Official Records for 6 April 1982

  • Hansard Transcripts

SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AND HOUSING (CONCLUDED)

ANSWER TO QUESTION ON NOTICE PAPER

THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)


The House resumed at 8:02 p.m.

House in committee of supply.

SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AND HOUSING (CONCLUDED)

On vote 603, municipal affairs program; and vote 2206, Ontario mortgage program.

Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. When I adjourned the debate at six o’clock I was asking the minister to comment on the New Democratic Party program to try to get a turnaround in the house construction industry and housing starts in Ontario. I mentioned our leader Bob Rae had proposed what was needed to get housing going was an injection of $150 million in the form of 15,000 interest-free loans at $10,000 each. I thought the Ontario Mortgage Corp. could put its money into that rather than into some of the other projects it has been funding in this particular fiscal year.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Which one would the member cut out?

Ms. Bryden: The Suncor deal would be the first thing we would cut out. I would say housing is a top priority.

I would like to draw the minister’s attention to the effect of putting 15,000 new units under construction this year. There would be about 18,000 construction and directly related jobs. In addition, a further 14,000 jobs would be needed for the indirectly related industries such as furniture manufacture, carpet and drapery supply and so on.

Finally, it would provide about $8 million in provincial sales tax, which would interest the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe), and over $500 million in wages, over $20 million in provincial income tax and $50 million in federal income tax. This kind of stimulation of the economy is far more important than buying up oil companies in Alberta.

I was also going to say we have a new corporation called the Innovation Development for Employment Advancement Corp. which I gather is the key pin of the government’s employment creation program. It was passed last fall. Its objective is to promote innovative development for employment advancement. I can see no greater area where innovative development is needed than in the field of low-cost housing.

I would like to suggest that the minister ask the IDEA Corp. to take the development of low-cost housing innovative programs as its first priority. This, we hope, could bring down the cost of houses and also provide more diversified housing that would suit families, handicapped, singles and all the people who need additional shelter.

It would also provide jobs and help to put us in the technological forefront. What we develop might also be saleable in other parts of the continent. I hope it would be more saleable than what the Urban Transportation Development Corp. is producing at the moment. It is certainly something he should ask the IDEA Corp. to get into.

Those were two of the things I was raising with him. I also raised the question of the treatment of people with mortgages from the Ontario Mortgage Corp. who may be faced with large interest rate increases, and whether any consideration is being given at the present time to help alleviate the burden on those who will find it a heavy load to bear if rates go up. I would like the minister to respond to those items.

Mr. Philip: The minister is behind the times again.

Mr. Breaugh: Stop watching the clock, Mr. Chairman.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Treleaven): We are checking to see whether it has been reset at the correct time. The member for Nickel Belt.

Mr. Breaugh: He has lost his little stool but he is on his feet.

Mr. Laughren: It is not that funny.

Mr. Breaugh: We’re on your side, remember.

Mr. Philip: We measure you from the shoulders up, not the shoulders down.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, I find it ironical we are debating something referred to as youth employment. One would think we would never need to debate unemployment among our young people in this country. If any group of people should automatically be taken into the work force, it should be the young people.

It is not as easy a question to answer as the question of what to do with people in the summer time. It is not a question of student unemployment. It is a question of unemployment among our young people. The real answers are not the ad hoc programs the government brings forth, either at the provincial level or the federal level. The answer is the restructuring of the economy in this province and in this country to make it automatic that young people have employment opportunities whenever they finish school.

That implies intervention on the part of the public sector to make this a reality, but this government believes in intervention only when it is necessary to prop up the private sector. It does not believe in intervention in a direct way on the part of the public sector to create new wealth and jobs for our young people.

It is not simply a case of providing jobs for people between semesters when they are in post-secondary institutions. It is a question of providing employment for people who have graduated. It is only about three days since I had a phone call from a young man who graduated with an honours degree. He had been working but was laid off within the last two months. Now he is being pressured by the bank to repay his student loan. This person has been out of school for about four years and had only about $200 left to pay on his student loan.

As it turned out, his wife was also a university graduate Who had been laid off and also had only about $200 left to pay on her student loan. Here is a young married couple with a child being pressured by the bank to repay their student loans when they have been laid off.

When I see that waste of human potential and human resources, I look at the system this government has created and I could weep. It really is pathetic. It speaks volumes more than any position the government might take on any particular issue. What it is really saying is this government is letting the marketplace determine priorities for young people in Ontario. That is a sad commentary and I hope the minister, when he replies to the various opposition members, will tell us how he can possibly justify two people like this being laid off, not being given any opportunities by the system and the government not moving in to fill that void. That is one example I wanted to use of youth unemployment.

8:10 p.m.

Here is another one. A young man came to me and said: “You are going to have to help me. I cannot understand the system out there.” I said: “Well, you have come to the wrong person because I don’t understand it either. But let’s talk about it.” He said he had been working, then had been laid off and had applied for unemployment insurance benefits. This young man was entitled to unemployment insurance benefits; he was seeking employment, he was available for work and he had contributed the required number of weeks in order to draw benefits.

As he sat there collecting benefits and looking for a job, an opportunity came up to enrol in a skills training program, a gas fitters program. He enrolled in the gas fitters program from 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. At 3:30, he went out and sought employment. He went around to the required number of places, put his name in, kept track of it and went to the Canada Manpower counsellor and said: “Look what a good boy I am. I have applied to all these people for jobs.”

The Canada Manpower counsellor said, “Yes, you may have done that but you are going to school, and we are going to cut you off”; and they did. They cut the young man off his unemployment insurance benefits. At that point, the young man said: “Wait a minute now. What did I do wrong? Should I not have gone to school in order to improve my qualifications to get a job? Is that not what I should have done?” The Canada Manpower counsellor said: “That is correct. That is not what you should have done. You should not have enrolled in a program in order to improve your qualifications for employment. You should just stay where you are and seek employment without improving yourself.” Is that not a ridiculous system you people built? Absolutely ridiculous.

The third instance I would like to raise is the question of the people who have just become unemployed, many of them young people, because of the large work reduction program at Inco Metals Co. in Sudbury. The number of people who will lose their jobs right now is about 190. To this day, this government, despite the noises made by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope), has done nothing to make sure those people will be employed in any kind of alternative employment. They are simply sitting on their hands.

I do not know how the minister or anybody else over there can justify maintaining an economic system that says to people: “You are better off unemployed than in school. We don’t want you unemployed and going to school in order to improve your qualifications.” This government does absolutely nothing about any of those problems, and yet you are terribly proud of your system, aren’t you?

In the days and months that have led to today, with major layoffs in the Sudbury area, I have never been prouder not to be a Tory. You people sit over there in smug satisfaction because you and your friends are employed and if things do get tight for them, you bail them out anyway and you do not lift a finger for the unemployed in this province, not a finger.

If you need any proof of that, come up to Sudbury and I will introduce you to some unemployed people who desperately want to work. Come up to Sudbury and I will introduce you to university graduates, highly qualified people, who would desperately like to work and there are no opportunities for them. That is your system. It is not mine, thank goodness. Thank God it is your system and not mine, and I hope you people are very happy, very smug.

I sit here every day, during question period in particular, and I look across the aisle at the fat cats over there, very happy, evading the questions put to them, giving smart-ass answers to the opposition and never dealing with the real problems.

My colleague the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) asked the Premier (Mr. Davis) a question about a young, unemployed man in Oshawa. He said, “What are you going to do for Joe McCullough?” I thought it was one of the better moments in this Legislature because what the member for Oshawa was saying to the Premier was: “Do not give us a vague reply. I am giving the Premier the case of an individual who has a problem and I am asking him as the Premier of the province to tell us what we should tell Joe McCullough his future is. What is he going to do for the Joe McCulloughs of this world? What is he going to do for the university graduates who are unemployed in Ontario at this time?”

Does the minister know what he is doing? Absolutely nothing. Of course we are in the 1982 fiscal year, we all know that, but there is the minister standing up tabling his supplementary estimates for 1981 and getting approval for money in 1981. I would like to know from him just what he is going to do in 1982 to provide job opportunities for young people in the province. What he is talking about are ad hoc summer employment opportunities which do not for a moment deal with the problems out there; not for a moment.

When I think of how this will spill over into problems with the student loans, we are heading for a very difficult time. It is not as simple as one of the members over there, the unemployed Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Eaton) who said they spent the money in all sorts of places, where are they going to get the money and so forth. We on this side are not the free spenders; not us. We are not the free-spending Socialists; they are the free spenders without ever creating the new wealth needed to provide services that we know can and should be delivered to the people of Ontario.

The finest service the minister could deliver to Ontario would be the opportunity for meaningful employment for everyone who wants to work -- that is virtually everybody -- but he is not doing it. I will be very interested in hearing his response.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I was interested in the minister’s opening statement this afternoon when he talked about the Ontario rental program and the advance payments on completion of the apartment units, which I believe were increased from $4,000 to $6,000 a mortgage loan. I guess the funds were necessary because apparently the contractors or developers had speeded up the units to get them pretty well constructed for that year, which required an extra $9 million.

On this side, we can appreciate the initiative the minister has provided for developers, particularly around the Toronto area and larger urban centres. My main concern is that I think the minister has forgotten about the average home owner in the province who is faced with foreclosure and those who have already lost their homes in a number of cases.

In the Niagara Peninsula riding I represent, a number of persons who have lost their homes because the interest rates have increased considerably have been brought to my attention. I can cite one now, and I know there are others, where a mortgage came up for renewal that moved from 11.5 per cent to 22.5 per cent. That really hurt a number of persons who were trying to purchase homes for their families.

There was no government help for those people. We can blame much of it on the federal government, but this government has some responsibility in this area too. When they can find money through the Ontario Development Corp., which is supposed to create jobs, at interest rates from zero to 12 per cent --

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Are you knocking that?

8:20 p.m.

Mr. Haggerty: Yes, I am knocking it. If you can find it for one, surely you can find it for the home owner or the person who is purchasing a home in Ontario. Perhaps the minister and the government cannot see the advantages of people buying homes. It is a boon to the economy. It means buying lumber and all the appliances that go into the home. The investment is perhaps far greater there than in some of the ODC loans the government is providing.

I am not kicking that. All I am saying is I would like to see some equity in the system of providing funds to assist persons and industries that need help. It is rather shameful that this government and the federal government have let this matter of people losing their homes get out of hand.

There are ways the government could help those people if it wanted to get off its good intentions, if it has any good intentions. There is a policy I think is being looked at in the United States, and I think some states have adopted it already, which is to buy down these high mortgages. In other words, a person would for three or four years be able to adjust the huge increase. They are not going to give it to them for nothing, but it is a program where they are saying, “Here is some temporary help that will get you through this crunch of the high interest rates.” I suggest this government has done nothing in this area to assist those individual home owners.

Many of the big businesses and the big developers have taken millions of dollars out of Ontario and headed for the southern part of the United States for development purposes. I do not have to tell the minister the names of them. He is familiar with those names. I am sure he is. I am saying he should have some equity and justice in his programs in Ontario. I thought the days were gone when a person could lose his home, but that is not the case. Through lack of planning by this government --

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Oh, no, no.

Mr. Haggerty: Oh, yes, yes.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Come on.

Mr. Haggerty: Yes, it is, through the lack of planning and foresight of this government. This government was on the bandwagon in all the good times and never had enough foresight to say, “Let’s set a little bit aside here. One could see the forecasts of the experts in this area that times were going to be tough. But not this government; it sat back, built schools by the dozens and spent millions of dollars on schools --

Hon. Mr. Bennett: You were delighted to be there for the opening.

Mr. Haggerty: Oh, no. I can remember the Premier (Mr. Davis) when he was Minister of Education coming in with the television crews to have it piped through every classroom saying, “Yes, I am cutting the ribbon tonight.” If he had listened to the experts in the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs at that time, if he had listened to the forecasts of population trends, he would not have built all the schools and would not have to close them now at a cost to the taxpayers and this government. But this government wanted to glorify everything, go out and have the grandstanding of opening these schools, colleges and maybe universities. Some of them are needed but I think they have overbuilt.

Why does the minister not come in with a program to assist the home owners, those persons who have been losing their homes through foreclosures? I have had many calls at my constituency office recently saying that one cannot even get a mortgage for five, 10 or 20 years. One cannot belong to the 25-year club any more. It is down to one year. Mortgages are being called in now and they are saying, “You are going to have to get it renewed.”

Mr. Kolyn: They took off the ceiling in 1966.

Mr. Haggerty: Took off the ceiling?

Mr. Kolyn: It was six per cent for 25 years.

Mr. Haggerty: That government over there went along with it. It was an election gimmick back in 1975. I think it was the first-time home buyer’s grant. The government went out and bought the voters that time with a program like that, not having the foresight to see what was coming two or three years down the road, the indications of the high interest rates that were coming about. This government is at fault with the high interest rates.

Mr. Roy: Sure they are. They are causing all those deficits.

Mr. Haggerty: You want to believe it, they are causing them all.

Interjections.

The Acting Chairman: Order.

Mr. Haggerty: Just think of the money this government has allowed to be borrowed off-shore through Ontario Hydro. Only recently it went offshore for $200 million, I believe. There is 20 cents exchange on the dollar plus the high interest rates on the other side. Do you call that good business?

This is an area that should be looked at. There are billions of dollars sitting here that could be tapped if the small investors -- and I am talking about the persons who have money in trust companies, banks and credit unions -- were given some incentive to invest. There is no reason why we cannot get that money working for the government and the investor himself as well as for the overall good of the province.

There are ways to go about giving that incentive. Instead of taxing a person to death, give him some encouragement to invest in provincial bonds to build houses. Put the provincial bank to use; instead of it sitting down there for savings alone, we should make some use of it.

The members are sleeping over on the government side. They do not know how to manage the economy; that is the whole trouble with them over there. They are poor managers over there.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Your friends in Ottawa are no great shakes.

Mr. Haggerty: Don’t blame it on Ottawa. You have been in here for 40 years, and just look at your record.

Some hon. members: It’s excellent.

Mr. Haggerty: Excellent, is it?

Mr. Watson: Yes, good government.

Mr. Haggerty: Go out and talk to the person on the street who is unemployed, who is losing his home, who has no shelter over his head. The government calls that a good record? The members sitting on the government side should be ashamed of themselves.

But the minute the big developers come in, you are right there with a handout. I know of some of your programs in my area, where you have gone out to a developer and given him the same programs; meanwhile, in his other unit he has increased the rent three times in six months. They are paying more rent for rental units in Port Colborne than they are in many places here in Toronto.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: What? He increased his rent three times? In the same unit?

Mr. Haggerty: Yes, three times in six months, because you have an exemption there after 1976; but the minister is not aware of it.

And you are going to do the same type of deal with the developer. You are going to give him some assistance with the high cost of building the apartment building, then let him sock it to the person who is going to come in to rent it. You are going to forget about the province’s investment in it. It is almost like increasing the interest rates from 12 per cent to 22 or 24 per cent. That is what is going to happen even with the rental units that they are going to have here.

I suggest to the minister there are ways that he can help these people if he wants to get off his good intentions. And I hope that he does get off his good intentions, because there are many people out on the streets who are not too happy with this government or the government in Ottawa.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: It’s good to hear you recognize that.

Mr. Haggerty: I do recognize that, and I say you are just as much to blame as those fellows up there.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, we’re not.

Mr. Haggerty: Oh yes, you are.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Oh no, we’re not.

Mr. Haggerty: When things are going great, you’re sitting on Trudeau’s lap.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Oh no, Trudeau jumped on ours.

Mr. Haggerty: Sure, just talk to your leader over there. He’ll tell you. Whenever he can jump on the bandwagon with those fellows up there, he is with them.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Ask Joe Clark about the plan he offered. At least it was an attempt on somebody’s part to try to help the home owners.

Mr. Haggerty: Joe who? Yes, you fellows know that. You killed everything that Joe wanted to bring about over there. You were the first ones who put him down. You over there defeated Joe. You know which side the bread is being buttered on when it comes to the federal fellows. You’re part of them.

I suggest that there is a hardship out there; persons are losing their homes, and there are foreclosures out there. I suggest to the minister as a government leader, if I can put it that way, or as somebody who is supposed to have some say in caucus or in cabinet, he should get off his good intentions and do something for these people, because they need help. If you provide help for the farmers, if you provide it through the Ontario Development Corp. and other things for the automobile industry, it all creates jobs, whether you are building houses or not. Then there are jobs; there will be employment. I suggest you move, and move more quickly than you are doing right now. I hope there will be something in the budget bringing in a program to assist those persons who are faced with high mortgage and interest rates.

8:30 p.m.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Chairman, I want to follow up on the comments that were made by my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) with regard to the Ontario youth employment program, and the failure of the government to respond to the serious needs of our youth who are looking for full-time employment. I just received a letter yesterday from the technical director of a high school in my riding, Central Algoma High School, and I will read a couple of portions of it.

It says: “I am a technical director in a high school and, as such, am responsible for about 450 students per year, approximately 120 of whom graduate each year with majors in electronics, machine shop, automotive, welding, building construction, sheet metal, nursing, foods, and sewing. Many of these students continue their education at the local community college or another provincial institution which offers a course of their choice.

“My own son is in this category. He and the other 83 machine shop students in his community college face graduation in May of 1982 with no jobs. Not only does this group of young men and women face job crisis, but the students returning from universities are in the same position for summer employment to assist them in financing their subsequent year, and next year there will be a considerable hike in tuition as well. This is a bleak prospect for our young people to face and poor, poor encouragement from their society and the government, to say the least.”

He goes on to say: “Many of our local students have worked in Algoma Steel Corp. in years past but the layoffs will seriously curtail this opportunity.” He is referring to summer employment as well as full-time employment for our young people. Further, he says, “My son has 10 applications out across the province, all rejected.” Referring to the government, he says, “How can you face the youth of this country and justify this situation?” He ends his letter by saying to the government, “Get your head out of the sand. There is nowhere to go for these young men and women. I challenge the government to reply and to tell me an answer for our young people. You are charged with that responsibility as an elected official.”

I hope we will get some kind of response to this very sincere letter from the technical director at Central Algoma High School about the young people he is training for jobs. I would like to see what this ministry is doing in terms of providing summer employment for the young people who are getting their post-secondary education; but further than that, what is actually being done by this government, in any ministry, to deal with the serious job crisis we face for our young people. We are facing a situation where we will have a generation of workers who cannot find full-time, meaningful employment, who will then become discouraged to the point of going on the welfare rolls. As my colleague said they will be discouraged to the point of not even seeking employment. They will not be counted in the statistics when Statistics Canada looks at the unemployed in this country, and they will not have any hope at all.

Even if you are not directly concerned about them and their families, you should be concerned, as a government, with what this means for our society. If we have a generation of young people growing up who have no hope, and no future in terms of productive employment and of contributing to our society, then our society is going to have a major social problem and one that will come home to roost in the future. I hope this government can give us some kind of response. What is this government doing to deal with this major social problem?

Mr. Sargent: When will the government realize it does not have all the answers? On Monday morning a man came in to see me. He has four kids and his hands were beat up from working. He was a big, strong guy, but he sat there and cried because he had to get out of his house this weekend. What am I going to do for him?

It burns us all up that in Alaska they have six per cent mortgages and a booming housing business. They are called the SAM, state assisted mortgages. People get interest free bonds by putting into the fund. It is the biggest boom in the economy they have ever had.

Why in the hell can the ministry not do something right for a change without paying off the big guys in the establishment? Get down and do something for people. That is what this business is all about. The back-benchers are here because they have been successful in municipal politics and have been helping people all their lives. What do they see when they come in here? The only thing the government is concerned about is helping the big corporations.

It is time we got back to the basic fact which is that the people of Ontario own this corporation and the government is tossing their money around like fools. Now, will the minister please tell me why he cannot have mortgages similar to the six per cent mortgages of the state of Alaska? Tell me that right now.

The Acting Chairman: Are there any other members who wish to speak?

Mr. Sargent: What is his answer to the question?

The Acting Chairman: I understand the minister is going to respond to all questions and statements at the end.

Mr. Mancini: We want to know the answer to that question.

The Acting Chairman: The minister can choose his time as to when he replies. Are there any other members who wish to speak?

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Chairman, I will continue again. Will the minister tell me why he rates to have two homes and one is being paid for out of his allowance, which cannot happen for the rest of us here? Why in hell does he get breaks like this while many of our people cannot even get one house to live in? Will he answer that question too while he is speaking?

The Acting Chairman: If no other members wish to speak to this matter, does the minister wish to make his closing statement and respond to the various comments and questions?

Mr. Ruston: On a point of order, I am sure the minister can do this but it does not mean that after the minister finishes, you then prohibit anyone else from speaking?

The Acting Chairman: That is quite correct.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, there were a number of interesting remarks made by members in the House this afternoon and again this evening.

In regard to the first vote which relates to the $35 million on the Ontario unconditional grants and the advanced payments, I agree with some of the remarks made by the opposition members. There has to be a way of expediting payments to municipalities to try to reduce their requirements for borrowing. I omitted saying in my opening remarks that one of the things the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is doing at the moment is trying to --

Mr. Laughren: This I have got to hear.

8:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: If the member would listen, he might hear. We have been trying to initiate a program through computerization to advance payments to municipalities on a monthly basis rather than once or twice a year. With this program, we hope we will be in a position to assist municipalities in reducing the requirement, as I have already said, for lump borrowing in the first three or four months of the new year.

A number of remarks have been made about the Ontario youth employment program. It has been a great program. Members from all sides of the House have been supportive of the program and have thought it to be worthwhile in their communities.

I indicated this afternoon that the reason for the requirement of an additional $1.6 million is because of the honouring of applications in excess of the allocation for the program. I think it good management that we accept more applications than there are funds to cover, knowing that some applications will never materialize; but the latter is the employer’s responsibility.

The program is directed towards the small business community. More than 92 per cent of the funds in 1981 were given to small business to produce something better than 53,000 jobs involving 21,800 employers.

I can only say that the additional $1.6 million was money well spent and it went into the pockets of young people who had the opportunity to go back to places of higher learning in Ontario and I suppose other universities across Canada.

Moving to the $2 million for the Ontario rental construction loan program, I want to clarify the situation because it appears that one or two people might have misinterpreted it. During the year we changed the loan program from the original $4,200 per unit to $6,000 to stimulate rental construction.

Because of continuously rising interest rates, we also said we would advance 50 per cent of the mortgage funding we provide, $3,000 per unit, at roof completion. The original program provided for advance of the money only upon completion of the building. The change was intended to give further relief and stimulate activity.

There were a number of issues touched upon that do not relate to any of the items we are dealing with tonight. The member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), the member for Beeches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) and two or three other members referred to the rapid increase in mortgage rates relating to individual residential ownership in Ontario.

Last Friday, there were at least three questions from the Liberal Party, and indeed there could have been one or two from the New Democratic Party, to the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). I think the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) raised the same question he is raising tonight. He raised the question to the Treasurer who said very clearly that he understood and sympathized with the problem.

Interest rates on mortgages or in any other area were not established by Ontario. It is fine for the member for Erie to wave his hand; I hope it does not fall off. I want to say to him very clearly that policy on national interest rates is exactly that, national. It does not start with Ontario nor with any of the nine provinces. The Treasurer said that as he prepares his budget he will review the situation with care and he hopes with some degree of support.

We have looked at the overall housing program. I recall a year ago listening to comments about the lack of rental accommodation and we fully recognized the need. That is why we brought the Ontario rental construction loan program into being in this province. Do not knock the private sector that is building those units because without them we would be in very great difficulty.

Whether it be in Ontario or any other province, in the United States or virtually any other country in the world, governments are all trying to stimulate rental construction with incentive programs. We believe this province brought in the right one. That is not to say the programs initiated in other jurisdictions are not good.

Mr. Nixon: Selling White Motors to the Americans.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is your friend Mr. Gray in Ottawa who might be doing that. I think you and the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) better have a little chat, but I understand it really stems from that particular location.

As a result of the Ontario rental construction loan program, we were able to provide a stimulus of something like 16,700 units in this province to the benefit of this economy and to the benefit of employment. So that the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) will understand, in the agreements we have with those developers, whether it be in Toronto, Metropolitan Toronto, Ottawa, London, Hamilton or any other of the 79 or 80 communities we are building in, it is clearly spelled out that 20 per cent of the units will be made available to the local housing authority for rent supplement purposes.

That is a guarantee. I do not know how the member for Etobicoke misreads the situation, but it is clearly an obligation upon the developer and the borrower of the funds from the province that those units will be made available, and I want to underline the word available, to the housing authority at the time of completion, to place people who are on the public housing waiting list, the nonprofit housing waiting list or whatever other waiting list there might be, and to use those particular units under a subsidized program which is cost-shared by the federal and provincial governments. It is clearly spelled out and I see no reason for any misunderstanding or twisting of the situation.

Mr. Philip: How many units in Metro?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have clearly indicated to this House on more than one occasion that in Metropolitan Toronto it is something in the range -- and I am now trying to call to memory -- of better than 3,700 units. I do admit, and the mayor of this community and I have discussed the problem, that there were only 10 units built in Toronto. I make no apologies to this House or to anyone else.

Perhaps you can find some way we can build units in Toronto. Mayor Eggleton cannot find it. The chairman of the Metro government cannot find the solution. The private sector has not been able to find the solution. I am sure this House would have some difficulty suggesting to the minister or Treasurer that we should be trying to subsidize units in the range of $25,000 to $30,000 to have them constructed in the Toronto area. I do not believe we would find much public acceptance or much acceptance by the members of this House.

Mr. Laughren: You are really trying, Claude.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes, we are trying. I compliment the civil service for the time and effort they put in, far beyond the regular seven or eight hours a day, trying to find, not only by the political system --

Mr. Laughren: For 10 units.

Mr. Bennett: The 10 units is just a side issue at the moment, because there are people living far beyond Metropolitan Toronto who have the same difficulties. If you have some brainwave --

Mr. Mackenzie: You are the government side and you are doing nothing.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Don’t talk when you are from Hamilton. It has been well looked after. If you have some brainwave that will resolve the problem, we would be delighted to hear it, but to just sit there criticizing is not going to resolve many of the problems. The Treasurer told you that last week and you still have not been able to hear or understand.

Interjections.

Mr. Chairman: Order. The minister’s tone is so provocative. I am sure this is out of order, but I have done this from time to time. I see we have some guests in the gallery. To explain for them, we are at present reviewing supplementary estimates of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: The member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) made a remark relating to unconditional grants. I am prepared to admit, as I have said to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and as I have repeated on several occasions, the whole grant formula is being reviewed at present, not only within the ministry but outside the ministry with the help of AMO. We hope we might find a more rationalized way of trying to come to grips with grant programs in Ontario.

Let me suggest clearly that the grant program has been standardized for all municipalities on a formula basis. I do not accept that other municipalities come here begging. They get their share. This year we gave them an 11.2 or 11.4 per cent increase. We made the public announcement with AMO and others participating in that announcement. At times there are municipalities, whether it be the one I represent or others, that will come in to see the minister, whether of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Transportation and Communications, Environment or whatever other ministry, not to get their share but to see if they can expand upon their share and get a greater share of the operation.

8:50 p.m.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: As always, this minister gets up and reads off a whole raft of figures. No one knows what the hell he is talking about. The thing is that what he is talking about is not working.

Mr. Chairman: What is the point of order?

Mr. Sargent: The point of order is that no one understands what he is saying. Somebody writes that stuff for him. He reads it off and he shouts louder than anybody else in the House.

Mr. Chairman: All right. Order. Your point of order is well taken. However, the chair rules you are out of order.

Mr. Sargent: We ask him questions and he won’t answer them.

Mr. Chairman: Well, try again as soon as he is finished.

Mr. Sargent: I will try in a few minutes.

Mr. Chairman: All right.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to announce that CFRB is stating that in Newfoundland the Conservatives have won 47 seats and the Liberals five. I just thought I would --

Mr. Chairman: I would like to point out that the Minister without Portfolio is out of order.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I apologize, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: I might also add that it was pointed out by the clerk at the table that guests in the public gallery are not to participate in any way or manner by showing their enthusiasm. I am serious about that. You are not to participate in what takes place before the House.

Mr. Breaugh: Would I be out of order to suggest a moment’s silence for the people of Newfoundland?

Mr. Chairman: I want to tell the member for Oshawa if we could get it in this House that would be a trick.

Mr. Riddell: I’ll make a bet, Mr. Chairman. It takes only five Liberals to do the job that it takes 47 Tories to do.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I say to the member opposite he has lost ground in Newfoundland. He might have gained a little in Quebec last night, but he has lost ground tonight in Newfoundland.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: If he is happy with that, that’s fine.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: By his mathematics, they gained seats.

Mr. Chairman: Order. I know we are all waiting to hear from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let me make one comment to the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy). He had some rather denigrating remarks to make relating to the winterization program of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. I trust the member realizes that we do experience in this country, in the northern hemisphere, winter at least once a year. Once every 12 months we do experience winter.

To the member for Ottawa East, we are advertising winterizing and weatherproofing homes against cold weather, regardless of what month it happens to be, so that people can still take the advice, the guidance, the stimulation. Looking at the member, it would take him six months in advance of winter to get him to move on that particular subject. So I do not see any waste of the money being spent on the advertisement whatsoever. It is an ongoing program to stimulate people’s interest in weatherproofing their homes to conserve energy, a very vital natural resource for this province in the world market today.

Mr. Roy: After the winter is over. You have got it ass backwards.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let me tell the member that from this direction that is just about what I am looking at, so don’t worry about that.

The member for Etobicoke asked a question in relation to a specific project and I will obviously have to get the information for him and report back to him.

Let me wind up on one other point, because I see a rather interesting group of people sitting directly across from me who have a friendship with a group that forms the government nationally. At least we recognize our relationship with our national party. There are occasions when they do not want to recognize their relationship to their national party.

I will not try to draw in why they do not do that. It is interesting to sit here tonight and listen to the member for Erie and others criticize what is going on in the mortgage world. I have already said that interest rates are a national problem. I said clearly to the member for Erie that it is a problem of national interest, not only in Ontario but, indeed, a problem relating to interest rates on individual mortgages which are a concern for 10 provincial governments.

It would not appear to be of national concern to the Treasurer or the Minister of Finance for Canada. He does not seem to recognize that there are some difficulties. He has allowed the situation to go on since November 12 without doing a thing to correct it. Not one thing. The member can sit there and criticize but at least I will stand on behalf of Joe Clark.

Certainly, when the Conservative Party was in power it offered Canadian home owners the opportunity to write off mortgage interest rates against income. But interestingly enough, while they sit here criticizing their friends in Ottawa I would ask how many times they have gone to Ottawa to ask them to do something about it? It has been exactly that many; zero. In their part of the province they have three federal ministers who could have some impact, I would hope, upon some of the decisions being made by the federal Liberal Party but, obviously, they have not, and we drag on.

I want to assure the House that this ministry, this government, is concerned about the housing industry and the slump that we are facing in that particular construction area. The government has been working, and I hope that within a relatively short period of time, whether it comes before the budget or during the budget, some programs will be enunciated that, we hope, will assist in the field of housing construction and rental unit construction.

Mr. Haggerty: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I do not want the minister to mislead the House by saying that I have been critical of him. That is true, but he must remember that they are pumping millions of dollars into this government to assist geared-to-income housing. He forgets about the senior citizens units that are being built with 90 or 95 per cent funding by the government in Ottawa.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: A percentage of that cost is also funded by Ontario taxpayers, 50 per cent. If my friend looks at the federal government subsidization and concerns himself with how much of that 50 per cent comes from Ontario taxpayers, he will find that our percentage from the Ontario taxpayers’ point of view is considerably higher than 50 per cent.

Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Erie has a point of order.

Mr. Haggerty: I just wanted to say that every time a senior citizens’ building is opened as a rental unit, who takes credit for it but the province. Yet, it was funded some 95 per cent by the federal government.

Mr. Chairman: The member’s point of privilege is out of order.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: What my friend calls funding by the federal government is a mortgage. It has to be repaid. I do not call that funding. It is a supply of dollars that has to be repaid with interest. So I would ask the member for Erie not to get things all screwed around. The fact is that the mortgage is going to be repaid by the tenants through the 50-50 program, federally and provincially, in the subsidization, but it is still a mortgage. It is not buckshee money coming from the federal government in any way, shape or form. I can guarantee that.

Mr. Mancini: What kind of money?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I said “buckshee.”

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. I asked the minister something a while back trying to lead him to think of something intelligent. You can lead a horse to drink but you cannot make him water. We cannot get through to this minister because he has the book there. He is reading the Bible. That is all he is doing.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Eddie, that is better reading than you do.

Mr. Chairman: Order. Has the minister concluded his remarks?

Mr. Sargent: I would like to educate him a bit here.

Mr. Chairman: The chair recognizes the member for Grey-Bruce.

Mr. Sargent: The program I am talking about has no income ceiling, and I would like to have one good reason why he could not do this. It offers loans at six per cent to low income residents, nine per cent to veterans and 10 per cent to all others, and a five per cent down payment is needed. But the whole area is booming. There have been 3,000 loans made and the housing industry is booming.

9 p.m.

The program is administered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. estate agency, which raises money for the mortgages by selling bonds. It then uses state appropriations to subsidize the difference between the bond cost and the cost to the borrowers. In this way something meaningful is being done; there is a lot of involvement by a lot of people.

Everybody would get into the act here if a similar program were introduced, because it would help the economy and people would get a piece of the action. Why can the minister not think about something like that -- something that is not done by the minister’s think tank? It is an intelligent track record. Why does he not think about it?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) has already indicated he is thinking about it.

Mr. Sargent: The second question I have is why the minister should have two houses, one paid for by --

Hon. Mr. Gregory: That is out of order -- right out of order.

Mr. Sargent: I want to find out why the minister can have that agreement with the province and nobody else can have it.

Mr. Chairman: Order. That is not under the supplementary estimates. Next question.

Mr. Sargent: It is housing. Why doesn’t he want to answer it?

Mr. Chairman: Next question. Any further inquiries?

Votes 603 and 2206 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: This completes the study of the supplementary estimates for the province of Ontario for the fiscal year ending March 31,

1982.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Gregory, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.

Clerk of the House: Mr. Villeneuve from the committee of supply reports the following resolution:

That supply in the following supplementary amounts and to defray the expenses of the government ministries named be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1982.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, municipal affairs program, $36,640,400; Ontario mortgage program, $2 million;

Ministry of the Attorney General, administrative services program, $3 million;

Ministry of Colleges and Universities, college and adult education support program, $5,525,000;

Ministry of Government Services, real property program $3,837,100;

Ministry of Northern Affairs, northern economic development program, $1,300,000;

Ministry of Treasury and Economics, economic policy program, $6 million;

Ministry of Health, institutional health services program, $88,772,300;

Ministry of the Environment, environmental control program, $30 million;

Ministry of Natural Resources, land management program, $1,878,200;

Ministry of Transportation and Communications, provincial road program, $14,600,000;

Ministry of Community and Social Services, adult and children’s services program, $43,241,600.

Resolution concurred in.

ANSWER TO QUESTION ON NOTICE PAPER

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, prior to the next order of business, I wish to table the answer to question 16 on the Notice Paper [see Hansard for Thursday. April 8.]

THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)

Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up where I left off about eight days ago. A few events have unfolded in Oshawa which will change the nature and tone of my speech. I was quite prepared to deal with the layoff situation we had before in a reasonable and moderate way, but I have to say now that I have seen a new turn of events. I suppose we could have anticipated some of the matters; some we could not.

Let me deal first with something that may seem a little unusual for me. I want to say a few words about a deal between General Motors of Canada and the government of Iraq and what various levels of government have done about it, which is not a hell of a lot.

The first order of business: This was one of the first major export deals for an Ontario-based company, GM, to sell vehicles to Iraq. The first part of the deal went through quite neatly, and the second part of the deal was a renewal of the contract for some 12,500 vehicles.

The federal government supposedly was going to guarantee this deal. It now appears they did not. The federal government was supposedly going to send its Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Lumley, to Baghdad to resolve that problem. They sent him, but he did not do a thing for us.

In my view, the corporation got a bad deal from the federal government. But it got no deal from the provincial government, which has had nothing at all to say about this, even though the plant, the production facility, the workers and the jobs involved were all in Ontario.

Not a whimper have we heard from the government of Ontario. It seems this matter is not even worth their comment. It strikes me as being strange that a matter of this magnitude is something the government of Ontario has nothing to say about at all; not a word.

One of the merciful things we might do is recommend to the federal government that Mr. Lumley stay at home. I have no objection if he visits Plum Hollow. I do not mind if he goes back to Cornwall or visits Ottawa once in a while. But this honourable gentleman has gone to Baghdad on two occasions to see about the GM deal with Iraq and has struck out. He did absolutely nothing for the Canadian auto industry there.

Then he went to Tokyo to see if he could talk to the Japanese government about coming up with some kind of agreement for imports. Again Mr. Lumley did not do a thing for Canada, for Ontario or for the auto industry. I feel it is particularly dangerous to have in that kind of responsible position a man who is so ineffective.

I also want to deal with our own Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker). Last Thursday afternoon we had a debate in this House dealing with the auto industry and with the layoffs announced at General Motors and at other plants around the province.

I want to point out one technique that this government uses consistently to try to confuse and argue. On every occasion I can think of, this government has come up with its own version of who is laid off and who counts; which layoff is a real layoff and which layoff is an imaginary layoff.

That Thursday afternoon the Minister for Industry and Trade rose in the House. Among the many things he had to say, none of which was too great, was that he is quite happy the number of layoffs in Oshawa boosts the number to 5,000; then he went on to say the number was “lower than the 11,700 auto layoffs in July 1980.” Somehow he was trying to convince us that 11,700 layoffs in one industry is not too bad. He kind of accepts that as now being the standard for the industry. Almost 12,000 people can be laid off and it is all right; the norm has been established.

9:10 p.m.

The irony is that the minister had his numbers a little bit wrong. He missed another 7,000 or 8,000 people because, according to the United Automobile Workers, its statistics put the Oshawa layoffs in a category that boosts the number of unemployed auto workers here in Canada, most of whom are in Ontario, to more than 20,000.

It is bad enough that a minister of the crown, supposedly in charge of industry and trade, and of his own free will, says: “We do not count those people. They have been on layoff so long they do not have any recall rights; so we wipe them off the books. They do not belong in our statistics any more.” Or perhaps he really does not know how many people are laid off in the auto industry here in Canada, and that means almost entirely people in Ontario.

I do not know what it takes to get the ministers of the crown to pay some attention to what we think is a serious ongoing problem in the auto industry. Last Thursday afternoon, I thought we had arrived at some consensus among all three parties that there was a substantive problem which this government, whether it was its responsibility or not, had to deal with.

The unfortunate thing is that since then I continue to hear the ministers say it is always somebody else’s fault, always the federal government’s fault. Perhaps it is. But even if one accepts that the bulk of this problem is generated by the federal government, and having said that for the better part of two to three years now, surely one must come to the conclusion that this government here in Ontario, for its own survival and for the survival of its own economic development, now has to take some steps that will resolve the problem.

You have seen the track record of the federal Liberal government. There really cannot be many surprises left for you. They do not intend to do anything. They have stated that intention quite regularly. Whether we are talking about how many Japanese cars get imported into Canada or whether we are talking about interest rates for mortgages, you now know what the response of the federal government will be.

You have seen Allan MacEachen at work. You know how sensitive that person is to the people who live in this country: almost not at all. You have seen the kind of response, for example, that the federal government gives to the imports. On Monday morning in Vancouver harbour they began to inspect the imports as they came off the ships, something they had not done before; so there will be some delay in getting those vehicles from the ships to the dealerships. That is their version of government action.

Compare that with what we see the Tories in Ontario doing. One would almost think that, although they are supposedly of a different stripe, the same level of inaction has somehow infiltrated their own minds. We look for something from them, for some response to the needs of the auto workers.

I asked the Premier (Mr. Davis) what he intended to do for people like Joe McCullough, who is an interesting example of a guy who worked for 25 years in one plant, Firestone in Whitby. When that plant closed, Joe and his fellow workers came to Queen’s Park, because at that time we had a select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment. They put their case to members of all parties. The Minister of Labour was one of the members who sat on that committee. I sat in on several of their sessions, and I listened to the response from members of all parties.

There was considerable empathy for the workers. There were people who said: “I didn’t really realize that is what happened to people. You spend 25 or 30 years of your life working in a plant, somebody in Akron makes a decision and down goes the plant -- your job is gone.”

I was there when we presented proposal after proposal of things this government could do about notice provisions, about severance pay, about retraining, about dealing with the plant, the worker and the community. I saw how many of those came to any legislative fruition -- damned few. I saw how it was done and how many people were assisted by the severance pay legislation that was brought in -- damned few again.

I want to know how long we have to go at this. How many personal lives and families, friends and communities have to be ruined before we see this government move? I listened to the Premier answer my question about Joe McCullough, and he gave me a bunch of malarkey about how we wanted to nationalize everything.

That afternoon I read the Toronto Star, and there in the front seat of a new car in Brampton, with a Socialist minister from France, I saw the Premier, puffing his little pipe and driving a car off an assembly line. He had no qualms about dealing with socialism in the morning. He was happy as hell to get in that car and drive off that assembly line. It did not bother him a whit then.

In the afternoon, though, when all I wanted was a simple reply to what a worker like that does -- and, unfortunately, there are thousands of them in my community now -- the Premier had no answer for those people. He does not even have a good response to opposition members who ask, “What kind of legislation will you bring in?” -- the kind of stuff we should have seen in the throne speech, for example. In this throne speech there should have been an outline of legislation that was required.

The circumstances have changed somewhat, and I want to put them on the record, because I think they are dramatic.

General Motors in Oshawa had been dealing with its plants as many of our car producers had been; that is, by temporary layoffs. People were getting a week’s work a month or two weeks’ work a month. Some of them were lucky and had the opportunity of working three weeks and then taking a week’s layoff. Last week the company began making announcements that were substantially different in nature and dramatic and that will have far-reaching consequences for Oshawa and, unfortunately, for Ontario. The company began the week by announcing that there would be 750 layoffs. These would not be temporary layoffs; they would be indefinite.

It is always difficult to read into a large corporation like General Motors exactly what its motives are. There is no question, all of us know, that this is a negotiating year. In every negotiating year I have ever seen in my community the company has followed the same pattern. In the first month or so of the year it stockpiles like mad, people get to work a great deal of overtime, the yards are full and the teamsters are busy hauling cars, the car lots fill up, and huge inventories are built up. There is stockpiling of automobiles. Then, usually about this time of the year, the company announces some layoffs and begins to send rumours through the community that the car industry is in trouble again. Then about July the negotiations begin.

This year, as you all know, in the United States they are working very hard to get what are called concessions from the auto workers. The Big Three have gone back to the bargaining table with the United Automobile Workers in the United States, and concessions have been made. Of course, an attempt is being made to put that whole package of concessions into the Canadian agreement as well. One interesting thing is that no effort is being made by the Big Three auto makers to take those concessions they have wrung out of American auto workers, and are trying to get out of Canadian auto workers, and put them in effect in the European agreement.

One would think that if multinational corporations needed concessions in the United States and here in Canada, they would need them in Europe as well. So why are they not even asking? Because the prospects of them getting concessions of this kind in the European tradition is nil. The legislation is in place there, and the concept has been accepted that you do not fight economic downturns on the backs of your workers. The legislation is there, which is something we should remember.

A lot of people have talked lately about the Japanese and their techniques for producing automobiles. One of the reasons we could not take the Japanese production techniques and apply them in Canada is not on the workers’ side; it is not really a cultural thing. It is on the company’s side. One cannot imagine getting our auto producers to sit down and, as a first order of business, say: “There will be no layoffs. No matter what we do, no matter what kind of robotics go into our plants, no matter how computerized it gets or how dramatically the production shift changes, all our workers will have jobs. More than that, we will take on some of the responsibilities that, in Canada at least, governments take on. We will talk about providing some mortgage security for our workers. We will talk about education for the workers’ children. We will talk about a range of programs sponsored by the company.”

It would not be a bad idea to bring into the Canadian auto industry, if we had one, some of the aspects of production that are there in Japan, which undeniably has a system that produces a good automobile at a price that is more than competitive with the North American automobile. The big stumbling block would be the corporations, to get them in the first instance to give job security to the workers so that they are not always threatened every time somebody introduces a new robot into a production line or enters a new concept as to how the cars are made.

From the day they go to work in the plant until the day they retire, the workers in Japan feel that their jobs are secure, that their benefits are safe, that they will not be faced with what Joe McCullough and his family are faced with: after a lifetime of work in a plant, disaster -- no benefits, no security plans, very low severance pay and no real prospect of getting another job in short order.

It is tough to sort out whether this announced layoff in Oshawa is for real, is part of a negotiating ploy, is a reflection of a world automobile market that is turning around, rather sadly from our perspective, or whether it really is necessary. Hot on the heels of that, which is what makes some of us a little suspicious, the company went through some other parts of the plan.

We know there has been an ongoing review of the operations in GM in Oshawa and in every other car plant in the province. Last week, they followed up this major announcement with another one, a plant called CKD, a complete knockdown unit, one of the few General Motors places that is not an assembly line operation, where high-seniority, older people are working at what most of us would consider a normal work place, doing a normal kind of work, other than that of an automated assembly line. They say that is going too.

9:20 p.m.

You can follow the ripple effect as it goes through. There are 250 jobs lost in CKD. Some of those people will be able to stay on the assembly line. Most of them are 45 and 50 years of age. Many will have compensation problems. Many have not worked on a production line for 15 or 20 years. My anticipation of their remaining working lifetime on the assembly line is a week, maybe two; for those who are really hardy maybe three weeks. Then they are off on some kind of long-term disability compensation or something like that. It is not realistic to take people like that and put them on an assembly line where the average life expectancy is about seven years. It is unreal.

In the parts warehouse there are 90 more jobs lost. As soon as they had finished all of this, a little company called T. G. Gale Ltd., which makes the boxes into which these automobile parts are packed, said, “Well, if they move that out of here to a company called Livingstone in Tillsonburg, we have no jobs either.” So there is another 70 jobs.

Early in the week we went through a period when I was almost afraid to answer the telephone, because every time I did it was somebody from GM with a new announcement of more layoffs.

On Sunday afternoon we went to the old union hall, where the brothers and sisters were gathered to have these layoffs and what they meant explained to them. They were also interested in the concessions they had read about in the newspapers.

Many of our workers, without question, are intrigued above all by the idea of job security. That is understandable in our society. In my community, where the unemployment rate now is probably more than 20 per cent, everybody is concerned about a job in the family. And so they listen to the Americans and to news broadcasts, all saying that somehow the United Automobile Workers in the United States have accepted the idea of concessions, which seems to many of them to be a reasonable idea.

We went through one of the Ford contracts in this instance to see what those US concession talks would mean in a Canadian context. We listened to it, because the prime selling point is job security. But as we went through the contract, detail by detail, the more you read into the concessions, the more you realize that they do not offer job security. What they offer the worker is a chance to sacrifice some of the benefits negotiated over the years in return for the loss of even more jobs.

We have a clause in the Oshawa contract, as well as in other contracts, about paid personal holidays. These have been negotiated over a lengthy period of time. Many people, looking at the contract simplistically, said: “Why don’t you give those up? You don’t need an extra holiday here and there.” That sounds like a nice, simple tradeoff, except the moment the union in Oshawa, or in Canada, gives up the paid personal holidays, we lose 800 jobs in Oshawa. There you see a worker accepting a simple premise that they give up some of their benefits in return for job security. In reality what they do is give up their benefits and they cause even more unemployment.

We went through the whole list. I walked into the hall at the beginning of the meeting and felt a great air of unease. People were nervous. People were angry. By the end of the meeting, after they had been through it step by step, they began to understand that there were lots of players here, that there were lots of things they could not resolve at a bargaining table.

There were the actions of people like Ed Lumley, the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Prime Minister -- politicians and governments doing nothing, just excusing themselves from the scene and not being players. Some of them developed concepts about the political process. They also heard facts dispel the myths of the whole concession package.

At the beginning of the meeting it was clear that they wanted their political representatives there. Mr. Broadbent came from Ottawa, and I attended. The member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz) was invited but he sent a letter saying that, unfortunately, as Deputy Speaker of the House he could not participate. It was apparently some kind of diplomatic status that made it impossible for him to go to the union hall and listen to the problems of the workers.

I would not impute motives or anything to him, but I remember when he wanted to read a speech at Durham College for the Minister of Education, when they wanted to open up a new computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing centre. There was no letter there; the member was there. I remember the member was there on several other occasions when there were things happening in the riding.

I feel rather sad not only that he found he could not be there but also that somehow he felt it was not proper for him to be there. I would have been happy to have the member for Durham East there.

I would have been pleased as punch to see the Premier there. I think it would have been interesting to see how smiling the Premier could have been in that hall; to see whether he could have looked at, not an opposition member raising a question, but 1,500 auto workers who were worried about their jobs. I would have liked to have seen whether he could have replied to them in quite the flip way that he replies to questions from opposition members in here.

Mr. Laughren: Giving smart-ass answers.

Mr. Breaugh: I am not too sure he would do that. I am sure we would be pleased to arrange the invitation to get him in front of that group and to address some of their problems, but I am not so sure he would do that.

I want to read into the record a couple of other things that came across my desk.

Mr. Cureatz: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I want to remind the member for Oshawa that he would be the first person to complain if I were representing the government at a political function, and he knows it. The member also knows that I specifically said at Durham College that I was not representing the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson). And who did I ask up on the platform? The member for Oshawa. I said specifically that I was representing all members of the Legislature, and he knows it.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I would have been extremely pleased if the member had come to the union hall and represented all the members of the Legislature there. I would have been more than happy to have invited him up to the platform.

I always read the speeches made by various ministers as they go about. When I asked the Premier what he was going to do for Joe McCullough, I was thinking of a little speech I had read by the new Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell). I want to read a very small portion of it, because in context it makes good sense. He was speaking at the opening of a new Heinz plant for tomato paste, and of course that is an important matter. He said:

“Today, I presented Heinz with a cheque for $3 million, a grant from Bill.” I do not have any objection to the Minister of Agriculture and Food presenting Heinz with a cheque for $3 million. I do not want $3 million for Joe McCullough, Rudy Courville or any of the other guys who are now laid off. All I want is a fair shake. That is all I want. I want the government to listen to them in the first place; listen to their problems, react and respond to individuals and to the community.

I want to read another little cutie that came across my desk. This one is from the Treasurer of Ontario. I want to get down to the bottom part; I will read the last paragraph of his magnificent speech that afternoon.

“My experience in business and politics and with people has convinced me of one thing.” I did not quite believe that -- I was not sure he was convinced of one thing -- so I read it a second time. “You give people opportunities if you reward them for initiatives and risk.”

I kept thinking of auto workers who had gone back to work in other plants, and all the people in mines and in industrial plants across the province who had taken initiatives and risk. Sometimes the risk was not money; it was their lives. They took initiatives by getting up every day at 5:30 in the morning and going to work in a plant or a mine.

Here is the Treasurer of Ontario saying that he wants to reward people for initiative and risk, that if, as Canadians, we get behind our industries, and we are, and that if we show our confidence in their products by buying a North American car instead of an import or by vacationing in Ontario instead of Mexico, eventually Canadians will regain their optimism.

I want Canadians to regain their optimism, that is true, but I also want them to regain their livelihood. I do not think there is much chance of them regaining their optimism until they do regain that chance to have a decent job and a decent life here in Ontario which they have worked for all their lives.

I do not object to any of the ministers visiting anywhere, giving their money to friends. Sometimes I pass a little comment on whether it is appropriate, but I understand the Tories in Ontario have been in business for quite some time doing just that, giving their friends gobs of money. All I am asking for the people I deal with every day is a fair shake. I know there is a range of programs we have presented here and in committee regularly and we will do that again.

9:30 p.m.

For example, when the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) was Minister of Labour, I remember conversations in the hall when he would say: “That is really a sensible thing to do. There is only one problem, I cannot get that kind of legislation through cabinet.” Why not? Is there something wrong with the auto worker or the steel worker that means he does not get the same fair shake that Heinz ketchup gets? Is there something wrong with the individual worker that he does not deserve that response from the government?

I keep hearing again and again, every day, that this government has no power in the world to act; all the world is controlled by the federal government. What a sad, pessimistic presentation to put before this Legislature every day. They will drive us all insane with deep depression. That cannot be the case. Surely this government must have some things within its jurisdiction. Surely it must be able to respond to individuals and communities.

We will put the ideas in front of you, as we did again today. We talked about community adjustment programs. Why can you not do that? Why can you not respond in a clear, sensible, rational way to what you now understand is the problem. Why do we have to get the United Auto Workers challenging the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) over how many people are really out of work? How can we disagree on that?

These people do not disappear; they are here. The statistics come out of StatsCan, the UAW and various ministries. Why does a minister appear to have lost 7,000 human beings somewhere in the paper shuffle? How can that happen?

Why are ministers even now, in the midst of what I think is an economic disaster, not reading into the record every day their legislative proposals to deal with the 1,750 people who face a layoff at GM in Oshawa and the layoff of 140 aircraft workers at de Havilland? Why are they not talking to people around this province? How about the professors who have warned of the huge layoffs in London, Ontario? Why do they not talk about the shutdown of the Westinghouse plant in Hamilton? Where is the response to that? The faculty is mum on proposed layoffs at St. Clair College. How come? Why do we not have a definitive answer for those people?

The bad times are catching up with truckers because if we do not produce cars, we do not ship cars, so the Teamsters are in trouble. Why does the government not deal with those people who are interested, as they were again this afternoon, in protesting interest rates in public? Why is there not some action on the part of this government? Why is there not even a response?

Why does the government not talk about the Weldwood of Canada plant in Searchmont which is planning a plant shutdown as the market sags? Why are they not responding to the 63 people in Renfrew who were laid off from two Renfrew industries? Why is there not a response to something like that? Why do they not talk to those 90 people who lost their jobs in Cornwall as a curtain maker closed?

Where is the response of this government to all this need? I do not know where it is. Perhaps it is in the budget. Perhaps last Thursday afternoon we saw the government responding as best it could, sometimes a little sensitive about whether opposition members had quite followed the rules of procedure, but not very bold. Perhaps we will see all of these measures in the budget to come, but I doubt it. It certainly was not contained in this throne speech, in the actions of ministers or in legislative proposals.

Many of us on this side of the House accept the idea that there are a number of ministers over there who are new to their responsibilities, but for how many more days will we accept that as an excuse for not dealing with a problem which is not new, one which has been growing for some time in our economy?

If we look at the biggest single problem in my town, the auto industry, that is not new. It has been coming for a long time and the response of this government to the needs of the auto industry in Canada has been zip, not a thing. You can say you have responded to some requests from auto makers, but you cannot say you responded even on one occasion to the needs of auto workers, to the needs of individuals and families who are not looking to this government for excuses.

We are not looking for this government to blame the federal Liberals for their ineptitude, we are looking for a response from the government of Ontario to the people who live in this province, to the very real needs of our communities, of our families and of our individual workers. That, sad to say, was extremely lacking in this throne speech.

Mr. Hodgson: Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to rise this evening to commend the government on the throne speech and our agenda for the coming year. I am also grateful for the opportunity to make some comments and recommendations on the state of affairs in York North on behalf of its residents, whom I am very proud to represent in this Legislature.

Before I begin my remarks, however, I would like to take a moment to extend my congratulations to the new party leaders across the floor. I wish both of them luck in dealing with their new responsibilities, but not that much luck that will enable them to form a government in the future.

During my years as a member of this Legislature I have seen a great number of changes. Certainly I have seen a great number of changes in the makeup of this chamber. New faces and various different viewpoints -- from across the floor particularly -- have come and gone over the years. Within my own riding I have seen real change in constituency growth. In population, my riding of York North has jumped from 60,000 or so to 107,000 people at the present time, from the 15th largest constituency in Ontario to the sixth largest today.

Mr. Mackenzie: Are you going to talk to us about the layoffs?

Mr. Hodgson: No, the member had his opportunity.

I welcome this growth, which has strengthened our community and brought new ideas, new jobs and prosperity to our region of the province. York North is a mixture of ever- growing urban centres, farms, rural homesteads and small communities. While there is growth and diversity, there are inevitably more demands and more public issues to be addressed, more groups to be met with and more problems to be solved, more needs to be satisfied and more points of view to be represented. Sometimes viewpoints may conflict but all must be heard and represented in this Legislature.

For this reason, I suggest in the interests of my constituents that redistribution is necessary in my region and should be considered prior to the next election. By reducing the size of the riding not only in terms of people but also in terms of geography we will best ensure that every constituent, every issue, all concerns afford the time and attention they deserve and need.

Growth in York North has also put an excessive demand over the years on our roads and highways. I am gratified that with the resolution of the Stelco strike, steel is now available to complete the Bloomington overpass. By late August or early September of this year, Highway 404 to the Bloomington Sideroad will be opened. By 1984, the last phase of the extension is scheduled to be under construction to Davis Drive in Newmarket. This will create very real and positive economic expansion in that area of the riding.

As many members will be aware, we have seen a great deal of industrial and residential development in the south end of York region in recent years. Highway 7 is the only major route north of Highway 401 to service this now very busy area. There is more traffic than Highway 7 can handle and we are looking at worsening congestion as time goes by.

Mr. McClellan: Don’t slow down.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Order.

Mr. Hodgson: As such, it is vitally necessary that the proposed Highway 407 --

Mr. Roy: Would you like me to sit over there?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Albert, we don’t want the picture spoiled.

The Acting Speaker: Order, please. The member for York North has the floor.

Mr. Roy: Is this being recorded, or something?

The Acting Speaker: Order.

9:40 p.m.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I have no complaint but just for posterity and perhaps for my own personal uses I would want to be guided by your strict direction in this matter. I note that in the gallery behind me there is a very active photographer taking appropriate photographs of my friend the member for York North. I assume by your quiet approval that is in order.

The Acting Speaker: I assume it has been looked after. The point is understood. The point is that the honourable member has the floor and I would ask that there be respect.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have endless respect for your discharge of the authority that is vested in you as you sit in that marvellous chair. You have made a ruling on that. So there will be no confusion, I understand the orders to be quite specific and they indicate quite another direction, but I am prepared to follow --

The Acting Speaker: As long as the honourable member realizes special permission can be given and has been obtained.

Mr. Hodgson: Actually, Mr. Speaker, I do not mind them heckling me because I have heard them heckle there for many years now. There are few of them left to heckle, other than the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon).

Interjections.

Mr. Hodgson: The member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), is here only one day a week so I say to him, get your words in right now, as he will not be here tomorrow, Thursday or Friday. I will start again, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Carry on, please.

Mr. Hodgson: There is more traffic than Highway 7 can handle. We are looking at worsening congestion as time goes by. As such, it is vitally necessary the proposed Highway 407, to run adjacent to Highway 7 north of Highway 401, be completed as soon as possible.

By moving swiftly to eliminate and prevent further traffic problems, we will encourage the continued economic activity and orderly residential and industrial development in that area. Providing good, easy access to and from new and existing industries will go a long way in increasing employment opportunities.

If anyone is getting tired, there are 40 more pages here so settle down.

Providing sensible, efficient, energy-saving access to Toronto is an issue of major concern to the many residents of my riding who commute to the city on a regular basis. In the throne speech --

Mr. Roy: That photograph is going to lack credibility. They won’t believe you.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: We won’t invite you over here because there would be no credibility.

Mr. Roy: This House has gone to the dogs.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: You should know.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The member for York North cannot continue with his speech with these interruptions. Would you please continue.

Mr. Hodgson: In the throne speech, this government recognized the problems that the withdrawal of Via Rail service would create for the residents of many communities.

There are hundreds of people, mainly from towns such as Newmarket, Aurora and Stouffville who have come to rely daily on the morning Via train to take them to work in Toronto. As these communities served by Via Rail have grown, so has the ridership on those trains, to the extent that more than 500 people now use the Barrie to Toronto train every working day. The Stouffville train is used by almost 300 riders making round trips every day.

Last July, when we first started hearing rumours from Ottawa that the Stouffville and Barrie lines would be cut, it came as a rather startling surprise. There was no consultation with the province on the part of Via Rail or the federal Minister of Transport until our own Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) requested a meeting with Mr. Pepin.

In my view, it was Ontario’s immediate reaction of concern and, indeed, outrage which led Mr. Pepin to delay the closing of the Stouffville, Barrie and Havelock lines. The time we were granted by this delay was absolutely imperative in order that the province could study and negotiate arrangements for the commuter portions of the Via lines.

One of Ottawa’s justifications for discontinuing the service was their prominent function as commuter lines. As we are all too well aware, commuter lines are not Ottawa’s responsibility. The Barrie and Stouffville lines did fit the definition of commuter runs and on March 9 we all heard that Ontario was willing to continue running these two Via lines through Go Transit. GO Transit presently offers Barrie and Stouffville service, and therefore much of its current work is in planning how to best fit the current Via train service into its overall operations.

One adjustment to the system will result in the provision of train service only as far north as the Bradford-Holland Landing area. Passenger statistics show that on average only 70 people get on the train at Barrie. The cost simply does not justify starting the run there. It is more economical and flexible to provide bus service to and from Barrie for the time being. I am sure members will know it is GO Transit’s policy to charge according to the distance travelled, and the same rate is paid whether a commuter is travelling by GO train or GO bus. The only difference is that the GO bus passengers pay an extra 45 cents if they want to be driven into downtown Toronto.

Because Aurora, Newmarket and Stouffville already have GO bus service, commuters from these and other nearby towns will, starting in September, have a choice of bus or train travel into Toronto. I am extremely pleased with the way in which this issue has been resolved, and that my constituents will not suffer any inconvenience. I would suggest, nevertheless, that the GO bus service be extended from Woodbridge to Yonge Street by way of Highway 7. This would provide quick and easy access to the Yonge Street corridor for those in the southern part of my riding. GO hopes to use the same schedules as Via is using in order to keep confusion at a minimum.

Mr. Riddell: Tell us about the development of Vaughan township. That’s what I’m waiting for. I’ve got important things to do, but I want to hear about Vaughan township and the development going on there.

Mr. Hodgson: The development he is talking about in Vaughan township did not get the member for Huron-Middlesex or his former leader any place last fall. Does he remember?

All told, GO is estimating that the loss on operating these lines will be $2.94 million for the last half of this fiscal year. This is a lot of money, but it must be seen in terms of the advantages it offers. As long as GO can continue to serve thousands of people who would otherwise drive every day, the need to expand expressways in the Toronto area at a cost of millions of dollars can be reduced, not to mention the reduction in traffic congestion, aggravation, air pollution and gasoline consumption that mass transit provides.

GO Transit has been very successful. In fact, GO’s rail and bus network, which extends out about 50 miles from Toronto, is probably one of the best commuter systems in the world. GO ridership rises steadily every year.

The number of riders in GO’s northern corridor has shown a consistent and healthy annual increase. The northern corridor serves a number of towns in my constituency, as well as other parts of York region. Six years ago, just over one million passengers were carried on the northern route. Last year there were over 3.5 million passengers. Next year it could easily be four million when Via passengers transfer to the GO system. What does this tell us? It tells us that the population of the York region is growing fast, that GO’s popularity is on the rise, and that over three million car trips were prevented last year by GO Transit.

It also tells you, though it is not in my notes, that they have had good government in one of the best regions in the whole province, the region of York. What does it all add up to? Multiply three million times the distance from Toronto to Aurora and Newmarket, times the average price for gas in the last year, and you are looking at substantial savings.

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

9:50 p.m.

Mr. Hodgson: Mr. Speaker, GO Transit has played quite a role in keeping Ontario’s gasoline consumption down, as have other public transit systems. Over the long term, international oil prices will again rise and alternative fuels will be necessary.

As all members are aware, this government has already made great strides in planning to meet our future energy needs. GO has been involved with other government agencies studying the electrification of GO trains and buses and the use of hydrogen as a fuel. An investigation into the use of hydrogen was carried out with the province’s Urban Transportation Development Corp. GO also contributed technical expertise on the Ministry of Energy’s task force on hydrogen energy.

The development of vehicles run by hydrogen will certainly take a great deal of money, but once completed we will have a fuel which does not pollute and can be easily produced thanks to Ontario’s plentiful supply of water and electricity. GO’s future at this time appears bright. Many people from the riding of York North have contributed to its growth, and I am sure they will continue to do so.

GO’s takeover of the Via Rail commuter system is just one example of this government’s and GO Transit’s willingness to expand and provide new services where they are needed. The rail service that Via provides on the two lines in question is of importance not just to the hundreds of people who use them every working day but also to their families.

Mr. Riddell: I hope Hansard is picking this up a little better than we are. Speak into the microphone. We cannot hear you.

Mr. Hodgson: If you would keep your mouth shut you might be able to.

Mr. Riddell: You do far better without notes.

Mr. Hodgson: You have never done well with notes or without them.

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The member for York North has the floor.

Mr. Hodgson: When the announcements of the cuts were made, not only individuals reacted but communities as well. In addition to representing my constituents’ concerns to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, I was also called upon to organize a meeting between the minister and the mayors of Aurora, King and Newmarket. I hope these representations and meetings played some part in the decision by the province to take over Via’s service.

I would like to reflect briefly on the province’s economy and the new economic order which Ontario must increasingly adapt to in this country. Times are indeed very different from the day I proudly took my seat in this chamber 15 years ago. At the national level, intolerably high interest rates, inflation and unacceptable levels of unemployment are suddenly the symptoms of Canada’s inability to grasp its own destiny.

Sadly, the present vacuum in federal Liberal leadership has done much to fuel this crisis of confidence. Whether it be the federal government’s refusal to abandon its ruinous interest rate policy, the unjust tax measures announced in its November budget, or its bitter aggressive campaign against the provinces, it should be painfully clear to all members that we must charge ourselves with the responsibility of restoring a climate of confidence to our economy. More than anything else, this is what our government’s throne speech represents.

Taken as a whole, I suggest to the House the objectives our government has set out in this session are innovative in their approach and unbending in their commitment to the continued welfare of this province. Moreover, I am honoured to support a throne speech which so skilfully has identified the measures that will restore investment confidence in Ontario while at the same time alleviated some of the social discomfort being experienced in our economy.

I reiterate that no level of assistance or support from our government will stem the full tide of pessimism which has befallen our economy. In fact, it must remain the priority of this government and indeed this House to urge Ottawa to accept its pressing responsibility in establishing an economic climate which encourages productivity, investment and growth.

As an example of my concern, I note the federal government’s policy on assistance to home owners renewing their mortgages. Many members may be aware that the budget announced in November promised limited grants to 12,500 households and restricted loan guarantees to some 37,500 others.

I understand the federal housing minister, Mr. Cosgrove, recently announced an extra 15,000 households will benefit from interest-free loans for rental construction. Although I am sure home owners across the country welcome assistance of any kind, I should point out there are 370,000 households about to renew their mortgages this year in Ontario alone.

Considering that mortgage rates have almost doubled in the last five years and considering that just 18 per cent of Ontario’s households who are renewing mortgages would exhaust all of Ottawa’s programs, why can the federal government not see the potential threat which high interest rates pose to our society? How long does the House think it is going to take before Ottawa realizes the fundamental, stubbornly persistent problem of this country is interest rates? No amount of good-intentioned half-measures to households, farmers or business is going to fool anyone into thinking otherwise.

The throne speech our government has introduced is an affirmation of our commitment to manage the economy of this province. In spite of Ottawa’s failure to provide similar leadership nationally, I will continue to hope that Canada’s economic recovery is imminent. I know our government will work tirelessly toward that goal.

I would like to take a few moments to discuss a topic of cultural and historical importance to all Ontarians. My riding is the site of one of the foremost Canadian collections of art in this country. The McMichael Canadian Collection is a monument to the dedication and generosity of Robert and Signe McMichael. They have donated their paintings, their land, their home and themselves to furthering the understanding and appreciation of the Group of Seven, their contemporaries and native Canadian artists.

The government of Ontario and private collectors have demonstrated their generosity and support since the mid-1960s. The collection has grown in size and quality since that time. The unique setting and structure of the gallery attracts the second greatest number of visitors annually of all art galleries in Canada. The people in the Kleinburg area have given the McMichaels and the gallery their support and devotion over the years.

I have asked the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Mr. McCaffrey) to appoint a resident of Kleinburg to the board of trustees of the McMichael Gallery so that the community of Kleinburg can be represented and can have information at all times.

I would like to address a situation which has deeply concerned me and many of my constituents over the past several months. I am referring to the proposed expansion of the York sanitation landfill site number 4 of the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. We are all acutely aware this has been a very emotional issue. Certainly those directly affected in Whitchurch-Stouffville have suffered through an extended period of conflicting viewpoints, misinformation and misunderstanding with regard to their water supply.

We must all realize and make use of the knowledge that we have one overriding, common goal. That is to ensure, beyond a glimmer of doubt, that the water supply in Whitchurch-Stouffville is absolutely safe for today and for every day in the future. It is my hope the citizens of Whitchurch-Stouffville and this government can work together and co-operate in their mutual interest to solve this problem as soon as possible.

I feel it is vitally important that the viewpoints of those involved be clearly and completely expressed on the record. For this reason I will now read verbatim two letters which I received.

10 p.m.

Mr. Wildman: If the water is okay, what is the problem, Bill?

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Hodgson: The first is from Eldred King, Mayor of the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, and second from Mrs. Frances Sainsbury, a Whitchurch-Stouffville resident. Mrs. Sainsbury is sitting here in the gallery. She was interested enough to come down here tonight and hear what we have to say.

Following this, I will outline the Ministry of the Environment’s activities and submit my own recommendations to the Legislature. I quote:

“Dear Mr. Hodgson:

The town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has been surrounded by an unfortunate and to some degree a crisis of unnecessary turmoil for almost one year. Some of this distress has been founded by misinterpretation of information and the anxiety of the media to relate the suspected to public attention.”

“The Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Keith Norton, put to rest many of these inconsistencies one week ago” -- which is three weeks ago, now. “The Corporation of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, as I have stated on several occasions to Mr. Norton, accepts his ministry’s monitoring program which provides for the safety of the private water supply adjacent to the landfill operation. The only doubt we cast is the timing and extent of that monitoring program and the application of that monitoring program as to appropriate location.

“Let me, for a moment, ask you to put yourself as an observer and as a resident of our town. In June of 1981, you would have attended the hearing for an expansion of that landfill operation before the Environmental Assessment Board. You would have had the opportunity to listen to debate by the applicant and the opponent, of which one was the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. Throughout that extended debate, which to a large extent dealt with the present operation, many inconsistencies were brought to light. For example, the fluctuation of the results of the monitoring program which our consultant contended were in fact increasing trends of impaction. The Ministry of the Environment staff did give evidence of impaction on a well immediately adjacent to the site. It is just simple facts such as the two I have noted plus the fact the applicant on several occasions did indicate certain data, which would have added more conclusive evidence, was not available.

“One only has to add the foregoing to the fact the landfill operation is situated on one of the most complex geographical areas of this province, that is the Oak Ridges moraine. There is a mixture of soils, a ground water divide, perched water tables for which there is very inconclusive documentation and a deep water aquifer which supplies the community of Stouffville. The extent of this deep aquifer and its complexity such as rate of flow, its depth and direction of flow are also subject to inconclusive documentation.

“The disposal of waste is the responsibility of everyone. All generate some and in abundant quantities because of the high standard of living we enjoy in this province. I accept the fact this site is one of legal non-conforming status having been in operation before this province ever established a ministry to regulate such operations. I do not believe such circumstances should allow it to escape the same safety measures that would and have been imposed on new approved operations and I refer to the recently approved Maple site.

“It has been recognized in the approval of that site and in the guidelines of the Ontario Waste Management Corp. attenuation of leachate is no longer adequate protection of the environment and definitely does not offer positive protection to the residents of this province.

“The director of approvals has recently amended the conditions of the certificate of approval which apply to the landfill operation in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville as he has recognized in his words, and I quote, ‘The monitoring results do not conclusively define the impact.’ We are most grateful and relieved by the director’s action.

“Mr. Hodgson, I ask why do the amended conditions still insist we only ask for the guarantee to implement a containment program? Why do we wager on the safety of the environment? Why do we continue to allow the possibility of a monitoring program which may prove inconclusive?”

“Contain the site now, to the best of our ability and scientific knowledge. Remove all doubt which has reigned in our town for a whole year. Old established landfill sites surely are worthy of the same degree of safety measures as are new ones.

“I have not attempted to burden you with a lengthy scientific data-filled debate. I have only related certain glaring facts which face our community every day. Leave no doubt. Replace the troubled wells and contain the site now to protect the private and municipal supplies. You have proven them safe. Keep it that way.

“I thank you for sharing my thoughts and trust we can look to you for your continued support.

“I am, yours truly, Eldred King, Mayor.”

Now from Mrs. Frances Sainsbury:

“March 15, 1982.

“Dear Mr. Hodgson: I have prepared a brief on behalf of the residents of Whitchurch-Stouffville regarding the landfill site in our town.

“I respectfully request that you present it on our behalf before the Ontario Legislature.

“This brief gives a short history of landfill site number 4 in our town. I learned these facts by personally attending the Environmental Assessment Board hearings for 44 days in 1974-75 and again for 38 days in 1981. I entered the hearings as a participant and filed all the necessary documents.

“It is our urgent plea that this landfill site not be allowed to expand in our town, over our main town aquifer. We rely on groundwater in Whitchurch-Stouffville. Being basically a rural area it would be almost impossible and not economically feasible to bring chlorinated municipal water to such a rural area. The potential exists because of the location of the landfill to pollute the ground water regime over a critical recharge area on the Oak Ridges moraine. Chemicals in water are an insidious enemy, very hard to detect.

“Our future health and welfare depends on how well you are able to convince the other members of our dilemma.

“Thank you for giving us this opportunity to have this brief presented to you.

“Respectfully submitted by Mrs. Frances Sainsbury, citizen of Whitchurch-Stouffville.”

Here is the brief.

Mr. Wildman: Are you going to read the whole brief?

Mr. Hodgson: Certainly. I do not know whether the members opposite realize how important it is, not only to Whitchurch-Stouffville but the whole province, how this dump site is handled.

The brief reads as follows:

“March 15, 1982.

“Brief regarding the request of the citizens of Whitchurch-Stouffville to stop expansion of landfill site number 4 in our town, as of April 30, 1982.

“Whitchurch-Stouffville has a wonderful small town atmosphere. In-town has a blend of magnificent older homes to the most modern in housing. There are many small shops, good service and happy smiles. The people are loyal to the in-town merchants. We have a population of 13,500 people.

“A predominantly rural setting, showing pride of ownership is the balance of the 51,000 acres. The people are hard-working, versatile, fun-loving, giving, caring people.

“We have the best of both worlds. Close proximity to culture, industry and the hustle-bustle of the city. We truly value our unique way of life.

“When a person’s way of life is threatened, people react in different ways. The people have united in a common protest. Close the dump! Because a site exists does not make it safe.

“For 20 years, site number 4 has helped to solve the garbage problems for the province of Ontario. We have not said, ‘Not in our backyard.’ We only say, ‘Not over our drinking water supply!’ The solution to pollution can no longer be dilution, due to the nature of chemicals.

10:10 p.m.

“The 185-acre landfill site is basically kame moraine in nature. It is over the main aquifer for the town water supply. The aquifer is 120 feet down. The landfill is at the divide for two watersheds, Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe. It is on the edge of a marsh at the head waters of the East Holland River. There are 35 homes in close proximity to the site. These use ground water wells of varying depths. Fifteen of these homes and the onsite wells are monitored on a quarterly basis. That is four days’ protection a year. Knowing the nature of ground water in a critical recharge area, what is in the water the other 361 days? No one knows for sure.

“Millions of gallons of liquid industrial waste went into six lagoons on this site until 1969. Lagoon 6 was an open sieve with a direct hydraulic connection to the lower aquifer. George Kerr closed the site to liquid waste at that time. Since 1970 it has been designated a nonhazardous waste site. The site had no engineering until 1974. Eleven hundred tons a day go into that site. The whole town of Stouffville generates only 6,500 tons of garbage a year. That goes into this site in only six days. To place garbage dumps with only an ‘attenuation mechanism’ design over a usable aquifer is ludicrous. Because of the chemical technology we now have, we know that many chemicals go unimpeded through clay. It is an impossibility to keep toxics out of these sites. There is no site inspector at Stouffville. No waste is safe.

“Due to lack of funds the residents could not afford sophisticated testing. However, testing in concentric circles from the landfill established background for chlorides. The first natural tracer from a landfill is chloride. The chloride counts are higher as we approach the landfill. Several wells are closed due to high chlorides. Several have bacteria problems, others have nitrates, some show a total organic halide (tox) reading being contamination and needing further sophisticated testing.

“Approximately 200 tests of 75 wells were done, four wells are closed by the medical officer of health. The ministry has done 25,000 tests on the same 15 wells over and over. Basics like hardness, COD, BOD, alkalinity, conductivity, even if over the desirable parameter, these will not kill you. More sophisticated testing was started in June 1981 and fingerprinting of chemicals is being done onsite for the first time in 20 years.

“Lagoon 5 has PCBs -- 3,294 parts per million, one million beyond parameter. An abatement program has been implemented to see if they are migrating. The PCBs are 48 feet above the aquifer in lagoon 5.

“Section 115 of the Public Health Act has prevented the trees from being sold until the sap and wood can be checked for harmful toxics which may appear upon burning.

“The landfill operators plan to discharge the surface waters untreated with minute quantities of toxics -- PCB, HCB, lindane, etc. -- into the marsh by way of a deep trench. The marsh is the beginning of the Vandorf Creek. Along the Vandorf Creek there are a great many illnesses. There is a health map prepared in a one and a half mile radius, showing out of approximately 220 households, 117 sick people, 45 with cancer. Many of these are in the direct flow paths of the water. The one common denominator they all share is the ground water.

“The Ministry of Health has set aside $1.2 million for a study. This will take two years to complete. Perhaps the study will show a serious problem connected to the water system and the landfill. If so, a serious injustice will have been done to the people of Stouffville. We will have compounded the problem by another two years and 2.5 million more tons of garbage over our water supply.

“If the dump is allowed to expand into area 5, a wooded area where there is no till, where they will place a clay liner, compacted 10-7 and hope it will attenuate the leachate, if it fails, the harmful toxics will reach the aquifer. This will have serious side effects.

“This province must switch to secure landfills. We need containment sites now. This old, outdated technology must cease.

“Chlorides are the wrong parameter for these dumps. Monitoring wells all different depths, four days a year is no protection at all. Even when you do find a high count of some known toxic off the dump site, it is considered an anomaly... This is not so! For that well, for that day it was definitely in the water. How many other toxics are being missed?

“The landfill has hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, oil wastes, PCBs, HCBs, lindane, BHC, endrin, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, and still they call it a nonhazardous waste site. Because you change the nature of the waste, it does not remove the hazardous substances now existing.

“The health map shows 117 human monitors; explain these to us. They tell a far different story than retesting the same 15 wells over and over. Based on a flow rate of 1,000 feet per year established by Mr. Rovers, the engineer for York Sanitation Co. Ltd. [at the hearings], the liquid waste would be 2.5 miles out in the flow system over the last 10 years. There is no monitoring being done this way by the ministry. The aquifer flow is westerly and southwesterly. The perch water flow is to the northwest. All these directions show a high incidence of illness (pancreas, thyroid, diabetes) fairly close to the landfill.

“The landfill company owns a site in East Gwillimbury, Aurora, Maple. None is over a town’s aquifer. There will be no lost revenue for the company. To divert 37 to 50 trucks per day is not that difficult. When the site is full, you will have to divert it then; why not sooner? Why is the burden of proof of pollution always on the resident? Why not on the company to prove its operation is safe? Why has the Ministry of the Environment spent $250,000 on testing wells? Still they cannot tell us what Keith Hutchinson’s well is impacted with that would give a highly active, positive Ames reading last October.

“This site is zoned RU (rural) nonconforming use. For 54 acres, the government must not continue to allow an operation that may destroy the ground water regime on the Oak Ridges moraine.

10:20 p.m.

“The people of Stouffville want the site closed, capped and purged. The fact that Mr. Giffen of central region, Ministry of the Environment, states at the Environmental Assessment Board hearings that the Hutchinson and Bolton wells are impacted by the landfill is a good indicator of the future destruction of all wells. To catch something in the indicator wells saves a catastrophe. Why wait for pollution? We in Stouffville do not want bottled water. We want our good artesian water supply. We want peace of mind. We want our real estate to maintain its value. We want positive things said about Stouffville. We want the Ministry of the Environment to gain its credibility back. We are a household word from coast to coast. Millions are waiting to see how this province deals with our small town.

“We are most grateful to the Honourable William Hodgson, our MPP for York North, for bringing our plea to the Legislature of Ontario. We are counting on him to educate you to our very real problems in Whitchurch-Stouffville. The future of our water, our health, our real estate values, our whole way of life rests with the Honourable Keith Norton, Minister of the Environment. Garbage cannot be more important than people. Decide what is in the best public interest! Then decide, ‘What public?’ Who will be most affected by this final decision? The future health and wellbeing of the people of Whitchurch-Stouffville is in Mr. Norton’s hands. Should you err in your decision, ‘Sorry’ is not good enough!

“Respectfully submitted and signed by Mrs. Frances Sainsbury.”

I would now like to outline briefly, with the patience of the House, the ministry’s activities to date. First, York Sanitation is prohibited from disposing of any industrial or hazardous wastes at landfill site number 4. Monitoring by the ministry’s special investigation unit has not revealed any evidence whatsoever of illegal dumping by midnight haulers.

In terms of routine inspection, the operator conducts detailed regular monitoring to ensure the purity of the ground water, and the ministry inspects the site biweekly in addition to monitoring local wells.

The ministry has conducted some 25,000 analyses on close to 2,000 water samples from the wells on the site, private wells and community water supplies. In response to the residents’ health concerns, these tests have been significantly increased in range as well as sophistication. Some $250,000 has been spent since last summer in addition to the normal expenditure that was carried on in the years before that.

Early this year, a report by Advanced Environmental Systems of New York reported high arsenic levels in three private wells. In early March of this year, samples from all three wells were analysed by both the Ministry of the Environment laboratory and the Ontario Research Foundation laboratory. Arsenic was not detectable by either lab in any of the three wells. It has since been discovered that a crucial correction factor in the AES analysis was not used, making their original test inaccurate.

In another instance, laboratories have disclaimed any responsibility for the findings of a report issued by the citizens’ committee which showed harmful levels of phenol in one well.

Later in 1981, Advanced Environmental Systems released test results on 45 wells on behalf of the citizens’ group. At that time, a high level of organic halides was reported. Since then, however, the lab has rechecked its results, which show all wells tested fall within the normal range of good drinking water quality.

In short, the ministry has found no evidence that the landfill site has affected the safety of drinking water in any offsite well. Municipal water supplies are of a consistently good drinking water quality.

The initial conclusions of tests commissioned by the citizens’ committee have not stood up to closer scrutiny and corroborative testing. Nevertheless, the Ministry of the Environment’s monitoring program is continuing to ensure that if any migration from the landfill site does occur, effective action will be taken immediately. It is hoped that ongoing monitoring will afford the community a sense of security in the knowledge of the quality of their drinking water and the continuing assurance that their public and private water supplies are safe.

In the interest of all concerned, I would now like to make the following recommendations to this Legislature.

1. Let me state that I am opposed to any expansion of the York Sanitation number 4 landfill site in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

2. I am opposed to any expansion, if considered by the ministry, until the Ministry of Health’s $1.2-million survey in Whitchurch-Stouffville is completed.

Mr. Wildman: Sorry; what was that?

Mr. Hodgson: Do you want me to read it again?

3. I recommend that a full-time inspector, employed by the Ministry of the Environment and recommended by Whitchurch-Stouffville town council, be on the landfill site during operating hours to monitor all waste deposited.

4. I urge the Ministry of the Environment to act immediately in setting up a contingency plan which will ensure that in the event any leachate or contaminant which could endanger the health and welfare of the community is detected, adequate containment procedures will be put into effect immediately.

5. The aforementioned points are for the Ministry of the Environment’s immediate consideration. If any of my recommendations are not accepted it is my opinion, in support of my constituents, that this dump site be closed as quickly as possible.

It is my belief that action taken on my recommendations will go a long way to alleviating the very real fears which have been expressed to me by so many of my constituents in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Taking these few positive and vitally important steps will do more than restore the peace of mind and wellbeing to those most directly affected. The lives of so many people in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville are directly affected by this problem that they are extremely and rightfully concerned. It is imperative that positive and concrete action be taken immediately.

On motion by Mr. Sargent, the debate was adjourned.

The House adjourned at 10:28 p.m.

Debates (Hansard)
Webcast
Contact an MPP
Participation in Committees
Watch the Legislature in Action
Use of Assembly Grounds
Petitions