The House met at 1330.
Mr Henderson: Nicholas Martin, Carmen Young and Ashley Hughes are three children whose lives hang by a thread because Ontario lacks a mechanism for ensuring donor organ availability for transplant surgery. Nicholas goes to school every day with an oxygen tank, Carmen has had her seventh lung collapse and Ashley has a congenital heart defect which constantly threatens her life.
Only a few months ago the Legislature of Nova Scotia, with all-party agreement, passed a bill requiring hospitals to designate someone to ask the families of deceased patients for permission to obtain body tissue or organs for transplant purposes. The requirement is waived if there is no need for tissue, if the tissue is unsuitable or if the emotional condition of the consenter makes the request inappropriate.
My private member's bill, Bill 153, replicates the Nova Scotia law in Ontario. Here is an opportunity for this government to look very good by bringing it forward for second and third reading and proclamation. True, Premier Davis and Premier Peterson rarely did that kind of thing, but here is a humanitarian, not a partisan, bill. Times as well as expectations have changed, as has, I hope, the attitude of the government about private members' initiatives.
The Minister of Health and the two opposition critics have expressed their support for the principle of this bill. I implore the Premier and the Minister of Health to save the lives of these three children and help Bill 153 to become law now.
Mr Turnbull: I stand today to express concern regarding the government's recent labour relations proposals and the impact these amendments will have on businesses in my riding. One company is Taylor Soaps-Perfumes Ltd, a maker of fine soaps since 1865. This company exemplifies the spirit of Canada's entrepreneurs: a small family company, started by the grandfather, using Canadian workers to produce an excellent product.
Mr Taylor has written to me, "Our message must get through to the government to kill this labour legislation, legislation which will certainly discourage new investment in our province by other countries, which means loss of potential jobs for the people of Ontario."
Last week the Treasurer attributed the $2.1-billion decline in personal income tax revenues as the price we are paying for the recession with its plant closings, job losses and overall weak economic performance. Does the Minister of Labour not realize that these proposals will make it more difficult to operate a business in Ontario and that the inevitable result will be plant closings, job losses and overall weak economic performance?
This constituent and too many others are having difficulties in these tough economic times. I ask the government not to make it even harder for companies to do business in Ontario by passing these labour relations proposals. We must create jobs, not soup lines.
SUNRISE FINE BONE CHINA
Ms M. Ward: I hold in my hand a beautiful fine bone china plate decorated with Ontario's floral emblem, the trillium. This collector's item and other fine china pieces are made by Sunrise Fine Bone China, which is located in my riding of Don Mills and employs developmentally handicapped persons.
Sunrise Fine Bone China was established as an integrated workshop for developmentally handicapped individuals in 1983 by the Metropolitan Toronto Association for Community Living. Since 1986, Sunrise has been receiving financial assistance from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
This year Sunrise was in danger of closing because it had not become self-supporting. Over the summer I received calls and letters from many of the families and friends of the employees. I am happy to announce that with refinancing assistance from the Ontario Development Corp, Sunrise has been purchased by two employees of the company and will continue to employ the developmentally handicapped persons.
Efforts should be made to expand sales of this product within Ontario's tourism industry. Visitors to Canada should be able to buy china with the trillium emblem which is actually made in Canada.
There will be an official reopening of Sunrise Fine Bone China on December 2 at 34 Carnforth Road in Don Mills. The factory will be open to the public from 3 pm to 8 pm.
Members are aware that our legislative gift shop sells a number of fine bone china items from Sunrise. I suggest to members that these would make lovely Christmas gifts.
VEHICLE AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
Mr Chiarelli: Later today I will be introducing a bill which would prohibit persons from walking or running on highways or railway tracks or driving vehicles on highways while wearing earphones. Entitled the Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety Act, this bill is designed to address and reduce the occurrence of tragic deaths caused by pedestrians and drivers alike, where accidents have been caused by wearing earphones or headsets.
Recent tragic deaths in Ottawa-Carleton and elsewhere in Ontario provide plenty of evidence that the time has come to tighten up current legislation. The record clearly shows that headsets and traffic do not mix. Those found guilty of violating the Motor Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety Act would be liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more that $500. The prohibition would not apply to those wearing hearing aids.
This senseless carnage must be reduced. The time has come to pass a new law in the interest of public safety. I urge the government to deal with this bill at the earliest possible opportunity. At the very least, the Minister of Transportation should ensure this bill is referred to a legislative committee for public hearings as soon as possible.
Mr Tilson: The town of Orangeville in my riding has been requesting GO Transit service for many years. After extensive review, the Ministry of Transportation announced that the Orangeville-Caledon run would not get GO service, even though the review demonstrated a marginally sufficient demand to justify it. The minister said that Orangeville does not require GO because there are two private sector lines already servicing the commuter needs of the community.
I would like to update the minister today on the state of these two private lines. Gray Coach has recently announced that the commuter service offered to Orangeville and Caledon residents has been cancelled. Just last Friday, the second private carrier, Denny's Bus Lines, announced that it would be cancelling its route from Orangeville to Yorkdale.
In a letter to a constituent of mine last spring, the previous minister categorically stated that in the event that the private bus services proved unsatisfactory, the ministry would be prepared to re-examine the potential of GO bus service. It is obvious the private lines are proving to be unsatisfactory. The commuter transit service is dwindling away and it is obvious that GO service is the only choice for the area. A service that includes integrated fares and an integrated time schedule that can be relied on is what is needed.
As a result of these latest developments, I would like to know if the minister is finally prepared to grant GO service to my riding. If he will not agree to this, will he at least agree to make the re-examination of this situation a top priority?
CITY OF BARRIE
Mr Wessenger: On October 23, 1991, my office, in co-operation with the city of Barrie and with the assistance of the parliamentary assistants to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Skills Development, held a public forum with the people of Barrie to discuss the economic future of Barrie. It was our intention to get input from organizations, groups and individuals in Barrie so that we could respond to their suggestions with a subsequent course of action.
In this regard, I held a meeting with Mayor Janice Laking of Barrie to establish an economic task force. Our plan is for a jointly sponsored effort which would focus on the establishment of strategies our community might take in planning its economic future. It is our intention to pull together dynamic and thoughtful people in the community to assist with the task force mandate.
We intend to address every facet of life in Barrie, from industrial and commercial renewal to detailed inventories of such factors as recreation, transportation, social services and the environment. We believe this will allow the task force to deal with the greater question of the economy of the city in a totally integrated fashion, using information and suggestions from interest groups and community representatives for a comprehensive study.
I believe this exercise is imperative, not only to address the problems facing the economy of the city of Barrie but also to promote the co-operative and consultative process.
I wish to thank the House for this opportunity to outline our plans for Barrie. I trust that other communities throughout the province may be able to utilize our task force blueprint and apply it to successful ends. Open dialogue and co-operative action of this type between the province and the people of Barrie will help forge the economic strategies for a sustainable future.
Mr Grandmaître: The government that prides itself on open and full consultation has managed to once again manipulate its message. This time it is the Minister of Community and Social Services who has managed to tell the media that funding for credit counselling agencies is being withdrawn but has neglected to advise the agencies themselves.
Credit counselling is provided by non-profit agencies to seriously indebted persons. Counselling enables them to resolve their financial problems and develop the ability to manage their own financial affairs. These agencies receive 60% of their funding from the provincial government and now, in the midst of a recession when demand is highest and people are under severe financial pressure, the government has decided to pull the plug.
Credit counselling is a lifeline, a way for people who find their financial pressures overwhelming to gain some control over their lives. Credit counselling is the third party between the individual and his or her creditors that can develop a structured payment plan which can satisfy both parties.
Yet once again, in a panicked attempt to restore economic sanity to Ontario, the Treasurer has forced a small but critical program to be cut and left frustrated credit counselling agencies waiting for a formal announcement and vulnerable clients wondering what will happen next.
Mrs Cunningham: My statement today is for the Minister of Skills Development. Canada is at an economic crossroads today and the core of its economic prosperity is at risk. To achieve sustained productivity growth, our economy must continually upgrade itself.
"An upgrading economy is one that pursues greater productivity in existing industries by improving products, utilizing more efficient production processes and migrating into more sophisticated and higher-value industry segments." That is a quote from the Monitor study on Canadian competitiveness.
The capacity of an economy to upgrade its competitive potential depends on -- it has worked for us -- its post-secondary educational institutions, business, industry and government. It requires a combined effort.
According to Professor David Conklin, director of the University of Western Ontario's office of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, there must be a push for greater retraining along with the encouragement of innovation and an emphasis on technology if Canada is to continue to compete in the global economy.
Corporations will be delivering much more education than they ever have in the past, and the labour movement will have a major role to play as well. We would like to add that with the additional leadership of labour in retraining, Canada could solve its competition problems. We encourage the movement to be more active than it ever has been before.
Ms Harrington: The time of Christmas shopping is upon us. This is the time of year when retail businesses sink or swim. It is a season that gives hundreds of businesses the cash flow to see them through the months ahead. Let's think about the consequences of the decision we make about where to spend our Christmas present budget, here or "across the river," as they say.
How many more stores will be closed in January? More closed stores mean more unemployment. Each job loss is a personal tragedy. Just last Friday I spoke to a neighbour of mine, a man of 35 who visited me with his five-month-old baby. He has lost his job, his wife has left him and now he is going to lose his house.
Tragedy strikes close to home for all of us. In these tough times communities must pull together. The province is investing in my city and it is investing across the province. Increases this year in health care funding, in education funding, in non-profit housing, in roads and sewer works in the city of Niagara Falls, these all mean good jobs for health care workers, for teachers, for contractors and for many more.
But will this money support our local economy or will it flow out the back door across the river? The decision is up to each individual. There are many good things in our community: yesterday's Santa Claus parade, all locally sponsored; the beautiful celebration of the Festival of Lights which opened Saturday, supported by our local businesses. So let's invest in Ontario.
The Speaker: I invite all members to join me in welcoming the seventh group of pages to serve in the First Session of the 35th Parliament:
William Ashbee, Fort William; Noelle Bailey, Lambton; Lisa Bernas, Parry Sound; Kathryn Bevington, Muskoka-Georgian Bay; Erica Brownridge, Huron; Jamie Bruce, Durham West; Tamara Church, Nepean; Andrew Cusack, Sudbury; Matthew Daviau, Windsor-Walkerville; Alia den Baars, High Park-Swansea; Owen Ferguson, Grey; Michael Fonesca, Downsview; Heather Frederick, Halton Centre; Sean Hurlbut, Oxford; George Kouniakis, London North; Leah LaValley, Renfrew North; Peter MacLeod, Cambridge; Anne Martin-Soucie, Cochrane South; Lindsay Mathyssen, Middlesex; Hanna Rose Merkley, Frontenac-Addington; Melanie Poirier, Quinte; Matthew Schurter, Perth; Conor Sheridan, Mississauga North; and Mark Venditti, Etobicoke-Humber.
Please welcome our latest group of pages.
The Speaker: Standing order 60(a) provides that: "The standing committee on estimates shall present one report with respect to all of the estimates and supplementary estimates considered pursuant to standing orders 57 and 59 no later than the third Thursday in November of each calender year."
The House not having received a report from the standing committee on estimates on Thursday, November 21, 1991, as required by the standing orders of this House, pursuant to standing order 60(b) the estimates before the committee are deemed to be passed by the committee and are deemed to be reported to and received by the House.
Hon Mr Rae: Before I begin my remarks, this is the first opportunity I have had to congratulate the member for St Catharines on his elevation to the leadership of the Liberal Party and as Leader of the Opposition. I have always considered the member for St Catharines to be an outstanding member of this place as well as a friend. I am sure I will still feel that way at the end of his term as Leader of the Opposition.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
PREMIER'S VISIT TO EUROPE / VISITE DU PREMIER MINISTRE EN EUROPE
Hon Mr Rae: I want to take this opportunity to report to the House on my recent trip to the United Kingdom, France and Germany. I hope the member for Scarborough-Agincourt is listening.
First, let me share some general impressions of the enormous changes taking place. This is a fascinating time in European and world history. We are days away from Maastricht, the European Community summit that will be discussing further measures of political and economic integration in the common market. This takes place in the shadow of the challenge of a recently united Germany, the re-emergence of independent Eastern European nations and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
The economies of Western Europe have experienced either recession or slowdown, with the consequences we know well: higher unemployment and higher budgetary deficits. The uncertainty about further change in Europe is definitely having an impact, and the debate in each of the countries about the future shape of Europe was intense. There was, of course, a shared concern about the slowdown in North America and now Japan, and a strong view about the need for continued attention to the depth of the crisis in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
My interest in this trip was obviously to learn first hand of the views of these changes, to encourage a continuing European interest in Ontario and Canada and to encourage more investment and trade generally between us. My message is simple: Ontario is a good place to live, to invest and to do business. We have a solid reputation abroad, strengthened by our openness to peoples and investment from around the world. Our status as an international society, peopled by immigrants from around the world, is an enormous asset.
I stressed Ontario's interest in a successful conclusion of the Uruguay round. We shall benefit as a province from clearer trade rules and better guarantees from foreign protectionism. As a province heavily dependent on foreign trade, we shall pay heavily if there is no agreement reached soon.
There was, of course, much interest in the constitutional debate taking place in Canada. I stressed that federalism makes sense for Canada, precisely because it allows for regional and provincial concerns to be expressed within the federation. I also emphasized that the goals of better markets within the country, institutional reform and a more productive working relationship among all the members of the Canadian federation are of real importance to Ontario.
J'ai fait part de l'engagement de l'Ontario à assurer qu'il ne se produirait pas de «Forteresse Amérique du Nord», néfaste au commerce et aux investissements européens. Pour ma part, j'ai demandé l'assurance que l'Europe ne deviendrait pas «fermée sur elle-même», alors que les pays étaient aux prises avec l'effondrement de l'Empire soviétique et l'élaboration d'une politique européenne d'intégration politique.
Toutes les personnes que j'ai rencontrées ont été promptes à nier qu'une Europe «fermée sur elle-même» serait envisagée, ou même souhaitée, en dépit du fait que les ressources financières et autres consacrées à l'Europe de l'Est et aux pays de l'ancienne Union soviétique représentaient un coût énorme. Rien n'est plus compréhensible. L'Europe a vécu pendant plus de 40ans auprès d'un empire totalitaire, doté d'armes nucléaires. La fin de ce régime est venue avec un effet dramatique.
We all shared the joy of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the unprecedented changes in the formerly Soviet republics. With thousands seeking political asylum now in the West, continued loss of life in Croatia, the prospect of real food shortages in many countries this winter, we must pay attention. Canada and Ontario must do their part in assisting these societies to emerge as fair, productive and democratic economies.
I draw two early conclusions. The first is that our presence in all of Europe, including Eastern Europe, needs to be strengthened. The second is that this government's determination to work through the recession with a balanced approach is the right one. Meeting financial targets, controlling spending, recognizing the depth of the economic changes that are occurring at home and around the world, are critical features of any sensible policy. All governments are facing these challenges. We have to meet them as well.
Let me turn to some specifics of my trip. When I do so, I am conscious of the work of former governments, and former premiers, in laying the groundwork for Ontario's relations with the governments and economies of Europe. Members will know that the governments of four regions, Rhône-Alpes in France, Baden-Württemberg in Germany, Lombardy in Italy and Catalonia in Spain, are joined together in a group known as the Four Motors. These are four industrialized regions in key economies in Europe, and our relationship with them represents a unique opportunity to strengthen our cultural, scientific and educational links to Europe.
In Lyon and Stuttgart, I signed declarations affirming our partnerships with President Millon of Rhône-Alpes and Minister-President Teufel of Baden-Württemberg. We have committed to a program called Telepresence, a joint project that will draw on the scientific and technical skills of our public and private institutions here in Ontario working with their counterparts in Europe.
Telepresence is just one example of the projects under way as a result of our relationship with the Four Motors, and both President Millon and Minister-President Teufel indicated to me their strong desire to expand and deepen our relationships. This is good news for Ontario.
Baden-Württemberg is also twinned to the new state of Saxony in the eastern part of Germany. The Minister-President and I agreed that Ontario should use its existing good relations to reach out to a region with its major cities of Dresden and Leipzig.
These relationships are helpful in opening doors to industrial Europe. There are major opportunities for our businesses in Europe, but many of those I met in government and business expressed frustration that our companies are not assertive enough. I encourage them to explore the opportunities in Europe and take advantage of the excellent representation of the Ontario and Canadian governments in key European markets.
I was able to meet representatives of the financial and industrial communities who are important to Ontario at a number of private and public meetings. I spoke to the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce, the Canada-France Chamber of Commerce, the German Association of Industry, and participated in the signing of a partnership agreement between the Canadian high-tech firm of Newbridge and the German company Siemens.
I want to thank Ambassador Charland and Ambassador Delworth, High Commissioner Eaton, Agent General Nixon, Agent General Doucet, Senior Representative Idler and their staffs and, of course, senior ministry staff here in Toronto for their able assistance.
Je voudrais, en terminant, faire part à l'Assemblée de ma visite à Brouage, lieu de naissance de Samuel de Champlain. Ma femme et moi avons assisté à la bénédiction officielle d'un vitrail dans l'église du village commémorant l'amitié durable entre l'Ontario et la France. Le vitrail a été commandité par la Fondation du patrimoine ontarien en collaboration avec la Fondation MacDonald Stewart. Brouage est une petite ville de la côte ouest française. La cérémonie dans cette humble petite église a rendu un hommage à Champlain et à des centaines de milliers de personnes d'origine française qui vivent et travaillent en Ontario aujourd'hui et contribuent à la prospérité de cette province.
PREMIER'S VISIT TO EUROPE
Mr Bradley: While the Premier was on his jaunt to Europe playing international statesman, the economy of Ontario has been collapsing all around us. Even George Bush, when he saw what the domestic agenda was, the problems that were being confronted on the home front, knew enough to cancel his trip at that time and concentrate his time and effort on the domestic issues.
If the Premier wanted to visit some appropriate places, he might have visited Windsor or Renfrew or St Catharines or Sault Ste Marie or Alexandria or Barrie or almost any of the communities in Ontario which happen to be losing jobs, which happen to be facing the closing of plants, which happen to be facing unemployment and the human toll that brings about.
As the Premier was leaving Ontario the unemployment figures were being announced and, once again, those unemployment figures were rising. Businesses in every part of the province were complaining of difficulty in even existing for another few months, let alone contemplating any new investment in this province. New taxes were being threatened by the Treasurer and by others who contemplated the need for new taxes as this government's revenues were predictably -- predictably as far as most people in Ontario were concerned -- underestimated.
We have a situation where municipalities and local boards are being dumped upon as the downloading on to those municipalities is being threatened for the next fiscal year. We have food banks which are under even greater pressure than they were when the Premier left this province. We have credit counselling services, which are absolutely essential in communities across Ontario and are strongly supported by labour councils and individual unions across Ontario and have had to have their employees, their members, use those services, being abandoned by the Minister of Community and Social Services.
The Minister of Health is forcing bed closings right across Ontario with her policies, even though it was anticipated that we would see more beds and more health services under an NDP government. Hospital deficits are soaring from one end of the province to the other as the anticipated costs are rising, costs which everyone knew were going to have to rise because of the aging of the population. Those hospitals are not getting sufficient money from the province.
Nurses are being fired, as are other members of hospital staffs and others in the health care field, even though the Premier, large as life, showed up at the Ontario Nurses' Association meeting and encouraged them to have a big increase in pay. I think people in Ontario supported that particular urging by the Premier. Then we turn around and have the provincial government pull the financial rug out from under the hospitals so that those nurses have to be fired, even though a few of them may be making more money as a result.
Health care services are being cut. Daily we see memos slipping out that indicate that the province is not going to cover as many of the procedures and practices as it did in the past. User fees are being threatened on senior citizens and other disadvantaged people in this province. Organ transplant programs are being threatened. They are certainly, at the very least, under a cloud.
I even noted that the refillable ratio for soft drink containers has gone down to about 7%. One would not have anticipated that in NDP Ontario.
The Minister of Energy is fending off suggestions that hydro rates are too high, as they rise 11%, 12%, 13%, 14% and higher in some of the communities across Ontario.
I do not say there is not a time for the Premier to go to Europe. There is, from time to time, and that is when the House is not sitting. We need to have an opportunity on a daily basis to question the Premier. In fact I distinctly heard, with about 35 seconds left in question period, the wheels of the Premier's jet touching down at Pearson International Airport. A week prior to that he had been seen with the royal couple, with all those wonderful photo opportunities that go with it, and then off to Europe as an international statesman. Meanwhile, Ontario is in dire straits.
We are pleased to see the Premier back. We hope he devotes his time now to the domestic issues that are confronting this province.
Mr Carr: I too would like to welcome the Premier back to Ontario after his trip. I understand he had a chance to reminisce and visit Cambridge, where he went to school.
I used to be a sales manager. The first thing you do when you have a salesperson come back is look for results. As I sit and look at this statement, I say it is a good job that this Premier was not on commission, because quite frankly he would starve with the results coming back from this particular trip. The first thing you do is look for concrete results in terms of the amount of money that is going to be invested here or the jobs that are going to be created. There is none of that in here; no results and a lot of rhetoric.
The same thing happened in the standing committee on estimates when we talked to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology. They told us about all the wonderful things they do, all the offices they open, all the people they talk to, but they never get specific in being able to say: "Here's an agreement we signed. Here's some investment in this province. Here are some jobs in this province."
One of the problems is that this Premier, because of his actions, has a very difficult product to sell. Recent studies show that we are in a 20% to 50% higher tax bracket in Ontario versus the United States. We are uncompetitive. While the Premier was travelling around Europe, I was meeting with an industry in Cambridge that invested billions of dollars in this province.
They said: "We used to get calls from around the world saying, 'We are coming to invest in Ontario. What do you think?' Right now the phones are silent. We are not getting any calls. If we are honest, when we do get the calls we're saying, 'Don't come here,' because of this government and its labour relations amendments.'"
A recent study said that because of this government's labour relations amendments 500,000 jobs and $20 billion of investment are at risk, and the Premier comes back with nothing. There is going to be a net loss under his premiership, and as a salesman he has been a failure. As we look at it and discuss it with businesses in this province, they know what needs to be done. We need to be more competitive, because if we are not competitive, we are going to lose markets. When we lose markets, people lose jobs.
There is nothing in this statement to make us more competitive. There is nothing in this statement to say specifically what the Premier is going to do to turn this mess around. As we sit here today, I say this Premier is a failure as a salesperson. He had better get back to doing what he should do best, which is being Premier and doing the things that need to be done, so a year from now, when he goes to the rest of world, he will have a better product to sell.
Mrs Cunningham: I thought it was interesting today in the Premier's statement -- I think it is something all of us should be aware of -- that the people in Europe are telling us our companies are not assertive enough. For those of us who make it our business to find out what is going on around the world, it is not news. This is exactly what we have been told.
Most of us would agree we have been somewhat studied to death and that the facts for Ontario and Canada with regard to the worrisome performance trends are not numbers and figures we want to really believe. The most serious weakness in this country is our low productivity growth. To solve that problem we are going to need the help not only of this government but of industry, business, labour and our colleges and universities. Since the early 1970s Canada has ranked near the bottom of all major industrial countries in productivity growth.
I think also the Premier knows that his next challenge with regard to Canada's record is that of unit labour costs. Unit labour costs between 1979 and 1989 in the manufacturing sector in Canada rose more quickly than those in most other industrialized countries and increased more than twice as fast as the costs in the United States.
We are giving the Premier these numbers because we know he is going to need them in the upcoming negotiations. All of us live on a day-to-day basis with the realities of unemployment in our province. We also know that the lagging investments on behalf of the government and the private sector in upgrading skills and technology are something this government is going to have to work hard not only to show leadership in but to encourage in the private sector.
With regard to the macroeconomic environment, I can only quote from a report that I know the Premier has looked at. It has to do with government deficits and rapidly growing public debts. I will close by saying that the combined federal and provincial government debt has been growing more quickly than the economy for a decade and now exceeds 70% of the gross domestic product. Among the G-7 countries, only Italy has a higher government debt than we do.
Mr Sorbara: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: If I can have a page, I will send you a copy of a document out of which the point of privilege arises.
This matter arises out of a letter distributed by the member for Yorkview during the course of the last municipal election campaign, specifically a letter distributed in conjunction with the election of separate school trustees in ward 3 of the Metropolitan Toronto area.
I submit to you, Mr Speaker, that this letter is not only libellous but maligns a candidate for that election who is currently a member of our caucus and at the relevant time was a member of my constituency staff. I raise it with you because the letter is under the signature of the member for Yorkview.
I will not quote the whole letter, but in it he says, among other things -- if the page could just deliver that to the Speaker, that to the Premier and that to the member for Yorkview, we can get on with this matter.
Mr Mahoney: The member for Yorkview is not here.
Mr Sorbara: I think the member for Yorkview is hiding somewhere behind the curtain.
This letter says, among other things, "Bill 162, Sorbara's legislation, which favours the desires of employers over the needs of workers, is a prime example of their disregard for working people in our community." Then he goes on to say, "Tony Genco" -- who was the candidate in question -- "was part of that Liberal government and ministry." I want to submit to you, Mr Speaker, that Mr Genco was neither part of the Liberal government nor part of the ministry, although he did do good work for me in my constituency affairs.
The letter goes on to say --
Mr Sorbara: I just say to my friends on the other side, if they feel this is the kind of politics they suscribe to, I will be willing to hear that.
The Speaker: Would the member address the point of privilege, please.
Mr Sorbara: The letter continues: "You may choose a Liberal, Tony Genco, who worked with the government for Bill 162 and all the harm it has done to families of working people. Or you can vote, as I urge you to do, for Mary Cicogna...."
I submit that for an MPP to print material which is wrong, which misleads and misstates facts and insults and misrepresents an employee of this Legislature, an employee of one our caucuses, goes far below the standard of politics we have become accustomed to in this province, should be an embarrassment to the member for Yorkview, should embarrass the Premier because this man is one of his caucus, violates my privileges as a member of this House and as a former minister of the crown and is an insult to all of us who believe in high standards of politics.
The Speaker: To the member for York Centre, I appreciate your bringing this to my attention. I will indeed consider it and report back to you later.
Mr Bradley: My question is for the Premier. I welcome him back to Ontario and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
The Premier has spoken many times in this House about open, honest and co-operative government. In light of these particular comments -- and I recognize the Premier has been away but I know his office controls all -- can the Premier today explain to us exactly what the consultation central co-ordinating committee is? What is its mandate and what people has he chosen to sit on this committee?
Hon Mr Rae: I would have to see what document the leader is referring to, or exactly what it is he is talking about. As the Leader of the Opposition will know, there is a substantial interest in the government in consulting with the general public and in consulting with people from around the province, so I look forward to seeing what it is the member is referring to. It would not be unusual for there to be a committee that would be involved in discussing and co-ordinating various consultation processes that are going on.
Mr Bradley: I would like to inform the House that I have in my possession a confidential memo to cabinet -- another one -- from the chief government whip, the member for Niagara South, dated November 19, 1991. Before I begin my supplementary, I ask the Premier if he will personally assure this House that he will not order a police interrogation of me or any member as a result of the release of this confidential matter.
It would be of interest to the Premier to know that in this confidential document the member outlines the mandate, membership and goals of his new consultation central co-ordinating committee. It would also interest the Premier that the member's understanding of this committee is somewhat different, perhaps, from his own. According to the memo, the committee, which has met twice, is made up primarily of NDP political staff, including David Reville and John Piper from the Premier's office. Perhaps most damning is the prominent place reserved on the committee for provincial NDP secretary Jill Marzetti. The memo says that the purpose of the CCC committee is "to maximize the government's profile and to establish new support bases across Ontario." The memo goes on to state that all co-ordination of this committee will be vetted through MPPs, their constituency staff, activists and NDP caucus services.
The Speaker: And the supplementary?
Mr Bradley: This despite the fact that participating ministries must agree to resource the project.
I have a question. It says to ask Fraser Green in the Premier's office; I will ask the Premier. We as well as the Ontario public do have some questions. Can the Premier confirm that he is in agreement with the stated objectives of the member for Niagara South's memo? Does he agree that this is essentially a political exercise, and can he explain why in this time of fiscal duress the government is paying for this type of operation?
Hon Mr Rae: I can only tell the Leader of the Opposition that it is perfectly in order, I would have thought, for us as a government to try to communicate with the public about what we are trying to do. If I could, I say to the Leader of the Opposition that the Liberal caucus office uses public dollars to communicate with the public. His staff holds meetings with respect to communicating the views and policies of the official opposition; so does the Conservative Party. There is nothing unusual about that at all. It is perfectly in order in terms of the government communicating a message for us to try to co-ordinate it, and in fact to end up saving some money in terms of the overall communication budget of the government.
Mr Bradley: These are dollars that the Minister of Community and Social Services will not be able to give to credit counselling services in Ontario.
The Premier seems to suggest that he has little idea of the mandate or the costs of this new committee even though his office staff make up over a quarter of its membership. According to this memo, the CCC committee will be involved in a broad ad campaign, a series of focus groups, regional orientation workshops and caucus participation plans. We on this side have also acquired mock-ups of the full-page ads that the NDP is planning to run in support of this political exercise.
Advertisement 3 -- that is the one in front of me -- states, "You're paying for this ad." Could the Premier tell the people of Ontario exactly how much they are paying, not only for the production of this full-page ad and its placement in all Ontario newspapers but the total costs for this extravagant, embarrassingly partisan exercise?
Hon Mr Rae: I stand to be corrected by my colleagues, but so far as I am aware no decision has been made with respect to any particular ad campaign. I can tell the Leader of the Opposition that as far as I am concerned, trying to communicate with the public about what we are trying to do is part of what governments have to do in this day and age. It is simple reality.
PREMIER'S VISIT TO EUROPE
Mr Bradley: The Premier, as we know, went to Europe with a couple of basic goals, at least so those of us in the opposition thought. This morning the Premier told reporters that the purpose of his trip was to get to know people. He was going to plead the case of de Havilland and the Ontario jobs at risk because of the Europeans' failure to okay that deal. He wanted to drum up new orders for Ontario companies and new investment for the province. Instead, the Premier spent his time test-driving buses, riding high-speed trains and hobnobbing at his old working man's haunt, Oxford University. Meanwhile, back at home, the circumstances I described about unemployment and the economy are prevailing. That is not good enough.
Can the Premier tell the House what, aside from some excellent cuisine and new business cards, he and the province of Ontario received for his globe-trotting efforts?
Hon Mr Rae: I must say to the honourable Leader of the Opposition I am surprised that somebody of his experience would take such a neo-isolationist view of the world as to think that foreign travel on behalf of the government of the province is somehow something wrong or indeed evil. I think it is an important part of the work of any Premier to represent the province in its trading and business activities in Europe, in the United States, in Japan and indeed in other markets. That is part of what is involved. It is something that must be done.
I would encourage other members to take an interest in what is going on in other markets and to encourage foreign investment in Ontario. That is exactly what we are doing. If the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party chooses to take the view that any contact or any trips overseas are wrong or are somehow simply junkets, I can only say that is a view that is certainly not shared by anybody I have talked to in the business community. It is not a view shared by his colleague the former Leader of the Opposition, who was asking me questions six months ago, who is now our agent general in London and who is only too strongly of the opinion that it is exactly this kind of work that needs to be done in foreign markets, in foreign capital markets and industrial markets around the world. It is work that has to be done on behalf of the people of Ontario.
Mr Bradley: I have been in this House long enough to remember when the then Leader of the Opposition was opposed to foreign investment in this province or this country.
The Premier said he might knock on some European doors to see if he could do something about the decision not to allow the sale of de Havilland, a ruling which could close Metro Toronto's largest employer. But according to the government's own ministerial briefing notes from this trip, de Havilland was so far down the Premier's list of things to do while in Europe that it did not even rate a mention. Evidently he thought showing a tourism film was a priority over de Havilland. While the Premier was meeting with people like Glenda Jackson, the workers at de Havilland were on tenterhooks waiting to see what this government is doing to save their jobs.
What did the Premier accomplish over in Europe? How many jobs did he save? How much investment did he get? What was the purpose of this schmoozing trip?
Hon Mr Rae: I can only tell the Leader of the Opposition, specifically with respect to de Havilland, that I met with the chairman of Aérospatiale, Mr Henri Martre, in Paris. I also had a two-hour conversation with Mr Beaudoin, who is the president of Bombardier Inc, who also happened to be in Paris at approximately the same time. I also had the opportunity to have a very brief conversation with the Prime Minister, who was also in Paris at that time and who had already talked to Mr Delors, the chairman of the European Commission.
I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that it just will not do for him to say that somehow there is something wrong or untoward about a Premier talking to foreign industrialists, talking to foreign investors. I can tell the Leader of the Opposition that I continue to be optimistic that we can find a solution to the situation at de Havilland. I hope very much that it will become clear to him that in fact the trip did play a role in helping to find a solution to this problem.
Mr Bradley: He brought back no job guarantees, apparently, but he brought back the terminology "neo-isolationist" from Oxford.
Last week we learned that a major credit rating agency might reduce its rating for Ontario because of this government's economic mismanagement. If that happens, it would be the second time since this government took office that Ontario has seen this particular rating fall. As a result, taxpayers in the province will be forced to fork over even more money in interest payments.
Unemployment in the province is approaching 10%. The Treasurer has been forced to revise his budget twice, cutting and putting off spending in order to reach his budget targets. Now outside analysts are saying the government will be forced to boost personal income and sales tax in order to keep the Treasurer's four-year fiscal fantasy.
My question is, can the Premier tell Ontario why he is spending this time running to foreign lands while the provincial economy keeps slipping? He certainly did a lot for the French and German economies with his spending. What is he going to do to revive Ontario's faltering economy?
Hon Mr Rae: I must say I am not surprised by the thrust of the questions from the Leader of the Opposition. In fact, I predicted them this morning when I was contemplating what it is that this new Leader of the Opposition would be all about.
I can only say to the Leader of the Opposition, as I think, apart from all the insults, the core of the question had to do with respect to our targets, I would suspect that of governments in Canada this year, only Ontario in fact is going to meet its fiscal targets. We are determined to do so and the Treasurer has my full support in our determination to get there. I would suspect that very few other governments in Canada are going to reach those same targets.
SEXUAL ABUSE OF PATIENTS
Mr J. Wilson: My question is to the Minister of Health. Members of the Legislature and the minister will be aware that the Task Force On Sexual Abuse of Patients, which was commissioned by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, released its final report this morning. The task force, which heard some 303 detailed reports of sexual abuse by physicians and others in a position of trust, has produced as a result of the hearings some 60 recommendations.
I want to ask the minister if she will give her personal assurance today to members of this House, to members of the public and especially to those survivors of sexual abuse, that she will move quickly to implement the recommendations contained in this report that require legislative change, that she will move quickly and that we can have some assurance that this report will not collect dust on the shelves, as so many other reports that have been presented to this government have met that fate.
Hon Ms Lankin: With the exception of the last little shot the member put in, I appreciate his comments and question and his ongoing interest in this issue. I will certainly give him and the rest of the members in this Legislative Assembly my assurance that I will move very quickly on the recommendations, and where further legislative amendment is required, we will move on that.
The member will know in fact that we have implemented some of the recommendations we found in the interim report, but there are others in which we need to bring the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Ontario Medical Association together to look at their implementation and the monitoring system. I guarantee him that we will move quickly to do that.
Mr J. Wilson: I would suggest that the minister has already missed an opportunity to enact many of these legislative changes. She will recall that over one month ago, during the clause-by-clause proceedings of the Regulated Health Professions Act in the standing committee on social development I, on behalf of my colleagues, introduced several amendments designed to help victims of sexual abuse. The government, in conjunction with the Liberals, voted as a bloc against those amendments. One of those amendments dealt with the survivors' compensation fund. This morning, with the release of the task force's final report, we see that the task force is again asking for the implementation of a survivors' compensation fund.
Given that in the past, just one month ago, the members of the NDP and the Liberals voted against such a fund, could we have the minister's commitment today that she will review the government's position and implement such a fund in a timely manner?
Hon Ms Lankin: I just correct the member to say that the official opposition and the government members did not vote against the concept of a fund. In fact, what they said was that they wanted to see the final recommendations from the task force. As the member will know, the recommendations of the task force have changed, not in that they do not continue to call for the establishment of such a fund -- they do -- but in their recommendation about how such a fund should be financed, and I think it is a helpful suggestion.
The committee felt there were certain elements of the recommendations, that we wanted to see the final report from the task force and, because we are dealing with a self-regulated profession, we wanted to have a chance to see a response from the profession itself. I appreciate the amendments that the member prepared and submitted to the committee. I am sure that all members of the committee found merit in them. We will review those along with the final recommendations. I assure the member we will move quickly.
Mr J. Wilson: If the minister is really serious about zero tolerance and the recommendations contained in the task force's final report presented this morning, she will move quickly. She has an opportunity today to move quickly in an area of compensation for survivors of sexual abuse. She failed to do that a month ago on committee. The Regulated Health Professions Act will be receiving royal assent this afternoon.
Would the minister consider putting those bills on hold, putting the issue back to committee so we can put in the proper legislative clauses to deal with and provide compensation to victims of sexual abuse? The patient relations committee the minister set up does nothing to help victims. We are asking if she would consider holding up the bills for just a short while to give us an opportunity to implement proper clauses in that legislation to ensure that victims are provided with the compensation they so very badly need.
Hon Ms Lankin: I appreciate the member's urging in this respect. I am not prepared to hold up royal assent of the bills this afternoon, but I am prepared to give him an undertaking that we will move very quickly to develop a package of required legislative changes and that we will bring that forward. I do not hesitate at all to reopen the legislation and to make these necessary changes.
The member has a commitment that our government wants to move on this, we want to do it in conjunction with the profession and we appreciate the work the member opposite has done with respect to amendments. We will take a look at that wording as we look at drafting our own legislative amendments.
Mr Cousens: My question is directed towards the Minister of the Environment. This past week I have had the opportunity of continuing dialogue with members of the business community, who clearly demonstrate desire and interest to support the initiatives of the government, the intent of moving forward on the 3Rs. Yet these same people address a great deal of anxiety over Bill 143 and the direction in which the minister wants to take the government. In fact to them she is becoming the environment's worst nightmare.
Everyone has a breaking point. With all the other forces coming against business in this province from other departments of the government and the uncertainty surrounding the environmental policies coming from the ministry, they do not know what the environmental bill of rights is going to bring and they are not certain as to how the waste audits are to be managed and done. There are a number of questions that come out of Bill 143 that are raising great concerns, all leading to an increased cost of doing business in Ontario.
Because businesses are forced to dispose of their waste now within the greater Toronto area -- they cannot take cheaper options in sending it to Kirkland Lake -- the tippage fees continue to increase. So the question really boils down to how business can remain competitive when faced with potential increases in its operating costs. It boils down to another question: What is there to prevent businesses from relocating either to Buffalo or Belleville?
Hon Mrs Grier: I think the premises on which the member has based his question are fundamentally incorrect. What businesses in the GTA requires for an atmosphere of certainty and in order to make the best business decisions is some certainty that there will in fact be somewhere to dispose of their waste when the existing landfill sites are closed, and that is precisely what Bill 143 is designed to do.
Mr Cousens: The fact of the matter is that we have a place, and the place to start dealing with the problem is here in this Legislature, where we have a sense of trying to work through the issue, where both sides and all sides have a chance to consult on it. Business is very concerned about the lack of consultation taking place between the Ministry of the Environment and itself with regard to the minister's new regulatory measures to achieve Ontario's waste reduction targets.
In her waste booklet, Regulatory Measures to Achieve Ontario's Waste Reduction Targets, which came out in October, the minister stated that the consultation period for that document will end on December 6, just next week. Less than two months have been given to companies and industries and interested people to respond to this very important document. Yet what happens now is that her ministry could go ahead and act on it without having listened to the views of those people.
Given the amount of thought required to answer the proposals raised in this, given the impact that it is going to have on industry as a whole, given the shortage of time the minister has given industry to respond to it and given the confusion within the business community over her proposals, would the minister consider extending the consultation period past December 6?
Hon Mrs Grier: There are a number of points I want to make. Let me make it perfectly clear, Mr Speaker, I agree with the member that there has to be and will be and has been the fullest possible consultation with respect to implementation of the regulations he refers to.
First, let me make the point that those regulations were developed in discussion with a lot of industries and in consultation with multistakeholder committees. Second, the period for consultation identified last October, when we released the paper, was obviously for formal feedback from many industries. The fact that this date may pass does not preclude industries from giving us their opinions or us from dealing with those opinions.
Bill 143 provides the legislative framework within which the regulations the member has referred to will be promulgated, so there obviously will be time after the passage of Bill 143, which I hope will be before we recess for the Christmas season, to consult about the actual regulations that will flow from it.
Mr Cousens: It is not very reassuring. Consultation is a two-way dialogue. When this government talks about consultation, it is as if it says: "Here is our view. Take it or leave it." There is so much happening within that document which requires more than just a speedy response. It requires a continuing discussion between this ministry and the people who have to implement it.
Rather than use a police force to make it happen, what we really need to do is have some kind of working together on it, which the ministry does not seem to be willing to do. Obviously the minister is not willing to extend the formal period for responses beyond December 6. The answer the minister has really given is, "No, I will not allow consultation to go beyond December 6," and that is unfortunate, because she is going to just go ahead and implement it anyway.
My second supplementary has to do with Bill 143 and the fact that so many people's rights are going to be affected by it. Individual rights are impacted; municipal rights are impacted. When Bill 143 is passed, the Ontario Municipal Act disappears when it comes to environmental concerns. The Planning Act disappears.
The Speaker: And the supplementary?
Mr Cousens: There are several issues that come out of this, and if I can just put the question properly, I might get an answer.
The Speaker: A question, please.
Mr Cousens: My question is, the government House leader wants to see passage of Bill 143 before we rise from this House. In other words, there will not be a chance for a full and public dialogue by interested communities on the impact Bill 143 is going to have on them and on their rights and everything else related to it.
The Speaker: Will the member please place his question.
Mr Cousens: I will right now. Will the minister agree to have public consultation on Bill 143, to take place after the House rises on December 19 this year for Christmas?
Hon Mrs Grier: The member's characterizations of the consultation process around both the waste reduction regulations and Bill 143 are wildly inaccurate. With respect to Bill 143, I am disappointed that the member is not prepared to recognize that the measures he has talked about apply to the landfill sites in Peel and in Metro-York. When he says they abrogate the Municipal Act, he implies that is something that is happening province-wide, and I am disappointed he would do that.
Let me say to him with respect to public consultation and hearings on Bill 143 that I understand our House leader has made a proposal to the House leaders of the opposition parties about a way of enabling us to do just that and still meet the need of the people, the industries and the municipalities within the GTA for assurance that they will have waste disposal capacity as soon as possible. I hope the member's caucus and the member's House leader will respond positively to those suggestions.
Mr Bradley: I have another question for the Premier. If a page will come by, I will send him a copy of this secret memo we have that has been leaked to us and that I hope the OPP is not tracing down.
Hon Mr Cooke: It's obviously not secret.
Mr Bradley: It is no longer a secret, no.
The Premier says it is the government's prerogative to co-ordinate consultation in the province. I think most people, in fairness, would agree with that. But then we ask the question: Why does the committee membership contain only one civil servant and why does it contain Jill Marzetti, the NDP secretary, the same person who has previously declared war on the Ontario business lobby?
Given this blatant overrepresentation by political staffers, will the Premier not admit that this is a blatant political attempt at public manipulation and not at consultation at all?
Hon Mr Rae: No, Mr Speaker.
Mr Bradley: While the Premier was riding the trains in Europe and involved in a number of photo opportunities, the Treasurer of this province was struggling with the deficit and with the need to cut some of the costs the government has been incurring. As a result, one has to ask the Premier where the government is going to find the money for this particular committee, since it says the money must come from various ministries.
Will it come from the Ministry of Health, so that we can no longer cover health care services? Will it come from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, so people in need will not have as much money to meet their needs? Will it come from the Ministry of Transportation, where there are many needs in this province? Where is this money to come from to finance this government's political manipulation?
Hon Mr Rae: It is my understanding and certainly my determination, and I think it is shared by the Treasurer, that any money for any communication plans comes from within existing ministry budgets and is not new money.
Mr Jackson: I have a question to the Minister of Health. A constituent of mine, a senior citizen, Mrs Dorothy Kennedy, has such a severe infection of shingles that it has gone into her eyes. Her ophthalmologist has indicated that her condition is vision-threatening unless the prescribed treatment of a drug called Zovirax is made available to her.
Mrs Kennedy went to the pharmacist and found out that it is going to cost her $285 for this 10-day program because as of November 1, the minister had removed it, as one of the interim benefits, from the Ontario drug benefit plan. Mrs Kennedy is a senior citizen and she is having a hard time making ends meet. But she is aware that if she wants to get this treatment, she can be admitted into a hospital to take the prescription for a 10-day period at a cost to taxpayers of anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000.
Why is the minister cutting support services to seniors like Mrs Dorothy Kennedy for such medically necessary medical treatments for her and others like her in this province?
Hon Ms Lankin: I hope the member opposite knows that in fact we have not cut access to it. What we have done has been to follow the recommendations in the Lowy report that the drugs that were listed on the interim benefits be submitted to the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee and the determination made whether they be added to the formulary or be accessed through the special authorization section of the legislation, section 8 requests.
In the case of this particular drug -- and I hope I am correct; the member used a brand name. I think the actual drug we are talking about is Acyclovir. He nods yes -- in that situation we have ensured, because it is so important in dealing with the issue of seniors and shingles, that there is a 24-hour turnaround.
I was aware of a complaint from the member's office with respect to a constituent. Since the policy was put in place, there have been eight requests. They have been handled within a 24-hour turnaround, as was committed. We were unable to locate a request from the doctor the member has actually specified and we are attempting to contact that doctor to find out what happened in the circumstances.
Mr Jackson: The minister is correct. I did notify her office last Monday when this was brought to my attention and did finally have someone contact me today about the matter.
But more important, what we have discovered about this case is that in letters dated September 18 and October 10 from her ministry to physicians and pharmacists in this province, nowhere does the minister mention that a special authorization can be sought for the treatment of their patients so they can have access to the Ontario drug benefit plan.
In fact the minister's correspondences from her ministry are very specific that the reason she is informing the physicians and pharmacists is because these drugs will no longer -- and she underlines this in her letter, which I have in front of me -- be reimbursed by the ODB program. The minister goes on to suggest that inventories will have to be adjusted because the drug will no longer be available.
My point to the minister is that she has communicated to physicians in very clear and straight language that the drug will not be available. The minister has also indicated that there will be a 24-hour turnaround, yet it has to be in writing from the physician and physicians are unaware that they can apply for it.
The Speaker: Will the member place his supplementary, please.
Mr Jackson: My supplementary question to the minister is simply this: Why do physicians feel her ministry has misled them and why do patients feel her decision is cruel and harsh to them, that she did not inform physicians or pharmacists in this province that they can make application? My patient will be ineligible if she waits beyond 72 hours for this medical treatment --
The Speaker: Would the member conclude his question, please.
Mr Jackson: The Minister of Health says she will provide a 24-hour treatment, and she has not even told physicians it is available.
Hon Ms Lankin: The member asks why doctors feel this. In fact, I was not aware that doctors feel they can no longer apply for this. Doctors are well aware under the legislation that any drug not on the Drug Benefit Formulary can be applied for through special authorization. However, the member raises concern that there may be some members of the profession who are not aware of this. If I can do anything to clear that up by sending further communication, I will review the letter that was sent and I will undertake to do that, because I think it is important that people do understand what the program does and does not provide for.
Mr G. Wilson: My question is for the Minister of Energy. As the minister knows, one of the goals of our government is the efficient use of energy resources. In pursuing this goal we need the co-operation of the citizens and their agencies throughout the province. Recently the Kingston Utilities Commission proposed a fuel-switching test that involved switching electric water heaters to gas. This proposal to Ontario Hydro was rejected. I would like to know what the reasons were for this rejection, considering that it was put forward as a model that could be used throughout the province.
Hon Mr Ferguson: Ontario Hydro would very much like to enter into a partnership with the city of Kingston on fuel switching. As the member knows, Kingston is in a unique position because it not only operates and owns the gas utility but also the electric utility. However, because our friends opposite have decided to hold up Bill 118 and send it out to committee on the road, for their own politically expedient reasons, we cannot promote fuel switching until the bill is passed. As a result, consumers will not be saving as much this winter as they possibly could and we will have to work all that much harder, given the time frames the ministry and Ontario Hydro will have to operate under.
Mr G. Wilson: I would like to know what the ministry is proposing until we can get the bill through as far as alternative fuel sources are concerned.
Hon Mr Ferguson: We have undertaken three very important initiatives. The first important initiative, of course, is to ensure that any newly constructed non-profit housing will not have electric heat; second, we have made the same commitment for government of Ontario buildings, and we will not be using hydroelectric heat there. The third thing we can do until we have to deal with this politically expedient problem across the way is to at least educate the public and provide them with the necessary information so they can make an intelligent decision on what form of energy to use for heat. It is well known today, because of the decisions and mistakes made in the past, that electrical heat is the most expensive form of heat being used today in Ontario.
Mr Conway: My question is for the Solicitor General. While the Premier was sipping champagne and contemplating neo-isolationism in the shadow of the Paris Opera, the Ontario Provincial Police are continuing to experience budgetary pressure the like of which we have not seen here in my time in this Legislature. When he and I last chatted some two weeks ago about the extent of this budgetary pressure, my good friend the Solicitor General suggested that I was perhaps overstating the case.
In the intervening two weeks I have had the opportunity to read the Eganville Leader of Wednesday, November 13, and Wednesday, November 20, and the Ottawa Citizen of yesterday, all of which report and quote rather directly sources within the eastern regional office of the Ontario Provincial Police that in fact these budgetary pressures are real and that in fact we now find ourselves in a situation where police officers are volunteering to serve; they have contributed in the eastern regions thousands of hours so they can maintain a basic level of service.
Is the Solicitor General aware that the budgetary problem has now got to such a point that we have OPP officers in eastern Ontario volunteering their time to ensure a minimum level of protection to citizens in my part of the province?
Hon Mr Pilkey: First, may I respond by saying I certainly appreciate the member's use of sesquipedalian words in the Legislature. It certainly elevates the quality of debate. I thank him for that.
Second, in terms of the policing services in the eastern region, it is interesting that the member quoted me some circumstances a few weeks ago, and that upon further reflection and investigation by the media they found quite the opposite. I do not know if that will be the case in this particular circumstance, whether history will repeat itself, but we will wait with interest to find out.
I did notice, however, in some of the other media reports I have received in the eastern region, more particularly in Kanata just outside of Ottawa, where one individual was concerned about the service of the OPP and potential cutbacks but said, "I think that would be a real shame, because right now we're getting pretty good service."
I think we are getting good service. Along with the member opposite I do share concerns if funding is not available and there is a dilution in the future. At the moment I believe the OPP are continuing to do the fine, sterling job they have in the past, and the general community is being served.
Mr Conway: I will make two quick references to quotes in the regional press. An OPP constable in eastern Ontario was quoted directly in the Eganville Leader of November 13 as saying, "They" -- meaning the Ontario government -- "are cutting everything to the bone and they're butchering us so badly we can't function."
The Lindsay Daily Post editorialized the other day, "The Ontario government is sticking its head in the sand by refusing to acknowledge a problem affecting policing in this area," namely, Victoria county. The word is out that the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere program is the next to be chopped. Can the Solicitor General confirm in his place today that the RIDE program will go forward in this Christmas season without any alteration relative to what we have enjoyed in the last two years?
Hon Mr Pilkey: I know the RIDE program is working in Durham region, because about three nights ago I was stopped by it and observed it in yet another location. I can attest that at least the regional forces are certainly continuing. To the best of my knowledge the RIDE program is continuing with the OPP as well.
The member will appreciate that there are fiscal constraints with respect to all areas of endeavour with this government. The Ministry of the Solicitor General does not escape the kind of scrutiny and the type of concern the Treasurer must exert in this very difficult recessionary period, even though many of the fiscal difficulties he faces are brought to him by other levels of government.
Notwithstanding that, I can assure the member opposite that this minister will fight as hard and as deliberately as he can -- and I believe quite successfully -- with this government to ensure that the kind of public safety and service the people of this province have enjoyed in the past will continue to be the kind of safety and service they will receive well into the future, including the RIDE program.
VEHICLE LICENSING OFFICES
Mr Turnbull: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. I welcome my colleague back from Europe. It is rather unfortunate I have to focus him away from Dom Perignon and pâté. I will remind the minister that I asked him October 21 in the House about the ministry's plans for the driver/vehicle licensing officers. I want to remind him of his words:
"We are satisfied with the 288 people -- the private system at its best.... The system is working quite fine. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
It is actually 1,500 people who work in these offices. I want to point out some contradictory statements. Last month the assistant deputy minister, Alex Kelly, told the executive of the licence issuers association that the Ministry of Transportation was looking to have auto insurance companies offer all vehicle transactions now done in registry offices.
In addition, three weeks ago Janet Faas, the director of licensing and control, met with the licensing association and said the Ministry of Transportation was looking for one-stop shopping for vehicle insurance and registration.
Also, on October 1 the Premier wrote to a constituent, "Our government will also explore, along with industry, a joint venture that could lead to a system of one-stop shopping."
The Speaker: Just a minute. Would the member quickly place a question.
Mr Turnbull: There is a lot of confusion. The people who work in registry offices want to know if the minister will honour his commitment and tell the other ministries to back off. Which is the case? Which is the correct situation?
Hon Mr Pouliot: I appreciate the question from the member opposite. It was not Dom Perignon. It was merely a humble bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. The member stands to be educated. It would be quite a step from a place where you eat to a place where you dine. More specifically, the trip was the fourth Sommet de la Francophonie. It was entirely funded courtesy of the federal government, so some of the money is coming back.
More important, I had the opportunity some two weeks ago to meet with the women and men in those 288 offices who provide that essential service, to give them the assurance that there will be no changes. Although we are committed to looking at our options, those people who have been providing the service are doing an excellent job and our intent at all ministries concerned is that if it ain't broke, don't fix it; it is business as usual.
Mr Turnbull: I am delighted to hear that. I would suggest the minister communicate with the Ministry of Financial Institutions and tell it to stop its plans and also communicate that to the Premier. Will he undertake today to indicate to them that he is not going to make any changes and they should stop these communications which upset the people who work in these offices?
Hon Mr Pouliot: The collective works best when there is co-operation. With all due respect possible, the member should stop selling fear. There is nothing out there. The member opposite forces me to become repetitive. The system is working well and it will keep on working well. There is nothing wrong with the system.
Mr Turnbull: Why is the Premier sending these letters out?
Hon Mr Pouliot: The Premier is not sending them. He has a second or third supplementary now. There is no stopping him. The system is operating well and we have no intentions of changing it.
The Speaker: New question, the member for Yorkview.
Mr Mammoliti: I am glad I made it. I missed the comment made by the member for York Centre. He was his usual --
The Speaker: Your question is to whom?
METHANE GAS LEAK
Mr Mammoliti: I address my question to the Minister of the Environment. It concerns an issue the ministry has been aware of for some time. The minister has received correspondence from my office bringing to her attention a very serious matter in my riding of Yorkview. I attended a meeting where some 450 residents of the Bluehaven community expressed their anger at the potential environmental danger of constructing a proposed project in their neighbourhood.
I am told the area in question, at the corner of Finch Avenue and Ardwick Boulevard, was once adjacent to a dump site and that the Bluehaven public school located near the site was allegedly closed due to methane gas leakage. The residents' fear for their children is understandable. My constituents have asked me to bring these concerns directly to this House. I ask the honourable Minister of the Environment what she has done to address this situation, and what the ministry is prepared to do as well.
Hon Mrs Grier: I know of this member's deep concern about this issue and I hope his constituents are aware of his ongoing attention to it. I also want to reassure him that based on the information provided to my ministry, my technical staff have determined there are no environmental hazards that would affect development of the site to which he refers.
I know there have been a number of letters to my ministry from residents who feel this site was a former landfill. I want to reassure the member and his constituents that this in fact is not the case. The site is adjacent to a landfill that was closed 25 years ago, and the school to which the member referred was adjacent to another landfill that was closed an equally long time ago.
In response to the member's question as to what my ministry is prepared to do, I am happy to tell him that I have recommended to the developers --
The Speaker: Order, the member for St George-St David.
Hon Mrs Grier: -- that they conduct additional gas migration studies to ensure that the future occupants of the project will not at any time in the future be impacted by the adjoining landfill, and I am rather surprised to learn that there has not been a public meeting at which both the developers and the residents have had an opportunity to discuss the environmental studies. If it would be of assistance to the neighbourhood, my ministry would be prepared to attend such a meeting.
Mr Mammoliti: I am glad to hear that the minister is prepared to meet with some people in the community. I would like at this time to ask her if she is prepared to meet with the mayor of North York as well, seeing that he has gotten himself involved in this. As a matter of fact, he has had a few choice words to say about the minister in the past. I would like perhaps to meet with him and to talk about this particular problem and see whether or not we can come to a mutual agreement among all of us.
Hon Mrs Grier: As I indicated in my response to the first question, I think it is important that there be a meeting between representatives of the ratepayers group or the residents concerned and the developer, and should the mayor wish to attend such a meeting, I know my staff would be more than happy to share the technical studies and the information we have with the mayor.
INVESTIGATION INTO RELEASE OF DOCUMENTS
Mr Phillips: My question is of the Premier, and it has to do with the use of the OPP by the government to conduct investigations against the opposition and our Ontario public service employees. We know of at least three times in the past six months when cabinet ministers have approved a decision to use the OPP to conduct investigations into leaked documents. Twice these investigations included members of the official opposition in the Legislature.
My question to the Premier is this: Was the plan to call in the police in any of these three cases -- the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Treasury and Economics and the Ministry of the Environment -- discussed with him or anyone in his office or the cabinet office before the call was made to the OPP to launch the investigation?
Hon Mr Rae: I was not consulted before any such decisions were made.
Mr Phillips: I would like it if the Premier, in a supplementary, would answer all of my first question, and if the Speaker will permit me, I will include my supplementary as well.
The people of Ontario are asking to know on what basis these investigations or interrogations are launched, because I think the Premier can appreciate it is a very serious matter when the OPP is used to investigate the opposition.
In the case of the Treasury investigation, the Treasurer said the document that was released was not a sensitive document. The reason the OPP was called in was that the process was not airtight; the OPP was called in to make it airtight. What does this say to the opposition and to our public service and to the people of Ontario?
My question to the Premier is this: What are his standards for calling in the OPP? Can we expect that the OPP will be called in when any minister wants to make the process within his or her ministry airtight?
Hon Mr Rae: In each case, I say to the member for Scarborough-Agincourt -- and I hope he will appreciate that I will obviously take some notice of his question -- to my knowledge, and I have not had a chance recently to discuss the details of each instance that was raised by him, the decisions made were made by ministries, not made by ministers, not made by political staff and not consulted with political staff. They were decisions made by ministries.
With respect to the second question, the member for Scarborough-Agincourt knows full well that with respect to the preparation of a budget, for example, there are real questions about the process and making sure that people who would be in a position to take advantage of any budget information not get that information prior to the release. We have all been through this in the House over many years, as in Ottawa.
When the member talks about -- what was the phrase he used exactly? -- making sure the process is airtight, I think is how he described it, it has to do with the question of budget secrecy. That is what the Treasurer referred to in the answer I know he gave in the House a few days ago, and that is all he was referring to.
The Speaker: New question.
Hon Mr Rae: If I could just make one other point briefly, I understand the House leader has made it very clear that we are quite happy to have this entire matter discussed in front of a parliamentary committee, and we would be very pleased to do so.
Mrs Marland: My question is of the Minister of Education and it concerns the problem of indoor air quality in schools, particularly in portable classrooms. The Dufferin-Peel Roman Catholic Separate School Board has one school, St Basil, in which air is considered to be uncomfortable. Some other schools have problems which must be corrected. These problems are not unusual, and they exist in many schools across Ontario.
In a letter to me dated October 7, 1991, the former Education minister said: "The ministry is not in a position to fund the installation of mechanical systems in schools where they did not previously exist. However, under certain circumstances, the board may request renovation funding for existing systems through the regular capital expenditure process."
Considering how little the boards are receiving through the capital expenditure process, this is hardly a solution. We are talking about air that makes children sick and impedes their ability to learn. What action will the minister take to ensure that indoor air in schools is healthy and comfortable?
Hon Mr Silipo: Let me say to the member opposite that I agree with her that the question of air quality is a concern to all of us and certainly to me as Minister of Education and particularly in the context she raises it, in a number of schools and students that have to use portables. Clearly the solution to this in the short term is probably not a satisfactory one. I know my officials are trying to work with school boards to make suggestions about things that could be done in the short term.
In the long term, quite frankly, I think the solution involves a re-examination of the way in which we spend money to build schools and to renovate schools, and that clearly is part of the examination we are having of the whole refinancing of education and something I think we will take seriously in trying to come up with some solutions.
Mrs Marland: Indoor air quality standards are part of the Ontario Building Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and we need legislated standards for indoor air quality. We must have better co-ordination between the ministries involved, which must also reach some consensus on indoor air quality issues. We need a cost-sharing agreement for the considerable expense of installing mechanical ventilation units in portable classrooms particularly. Will the minister ensure that an interministerial task force will give indoor air quality the attention it deserves, and will he work with the school boards to ensure that a fair funding arrangement is achieved?
Hon Mr Silipo: Let me say to the member that I am not sure an interministerial task force is necessarily the answer, but clearly the question of co-ordinating our efforts with ministries like the Ministry of the Environment is essential. My understanding from my officials is that, in fact, that is what we have been doing, and certainly we will continue to do that. I will certainly be interested in taking a closer look at the suggestion the member makes to see if there are things in her suggestion that can be done that we are not pursuing, but I think the question of air quality is one that is important.
As I said earlier, there are a number of things we are doing to work with school boards and with other ministries to indicate some things that can be done to address the individual problems that are brought to our attention, but clearly we also know that we need to find some longer-term solutions.
Mrs MacKinnon: My question today is directed to the Minister of Natural Resources. The Pinery Provincial Park is located in my riding of Lambton county, and it boasts a unique blend of oak, savannah and Carolinian forest. Unfortunately, the steadily increasing deer population over the last number of years not only poses a threat to the park ecosystem, but area farmers have also experienced losses due to deer predation of their crops. The situation has been historically overlooked and put off, and my constituents are increasingly concerned as to the ministry's intention. Would the minister please let my constituents know today what this government's commitment is to their very pressing concerns?
Hon Mr Wildman: The member is quite right. There have been a number of issues raised and considerable correspondence with me from various people in the area over the issue of deer overpopulation in the Pinery and surrounding area. Anglers, hunters, farmers, naturalists and local residents generally have indicated it is very important that we work to resolve this problem. We have a responsibility, as I am sure the members will agree, to satisfy the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. The experience we have had at Rondeau Provincial Park has given us some information that will be beneficial for us in the management exercise. I would close by indicating to the member and to all members of the House that we are going to begin public consultation regarding the various approaches we could use for reducing deer numbers in January 1992.
Mrs MacKinnon: I thank the minister for his concise answer. A time line is definitely of some comfort to the constituents of Lambton county. However, there has been much discussion on the appropriate action that will be taken. Will this consultation allow for real public input, or does the ministry already have a plan in place that will be implemented, regardless of public opinion?
Hon Mr Wildman: I might be facetious and indicate that we are not intending to consult the deer. However, I will say that we will be consulting widely and it will be important that we get public assistance to ensure that we protect the park values at the Pinery, as well as dealing with the overpopulation of deer.
This situation is not unique to the Pinery. Farmers across Ontario are experiencing difficulties with the overpopulation of deer, and my ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food are working together to see if we can come up with some solutions in the near future. We have 15 proposed options we could use --
Mr Jackson: Oh, list them all.
Hon Mr Wildman: No. I will just list that they range from fencing to a controlled hunt to a cull within the park. All of these have advantages and disadvantages, and that is why we hope to have real public consultation which will help us to choose one, or a combination of options, that will be the best for the deer population and for the people who are concerned about this issue.
YOUTH MINIMUM WAGE
Mr Carr: I am very pleased, on behalf of Heather Osberg, a student at Queen Elizabeth Park Secondary School, to present a petition signed by 432 concerned students who live in my riding of Oakville South which reads as follows:
"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"Whereas the government of Ontario has stated its objective to eliminate the youth minimum wage differential by 1992; and
"Whereas such action will seriously reduce available job opportunities for Ontario students;
"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:
"Until the Ministry of Labour can assure the Ontario student population that no student jobs will be lost by the elimination of the youth minimum wage differential, we urge the government to maintain the current differential."
That is signed by 432 students and was put together by a fine student by the name of Heather Osburg, who worked very hard getting those names together.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
VEHICLE AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY ACT, 1991 / LOI DE 1991 SUR LA SÉCURITÉ DES PIÉTONS ET DES VÉHICULES
Mr Chiarelli moved first reading of Bill 157, An Act to provide for Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety/
Projet de loi 157, Loi prévoyant la sécurité des piétons et des véhicules.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Chiarelli: I explained this bill in more detail earlier in my member's statement, but very briefly, the bill would prohibit persons from walking or running on highways or railway tracks or driving vehicles on highways while wearing earphones. The prohibition would not apply to the wearing of hearing aids.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT, 1991 / LOI DE 1991 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR LES RELATIONS DE TRAVAIL
Mr Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 158, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act with respect to the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Sector of the Construction Industry/
Projet de loi 158, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les relations de travail en ce qui a trait au secteur industriel, commercial et institutionnel de l'industrie de la construction.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mr Mackenzie: This bill amends the Labour Relations Act to make certain changes relating to the industrial, commercial and institutional sector of the construction industry. The term of province-wide agreements will be increased from two to three years. When a vote is conducted to ratify a province-wide agreement, counting of the ballots will not be allowed until all the voting in the province is completed. Section 152 will be added to the act to provide for the establishment of a corporation to facilitate the collective bargaining and otherwise assist the sector. Labour, management and government will be equally represented among the members of the corporation. The corporation will be funded by labour and management.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
The Speaker: Before calling for orders of the day, pursuant to standing order 33, the member for Brampton North has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of the Environment concerning Bill 143 and its implications regarding the environmental bill of rights. This matter will be debated at 6 pm.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
RETAIL BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 1991/ LOI DE 1991 MODIFIANT DES LOIS EN CE QUI CONCERNE LES ÉTABLISSEMENTS DE COMMERCE DE DÉTAIL
Deferred vote on the motion for third reading of Bill 115, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act and the Employment Standards Act in respect of the opening of retail business establishments and employment in them
/Projet de loi115, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les jours fériés dans le commerce de détail et la Loi sur les normes d'emploi en ce qui concerne l'ouverture des établissements de commerce de détail et l'emploi dans ces établissements.
The House divided on Mr Pilkey's motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes -- 63
Abel, Akande, Allen, Boyd, Carter, Charlton, Christopherson, Churley, Cooke, Cooper, Coppen, Dadamo, Duignan, Farnan, Ferguson, Fletcher, Frankford, Gigantes, Grier, Haeck, Hampton, Hansen, Harrington, Hayes, Hope, Huget, Jamison, Johnson, Klopp, Kormos, Lankin, Laughren, Lessard, Mackenzie, MacKinnon, Mammoliti, Marchese, Martel, Mathyssen, Mills, Morrow, Murdock, S., North, O'Connor, Owens, Perruzza, Philip, E., Pilkey, Pouliot, Rae, Silipo, Sutherland, Ward, B., Ward, M., Wark-Martyn, Waters, Wessenger, White, Wildman, Wilson, G., Winninger, Wiseman, Ziemba.
Nays -- 32
Arnott, Bradley, Callahan, Caplan, Carr, Chiarelli, Conway, Cousens, Cunningham, Grandmaître, Harnick, Jackson, Jordan, Mahoney, Mancini, Marland, McClelland, Miclash, Offer, O'Neil, H., O'Neill, Y., Phillips, G., Poirier, Poole, Runciman, Scott, Sola, Sorbara, Stockwell, Tilson, Turnbull, Wilson, J.
Hon Mr Cooke: His Honour the Lieutenant Governor awaits to give royal assent to certain bills. Since this may be the last time the current Lieutenant Governor comes into the assembly, I ask that the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition and the deputy House leader for the Conservative Party go get the Lieutenant Governor.
His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat upon the throne.
Hon Mr Alexander: Pray be seated.
The Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present meetings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.
Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Journals: The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:
Bill 42, An Act to revise the Arbitrations Act
/Projet de loi42, Loi portant révision de la Loi sur l'arbitrage.
Bill 43, An Act respecting the regulation of Health Professions and other matters concerning Health Professions
/Projet de loi43, Loi concernant la réglementation des professions de la santé et d'autres questions relatives aux professions de la santé.
Bill 44, An Act respecting the regulation of the Professions of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology/Projet de loi44, Loi concernant la réglementation des professions d'audiologiste et d'orthophoniste.
Bill 45, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Chiropody
/Projet de loi45, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de podologue.
Bill 46, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Chiropractic
/Projet de loi46, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de chiropraticien.
Bill 47, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Dental Hygiene
/Projet de loi47, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession d'hygiéniste dentaire.
Bill 48, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Dental Technology
/Projet de loi48, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de technologue dentaire.
Bill 49, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Dentistry
/ Projet de loi49, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de dentiste.
Bill 50, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Denturism
/Projet de loi50, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de denturologiste.
Bill 51, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Dietetics
/Projet de loi51, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de diététiste.
Bill 52, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Massage Therapy
/Projet de loi52, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de massothérapeute.
Bill 53, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Medical Laboratory Technology
/Projet de loi53, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de technologiste de laboratoire médical.
Bill 54, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Medical Radiation Technology
/Projet de loi54, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de technologue en radiation médicale.
Bill 55, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Medicine
/Projet de loi55, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de médecin.
Bill 56, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Midwifery
/Projet de loi56, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de sage-femme.
Bill 57, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Nursing
/Projet de loi57, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession d'infirmière ou d'infirmier.
Bill 58, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Occupational Therapy
/Projet de loi58, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession d'ergothérapeute.
Bill 59, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Opticianry
/Projet de loi59, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession d'opticien.
Bill 60, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Optometry
/Projet de loi60, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession d'optométriste.
Bill 61, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Pharmacy
/Projet de loi61, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de pharmacien.
Bill 62, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Physiotherapy
/Projet de loi62, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de physiothérapeute.
Bill 63, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Psychology
/Projet de loi63, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession de psychologue.
Bill 64, An Act respecting the regulation of the Profession of Respiratory Therapy
/Projet de loi64, Loi concernant la réglementation de la profession d'inhalothérapeute.
Bill 73, An Act to repeal The John Graves Simcoe Memorial Foundation Act, 1965
/Projet de loi73, Loi portant abrogation de la loi intitulée The John Graves Simcoe Memorial Foundation Act, 1965.
Bill 75, An Act to amend the Law Society Act
/Projet de loi75, Loi portant modification de la Loi sur la Société du barreau.
Bill 76, An Act to repeal the Fraudulent Debtors Arrest Act
/Projet de loi76, Loi portant abrogation de la Loi sur l'arrestation des débiteurs en fuite.
Bill 115, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act and the Employment Standards Act in respect of the opening of retail business establishments and employment in them
/Projet de loi115, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les jours fériés dans le commerce de détail et la Loi sur les normes d'emploi en ce qui concerne l'ouverture des établissements de commerce de détail et l'emploi dans ces établissements.
Bill 126, An Act authorizing the Filing of Information in an Electronic Format under Statutes administered by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
/Projet de loi126, Loi autorisant le dépôt de renseignements au moyen d'un support électronique dans le cadre de lois dont l'application est confiée au ministre de la Consommation et du Commerce.
Bill 131, An Act to Amend the Fire Marshals Act
/Projet de loi131, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les commissaires des incendies.
Bill 146, An Act to amend the Courts of Justice Act, 1984 in respect of Payments to Supernumerary Judges
/Projet de loi146, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1984 sur les tribunaux judiciaires en ce qui concerne la rémunération des juges surnuméraires.
Bill Pr62, An Act respecting the City of North York.
Bill Pr68, An Act respecting the Armenian Community Centre of Cambridge.
Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty's name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills.
Au nom de Sa Majestée, l'Honorable lieutenant-gouverneur sanctionne ces projets de loi.
TRIBUTES TO HIS HONOUR / HOMMAGES À SON HONNEUR
Hon Mr Rae: On this occasion, I might ask members to sit down and invite you, sir, for a moment to be seated so that we can perhaps, in a rather unusual way, say farewell once again. I know this is probably out of every rule, but I nevertheless think by unanimous consent we can do almost anything and I am sure members would agree with me that we should be doing that.
About 30 years ago, there was an early Canadian film called Nobody Waved Goodbye. If one were to make a documentary of your leaving office, sir, it would be Everyone Waved Goodbye. What is more, we spent about six months doing so.
There is great goodwill to you, sir, for the services you have rendered to the province and to the people of Ontario. There is a true outburst of affection for you and I believe for the office that you hold as a result of the way in which you have carried on your responsibilities.
There are people all over the province, disabled people, older people, younger people, schoolchildren, business people, people of all backgrounds, people of all persuasions, people of all faiths, people of all political parties, people throughout the province who have looked to you, sir, for the kind of presence, the leadership, the enormous good humour, the great goodwill, the perspicacity, the wisdom you have given.
I shall personally miss you a great deal in your current office and I want to express my own personal thanks as well as the thanks of the members of the government side for the work you have done and the affection we feel for you.
Au nom de tous les députés de la Chambre, je veux vous offrir nos sentiments les plus profonds pour le travail que vous avez fait, pour les grands sacrifices personnels dans les cinq ou six années qui viennent de passer. Vous avez été quelqu'un qui a changé: vous avez changé l'Ontario, vous avez changé l'office du lieutenant-gouverneur, et je suis certain que je parle pour tous les députés quand je vous dis que vous avez tout notre respect et nos profonds remerciements pour le travail que vous avez fait. Merci beaucoup. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Bradley: As the leader of the Liberal Party in the Legislature, if I may join the Premier in paying tribute to His Honour, I would be privileged to do so. I cannot think of an individual in Ontario who has contributed more, first of all, to his community as an individual representative in a constituency in the federal House of Commons, then to the province, as a Lieutenant Governor of this province, and to this country, when you sat in the federal cabinet and were involved in the deliberations of the House of Commons. I also cannot think of an individual who has brought more dignity to the office of Lieutenant Governor, while at the same time being down to earth.
I suppose Rudyard Kipling referred to it best in his poem If, when he made reference to an individual who could walk with kings and keep the common touch. Certainly, Your Honour, that is something all of us observed in each one of our communities.
When I look at the schedule you had to maintain over the years, I recognize that there was no community too insignificant, no organization too small, no individual too unimportant for the clasp of your hand, for a few kind words, for your presence with those individuals who are the people of Ontario, and that is something we shall not soon forget.
Those of us in partisan politics are often critical of actions taken by those in other parties. We could be unanimous in this House, I suggest, in complimenting the Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney, on his appointment of you to the position of Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, naturally with the assistance of the Queen insisting that you would be the most appropriate person, no doubt.
As the Premier I think appropriately pointed out, equally at ease, it seems to all of us who observed, with the very elderly or the youngest of children, with people of all backgrounds in Ontario, you have been a uniting force at a time when it is very difficult, in terms both of the politics of confrontation that takes place in the House each day and of the politics of division that we see in our country.
You have been one of the unifying sources that everyone in this province is proud of. You have enhanced the monarchy in this country, in Ontario, as the Queen's representative. Your presence has added to every occasion where you have been present with the people of this province, whether it is a state dinner or in the chapel or the basement of some church on a Sunday afternoon.
We wish you well, Your Honour, as you enter your retirement, if we can refer to it as that. Ontario is quite obviously a better place as a result of your service.
Mr Cousens: It gives me great pleasure to rise on behalf of our leader, Michael Harris, the member for Nipissing, who I know is sorry he cannot be here to share in this moment, one of those rare moments when all members of the House can share a common view and where we drop the partisan lines and we look at the person and with deep appreciation acknowledge the tremendous contribution that you, Your Honour, have given to our province.
As Her Majesty the Queen's representative, you have represented her well and nobly and constantly. I truly respect the great leadership you have given. Indeed, you will go down in history as one of the truly great Lieutenant Governors of Ontario.
I do not know how you find the energy. When you have visited schools, when I have been there, everyone goes away with the sense that something has happened. You bring the magic of personality, but more deeply, a sense of love -- a love of people, a love of the province, a love of principle, a love of this country of ours that has been shared, and shared beautifully.
As you now go to be chancellor of the University of Guelph, we know the students and faculty there will benefit as well from your continuing leadership. On behalf of our party we say thank you for a job well done, and may you continue to have good health to be able to share the wisdom you have with the rest of the province of Ontario.
Hon Mr Alexander: Mr Speaker, Mr Premier, Mr Bradley, Mr Cousens, distinguished members of this wonderful place, I am touched and very surprised. I had no idea that this was going to happen. It is really a sad day for me. It reminds me of when I left Ottawa, never to return to the House. I think with some certainty this will be the last time I will be here. I am pretty sure now.
It has been a long haul but I can tell you this: I can think of no better job. I can think of no greater challenge than to be the representative of Queen Elizabeth II. It has been a wonderful experience for me. It has taught me a lot, as I have said. I have watched the people of Ontario. I am proud of the people of Ontario and I am proud of what you do.
It has been difficult for me to stand on the side without becoming partisan, but I hope I have met that expectation, not to be partisan. I have learned what this province is all about and I have seen how hard you work. I just want to let you know that if at any time I can speak out in terms of letting the people of this province, of this country, know how hard elected members pursue their responsibilities and with such excellence, I will do so.
I am leaving now with very mixed emotions. I have loved this work. That is why I always wanted to be in the House to give royal assent. I appreciated the fact that it can happen in my office, but this is where I belong. This is where I was born, as a matter of fact: in the House.
I want to thank you for your many kindnesses. I want to thank you for the warmth you have extended to me. You have inspired me, and I mean that, because I know where you are coming from. You have encouraged me, you have supported me, and I want to thank you for all of that.
So as I leave now, I will never forget you. I leave with a feeling of satisfaction in that I believe you know that I have tried my best to make this office more accessible. I believe you know I have tried to make this office more in keeping with the expectations of the people of Ontario, that is, to be a people's Lieutenant Governor. I believe you know I have tried to remove the mystique from this office. With that, I can say that going to schools was one of the greatest things I think I could have done, because students of today are the leaders of tomorrow. That was my mandate. That was my thing, as they say. If I have saved one kid, if I have saved only two, then I believe I have been a success.
Thank you so much for the generous and warm reception you have given to me this afternoon. I really did not expect it. Now I am signally honoured to stand here as Her Majesty's representative in and for the province of Ontario for the last time, I guess, in order to extend to each and every one of you every best wish. May God continue to watch over you and may your every dream become a reality. Thank you very much.
WASTE MANAGEMENT ACT, 1991/ LOI DE 1991 SUR LA GESTION DES DÉCHETS
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 143, An Act respecting the Management of Waste in the Greater Toronto Area and to amend the Environmental Protection Act
/Projet de loi143, Loi concernant la gestion des déchets dans la région du grand Toronto et modifiant la Loi sur la protection de l'environnement.
The Speaker: I believe the member for Markham had the floor when we left off.
Mr Cousens: It is somewhat difficult to get into the hard duty of Bill 143 after one of those moments in which this House had such a wonderful spirit and where there is just an obvious outpouring of love and affection for a leading citizen of Canada and certainly an ambassador of Her Majesty the Queen. Yet now I have to get into this, which is Bill 143, An Act respecting the Management of Waste in the Greater Toronto Area and to amend the Environmental Protection Act.
There are a number of points I would like to make pursuant to my initial presentation of last Tuesday when I had a chance to begin my comments. Today I specifically asked the Minister of the Environment if there could be a delay in the time frame in which the public could respond to her pamphlet, Waste Reduction Office Initiatives Paper 1: Regulatory Measures to Achieve Ontario's Waste Reduction Targets.
This document was released on October 9 and the minister expects to have all the comments submitted to her for consideration by December 6, less than a two-month period for that consultation process to take place. Indeed, there is so much to this that I question how possible it is for business to have an opportunity to put the thoughts together that would really be required with such a comprehensive and important document.
I do not think there is anyone in this House who would not agree with what she says in her press release of October 9, "We are moving away from consumerism towards the conserver society." That is a belief I share, our party shares, and as I have talked to industry, it also believes in. Yet what we now have to have happen is a sharing and participation in that process, a method by which those who have concerns about this document have an opportunity to explain their views and present them honestly, intelligently, fully and completely -- and time, as well, for the government to respond to it.
The worry we have is that when you have such an abbreviated time frame in which corporations and people have to respond to such an important paper, there is not sufficient time to give it the effort that is really required by such an important statement.
I have asked the minister to delay the December 6 deadline. Although today she said, "People can continue to react," I fear that when you have such an abbreviated time frame for people to respond to ministry papers, it causes them to throw up their hands and say, "They're not going to listen." Then what happens is that these regulations will go into effect next year --
Hon Mr Wildman: Do you want more time?
Mr Cousens: I need more time. It is becoming a major concern of industry about this government. They need some kind of time frame in which not to be surprised. If the government is going to come along with short time frames in which things have to be reacted to, it makes it very difficult for business or anyone else to react in the time frame given by this New Democratic government.
I am asking for an extension beyond December 6. The minister today did not make a commitment to extend it beyond that time frame. I ask again now in this House that the minister reconsider the December 6 deadline and allow a greater time frame. Let a press release -- one of the many she has been good at presenting -- come out and say, "You've now got a more realistic time frame, until the end of the first quarter of 1992, and up until that time we'll continue to receive comments from those who have to make them." That is my first point, that there be a delay in the time frame for responses to the regulatory measures.
People who are watching the Legislature and understand what is going on do not understand something of the pressure of time we are under. Bill 143, of which the regulatory measures are part, came into the House for first reading on October 24, and now, just over a month later, we are into second reading of this bill. The minister has said she would like to have this bill passed and put into law by the time we rise for the Christmas holiday on December 19. That is, again, one more month in which we would hope to achieve the minister's objective of completing the debate on this bill. Also, there has been some willingness on the part of the government House leader to have public hearings on the bill. Those public hearings would be held between now and December 19, something less than a four-week period of time.
I implore the government to understand something of the time it takes to resolve the concerns that are raised in this bill. I genuinely believe there is not sufficient time between now and December 20 to have this bill go out for the kind of public hearings that are required. The implications of this bill go far beyond the greater Toronto area and establish a precedent that can impact, in effect, municipalities all across Ontario. Some 837 municipalities may well have some comment they want to make on this bill.
The bill has only been out for a month, yet the minister wants, within one more month's debate, to have it passed and put into law. I really cannot believe that is a sufficient amount of time for the kind of debate that should take place around Bill 143. Though our caucus has reviewed this bill, we will be talking in greater depth again at our caucus meeting tomorrow on whether we can speed up the whole process. But I am worried that if we short-circuit the opportunity for extended debate from people across the province we will have made decisions in this House and not had the opportunity to listen, as we should, to those viewpoints.
The minister and the government House leader may well try to invoke special powers that force the passage of this bill before December 20, when we rise. I sincerely hope they will not. I sincerely hope that this government will concur with our request, the request of the Ontario PC Party, that there be full public hearings on Bill 143 in which not only the municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto and area but all those other municipalities that want to participate in it will have a chance to come before the standing committee on resources development or some other committee to voice their concerns. I have to say that is a tremendously important issue.
The fact is that the Minister of the Environment has only had one bill before this House since this government took power on October 1, 1990. The first bill from the Ministry of the Environment is this Bill 143. We have not had to deal with any other legislation from this minister.
Mrs Caplan: It is not from the Minister of the Environment.
Mr Cousens: Well, it is the ministry of the greater Toronto area, but it is really an environmental bill. The member for Oriole points out that it is the ministry of the greater Toronto area. She may not be aware that when you bring up part IV of that bill, which really pertains to the Environmental Protection Act, it is a bill that could well be placed by the Minister of the Environment rather than by the minister of the greater Toronto area. That does not matter. The issue is that this is the first bill we have had before the House from this minister and the minister is expecting the House to deal with it very expeditiously.
I do not believe we can possibly deal with it at the speed which this minister is asking for; so what I am really asking for is an extension to the consultation time for the regulatory measures and I am asking for an opportunity for public hearings to take place on Bill 143.
When I closed off my remarks the last day, I was commenting and I really had not the chance to say in greater detail my concerns about the Leader of the Opposition who, during the election campaign leading up to September 6, 1990, when the New Democrats won a majority government with 38% of the vote in Ontario --
Mr Jamison: It's still a majority.
Mr Cousens: Oh, it is still a majority. I respect the fact that they got the right to govern and they can do what they want. Well, they can do what they want in this province; all we can do as a responsible opposition is to challenge those issues that need to be challenged and hopefully find agreeable amendments that will allow changes to be made that will help make it a better system.
The fact of the matter is I was condemning the Premier for the statements he made prior to his election as Premier, when in fact he was near the Keele Valley landfill site and said at the time that there would be a full environmental assessment before any changes would be made to the Keele Valley landfill site. That is the kind of statement he made that caused many people to say: "Here's a person who has a sense of the environment. You can't just arbitrarily change Keele Valley without a full environmental assessment." The fact that he said that gave people a sense of confidence that when he became Premier he would remember what he said when he was Leader of the Opposition.
I just want to put on the record how on June 27 this year I asked the Premier: "What did the Premier say, as Leader of the Opposition, when he was within spitting distance of the garbage dumps, about what he was going to do when and if he was Premier, about those garbage sites?" His answer, which is written in Hansard on page 2401, does not answer the question.
Some people wonder why we call it question period. It is called question period because we seldom get answers. When I asked the Premier what he said, he would not admit in this House to what he said. He went on to say, "I would say to the honourable member, and say it very directly to him, that we were faced with a very difficult choice. I will put the choices to him." Then he went on, and what a non-answer I began to get. The non-answer really was not consistent with the kind of statement the Premier made when he was Leader of the Opposition.
I think of the biblical quote which says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged," for he who beholdest the mote that is within his brother's eye and doth not behold the beam that is within his own shall be judged.
This very Premier had the opportunity of calling the previous Premier, David Peterson, a liar. When he was Leader of the Opposition, the Premier called David Peterson a liar. Now that he is Premier, the parliamentary system we are in makes it very difficult to call anyone a liar. I do not want to do that, nor would I do it. The onus falls upon him not to become something that he calls someone else. The fact that the Premier called David Peterson a liar makes me question just where he was coming from at that time. The onus falls upon him to set the example. If he is calling someone else a liar, one would not want him to fall into that same hole of mistruth.
I am concerned that in fact the Premier of this province has come along and has made the statement that he was going to do something with regard to Keele Valley and Britannia. He said there would be a full environmental assessment. Now that he is Premier, he and the Minister of the Environment are not prepared to go for a full environmental assessment.
What I would like to suggest is that he come clean and really say clearly what he meant to say back in the election campaign of September 6, 1990, or that he find some way within the political system for the people of Ontario to keep politicians honest.
If you are going to be a politician and you are going to make statements and you get elected on the basis of them, and then you do not live up to them, there should be some way in which the public at large can throw you out of office before the end of your four- or five-year term, or some way in which the public can be served. The public is not served by a politician who says one thing before he is elected and then once elected has quite a different position.
Is it any wonder that people have such a low regard for politicians? Once you do that, you destroy the trust you are trying to create. They trusted the Premier when they voted for him and his party on September 6, and now to retract fundamental promises that he made during that election campaign is something I take as a very serious breach of trust to the people of the province.
I have made the point strongly enough. The answer is not to be found in this House. I only say that we have to change the parliamentary system in some way so that we can have accountability of those who are elected to office so that they are then, in some form, accountable in an ongoing way for changes in policy, changes in thinking or changes in statements. The fact is that one seldom, if ever, gets an apology out of a government. Then when they come along and have a policy diametrically opposed to what they promised, it creates just a tremendous stigma around this profession of which we are part.
There were a couple of issues that I commented on earlier in my remarks; I would just like to go back to a couple of them. I want to thank the number of people who have written me and called me since I made those remarks, and I want first of all to be very clear on the record that when I talk on the subject of incineration, I am not taking a position that I favour incineration. The issue of incineration is something that I would like at least to have assessed by this government rather than closed off as a policy decision.
These are some of the questions coming out of the whole debate around incineration: How much garbage from the greater Toronto area and from Ontario is going across the border to the United States? How much of that garbage is ending up in incinerators? How much of the emissions from those incinerators comes back across Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes into Ontario through toxins and other substances that are carried by the air?
The questions have not been answered. I think they would be very difficult questions to answer by virtue of the fact that no one has really been able to quantify how much garbage is going across to the United States and how much garbage is being incinerated.
The fact of the matter is, if this government has a policy that is anti-incineration, why then does it allow and encourage so much transportation of garbage out of Ontario? First of all, it is a lot cheaper for companies and businesses and municipalities to send their garbage south of the border where the tippage fees are considerably less than they are here in Ontario. Because it is cheaper to send it down there and because they get rid of a lot of their garbage through incineration, we in Ontario then suffer all the ill effects of those incinerators that do not have the scrubbers and clean emission policies that are part and parcel of an incineration program that really has been well thought out and has gone through a full environmental assessment.
There are incinerators that churn out a tremendous amount of bad emissions and there are some that have more controls to them. I saw one of them in Minneapolis last year in which the emissions from an incinerator are far less than from coal furnaces, and yet that same incinerator is generating electric power for some 30,000 people.
All I am trying to say is that there is an issue on incineration which the minister has closed her mind to as if it cannot even be opened up or discussed or reviewed because it is a policy decision by the minister.
The challenge I have is very similar to the one being raised by Metropolitan Toronto council. Metro council has raised the question in its own efforts to try to come up with a solution, and on September 13 came come along and established a task force that is reporting to the works committee on December 11, just some two or three weeks from now. An interim report will be presented to Metro council on the whole subject of incineration.
I looked at the members of the task force. They are the kinds of people I would want to hear from: Dr Steven McColl from the University of Waterloo; Dr Doug Chambers from Senes Consultants; Dr Murray Haight, University of Waterloo; Dr Don McKay, University of Toronto; Dr Virginia McClaren, University of Toronto; Dr John Hicks, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute; Dr Rodger Schwass of York University; Dr F C Hooper, University of Toronto.
The Metropolitan Toronto works committee has asked that this task force come back to conduct an in-depth comparative review of incineration versus landfill using all available evidence on the environmental, economic, social and health-related impacts of these two technologies to determine whether and under what circumstances one disposal technology would be chosen over the other and to deliver a report for public release to be presented to the works committee in March 1992.
My position is one that says they are in the process of gathering the latest up-to-date information on incineration; would it not be helpful for the minister to review and listen to and understand prior to making her decision, which she has made in Bill 143, excluding any further consideration of incineration as a way of reducing waste in Ontario? That is the challenge I have -- only that she leave her mind open to it instead of precluding all the thinking by saying there will not be incineration. To do so opens up the opportunity for other options.
May we go on the record that before there be any further steps towards incineration, there be a full environmental assessment on the matter? Let it go through the most detailed study possible to make sure that if the province decides to proceed with further incinerators -- we already have some -- that we do it with the latest technology, that we do it in the best possible way and that we do not reduce our reduction program, our reusing program or our recycling programs, that anything we do when dealing with what is left over after the 3Rs is something that leads to another benefit for the province.
I know there are many people who have mixed views on this subject. Within my own caucus there is not full unanimity, yet on important issues like this we seldom have total agreement by everybody, nor do we ask for it. But just allowing a minister in her position, where she has tremendous power as Minister of the Environment, to make a decision without even looking at other data is something that concerns me.
Last evening I took 45 minutes to look at an environmental video film on Stop the Incinerator. It is a report that has been put together by Mr Jon Hand. He has put together a workshop on the whole issue of incineration. He raises the issues that many people look at when they deal with incineration. I have a summary of his views. They point out what Paul Connett, one of the leading spokespeople in the United States against incinerators, has had to say and how state-of-the-art changes have made it a cleaner form of getting rid of waste.
There are so many myths around this subject. Why do we not at least expose all sides of the issue to an open, intelligent, scientifically based analysis that could be done through an environmental assessment? That in itself would allow us as Ontario citizens to say that we agree or disagree with the whole concept of incinerators. I realize that there are some 1,900 incinerators in Japan. I realize as well that we have some four million homes being provided with electrical energy from the energy-from-waste program through incineration. Is that not a positive R that comes out of the recovery of a benefit from waste through incineration? Are we not in a way able to deal with the issues around solid waste? If we are able to reduce the mass of that in landfill sites, then will we not need less landfill sites if we are able to reduce the amount by compacting it through burning?
All I am saying is that when we look at what Mahatma Gandhi did, he kept his mind open to change. He was always looking for the ultimate truth. Why then does the Minister of the Environment not allow a greater study to take place on the whole subject of incineration rather than closing her mind to it, as she has done already? It is a major issue. I do not pretend to have the answers on it. I do have the answer with regard to the fact that I am looking for an approach that allows that at least to be considered as an option, not excluded as an option but looked at and assessed and analysed. Then, when we are finished the whole thing, we will at least know where we stand rather than have the belief system of the New Democrats forced on the province in a way that does not reflect the kind of broad-minded thinking that could take place -- broadly based thinking is really what I mean.
One of the other benefits that has come out of the use of incinerators -- I have a report from Proctor and Redfern Ltd. We are really the leaders around the world in the kind of thinking that is coming out of such firms and engineers as Proctor and Redfern here in our province. They have said that if you look at what you can do with methane, you can take that methane and use it for the generation of electrical energy. You are also able to reduce the amount of global warming, because methane, as we know, is one of the major contributors to the greenhouse effect. If we began to look at the recovery of energy from waste, that could yield a tremendous amount of electricity.
I have some numbers here from initial studies they made, and I will just put it into the record. The recovery of the energy directly from one million tonnes of waste in an energy-from-waste plant would yield electricity worth approximately $43 million at five cents a kilowatt-hour.
Can we not look at it? I beseech the Minister of the Environment to at least open that up for further consideration.
Mr Jordan: Is the Minister of Energy listening?
Mr Cousens: The critic for Energy asks if the Minister of Energy is listening. I hope he is. I see him in the House, and I am glad he is. I think it is not just a matter of the ministry. The point from the member for Lanark-Renfrew is a very valid one, that everyone has to be involved in the environmental crisis we are having. It is not just the Environment minister; it is also the Energy minister and all the government that begins to buy into viable solutions that could work to help us deal with this problem of waste and garbage.
Another issue I want to touch on briefly, to which I referred last week, has to do with the shipping of waste from the greater Toronto area. I want to thank the people from Kirkland Lake, who have since sent me a package on what has happened in Kirkland Lake with regard to the whole issue of shipping Metro's waste to the Adams mine site. They have corrected me in part. The municipality had a question on the ballots on November 12: "Are you in favour of a full environmental assessment of the Adams mine solid waste disposal and recycling project?" Some 69% of the people who voted in Kirkland Lake were in favour of that kind of decision. The referendum in Kirkland Lake supports having an environmental assessment on the Adams mine site. All they are asking for is the same thing I am asking for, that there at least be a full and public hearing on the subject of incineration.
The minister is now in a position where she is making decisions that affect all of us in the province without subjecting her thinking to an environmental assessment. All I am asking is that the minister open that up as a possibility.
When we start looking at the possibility of shipping Metro's waste to Kirkland Lake, we have another way in which we could reduce the cost of disposing of the waste in the greater Toronto area. I had not been aware of this, but the 5R solution -- we are going to overwork the Rs, I know, but waste by rail is one of the Rs presented in this document. They point to a success story in Seattle, Washington, where they use rail services to transport the city's solid waste to a disposal site 430 kilometres from Seattle. The Union Pacfic Railroad operates this double stack container train to Arlington, Oregon, daily. The waste compaction, loading and delivery systems are all state of the art. The containers and rail facilities are kept clean and neat and the municipal authorities are pleased with the efficiency, safety and environmental benefits of rail. If in fact we have a model that is working, such as this example in Seattle, Washington, why will the Minister of the Environment not open up her mind or her policy or the policy of the government to at least look at this as an option for Kirkland Lake?
We are saying the proposal to transfer Metropolitan Toronto's and the greater Toronto area's waste to Kirkland Lake would mean we could transfer municipal solid waste in 48-foot enclosed containers. They would double stack the containers on rail flatcars at CN's intermodal facility and then they would transport by rail, using Canadian National and Ontario Northland, to the Adams mine site near Kirkland Lake, some 600 kilometres north of Toronto, for recycling and disposal.
We are talking about jobs, we are talking about cheaper tippage fees than we have by continuing to use landfill sites within the greater Toronto area, and we are talking about an option that has at least to be looked at. The fact is that this minister has closed that as an option. I do not know how we do it, but it is costing more to do it otherwise.
We are talking about the economy of the north. I raised this as a question last week to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, the member for Sudbury East. It was unfortunate, because the previous question that had been asked of the minister had to do with providing air transportation in northern Ontario. The minister went to great lengths to say, "I've been listening to the communities in the north, and they want to have different kinds of flight services around the north." Then I asked her what she was doing with regard to Kirkland Lake. The people in Kirkland Lake have asked the same minister to look at an environmental assessment to use the Adams mine site for the storage of garbage from the greater Toronto area in Kirkland Lake.
On the one hand, the minister was listening to her communities with regard to air service, yet the community of Kirkland Lake has asked her to look at an environmental assessment to take Metro's garbage at the Adams mine site and she will not listen to it. She would not listen to it; she will not listen to it. She is locked into the same closed-minded view that the Minister of the Environment has. They do not have to make up their minds; they do not have to take the decision. All I am asking is that they subject it to an environmental assessment. Through that process, the public will know that its best interests are served, because the environmental assessment process will allow all the considerations to be laid on the table. Why not do it that way? But this government refuses that kind of open-mindedness to another consideration.
I am extremely frustrated at the inability of this government to at least look at these two considerations. I reiterate that it is not my position that we should ship the garbage to Kirkland Lake. It is not my position that we should incinerate. I am saying we should look at them through a full environmental assessment, and then we will know whether it is right or wrong. That is how the decision can be made. It does not have to be made by the minister in her office, where she is listening to Greenpeace or some other group. These have very good motives and intentions, but she should look at all the facts. That is what I want to see happen. The failure of this government to do that is a concern to all of us.
There are a number of issues within Bill 143 that I would like to address in greater detail. I want to thank the chairman of my own environmental advisory council in Markham. A number of years ago, when I was beginning to really understand the importance of developing an environmental understanding of issues, I formed a committee that has continued to meet at my call in my constituency to talk about environmental concerns. Last week, I had breakfast with Mr Ken Hoyle, who is chairman of my environment council. He is also a landscape architect and genuinely concerned about long-term interests and the way in which we as politicians can develop policies and create an environment that helps everybody to prosper and live together.
I have a quote from Ken Hoyle, and I want to talk about this for a moment. He said, "The needs of society must be balanced with the rights of the individual." What we are seeing with the bill that has been presented by the Minister of the Environment is that the needs of society would dominate over the rights of the individual. In fact, when Bill 143 is made law in Ontario, there are many rights that individuals will lose.
I am trying to work out in my own mind the harmony between the rights of society and the rights of the individual. Should the rights of society cause the rights of the individual to be taken away? I believe Mr Hoyle is absolutely right that they should not be taken away, that the rights of an individual are sacred rights that have to be protected. If we have to do something to find ways of working within those rights, then we should do so, rather than unilaterally, arbitrarily removing those rights through legislation.
This leads to one of the fundamental flaws of Bill 143. Bill 143 is going to take away the safeguards of an individual. It is going to remove the rights that have been built into law previously that protect individuals through the Municipal Act, the Planning Act and the regional acts that pertain to the municipalities of York, Durham, Metro and Halton. These whole areas are all going to be impacted by the changes being proposed by the minister.
All I am asking for is that the minister find some sense of balance. If the government brings in legislation that takes away the rights of an individual or a municipality -- and before the law a municipality is treated as an individual -- that affects all the people who live within that municipality. Over time, they have come to expect certain guarantees of protection because of the existing law structure in Ontario.
Under this bill, Bill 143, the minister is taking away a number of those rights. What she is saying is that "a regional or metropolitan municipality shall comply with this section" even if to do so would require the contravention of an act referred to in subsection 5 or any regulation or any other agreements that have been made with that municipality.
I cannot believe it. In other words, with one small stroke of the pen, the acts that have been developed over 100 years, the agreements that have been created over a long period of time, are null and void. There is no recourse, because when the majority of this House votes on this bill, it means not only the Planning Act, the Municipal Act and the regional acts that affect all the greater Toronto area, but every one of those acts, as it pertains to a landfill site, can be disregarded.
I find that a very serious step. I have a solution for it. There is another way around this problem, but not to take away the rights of those municipalities and groups. It is not just the few acts I have talked about. I am referring now to some of the legal considerations that were presented by the Metro legal department. I thank the member for Etobicoke West for sharing some of his thinking with me, and I am sure when he is commenting on this bill, as our critic responsible for the greater Toronto area, he will be touching upon some of the removals of rights coming out because of Bill 143.
I want to comment on six or seven of those acts, in addition to the ones I have already mentioned, where, because of this bill, the power and protection of those acts is removed.
First of all, the Environmental Assessment Act: The proposed extension to Keele Valley is subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. While that undertaking is being implemented by the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, it is being done pursuant to the direction of the minister, as contained in the minister's report. There is no indication in the material which is being served on Metro that an exemption from the Environmental Assessment Act will be given outside the normal policy framework of the Ministry of the Environment.
The Environmental Assessment Act was established as a way of understanding the relationships between municipalities and the government of Ontario. Now as we come forward with changes to the act and Bill 143, all those previous considerations that had been dealt with over a period of time are null and void.
With regard to municipal approvals, we are dealing with one municipality and there is another battle going on with Mississauga and Peel in this ministry. In the absence of the consent of Vaughan to any amendment of the agreement to allow for the extension of Keele Valley beyond existing final contours, legislation is required for a unilateral amendment to the agreement to provide at least for a hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board on the refusal of Vaughan.
What is happening is that this government has understood the frustration Vaughan has with the proposed changes to expand and build upon the Keele Valley landfill site and that in fact Vaughan is going to do everything it can to make sure there is a full environmental assessment on it. If the government tries to railroad the expansion of Keele Valley without that environmental assessment, then, rightly so, the city of Vaughan is going to do everything it can within its power to cause the government to rethink its position. The only way the government can rethink its position now is to change the law, because it is not able to use reason or common sense or to keep its promises in order for it to happen otherwise.
Under subsection 66(3) of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, no land may be acquired in a local municipality without the approval of that municipality. The change in Bill 143 allows anyone to go and act in another municipality without that municipality having anything to say about it. Come on.
As set out below in the list of approvals required in connection with North Avondale, "The consent of the regional municipality of York to the clay will be under the Regional Municipality of York Act." They are saying: "How are you going to get that clay? If in fact there is trouble getting the clay, this government is going to come along and find a way of doing it."
Now I am in favour of the intent behind the bill. We have to come up with a solution to the problem of having a landfill site that is going to be able to deal with the needs of the greater Toronto area. But maybe what we need to do, and my solution, is that we need to change the Environmental Assessment Act so that we have a speeded-up process by which we can cause all the things being considered to be focused upon in an environmental assessment.
If people are trying to delay and protract the hearing and drag it out over a long period of time, what we should be doing is changing the Environmental Assessment Act. We change that to say that under this new process we are going to get an experienced judge in there and he or she is not going to allow frivolous delays to the whole thing; it is going to go snap, snap, one, two, three, four, and when we are finished, we will have all the facts and the data brought out before something like a court which hears what is being said. Someone is going to have the strength of his convictions to say: "You are wasting time. You are trying to delay it. You have a NIMBY syndrome. You are trying to stop it because it is in your own backyard."
If that is the case, a change to the Environmental Assessment Act will allow us to deal with these issues under existing laws. The government should respect the laws that have been created that we have dwelled under for a long period of time.
Mr Wiseman: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not mean to interrupt, but I am trying to follow the debate section by section as the member is dealing with it. I am trying to ask him what section he is at.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Farnan): The member does not have a point of order. The member for Markham will resume the debate.
Mr Cousens: I appreciate what the member is saying. I think it is difficult to follow me. The point I am trying to make is that there are a number of issues with regard to the section I was referring to in part III of the bill, section 17, where the minister is taking away the rights of municipalities, primarily through section 5 and section 7. In those sections the minister is removing rights under previous acts that have been agreed to in this House previously. My point is that there are a number of examples of that.
Those examples include the ones I have mentioned: the Environmental Assessment Act, some of the municipal acts and the Regional Municipality of York Act. I also point to the Environmental Protection Act. There are a number of sections there where approval is required. Because of this bill, all these sections we are referring to that are part and parcel of previously understood agreements will be null and void and not part of the considerations. That worries me. I am saying the government should not change the law so drastically that those are removed. There are further examples of that which I will touch on.
When passed, this bill will mean there will be no legal recourse for a municipality to say: "Do you have the approvals for a waste disposal site and a waste management system?" -- these are questions under different acts; that one is the EPA, part V -- "Have you worked out under the Ontario Water Resources Act the approval for sewage works? Have you worked out under the Aggregate Resources Act for clay extraction? Have you worked out the approval of construction of temporary sediment ponds under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act?
"Has this government worked out its expropriations under the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act and the Municipal Act? Have they taken into consideration the official plan amendment and zoning bylaw amendments under the Planning Act, 1983? Has this government taken into consideration the Regional Municipality of York Act regarding its approvals? Have they taken into consideration the Metropolitan Toronto act regarding the approval of Vaughan under subsection 66(3)?" There are another seven or eights issues that come out of this issue.
What about under the Environmental Protection Act? Where is this government going to be under the EPA, given the continued view of Metro staff and other staff that the clay needed to go into this site is far greater than what is available right now? Where are they going to get it from and how can that be handled?
The OMB approval will be required under section 64 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act. It gets kind of tricky, but what the government is dealing with there are additional approvals that are required under existing acts.
If it means we have to take away all the history of legislation in the province to handle our garbage dumps, that is wrong. We can say "Here is another approach we take; that is, look at an environmental assessment process that speeds it up and yet forces everything to be considered within that." There is no reason we cannot do it that way. The government should not run roughshod over every act, every law and every agreement that has been made. That is exactly what is going to happen with this bill. It is serious business.
By the way, the concern that came out today in the response I had from the Minister of the Environment on this issue had to do with the fact that this is going to affect every municipality in Ontario. We are establishing a precedent here in Ontario for future laws that are going to affect every municipality. If it good enough for the greater Toronto area it is going to be good enough for Sudbury, Sarnia, Cornwall and all the places in between. Whatever we do here has an impact on them and therefore they should have every opportunity possible to come and lay out on the table what their concerns are. The Minister of the Environment should listen, open her ears and consult. She should listen to the other points of view, and through that, try to find some way of working out the details.
The whole issue of this government, having been such a strong proponent for people's rights, now removing so many of those rights touches upon one of the fundamental flaws of the government. What the Premier and his government are prepared to do is put the needs of society ahead of and above the rights of the individual. I believe that is where you get to that difference of view I and the member for Simcoe Centre would have. The members on this side of the House would say that somehow the government has to work in harmony. The rights of society have to be worked out with consideration of the rights of the individual. You work it out so they are in harmony and balance together; you do not come along and unilaterally dominate the rights of society over the rights of an individual.
If we in this country had property rights in the Constitution, this law would not be allowed. If the minister had her own environmental bill of rights in law now -- thank God she does not. Thank goodness this Minister of the Environment did not bring forward her environmental bill of rights. At the beginning of this session of the House, the Liberal member for Halton Centre, when she was the critic for the Environment, put into the record the identical bill of rights the now Minister of the Environment brought out a couple of years ago, so the Liberals are on record that they want to have a strong environmental bill of rights. If we had that environmental bill of rights in law as it was originally presented by the present Minister of the Environment, there is no way this law could be passed.
Again, what we are talking about is working out the balance between an individual's rights and society's rights, and I do not think we should ever lose sight of the fact that this is part of the harmony the government has to work out. You do not just legislate it. It is done through dialogue and discussion, as people say, "This is what I believe, and here are my rights under the existing laws." Then you have a type of court process that protects them from having rights taken away. That is the kind of thing I am calling for.
In fact, I am not in favour of people saying, "Not in my backyard." I do not think there is anything worse than this constant nagging feeling that people have: "Hey, not in my backyard."
I really resented it when the minister responsible for the greater Toronto area and Minister of the Environment, the same person, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, made that accusation to the people of the city of Vaughan last week. She did it in such a slippery way. She said, "I can understand" -- I am paraphrasing -- "how they would be very upset to have the Keele Valley landfill site in their backyard and I can see why they would be angry."
She should get off it. It is far deeper and bigger an issue than people saying, "It's in my backyard." We are dealing with serious, fundamental philosophical differences. May I suggest that if the government allows the time for other municipalities and businesses to react to it, it is going to have a good discussion.
Maybe one of the reasons the government wants to push this legislation through so quickly is that it will not allow that discussion. There will not be the dialogue, and then suddenly people will wake up on January 1 with the new laws in place, and they are not going to like it. They are going to say, "I didn't have a chance to react to it. That's not fair."
What the government needs to have is a lead time before it brings in new laws. When they bring in a law as far-reaching in effect as Bill 143 is, in removing the rights of previous laws and previous agreements, they are dealing with a change that I consider requires open public dialogue. The government should not try to close it down before it is started, and that is what this government is trying to do. They are trying to prevent that dialogue from taking place, and they are going to use all the fear tactics. They will say, "We'll have garbage in the streets, we'll have all kinds of" -- come on.
I was told by the government House leader that he would have in my hands, by Thursday afternoon last week, a list of the reasons it was important for this bill to be passed within a very short period, before December 20. I do not have it yet. I am going to a caucus meeting tomorrow and I still do not have it.
It is more important that we have a long-term strategy that the province understands and is able to work with, rather than have something shoved down our throat without the full dialogue taking place on it. I refuse to allow my rights and the rights of the people of Ontario to be treated so frivolously. We have to make sure that those people who have concerns about this at least have a chance to react.
There is more I could say on that issue. I close by saying on that particular issue that the needs of society must be balanced with the rights of the individual. This bill does not do that, and that is something that has to be looked at. I am most interested in knowing what all the municipalities of the greater Toronto area have to say about it, I am interested in what other environmental groups have to say about it. I think that dialogue is going to be a very important discussion that will take place within the new year.
One of the concerns in part III of the bill is one of those things that -- I have never really accepted the fact that governments should be living beyond their means. There is a certain amount of debenturing that goes on in every municipality and school board, and the problem we have is that more and more we have to try to live within our financial means within a fiscal year so that as councils and the government of Ontario move into the future, we are not borrowing and increasing the debt for future generations and people who come after us. That applies as well to the treatment of waste sites and disposal.
One of the sections in Bill 143 says, "Section 64 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act does not apply in respect of any waste management system or waste disposal site used, maintained, operated, established, altered, improved, enlarged or extended by a municipality in order to comply with this section." That is really saying that any municipality that wants to build up a debt or incurs any spending beyond this fiscal year will be able to have a debt created around the garbage problem within its municipality.
There are precedents for it. There are situations where this province has gone ahead and given municipalities the right to build up a debt on certain issues, but this government should not do it again. They should not continue to allow this idea that you can pay for it tomorrow. We have to find ways of dealing with our expenses fiscally responsibly within our means today and not create the long-term debt problems that, for instance, this province is now having, that the federal government has. Every government in Canada seems to be great at spending money they do not have in the bank, and that is not something I am in favour of at all.
I am concerned as well that this bill will not require hearings on decisions made by the director or by the minister with regard to landfill sites. The option for an individual to come back and have hearings on whatever it is that is being decided with regard to his municipality or the potential landfill site or the property on which the government is looking is removed.
We have to make sure that when we live in a democracy, we continue to fight for the democratic rights of the property owner and of the public at large and do not take those rights away. I think if we continue this at the rate we are now, there is going to be a rebellion in Canada, because people are increasingly frustrated at government interference into the way they have to do business, the way they have to live, government interference in their property. It just does not seem to end. The fact is that some of it is required, but I truly believe there has to come back that sense -- I want to protect the rights of the property owner to know his property is safe from someone else going in on it, and that if he has a concern he has a way of expressing that concern.
That leads me to another of my concerns, the Expropriations Act. This bill builds into it the whole sense that the government, when it wants to take over someone's property for a potential landfill site, first of all can get something like a warrant that allows it to go on that property and do testing. They can evaluate it, and there is no limit to the amount of time they could take to do that assessment of the property, and when they decide they want to buy it, then Bill 143 builds into it the same guidelines that exist now under the Expropriations Act for the province.
I am surprised. Why does the ministry not look at how the Expropriations Act works, and why not bring in a few other considerations outside the Expropriations Act? Under the Expropriations Act, a person who has "injurious affection" would be someone who is a neighbour to a property that has been expropriated by the government for a landfill site. What happens then is that there are two or three elements that person has to react to.
Section 1 of the act defines "injurious affection" as "(a) where a statutory authority requires part of the land of an owner, (i) the reduction in market value thereby caused to the remaining land of the owner...." So there is an aspect where the rest of the land around the expropriated land is reduced in value. Another aspect is "(ii) such personal and business damages, resulting from the construction or use, or both, of the works as the statutory authority would be liable for if the construction or use were not under the authority of the statute."
Mr Callahan: It's like local improvement.
Mr Cousens: It is like local improvement, yes. Here is where we get into it: You have now taken over someone's property and a neighbour is saying, "I have a problem with what has happened there." I have deliberately dug out the Expropriations Act so that we can just put it into the record, and this is one of the amendments I want the government to consider, at least as a way to circumvent the problem.
Section 22 of the act says that the claim for compensation for injurious affection is limited to only one year: "Subject to subsection (2), a claim for compensation for injurious affection shall be made by the person suffering the damage or loss in writing with particulars of the claim within one year after the damage was sustained."
How are you going to know if a landfill site on a neighbouring property is going to cause a plume or the effect it is going to have on your property? You are going to come along and have a quick reaction and say, "I'm going to get dust, I'm going to get smell, I'm going to have other problems," but some of the other effects of a landfill site next door to you may not be known immediately, may not be known within a year. Yet the law as we have it within Bill 143 would limit anyone who is going to be claiming for injurious affection to only one year to claim that.
That is not enough, not when we are dealing with the kind of long-term implications of such environmental acts as the creation of a landfill site within a community. That is another section within part III of the bill that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the government will accept some amendments that will allow us to get around that issue.
I have problems with the minister's concept of trying to enlarge two of the largest landfill sites in the province: Keele Valley and Britannia. I read a paper on it over the weekend. I was able to do some further studying on it. It has to do with the weight of the landfill on the clay layer underneath it.
Several things happen. There is a four-foot layer of clay under the Keele Valley landfill site. That four-foot layer of clay acts as a blanket to protect against leachate coming through and getting into the ground water underneath. At the Keele Valley landfill site 50% of that clay layer is already penetrated by leachate. We have another two feet to go. I do not know whether the leachate will go through at that point. Maybe the clay becomes such a hardened substance that it is not going to go through. This is something I want to have subjected to a thorough environmental assessment.
The waters underneath the Keele Valley landfill site are really the eastern branch of the Don River. The Don River headwaters are on the same parcel of land. The Don Valley headwaters are on the same parcel of land as the Keele Valley landfill site. If there is a problem with that clay layer being impacted negatively because of the increased size of the landfill -- the specifications of the landfill site were for a certain size. If you are going to add 30% or 50% more gross volume to it, as that pushes down on the clay barrier underneath, does that in fact cause more seepage to go through into the headwaters of the Don River?
I do not know the answer to that question and I do not pretend to know the answer, but it is the kind of question that is fundamental to the understanding of the long-term impact of an expansion of the Keele Valley landfill site. If we are going to pollute the headwaters of the Don River right at their origin, we are never going to clean up the Don. We are never going to be in a position where we can fish and eat the fish we catch in it or swim and do other things in that river.
We have succeeded in having all governments face up to the Rouge River system and we are now in a position where something beautiful is going to happen there: We are going to keep it. It is going to live. It is going to be a living ecological system. Why can we not begin to have the same sense of purpose for the Don River? Here we are with the Keele Valley landfill site right at the headwaters of the eastern branch of the Don River. If there is anything we can do to guarantee the long-term life of that river, to make sure clean, wholesome, good water is coming into it, without the seepage that is going to possibly come from Keele Valley, then we should look at that. That should be looked at through a full environmental assessment, not through the short-circuited route this government is suggesting.
We are talking about something that touches upon everybody in the greater Toronto area. What we are really seeing is when we start to have some of the heavy metals, gases and toxins escape from this leachate system, and we are talking about how we deal with that. The leachate alone is not dealt with well. The leachate is all the juices and gases that come out of the garbage that is compressed. It is now pumped up and then put through the water system in the greater Toronto area. The water purification system is not made to deal with the kinds of heavy metals and the substances coming out of that leachate.
We are going to have far more leachate coming out of these expanded dump sites. How are we dealing with that as well? A second question comes out of the expansion of these two sites, and that is how we are dealing with the leachate that is pumped out and taken for purification and the leachate that could possibly go through the existing clay layer and end up going into the headwaters of these systems.
There are a few other considerations I have with regard to this bill. They have to do with part IV of the bill. Part IV of the bill touches on a number of issues.
Mr McLean: It's a major part.
Mr Cousens: My friend the member for Simcoe East is right. It is a major part. It has a lot to do with these regulatory guidelines that the minister dropped on us on October 9. The minister has let these out for public comment. They have a lot of impact on what industry is all about.
I think every one of us has to be pleased with the intent the Minister of the Environment has, because if we do not begin to do something about packaging guidelines and reducing the amount of packaging, and therefore the amount of waste, right at the source, we will never conquer the problem. She is really trying to do a number of things through her regulatory measures.
She is also following through and asking for a number of methods by which she will be able to do audits. Each company will be required to have an audit on its own waste systems and those audits will be subject to scrutiny by the province. I think that is a good idea, because through that process some companies are going to be able to quickly say: "I've got it. I know what I should be doing differently." They will come up with their own recommendations. Just that study itself will be helpful for them in reducing the amount of primary sources they put into their products and the amount of garbage they generate, the amount of waste that is being thrown out and not reused. There is a concept here that is good. Let's not take that away.
As I look at part IV of the bill, the minister is looking for targets for larger municipalities to implement recycling and composting programs. I think that is good. She is requiring businesses and institutions to recycle and conduct annual waste audits and prepare waste reduction plans. I think that is going to be good too.
I think there is going to be a pile of money to be made in this whole garbage business. As one chap was saying to me, kiddingly, over the weekend, there are really three things that are guaranteed to raise money: drugs, prostitution and garbage. The whole business of garbage is really one of those things that generates an awful lot of cash for people involved in it. That is smart. The people who are saving on the amount of things they are producing by cutting back and reusing certain things are able to conserve in a way that gives them a bigger profit.
I like what the minister is trying to do in requiring municipalities to establish reasonable fees for disposing of trash at dumps. I do not know what "reasonable" is any more. Why is it a third of the cost to ship it down to Indianapolis, where the tippage fees are that much less than they are in the greater Toronto area? What we have to do is keep trying to find ways in which it is cheaper. People will go where the market will allow them to take it, so the fact that municipalities will have reasonable fees for their tippage -- they could have it already, but they are really saying, "Look, let's do it further."
Then one of the things the minister does is have new regulations on packaging, containers and disposable packages. What I really want to touch on here is the question of Ontario's competitiveness. How do we deal with it? Are we in a position where we want to be different from the rest of Canada? If a company has a nationwide product, is it going to be in a position soon where Ontario's regulations and guidelines are so different from any other jurisdiction that in fact it has to have one set of packaging standards for Ontario and another packaging standard for other parts of Canada?
If the rest of Canada is that slow, I would say Ontario should lead the way. But if in fact Ontario can work with the other jurisdictions and develop a consensus of approach within this federation, then we will have gone a step in the right direction and we are working together. If Ontario is able to develop packaging guidelines that are not rammed through so quickly without discussion and dialogue, that too would be good. If Ontario is able to work with industry and say, "Look, it's going to take you two years to get rid of your existing inventories. It's going to take you a certain lead time in order to retool and manufacture and set things up differently. We'll work with you on that," that is what I call dialogue and consultation.
The fear I have is that the kind of dialogue we have from this government to industry is a one-way dialogue. It is not saying, "Here's what we're thinking," and giving them a chance to feed back how in fact they can implement these guidelines. This government does not seem to work that way. The minister already has tremendous power. When we give this government more powers, such as it has in this bill, then it can misuse it.
If I had a sense of confidence that the Minister of the Environment and the Premier were listening and working with industry, then I would have a sense that we are going the right way. What we have instead are the words of a government that says, "We want to do more," but the actual implementation is enough to turn people off and send them to Belleville or Buffalo, which is the question I raised in the House this afternoon.
Mr McLean: Or Beamsville.
Mr Cousens: Or Beamsville. Anywhere other than the greater Toronto area. It is becoming uncompetitive for business to stay in the greater Toronto area. It is becoming uncompetitive to stay in Ontario. What we have to look at is how we can, in developing environmental policies, develop strategies that will allow Ontario not only to maintain the leading edge as an environmental conserver society -- we want to do that; I believe in that and I know our caucus believes in it -- but somehow members opposite should work it through so they are not in opposition to the needs of industry to survive this economic situation we are in and they help industry to work into it so there is an implementation program that does not set it back further, that does not discourage business from coming into Ontario.
Anything we do in any area of this government has a ripple effect through all the other areas of what it takes to make our society strong. We must be able to develop policies and strategies that respect the needs of a conserver society; make a leading effort but do it harmoniously without setting Ontario back, understanding that we are into one of the worst recessions we have had in years. Therefore in order to work that through, is it not as important to look at making sure we keep jobs in Ontario? Is it not making sure we keep the economy strong and at the same time understand that we have an environmental agenda? Can the two not work together? I believe they can, but I believe what will happen is that this Ministry of the Environment, like the Ministry of Labour, disregards the needs of industry to try to work it through.
There have been classic examples where Ontario's industries have led the way. I do not think enough time is given to complimenting the leadership of Falconbridge and Inco for the way they have fought to reduce acid rain, sulphur dioxide emissions. They have tried and they have accomplished great things. Industries out there, as I talk to them, continue to be anxious to participate in making Ontario's a strong environmental voice. Yet let's make sure we do that at the same time as they remain competitive for their US customers. Let's make sure they are competitive as well with the rest of the provinces within Canada so that anything we do within the environmental agenda is done in harmony with considering the economic consequences of it.
Let there be an economic statement that comes out and says, "This is what it's going to cost; this is what it's going to do." That does not take away the urgency of doing something about packaging. It does not take away the urgency of reducing the amount of garbage we are creating. We know that, but let's ramp up to it in a way that allows us to deal with it honestly and effectively and in a sound economic way. Do not cause us as Canadians to lose all our competitive edge. We could have the cleanest environment in the world and no business going on here. How then do we justify it all? That is part of the harmony I am calling for. I know some of these New Democrats disagree with that, but they cannot forget business. It has to be out there. They have to strengthen it. The government cannot come along and attack it all the time -- and that is the government's view. The members opposite think they are just going to come along and beat business up all the time. I do not agree with that. They should work with business. The government should allow business to do something together with it.
Mrs Mathyssen: This is utter, complete nonsense. You are making this up as you go along.
Mr Cousens: The members say I make complete nonsense. I have to tell them, all they have to do is work with business. They should not just come along and shove this kind of thing down their throats all the time through regulation. They just come along and make a change, and all they do is force it on them. They should listen to them, talk to them, work with them.
The government cannot just be arbitrary in everything. In some things it has to be, but when it is dealing with environmental law, let's make sure the world we are working within in Ontario buys into it. We educate them on the need for it.
I believe in environmental principles. I believe in the fundamental principles being presented by the Minister of the Environment. I agree with the kind of statements she is making on becoming a conserver society. I disagree wholeheartedly with the implementation program she is launching in this province with this Bill 143. I disagree with it and I believe that other people too, when they see the bill, if they are given enough time to look at it, will express deep concerns about what this bill is doing.
Mr McLean: They should read it.
Mr Cousens: The honourable member for Simcoe East says they should read it. The problem is the bill was tabled in late October. We are into debate now and the minister wants to have it passed by the time we rise on December 20.
I have grave concerns that the issues being raised in this bill really have to be addressed beyond what members say in this House and what members of the Legislature say in committee. We have to invite municipalities, AMO, environmental groups, people who are in industry who are going to be impacted by the regulations and changes that she is proposing, to have a chance to comment on it.
If we listen to them, we could well come up with some changes to the bill that will accomplish our mutual objective, which is a safer, cleaner environment, and yet find ways in which we have been able to develop a consensus. The consensus only exists now with the New Democrats. They have a consensus within their caucus, and if they have their way, Bill 143 will be passed and the debate will be over, and then the anguish begins. My feeling is that we should not allow that to happen without there being ample opportunity for all those who have concerns about this bill to have had expression on it.
The solution lies in not taking away the rights of municipalities, not taking away the rights of individuals. It calls for some different approach to it. Let there be an environmental process through an Environmental Assessment Act that is revised that will speed up the process. Then, within a given period of time, we will have completed the assessment and analysis of all the ramifications of what this bill is calling for.
You could subject the minister's view about no incineration to it. You could subject the minister's view about no shipment of waste from Metro Toronto to Kirkland Lake to it. You could subject the whole issue of Keele Valley expansion and Britannia expansion to it. You could subject the whole issue of a site within the greater Toronto area and each of the municipalities to dispose of its own garbage to it. You could subject a lot of our thinking. If any of us has those ideas that are seen as irresponsible and not with it, then you are at least saying, "There's the court that's going to deal with it." They will have the data and information and research to allow that group to develop a statement that is going to mean something.
Mr Speaker, if you cannot tell, I am very concerned about what Bill 143 is going to do to the rights of individuals and municipalities. I know this bill is going to pass; I know the New Democrats have the numbers to force this through the House. But I believe it has to be subjected to public dialogue and scrutiny. At that point at least the minister might understand just how strongly people feel on it. If we do not give them the opportunity, they will not have a chance to express that view. I believe this is part of the democratic right.
This minister has been in hiding. She has made very few statements in the House; she makes more of them out of the House. This is the first piece of legislation that the minister for the greater Toronto area, who is also Minister of the Environment, has brought forward since she took office on October 1 last year. It is a significant piece of legislation and is worthy of extensive dialogue. I am calling on the government for that. I called on it for an extension to the debate on it today in question period. I did not get an answer then and I will continue to ask that question.
I think I can close my presentation today. I challenge the Minister of the Environment to a public debate on Bill 143, in which she and the Liberal critic and I will have a public hearing to discuss this so there is a chance for the public at large to begin to understand something of this bill. I think that is one of the things we could well do on it. I hereby challenge the Minister of the Environment to a public debate -- her time and her place -- so we can have the public there. She can make her presentation, the honourable Liberal member can make his statement and I will make mine, and then we can have some dialogue from the floor.
That can be one of things that can persuade the minister to know whether or not there is a groundswell of concern over what Bill 143 is all about. I believe that such a public debate would be an excellent way in which we might begin to put the issues on the table. What members have heard through this presentation is one person, the MPP for Markham, talking about environmental issues, but I know there are many others who have many other thoughts on it.
Rather than having it railroaded through, this would give us a real opportunity for a discussion on it. Who knows? That public debate might well be enough to persuade the minister to understand that there are concerns out there about this bill, and it is not just myself and our PC caucus that are talking.
There is much more to be said on this bill. It is going to be debated in the House this week, tomorrow and on Thursday as well. I know there are many others who wish to participate, so I will close off for now.
Mr McLean: I want to comment briefly on my colleague's remarks with regard to Bill 143. He lays it out very well. He missed a few bases, but touched most pretty well.
There are major concerns in this bill. We look at the environmental assessments for the sites, which will not be required to contain discussions of any alternatives to the landfill sites -- that is in part II -- and we look at part III, which my colleague touched on, that a certificate of approval for a waste management system or waste disposal site may be issued or amended without requiring the Environmental Assessment Board to hold a hearing. I cannot believe what I am hearing and seeing in this bill from the very minister whom I remember standing in this Legislature and talking about full environmental assessment hearings.
We look at the amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, the very area of concern that could affect the whole of this province, not only the GTA, and we look at some of the definitions and the amendment in section 24 that the explanatory note says "would effectively broaden the regulation-making power by changing 'other wastes' to 'other materials.' The definition of 'waste disposal site' and 'waste management system' would also be broadened."
Section 33 is a major one. It is near the end. The explanatory note says the "amendment would broaden the scope for making regulations in relation to waste management systems and disposal sites." What we are doing here is giving the minister total power, through regulation, and also through the other act she has, through the Lieutenant Governor in Council, to change and make powers. It is totally unacceptable. That is why we really object to this bill. It gives those people the total power they want.
Hon Ms Churley: I want to comment briefly on one aspect of the member for Markham's comments, particularly on incineration and his comment that the minister should be including that in her environmental assessment.
I would like to point out that there have been lots of studies on incineration done worldwide by now and there is no lack of information on what incineration does. Until we get to a point where we are separating garbage properly we should not even consider it. Members know that the very act of combustion in burning garbage causes the creation of furans, dioxins, mercury, lead and other kinds of poisons that affect people, and it goes up in the air and spews for miles all around.
Members also should know that these incinerators are very expensive. Garbage as a fuel is a very low-grade, terrible fuel and you have to maintain these fires at a very high temperature at all times, which then creates competition among the other 3Rs. The garbage is needed to burn in the incinerator, which is a problem for our society when we are trying to move to (a) neighbourhoods or at least districts taking care of their own garbage, and (b) a more responsible 3R society. When we set up that kind of competition for the garbage, we have a problem.
I have outlined just very briefly in these few minutes some of the problems associated with the burning of garbage. If you include that at this time in the options to look at in environmental assessment, it is a very complicated engineering solution to a problem that at this point in time we have to take on as communities, and we have to take on in a responsible way of dealing with our garbage and not creating it in the first place.
Mrs Caplan: The member for Riverdale has provoked me to respond to some of the statements she has made, which I believe are quite irresponsible.
She mentioned worldwide studies. I would suggest to her that the results of those worldwide studies on the production of energy from waste suggest that if we are looking for an environmentally safe approach rather than putting a dump in the middle of the most heavily populated part of this province, she should look at the results of the worldwide study --
The Deputy Speaker: Your comments should be on the member for Markham's speech.
Mrs Caplan: I am referring to what the member for Markham has said and the response from the member for Riverdale, who I believe does not have all the facts.
Mr White: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member should be addressing herself to the member for Markham's remarks.
Mrs Caplan: I would like to, in my response during this two minutes refer to the comments of the member for Markham and the response to his remarks from the member for Willowdale, because they are important. The statement was made that neighbourhoods have to take care of their own garbage. That is the kind of ideology and rhetoric which entering into this debate is less than helpful and is not responsible.
I think there is a lot of information which is complicated by the kind of rhetoric we have heard in this House. Hopefully all members will want to see the very best information on energy from waste, which is often referred to as incineration, on the kinds of impacts we have when dumps are placed in highly urbanized areas, and that we will all share our commitment to protection of the environment through the gathering of and the sharing of valuable and important information. It is not helpful to the debate to hear the kind of rhetoric and ideology which has been expressed from the government side of the House.
Mrs Marland: This debate is really about whether the public and the municipal councils which are elected to represent the concerns and views and opinions of the public will have input. One of the things the member for Markham has been asking for is that we allow that process to take place with this very significant piece of legislation. With these comments on the member for Markham's speech, we are getting off into areas that are non-issues.
I too have an opinion on incineration; I have a very strong opinion on incineration. The issue we are dealing with today is whether this bill should proceed in its present form or whether we should have it referred to committee and have the public have its chance for input.
This legislation is setting aside the rights of the people of this province. It is totally ignoring the concerns of municipalities in this province, including my own.
In the region of Peel, interestingly enough, I say to the members opposite, we already have an incinerator which has been approved and is under construction, and it went through the environmental assessment hearing. I am not in favour of the incineration of municipal solid waste. I stood in this House and supported the Minister of the Environment in her statement of prohibition on incineration of municipal solid waste, but that is not the issue we are dealing with today. We are dealing with Bill 143 and the fact that it ignores the rights of the people of this province to have some comment on a bill that takes away all the acts that exist today to protect them.
Mr Cousens: I thank the member for Mississauga South and the member for Oriole. The kind of insight they have to protect their constituents and the rights of people, which the member for Oriole was also referring to, is fundamental to what it is all about.
A friend of mine who was out in Saskatoon has a sister who looks after hospital admissions, and 25% of the people who come into hospital admissions give their religion as NDP. I raise that because sometimes, if you have something that is like a belief system, you will present it as your view without having any kind of validation using reasoned background or understanding of rights. The problem with the New Democrats is that they operate under a set of religious-type principles and belief systems rather than something that is sound and based on a scientific background and that has a little more meat. They have a philosophical belief system that does not take into consideration the balance we need in society. That was really manifested in the statements by the member for Riverdale.
I cannot believe that members of the government do not have a bigger and broader understanding of the balance that is needed to make this a society that works. They will have their beliefs, but they are not based on anything other than some kind of doctrinaire system. They are not willing to expose it to an environmental assessment. They are not willing to expose it to some thought processes. The challenge stands. I challenge the Minister of the Environment to a public debate on Bill 143, and I invite the Liberal member for Brampton North to share in that, so we can get remove from it some of the mystique and some of the mystery that government members have and deal with the issues.
The issues are hard and they are real and they have to do with rights -- the rights of the individual and the right of a person who is elected to office at a municipality to represent his or her people. Those rights are being taken away by this bill.
Mr Duignan: I am very pleased to rise and speak in support of Bill 143. I believe Bill 143 brings profound changes to waste management strategies, which are very evident in the bill and which are so badly needed in this province. It is the longsightedness of this strategy that I hope will change the attitudes of people in our society, which will help to ensure that our future generations will have a healthy environment in which to live.
Bill 143 is not just about the setting of or looking for long-term sites, or indeed dealing with the gap. It is also about the 3Rs: reduction, reuse and recycling. More important, Bill 143 is about the changing of attitudes and values in our society. When you think about it, Ontario produces somewhere between 10 million and 14 million tons of solid waste each year. We consume more energy and generate more garbage per capita than any other nation on earth. Clearly, this must be changed.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I would ask the two members, if you want to have a discussion, to hold it outside. Thank you.
Mr Duignan: As a society, we have traditionally considered our used products as waste, when in fact they are valuable resources. This attitude is what has created the waste capacity crisis in most of the GTA. We must start changing people's attitude so they view these products not as waste or articles to be thrown away, but as waste resources that have value in being used again. Not only can we help prolong the depreciation of our natural resources here in Ontario, we can also begin to solve of the waste capacity crisis in this province.
We find ourselves in a situation where landfill sites are reaching capacity and no new sites have been found in some of the greater Toronto area. I want to speak in particular to my region, the region of Halton which, interestingly enough, has been excluded from the Interim Waste Authority's search for a new dump site in the greater Toronto area and which has also been excluded from the first three parts of this particular bill. Halton region started to look for a site way back in 1976 because it knew the existing site at that time had about a 10-year capacity left. This is now 1991. This dump is not prepared to be open until November, 1992. It took 16 years to go through the process, and the cost and the anguish the taxpayers of Halton have gone through should not be repeated in any other area of the GTA.
Also, when we look at some of the cost summaries the Halton region had to go through in setting up a new dump, the Environmental Protection Act studies prior to 1980 cost $1 million. The EA studies and the EPA studies after 1980 added another $3.1 million to that cost, and the hearings alone were $3 million. I understand that the joint board hearings themselves did not conclude --
Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think more people might be interested in hearing the member for Halton North, and I do not see a quorum present in the House at this time.
The Deputy Speaker: I will ask the table.
Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Journals: A quorum is present, Mr Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: A quorum is present.
Mr Duignan: It is interesting that the joint board hearings began on May 5, 1987, and concluded, after 194 days of evidence and arguments, on November 8, 1988. That was one long and costly process to the people of Halton. The estimated cost of the dump at the end of March 1991, to this point, is about $127 million. I understand that cost is to rise to about $150 million before the process ends.
Also, Halton region has a very aggressive 3Rs program. It is one of the leaders in the GTA. It reuses, recycles and reduces some 23% to 25% of the solid waste now produced in the region.
We do not want to see the costly process, as I indicated, repeating itself for the rest of the GTA. I believe Bill 143 will cut down on both the cost and the length of time it takes to bring a landfill site on stream. I believe the Minister of the Environment is to be commended for her heroic efforts to improve that process.
We know the situation has reached a crisis point in Ontario. I believe the time is now to implement strong and decisive measures to ensure that the wasteful habits of our past are changed so we can no longer continue to waste our valuable resources. I believe Bill 143 represents those strong and decisive measures. It also provides the legal framework to implement the waste management strategy our government has been developing over the last year. This strategy represents the decisive measures needed to turn the situation around.
In her first speech as the Minister of the Environment, the minister reiterated our government's commitment to obtaining the objective of 25% diversion of waste from disposal by 1992 and 50% by the year 2000. This is a clear commitment to make waste reduction the main priority in the government's waste management strategy.
This commitment was followed by a statement in the Legislature on November 21 of last year in which the minister announced the new direction of the province's environmental policy, which would be to change Ontario's consumer way of life into a conserver society. The minister also announced on February 21 of this year a waste reduction action plan to accelerate waste reduction in the province so that the committed waste diversion targets could be obtained. This plan is the cornerstone of a new conserver society.
This action plan has four important parts: (1) the implementation of a strong regulatory measure to reduce at the source the flow of valuable resources which now end up in landfill sites, (2) the development of the financial and technical systems needed to divert these materials from landfill sites to productive use and reuse, (3) the encouragement of healthy markets for materials recovered through source separation programs, and (4) the development of public education programs that will provide all the people in Ontario with the information they need. This is to be done through the provincial waste reduction office, whose mandate is to develop and implement new and effective policies, programs, laws and regulations to promote 3Rs activities throughout Ontario.
The minister has also made it clear that the responsibility for waste must be accepted by the communities generating the waste. We can no longer afford to find a hole or a mine somewhere in the province and ship it out of sight, out of mind, because this would be contrary to conserver values that are the foundation of our government's waste management strategies. If we produce the waste, we must be prepared to deal with it in our own backyards.
The facilities for disposal of waste should be located as close as possible to the source of waste generation. I know my friend and colleague the member for Markham has some good ideas when he talks about recovery of material from waste, and I would invite him to my riding. I issue him a challenge to come to my riding and look at one of the initiatives happening in my riding, a pilot project funded in part by the federal government's environmental partners fund and also by the Ministry of the Environment and the provincial Environmental Youth Corps, which pays for some of the staffing in this particular project. It is called Waste Wise, and it is a course beyond the blue box.
What happens here is that anything goes to this particular depot: used clothing, books, furniture, sporting goods, toys, games, carpeting, office supplies, housewares -- everything that can be reused. They also take in broken small appliances such as lawnmowers, snowblowers, tools, sewing machines and toasters. A group of volunteers come in and fix those particular appliances. They also take all suitable textiles, scrap metal, paper, plastics, wood, etc. The proceeds from these resales go to educating the people in the community about how we can reuse and recycle. It is a pilot project, and I have some information if any members are interested in it. I think it is a worthwhile project that can be implemented in any community.
The member for Markham also spoke about incineration. As the member for Mississauga South is totally opposed to incineration, so am I, because I have studied a lot of information and have seen nothing to this point which would lead me to support incineration. That is not to say that some time down the road we may not have technology that would deal with some of the problems that come with incineration.
One method of handling municipal solid wastes, as indicated, and one which is inconsistent with the 3Rs, is incineration. This is because it relies on a steady, large quantity of mixed waste to keep incinerators running. The result is an inflexible system that provides little opportunity for waste reduction programs to be implemented.
On April 2, a ban on all future municipal solid waste incinerators in Ontario was announced by the minister, with a review of the ones currently in operation. Once an incinerator is up and running, it requires a large quantity of mixed waste. The waste that is the most efficient fuel for the incinerator is also the waste that is most easily separated for diversion into recycling programs. This includes paper, plastics, etc.
The environmental problems associated with the incineration of municipal solid waste are well documented. Indeed, there is quite an amount of information on them. The combustion of this waste during incineration releases a wide range of air pollutants, including dioxins, furans, carbon dioxide and heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium. Moreover, between one quarter and one third, by weight, of the original material entering an incinerator remains as bottom ash and fly ash. This ash must be disposed of in landfill sites. The fly ash is considered a hazardous waste and must be landfilled in special sites.
I believe our government's historic ban on the incineration of municipal solid waste makes Ontario the first major jurisdiction in North America to do so. The minister has also announced strong measures to deal with the waste crisis in the greater Toronto area. The three-part strategy includes initiatives to accelerate 3R activities in the GTA, find three long-term landfill sites and deal with the shortfall of land capacity until the three long-term sites are open. This has involved extending the lives of the two existing landfill sites in the GTA.
In October the minister announced the first in a series of waste reduction intiatives that will lay the foundation for achieving the provincial waste reduction objectives. These draft regulations will be phased in starting in mid-1992 and will make waste reduction mandatory for Ontario businesses, industries, institutions and municipalities.
The proposed regulations would include having larger municipalities implement recycling and leaf and yard material composting programs, and certain industrial, commercial and institutional sectors recycling materials, conducting annual waste audits and preparing waste reduction plans.
I believe Bill 142 and Bill 143 will give the legislative framework for the minister to implement these regulations. The proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection Act in Bill 143 allow for the acceleration of the 3R program of our government. The measures undertaken by our government since coming into office clearly outline a logical waste management strategy. Bill 143 is just one part in the overall strategy dealing with waste management. It also provides the legislative framework for an Interim Waste Authority to carry on its research for long-term sites in the GTA. It ensures the health and wellbeing of the people within the GTA by ensuring that there will be a landfill capacity, and it promotes the 3R program to ensure that our waste diversion goals are met.
I believe Bill 143 is needed to manage and to solve the immediate waste crisis. It is also needed to change our wasteful ways, and it is needed so we can never find ourselves in a waste crisis like this again. We need Bill 143 to ensure that we leave our environment in a safe and sound state for future generations to come.
Mrs Marland: One thing the speaker has omitted to comment on is why it has taken his government one whole year to bring this legislation before us. His government has been in office in fact for more than one year, almost 14 months, but given the date this legislation was tabled, I simply will deal with the void of one whole year.
At the time the Minister of the Environment was the opposition critic for the Environment, I was the opposition critic for my party. She shared my concern about the risk of waiting any longer to find a solution for the garbage crisis. Here we are one year later and the garbage crisis is in such a crunch that this socialist government is not even willing to go to the public and go through the public process because there is no time. Suddenly it is an emergency.
We knew it was an emergency a year ago. The member for Halton North says we should be prepared to deal with it in our own backyards. I want to tell him that in the region of Peel we were dealing with it in our own backyard. We had a site selected. We were going to the environmental assessment hearing until the Liberal government put a halt on that particular site and that particular hearing. We were actually down the road to solving our own garbage crisis in Peel. But here we are a year later and we have a government that will not listen to the public and that ignores the Planning Act and the Municipal Act which are in place to protect the public.
Mr Sutherland: I want to compliment the member for Halton North on his comments and pay a little more attention to the Waste Wise system he mentioned that has been set up in Halton North. I know many people in my area and particularly those people associated with the environmental group Earthroots Coalition who have been down to tour the Waste Wise centre in the member's riding have been very impressed by the setup there.
Also, most recently when Earthroots sponsored an environmental conference in my riding, Dr Paul Connett, who I believe the member for Markham referred to in his speech, had also been up to visit Waste Wise and was very complimentary about what it is doing there. He was complimentary not only of the environmental impact but also the social impact in terms of how they have many retired people who come in. For example, people bring old bicycles or old radios in and these people who have some skills in electronics or in repair work come in and fix these bicycles or radios and make them reusable again.
I think all of us as members should try to find some time to visit the member's riding to see how this is set up and to see whether we can encourage our local groups and local organizations to take a leadership role as they have done in the member's riding and see if we cannot get that set up in our own ridings.
I compliment the member and the people in his riding who showed the initiative and leadership on the environmental issue and who have a true understanding of how we are really going to solve our environmental problems, and particularly garbage problems, through the 3Rs by not only recycling but reducing and, more important, reusing whatever resources we can.
Mr McClelland: I would like to make a couple of comments about the speech rendered by the member for Halton North. I think it is interesting that the member raises on one hand Bill 143 as a means by which the province can get moving towards the waste reduction targets that are not only wanted but indeed essential, as the member has said, and at the same time he brings forth an example from within his own riding where there has been tremendous progress made.
I simply suggest to him that in so doing he raises the very plain truth of the matter that Bill 143 is not a requirement to proceed with the waste management initiatives that ought to be undertaken in this province and that it is a very thin disguise in terms of its very agenda, which is to empower within the ministry the right to place sites and to provide orders without any recourse to the general public.
The member for Halton North stood in his place in this House and asked the Minister of the Environment if she would overrule an order that was rendered from a board that was seized of a matter with respect to the siting of a waste management operation within his own riding. The minister in response said it will lie with the people who have seen the material put before them, the duly constituted board, and their decision will be made on the information that was presented, having regard to due process.
This is the member who wanted to stand on behalf of his riding, where the people quite frankly were saying, "We don't want it in our area and will the minister overrule?" The minister said: "I will not. I will adhere to and follow the recommendations of the board." What does Bill 143 do? It says effectively there will not even be a board hearing and that any matters in terms of waste management will not come before a board for public scrutiny. That is one of the great ironies of the bill before us.
Mr O'Connor: I want to comment with regard to the member for Halton North. I think he raised a number of really important issues, one of them being the fact we have to change the way we live and become a conserver society.
The member for Markham mentioned earlier the fact that we talk about rights. Let's talk about the rights of children of the future. Recycling is not about to happen unless we have some changes to packaging. That is something we have to look at.
The member also mentioned the April 2 ban on incineration. He is right when we consider that incineration flies right in the face of the 3Rs. The fuel that people are using to fuel incineration is a resource that should be used and recycled right away. It is not something we should be trying to bury in a hole someplace. We should be trying to use it.
He mentioned the fact that Halton underwent a long process in developing a landfill site. This is something that needs to be recognized; they did that. This bill addresses the fact that Durham, Peel, Toronto and York have to deal with their situations. Halton has had to deal with its own. That is something the member talked about. Something like this does not happen overnight. There is quite a bit of work that goes into it in advance and in preparation.
In his comments the member remarked on a lot of initiatives the minister has taken to get this far. We are a way from it yet and hopefully we can proceed so we can find some landfill sites long before we get to a gap situation. We had better continue to work on it diligently. I think the member has spoken quite highly of the merits of this legislation and of the recycling programs within his community.
Mr Duignan: I appreciate the kind remarks of my colleagues and indeed of all members in the House. In particular I reference the member for Brampton North. The minister has made it very clear that the Halton region is not subject to a new landfill site, and if we look at Bill 143, it excludes the Halton region from that particular process. That is excluding the Acton dump, which is indeed another issue altogether.
However, Bill 143 deals in an area in particular; that is, the crisis proportions of waste management that exist in the greater Toronto area. I believe this bill represents a decisive step towards resolving that situation. Bill 143 also deals with the amendment to the Environmental Protection Act to facilitate intensified acceleration of the 3R activities in the greater Toronto area as well as the province as a whole, because we have to get serious about recycling, reusing and reducing. If we do not, we will continue to have this crisis year after year, decade after decade, until we get serious about what we are doing with our waste.
Mrs Caplan: I am pleased to rise and participate in the second reading debate on Bill 143. I point out that the time today is very short and on behalf of my constituents in the riding of Oriole I have quite a lot to say about this important piece of legislation.
The first thing I would like to say is that many of the goals, many of the objectives, much of the rhetoric we have heard from the Minister of the Environment, is shared by my constituents. Certainly we all want to protect the environment for future generations. Certainly we want to see the kind of regulations brought into place that will make sure that everyone in our society does what he or she can to become aware of what he can do.
My constituents in the riding of Oriole and the residents of North York were among the very first to participate in recycling depots. I remember when I was a member of North York council the activities of the committee on the environment, headed up very ably by Mrs Ruth Johnson for many years, was a model for other communities across this province. Recycling depots were established in the city of North York, and we were very excited about the awareness people in the city of North York had. We were one of the first to implement the blue box program.
It has been extremely successful. I noticed a news release just this week from Ontario Multi-Material Recycling Inc, the association for recycling, and it has pointed out how successful that blue box program has been right across the province. It is one of the things I am particularly proud of as a member of the former government, that the efforts of the member for St Catharines won worldwide recognition when the United Nations saw fit to award his efforts and our efforts as a government to implement the blue box program.
When we talk about the environment, when we talk about our commitment to a better future for our children for the kind of environmental protections, I do not think there is any member of this Legislature who would disagree with those goals, with those objectives and with those important principles of each of us doing what we can to protect the environment for future generations.
Having said that, I want to point out to all members of this House that Bill 143, An Act respecting the Management of Waste in the Greater Toronto Area and to amend the Environmental Protection Act, is not being carried by the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore as Minister of the Environment but is being carried by the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore as the minister responsible for the greater Toronto area. I believe the reason she is not carrying this bill as Minister of the Environment is that any Minister of the Environment in the province of Ontario, in fact any Minister of the Environment in this country, would be embarrassed to table a piece of legislation such as Bill 143, which disregards the rights of individuals to participate in a process which overrides every piece of environmental legislation that has been tabled in this province.
Some people have said this is the first piece of environmental legislation the new minister has tabled. In fact, the Minister of the Environment has not tabled a piece of legislation in this House. In more than a year in office, we have seen nothing from the Minister of the Environment. This is a piece of legislation tabled by the minister responsible for the greater Toronto area, which I believe is a deception. I believe it does not serve well the interests of the people of this province. It is precedent-setting and it is of grave concern.
When I speak about the grave concerns, on a number of occasions in this House I have talked about the cynicism in this province that people feel towards all politicians, particularly those who tell them one thing at election time and do something else after they have the opportunity to govern. They feel cynicism because politicians stand in their place in community meetings and in this Legislature and say one thing to them when they mean something else.
My constituents in the riding of Oriole are very concerned when I tell them that this piece of legislation does not do what the minister for the greater Toronto area and the Minister of the Environment, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, says it is going to do.
This piece of legislation has four parts. When this House meets at another time I will have the opportunity to look at those parts in further detail, but for the beginning of this debate I would like to place on the record what one municipal leader, Lorna Jackson, the mayor of Vaughan, has to say about this piece of legislation. She writes to the Premier, whose bill this is, and says:
"Dear Premier: I am writing to express my concern with respect to your government's introduction of Bill 143, An Act respecting the Management of Waste in the Greater Toronto Area and to amend the Environmental Protection Act.
"This bill purports" -- I underline the word "purports" -- "to deal primarily with recycling and packaging proposals, which we support. A careful reading of the bill, however, indicates that its true purpose and intent are quite different. By this act, all existing legislation -- the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Municipal Act, the Ontario Municipal Board Act, etc -- and any contracts which may affect the life of the Keele Valley landfill, located in the city of Vaughan, and the Britannia landfill, located in the city of Mississauga, will be set aside to extend the life of these sites.
"The citizens of Ontario and the municipalities which represent them will lose the rights and protection provided by the legislation now in place. The hearings and reviews the citizens of the province in general and the citizens of Vaughan in particular have come to rely on are now to be withdrawn by this draconian measure.
"The amendments to the Environmental Protection Act which are part of this bill raise the spectre that other citizens in other communities will similarly be denied these rights and protections. In particular, subsection 136(4) allows for the making of regulations directing municipalities to establish or enlarge any waste disposal site in the province.
"You and your government have always supported public consultation and the need for people to be heard. Now your government is removing our rights, as established not only by the Environmental Assessment Act but by every other applicable piece of legislation. Your party was not elected to remove these rights, but rather to support and enhance them.
"We ask you to please reconsider this bill. The sections dealing with the expansion to Keele Valley, Britannia and potentially any other waste disposal site in Ontario can and should be removed and considered separately. To demonstrate your government's commitment to environmental rights in Ontario, we trust you will take this step."
The reason I put this on the record today is that there are many municipal councils, not only in the greater Toronto area but those right across this province, newly elected on November 12, who will want to have an opportunity to view this bill in detail.
We know this bill has four parts, and each part is significant enough that I would suggest it could stand on its own, but even if it did not stand on its own, each one being a separate piece of legislation, surely part IV, which is in fact amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, should be considered as a separate piece of legislation and parts I, II and III, which affect profoundly the rights of individuals in the greater Toronto area, should also be considered separately.
I look forward to further debate on this important piece of legislation. On behalf of my constituents in the riding of Oriole, it raises many issues of environmental protection, as well as the rights of citizens, and I hope the government will reconsider the draconian nature of this legislation over the period and the course of this second reading debate.
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 33, the question that this House not adjourn is deemed to have been made. The member for Brampton North has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of the Environment concerning Bill 143 and its implication re the environmental bill of rights. The member has up to five minutes to debate the matter and the minister also has five minutes to reply.
Mr McClelland: The issue that brings us here this evening for this mini-debate with respect to a question for the minister last week is very simple. By way of supplementary question, I put to the minister a question as follows: "Is it not true that, had her environmental bill of rights been in place, the bill would have had to be added to the list of bills that she is ready to wipe out in order to get Bill 143 in?" I was speaking specifically to section 17 of Bill 143, which enumerates a number of acts that will have no force and effect in light of Bill 143 for purposes of implementation of Bill 143.
We only have five minutes tonight. Mr Speaker, let me tell the people viewing at home ahead of time what the minister is probably going to say. She is probably going to talk about waste management. She is probably going to talk about the crisis that is upon us and the need to move forward. She is going to talk about waste reduction measures that Bill 143 will afford her the opportunity of pursuing. She is doubtless not going to respond to the question that was put to her a week ago, because it is very self-evident that had an environmental bill of rights been in place, she would have had to include an environmental bill of rights in section 17 of Bill 143.
Let me very briefly read into the record, Mr Speaker, the explanatory notes of the then Environment critic, now Minister of the Environment, which are consistent with the proposal and the framework within which she has sent out for study and consultation the proposed environmental bill of rights.
Her bill of rights says that, "The bill would also provide for public notice and review of certain approvals, permits or other environment-related orders before the approvals, permits or orders come into force." That is in the explanatory notes which the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, the then opposition critic for the Environment, put in her bill of rights in November 1987.
In December 1989, during debate in this House, the minister said: "The position of this party" -- the New Democratic Party -- "is very clear and it is different. First of all, our commitment is to the Environmental Assessment Act. If we were saying that we could exempt any sanitary landfill project from the Environmental Assessment Act, we would be moving backwards." What does Bill 143 do? It says, among other things, that we can expand existing sites without any due regard to an environmental assessment.
I am going to put the question again, and perhaps again and again until we get some kind of response. The question to the minister was, if she had her environmental bill of rights in place, would it not have had to be included in section 17 as being overridden by the provisions of Bill 143? The response given last week by the minister was wonderful. She went on to say that I would be pleased to know that preparation of the draft environmental bill of rights was well under way. I am pleased to hear that as, I am sure, are all members in this House and people across Ontario. That is not the nub of the issue.
The issue again, I say very plainly to the minister, is, is it not true that had her environmental bill of rights been in place, she would have had to include that as legislation that would have of necessity been overridden by Bill 143? Today in response, in the five minutes we have, the minister may acknowledge that this in fact is the case, and then she will go on to explain why it is necessary to do that.
Fundamentally, that begs the question: at what cost in terms of people's rights, in terms of the things the minister said were fundamentally important to her, things that she said her party was different in? She believed in things. She said it was the cornerstone of her environmental agenda, that on being elected, she would immediately bring forward an environmental bill of rights.
I am not here to talk about that necessarily, but it is interesting to note that one of the basic premises of an environmental bill of rights is an opportunity to make sure that public hearings are held before all approvals, permits or orders come into force. Furthermore, a bill, as proposed by the then opposition critic, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, said that it would allow action to be brought to the Supreme Court by any person for the protection of the environment.
It is plain on the face of it that Bill 143 flies in the face of the philosophy then espoused by the now minister. I say to her again, it does not require a great deal of debate. In fact, we can wind this up in less than the five minutes allotted. Is it not true that had her environmental bill of rights been in place, of necessity it would have had to be included in section 17 of Bill 143, which would override the application of the said environmental bill of rights in order for the minister to implement her waste management program?
Hon Mrs Grier: In respect to the specific question posed by the member, that had my environmental bill of rights been in place would there have had to have been an override, let me say to the member that when an environmental bill of rights is in place and when it has been debated and when it has evolved from the normal process of legislation in this place and beyond this place, there will be a clear answer to this issue.
What is very fascinating in all of the debate around Bill 143 and in the question posed by the member in the House the other day about which he expressed dissatisfaction with my answer, I do not hear any member on the other side denying that there is a crisis or a need for action to deal with the waste management problems of the greater Toronto area, problems that have accumulated over these many years and problems for which we are now paying the price for the shortcomings and lack of planning by past governments.
What is also evident from the questions, from the debate and from the presentation we have just heard from the member is that the members opposite have not read the orders about which they profess to be so concerned. I am sure that if the member for Brampton North had read the order I have given to Metropolitan Toronto, he would know that I have ordered Metropolitan Toronto to take a number of actions that would be required were there to be an Environmental Protection Act hearing or an Environment Assessment Act hearing.
I have ordered them to do a site survey, to look at the leachate collection control and disposal system, to look at the contaminant plume from closed landfill sites located north of Teston Sideroad, to look at possible ground water contamination, gas generation, collection and control, storm water management, liner performance, final cover, buffer zones, side operations, monitoring and after-use plan, all of the environmental concerns that are allegedly on the agenda of the members opposite.
In addition, I have ordered Metropolitan Toronto to give the people of Vaughan, the people of York and the people of Metro an opportunity to participate in those studies, review those studies and play a role in the decision-making around what is an emergency order, an emergency order that is required to resolve the problems that have accumulated over many years.
That community involvement program, I told Metro Toronto, had to be developed and implemented by the municipality and should include establishment of a liaison committee, development of a communications plan and opportunities for people to do what the member thinks they ought to do, to participate in this discussion, to understand the technical reports that have to be done and to participate in that decision-making.
The member will know, as would his chorus in the front row, that should there be an application for a project under the Environmental Protection Act or under the Environmental Assessment Act, the culmination of what is essentially a fairly privately conducted process is a public hearing. What we are suggesting and what we have ordered Metro Toronto to undertake is a very public, very involved program of doing the technical studies that are always done by a proponent. I would also point out to the member and to the Greek chorus in the front row that there is nothing in this legislation that precludes any more extensive public hearing than that which I have outlined.
The issue is that we are facing a very serious crisis. In order to solve that crisis, the previous government had a solution. It would short-circuit the environmental assessment process and open up greenfield sites without an environmental assessment.
What this government has decided is that this is not a good way to protect the environment, but that if one has a shortfall and gap before the long-term sites are open, it is preferable to continue to use existing sites that have approval, existing sites for which we have required studies to be done to indicate that there is no impact on the environment.
That is a more responsible process than what had been suggested previously. That is a process that allows the people most directly concerned to be involved, and that is a responsible, decisive and proactive approach to a crisis and to an emergency that is with the people of the greater Toronto area.
The House adjourned at 1811.