Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, later today I will be introducing a bill respecting the mortgage financing of Rideau Centre in the city of Ottawa. The intent of this bill is to provide for an innovative system of financing for the Rideau Centre.
The Rideau Centre, as members will know, is a major real estate development in downtown Ottawa. Included in this complex are (a) commercial facilities which include a department store and renovated office building, (b) a 500-room, full-service hotel and (c) a 4,000-seat convention centre.
In addition to the usual mortgage agreement arrangements, this legislation permits the mortgagor -- the borrower -- to give to the mortgagee -- the lender -- an option to purchase an equity share in the project.
Common law forbids such an option to be attached as part of the mortgage transaction. The clogging rule, as it is known, was developed to prevent an unscrupulous lender from changing a borrowing transaction into a transfer of property. The viability of the Rideau Centre depends on the successful completion of this loan for $88 million with such an option attached to the mortgage document.
I think our rules are silent about the time frame within which a minister is obligated to reply to a question addressed to him before the orders of the day. Sometimes a question is asked and the minister agrees to look into it but it drifts off into limbo, specifically with my favourite minister, that fellow asphalt farmer (Mr. Timbrell).
I asked him a question some two or three weeks ago with regard to predatory ravens that are ravaging livestock in northwestern Ontario, and he was going to look into it. He is still looking, and we have had no reply.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. I am sure she is aware that the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto stated yesterday that $650 million would raise all welfare and family benefit payments by 25 per cent to bring all 400,000 social assistance recipients up to minimum poverty levels in the province. I am sure she is also aware that part of that report said, “For the price of Suncor the Ontario government could eradicate poverty for welfare recipients.” What is the minister’s opinion on their report?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, I have been away ill and have just returned. I have not availed myself of the information the Leader of the Opposition has just brought to my attention. I will be very happy to look at that report and then be prepared to make comments.
However, everything in the report that is meaningful is what I have just told her. I could repeat it for her, and then she could give us her judgement, if she would like to, or at least she could express her concern on the subject.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Again, the honourable member is taking this out of context. I would much rather read the report and make my own judgements about what is contained therein and then make a contribution. If in the meantime he would like to direct that question to the minister responsible, who is in the House, I think it would be very appropriate.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting as well how the Liberal Party acquaints itself with information. This question was raised by me and the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) just a couple of days ago.
What are the priorities of the government? Are they going to spend up to $650 million in total dollars -- those are not provincial dollars; it would be some $230 million in provincial dollars -- to bring people up to a decent standard of living in this province, or are they going to squander our money on other kinds of deals such as have been mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I have no difficulty in defending the priorities as set down by this government when it comes to looking after people in need. This government has demonstrated, certainly over the years I have been here, that it does care and does attempt to meet the needs of the different groups in our society which through no fault of their own have special needs.
Mr. Peterson: With respect to the Suncor purchase, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) made this statement: “There has been no sacrifice of any government program spending deemed necessary by the cabinet of this province because of the Suncor deal.” Do I determine from this that the minister feels it is not important, that this is not a necessary program and that those are her priorities as the provincial secretary responsible?
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Can he tell us why his ministry has determined that the nuclear disarmament question is not legitimate under the Municipal Act? Why is his staff actively discouraging municipalities from including that question in a referendum for the municipal elections?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, Mr. Speaker, my ministry is not discouraging the municipalities. Questions have been asked of the minister. I have made it very clear to those municipalities that have inquired through my office about the question going on the ballot this fall at municipal election time that it would be best to seek the advice of legal counsel and to be guided by that legal counsel’s opinion.
We are neither encouraging nor discouraging them. We are making it clear that they should seek the advice of legal counsel whom they happen to pay, or they can hire outside legal counsel for that advice. I strongly suggest they might want to follow that advice. It is either that or, if some challenge happens to take place at a later date, I suppose legal counsel would have to be called back to again express a view or an opinion. I make it clear that we have only suggested they seek legal advice.
Mr. Peterson: With great respect, that does not conform exactly to the facts. A letter from J. R. Tomlinson, solicitor of the municipal law unit of the legal branch of the ministry, says, “I find it difficult to understand how the question of global disarmament could be considered to be a legitimate municipal question.” I will not read the whole letter, but he goes on, The election could be invalidated as a result of including this question.” He warns the councillors about possible personal liability for including these questions.
Does it not appear to the minister that he is indeed offering an opinion and discouraging the inclusion of this question? Why would he not allow the municipalities, as a matter of policy, to make up their own minds on this question?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, there are now 14 municipalities in this province that have chosen to take this route, including such major municipalities as Windsor, London, Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa. The letter from Mr. Tomlinson of his ministry has caused a number of these municipalities to think twice. An example is Hamilton, which had voted in favour of disarmament but which decided last night it could not vote in favour of the bylaw to implement it because it did not know its legal status.
Will the minister accept the motion that was passed by the city of Toronto asking him to bring in legislation, I presume to amend the Municipal Act, so it would have the right to put this specific motion on the ballot, given that as many as three million people in this country have shown their support for it and that 84 per cent of the people polled in Metropolitan Toronto have shown they are in favour of this kind of action?
I have said clearly in answer to the questions that at my request I am having further reviews made through the Ministry of the Attorney General as to the constitutionality of municipalities having the question on the ballot come the next election. At this moment I am not prepared to suggest to this House that I will offer an amendment to the Municipal Act to accommodate it, but we are reviewing it further.
Mr. Peterson: The minister’s colleague the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) says in a letter that he has “checked with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for Ontario. The Municipal Act has no bearing on the proposed action by the city of Ottawa. The Ontario government will not be involved in the decision as to whether or not this referendum will be conducted.”
But, in fact, the minister himself is imposing this cautious legal advice. Why will he not enable those municipalities that want to do it to go ahead? Why is he keeping this cloud over the whole question, with the possibility of personal liability if the various municipalities proceed? There is a clear and demonstrated wish that a number of municipalities want to go ahead but, as my friend has pointed out, some have had to back off. Why does he not clear it up?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Simplicity happens to be the leader of the Liberal Party’s way of doing most things, without worrying about whether it has any legal basis. In this case we will make sure what the legal basis happens to be. I am very strongly suggesting, and I repeat it, that my advice has been to seek legal advice. If the member were to think of it in any kind of logical order, I am sure he would offer the same advice to municipalities: to seek legal advice as to the position of the question in relationship to the municipalities.
just change the law, continue to change it to accommodate every situation that happens to come about. I trust the leader of the Liberal Party would believe that one should first find out whether there is a constitutional position in relation to the subject. I think it is paramount that at least we get the legal position on that aspect.
I do not intend to change the advice I have been offering to municipalities. There may have been 14 that have asked about the question, but there are 838 municipalities in this province. Before we start off with some general advice, we would like to know our ground.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier, coming back to the same question. His minister has indicated reluctance to be very actively involved in this process. Is the Premier in favour of the people of this province being able to express their opinions on the matter, this fall, in referenda around this province?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No. I am opposed to some things. I am not opposed to the member for Niagara Falls personally but to what his party pretends to stand for some days, which almost every day is different from other days; that I am not in favour of. It is the party that has become such a millstone around its leader’s neck but not around the neck of the member for Brant-Haldimand-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon).
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing put it very carefully and very clearly. A number of municipalities have shown an interest inputting this question on the ballot. If every member in this House had an opportunity to express a personal point of view, I am sure we all know what it would be.
What the minister is faced with is that under the present wording of the Municipal Act it creates some doubt; so he has said to them very simply, “Get some legal opinion.” There is also some question as to whether, constitutionally, it would be proper even if there were an amendment to the Municipal Act. I am just telling the members the legal questions that have been raised.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is getting an opinion from the senior law officers of the Attorney General to find out whether there is a possible legal problem, and that is where it rests.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I recognize the constitutional question raised by the Premier; it was raised in an editorial by Mr. Smither in Municipal World, which has been circulated recently. However, would it not be possible to bring forward an amendment that would allow municipalities to raise issues on referenda outside their normal jurisdiction and not have them brought into question?
Does the Premier not realize that if we do not put this enabling legislation into place beforehand to clear up this matter once and for all, we are in danger of finding that what was in the Toronto Sun article on May 11 is correct, that there is a group right now ready in Toronto to challenge the legality of the elections in Toronto if they go ahead with the referenda during the municipal elections? Is it not important and vital that the government move now and get this cleared up by action, not just by consultation on legal opinion?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Perhaps the honourable member did not understand what I was saying. If the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) were here and in his seat, he might explain it to the member, but I shall try once again to explain it. Quite obviously, the Leader of the Opposition, in spite of his Queen’s Counsel, does not understand the law either. I do not pretend to understand all the law, but I shall try once more --
Can I explain it this way? There are two possible issues. One is whether under the present provisions of the Municipal Act it would be legal for the municipalities to put it on the referendum, and that is where the minister has said legal advice should be sought. His own ministry officials have raised this, and the Municipal World article referred to registers the same caution in the last paragraph. I may be totally incorrect but I think I am right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am now raising with the member the fact that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, apart from the existing provisions of the Municipal Act, is inquiring of the Ministry of the Attorney General whether, even if we were to amend the Municipal Act so that from our standpoint it would appear to be legal, this province has the constitutional right to amend the act to have a question of this nature put on the ballot.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, it concerns me that the government’s representatives are sending out letters discouraging municipalities from taking this position when the Premier surely must be aware that municipalities in the past series of elections have carried out the referendum without any question; it was simply an indication of the views of the municipalities concerned, and nobody seemed to worry too much about it at all. I regret very much that it did not bring an end to world armament, far from it, but still the concept is for the municipal taxpayers to have an opportunity to express their views.
Can the Premier explain why no objection was raised when it was done in the last series of elections and why, all of a sudden, the government, probably in response to some of the hard-shell, redneck supporters, is setting up roadblocks in what seems to be a reasonable approach?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I confess to the House leader of the Liberal Party that I do not recall this having been done by municipalities two years ago; if the honourable member is correct in that, it certainly was not raised with us. In other words, if they did it, obviously no ratepayers objected to it, because no move was made to invalidate those elections.
I just became aware of this in the past three or four weeks when municipalities have asked the government -- I do not recall them doing it last time, but they could have -- whether it is legally appropriate. The problem is that if it is not legally appropriate and it is on the ballot, then the possibility is there -- and I say possibility, not probability -- that somebody might move to invalidate, not the question of the referendum but the election itself. That is why the minister has registered this caution.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: As the Premier knows, there is a great deal of good will on all sides about this issue, and a great number of unnatural coalitions have been developed, including the 120 parliamentarians of all three parties at the federal level who have signed a request for an international vote. We have the example at city hall, one which I do not think we have ever seen before, with O’Donohue, Gee, Gilbert, Sewell and Eggleton all on the same side of an issue.
Does the Premier not feel it is important that we at the provincial level should play our part in this movement? Will the Premier report back as quickly as possible to the Legislature? Does he not also feel that what we should be trying to do is make this legally possible and that this is the very kind of facilitating role we could have at the provincial level?
My own view is that if it were appropriate to have it on a municipal ballot, I would be very surprised and disappointed if there were not about a 99 per cent response in the affirmative, assuming the question were worded in the expectation of an affirmative response.
I am not questioning the wisdom of having it on a ballot or getting expressions of public opinion, except I think both of us could predict very accurately what that public opinion would be. But if it is to be done, we do have the responsibility of seeing it is done in a way that will not lead to the potential of the invalidation of the election itself.
I hope the member understands that after my attempt to explain it to him in the legal sense. As soon as we have that information, I am sure either the Attorney General or the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing will be delighted to share it with members of the House.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Labour. On January 19 there was a work refusal by nine employees on the paint line of a Westinghouse plant in Hamilton. Mr. Kwok of the Ministry of Labour issued an interim order at that time that employees wear masks pending the results of further testing. That testing took place on January 21 and the results were given to the union on March 11.
I have the results with me here. They state that in at least two tests the levels of a chemical solvent, Solvesso, were above the 250 milligrams per cubic metre that is acceptable. I also have with me the health and safety data sheet of Solvesso, issued by its manufacturer, Esso Chemical of Canada, which clearly states that this is the safe exposure level.
Why did the Ministry of Labour report indicate that no further action was necessary and that no orders were necessary, and why was the company ordered to take down the barriers and to tell the workers they no longer needed to wear masks in that area?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: In part of this report by Mr. Kwok, he states that the acceptable level for Solvesso is 575 milligrams per cubic metre, which is more than twice the real level. He did not even know what the safe levels were. When he was challenged on this, Mr. Kwok informed Stan Gray of that health and safety committee that he did not have access to the manufacturer’s data sheet. We got it with one call to the ministry’s labour library. Why could he not get it? Why did he not know? How can workers have faith in the ministry inspectors when they do not even know what the safe levels are for the substances on which they make rulings?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: If the allegations by the honourable member opposite are correct, and I have no reason to believe they are not, I will have to look into that matter immediately and will be pleased to do so.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that this is not the first time there have been violations of health and safety at the Westinghouse plant? In October 1979, as he may know, an explosion blinded and critically injured a worker. It was only after the union pursued the matter -- and it took almost a year -- that the minister laid four charges.
Is the minister aware that employees in the welding department signed a petition in January 1982 asking the minister to act to rectify the fumes which were causing sore throats and burning eyes, that in February there was a work refusal in this department and that to date the union representatives are unconvinced the ministry is undertaking accurate testing and appropriate action?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, if the member is looking for assurances, Twill be pleased to provide my personal assurances that the investigation will be expedited. I will have a report for him at the beginning of the week at the very latest.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have question of the Premier having to do with the announcement yesterday of the layoffs in Brantford and Toronto by Massey-Ferguson and White Farm Equipment. Is the Premier aware that Victor Rice, the president of Massey, announced two weeks ago that although there were layoffs in the worldwide holdings of the company he was prepared to live up to his commitment that led to our financial guarantee and there would be no layoffs in Canada?
Can the Premier use his good offices to see that the company respects the agreement that led this House to support it, along with the government of Canada, with guarantees of $200 million, on the basis of which the company has continued its operation?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of what Mr. Rice may have said a few days ago. I regret that I do not have any up-to-date information for the honourable member. We are in the process of obtaining it.
I was able to get some information with respect to White Farm Equipment. I got this just before coming into the House. As I understand, they announced a layoff of 49 workers, which will reduce the work force to somewhere around 691 on May 21. They also go on to point out that in total numbers of employees this is higher than it was a year ago.
We are assured that no jobs are being done in the United States plants that were formerly done in Brantford. The member, and I am sure the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies), might be concerned that there was some shift of some of the work; that has not happened. It apparently just relates to the present market condition. I will endeavour to have the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) or myself provide an update on the Massey situation for tomorrow’s question period.
Mr. Nixon: It is a little difficult in talking about both companies, which are somewhat similar in that they are both operating to some extent with government guarantees, but their situations are separate because in White’s instance this government and the government of Canada approved the sellout to American interests just a few weeks ago with the understanding that this would maintain employment. I appreciate the Premier’s indication that further information will be made available.
Did the Premier see the statement made by Victor Rice, the president of Massey, that there was no more fat to be cut from the company? Further, is the Premier aware that Mr. Rice is paid over $400,000 a year for his duties to operate the company, which is really existing only under the good graces of the guarantee provided by the taxpayers federally and provincially?
Does Ontario have someone on that board, or overseeing the actions of the board in our interests, who will see that there is no fat in the operation of the company, perhaps of the type I have described; and that it can operate to build world-class combines, make sales to the farming community here and abroad and maintain a reasonable level of employment in Brantford and Toronto?
The member for Brantford raised the general concerns with me just a few days ago, not in the specifics of whether there is any fat left in the organization. I will check with the Minister of Industry and Trade as to who is on the board at Massey and get that information. It is public. I cannot give the member the names offhand. His colleague the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) might because he is really far closer to these committees of young presidents than I am. I will find Out who is on the board.
It is also fair to say that the condition on which this government supported Massey, I believe with some enthusiasm from the member who asked the question, was obviously to maintain that industry within Canada and enable it to compete in the international marketplace.
I have not reviewed the sales of combines in the last few weeks, but I think the honourable member would probably share the point of view that for a variety of reasons, in particular, the export market, sales are probably not that robust at the moment.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not have time to read Toronto Life. I have not had an opportunity to read all of the latest edition of Toronto Life, but if it is the same one in which there is an article about Mr. Robarts, I have read that article, which I thought was very good, as a matter of fact. I did not read the rest of the edition.
I was aware of Mr. Rice’s salary some eight or nine months ago. I will not comment on the size of it, except to say that the amount appeared to me to be appreciably higher than some of the rest of us in this Legislature are earning.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, supplementary to the Premier’s first answer as it relates to White: Can the Premier indicate whether he still agrees with the Minister of Industry and Trade in stating that the takeover by TIC Investment Corp. was justified in order to save over 900 jobs in Brantford, now that we find the actual work force in that facility is substantially less than the 900 the minister said he was saving by pressing the federal government to agree to the takeover?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think if the Minister of Industry and Trade was here he would put forward the same argument. The alternative was to oppose that takeover with the real possibility that, instead of the 49 or so jobs that are being reduced -- I hope on a short-term basis -- in the latter part of this month, the number could have been substantially higher.
I know the honourable member is opposed to this sort of thing philosophically but our responsibility, as a government, is to find the most pragmatic and practical way to retain employment in this province. In our view and in the view of the government of Canada and that of most people who are very close to it, this was the best route to go, and that is the route we did go. The chances are that as a result of the decision of this government, there are several hundred people still working at the White company in Brantford, who otherwise might be laid off today.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. I am sure he is aware that Bell Canada has just applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for an increase in its long distance rates which, if it is granted, will take some $50 million or more from Ontario users alone.
Recognizing that Bell Canada got a 19 per cent increase in its long distance rates just last October and that most of that increase did not show up in its swollen profits of $559 million last year, and recognizing the government’s general responsibility for customer protection against these licensed utility monopolies in the present financial condition of many individuals and companies, does the minister not think the application for that kind of increase is obscene? Why does he not get the long distance feeling and place it with some vigour between Bell Canada and its next increase?
I would have to say that, like all applications by Bell Canada or other regulated utilities, there is a regulating body. In this case it happens to be the CRTC at the federal level to which that application is made. It is certainly the practice of my ministry, on behalf of this government and the people of Ontario, to be present at those hearings, to intervene and to question very seriously the applications that are made. We fully intend to do that in this case, as we have in the past quite successfully.
Mr. Swan: Surely the minister must realize that Bell Canada has conned him and the CRTC in the past, particularly last year. Bell’s profits were 25 per cent higher than they had ever been before and even then they did not include the increase it has been allowed. Why does the minister not realize that Bell is not only a telephone monopoly, it is also a cleaning monopoly where everybody’s pockets go through its wringers?
Mr. John Grandpre was quoted in the Globe and Mail on March I as saying: “At present, long distance charges are not related to actual costs.” In fact, they are above it. Analyst Edna Chapman in the Financial Times, recommending purchases of Bell shares less than a month ago, said: “Now that the profit spiral generally of companies is headed down, it is comforting to know that Bell’s profits will rise this year to $3.30 a share from $2.97 in 1981. Additional factors have recently come to play in Bell’s favour. For instance, there is a potential for a more obliging regulatory environment.”
I guess the real question is: Is the minister going to go on being part of that obliging regulatory environment for Bell or is he going to change his stance and for once come down vigorously and solidly on the side of the consumer?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I want to assure the honour- able member that I am not part of that regulatory environment. I have been there and my officials have been there at every regulatory hearing in the past seven years that I know of, representing the people of this province. I am not part of the regulatory process. I am not part of the federal CRTC.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, the minister is quite right when he suggests he has been there over the past seven years or whatever, but neither he nor his officials have been effective in keeping these rates down to a reasonable level. Rather than attending, would he be of the view that he might give a small percentage of the cost associated with sending him and his high priced staff there to public interest groups so they might make their own cases?
Does the Solicitor General have any further information to add as a result of a question asked him by the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) some two or three weeks ago with regard to the flagrant violation of Sunday store hours, especially by retail outlets such as furniture companies and the like? Has his ministry pursued the matter in a vigorous manner since the member for Oriole asked the question?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member for Renfrew South that the Ministry of the Solicitor General will always pursue vigorously any activities it is requested to do on behalf of members as long as it is in the territory the ministry is involved in.
As the member is aware, the Attorney General has requested that those officers prosecuting anybody charged with offences under that particular legislation seek out higher and heavier fines to discourage the opening of stores in violation of the legislation.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on April 20, the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed) asked a question concerning the disposition of a case of a person who had been under the custody of the ministry. Because of criminal proceedings, I had hoped to avoid answering this until the final criminal proceedings were over; however, he has asked twice. I want to make it very plain today that I am speaking about events up until March 29, 1982, and events in a courthouse on April 28, 1982, and no other matters.
The question was asked as to how and why this 16-year-old was “removed by force” by the ministry from the D and G Group Home near Milton. The 16-year-old was removed because he would not conform to the program he had been assigned to. He had been removed from the Cecil Facer Training School in 1980 to that group home under the clear specification that he would conform to his probation and after- care officer’s regulations and that he would attend school. He chose not to attend school. In the time he was at the D and G Group Home he ran away innumerable times and was charged with offences under the Criminal Code. One of those offences resulted in a sentence of a community service order.
When he refused to go to school a decision was made to remove him to a ministry-operated group home in Hamilton which is tied in to job training. At that point, even though he had been notified by his probation and aftercare officer, this 16-year-old decided to resist movement. One of the myths in this case is that he suffered injuries to his mouth and his face from the Halton regional police. That is not correct. He inflicted them on himself during a struggle with the staff who were trying to restrain him.
When he arrived at the second group home after a stay in the Oakville Observation and Detention Centre he appeared to have reconciled himself to obtaining employment and seeking independent living under supervision by the ministry. On that basis he was allowed to go outside and was to be back after a one- evening absence.
March 29 he was apprehended after the commission of a very vicious crime. Because he was 16 he was held in the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre as an adult. On April 28 of this year he was convicted of that offence. He was sentenced to four months in jail plus two years’ probation. I want to read the words of the judge when he issued the sentence: “No words can express my loathing and revulsion for this kind of violence and my sympathy for the victim. While it is true that he had certain problems throughout his early years, there was no evidence the youth had done much to overcome them on his own.”
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, in my original question I asked if it was normal practice to remove a youngster from a group home as part of the ongoing program and, if it was, would the ministry review that practice inasmuch as in this case the young person seemed to have built up some sort of relationship with the staff of D and G Group Home. In fact, the offence for which he was convicted was only committed after he was removed, after he was sent to a ministry-run home and after the ministry-run home took him back to Milton, let him go, where he was absent without leave for about a month before he was --
Mr. J. A. Reed: All right. I am just asking if it is common ministry practice to take a young person out of a quasi-home environment? If it is, would the minister review that procedure to satisfy himself whether that procedure is in the best interests of difficult young people? If it is not part of normal procedure, will he take steps to see that it does not happen again?
Hon. Mr. Urea: Mr. Speaker, when I was the Minister of Correctional Services, I made it very plain that this government was in the corrections business, that the inmates were not going to dictate to us how they were going to be treated or handled.
When I became the minister of this portfolio and assumed responsibility for juvenile corrections, there was a statement issued to every police force, every family court judge and everybody in my service dealing with that -- that we are in the correctional business. I am not providing loving home environment, I am not providing any type of bleeding-heart service; you are going to be corrected.
Mr. J. A. Reed: During his answer the minister made an accusation about a position that I had taken at some time in the past. I just want the record to show that the position I took was to give male prisoners some privacy when they were showering.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I want to repeat again, and the member understood it, that we were talking about events leading up to March 29, and only on April 28, when a conviction and a sentence were registered. If the member wants to get into the act about anything else, wait until the next --
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: This is a point I raised earlier in question period. I did not understand whether you intended to review the exchange featuring the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) in order to determine whether he was dealing with a matter which was sub judice. The matter is of enormous importance.
The rule exists to protect citizens and to guarantee them the right of due process. If my memory serves me correctly, the minister began his answer by saying that there were criminal proceedings pending, and then proceeded to establish the case that the young man in question was a vicious criminal. I do not know how the sub judice orders are supposed to be interpreted in this House when, on face value, a minister abuses his position of access to privileged information in order to answer a question in that manner.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. I asked this question. With all respect, I do not remember those exact words being used. According to the minister, prior to answering the question he did make the announcement that he was not in any way referring to any of the charges which were still pending. If the honourable member has evidence to the contrary, then it is up to him to make the allegation and produce the particulars of what matters are sub judice.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, since the Premier (Mr. Davis) has ducked out of the House -- he smelled a rat, I think -- I would like to direct this question to the Minister of Natural Resources. It has to do with the Premier’s jet.
In view of the fact that we are told that even the washroom has a cathedral-like quality, with leather-covered toilet seat and full-length mirror; and in view of the fact that this is an asinine question to start with --
Mr. Sargent: It is Canadian-made. According to authorities, with the leather-covered toilet seats and reclining seats converting to beds, we have established that between $11 million and $12 million will be the laid down cost of this jet.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for his question. Unfortunately, the facts he has laid before the members of the House are not accurate, nor are his cost estimates accurate.
If he goes back and reads the article that appeared, I think in the Toronto Star, with respect to what was included in the interior of the plane, he will see that it was describing an order made by some other individual in some other country. It was trying to compare that with what was going to be put into this jet. There is no comparison. The member knows there is none. He knows that what we are doing is adapting that jet for other purposes, including executive travel.
Hon. Mr. Pope: What does he mean by “Oh”? Has he been down there? Does he know what is happening? I just told him there are no floor-length mirrors or any of that other nonsense. He knows there is not. Why does he perpetuate that untruth? That is what he is doing. Why does he perpetuate it? It is not 500 hours a year. It is not $4,000 an hour in operating costs. Why does he not lay out the true facts of it?
The truth of the matter is this jet is required for executive travel. It is required the same way as our toll-free phone system is and the same way as our blue pages are to allow the government to communicate with the people of the north.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Let us get into that. He knows, although he has never said it, that it makes the government of Ontario available to every riding in northern Ontario through its ability to land at airports that service every riding in northern Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is really interesting to see the amount of interest taken by all honour- able members in these topics, but I must remind members that we are listening to a question from the member for Grey-Bruce, and he is the only one entitled to ask a question when I recognize him.
Mr. Sargent: The minister doubts my figures, but this does not include salaries for the air crew in his ministry, aircraft fuel, a ground crew, maintenance, storage, insurance or the repayment of capital of $10 million or $12 million. Those costs are not involved.
Even if the Premier were to fly to his condominium in Florida every week and back for 52 weeks, we would have only 300 hours a year, so we are looking at a cost of $7,000 an hour. That is $7,000 an hour to fly it. Only 25 per cent of the airports in Ontario will handle this jet. Is the minister going to give us funds to lengthen the airfields in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member did not even know that the plane lands in Wiarton in his own riding. Why did he not even know that? He did not even read the list. He did not even know it lands in Red Lake, Terrace Bay, Geraldton. He did not even know it lands in Fort Frances. He did not even know it lands in Kenora.
He did not even know it lands in Dryden. He did not even know it lands in Thunder Bay. He did not know it lands in Kapuskasing. He did not know it lands in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island. He did not know it lands in Sudbury. He did not know it lands in Timmins. He did not know anything about it.
He just stood up and arbitrarily selected figures to try to make his argument. He cannot make it. Using his logic, we would have no aircraft, no crews for any kind of travel in the province using government employees. He should not lay that one on me.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, does the minister agree that not only is the $10 million jet a waste of public funds, but when Marc MacGuigan, Eugene Whelan and Herb Gray, federal cabinet ministers in my area, come into Windsor with three jets that is also a waste of money?
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations as a follow-up to the questions I asked a few days ago about the demise of Coventry Homes that has left a number of people in Vaughan with their homes uncompleted.
Does the minister feel the new home warranty program is operating in an ethical manner when the purchaser’s certificate they are required to sign clearly states they understand they are accepting the loan subject to the completion by the vendor of seasonal work and items? But through regulation, which the purchasers are not shown, the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada home warranty states that unfinished work is not covered; unfinished work that includes completion of those very homes.
Does the minister feel it operates ethically when advertising leaflets tell purchasers they are covered in the case of bankruptcy but regulations say otherwise? Why does he allow the new home warranty program to make promises to these people and then weasel out through the regulatory process?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the member for Etobicoke and I talked about this in the House some time last week, and he knows that I read to him the very clear statement in the warranty brochure which says the purchaser is responsible for contractual arrangements with the builder and before taking possession should ensure that everything has been completed, is satisfactory and in accordance with the agreement.
I do not want to say, nor does this government wish to say, it is not unfortunate that somebody did not get things completed, or did not have a holdback to make sure they could be completed in the event of some unforeseen event. Certainly that is the way the honourable member would have handled it as a practical, thoughtful person who understands some of the realities of the business world.
The thing that troubles me most is that we have in this province a home warranty program which is about the only one of its kind in North America. There may be some things to criticize about it; there may be some shortfalls that should be corrected some time down the line, but we are talking about a program that has paid out $11 million since its inception. It is something that no other province has, and no other state, with the exception of a very limited program in New Jersey, which I am told does not come anywhere near this one.
We are fortunate in this province to give protection to deposits and a degree of protection with respect to structural defects in building. Nobody else has it. There may be some things that the member thinks should be added, but I must say that nobody has been deceived. I do not say that to be argumentative about it, but just as a fact of life.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to prevent persons from bringing firearms into the chamber without the Speaker’s authorization. It is in direct response to a bill successfully carried in the general assembly of Kentucky, which has approved permitting members to carry concealed handguns in the chamber during debate.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that some time ago, in 1978, this bill received the approval of all members of the Legislature. I look across the House this afternoon at my colleague, the government House leader, who spoke in full support of this bill. It was approved unanimously by the Legislature without any objection and then unfortunately was vetoed by the Premier (Mr. Davis) a few minutes later.
The necessity for the bill still exists. I am introducing it another time. I hope the members of the House, including the members of the government side, will understand that the necessity for the bill is still there and will convince their leader to accept the bill.
Monsieur le président, je voudrais dire tout simplement que ce projet de loi qui a été présenté à différentes reprises, pour la troisième fois maintenant, avait reçu l’appui unanime des membres présents ici à la Législature, mais malheureusement avait été arrêté par un veto imposé par le Premier ministre de la province en 1978.
La nécessité du projet de loi est encore importante, c’est encore nécessaire. J’ai l’espoir, à force de représenter cette législation, que finalement le gouvernement va réaliser l’importance et va accepter le principe de cette législation. Merci.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, it is too bad that this bill had not been passed by the government. Perhaps the people who have lost so much money through Coventry Homes would not be in the position they are in today.
Contrary to the information just given by the minister in the House, in which he stated that a holdback is possible, in fact, a holdback would simply mean that a builder can sue the purchaser of the house. This bill would entitle the new home purchaser to hold back up to $3,000 from the purchase price of a home to cover unfinished work. It provides that the home warranty program will conciliate any dispute between owner and vendor with respect to the completion of the work on the home and the disbursement of the holdback, under subsection I of the bill.
That this House, in view of (1) the present extreme economic stress suffered by residents of Ontario; (2) the recommendation with respect to the Ontario Lottery Corp. contained in the third report of the standing committee on procedural affairs; (3) the fact that the lotteries branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations was set up to license nongovernment lotteries and social gaming events; and (4) the government’s efforts to increase private funding for arts, cultural and recreational activities, directs the government to place a moratorium on the operations of the Ontario Lottery Corp. and to allow the lotteries branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations to fulfil its intended mandate.
Just to set the stage for this discussion I would like to refer to an article in the Financial Post Magazine of April 15, 1981, entitled Lotteries are a Billion-dollar Business and Government Holds the Winning Ticket. I think it sets the stage. It starts out: “‘If you’re lucky, we want to hear about it -- get excited, jump up and shriek out,’ a bouncy blond urges the anxious crowd in a high school auditorium, as TV cameras whirr, applause signs flash, music swells and the co-hosts step on stage to raise the tension.
“Behind them, pairs of plexiglass hemispheres rotate atop six robot-like machines, bouncing numbered balls about inside. A member of the audience presses a remote control button, releasing a ball at random from the base of each sphere. Gasps of anticipation fill the air as the numbered balls are held up one by one for all to see. Sweaty palms unclench slips of paper in hopes that the improbable has happened.”
The main thrust of my resolution is a request directing the government to place a moratorium on the operations of the Ontario Lottery Corp. When I say moratorium, I do not mean a suspension of all activity, but a suspension of any further activity. I have given a number of reasons in my resolution, and I have chosen them at random as there are many more that I hope many members will, when participating in this debate, put forward and express openly.
One of the main reasons I placed this resolution before the House today is because of the present extreme economic pressures on residents of Ontario. This is borne out by the recent report of the Conference Board of Canada, which released its findings and stated, “High interest rates and falling consumer demand will plunge the economies of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and New Brunswick into a slump unmatched in the last two decades.”
There will be a tremendous lack of disposable income by many individuals. If the Ontario Lottery Corp. is allowed to continue its quest for a larger share of that disposable income, I can see a continuing extensive list of bankruptcies.
As I drive back and forth from Toronto to my home, I sometimes feel bombarded with advertising asking me to take a chance on provincial lotteries. Most recently, of course, I have to contend with Snowballs in the good old summertime.
I looked very carefully at the last report of the Ontario Lottery Corp., which I believe takes us up to March 31, 1981, and noticed on page 13 of that report 26 smiling faces. These belong to people holding their cheques, which range from $100,000 up to $1,907,450. Of course, I see the minister’s picture in there and he is smiling as usual. It is most interesting to see on page 10 of that report that lottery sales have grown from $97 million in the first year of operation to $490 million at the end of March 1981. Combined ticket sales of Wintario, Lottario, the Provincial and Super Loto amounted to approximately half a billion dollars, which means there was a dramatic increase of 51 per cent in the last year; that is in the increased amount spent on lottery tickets.
The advertising is increasing because the lottery corporation would not want the spoils of its endeavours to decrease. If the same pattern of increase continues, I feel that a lot of that disposable income, which is depressed now, will be less in the years to come to assist many Ontario businesses.
It is interesting as one looks through this report, particularly at the first page, that we have a report from the chairman and we have a report from the president. If one looks closely at those comments written by those two people, I notice that the chairman of the board stated, “We at the corporation are dedicated to providing the most efficient and creative lotteries anywhere, based on the highest degree of integrity.”
Then the president, Mr. Morris, in his comments stated: “The corporation’s performance on behalf of Ontario residents may be directly attributed to the skills and energies of the board of directors, staff, distributors and retailers throughout the province. Their collective strength has built an operation known for its integrity, efficiency and creativity.”
I naturally do not really disagree with the words, “integrity and efficiency,” but I sort of wonder about the word “creativity” in those comments. I certainly hope the corporation will not continue to be excessively creative and soon make certain that provincial lotteries will be operated only by the corporation in a monopoly situation.
“The most sophisticated advertising techniques going are in use here. It’s certainly no accident that many of the tickets have the same dimensions, similar engravings and official signatures as a dollar bill. In addition, winners are required to lend their names to glowing testimonials filled with exclamations on the joys of being a winner. It’s one thing for governments to recognize that people like to gamble and to organize lotteries to accommodate that urge. But it’s quite another thing to feverishly whip up that urge with complex gimmicks and lavish advertising.”
It then goes on to state: “Lotteries don’t engender the desperation and obsessiveness so often equated with the casino but they’re still far from a good investment. Like so many products of dubious value that sell well, they depend on hype and clever, unceasing advertising. There was a time when governments attempted to protect the gullible but now they exploit them.”
That was 1978. I want to go back three more years, back to January 30, 1975, Hansard, page 7014. This records the opening remarks of the then Minister of Culture and Recreation, now the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch), on introducing the legislation establishing the Ontario Lottery Corp.:
“Mr. Speaker, later today I will introduce legislation to establish the Ontario Lottery Corp. as a crown agency to develop and manage a provincial lottery in Ontario. In creating a crown corporation to manage this lottery we are taking advantage of the experience of other jurisdictions.
“The net proceeds from the lottery will be used by the government to support programs for physical fitness, sports, recreation and culture in Ontario. The corporation will determine the price of tickets, sales arrangements, size of the prizes and frequency of the draws.”
“To achieve these financial objectives and to ensure that we retain as much as possible of the proceeds for public use, we intend, among other things, to keep the corporation small in order to hold down overhead costs...
“Many social, cultural, religious and charitable organizations in the province have also made lotteries a source of funds for their important work. These will continue, of course, under the supervision of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, and I am satisfied that the Provincial lottery will not interfere with their efforts.”
That was in 1975; and now the minister has changed, of course. I was alarmed last year to see a number of newspaper accounts and headlines, such as Charity Officials Surprised by Idea to Replace Lotteries with Foundation, Cabinet Asked to Rule on Future of Charitable Lotteries, or Is Queen’s Park Smelling Too Much Success in Lotteries? And just a month or two ago, Two Charitable Lotteries Allowed to Operate Until End of 1982. I would like to refer to those a little later in my remarks.
A couple of years ago, the standing committee on procedural affairs, which is charged with reviewing agencies, boards and commissions, reviewed the Ontario Lottery Corp., and I believe it is important I place on the record some of its recommendations.
“The committee in reviewing the lottery corporation was struck by the fact that the corporation in pursuing its goal of maximizing revenues may have gone beyond the initial purpose of the corporation, which was to provide an Ontario alternative to foreign and other Canadian lotteries. The latter, it was feared, would draw money away from Ontario for the benefit of other jurisdictions. A lottery game in Ontario, it was believed, would end that drain.
“In a sense the Ontario Lottery Corp. had a defensive purpose. The committee has the strong impression that the defensive posture has been exchanged for an offensive one. In pursuing its aggressive market strategy, the corporation naturally places emphasis on advertising the entertainment values of its games in order to make the participation by consumers as pleasurable as possible.
“The committee is of the opinion that this type of aggressive marketing may instil socially detrimental values in the lottery corporation’s players. The committee frankly wonders whether the corporation is not subtly promoting a gambling ethic, and raises the question of whether governments should be participants to such promotion.”
Recommendation 5 follows: “That the lottery corporation review its aggressive marketing policy to determine whether it is in the public interest, that once this review has been completed, the Ministry of Culture and Recreation table the review in the Legislature.
I believe this report was discussed in the Legislature on three different occasions but it never came to a vote. It is hoped this resolution today will give the members of the House their opportunity to vote on at least a couple of the recommendations I mentioned.
I have done a lot of reading of reports on lotteries in other countries, Britain in particular, and it is most interesting to note that in 1978 it had a royal commission on gambling. The commission’s report was tabled in the House of Commons at Westminster. I appreciate that legalized gambling is quite different there and takes place in many forms in Britain. It commenced many centuries ago. However, it was felt it was time to inquire into the existing laws and practices relating to betting, gaming, lotteries and prize competitions. Because of the extent and diversified types of gaming, it took about two years to complete and it cost them about 600,000 pounds.
A very lengthy section was devoted to lotteries, as state lotteries have a long history in Britain, extending back as far as 1569. Because of the great proliferation of lotteries, the commission made many recommendations and suggested that if the present system were to be reformed, the three main matters to be dealt with were prevention of commercial exploitation, improved control of lotteries and control of lottery tickets.
At the same time, the royal commission made a survey of state-controlled lotteries in other countries. It is interesting that they came up with similar recommendations. Their second recommendation was that “large lotteries are socially harmless provided they are restricted to systems that do not encourage excessive participation.”
I know it is easy to say one cannot compare Britain to Ontario, but it is interesting that some of their recommendations were very similar to our procedural affairs committee’s recommendations. Two recommendations that were similar were the ones that stated we must have prevention of commercial exploitation and must not encourage excessive participation.
Mr. Speaker, I guess my time is winding down. I had wanted to make reference to some comments by the Premier (Mr. Davis) and by the chairman of the Ontario Arts Council, particularly when he was out speaking earlier this year, suggesting that we should have more active participation and fund-raising for many of these functions by people in general.
It seems strange that up to a year ago the government of Ontario, in the form of the Ontario Lottery Corp., asked the people of Ontario to spend, in one year, $500 million to make a profit of $150 million to give back to the taxpayers, and then asked them to continue to support all of the community projects over again.
Earlier, I referred to some press reports. I guess I do not have time to go into these, but I noticed that in August 1981 there was an article which seemed to imply there was some sort of feud between the then Minister of Culture and Recreation and the then Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, now the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker), on the right of operating province-wide --
Mr. Edighoffer: I was glad to see, of course, that the former, who is now Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz), has given in and that those charitable lotteries are able to operate until the end of 1982. I fear that this battle is probably still brewing and has just been put on the back burner for a few more months.
In closing, I will refer to one article from the Kitchener-Waterloo Record: “Ontario’s Minister of Culture and Recreation recently announced that the five charities which raised funds through the Pot O’Gold and Cash for Life lotteries will have to get out of the lottery business by the end of 1982.”
It does state in here that it is too bad the public did not have an opportunity to debate this item. So I am glad to be able to present this resolution so that all members can debate it. I hope they will all support it.
Mr. Speaker, I support the resolution, as I did when it went before the standing committee on procedural affairs. It speaks to a problem that people in Ontario are having with the proliferation of lotteries. It also speaks to a growing trend that this government is perpetuating; it is very slowly, very surely but very methodically ingraining in our cultural fabric the concept that lotteries are not just an acceptable thing but a very good, very positive force.
It is certainly an unusual thing for a government that from time to time gets a bit prudish around the edges to have such a substantial marketing operation as the Ontario Lottery Corp. working away to convince more and more people that they ought to participate in what is known in other quarters as the numbers racket.
When one begins to look at the impact it is having, one really notices how far it has come from its original intention, which was fairly clearly stated in the mid-1970s when the Ontario Lottery Corp. was founded.
The government was moving to solve what it saw as a problem, which was that a considerable amount of revenue was leaving Ontario through lotteries that were virtually uncontrolled and unregulated; there was always a question as to how legal they really were. The government then said: “It is rather a defensive gesture. We will move in to provide that kind of lottery. If people want to buy lottery tickets, we will do that; and we will run it to see that it is done properly, that there is no hanky-panky and that the prizes are awarded.” It seemed to be a kind of rationalization for why they would get in there.
It was unusual to note when this lottery corporation came before the procedural affairs committee how far away from that mark the corporation had taken its job. In fact, if we had a lot of crown corporations that were as effective as the lottery corporation is at expanding its mandate and doing its job, we might all be very happy. But this crown corporation does not come to the House and ask: “Do we really need two or three more lotteries? Do we need to change our lotteries?” No, they have done that as a matter of course.
This crown corporation tested the market with samples of the citizenry to find out what it would take to get people to buy more lottery tickets: “Do you need bigger prizes? Do you need more prizes? Do you need more advertising? Do you have local draws for them?” I suppose most members by now have had a chance to see the lottery corporation go into a community and do the kind of promotional work it does for these draws, filling up the local high school auditorium and putting on a television production. They probably have seen also that this is verging on Ontario’s version of a Las Vegas production, because the purpose of the exercise is to publicize the lotteries and, quite simply, to get people to participate more and more. They have done that in a million and one ways with newspaper ads and promotional spots on radio and television. One can go to the corner milk store, and the lottery corporation is there in business; its little machines are humming.
The purpose of this exercise clearly is to take the numbers racket from number four as a source of revenue, where I believe it is now, crowding closely behind the sale of booze in this province, and bump it up the list a bit.
When one begins to do a casual survey of how much more gambling is going on by levels of government or what they have in mind, one very quickly finds that the federal government has a nice little scheme bubbling along there too. They want to take the numbers racket in a slightly different form and have sports betting. It is all very legal and squeaky clean, but there are people in my community who get booked for that very same activity pretty regularly and are put away in jail. How is it that the federal government can do that and it is okay, but some poor guy who is making a little book on the side in a south-end tavern gets nailed for this kind of stuff?
I do not think it does depend on who is running the game. When one looks at intertrack betting, which is another concept that is being proposed so that people could go to one race track and phone in bets to other race tracks, one gets some idea that this old blue prude that is running the show in Ontario may be not such a prude after all. He is very hot and heavy into the numbers racket. He likes all kinds of betting activities. He gains a great deal of revenue out of them.
The government spends more money advertising betting activities, for example, than it does advertising how to get assistance with the Ontario health insurance plan premiums. It markets very aggressively there. We thought in that committee, and this resolution speaks to it again this afternoon, that we ought to call a halt to this for a little while, to stop and examine it.
Does the government really want to be the major numbers racket game in North America? It appears it is well on the road to being that. If that is a conscious decision the government wants to make, then I believe the minister should simply stand up in this House and say:
If that is the purpose of the exercise, then it is only fair that the government should make a conscious public policy decision, table a white paper or a green paper or whatever in here and let us have that debate. But let us not slide into that through the back door.
More and more of us are beginning to realize that we now have at both ends of the system a heavy dependence on gambling, which came about because this government decided that is what it wanted to do, a heavy dependence on that as a source of revenue for the government. When one looks at cultural activities, sports activities and now research activities, as the procedural affairs committee did, one begins to see it uses that gambling money very nicely in the community to go around and make itself look good.
We were questioning in the committee, for example, exactly how it is the government decides who gets what money. We found that, unlike the rules for some Wintario grants, the rules for some of the other lotteries are not quite as well known. It became clear to the committee in our little review that the reason the rules are not well known is that there were no rules.
The cabinet used to meet, and the ministers would sit around the cabinet table and make proposals, such as “I would like a chunk of that money for this” and “I would like some for that.” So we found wineries and people in the meat business getting money out of the gambling revenue.
Maybe that is fair, and maybe that is what the government wants to do -- it did it anyway -- but at least we should have had the courtesy of being able to find out exactly how the government sets up the regulations for awarding those grants. Just who gets them? And it should be done publicly.
This resolution goes to the heart of the matter. If the government is heavily committed to the numbers racket today in its present form, why will it stop there? Why will the lottery corporation stop there?
An interesting discussion was begun in the committee about having to have a ticket, but that promptly led into another interesting discourse on how to play a certain kind of game. As long as, in playing the game, one came up with a ticket at the end of it, it was therefore a lottery. I see very little difference between that and a crap game in an alley. I do not care how one plays the game; it is still a game, it is played for gambling purposes and, whether one throws the dice up against the wall or gets a ticket in one’s hand at the local milk store, it is gambling. This government has promoted that very actively through its crown corporation, the Ontario Lottery Corp.
All members here would appreciate the opportunity to have the government and its lottery corporation call a halt to it and let us rethink the process. If the government, as a policy matter, then wants to expand into other forms of gambling, to expand the scope of gambling operations in Ontario, to expand the gambling ethic, to make gambling the sole source of revenue, then let it say so. Let it simply make that its policy. Let us, as opposition members, analyse how it is going through that process. It is our concern and it is my concern --
Mr. Breaugh: We do have a minister of the numbers racket in Ontario. We do not call him that, but a rose by any other name smells as sweet. I do not think this is quite like a rose. Calling it another name and assuring us it is squeaky clean does not do anything at all to change the circumstances --
In summary, I support the resolution because it ought to make the government take a conscious act if it wants to expand its operations in the gambling field. That is all the resolution calls for, and it seems to me that is quite a rational, logical thing for the government to do.
Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, so there is no doubt as to where the government stands regarding the operation of the Ontario Lottery Corp., I should probably state at the very beginning that we will not be supporting this resolution.
Although I wish to briefly add why we have taken this position, I hope I can change the honourable member’s view and impress on him the dramatic contribution that the Ontario Lottery Corp. is making to communities throughout the province, many of which are in the member’s own riding.
Mr. Andrewes: The member for Perth began by telling us about bouncing blonds, bouncing balls and so on. I was rather fortunate one night not so long ago to return home after a long day in the constituency and to turn on the television and see one of these demonstrations. Lo and behold, this program was being televised from the community of Amherstburg with which the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) would be quite familiar. Who should I see among all the bouncing blonds and bouncing balls but that member, without his moustache, enjoying, participating and sharing in the enthusiasm of his constituents for that event.
I sense that the member for Perth has misunderstood the recommendations contained in the third report of the standing committee on procedural affairs dealing with the Ontario Lottery Corp. Members are aware that the resolution we are debating today directs the government to place a moratorium on the operations of the lottery corporation partly as a result of the recommendations of the aforementioned standing committee.
I dare say this recommendation hardly represents a suggestion that the government place a moratorium on the operations of the Ontario Lottery Corp. per Se. I suggest to my friend the member for Perth that this quantum leap in constrained logic is extraordinary even for a member of that party.
I want to move on to another passage in the member’s resolution where he suggests that a moratorium should be placed on the operation of the lottery corporation because of the present extreme economic stress suffered by residents of Ontario. Without ignoring the current economic challenges that confront citizens of the province and the entire nation, I wish to address that passage with these two comments.
First, I assume my friend is suggesting that the government should not be offering individuals a lottery game while personal incomes are depressed and household necessities are increasing in price. My only problem with this is that I question that anyone is forcing anyone to buy a lottery ticket. Using the member’s logic, the government should also place a moratorium on companies that sell caviar, Rolls-Royces and mink coats, or those institutions that are the purveyors of some of the other pleasurable but probably unnecessary things of his life.
Mr. Andrewes: I want to remind the member that study recommended that only the state should be operating state-wide lotteries and that private lotteries should not be allowed, except for local bingo and casino nights and that type of thing. I thank the member for drawing attention to that study.
My second area of disagreement with passage of this emanates from the positive, constructive side of lottery operations. Naturally, I suspect that every big winner in a lottery would take serious exception to the member’s resolution. Furthermore, a recent survey reports that 82.5 per cent of responding lottery winners indicated they banked their winnings or invested them in securities, bonds or short-term notes.
That is, a vast majority of successful participants are using their winnings to protect themselves from the same economic uncertainties the member would use as an excuse to pull the plug on the lottery operation. As an afterthought, I should also report that almost 94 per cent of lottery winners did not quit their jobs and did not report a dramatic change in their lifestyles.
The biggest winner in these lotteries is the province itself. Since my learned colleague the member for Parry Sound (Mr Eves) will be dealing with this area in detail, I will only say that the Ontario Lottery Corp. has made an extraordinary contribution to almost every community in Ontario. Whether they are assisting in the construction of arenas, community centres, whatever, or simply buying the uniforms for a marching band, lotteries are a commodity in this province where the profits accrue to the citizens. I think we should be proud of that.
I wish to say a couple of words about the operation of the Ontario Lottery Corp. It is truly a remarkably efficient organization with a superb record of public relations and financial integrity. Would the members not agree?
Many members may be interested to know that Quebec’s lottery corporation has as many people working in its data centre as the Ontario Lottery Corp. has working in total. The Ontario corporation spends only 6.2 per cent of its sales dollar on overhead, including advertising. This figure is more than doubled in the case of the federal corporation.
Finally, and of equal interest, the Ontario Lottery Corp. earned more than $1 million profit per employee last year, underlining the attractiveness of the business it is in, and thus emphasizing the need for an honest and up-front approach in servicing this demand.
In conclusion, I will reassert my claim that this resolution has been ill-conceived and poorly focused. We should support the lottery corporation at this time and clearly establish that this House endorses the immense assistance the lottery earnings have been to communities in Ontario, as most members of this chamber would attest.
I would remind the member for Perth, I wonder if residents of that great constituency of Perth who have received more than $5 million in Wintario grants during the last four years -- the eighth highest among all ridings in the province -- would question the attempt by that member opposite to undermine the fine efforts of the Ontario Lottery Corp.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the resolution introduced by my colleague the member for Perth. I would like to get into some of the details concerning this resolution but, before I do, there are a couple of items I would like to put on the record.
Since this is known as private members’ hour, I am somewhat offended by the member for Lincoln (Mr. Andrewes) rising in his place as a private member and informing the House that he was going to give us the government view of this private member’s bill, and that the government view was that they were going to vote against this bill.
Once and for all it is officially on the record that this government has absolutely no respect for the private members’ hour and wish to scuttle it. They have been trying to undermine the whole system since March 19 of last year. That March 19 was quite a gamble: certainly the people of Ontario can see now that they lost.
Further, the member for Lincoln evidently did not go over the resolution. How can he stand in his place and say that the member for Perth has in any way undermined the availability of Wintario funds for his riding by asking, not that there be a reduction in lotteries but that there be a moratorium on the introduction of more lotteries into the system?
How that could offend the present process is beyond me. That, in my view, was an attempt to skirt the issue, to put fear into community groups across the province, by telling them that if we say, in any way whatsoever, that we do not agree 100 per cent with what the lottery corporation is doing, they are going to make sure,
The member went on to leave the impression that everybody in Ontario is in love with the lotteries and the way they are being handled. As a member of this House, I have received correspondence and phone calls and questions from constituents. I would like to refer to only two of them.
I received correspondence from a Miss Gwen Overholt of Amherstburg, whose concern was that the lotteries branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations was leaning towards allowing big-time casino gambling in Ontario, to be run by the province, or by municipalities or by community groups. We all know what is associated with big-time casino gambling and we certainly do not want to see any of that here in Ontario.
“As you are probably aware, the United Church of Canada is one of the number of churches concerned about the ever increasing promotion of lotteries by governments, both federal and provincial, as a means of raising money for various purposes.
“While it seems harmless enough to say that those who buy lottery tickets do so voluntarily, still it is obvious from the increasingly large amounts being spent by the public, that aggressive advertising produces a subtle predisposition, a ‘softening up’ as it were, to indulge in a form of gambling, hopefully to win a lot of money in return for a small investment.
“The churches are mainly concerned because it is largely the ‘have nots’ of society, the dispossessed, the unemployed, the retired, the disabled, those least able to afford loss, who make up the largest proportion of the population, who succumb to the lure of ‘Win a fortune at one fell swoop, by one lucky chance.’
“It is the poor who are the most gullible, most susceptible to manipulative, aggressive advertising propaganda. With the glittering glamour show put on by TV and the media, an aura of false excitement and adventure is created, beckoning those least able to afford loss to take just one more chance. Yet statistics prove that as gambling fever accelerates, society becomes impoverished.
“Lotteries denigrate the virtue of money earned as the reward for honest toil and effort. Advertising creates an appetite for gambling, and this is why we think it is advisable that governments should now take stock of the escalating trend towards increased gambling with its attendant adverse consequences. Advertising creates false hope. The catchy slogan is always ‘Get your lucky ticket here,’ never, ‘Throw away your hard-earned money on a one-in-a-million chance of drawing the winning number.’ With less emphasis on being productive members of society, citizens come to rely more on blind luck to win money, instead of earning it.
“The myth perpetuated by lotteries and other types of gambling is that a large sum of money equates with happiness. Not necessarily so. Prize winners often find themselves besieged by racketeers, by con agents wanting them to endorse a product, or to invest in a get-rich- quick scheme or they may become prey to kidnappers and held for ransom.
“While it is true that a substantial portion of money obtained through lotteries does go back into the public purse through the support of charities or commendable and worthwhile projects, yet for the government to promote lotteries as a source of revenue establishes in the long run an uncertain and unstable power base.
“Recently the Outreach Committee of the Wesley United Church viewed the film, Lotomania, made by the National Film Board of Canada, showing the ever-growing popularity and acceptance of government-sponsored lotteries. With the ratio of winning so low, we feel this promotion of lotteries is not in the best interests of society in general.
“We would ask that you kindly bring this matter to the attention of the cabinet ministers responsible, in order that they may reconsider the consequences of the present policy of promoting lotteries in order to raise money.”
I took the opportunity to read that letter into the record for two reasons: one, because the minister responsible for lotteries is here in the House and I wanted him to hear firsthand what some of my constituents were saying; second,
The third report on agencies, boards and commissions, which was tabled in this House by the procedural affairs standing committee, a report I signed, concurred with our view that we should not increase the number of lotteries that are available to the public. We stated clearly in recommendation 6 that the lottery corporation place a moratorium on the proliferation of its lottery gains. If that is not clear enough for the member for Lincoln, I do not know how we can spell it out any more clearly.
We went on in that committee to raise some other concerns that I do not have time to address at present. Certainly, the community interest groups across this province have benefited from receiving Wintario funds in order to take on community-type projects and put those projects in place. Those are not our complaints. Our concern is that we have enough lotteries here in Ontario to serve all our needs, and we certainly do not need to increase the number of lotteries in this province.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, the member for Perth has given us an opportunity to debate the whole government lottery policy. I think that is a good thing because we get so little opportunity to discuss lottery policies in this Legislature and even in estimates committee, since most of these activities are carried on by an arm’s-length corporation, a crown corporation called the Ontario Lottery Corp.
Lotteries by whatever name are a form of gambling; I think we all recognize that. You may be interested in some early definitions of gaming or gambling. Cotton’s Compleat Gamester, which is a book published in 1674, describes gambling as a “paralytical distemper,” and “an enchanting witchery gotten between idleness and the greed of gain.”
By any name a lottery is a form of gambling. The province went into this field in 1975 because it felt that a good deal of gambling money was leaving the province for lotteries elsewhere. We have to face the fact that people do like to gamble and that if we are not in the field to some extent, all of this money will leave the province. So I think most of us accept the fact that lotteries are here to stay in some form or other.
However, I do share the concern of the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) and of the procedural affairs committee about the proliferation of lotteries which has been going on, particularly those of the provincial government, and I would support the recommendation of the procedural affairs committee that there be a moratorium on further lotteries being established by the provincial government.
I support the conclusion of the procedural affairs committee that the lotteries being operated by the Ontario Lottery Corp. have “gone beyond the initial purpose of the corporation,” and I support the comment of the same committee that the government appears to be “subtly promoting a gambling ethic” in this province.
I am also concerned about the government’s use of the distribution of lottery funds for what I consider to be frankly political purposes. I think that by giving out the grants just before elections or by having cabinet ministers give out the grants they are often using lottery grants for political purposes. I do not think I have ever been invited to take part in the distribution of a lottery grant in my riding.
It is time that this Legislature had more say about the criteria under which lottery grants are made. Those criteria have never been submitted to this Legislature. As we know, the Ontario Lottery Corp. Act simply says that the money from Wintario can be used for recreation, sports, fitness and culture. But those terms are very broad and the ministry determines what they mean and what kind of project will be funded; and, of course, it keeps changing the criteria so that people have difficulty knowing exactly what is eligible. Those criteria should be made public on a regular basis; whenever they are changed we should be notified, and the Legislature should have an opportunity to debate those criteria.
I would like to draw to the attention of the House that back in September 1981 I proposed that a legislative committee should look into the whole question of the role of lotteries in our society and the social and economic effect. Now that we have had six years of experience with lotteries in this province it is high time for the appointment of such a committee.
Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to support this resolution. One of the problems is the exact wording where it asks that the government place a moratorium on the operations of the Ontario Lottery Corp.
Webster’s defines a moratorium as a suspension of activity, not just no further activity. I do not think we want to move from a system of lotteries operated mainly by the province to a system of opportunities operated exclusively by the municipalities or by private or nongovernmental organizations, because monopoly by any group is not acceptable.
I know the ministry has been making noises that it would like to have a monopoly in the lottery field. I am certainly not supporting that. I think there is room for some privately operated lotteries of a general province-wide application for the raising of charitable funds in areas not covered by grants from the present Wintario or Provincial lotteries. Such nongovernmental operations must be very strictly regulated. They must be subject to strict controls by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
If one leaves the field of the operation of lotteries entirely to either municipally licensed ones or to provincially licensed but nongovernmental ones, it seems to me one is going to increase greatly the problem of policing and of keeping criminal elements out of the field if there are a great many of those nongovernmental lotteries. One also increases the administrative costs. The more lotteries one has, the more advertising has to be done, the more administrative people have to be paid and the more distributors are needed.
I would oppose a proliferation of lotteries in either category, those operated by the provincial lotteries corporation or those operated under municipal and provincial licensing. That is why I find it difficult to support this resolution. However, I think if we keep both kinds, we want to have some changes in the regulation and operation of lotteries in this province.
I have mentioned that the guidelines for the granting of the moneys should be published by whatever group is operating the lottery and the criteria for the government lotteries should be debated in this House. We might even consider a limitation on the total amount of money taken from the residents of this province for the purpose of lotteries, to keep gambling in perspective and not rely to too great an extent on this source of revenue for various activities, some of which should be supported by the provincial government.
Wintario grants should be extended beyond the recreation and culture field to some social fields, such as senior citizens’ aid organizations or organizations that help hospital patients and things of that sort. In the present emergency, with the lack of hospital beds of all kinds particularly in the chronic care field, perhaps some of the provincial lottery money should go to the immediate construction of additional publicly-operated nursing home beds for chronic care and so on.
Mr. Eves: Including the member. I would like to briefly develop some of the comments made earlier by my colleague the member for Lincoln regarding the structure and operation of the Ontario Lottery Corp.
As such, I shall use my time this afternoon to outline how the funds generated by the Ontario Lottery Corp. are distributed to worthwhile community projects throughout the province. Moreover, I shall make an attempt to describe how these funds have often been of critical necessity to the groups and associations in receipt of the same.
The government’s policy of channelling lottery revenues back into Ontario is something of which this entire House should be proud. We have backed more than 35,000 grants, totalling almost $450 million, which have been reinvested in social, cultural and recreational projects in Ontario through the Lottario and Wintario lotteries. Furthermore, the proceeds from the Provincial lottery are targeted towards maintaining and supporting the high quality of health and environmental research now being conducted in Ontario.
To date, $108 million has been generated for these worthy projects, including a recent $1 million donation to the Terry Fox cancer research fund. Finally, Super Loto, the fourth lottery administered by the Ontario Lottery Corp., directs its proceeds towards capital construction of Ontario hospitals. So far, over $13 million has been generated in this regard.
These figures are substantial, but they tend to disguise the significant benefits of individual grants to smaller towns and villages throughout Ontario. These four lotteries have funded every conceivable social and recreational project in the province, from the very big to the very small.
would include $31.5 million to the Toronto Convention Centre; $14 million to the Royal Ontario Museum; $10.8 million to the Ottawa Convention Centre; $10 million to the Sudbury Science Centre; $4 million to the Hamilton Trade and Arena Complex; $1.8 million to the Owen Sound Arena. These are only a few of the large, visible projects now under way.
Additionally, there have been tens of thousands of grants to smaller communities which have significantly improved countless community centres and heritage buildings or have simply provided camping equipment for a youth club; like the $40,000 in repairs to the Welland Curling Club, or the $847,000 in funding to the Dresden Arena hall, or the $175,000 contributed to the Gore Bay Arena, or simply the $11,500 to the Gowganda Curling Club.
In a time of restraint by all governments it is encouraging and refreshing to note that small communities all across this province have a funding source for worthwhile local projects which would not otherwise be possible. This is the mandate which the Ontario Lottery Corp. responsibly carries out, to operate a fair, honest lottery system where the proceeds accrue for the benefit of all Ontario citizens.
I am particularly proud of the fact that in the last four years alone, my constituency has received more than 120 grants totalling almost $3 million in Wintario funds. As I have mentioned, many of these grants are to communities which would be without the financial means to undertake recreational projects in the absence of lottery proceeds.
Municipalities such as Mattawa, Bonfield, Powassan, Sundridge and Hagerman have all received grants for projects as diverse as the construction of a baseball diamond, the purchase of library books and the funding of museums in community centres.
At the same time, the significant benefits which have been bestowed on the riding of Parry Sound are mirrored everywhere in the province. For example, the constituency of Perth itself has enjoyed assistance from Wintario funds for the repair and construction of arenas in Listowel, Mitchell and Stratford, as well as the Stratford Kiwanis centre.
Moreover, five projects undertaken by the Stratford Shakespearean Festival have received Lottario funding. Of this significant support, I can only say to the member opposite that I respect his decision to proceed with this resolution but I seriously question whether he enjoys the full support of his constituents. I presume that the member for Perth and all those supporting his resolution will be publicly discouraging projects from receiving Wintario funding or other lottery funding in their own ridings.
I was interested to note the comments of the member for Oshawa, who equates the availability of lottery tickets with the purchase of them. This province still believes in the individual’s freedom of choice, and no one is forced to buy a lottery ticket of any kind.
The statement of the member for Essex South about a moratorium on the proliferation of lotteries is much different from the wording of the resolution itself, which does not mention the word “proliferation” at all, as my colleague from Beaches-Woodbine pointed out.
“Moratorium” as defined in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary means, “(1)(a) a legally authorized period of delay in the performance of a legal obligation or the payment of a debt; (b) a waiting period set by an authority; (2) a suspension of activity.” It does not refer to further or additional operations, and I would suggest that if the honourable member had intended to include those in his resolution he should have done so, because the way the resolution reads now he is asking for a suspension of the Ontario Lottery Corp.
If a member is referring to a very difficult concept that needs to be reported with proper words I would understand that, but reading a speech prepared by the staff of the ministry is really unnecessary.
In conclusion, I wish to single out one fine example of lottery proceeds at work for the people of Ontario. I think it best exemplifies the commitment of both the Ontario Lottery Corp., whose revenues have been granted to this organization for construction costs, and the
I refer to the Vita Way Farm, a juvenile drug rehabilitation centre located in my constituency. This centre received over $10,000 in Wintario assistance in March. As well, this unique facility receives annual funding for operational expenses from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Vita Way Farm is an extraordinary medical centre that counsels, supports and assists drug and alcohol-dependent youth from communities throughout northern Ontario. It is special because it symbolizes this government’s ongoing commitment to health, independence and responsibility among the young. Funding from Lottario proceeds has made a genuine, substantial contribution to this commitment. I endorse the Ontario Lottery Corp.’s mandate and hope that other worthwhile projects of a similar nature will be encouraged and nurtured throughout Ontario.
Mr. Ruston: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Very briefly, in a minute and a half I want to make it plain that we are not saying in this resolution that the lottery should be stopped. We were aware a year ago that this government intends to bring in a daily lottery and we want to put it on record that we are against this. We have enough lotteries on the go now. We have no objection to maintaining them. We also feel there is room for some of the other private corporations -- well, I do not mean corporations, really; there are funding organizations that require money for assistance, and we certainly do support them.
A point I also wanted to raise is about the chances of winning and the advertising that says we all win. I think that has been a misconception in the advertising and I do not think government should advertise in that way.
Many people realize the chances of winning the first prize in the Super Loto are one in 800,000; in the Provincial, one in 800,000; in Wintario, one in one million; and in Lottario, one in 3,200,000. We are also aware that 31 per cent of the people who purchase tickets are in an income bracket below $20,000 a year --
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, this is an historic occasion. This evening, in the Legislature, we will have for the first time in the history of Ontario, the chance to vote on the question of whether or not public servants in Ontario should have the fundamental freedom of speech that is guaranteed in the Charter of Rights.
In 1975, we had a chance to debate this principle and the government opposed it. Today, we have a chance to actually vote on the principle of this bill, and I hope very much that now the Charter of Rights has been adopted with strong support from Ontario the principle of freedom of speech which was accepted in that Charter of Rights will be made a reality for Ontario’s 65,000 civil servants.
A few weeks ago my wife and I joined the crowds on Parliament Hill who were there when the Queen came to proclaim the new Charter of Rights. The charter states, unequivocally, that everyone -- no exceptions -- has the fundamental freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, in freedom of the press and other media of communication, and that this freedom is subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
My bill is before the Legislature because Ontario civil servants simply do not have that fundamental freedom of speech which the Constitution was meant to guarantee. In fact, if this evening’s budget were to bring in a wage freeze on civil servants -- and I certainly say to my friends in the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who are here for this debate, I hope that does not occur -- that could certainly be interpreted as being part of the platform of the Conservative Party of Ontario and, as such, any civil servant who chose to take issue with the wage freeze would face instant dismissal in Ontario.
The law we have now is offensive in the extreme because not only does it restrict political rights it states that a civil servant who speaks or who writes in public on any matter that forms part of the platform of a provincial or federal political party, is subject to instant dismissal. There is no recourse. There is no second chance. Never mind that unemployment is nine per cent, one word wrong and one faces the prospect of being thrown Out.
Ontario took a position in favour of the Charter of Rights, but I am beginning to suspect that was a hypocritical position; that Ontario felt the Charter of Rights was fine in theory, but when one gets down to practice, one better not try to apply it.
Just a few days ago I asked the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) whether he thought the restrictions on public servants in Ontario should be removed now that the Constitution and the Charter of Rights had been adopted. In his opinion the answer was no. He said he thought the protection of the existing law, which he said protected civil servants from being pushed around or made to do partisan things by the government in power, was much more important than whether or not they should enjoy freedom of speech.
Ironically enough, only a week or two after the federal Conservative Party, right up to federal leader Joe Clark, had been hammering away at the Liberal government for its firing of Neil Fraser, the Revenue Canada employee in Kingston who had the temerity to talk about the metric system, our Attorney General comes along, undermines his federal colleague and says, unequivocally, that he thought Pierre Trudeau and the Minister of National Revenue were right in firing Neil Fraser and taking away his freedom of speech. In other words, one can have freedom of speech in theory, but one cannot have it in practice here in Ontario.
The Public Service Act, which my act wants to amend, has two basic principles that are covered in Bill 25. The first is the question of freedom of speech and the second is the question of political activity. Let me give another example. At our convention in February, the NDP reiterated its position that public servants in Ontario should have political rights. If any public servant in Ontario were to write a letter to the Toronto Star saying, “I agree with what the NDP has said,” or “I agree with Mike Cassidy’s Bill 25 on political rights,” that civil servant would have transgressed the law and would be subject to dismissal.
Not only is it difficult to keep within that guideline, but in certain cases it is impossible. The NDP has a 200-page book of platforms and policies adopted at our convention. When I wrote to the Progressive Conservatives the other day I asked them, “What is your platform from the last election?” The reply was: “Oh, we did not have one. We sent notes out to candidates. You have to read the Premier’s speeches. You have to look at our advertising and see what we put in the paper.” In the paper they talked about the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, which talked about every aspect of Ontario’s economy from soup to nuts. The Premier certainly talked about everything, including soup and nuts -- especially the latter.
The fact is that if a civil servant was seeking to abide by Ontario’s law he probably could not even say, in a mixed gathering of more than three people, what was on his mind for fear of betraying himself or straying into an area that some political party had as its platform at some point in its history. My bill is not talking about deputy ministers and senior civil servants, who are specifically exempted. It is talking about truck drivers, clerks, salesmen, secretaries, waiters, machine operators, nurses, lab technicians, foresters, bookkeepers, receptionists and translators, accountants, and people like that who do jobs identical to jobs in the private sector.
The only difference is they cannot do things politically because they happen to work in government. They cannot raise funds for a political party. They cannot canvass on behalf of a candidate during the time of an election. If they engage in other activities, even if permitted according to law, they are subject to threats or to intimidation.
There was one fellow who worked for the Ministry of Correctional Services who wanted to put a lawn sign up, only he made the mistake of asking his superior whether that was all right. The fellow said: “I don’t know. We will let you know after the election.” In Ottawa, when that happens civil servants now say: “It is not my lawn sign. My wife put it up.” But if both of them work for a government department they are in trouble once again.
If civil servants decide to exercise their rights to belong to a political party and to go to a political meeting between elections, and it is their right in Ontario, they cannot speak on any matter that is part of the platform of a political party. In other words, they cannot speak about anything that party happens to have at heart or at interest. Those are the kinds of restrictions that exist in Ontario right now. Recent cases, both federal and provincial, show that the application of this law is very difficult to predict. It is done at the favour of the government, depending on whom they want to favour or whom they want to punish. It is unpredictable, but governments seem to be getting more vigorous in applying it.
There was the jail guard in Kingston who was told to shape up when he appeared in a primary school revue which happened to be a spoof of what happened in the jail. There was the forester who was fired up in northern Ontario because, as a professional, he felt he could not go along with what he was being told to do by his superiors. There was the civil servant in Thunder Bay who was told to resign the presidency of his NDP riding association or else. There is the federal civil servant somewhere in Ontario who told me, “I have been told by my boss I cannot be active in my riding association or else they are going to take disciplinary action.”
There is the Ontario Provincial Police officer who was refused leave to run in 1979 in the riding of Nickel Belt, for the PCs as it happened, and who I believe was fired or disciplined because he acted in contravention to what his superiors were telling him. There was the assessor in Port Colborne who was fired, not for running in an municipal election -- that was all right -- but once begot into municipal politics it was deemed that was a contravention of the law.
If section 14 of the present Public Service Act were to be strictly applied -- and I am not sure how one could do it -- it would make it impossible for any public servant in Ontario to serve on a local council. If one is on a municipal council it is hard not to talk about issues like housing, welfare, day care, property tax or, these days, economic development.
Those are all matters in which the province is involved, and all are matters on which the three provincial parties have platforms. One would not really be able to avoid talking about those unless one sat totally mum on council for two or three years. If one is on a school board, it is impossible to carry out school board policies without talking about the platform or policies of the Ontario government with respect to education.
What about the example in Halifax where the poor fellow who had a home insulated with urea formaldehyde was a federal civil servant? He became the head of the home owners’ association in Nova Scotia concerned with urea formaldehyde and with getting some justice. He was told he would be fired if he stayed on and he had to quit.
What happens if one of these ladies or gentlemen who works for the Ontario government has a child who needs special education? He goes and becomes active in the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities or in the local parent-teacher or home and school association. Perhaps he wants to get on the local school board to ensure that the opportunities denied his child when he needed them would at least be made available to other children, so those other people would not have the grief he has had.
Special education is part of the platform of the three political parties in Ontario. It would be illegal for that particular civil servant, in anguish over what had happened to his child, actually to get out and do anything to ensure other kids did not suffer that way. That is the situation in Ontario.
The law is not always applied. When it is not applied, that is done in a quixotic kind of way. If one is an accountant, a nurse or a secretary, one knows when one’s superior comes to one whether he means business or not. One can get pushed around and intimidated. But if one is up at the heights of the civil service, it is different.
I was offended to pick up my Sunday Star and read Hugh Segal musing in public about the advice he was giving to the Premier as to whether he should run for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party. I was offended to pick up the references in Hansard when we had a debate about this a few days ago. On page 998, April 20, the Premier said: “But certainly Mr. Segal has a partisan interest. Certainly he is a Progressive Conservative. He has never apologized for it.”
That is okay so far. I suppose people have the right to be Progressive Conservatives. But the fact is Mr. Segal has deputy minister status as the associate secretary of cabinet for federal- provincial relations. He is in a category of civil servant which is in schedule 2. Those are the people at the top of the civil service who should be insulated completely from any involvement with politics or partisan activity.
Yet the Premier went on to say, “Yes, he is a public servant and a very able one.” When one picks up the law, it says those people who are in the restricted schedule 2 categories shall not be involved in political activity in any way. Certainly they should not speak on any matter which forms part of the platform of a political party.
When I watched cable television during the course of the New Democratic Party’s provincial convention, there was Hugh Segal, an Ontario civil servant making $60,000 or $70,000 a year with public servant status. He was commenting, line by line and blow by blow, as the NDP hammered out its platform for 1982 and selected a new leader from among the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston), the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) and Mr. Bob Rae.
What are civil servants to make of this? Is it a law that does not apply at the very top but is applied at the bottom? What do they make of it when they find that Rocco Lofranco, who does public relations for the Workmen’s Compensation Board -- a known Tory organizer before he went to the WCB -- took leave during the course of the last election campaign? He went back to his old love, organizing on behalf of Conservative candidates and did not see anything remiss about that, despite the rule that says unless one takes leave of absence to be a candidate one shall not work actively for a political candidate during the course of a provincial election campaign.
My bill is a very positive one. It seeks to be positive rather than negative. It sets out the rights public servants should have; the right to vote, the right to actively support a party or a candidate, the right to contribute to a political party, the right to solicit for funds, the right to hold office in a political party and the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
It provides protections against these rights being abused. It says civil servants shall not exercise them during working hours. They will not associate their government job with any political activity or with speaking out. They will not write a letter to the editor saying, “I happen to be involved in such and such a ministry and I know.” They will not do that; they will write as a private citizen.
They will not speak on any matters with which they are directly involved. That is a reasonable protection. In other words, if a person works for the Ministry of Revenue, they do not speak on revenue matters. The same principle is that if a person works for General Motors, they do not speak about General Motors matters. That matter has been raised from time to time.
Of course a person should respect his oath of office. My act would exclude deputy ministers and senior employees of the crown and the people who do management and policy work from these freedoms. There is a small group in the civil service who should stay outside of politics. Hugh Segal, in his position, is one of them but the government seems to have got things the wrong way around so the deputy ministers have become politicized while the civil servants who do ordinary jobs become intimidated.
My bill would protect civil servants and public servants from being required to engage in partisan activities on behalf of a candidate or party. People have said, “Isn’t that necessary?” The answer is, “Yes, it certainly is.” I would hate to see the government forcing anybody to go to work for a Conservative candidate during an election. I wish I could be confident that they have never done that in the past, particularly up in northern Ontario where the Ministry of Northern Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources run a kind of partisan activity in every corner of northern Ontario.
My bill would repeal the prohibition in the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act which prevents a public service union from supporting a political party. It also removes the risk that if it does so, if it is seen to be helping the political party in any way, it could lose its bargaining rights.
I say to my friend from Chatham and other members in the Legislature on the government side that if they have some specific improvements or changes they think the bill should have then pass the bill and let us put it out to committee. Take a constructive tripartisan approach in terms of coming up with something which is better than what exists right now, but do not stay with the present hypocrisy where in theory nobody should talk about anything if they work for the Ontario government. In practice, a law like that cannot be applied except arbitrarily, and arbitrary law irregularly applied is bad law.
The question about whether a civil servant can talk about matters in the department for which he or she works under any condition is something on which my friends from the Conservative side may have some comments to make. We will look at that as well, but the issue is whether or not in principle public servants should have freedom of speech under the Charter of Rights and whether they should have any political rights at all.
I would remind the House that it was back in 1897 that the principles in the present law were originally adopted, when there were less than 800 public servants in Ontario. Almost all of them worked within this Legislative building and the spoils system and the patronage system ran rampant. Things have changed since then. Values have changed. Concern for rights has changed. The kinds of jobs that people do in the public service have changed and we have 60,000 or 70,000 people who are covered by this law, rather than fewer than 1,000 as it was many years ago.
It seems to me we have a double standard when doctors can go on strike and get an $800 a week raise, and civil servants and the Canadian Union of Public Employees get sent to jail for trying to do the same kind of thing. It seems to me that the fight to give freedom of speech to public servants is inextricably mixed in with the other rights that people should have in a democratic society, including the right to free trade unions, the right to have political rights, including, may I say, the right to strike. Perhaps we should be looking at all of those things.
There are alternatives. Britain has a liberal system, an open system in which only a small proportion of senior public servants do not have political rights. Many of the remaining members of the civil service in Britain are not active politically. It is part of the tradition there. I am sure if my bill was adopted here many people in Ontario would also not exercise political rights to any appreciable degree.
But even if they are not going to exercise them, surely it is still nice to know they have them. It is like being in the Soviet Union where the rights are in the constitution but woe betide anyone who tries to exercise them. That is the situation that seems to exist for public servants here in Ontario. The Armitage report in Britain said there was “no evidence that there was any decline in the high standards of civil service” with the system there has been for some time in that country.
The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) says he wants to protect the civil servants. He should know that the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union both want these changes in law. Civil servants are not children any more. It is time we grew up and gave them freedom of speech and political rights.
Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to this proposed legislation, An Act to provide Political Rights for Public Servants. I want to address this bill not from the viewpoint of motherhood, as expressed by the mover of the bill, but as one who spent almost 20 years as a member of the provincial civil service. As such, I feel I can reflect the views of many of the civil servants and public servants who have not been represented by the remarks of the member opposite.
I am aware there might be those within the civil service who feel their rights are being discriminated against, and I would point out that the bill proposed by the member opposite simply changes some of those levels to what he termed more reasonable limits that he considers to be more appropriate. I happen to feel the present legislation in this province is very reasonable and is in the best interests of the employees of this province and the public of this province.
It is an old cliché to say that a person cannot serve two masters, but it does have a considerable amount of truth. The implementation of this particular bill would place many civil servants in this province in a very untenable position. They would be subjected to peer pressure from both the government and opposition political parties. I do not see this as an issue of civil servants wanting to become involved politically on behalf of either the government in power or a party in opposition.
Mr. Watson: The same adverse peer pressure could be brought from fellow workers and would really result from a lack of trust in fellow workers. In order for any organization to be strong, including public servants, there must be team work and mutual trust. I suggest anyone who openly supports a partisan political party -- whether that party happens to be in government or opposition really makes no difference -- will not have the same trust and respect from his fellow public servants.
What we are really talking about here, in my opinion, is the independence of the public servant. The member opposite has introduced a bill that seems to suggest the independence of the public servant is limited at present. I suggest the independence of the public servant would be much more limited under his bill than it is at present. There is no question that there are certain restrictions in the present legislation. I believe, however, that our existing legislation has been established as a balance between unrestricted political action on the part of individuals and the need for an impartial government service.
As far as I am concerned, an impartial or politically neutral government service is absolutely essential in a parliamentary system such as ours. I am convinced the public of this province would not tolerate any control over the administration of government policy by identifiable representatives of a political party. I know the bill suggested by the member opposite does not indicate this would happen. But I am sure, however, that over time situations would arise that would lead to accusations that might not be true, but such situations would certainly be suspect. I suggest that crown employees must not only be politically neutral, but must appear to be politically neutral.
Public servants and civil servants in this province do have opportunities within the administrative structure to suggest ideas or changes that can affect ministry or government policy directly or indirectly. I think it safe to assume that, with the numbers involved, not every idea for a policy change is acceptable, financially or otherwise. The exchange of ideas among policy makers in the civil service is a very important process in seeking out and finding those policies that are best suited for the people of our province.
Mr. Watson: Just because a civil servant does not get his way should not be cause for that civil servant to attempt to get his way through a political route. One may say that this is not what would happen; but the point is, it could happen.
I do not think civil servants or crown employees are in any way unique in being prevented from speaking out politically on issues affecting their employment. Such rules, whether written or unwritten, apply to most business, commercial or social organizations in this province. It is not accepted practice for an employee to openly and publicly criticize his employer.
Most organizations, whether business or government, have channels of communication for constructive criticism. In fact, many encourage constructive criticism which may result in some changes in their organization that are beneficial to all. Those kinds of activities go on within any organization, and that is good.
I am very much afraid that if this bill were adopted, so far as public servants are concerned, some of the constructive criticism that does come from within the ranks would be discounted because of the partisan political opinions that the person making the complaint would be known for.
Section 15 of the present Public Service Act states, “A crown employee shall not during working hours engage in any activity for or on behalf of a provincial or federal political party.” Obviously, then, a crown employee can engage in some political activity outside his or her working hours. I personally have problems with this present regulation, because I think it would be difficult to completely divorce oneself from one’s employment even though an employee may have specifically assigned working hours.
Section 4 of the proposed bill has to do with a public servant who proposes to become a candidate in a provincial or federal election. I point out that the present act covers such a situation. I have taken that route myself.
I realize the proposed bill provides for leave with pay rather than without pay, which I suppose at one time in my career I might have found appealing; however, the present legislation works well. I had no difficulty in following it. I was treated fairly in accordance with the act, and I knew what the terms were before I even considered any political activity.
When I started as an employee of the Ontario government in 1959, I was given some advice by one of the oldtimers in the then Department of Agriculture. He said he did not mind telling anybody how he voted; it was by secret ballot. I thought that was good advice and, though today I find myself a partisan politician, I still think that it is good advice for anybody in the civil service or the public service, and that advice is to vote by secret ballot.
Mr. Watson: When I entered politics, it was a new game for me. I very much respect the role played by the partisan politicians, and I think I understand that role better than I did some four years ago. I also have a great deal of respect for those who serve the public of this province.
I note that the member opposite has presented his bill today with considerable conviction because he happens to feel that the lines of political freedom should be changed from where they are now. This is a philosophical argument, and even his bill recognizes the exceptions and the conditions.
I do not believe this is a big issue in the public service of this province. I think the balance that has been struck is serving us well. I think the individual’s right is protected, and the conditions for political activities that are attached to a civil service job are reasonable under our political system.
As I stated earlier, I believe in the independence of our employees, and I suggest that the adoption of this bill would take away from rather than add to the political independence of a group of people who serve this province extremely well and of whom I was proud to be a part.
The Acting Speaker: As Speaker, I would like to point out to the members that no one interrupted the member for Ottawa Centre when he spoke. I suggest that the same kind of respect should be offered to other members.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, the admonition towards those people was certainly well deserved, but I trust it is not taken off my time for participation in this issue. I consider the principle of the bill as proposed by the member for Ottawa Centre to be a very important issue today, especially at a time, as he suggested, when we are just accepting a new Constitution.
The problem is, having listened to the two members who preceded me, the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for Chatham-Kent, it is quite clear that the issue cannot be decided simply, easily and in black and white. It involves a sense of balance and justice. As members know, it is a problem that has existed in many jurisdictions.
For instance, the present trend is obviously in the direction of extending political rights, being more reasonable and not being so restrictive. I do not think anyone here can argue that in the process of extending these rights one can allow what we call a full range of political benefits to the civil servants. There have to be certain curtailments and guidelines so that one does not get into an impossible position of conflict.
When one attempts to arrive at a balance it depends on a variety of factors. The nature and level of the employee’s responsibility; the level of government, whether it is federal, provincial or municipal; and again, the size of government, are important aspects in determining the rights and freedoms of the civil service, especially in the field of political activity.
It is ironic that we are discussing this bill today. In today’s Globe and Mail there is a very interesting article on what happens in certain areas when there is political activity, or at least a semblance of active political involvement, by the civil servant. As we are discussing this very important issue, the Globe and Mail has an article with the headline, 14 Top Civil Servants are Fired in Saskatchewan. The new Conservative government in Saskatchewan has made the decision, after reviewing the political activity of something like 42 top civil servants, that 14 of these civil servants were too politically involved and they were fired.
I am not in a position to judge whether such firings were justified, but it is reason for concern if there is a semblance of too much political activity. Members can see the chaos caused in the civil service if every time a new administration comes in there is an attitude that there is far too much political involvement by a certain level of civil servant and the new administration starts embarking on a mass firing of the civil prior to even considering these 42 civil servants, the Premier of Saskatchewan had decided that 69 political appointments were to leave the new administration after he had made an agreement with the new administration that these people would get 10 weeks’ severance pay. I just point this article out to illustrate the difficulty in arriving at a black and white solution of such a complex problem.
Let me give another experience, a personal experience, that I had in, I think, the 1977 election. I happened to be in an all-candidates’ meeting, enjoying myself immensely, as we usually do in the great riding of Ottawa East. As we were discussing certain issues, a question came from the floor that was intended to be personal and embarrassing to me. I am not talking about embarrassing questions such as, “How’s the law office today?” because I cope with those without very much difficulty. People like to see me in my riding, and they do not care much whether I am doing a bit of law or a bit of politics.
This person asked a question that was intended to be embarrassing, and it turned out that I knew the individual. He has been a member of the Conservative Party for many years, and he had his button there. This individual sits on what is called the Social Assistance Review Board. This individual day after day makes decisions affecting a variety of persons on appeals from certain other agencies; and yet, being actively involved as he was, he was campaigning, he was speaking publicly, he was asking questions in public and everybody knew he was a Conservative.
I asked him from the platform: “What are you doing here? How dare you come to such a meeting, when tomorrow you will be sitting on your board and judging the people who are here, who may be New Democratic Party or Liberal supporters?”
Was it fair that this man, who was aligned with the Conservative Party, might tomorrow be judging an individual who last night was fighting against him on behalf of the Liberal Party or the NDP? What sense of justice is the person appearing before this individual going to have? Should he be publicly or actively involved? Unfortunately, under this bill he would be allowed to do that. I suggest that this may be an area of concern and that it should not be allowed when he is in such a capacity.
I listened to the member for Chatham-Kent, who so sanctimoniously talked about the political activity of civil servants and the hypocrisy that the government practices on that side when it says civil servants should express their views by secret ballot only.
There was talk here of Segal. I talked to Segal; I know him well, and I asked him about his involvement. He said, “I am not a civil servant.” I do not know whether he is, but Ed Stewart is a civil servant. He is the chief civil servant here in Ontario, and apparently he has even appeared in Tory television ads. Do government members think that is fair? Do they think that is a good example? Do they think it is fair? My colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), was talking about another civil servant, a junior down the line, who expressed his views about something; he was canned.
The member for Ottawa Centre mentioned a number of individuals who were canned. Ed Stewart attends meetings at the Park Plaza of the priorities committee, deciding which political hack is going to get the next job. Do government members think a senior civil servant in Ontario should be doing that?
The member for Chatham-Kent sanctimoniously says to civil servants, “You should not be actively involved,” and yet a senior civil servant in Ontario is politically active. This is the type of hypocrisy that makes the present regulations very difficult for the civil service of Ontario to accept.
I say only this to the member for Ottawa Centre: I would have great difficulty in supporting such a bill in its present form. For instance, it says here that civil servants would have the right to actively support a political party. What does that mean? The right to solicit funds for a candidate in a political party? Again, which level of civil servant is allowed to do this? The other part is the right to express views on matters that form part of the platform of a provincial or federal political party.
What I am trying to say is that in its present form there are not sufficient controls in this bill. For instance, my colleague mentioned that in Britain there had been different categories of civil servants. In closing, I simply say the solution is not as simplistic as this.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Bill 25 put forward by my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre. I spoke on the basis of some personal experience which I find rather inconsistent with a number of the comments made by the member for Chatham-Kent and the member for Ottawa East. I would like to talk about some of those things.
A number of things have been yelled back and forth across the House this afternoon. The member for Chatham-Kent suggested that when he was a civil servant, he was a civil servant 24 hours a day. I point out that was his choice, and there is nothing wrong with that choice; it is a very admirable choice. But perhaps the fact that he was playing civil servant 24 hours a day is the reason he was unable to see the things that were going on around him in the rest of the civil service.
The member talked about balance in the context of civil servants being neutral in their jobs and duties. I worked for the civil service for a number of years before I was elected to this House, and I was politically active all those years. I was respected by those who worked with me for my political activities and for my neutrality on the job.
The government and the senior civil servants of this province, the Tory hacks the member for Ottawa East was referring to, did not use the act and the political restrictions in the act in a manner that in any way reflected balance. I worked in the assessment division of the Ministry of Revenue. I think most members are aware of that from other debates in this House.
From the time the Tories took over the assessment function, whenever a political election was called in 1971, 1975 and 1977, the civil servants who had jobs to do did not get them done during the election, because all the assessors were been pulled off the road so they would not be out there offending the taxpayers of Ontario during the course of an election campaign. Their work piled up. It was still work they had to do. Those civil servants were used as political pawns of the government and the Tory party. They were not allowed to do the jobs that were theirs to do in a neutral and appropriate fashion. That is the kind of balance with which the government applies the act.
Recently here at Queen’s Park we had an episode in the standing committee on public accounts in relation to the Deputy Treasury, Mr. Campbell. He is clearly the kind of civil servant the member for Ottawa East was referring to; one who gets his job not through a job posting, a competition and an interview, but through a political appointment. None the less, he is clearly a civil servant.
That deputy minister went before the public accounts committee of this House and railed on in the most vicious political attack on the federal government of this country that I can ever recall hearing since I have been here. That was a very blatantly political misuse of public servants. If this government had wanted to make an attack on the federal government, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) should have gone into the public accounts committee himself and done his own dirty work. That is the way that political restrictions are applied in this province.
As my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre pointed out, we have had a whole range of incidents across this province relating civil servants to political activity and the penalties that have been placed upon them.
The member for Chatham-Kent mentioned the secret ballot. Unfortunately, it would appear the honourable member does not clearly understand the difference between a vote and a democracy. Perhaps it is time the member took a week or two from his duties here to go back to the school across the street and find out what the difference is between Canada and, as a comparable, the Soviet Union. People in the Soviet Union also have a secret ballot vote, but we certainly would not call that a democracy, or at least the Tories on the other side of the House have said so in the past. The reality is that the difference between what they have in the Soviet Union and what we like to call democracy in this country is the right to participate and the right to have freedom of speech.
The situation I ran into was similar to the situation that was mentioned by my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre. I was the president of a riding association, and I had been for a number of years. I had been politically active for a number of years. All the people I worked with, including all my bosses, were well aware of that activity. In 1975, with a provincial election pending, my superiors decided that I was liable to get active in it and that perhaps they should inform the ministry of the activities they had known about for the previous six years. They did so.
should resign my political position. I was in the unfortunate position of not being quite as lucky as the member for Chatham-Kent; he joined the civil service of his own free will and saw the rules. Unfortunately, I was working for a municipality, in assessment, which directly related to property taxation, which in those earlier days was being applied by the municipalities in this province.
With the municipalities, we had full political freedom. It did not create any of the kinds of problems the member for Ottawa East was suggesting, because these were working-level positions, filled through job competitions and in most cases governed by a trade union which put rules in place to protect its employees.
We got transferred to the province; so we did not have any choices about the loss of our political rights. We did not know in advance, and we did not have any choice, regardless of whether we knew or not.
At any rate, the ministry decided to take action against me, because I told them I did not intend to give up my political activities and I did not intend to quit my job either. They convened a deputy minister’s hearing to dismiss me. That gave me more political publicity than I ever would have had as an average working civil servant doing my job, minding my own business and participating in the political process. The crazy law they attempted to apply gave me all the political profile I needed.
Fortunately, I had a good union. We took the case to court. The government of this province backed down, withdrew the whole case and stuck it in the closet. I ran in the 1975 election, returned to work after the election and had no further problems and no further actions taken against me.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, the question that Bill 25 puts before the House this afternoon is not so much the question of by how much do we extend the rights of civil servants to personally participate in political activities but, rather, does this bill in any way undermine the integrity of the democratic process? Let me elaborate, if I may.
Each and every one of us as members of this Legislature knows we have the right every four or five years to go to the people within our constituencies to ask them to elect us by a democratic vote to lay down the policy and administer the laws of this province. We do this by choice. The people may elect us or other candidates to office. So it was with the member for Ottawa Centre; so it is for myself and for all elected members of government.
Once we are elected, the government that is given the power by the people to set the policy and to govern the affairs of the people of the province must have the ultimate and sole right to speak out on those policies and to develop those policies.
May I portray this scenario? Should our friend the member for Ottawa Centre either decide to throw in the sponge or perhaps his constituents decide to put him out to pasture, and he takes a position with the civil service and becomes, for example, a public relations officer with the assessment department of the Ministry of Revenue, and say I became the Minister of Revenue, it would be totally inappropriate if we had little Mikey Cassidy in an assessment office in the Ottawa Valley getting up on a public platform and making political pronouncements about whether the policy of this government as may be enunciated by me as a minister of the crown are right or wrong. It would be totally inappropriate. The people who have that sole right and responsibility, onerous as it may be, are the ministers of the crown and so it should be.
The fact is that the civil servants are given many rights. I noted very carefully that the member for Ottawa Centre spoke only in negative terms, as he is wont to do. He did not speak out with regard to any of the positive rights and privileges that already exist under the Public Service Act. I will spell out some of them, because they are very positive. They are clearly spelled out in the legislation to ensure that civil servants are not denied the right to participate in political affairs.
For instance, they have full right and opportunity to engage in and become candidates in municipal elections. There is no inhibition there whatsoever. That is clearly spelled out in section 11 of the act. A civil servant can run as a federal or provincial candidate. There is no way the government can in any way prohibit him from running. If he asks under section 12 of the act, that application “shall be granted.” It is not a question of “may be granted.” There is no choice in the matter. He or she has absolute right and opportunity to become a candidate in a federal or provincial election.
Should that civil servant not do well at the polls and return to his or her position by reason of the fact that the people in his or her riding have rejected him or her as a viable candidate, that civil servant is restored to his or her position of office. There is no penalization. Their service is deemed to be continuous under subsection 12(5) so that in no way are they prejudiced by having run as a candidate, but at least they have shown their colours as a declared and qualified candidate in an election.
But for little Mikey Cassidy, as an employee of the assessment department down in the Ottawa Valley, to get up and start making pronouncements that may be contrary to those policies stated by the minister of the crown is totally inappropriate and, I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, undermines the fundamental principle of the democratic process, that the elected people of the province shall set the policy and speak to it. If a civil servant feels very strongly, he has the rights and procedures set out for him under the Public Service Act.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I would like to bring to the attention of the House the fact that clause 2(2)(c) quite specifically makes the rights provided in the bill subject to the condition that “the employee does not speak in public or express views in writing for distribution to the public on any matter with which he is directly engaged in his employment with the crown.” In the course of his remarks, the honourable member has been misstating the position in the bill I have put forward. I wish he would change that.
Mr. Williams: The section in the Public Service Act I feel is the central and most important consideration is section 14, which does prescribe that, except when a civil servant declares himself as a candidate, he shall at no time “speak in public or express views in writing for distribution to the public on any matter that forms part of the platform of a provincial or federal political party.”
It is fundamentally important that that should remain the case. The fact is it is a condition of employment. A person who decides to work in the public service knows this is one explicit condition that must be imposed upon him or her if the integrity of the democratic system is to prevail, in the same way that civil servants understand they do not have the right to strike when they are in the public service. They cannot hold the public up to ransom because they have a dispute with their employer. As long as this government is in power, they will never have the right to strike while they are civil servants. They must understand this as a fundamental condition of employment.
There are other people in this society who have greater democratic rights taken away from them simply because it is a condition of their employment, people who are in a much higher office than any of us sitting here in the Legislative Assembly this afternoon. I am speaking specifically about the judiciary of this province. They do not even have the most fundamentally sacred right of everybody in the democratic process, that is, to exercise their franchise. That is a condition of employment. They understood that when they joined the judiciary, and they have to abide by that and live with it. That is a much more fundamentally important prohibition than the fact that, as a civil servant, one cannot publicly get up and oppose public policy and make pronouncements in that regard.
I would like to examine the bill that is before us, because it does appear fundamentally to undermine those basic principles. I am not suggesting there are not some areas of this bill that do warrant further consideration. For instance, there is legislation already in existence in the western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan and in the Yukon Territory whereby legislation does permit civil servants to raise and collect funds and actively to canvass for candidates in elections. While section 13 of our Public Service Act prohibits canvassing on behalf of a candidate in an election, it may be that this is an area that would not violate that fundamental principle if it were varied.
Nevertheless, that is something not as fundamentally important, in my mind, as the fact that the civil servant, while a civil servant, must not interfere with the sole and exclusive rights of the ministers of the crown and the Premier to set and state publicly the policy of the government. The Premier (Mr. Davis) of this province has indicated on more than one occasion that there is going to be substantial reform in the electoral process before the next provincial election is called, undoubtedly some aspects of this bill may warrant consideration so long as that fundamental principle I spoke to at the outset is not in any way impugned.
I think that, by and large, the rights of civil servants will continue to be protected if not expanded upon at that time, when omnibus legislation in all likelihood will be brought forward to improve upon and further enhance our electoral process in this province.
I found myself wondering, really. I was torn. I had this natural inclination to be in favour of it and then said to myself, “I have so few things on which I can agree with the member for Ottawa Centre, perhaps I should take a second look.” So I reread the bill two or three times. In spite of that, I find now that I am going to have to stand and support this bill, and support the member for Ottawa Centre.
I just have a few remarks. I guess the first would be to follow up on some of the comments of my colleague for Ottawa East and say that there is a great deal of hypocrisy on the other side of the House, because if there are any civil servants who are political in this province, it is some of those highest in the civil service; those, in fact, whom my friend the member for Ottawa Centre would even exclude from taking part in partisan political activities.
I think we know who they are. There are a few deputy ministers who have reached their present exalted heights of power and their present positions not through the civil service, not through long and good service to this province but through long and good service to a certain political party. I find that practice very disturbing indeed.
Mr. Wrye: My friend the member for Algoma suggests one name that I gave passing consideration to. And it seems to me there is an acting deputy minister who should also get some consideration along those same lines.
However, I want to talk about why I have come to the view that we need to make -- and I would agree with my friend the member for Oriole -- what is a rather sweeping change. I think the time has come to make that sweeping change. The society in which we live in Ontario is one of great and increasing complexity. In days gone by, when government did not have an all-pervasive role to play in our society -- once in a while benevolent; at least we hope so -- perhaps it might not have been necessary for us to consider this matter.
Today, whether by the problem of urea formaldehyde or by metrication, whether by any number of provincial and federal issues, the daily life of each and every individual in this province is affected. At the same time, we have an increasingly large number of civil servants. I may be incorrect but I believe the number of civil servants in Ontario has now reached approximately 60,000; and employed by the government of Canada there are close to 400,000. So honourable members can see that in Ontario we are looking at a very large number of people who have been affected by this denial of rights
If all of these people were senior managers and policy makers -- and it seems to me in the past a greater proportion of them were simply because the number of civil servants was smaller -- I might not be so concerned about this rather sweeping denial of political rights. But in point of fact, as my friend for Ottawa Centre pointed out in his opening remarks, we are now talking about secretarial help, clerical help, truck drivers; we are talking about ordinary working men and women in Ontario.
For the member for Oriole to suggest that when these ordinary working men and women come to work for the government of Ontario they ought to put aside any interest in our society is very wrong. These are, I would remind the honourable member, very difficult times in which to find employment. I hope the Treasurer will make them somewhat easier tonight, but I for one happen to doubt that.
These are very difficult times, and it seems to me that when the member for Oriole suggests that a secretary can be the same as a member of the judiciary, what he fails to understand is that a member of the judiciary already has a position and very often simply must make the choice such a person will make in moving up into a judgeship. But what we are talking about is perhaps a 19-year-old man or woman looking for his or her first job, and quite frankly a job with the government may be the only one that is offered. Yet what we are saying to these people is, “When you come on board with the government you no longer have any right to speak Out on matters of public policy.”
I am concerned lest we fail to understand the implications of that. I have spoken with a number of my colleagues, some of whom do not agree with my point of view on this matter, and they have expressed a concern that I think we all must face and understand. That is, that there could be -- and I think we in this assembly would all understand -- some attempt by the odd civil servant to abuse his position. I believe there are some mechanisms in place, not the least of which is the office of the Ombudsman, to correct such abuses if they occur. I believe that these abuses, if they were to occur, would be very few and very far between and that they would be correctable.
I think that the greater good of the thousands of public servants, who for the first time would have some political rights -- the right to actively support any candidate, any party of their choice; to contribute to not just one party but to any party and so on and so forth, as is set out in section 2 of the bill -- far outweighs the concern that has been expressed to me about having public servants involved in the process and what that might do to their lily-white image and lily-white hands. I think that problem can be overcome.
The member for Ottawa Centre in his bill has limited these political rights and taken them away from certain senior policy makers. I would suggest to the member that I do have the one concern that he has not gone far enough and that we might go another step or two down the line, that the limitations are probably not broad enough. At the same time I believe that the principle of this piece of legislation, which would offer political rights to public servants, is a principle that, after all, we should be voting on; and should this House in its wisdom carry it, the removal or the addition of some other senior policy makers could be a matter that this Legislature could consider in committee.
Basically, what I think we are doing is not picking at individual sections of the bill but looking rather at the broad principle. There are some concerns. Section 2(l)(d), “the right to solicit funds for a candidate or for a political party.” My colleague the member for Ottawa East in discussing this bill with me had some concerns along that line. I say to all members of the House, including my friend the member for Ottawa East, perhaps these are matters that we could consider within committee.
It may be that there will still have to be some limits, but I return once again to the very basics, which seem to me to be captured in section 2(l)(b), “the right to actively support a political party or a candidate for provincial or federal office”; and perhaps clause 2(l)(f), “the right to express views on matters that form part of the platform of a provincial or federal political party.”
As I said, I think this is a piece of legislation whose time has come. In summation: In my opinion, the complexities of our society and the number of people involved dictate that we should move in this area and we should begin to extend to those thousands of civil servants in Ontario the rights which we hold so dear and use in our daily lives.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I rise, in the limited time available to me, to support Bill 25. I think it is both sad and disappointing that in the year 1982, we should be debating in this House the assurance of basic rights to that growing number of people who happen to be servants of the people, civil servants in Ontario. Indeed, if the import of the comments from the other side of the House are to be carried to their normal conclusion of a veto or a defeating of this bill, it will be little short of outrageous.
In the year 1945,1 happened to be in Ottawa as a naval officer, doing my duties by day and free at night to be involved in many activities, some of which were nonpartisan. One of these was as a member in the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, and I found myself on a committee with a couple of men, one of whom was Mitchell Sharp, an upper middle-bracket civil servant, and the other was Maxwell Cohen, an emerging lawyer subsequently to be dean of the law school at McGill. We were to look into the civil rights of civil servants.
We looked at them all across the world. We discovered that, in contrast to the shackles and restrictions that were placed on civil servants in Canada, in countries in Scandinavia there were people who had total freedom as first citizens in the land even though they were civil servants. I shall never forget discovering what I thought was maybe a little exaggerated --
One of the things we found was that in Norway or Sweden, I have forgotten which country, there was even the case of a deputy minister who ran for the opposition, was not elected and came back to his post. That,! would agree, is perhaps a little bit unacceptable, but it was an indication of the extent of the rights that were granted to civil servants.
Let me give another little footnote to history. Back in 1962, Mr. Speaker. there was a civil servant in Ontario by the name of John Harney. He happened to be on the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College when he announced that he was going to run in the federal election. The fluttering in the dovecotes was something to behold. The lines burned between Guelph and Toronto as to what they were going to do about this outrageous flaunting of the traditions in Ontario.
However, we had at that time a Prime Minister by the name of John Robarts, who at least had one foot in the 20th century; in fact, perhaps even both feet in the 20th century. He called a meeting of the then leader of the Liberal Party, John Wintermeyer, myself, Jim Allan, who was provincial Treasurer and therefore head of the Civil Service Commission, and Don Collins, who was head of the Civil Service Commission, to discover what we were going to do about it. What emerged was that it was agreed ex cathedra by the Prime Minister of the day that John Harney would have the right to take leave of absence and to run in the election if he so chose.
That was a breach from the so-called McCarrow resolution which had been passed by this Legislature in the year 1898. It said that no civil servant, under any condition, could ever be involved in politics.
We thought we had it solved when I said to the Premier of the day: “Unfortunately, we do not have it totally solved. You say if a person takes this nomination he must then resign his position. I have to draw your attention to the fact that there happens to be another candidate, by the name of Harold Wilson, in Ottawa, who was nominated for the New Democratic Party, with Tommy Douglas as the speaker at the convention, with the full approval of the president of the Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology; all of them being civil servants. Now what are you going to do about it? Are you going to take back his pay for six months retroactively?” The Premier in his pragmatic way said: “I tell you what we will do. We will make it necessary for them to take leave of absence from official nomination day until voting day, namely a couple of weeks.” In short --
Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Dean, Eakins, Eaton, Edighoffer, Elgie, Elston, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Johnson, J. M., Kells, Kerr, Kerrio, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk;
MacQuarrie, Mancini, McCaffrey, McCague, McEwen, McLean, Miller, G. I., Mitchell, Newman, Norton, O’Neil, Piché, Pollock, Ramsay, Reed, J. A., Robinson, Rotenberg, Roy, Runciman, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Wells, Williams, Wiseman.
Tonight we will have the Treasurer’s budget statement. Tomorrow morning, we will debate second reading of Bill 60. On Monday, May 17, the reply to the budget will be presented by the official opposition critic. Then, if there is any time remaining, we will continue with Bill 60 until 6 p.m.
On Thursday, May 20, we will have private members’ ballot items in the name of the member for Durham-York (Mr. Stevenson) and the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt), and in the evening we will continue with the budget debate. We will also continue with the budget debate on Friday, May 21.
I wish to remind members that, after consultation, we expect to begin the estimates of the Ministry of Community and Social Services next Monday, May 17, in committee, after the budget reply has been completed. The estimates of the Ministry of the Environment are expected to begin in committee on Tuesday evening, May 25, and, in the justice field, we will begin the estimates of the Ministry of Correctional Services in committee during the week of May 24. I am also advised the volumes of estimates will be tabled next Tuesday and Thursday.