ought to do some listening, he ought to do some reading, he ought to do some hearing and he ought to do some travelling around the province.
I will say it once again: The lawyers in Ontario are opposed to Bill 68. Sure they are, especially the personal injury lawyers who understand what it will mean for at least 95 per cent of all innocent injured accident victims to be disentitled to any compensation for pain and suffering or for loss of enjoyment of life.
I told members last night about the responses the Minister of Financial Institutions was making to petitioners here in this assembly and the impression that same minister and his Premier would try to create, that the threshold in Bill 68 is simply going to exclude the modest or trivial or minor injuries. It will. The threshold will exclude those modest, trivial scratches and bruises that heal up in a matter of days. They will be excluded by the threshold, and what that means is that the innocent victim who suffers minor scratches and bruises will not be entitled to receive compensation for the pain and suffering or the loss of enjoyment of life that he experiences.
The brief injury, the sprained wrist, the sprained ankle, will not pass the threshold either, and the innocent injured victim who suffers the sprained wrist or sprained ankle will not be entitled to any compensation for his pain or suffering. The victim with the broken back similarly will not be entitled to any compensation for pain and suffering, and that is not just, that is not fair, because that is not a trivial, a modest or a minor injury. Broken arms, broken legs, fractured skulls, fractured ribs will not pass the threshold either.
The reason I thought it so important for us to speak about the minister’s response to petitioners was because the minister’s response illustrates how this government, the Liberals at Queen’s Park, the Liberals in Ontario -- and there are defections en masse from the Liberal Party in Ontario, and not just by lawyers. Oh yes, lawyers are abandoning the Liberal Party, because lawyers, who understand the law and understand the rights and needs of innocent injured victims, know that the Liberals in Ontario are deserting those same innocent injured victims and forsaking those same innocent injured victims in favour of the profits, and big profits they are going to be for the private, corporate automobile insurance industry in this province.
Psychological injuries regardless of the severity will not be compensated by the Liberals’ Bill 68. Why? Because the insurance industry wants it that way. That is where in the first year alone the insurance industry is going to generate $823 million in brand-new profits, profits that it has never dared dream of before, profits that are being handed to it on a platter by the Liberals at Queen’s Park, the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Financial Institutions.
That is why Ian Richmond calls us from Woodbridge, to ask this: “Will the government answer the phone when the taxpayers call with insurance claims,” insurance claims that insurance companies simply are going to refuse to pay out because we know that -- there are the phones ringing; they have been ringing since six o’clock last night and they were ringing on all the previous days that we were talking about this in the Legislature. Those phones have been ringing since six o’clock last night. That is almost 16 hours now. Two single telephone lines have enabled us to receive over 500 phone calls from people across Ontario. That is why Ian Richmond phones in from Woodbridge. He says, “Is the government going to answer the phone when taxpayers call with insurance claims?” Ian Richmond knows that the insurance industry is still going to have short arms and deep pockets once Bill 68 is passed. The pockets are going to be even deeper and the arms are going to be even shorter. The leopard has not changed its spots.
Congratulations on the tremendous job that the New Democrats are doing in exposing to the public the massive con job the Ontario Liberal government is perpetrating on the people of this province with Bill 68 and its auto insurance legislation. The insurance companies, through their control of the auto insurance system, got the Ontario motorists into the expensive mess that we have been experiencing. Now the Ontario government proposes to give them almost total power in deciding the settlements by taking away the right of motorists to dispute them.”
The threshold: That is what Bill 68 is all about. The author of this letter says that that is what is going to happen. “This auto insurance legislation will not solve the problem of high rates and inadequate settlements.” We know that and we have had to say that time and time again because -- the Minister of Financial Institutions, he loves to talk about an average of eight per cent across the province. But then, at the same time, he is compelled to announce to the press that drivers in Ontario are going to face premium increases of as much as 50 per cent once Bill 68 is passed.
We learned just two weeks ago that almost a third of a million drivers right here in the province of Ontario are going to face premium increases of up to 80 per cent after Bill 68 is rammed through this Legislature by these Liberals and the auto insurance industry that is pulling their strings.
The author of this letter says that this auto insurance legislation, the Liberals’ Bill 68, the Liberal’s threshold system, “will not solve the problem of high rates and inadequate settlements.” It will, in fact, make the situation much worse. Oh yes, Bill 68 will make the situation much worse.
Not for the auto insurance industry. Those guys are as happy as pigs in a barnyard. The auto insurance industry is anticipating profits that it never dared dream of. The Liberals at Queen’s Park are giving the industry, the auto insurance industry, more than that industry itself even dared ask for in 1987 when it appeared in front of the Coulter Osborne inquiry.
Yes, as the author of this letter indicates, it will make the situation much worse. “We all know,” the author says. “the Liberals used a ploy before the 1987 election campaign. A ploy called rate review. The Premier of Ontario said it would reduce rates. But what happened?” Because that question was just posed. What happened during the period of so-called freezes? Premiums continued to go up and up and up. Even caps. It did not take long for the auto insurance industry to realize how simple it was going to be to penetrate the ineffective, and I say purposely ineffective, guidelines established by the Minister of Financial Institutions: loopholes so big you could drive a Mack truck through them.
It did not take long before insurance companies right here in the province of Ontario -- and they are still doing it now -- were doing the premium shuffle. Remember that, the premium flip? Insurance company A would drop you, insurance company B would pick you up and you would be looking at 25, 30, 35 per cent premium increases. That is far in excess of the 7.6 so-called -- the most recent cap that the Minister of Financial Institutions claims that he has imposed on the insurance industry. Why, that cap is being avoided every day of the week.
A remarkable thing that people were discovering is that insurance company A that dropped them and insurance company B that picked them up for 25, 30, 35 per cent more premium increases, they had the same treasurer, same president, same address, same board of directors, same shareholders. It is called the premium shuffle, the premium flip.
“The Premier of Ontario said that rate review would reduce rates but we all know that they have gone up and up and up.” That is what the author of this letter to me says. Now we are facing another provincial election -- and we are -- and the Liberals are using another ploy: their so-called no-fault insurance. Assuredly it will fail even more dismally than the first ploy did. But it is an awful price that motorists -- yes, motorists -- and, more sadly, victims, are going to have to pay. It is an awful price that drivers and taxpayers and victims are going to have to pay.
The price that they are going to pay is the price that the Liberal government is exacting from them, is seizing from them, so that the Liberal government can feverishly attempt to stay in power. “The motives of the Liberal government should be obvious,” said the author of --
The author of this letter goes on: “The motives of the Liberal government should be obvious. Instead of using the most successful models of automobile insurance in the world, the public, driver-owned, non-profit plans of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, the Ontario government and Ontario’s Liberals are caving in to the private insurers.”
Let’s remember that neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives nor the Social Credit, when in power in those western provinces, has ever even dared to mention the abolition of these public auto insurance systems, because they know that the voters in those provinces simply would not stand for it. The plans are just too good. Yes, in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and indeed British Columbia the plans are simply too good. This province’s own studies indicate that those western systems are simply more efficient. They spend far less money on overhead. Indeed, the elimination of profit saves drivers in those provinces millions and millions of dollars a year.
The writer of this letter says, “The Liberals won’t go for it here, not because it isn’t the best system but because the Liberals in Ontario are entrenched too deeply in the boardrooms of that corporate auto insurance industry.”
The author of this letter to me today says, “The motorists here in the province of Ontario, the drivers, and more so the drivers and the taxpayers and the innocent injured victims of Ontario, are going to have a second layer of their hides ripped off.”
The author of this letter then flatters me by speaking of me having performed an outstanding service. I say no. I say we in the opposition have done our job as best we could to fight what is simply bad legislation, to fight legislation that will betray the people of Ontario, the drivers, the taxpayers and the victims, in favour of massive, obscene and unconscionable profits for an already powerful and wealthy auto insurance industry right here in the province of Ontario.
The author of this letter flatters me, but as I say to you, Mr Speaker, and to him, that it is the New Democrats in opposition, performing their role as opposition members, notwithstanding the efforts of the Liberals at Queen’s Park to snuff out any opposition, to muzzle the opposition, to strangle the opposition, to guillotine it; oh yes, to silence it, to muzzle it through its time allocation, through its closure motion, through its very Brian Mulroney tactics. The author of this letter says, “May they remember you and the NDP for it.”
I suspect, Mr Speaker, that you recognize some of the language. That came today from a good friend to the drivers, taxpayers and victims of Ontario. That came from Mel Swart in Thorold. I tell you, Mr Speaker, that Mel Swart advanced the interests of motorists, victims and drivers for 13 years in this Legislative Assembly. He worked too hard and too selflessly for us to let Liberal jackboots destroy the heritage he has left behind.
Mr Speaker, I suppose I do not have to tell you once again that we are opposed to this time allocation motion. I suppose at this point it would be somewhat redundant for me to tell you that we find this closure motion of the Liberals the most distasteful, undemocratic process that could ever be imagined. We find it distasteful when Brian Mulroney and the Conservatives use it to implement the goods and services tax on Parliament Hill, and we find it obscene and repugnant when the Liberals use closure here at Queen’s Park to advance a bit of legislation as unpopular, as dangerous and as ill-advised as the GST is for this country. Do you want to know something, Mr Speaker? You have heard so many of the letters, so many of the telephone calls we have received that have made that very same connection. It is not a mysterious one; it is a very logical one for people across this province.
I will tell you why Stu Ellis phones in from St Catharines with respect for what the opposition is doing. We appreciate his taking the time to telephone. He is a lawyer. Lawyers like Stu Ellis, lawyers like Herman Turkstra, lawyers like the personal injury bar in cities and towns across Ontario, lawyers in the plaintiffs’ bar in this province are what makes sure that innocent victims receive what is rightly theirs by way of compensation. I have no doubt that a greedy insurance industry would love to see the role of lawyers diminished to the point where they are mere signatories to letters, and that is a most dangerous proposal.
Do you want to know something, Mr Speaker? From one very valid perspective, this legislation is not about insurance at all. This legislation is about telling victims of all ilks that they are not going to be entitled to use a courtroom to enforce a remedy against a negligent perpetrator who is almost inevitably more powerful than they are, wealthier than they are and more persuasive, and, when we see this government, we see the friends this government has made, a party that is more politically connected than they are.
There is a myth that has been generated to the effect that somehow lawyers -- and lawyers have been in opposition to this legislation. Do I have to go through the lists, the names and the organizations, the teachers of Ontario, the police officers of Ontario, the firefighters of Ontario, the trade unionists of Ontario, the craft union members, the doctors, the nurses, the physiotherapists? Do I have to go through that complete list again of all those people in Ontario who indeed oppose this legislation?
In fact, those same people know that this legislation is going to create misery for drivers because of the high premiums and the premium increases. It is going to create misery for taxpayers because this legislation means a taxpayer subsidy of a private corporate auto insurance industry to the tune of some $143 million in the first year alone.
Let’s talk about the misery for victims. Let’s talk about the pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life of innocent injured victims. Pain, pain, pain that cannot be quashed by narcotics; pain that cannot be soothed by physiotherapy; and loss of enjoyment of life that is almost immeasurable. For 95 per cent of those people there will be not a penny in compensation for pain and suffering or not a penny in compensation for their loss of enjoyment of life. I say to you, Mr Speaker, is there a fair-minded person anywhere in the province of Ontario who finds that acceptable?
We are talking about the innocent injured victims. We are talking about the opportunity to debate this issue, because for four and a half weeks now, the government of Ontario has fled from any debate on Bill 68.
I tell you, Mr Speaker, Ms McKay’s grade 1 class in Hamilton -- grade 1 kids, Mr Speaker -- phoned in this morning, thanking the opposition in this Legislature for making Canada a better place. I tell you this, Mr Speaker, if grade 1 kids know that, why do not Liberal cabinet ministers? If grade 1 kids know that, why do not Liberal cabinet ministers?
The people out there are mad. They are mad about what this government is doing to democracy here in the province of Ontario. They are mad about what this government is doing to drivers, to taxpayers, yes, and innocent injured victims.
People like Nick and Theresa Albano from 136 Walts Street in Welland. I know these folks, Mr Speaker. These people are not lawyers. These people are hardworking people who worked hard to make a better life for their children than they had themselves, and Nick and Theresa Albano write:
You see, we are not afraid to listen to people like Nick and Theresa Albano. We are not afraid to listen and talk to people like Joanne Robinson and Julie Andrews and Tammy Cardwell from Hamilton, and Pat Pepin from Hamilton and Carol Garbutt from Hamilton and Alison Dehun from Hamilton and Joan Cureton from Hamilton and Randy Divinczo from Hamilton and Pamela Lindeman from Hamilton and Lorne Baxton from Weston. We are not afraid to talk to these people, and when these people call New Democrats, when they telephone New Democrats, we talk to them. You do not have to be an insurance company executive to get put through when you call the New Democrat at Queen’s Park.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I just thought I would mention that there are more people watching from the gallery today than there are members in the House and I think we should have a quorum call.
Mr Kormos: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and through you I say thanks to Joan Douglas from Scarborough, I say thanks to Lise Sawa from Etobicoke, I say thanks to James Papple from St George, and I say thanks to the Hansard people for doing outstanding work under less-than-ideal conditions.
I got a call from Pat Gibson in Prescott, Ontario. It came into our offices at 9:55 this morning. Pat Gibson’s wife and daughter were killed in a head-on collision in Hemmingford, Quebec, on 26 August 1989. An oncoming car had crossed the centre lane. Two granddaughters, nine years old and four years old, survived, but they were badly hurt. I tell you, it is not difficult to understand that Pat Gibson and his family have gone through hell; a pain that is indescribable. Pat Gibson from Prescott, Ontario, knows what a no-fault system does to victims.
I tell you this, Mr Speaker, Pat Gibson, whose wife and daughter were killed in Hemmingford, Quebec, and his two grandchildren, aged four and nine, were badly hurt, Pat Gibson has this to say about the Liberals and their no-fault proposal. Pat Gibson says if the Liberals go ahead with Bill 68, they should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail. He adds, “You know where I am coming from.”
Yes, because Pat Gibson, you see, was a victim twice. Pat Gibson was a victim of the drunk or the careless or the reckless driver who crossed that centre line, not giving a tinker’s damn, and smashed head-on into his car, smashing the life out of his wife, smashing the life out of his daughter and breaking the bones of his two grandchildren.
Why were the Liberals prepared to spend four weeks discussing time allocation? We have been here since 3 April. Why have the Liberals of Ontario been prepared to debate time allocation, a closure motion, for four weeks, for what I tell you now is almost 40 hours, when they want to spend two two-and-half-hour afternoons discussing Bill 68 in committee of the whole and one further afternoon for its third and final reading? There is something perversely wrong. There is something perversely wrong with that.
Am I not articulating what has happened since 3 April? Look at what has happened. All we in the New Democratic Party have ever wanted to do was to debate Bill 68, to have an opportunity to ask the minister about its provisions and about its clauses and about its terms and about its impact on people, on drivers and taxpayers and victims.
We never had that chance during the general government hearings, did we, Mr Speaker? We were denied that chance, because the Minister of Financial Institutions was a no-show. The Minister of Financial Institutions was a no-show in Ottawa, he was a no-show in Sudbury, he was a no-show in Thunder Bay and he was a no-show in Windsor, and he was a no-show on each and every day that participants came to Queen’s Park to make submissions to that general government committee about how bad Bill 68 was and just how many people it was going to hurt across the province of Ontario. He was a no-show. He was a no-show, Mr Speaker; he was a no-show.
Kim Visser says, “Right on.” She is from Oshawa. I know some Vissers; we have got some Vissers who live down in Welland and Thorold, where I come from. Kim Visser phones in from Oshawa and says, “Right on.” She says, “People like the New Democrats give us hope.”
We hear this morning from Lisa Kertesz from Mississauga. Lisa Kertesz phoned, and she is mad. She just told our people answering the phones that she is mad. She called last night to support us, and indeed, yes, this is the second time I have read a message from Lisa Kertesz.
I tell you, Mr Speaker, these are very real people, and it is nothing short of asinine for any Liberal to suggest that these people are fake. I tell you, these are very real people. I tell you, Pat Gibson in Prescott, Ontario; his wife and daughter are dead. Is some Liberal going to stand up and say Pat Gibson is a fake? Maybe it was a fake death, and fake injuries to his two granddaughters. What a horrid thing to do.
I want to tell you, a whole lot of people understand what is happening here in light of what is happening at Parliament Hill right now. A whole lot of people understand that. A whole lot of people understand that the Conservatives, Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives, made closure something of an art form, if you will. I mean, it got to the point where the Conservatives up on Parliament Hill were not thinking twice about imposing closure on debate, about guillotining debate, about cutting it off, about severing its head. And their clones here at Queen’s Park picked up the habit awful fast, to the point where this time allocation motion was introduced after there were but the introductory remarks about Bill 68 in what we hoped would be a meaningful and productive committee of the whole discussion.
“On behalf of the federal caucus, I want to express a few words of support and congratulations for your valiant effort to put a stop to Peterson’s Liberals and their arrogant attitude towards the people of Ontario.”
“All of us here know what it takes to mount a filibuster, as you are doing, and we want you to know that your efforts are not going unnoticed. As New Democrats and as fellow politicians, we are proud of your fight and we wish you continued success. Congratulations and keep it up.
Mr Speaker, do you know why it is important to mention this to these people right here? The New Democrats in Ottawa know what closure is all about. They know what it means to have an opposition’s life strangled out of it. They know that. They know what it means to have jackboots trampling parliamentary tradition, the jackboots of an arrogant and supercilious majority, be it the Tories, be it the Conservatives, be it Brian Mulroney and Mike Wilson on Parliament Hill or be it the Premier of Ontario and his Minister of Financial Institutions and the siblings grim, his House leader and whip, right here at Queen’s Park. And I tell you, we New Democrats at Queen’s Park will no more tolerate jackbootism from an arrogant majority government than will New Democrats on Parliament Hill tolerate it from the Conservative Party there.
Gary Godfrey from Guelph, Ontario, believes that Bill 68 is an unconstitutional law, and I tell you, Gary Godfrey is among good company, because some leading constitutional experts right here in the province of Ontario have warned this government that its threshold provision contained in Bill 68 may well be unconstitutional.
Indeed -- catch this, Mr Speaker -- the counsel for the Insurance Bureau of Canada has himself conceded that there -- This is the counsel for the insurance lobby; this is the group of wealthy and powerful insurance companies that want Bill 68 passed very badly. The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s own counsel has conceded that there is a possibility -- I appreciate “possibility” ain’t strong language, is it? -- that the threshold provisions of Bill 68 -- those are provisions that are going to exclude over 95 per cent of all innocent injured accident victims from any compensation for pain and suffering; those are the provisions that guarantee that psychological injuries will not be considered for compensation because there ain’t no threshold because they are excluded from being compensable.
That is why Joan Robertson from Mississauga called in just moments ago. She says, “If we’re fake,” if people like her are fake, as some Liberals have been trying to persuade the media, then those same people like Joan Robertson should not have to pay their Ontario taxes.
I tell you, Mr Speaker, over 500 phone calls in the last 12, 13, 14 hours, and I tell you, the telephones have rung steadily. Now not only are the two phones down here, 965-1224 and 965-1239, not only are those two phones ringing steadily, but my legislative phones upstairs in my office are ringing as well.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I call your attention to standing order 20(a), (b) and (c) and to some traditions of this House that have been noted by other speakers who are not perhaps as tired as you are at this moment. I have been finding it a little difficult to hear the member for Welland-Thorold’s beginning remarks to the House because of so many private conversations being held on the other side. I wonder if you would not perhaps keep your ear tuned to those kinds of things so that all people in the House will be able to hear these early remarks of the member for Welland-Thorold.
The Acting Speaker: I thank the honourable member for bringing that to my attention. Under the circumstances, since I have taken the chair in the last few minutes, I do not think it has been exceptionally unruly, but I will be most vigilant.
Mr Kormos: Mark Wier from the Lakeshore and six other people he is calling for this morning appreciate what the official opposition is doing here at Queen’s Park. That is why Bill Cain from Rexdale phones in this morning to say, “Keep up the good work in the opposition here at Queen’s Park.” That is why Gerald Tobin from Bolton calls in this morning at 9:55 right here to Queen’s Park and says, “Keep up the good work.” He talks about the insurance scandal and the environmental fiasco.
Listen, Mr Speaker, we are talking about a government that is plagued, with an insurance scandal, an environmental fiasco, a developers’ disgrace, a housing debacle and scandalous new taxes, all broken promises that brought it to power. You know what broken promises mean. Gerald Tobin from Bolton says. “Go ahead, Premier, call an election.”
George and Betty Burdick are mad that there are Liberal members in this assembly who have so much thorough disdain for the voters and taxpayers of Ontario. George and Betty Burdick from Parry Sound said, “We’re for real.” George and Betty Burdick are real people who cast real ballots at election time. They, just like Gerald Tobin, say, “Go ahead, Premier, call an election.”
What gives. Mr Speaker? What gives here? What is going on? The Premier will not permit a debate about Bill 68. The Premier will not call an election. More than a few people have suggested that next in line is for the Premier to simply lock the doors. The Premier wants to muzzle the opposition. The Premier wants to stomp all over parliamentary tradition. Maybe the next thing that is going to happen is that the Premier is just going to lock the doors, because you know what happened last night.
For a little while last night there were some government members who were trying to create the impression that the public was not going to be allowed in this, their building. The impression, Mr Speaker -- we received phone calls about people expressing concern -- and I tell you there is a person sitting right up there in that gallery who has been there since at least midnight, who very much understood the commentary to be to that effect.
You remember what happened. You remember what was said. In the first instance, the public galleries were not going to be made available to people who wanted to come into their building. This is their building. This building belongs to the people of Ontario. It does not belong to the Liberal Party and it does not belong to the Premier and it does not belong to the Minister of Financial Institutions or the House leader, and least of all does it belong to the auto insurance industry in the province of Ontario. But I tell you, you would be hard-pressed to know that from what you have heard Liberals say right here in this assembly and from what you have seen Liberals do right here at Queen’s Park. You would be hard pressed to know that.
That is why Rob from London, Ontario, calls up. He wants to see an election called on Bill 68. You know what, Mr Speaker? Why does the Premier not call an election? Rob from London, like a whole bunch of other good people who have been paying attention to what is going on, says: “Call an election. Let the people of Ontario judge Bill 68.”
Dianne Parsons calls up this morning. She lives here in Toronto. She says she is going to try to come down. We made noise last night when there was an effort to create an impression that these public galleries were not going to be accessible to the public, to the good people who took the time, effort and energy to come down to Queen’s Park to see what was happening. Dianne Parsons wants to come down, and I say to Dianne Parsons, “Come on down,” because the Liberals have not won this closure motion yet. This closure motion is not just against the opposition; this closure motion is against the people of Ontario. This is a closure against the voters, against the taxpayers, against the drivers, against the victims in Ontario. That is what this closure motion is all about.
That is why Barry Hemphill from Owen Sound calls in. He has been trying since last night to get through on the phones. He tells us in the opposition that we are doing what his Liberal member will not do, standing up for people’s rights. I tell you once again, as I have said so many times before, Mr Speaker, we in the New Democratic Party are not beholden to the auto insurance industry. There are no two ways about it. We do not owe the auto insurance industry a thing.
We have never been the beneficiaries of its generosity. We have never received the big campaign contributions, not even the little campaign contributions, from the auto insurance industry that the Liberals in Ontario have been the beneficiaries of. I am talking about campaign contributions in the last general election in excess of $100,000, campaign contributions by the auto insurance industry to Liberals in Ontario. We are not beholden to the auto insurance industry. We are not beholden to the Patti Starrs. We did not receive any charitable money and we do not expect any, because we do not run things that way.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Although I notice that the Sergeant at Arms has returned to the House and although he is presently in the precincts, I would draw to your attention that for many hours last night the Sergeant at Arms was not present and therefore the sword and symbol of the power of the Sergeant at Arms to maintain order was not here in the House during that period of time.
I draw your attention to several things that I would like to point out. One would be section 139 of the standing orders of the Legislative Assembly. The other would be pages 104 through 105 of Erskine May and page 61 of Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and Forms in terms of the role and importance of the Sergeant at Arms to the House. Although we have had the mace as a symbol of power, a separation of the officers here, we did not have the Sergeant at Arms here when there could have been difficulties at one time or another during the evening between certain members.
I would note that section 139 of our standing orders indicates as follows: “In case of the absence of the Sergeant at Arms, his or her duties shall be performed by any other person appointed by the Speaker.” I was wondering if the Speaker, on that part, might tell us just who it was who was appointed in the time that the Sergeant at Arms had to be away for important personal reasons last night. Who was appointed during that period to maintain the order in the House at that time? The House was not apprised of the fact that any decision had been made. I was not aware that had taken place.
You will notice on pages 104 and 105 of Erskine May, Mr Speaker, that the Sergeant at Arms has many important responsibilities which require his authority to administer and the reason for which he carries a sword and is the one person in this House who is allowed to bear arms in this area. I would note as well his control over the arrangements for visitors to the gallery, which was a problem earlier on last night when he was still here, and other kinds of matters in terms of the openness of this facility were not maintained, as far as I am aware. I would like to know what arrangements were made for an interim Sergeant during that period of time.
The Acting Speaker: I, of course, would like to thank the honourable member for Scarborough West for bringing that very important item to my attention. Interestingly enough I was here last night, and you know what? I was in the chair. The Sergeant at Arms approached me and indicated some difficulties that he would be having and suggested that he would be absent, he had made arrangements with me to ensure that the symbol would remain the precinct and his authority was assigned to the Clerk Assistant -- I am not sure exactly what the title is – “attendant” and from the first attendant to the second attendant.
I felt comfortable that was authority enough for him to let me know what the process would be. I might have been remiss in advising the House that was taking place. That being the case, I apologize. I am sure the House would forgive me in my humble remiss, but all things considered, I think the procedure was in order.
Mr R. F. Johnston: I figure it would it absolutely inappropriate for me to accept an apology in that there is no requirement for you to do it. I think it was incumbent upon me as a member to raise the issue with you. It sounds to me, as I might have understood you would have done, that you followed all the procedures that we might have expected and appointed an appropriate replacement, and I thank you for so doing.
The Acting Speaker: I, of course, thank the honourable member for Scarborough West. We will continue on now with -- just refresh my memory in case I forgot -- orders of the day, item 51, resuming the adjourned debate on government notice of motion 30 on time allocation in relation to Bill 68, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Insurance.
Mr Kormos: Stan Miscus calls on behalf of his grandfather, Paul Cook of Port Colborne. Paul Cook would have liked to have called and Stan Miscus knows that, but Paul Cook died in an accident six months ago. Now Stan Miscus knows what it is like to deal with an insurance company, owe an insurance company, that has short arms and deep pockets, an insurance company that is all about making profits, an insurance company that will make profits by charging the maximum amount of premiums but paying out the least amount of compensation. So Stan Miscus knows that his grandfather, Paul Cook, would have wanted to call.
Hector Beauparlant calls from Welland. He is a school principal. He is a leading member of the francophone community in the city of Welland, a member of a large family, all of whom have a wonderful spirit and joy for life and a passion for their community. I am proud to tell you, Mr Speaker, that Hector Beauparlant is a friend of mine. I am proud to tell you that Hector Beauparlant is not just a great Canadian as an educator and as someone who has provided leadership in his francophone community, but also, as I say, somebody who has retained some significant and solid values for himself and for his family. So I am so pleased to be able to tell you that Hector Beauparlant -- Hansard knew how to spell that. Beauparlant was secondhand to them; they knew how to spell that.
An anonymous insurance company employee called in just five minutes ago at 10:30. All the insurance adjustors that she knows are against Bill 68. They fear for their jobs if they express their views openly. She says to keep it up.
Jim McGraw calls. He says insurance companies are bandits. You want to know something, Mr Speaker? He knows, because he and his fiancée were involved in a motor vehicle accident in 1987. His fiancée, like so many others, was arbitrarily and unfairly and cruelly cut off for so-called no-fault benefits. We appreciate people like Jim McGraw calling.
Jonathan Neville calls to say, one, Bill 68 is bad; two, the Liberal government is turning into a dictatorship; three, the Premier of Ontario is becoming so indistinguishable from Brian Mulroney, the Prime Minister of Canada. They use the same tactics. They have the same style. They appear to have the same agendas.
Madeleine, Peter and Brian Jockpoint from North Bay, Ontario, say: “Bill 68 is a mess. Keep fighting time allocation.” They say, “We’re not fakes.” Madeleine and Peter and Brian, well, they are real people. You want to know something? They are real people who are going to cast real ballots in the next general election. When are we going to get this through the Liberal members’ thick heads? Drivers can vote, insurance companies cannot. You know what we are looking for, Mr Speaker. All we need are 29 Liberal backbenchers to vote against Bill 68, all we need are 29 Liberal backbenchers to vote against time allocation, and it can be defeated.
We have received hundreds and hundreds and hundreds -- I do not know whether it was 600 -- expressions of support. Mr Robert Dickey and his wife Dinah have Liberal membership card numbers 778968 and 761541. Robert Dickey from Toronto called us just moments ago to explain that he and his wife both are quitting the Liberal Party of Ontario because of their party’s unprincipled stance on Bill 68.
I tell you, Mr Speaker, there is an exodus from the Liberal Party. People like Robert Dickey and Dinah Dickey -- and I know that it is very difficult for them, because I will bet you they have been Liberals for more than just a couple of months or a couple of years. I bet you they have been involved in election campaigns, I bet you they have supported Liberal candidates financially, I bet you they have gone to Liberal conventions and I bet you Robert and Dinah Dickey thought that they would have some influence over the policies of the Liberal Party in Ontario.
I bet you Robert Dickey and Dinah Dickey are about as fine a pair of people you are ever going to find anywhere, who care about their community, who care about their province, who care about their country and who will go that extra mile, who become activists, who join a political party because they feel that that political party embraces their vision of what this province or what this country ought to be.
There may well have been a time in the history of the Liberal Party in Ontario when the Liberal Party represented the views of its membership, when the Liberal Party represented the aspirations of those men and women like Robert Dickey and Dinah Dickey who would buy memberships and be activists. But now this very same Liberal Party in Ontario has demonstrated that its interests are those of the wealthy, powerful auto insurance industry here in the province of Ontario.
It is a very painful thing, I am sure, for Robert Dickey and Dinah Dickey to sever their ties with a party that I am sure they felt a great deal of commitment to. I can say with confidence that it is a painful thing and something that was arrived at not without a great deal of thought on their part. But this party has abandoned its membership, and Robert and Dinah Dickey are not alone. Liberals across Ontario have been fleeing from the Liberal Party, have been tearing up and cutting up and discarding their Liberal membership cards. Grassroots people like the Dickeys and executive members and leading Liberals and leading Liberal activists and leading Liberal financiers have been abandoning the Liberal Party. Herman Turkstra from Hamilton, a member of the executive, and you will recall Barry Edson of Downsview, again a member of executive in the Liberal Party, active campaigner in the Minister of Health’s campaign, active campaigner in the campaign of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.
We are talking about Liberals here who, when they call the Premier’s office, once again, the Premier’s office staff know who they are. We are talking about people who have been in the inner circle. You know about that. You know how that works. These people too, are fleeing the Liberal Party of Ontario because the Liberal Party of Ontario has sold out the workers, seniors, young people, single mothers, farm workers, farmers, small business people. It has sold them out in favour of a corporate auto insurance structure, a corporate auto insurance industry that is oh so powerful and, yes, oh so wealthy.
One of the organizations that opposed Bill 68 and opposed it articulately and intelligently and capably, opposed it after a great deal of analysis, a great deal of thought, a great deal of study, was ARCH, the Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped.
I have a letter here dated 27 April from the executive director of ARCH. It is addressed to me and I am going to share it with members because it is important in the consideration of this time allocation motion. It reads:
“On behalf of people who unbeknownst to them will soon become disabled as a result of auto accidents in Ontario, ARCH would like to thank you and the NDP for bringing the disability giveaway of the government’s Ontario motorist protection plan” -- that is what the Liberals dared to call this -- ”to the attention of the public.
“It has been troubling to hear representatives of the government characterize opposition to Bill 68 as coming from self-interested lawyers. ARCH’s concerns about the bill have nothing whatsoever to do with the interests of lawyers.
“The fact of the matter is that the government has chosen to solve the province’s insurance problems by cutting compensation to persons who are injured in accidents.” This government has chosen to take a course of action which will result in cutting compensation to people injured in accidents. “ARCH believes it is unconscionable that the benefits payable under Bill 68 are not indexed” -- are not indexed, are not indexed – “against inflation. We are not aware of schemes which deal so harshly with persons whose needs remain constant over a lifetime, but whose ability to meet those needs erodes gradually but inevitably with passage of time.
“We also believe that the threshold used to limit the right to sue is arbitrary and discriminatory. How can the government believe that a threshold which clearly discriminates against emotionally disabled people will stand up in the courts? And when the courts strike it down, what will be left of the government’s plan?” When the courts strike it down; not if, but when the courts strike it down, what will be left of the government plan?
ARCH indicates that it has carefully reviewed the 24 reports prepared for the government by its actuary, Joe Cheng. Let me tell members about this. Those were secret reports prepared surreptitiously and filed in a clandestine way that demonstrated that the government had its own agenda from day one. This government was not interested in what Kruger and the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board had to report or recommend, but the government had its own secret agenda, and that was one of no consultation; that was one of secrecy; that was one of surreptitiousness. Those are the reports prepared by actuary Joe Cheng, among others. They were only released after freedom-of-information applications and after a great deal of pressure imposed on that government, and after the general government committee’s deliberations had virtually concluded, after a point in time when the general government committee was forbidden by the Liberal majority on that committee -- forbidden, denied -- the right to call any further witnesses so that those witnesses could examine these actuarial studies and tell the Liberal members and tell the people of Ontario, in fact, what they meant.
Howard Collum and his wife from Thornhill called us this morning. Mr Collum and his wife know what it is like to have to deal with an insurance company. You see, Mr Collum’s son was killed in 1981 in an accident. Mr and Mrs Collum from Thornhill know that corporate insurance companies do not have consciences. They do not have a sense of charity. They do not have compassion. They do not have a sense of community. Corporate insurance companies do not have a sense of caring.
Corporate insurance companies are designed to do one thing and one thing only, and that is to make money, that is to make profits. We know already how corporate insurance companies make profits. They do it by charging the maximum amount they can for premiums and by paying out the least amount they can in compensation. That is how that system works and there is simply no doubt about that. There are no two ways about it.
To Howard Collum and his wife in Thornhill: Mr Speaker, children are not supposed to die before their parents. You know that. That is a very special pain. Howard Collum and his wife know what it means to have to deal with an insurance company. You see, Howard Collum and his wife, knowing what they know, say to the Premier of Ontario, as they do, that the Premier should call an election on this issue because the Collums in Thornhill know that Bill 68 is all about just bigger profits for the insurance industry, lower benefits, less benefits, fewer benefits, less compensation for the innocent injured victims of Ontario.
Do Howard Collum and his wife have our compassion? Maybe. But will this government impose Bill 68, its threshold insurance scheme, on them, none the less? Probably. You know, sometimes, Mr Speaker, I think governments are like corporate insurance companies. I think that governments sometimes lose the compassion, lose the sense of caring, lose the sense of community. Governments form alliances, form allegiances, establish debts like this one has to the private corporate auto insurance industry. That is what will motivate and persuade this government to sell out, to forsake the drivers, the taxpayers and the innocent injured victims of Ontario in exchange for massive profits from what is already a profitable industry.
I have to tell you, Mr Speaker, that there are insurance company executives out there who insist that their industry is not making any profit. You want to know something? In 1990, the same companies that are crying that they are going broke were crying that they were going broke back in 1955, in 1965, in 1975 and in 1985.
The same environment that maintained those going-broke companies attracted more and more auto insurance industries from the United States and from other provinces of Canada. That insurance industry we are speaking of has enjoyed, in the year 1989, record high profits for the last eight years: insurance company profits in Canada in excess of $1 billion for the year 1989. That is not an industry that is going broke. That is an industry that the Liberals in Ontario are going to subsidize with Ontario taxpayers’ money -- $141 million, $142 million, perhaps as much as $143 million in the first year alone.
That is an insurance industry that this government is going to grace with premium increases of as much as 50 per cent and, for almost a third of a million drivers right here in Ontario, premium increases of as high as 80 per cent. We are already talking about premiums in this province that have become increasingly and excessively unaffordable for the vast majority of drivers. We are talking about a threshold system that is a direct attack on senior citizens, that is a direct attack on small business people, and that is a direct attack on workers of all ilk, unionized and non-unionized.
It is an attack that is being vanguarded by the Liberal Party of Ontario. It is an attack that is being vanguarded by the Premier of this province -- the very same Premier who in 1987 promised the people of Ontario that he, the Premier, had a very specific plan to reduce auto insurance premiums.
John J. Irvine Real Estate in Welland phones in. As small business people they know that this Liberal government, this Liberal Party, this Liberal policy here in Ontario has become increasingly anti-small business. They know that Bill 68 is an attack on seniors, is an attack on farm workers, is an attack on the youth, is an attack on workers and is an attack on small business people. The people at John Irvine Real Estate know that down in Welland.
Don Joffrey from Hamilton, Frank Nicholas from Brampton, Michael McCutcheon from East York, Gary Godfrey from Guelph, Mr Purdy from Oakville, Susan Houle from Mississauga -- in the course of some 14 or 15 hours, we are talking about 500, 600 people who have phoned us because we are not afraid to talk to the people of Ontario and we are not afraid to take on an industry -- the auto insurance industry in this province -- that has proven that it will never become a decent corporate citizen of our business community; that has demonstrated that it has long outlived any usefulness it ever might have had.
All we want to do is debate Bill 68. That is all we want to do. You know, Mr Speaker, I have to thank you. Look at the hundreds and hundreds of phone calls. I know these people wanted to be acknowledged, and I thank them.
I thank Mary Coleman from Toronto; I thank Bruce Conkson from Toronto; I thank Carolyn Davidson; I thank Steven MacDonald; I thank André and Eileen Neal of Thunder Bay; I thank Brian Horowitz of Toronto; Mr Cheltenham; Rhonda from Watford; Mark Scanlan from Brandt; the people of Scarborough who called in; Walter Blunt, who called in a second time; Ellis MacDonald; Steve Langford from Temagami; Paul Kupferschmidt from Oakville; Leslie Chyka and Lucille from Coniston, Ontario; Mr MacFadden from Toronto; Stan Kukula; Nancy Bortnyck from Toronto; Moyra Arnold; Christine from Scarborough; John Dawson from Richmond Hill; Jim Richards from Parry Sound.
I thank these hundreds of people for participating in what is probably the most crucial debate that this Liberal government has ever forced upon this province. It is, because we are talking about legislation that is going to deny people the right to obtain access to a courtroom to seek remedies, to seek relief, to seek compensation for their pain and for their suffering. Mr Speaker, as I told you before, this legislation is as much about that as it is about insurance. The people of Ontario are are afraid and I am afraid too. I am afraid and I make no bones about it.
We started debating this closure motion on 3 April 1990 and all we ever wanted to do was to talk about the auto insurance bill and to debate it and to attempt to persuade 29 Liberal backbenchers to vote against it, because that is all that is needed for this bill to be defeated. But you see, the Premier of Ontario, David Peterson, the Minister of Financial Institutions or the Liberal industry itself do not want to debate Bill 68. And damn it, they will use their majority to ensure that they will not have to debate it.
I have prevailed upon the government House leader, I have pleaded with the government House leader to withdraw this motion. I tell you now, Mr Speaker, because I have been talking for some 23½ hours, since 3 April until last night at six o’clock, and from last night at six o’clock until now. I do not know how many hours that is.
Mr Kormos: Some 17 hours? So be it. But I tell you, Mr Speaker, I do not think the Liberal House leader is going to withdraw this closure motion. What that means is that the people of Ontario will never see a debate about the most significant legislation, as I told you, that these Liberals have foisted upon this province. I have come here with material that I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about what is in this envelope, I wanted to talk about the material in here, I wanted to talk about this material, I wanted to talk about these documents and I wanted to talk about this material.
But I do not think the Liberals of this province are prepared to listen. They are not prepared to listen to the 500 or 600 or so good people who called in over the last 12, 13, 14, 15 hours. They are not prepared to call an election, which is the decent thing to do, because decency is not a part of their vocabulary. Decency is not a policy of the Liberal government here are Queen’s Park.
So I tell you, Mr Speaker, I am tired. I am tired from having spoken since six o’clock last night. I could carry on. I could go on until one o’clock, two o’clock, or four or five. I could go on through to midnight tonight, I am sure of that, because my passion for the rights of drivers and taxpayers and, oh yes, innocent injured victims in this province is strong enough and has been reinforced by those hundreds and thousands of people phoning in and writing letters pleading for some decency and for some democracy here at Queen’s Park. My passion is that strong.
But do you know what, Mr Speaker? I am fearful that the Liberals here do not listen. I am fearful that the Liberals do not care. I am fearful that the bonds between the Liberal Party in Ontario and the auto insurance industry are simply too strong to let the Liberals do what is right and do what is decent. At that, there is going to be an election in 1990, maybe before, probably after, Bill 68 gets rammed through, but we will let the electorate decide, I tell you that.
Mr Runciman: Yes, it is scary in some respects. I recall reading one of the columns -- I think it was Michael Bennett’s -- in the Toronto Sun saying that usually the member for Welland-Thorold and I are so far apart on issues that we need a courier to trade insults, but I want to say that is not the case in most instances.
I want to take this opportunity to say that both the member for Welland-Thorold and I served on the committee taking a look at Bill 68. He mentioned his passion, and I think that has been indicated with respect to this debate and the hours that he has been able to carry on, because he feels so strongly about this issue. I want to say that I share that strength of feeling about this particular issue and the way the people of this province have been dealt with with respect to their feelings and views, in essence, not being heard but being ignored by the Liberal government of Ontario.
We sat through hour after hour of testimony, overwhelmingly in opposition to this legislation. It was for the most part ignored by the Liberal government, ignored by the rubber-stampers who served on that committee, simply there to act on behalf of their political masters in the Premier’s office. They did not listen to the very moving testimony.
I used language during those committee hearings that I was not proud of -- it was very much unparliamentary -- but I think it was indicative of the strong feelings that I had. I have said this before: I have been a member of this Legislature for over nine years and I do not think that I have heard such moving testimony as I heard during those hearings, when we have people appearing before us who have suffered very serious injuries as a result of accidents, who have no vested interests, nothing to gain by the passage or defeat of this legislature, but who are concerned about future innocent accident victims in this province and the fact that they are not going to be served well by this particular piece of legislation. This debate is all about time allocation. What it is really all about is having an opportunity for those very many concerns to be heard in an adequate and appropriate manner.
What we have seen here is the Minister of Financial Institutions and the government House leader overreact in what has to be only deemed as an arrogant manner, which is becoming increasingly indicative of the actions of this Liberal government. What happened after two days of committee-of-the-whole debate? We had a move to introduce time allocation and restrict debate to two days in committee of the whole and one day for third reading. Our party has a significant number of amendments to put on the record. We have many, many people in this province who want those concerns on the record, who want amendments made to this legislation to address those concerns, and we are not going to be given the opportunity to do that.
So when the member for Welland-Thorold started on this debate, he wanted to put those views on the record. Our party certainly wants to have the same kind of opportunity. We have at least 15 to 20 amendments which we are not going to be given an opportunity to discuss during committee of the whole in an adequate way. It is going to be tough even moving them, Mr Speaker, as you well appreciate. So we have to do it through this forum and take the limited opportunity that is presented to us.
I want to say there are many members on this side of the House who want to participate in that kind of debate, who want to put the views of their own constituents on the record. And that opportunity is not going to be afforded to them because of the time allocation, the closure, in effect, that is being brought in by the Liberal government of Ontario. So we have very few opportunities afforded to us.
We have heard some public expressions of concern about this legislation, but it is regrettable that none of the Liberal members apparently is prepared to stand up on his feet, voice those in the Legislature and speak up on behalf of the many constituents of his own who have very real doubts about the legislation.
The member for Welland-Thorold talked about this being a windfall to the insurance industry. He went on at length about that, as I have. It is very clearly representative of approximately a $1 -billion windfall to the insurance industry in this province. That is what we are talking about, a $1-billion windfall. We do not know what this is going to cost us in terms of taxpayers, other than the tax breaks the insurance industry is getting, which total about $143 million. We do not know what it is going to cost us to establish this significant bureaucracy to deal with this bill, to deal with the dispute resolution mechanism that is being developed under this legislation. There are all sorts of costs, many of them hidden, but they are going to show up in our tax bills. They are going to show up as costs. They will not show up as costs for auto insurance, but they are there and they are very real to the people of this province.
The bottom line, and we can debate this, is we have heard the government talk about the no-fault enhanced benefits, etc, but its own actuaries indicated very clearly in the studies tabled on the last day of the committee hearings that what we are really going to see here is a 47 per cent net loss in benefits to the people of this province. What we are talking about are average increases of eight per cent. So we are going to see almost a 50 per cent reduction in benefits, and what are we going to do? We are going to pay more for it.
Let’s go back to the promise of the Premier in 1987 when he said, “I have a very specific plan to lower automobile insurance rates in this province,” when he had no specific plan. He misled the electorate of Ontario and he is trying to do it again with the budget introduced this week. He is trying to fool the people of this province with their own money. I am telling you, Mr Speaker, we in the opposition are doing the best job we can to make sure that the people are aware of it.
The government once again yesterday stumbled, kicked itself with respect to the way it has handled this legislation, shoving it down our throats, going around the clock 24 hours, but what it has really done is draw more attention to the arrogance of this government and to the very real failings of this legislation.
I know many of the members of the Legislature are tired, and some have headaches for a variety of reasons which I will not get into today. Knowing this is Friday and we would all like to be in our constituencies doing what we have to do in those areas of responsibility, I hope to have an opportunity next week to carry on with this debate and put the concerns of our party on the record.