Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, you may recall that on Monday of this week the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) asked me a question in the House relating to the settlement in regard to the Metropolitan Toronto Association for the Mentally Retarded. I responded to that question at the time, indicating to him there had been no additional funds allocated to that association.
The following day, in the Hamilton Spectator, there appeared an article purportedly based upon an interview with the Leader of the Opposition, in which he was quoted as acknowledging that I had indicated there were no additional funds being flowed to that association.
It then went on, and I trust this is not an accurate quote, to have the honourable member say, “Whether Toronto got an agreement from Norton on the side or not, or whether something else is going on I don’t know, but I’m going to try to find out.”
The implication of that statement, if it is an accurate quotation from the honourable member, is an infringement upon my privileges as a member of this House. He is essentially suggesting that he does not believe I honestly answered that question when asked in this Legislature the day before.
I find that an offensive attitude for the honourable member to take, especially since there are negotiations going on in that community. He would appear to be deliberately creating doubt in the minds of the parties that there might have been some private, on-the-side arrangement between me or my ministry and the Metropolitan Toronto association.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister would be aware of the concern, not only felt by the people in Hamilton but expressed by their representative, who happens to be the Leader of the Opposition, that the strike there has been going on for many weeks. The people, many of them with college degrees, who are paid less than $10,000, find it difficult to determine why a similar circumstance in Toronto was settled within a few days and the ministry could not find the funds, the assistance or the leadership to bring about a similar settlement in Hamilton.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is suggesting I do not share that concern. Obviously I do; we have been working with that association. I think the point of privilege at stake here is one that relates to a statement by the Leader of the Opposition. I am not questioning his concern about the seriousness of that situation, but I think it is totally unjustified that the honourable member would leave this House after receiving an answer, and then exacerbate an already difficult situation by sending doubts in the minds of the parties to that negotiation in his own riding.
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Community and Social Services has alleged some impropriety on behalf of the member for Hamilton West. I think we should wait until the honourable member’s return and give him an opportunity to explain what it was he said and what he intended.
Mr. Rotenberg: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: In the Legislature on Tuesday evening last, on page 2010-2 of Instant Hansard, the member for High Park-Swansea said the following: “We have got another commissioner, Mr. Phil Givens. We all know about Mr. Givens. The member for -- what is it? -- the member for Wilson Heights owes his seat to that little sweetheart deal.”
The member went on to say: “He bought that seat by arranging for a judgeship for Mr. Givens and a seat on the commission.” Aside from the fact that the member for High Park-Swansea does not even bother to check his facts, because I cannot see any connection between the former member --
Aside from the fact that Mr. Givens was a former member from another riding, and never had any connection with the riding of Wilson Heights, which I represent, I think it is contrary to the rules of this House, which state that no member during debate shall make allegations against another member, or no member shall impute false or dishonest motives to another member.
I would submit, Mr Speaker, that the member for High Park-Swansea, in excess of the usual points of privilege in this House where members accuse others of misleading or telling lies and that sort of thing, is accusing me, when he says, “He bought that seat,” of political corruption and criminal activity. It is a serious allegation to impute that someone could buy a seat in the year 1977. It is insulting to me, it is insulting to the voters of Wilson Heights riding, and I would ask the member for High Park-Swansea not only to apologize and withdraw the remark, but to apologize to me and to the voters of Wilson Heights.
Mr. Ziemba: Mr. Speaker, I will be offering my apology, but first I would like to say that both the members for Wilson Heights and Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) owe their seats to a sweetheart deal the Tories made with the former representatives of those seats. Mr. Givens was offered a judgeship and Mr. Vern Singer was offered a seat on the Ontario Municipal Board.
I am offering an apology because I confused the two patronage situations. Further, I would like to say that one of the ways the Tories have managed to maintain power in this province for the last 37 years is through just those kinds of patronage situations.
Mr. Rotenberg: I am coming to that in a moment. To stand up in this House and to insult me and the voters of Wilson Heights riding by saying as the member said that I owe my seat “to a sweetheart deal” is to me totally unparliamentary, totally uncalled for and totally beyond what should happen in this House. The member has still accused me of improper conduct in elections and I would submit to you, Mr. Speaker, it is the tradition of the British parliamentary tradition which we follow that when a member accuses another member of political corruption, which is what the member has accused me of, it is up to the member to prove that case.
If what he says is true, and if he can prove that case, it would be incumbent upon me to resign my seat if I got my seat in an improper manner. Conversely, having made those charges and not having withdrawn the charges, I submit that if the member does not prove them, it is incumbent upon him to resign his seat. I will put my seat on the line. Will he put his seat on the line?
Mr. Speaker: The member for Wilson Heights has used a lot of superlatives in rising to speak to his point of privilege that I did not hear in the quote that he attributed to the honourable member for High Park-Swansea.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld) is at the centre of the forest fire scene at this time, accompanied by the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. McCague), with plans to return later today. I have been asked to give a situation report on the fires in the province at this time.
This morning’s count was that 115 fires are burning across northern Ontario. Of these, more than 30 are new fires, mainly caused by lightning activity during the night. Efforts are being made to put them out while they are still in the initial stage. During the past few days, such efforts have been largely successful. As for the major fires, of which we have three, things look a little brighter today because the weather bas been helping for a change.
Parts of Red Lake-14 fire had an inch of rain last night, and a westerly wind is now blowing the blaze back on to itself. The extensive work our crews have been able to perform on the eastern and southeastern sides of this fire in the past few days should be of great assistance at this stage. Conditions have improved to the point that Red Lake officials have asked essential town personnel, numbering about 95, to return to the town to get the town operating again. These include utilities, communications, hospital and town staff.
This process has been begun to prepare the town for the return of the evacuees, most of whom have been in Manitoba for some time. However, at the very earliest it will be two or three days before the mass return can begin.
The largest fire, Kenora-23, which covered 300,000 acres yesterday, is also stable at this time. Last night’s rain over much of the area helped the firefighters to get a good hold on the back end of the fire. However, it is still uncontrolled and a threat to many communities. The towns of Kenora, Vermilion Bay and Dryden and the surrounding areas remain on evacuation alert.
As for Geraldton-5, the fire which threatened the Indian community of Fort Hope in the area northeast of Thunder Bay and caused the evacuation of the residents, it is still a threat. However, for the moment the fire is in a stable condition; that is, it is being held by our crews.
As the members will know, restrictions on travel still remain over the entire area west of Lake Nipigon to the Manitoba border. Although the Trans-Canada Highway, highway 17, was reopened the day before yesterday, it is limited to through traffic. No one is being allowed to travel on any side roads. Although the train lines are also operating, nonessential people are not permitted to travel anywhere from the train stations in that area.
The rest of northern Ontario, east of Lake Nipigon, is on restricted fire zone status; that is, no open fires are permitted. But except for fire areas such as those covered by Geraldton-5 and the 30 to 40 fires burning in that part of the north, normal operations are going on. Tourist camps are operating, for example, and people can come and go more or less as they please but the need for great care with anything which might start a fire cannot be overemphasized.
We are working to get this information out to prospective visitors from elsewhere in the province and outside our borders, including the United States. Another important point is that, because of the severity of the forest fire situation, the Ministry of Natural Resources went on a top fire priority at the beginning of this week. All MNR staff who can assist in firefighting and support activities have arrived during this week in the north or are being sent there. Across the entire province the Ministry of Natural Resources is carrying on only the necessary minimum of normal operations. It is definitely not business as usual as far as the ministry is concerned.
As a result all services -- including provincial parks, land management, fish and wildlife activities and forest and mineral resources operations by the staff -- have been thinned out. People requiring such services from the ministry are asked to be patient during this emergency. This situation will remain until the serious fire conditions are drastically reduced.
There is considerable and successful inter- ministry co-ordination of the activities in the fire-affected areas that is worth bringing to members’ attention. The Ontario Provincial Police, of course, are working closely with the MNR staff at every stage. Particularly important is the role of the Ministry of Northern Affairs staff who are extremely active in helping with activities such as evacuation contingency planning as well as the evacuees.
The major example is that Northern Affairs has taken over the co-ordination for the Ontario government of the maintenance and care for the Red Lake evacuees now staying at three Manitoba points. The ministry will arrange for their return when the time comes, working closely with the Red Lake town officials, the OPP and MNR representatives.
Although we have had a bit of good luck overnight with the weather in the northwest and in the north-central regions, combustible conditions are so bad that an inch of rain here and there only helps specific fires on a relatively temporary basis. Much more and concentrated rainfall and other weather benefits are needed before the tinder-dry state of the north can be effectively neutralized.
It is my pleasure to announce to the Legislature today the details of the Ontario Farm Interest Assistance Program for 1980. As members will recall, I announced this program, on May 8, 1980, at which time I promised to release the details as soon as they were available. I have met several times with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to develop criteria for a farmer’s eligibility in this program.
The program has been established to assist farmers who have been hard hit by interest rates on operating loans since April 1 this year. The program will run until December 31, 1980. Farm corporations and farm partnerships are eligible under the same terms as individual farmers. Assistance is available for money borrowed to cover operating expenses on food production and livestock production. Loans for capital purchases of such items as machinery are not eligible.
Items which qualify include seed, fertilizer, fuel, spray, twine, feeder cattle and pigs, machinery repairs, hired labour and custom work. This is by no means the complete list and applicants should seek assistance from the ministry’s local offices.
The assistance is a subsidy of up to three per cent on operating capital borrowed above the 12 per cent. Interest eligible for rebate is the amount charged for operating loans between April 1 and December 31, 1980. To be eligible, a farmer must have had a gross annual income from farming of at least $8,000 in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of the application. Also, to be eligible, the applicant must own less than 75 per cent of the farm assets in comparison to the liabilities.
Application forms and brochures will soon be available from the local agricultural representatives’ offices and from lending institutions around the province. My staff can assist farmers in filling out the forms, but I would like to point out that the forms must be verified by a representative of the lending institution, whether a Chartered bank, a credit union or a trust company.
At the moment, it looks as if the interest rates are on their way down to more reasonable levels. It is my sincere hope this trend will continue. However, farming is a seasonal business. Earlier this year, with the growing season about to begin, our farmers could not wait for interest rates to come down. They had to make their operating loans at whatever rates they could get. For many of them, this could have meant severe hardship. This program will take some of the burden off our farmers’ shoulders this year.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to the Minister of Northern Affairs, based on his statement to the House. Has there been a formal declaration of an emergency, which will mean that the involvement of Canada, through aircraft and certain personnel, will be at least partly paid for from federal sources?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, the conduct and co-operation of the federal government has been outstanding in this particular case. The military has been most helpful and most responsive to any request that we have made to it. While we have not worked out the financial details yet, I’m sure we will be doing that in the weeks and days ahead.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: My source of most information, Metro Morning, indicated in an interview this morning, which the minister may have heard, that in fact there were substantially large charges pending from the government of Canada which would be at least cut in half if there were a formal declaration of a state of emergency.
I don’t understand the details of this but surely the Minister of Northern Affairs would know that there are certain procedures required so that other levels of government can assist and use their funds without charging them back to our Treasury. Can the minister give us further information on that?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, if the federal government is anxious to assist, and I hope it is, I can assure the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk we will do everything in our power to put the necessary requests and proposals in place to make sure this comes about.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister if he feels there are enough personnel available on the firefighting scene both from the federal and provincial levels? What plans does the ministry have in order to spell them off so sufficient rest is given to them, because certainly from reports we are able to hear not only from Metro Morning but from the northern media and on the spot reports, those people on the front lines deserve a lot of credit and congratulations.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the honourable member’s complimentary remarks and I think they are very fitting at this time. As members know I have spent the better part of last week right at the fire scene, along with my colleague the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld). From what I have seen, and I do not have a handle on the exact numbers of personnel there -- it is literally in the thousands -- I have to say there are sufficient human resources to man all the equipment we have. Equipment has been brought in from Alberta. The United States Forest Service has brought in equipment from Boise, Idaho, and we have brought in equipment from as far away as Alaska. There is no shortage of equipment and no shortage of personnel. I can make that assurance having been there personally.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are involved in the events with respect to the fire, are they there as a result of a request by the government of Ontario in accordance with the aid to the civil power proceedings in the normal way?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, the military people were brought in for the evacuation operations in the Red Lake and Fort Hope areas. The native people were evacuated down to Geraldton. The Red Lake people were taken into Winnipeg and are now stationed at Rivers, Gimli and Brandon, Manitoba.
I have to compliment the military and the federal government for the efficient and effective way that they evacuated those communities. They were brought in at the request of the government of Ontario and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister indicate to the House what formula is going to be utilized to assist private individuals in paying for personal losses? Are we going to be fooling around with the usual type of procedure where the government down here matches dollar for dollar what is raised locally, or are we in fact going to accept the principle that the disaster has occurred and it is the responsibility of all the taxpayers to assist in paying these costs?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, last Sunday evening the Minister of Natural Resources and the Attorney General and Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry) were in Dryden along with me. We issued a statement at that time assuring the evacuees from all of those communities in northern Ontario that the government of Ontario would look after all their reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. There would be no problem with those expenses. We also assured the municipalities that any cost incurred because of the fires and the evacuation or anything that is related to the disaster at this time would be looked after 100 per cent by the province of Ontario.
I made that assurance again, particularly when I visited the communities of Gimli, Rivers and Brandon, to assure those evacuees that there is no problem. I asked them to keep track of their out-of-pocket expenses as best they could, and if they had receipts that would be so much the better.
Our plan now is to move into those communities and to disburse funds in answer to those requests that we will have from evacuees when they return. I can assure the members we will not be nickel-and-diming the evacuees.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism having to do with his new advertising program which is referred to in the Toronto Sun this morning, but which has also been referred to in this House on a number of occasions.
Does the minister recall the information put to him by our tourism spokesman, the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins), on October 26, 1978, and also earlier that year on June 5, 1978, when he indicated clearly that the travel deficit involving Ontario was going to be substantial and would amount to $500 million? Since the minister was warned at that time, and must have received the same information from other sources, why is he undertaking to spend $9.6 million with the advertising firm of Camp Associates Advertising Limited in order to improve the Ontario position in this travel deficit at this late date, when other jurisdictions have so successfully improved their own positions at our expense? Is it possible that this is just a part of a co-ordinated approach on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party to use public funds even further to sell its own dubious re-election hope?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, we really don’t have a concern about our chance of re-election being dubious. Even if we did, unlike certain friends of the honourable member in other places, we would not be using public funds to try to enhance our image. Our image needs no enhancing.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He said other Canadian jurisdictions. In fact, our share of the Canadian tourism market has increased in each of the last two or three years -- it certainly increased last year -- so we have been improving our record.
Second, last year it appears that Ontario’s tourism deficit decreased from about $600 million to about $480 million. Considering inflated dollars, the member will appreciate just how much we have improved on our deficit position since his colleague made those statements two years ago. In other words, in 1979, with inflated 1979 dollars added to it, we still improved our deficit position by over $100 million. This is about 20 per cent -- quite a remarkable increase.
Why did we increase our budget this year? Quite simple. Five years ago, New York state was spending $250,000 on tourism advertising. This year it will spend $12 million. Members have seen the results of that. It has been quite impressive; they have attracted a lot of tourists.
Our traditional advertising budget has been in the neighbourhood of $5 million. This year the basic tourism advertising budget would have been $6 million. We got an additional $8.5 million pointed towards the campaign called “Ontario -- yours to discover!” to promote tourism within Ontario, because last year, with the exception of overseas travel, the greatest growth in our market was in the domestic market. The Ontario market, Quebec and Manitoba are our greatest growth markets, and we are going to spend the $3.5 million extra in those three markets this year.
I believe the Liberal tourism critic would support the new “Ontario -- yours to discover!” campaign. He and very many others have been pointing out the need to advertise heavily in domestic markets where all the growth is.
I should add one other thing. In order to dent the tourism deficit any analysis will show that the great deficit comes from Canadians travelling outside this country. We get a good share of people from outside this country coming to Ontario. The deficit comes from Canadians leaving this country. This campaign is pointed precisely towards that market, to get them to stay in this country and find out what attractions are available.
Mr. Nixon: Does the minister agree that it would be accurate to predict that we will be in a bath of “Grossmanitis” around Toronto and Ontario for all of the backlit signs, multicolour brochures, ad campaigns and television hype that he can possibly put together in support of the PC Party and another little campaign he has got in mind?
How come they are so successful in New York without mentioning their minister of tourism and the governor? Why do we have to listen to this minister, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), and the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) and all these birds trying to sell something for Ontario? The province is a very good product, but the subliminal product leaves something to be desired.
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I have a two-part question for the minister. First, I am sure the minister is aware of the success of the promotional campaign “I Love New York.” In that state officials have now confirmed that $4 has been returned for every $1 invested. Would the minister tell us if there were any studies done in connection with the Ontario campaign that would indicate to us what kind of return is anticipated for investment in that campaign, and would he table that for us, please?
Second, will the minister be contacting the business section of the Toronto Sun and correcting the figure given for the Ontario tourism deficit? It states on the business page that our deficit is $491,000, when in fact it is $491 million. Will the minister be writing to them personally to correct that?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Sun was lust anticipating the results of our new campaign. May I say with regard to the studies, in point of fact the “Ontario -- yours to discover!” campaign was built specifically in response to market studies done over the last few years and a careful analysis of last year’s tourism pattern. As the honourable member knows very well, one of the problems that Canada has is a jack of an adequate data base. The Canadian Government Office of Tourism does not have a system to assemble enough of this information for us, as many other countries do. So we began with an absence of enough data, and assembled what we could.
We did some market studies and some of those will be tabled shortly or have already been tabled by us in response to some of those requests for surveys. We did do all the homework on it and, having seen it, I am sure the member will agree the advertising campaign is particularly appropriate.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question for the Premier, Mr. Speaker, to establish what plans the government has to ensure the police complaints bill can be passed in principle before the House rises at the end of June.
Thanks to their flip-flop on Tuesday night from their original position, the Liberals agree with our view that the police should not be investigating themselves under a complaints procedure in this province. Will the government agree to make that change in the bill to ensure that there is an independent investigation process and that the bill can go to second reading in the month of June?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I find that a little bit contradictory. I was not here for the discussion the other night, but I do have a little difficulty in reconciling the position of the New Democratic Party with what I understand was perhaps a somewhat altered position on the part of the Liberal Party, a position which may not yet be ultimately determined. I am not aware of that. I can only ask the leader of the New Democratic Party, as one who works in this environment, how he can talk about wanting a bill to go to committee after he decides he wants to defeat it on second reading?
Surely the logical approach to take would be to pass it during second reading; then, if he wishes to debate it further in terms of some sections, he can do it in the committee stage. My impression is that the members of the New Democratic Party have no intention of letting it get to committee, even though they talk about hearing it at committee.
Mr. Cassidy: Will the Premier in the first place say what the government will do to ensure that this bill can respect the will of the majority of members in this minority parliament and that the bill can be accepted by the Legislature and go forward? Will the Premier not also accept that the reason the Liberal party now has changed its view and the reason why we believe there should be independent investigation of complaints against the police is precisely to ensure credibility in the process? Will the Premier not also agree that this was the recommendation of the Maloney commission and at the time was accepted by the government?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I must go back to the answer I gave before. I will not deny that the Liberal Party of Ontario has on occasion, like once a week or once every day, changed its position on some fundamental issue. That has never been debatable. It is a recognized fact.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I have to tell the member I made my position known on Spadina and it has been consistent ever since. There are some members of his caucus who still are not sure what position they have on Spadina.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Exactly where I stood in 1971. That is exactly where the road was in 1971. If the member wants to get into a couple of other issues about where I stood in 1971, I could remind him, but I shall not. I can remind him where his own party stood and how it has changed in its ambivalence. I am delighted the acting leader of the Liberal Party today is not as sensitive as others. I am always delighted to exchange with him.
I say to the leader of the New Democratic Party I can give him the assurance this bill will get to committee when he recognizes his responsibility and approves it at second reading so it can get to committee.
Mr. MacDonald: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Will you draw to the attention of the Premier that on at least two occasions in this House we have sent bills out to committee so that the government could make amendments before we gave the bill second reading? It would get him off the hook.
Hon. Mr. Davis: On that point of order, Mr. Speaker: With great respect, who wants off the hook? Members opposite are the ones who want off the hook. They have been talking about it going to committee. We all know how it gets to committee: give it approval on second reading.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, since we are giving each other lessons in parliamentary procedure, would the Premier not agree that the government decides its position, puts it to the House and stands or falls on that basis? The only way the bill is going to continue without being defeated is if there is a clear undertaking, as we required as the official opposition, that there be changes in the bill so that the police will not be investigating themselves in the first instance which was the position put by my colleagues when they accepted the principle of this sort of review.
It is difficult to cope with the NDP, who want to vote against the bill and have it anyway. It is difficult to know what they want. Is the Premier going to change the bill or is he going to have it defeated?
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is not our intent to have the bill defeated. We want the proper form of legislation. I would only remind the acting leader of the Liberal Party that my impression, and I think it was a very valid impression, was that after discussions with those people who have expressed an interest, who sometimes act as critics in the field of justice, they indicated they were in support of the principle of the bill.
I see the honourable member smiling. He knows full well he indicated this to the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry). If his critic changes his mind as a result of his rhetoric and eloquence, I cannot account for that. Why does he not tell them he said that?
Mr. Cassidy: Will the Premier not understand the reason the bill now is facing defeat is that the government insists on the principle that the police should investigate themselves, despite the opposition of our party, despite the conversion of the Liberal Party to that point of view and despite the fact the public of Ontario wants an independent review process? Will the government not change that part of its position in order to ensure that a police review and a civilian complaints procedure can become a reality in Metropolitan Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand the point of view of the leader of the New Democratic Party who, when things are going well, wishes to share in the benefits of this form of minority government, but when it comes to matters of specific issue is sometimes not so inclined to do so. Our responsibility is for the legislation that is finally approved. I have found very few members opposite on difficult issues accepting some of the responsibilities themselves for legislation they may have opposed here in this House. That is part of the system and I understand it.
Our responsibility is for the administration. If the Solicitor General in his wisdom, if this is a matter of government policy, feels that there is a better route to go, then it is our responsibility to make that determination. What we shall do with respect to this bill is something the government will assess.
I would say to the leader of the New Democratic Party not to wander off to the press and say he wanted that committee. The ability to get it to committee was in his hands Tuesday evening. Our understanding was that the Liberal Party of Ontario, prior to some of the discussion, had made it quite clear it supported the principle of the bill. Whether they have undergone some conversion or not, I can not account for their mental gymnastics and I never have been able to do so, but that was the understanding.
If the vote had gone as anticipated on Tuesday evening, it might be at committee today. Who knows? I can only say once again to the leader that I am not giving lectures on the parliamentary system. The member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) is quite right, but I would point out to him it is also quite simple to get a bill to committee after second reading. Why do members opposite not vote for it on second reading and have it move on the process?
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker, about the alarming increase in fatalities among miners in Ontario in 1980. Is the minister aware that there have been 11 fatalities in five months in mining in Ontario? Is he aware that, if this rate continues, we will have 26 mining fatalities in Ontario over the course of the full year of 1980, compared with an average of only 11 deaths in the last three years?
What steps has the government taken to investigate the sharp increase in mining fatalities this year? Will the minister make a full report to the House and to labour representatives on why so many miners are being killed?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the leader of the third party has raised a very important problem. It is quite true that there has been a dramatic change. Frankly, I am not able to explain why, but we have the mining division investigating it and I have been advised that the Mines Accident Prevention Association is investigating it.
It was not more than three or four months ago, I suppose, at the beginning of January -- and the members from Sudbury will recall this -- that the Steelworkers from Inco, along with management, proclaimed with a great deal of pride that we had seen a great year because the number of accidents had been reduced dramatically.
I cannot give the member a time on that, because some investigations will have to take place and some decisions made about whether there is going to be a coroner’s inquest, charges laid and things like that. I have no hesitation in saying I will make any information I obtain public when I can do so.
In view of the fact that the Ham commission reported four years ago and recommended as a high priority that the industry and government and labour standardize qualifications and ensure that mining becomes a trade, will the minister explain why that has not yet been done and what steps the government will take to ensure that mining be treated as a trade as one means of reducing the fatalities that are taking lives in the mines right now?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, let’s be reasonable, let’s be fair. I am not saying I will not report before the House adjourns. I am saying that if there are no obstacles to my doing so, I will be pleased to do so. If I cannot, then I will have to report whenever I can.
As to the other issue, I do not have the background information available at the present time about the matter the honourable member raised, but I will be pleased to look into it and report to the House.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, is the minister prepared to look at the possibility of establishing a commissioner of mine safety to investigate not only these fatalities but also possibly to look into aspects of mining such as bad lighting which lead to fatalities and the number of fatalities that occur as a result of loose falling so that recommendations can be made to the mine safety committee and so on to try to get rid of some of those long-term causes which occur over and over again?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am sure the member does not expect an instant answer to that. I am not trying to be obstructionistic about it because it may well be a very valid suggestion. I am prepared to look at it and discuss it with officials.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the minister could at least report to the House before we rise this spring on the nature and cause of the fatalities and what steps the ministry can take to avoid similar kinds of accidents occurring this year, particularly since we have, as my leader pointed out, a good deal of the year yet to run?
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. In view of the large numbers of unemployed in the city of Windsor and Essex county area, in view of the anticipated need for skilled workers within the next year or so when the automotive industry becomes more active with new technology and new machinery, and in view of the unutilized or underutilized facilities in many of the industries in the city of Windsor and Essex county, will the Minister of Labour undertake a massive retraining, upgrading or skills training program of, say, 1,000 unemployed Windsor workers in this program, financed jointly with the federal government and in cooperation with the unions and industry? In that way, when the automotive industry does become more active again, there will be a ready source of available manpower and we will not have to go to offshore countries for skilled help to man the industry.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the member and his party agree that the activities the government now has under way to try to resolve the issue of skills shortages in this province are being viewed by others and by other provinces as quite effective in a general way.
The member’s question relates to a specific situation in Windsor, and I am sure he knows from his colleagues in Ottawa that we expect within the next week or so to be receiving information from the Minister of Employment and Immigration about a job-creation package he had indicated would be available towards the end of May or early June.
Mr. B. Newman: Is the minister aware that such a scheme, the employment of 1,000 unemployed individuals, not only would develop the needed skills for tomorrow but also could lighten welfare and unemployment costs in the Windsor area? That would relieve payment from three levels of government, and it would not only take individuals off the unemployment insurance rolls but also provide employment by way of skills training to those who no longer qualify for unemployment insurance and/or transitional assistance benefits.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am well aware of the information the member gives me. I would also be interested to know whether he has talked with the Community Industrial Training Council. As he knows, an employer-sponsored training program does exist in the Windsor area. I would be interested to know -- and probably the first thing the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) would want to know as well -- whether facilities were available in Windsor for in-industry training of skilled personnel. That is something that would have to be explored. But the first thing to do would be to speak to the Community Industrial Training Council.
Having said all that, I still go back to my original position that at this point we are still awaiting the package which, it has been indicated, is coming from Ottawa. As soon as that has arrived, and is reviewed and evaluated, the government will give consideration to other matters.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to ask the minister whether he can update us on what the position of the federal government is and what his position is on transitional assistance benefits, and whether we are making any progress.
Second, do the minister and his government see a responsibility to participate in whatever aid package does come forward on job creation for the Windsor area? He did not participate to the full extent in the Chrysler agreement, and therefore he should have about $40 million to contribute to the Windsor area for job creation programs.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: If we can go to the last item first, I think the member would have been the first to criticize us had we accepted the $50-million package that was being proposed as the only proposal that was available for this government. I do not think he meant to suggest that what we got was not appropriate. I think that what was obtained was excellent.
The member asked about transitional assistance benefits. I have indicated on a couple of occasions to the member in the past, and to the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman), that I have written to the minister. As the member also knows, I met with him on March 28, along with other ministers of this government, and on that occasion he also met with the United Auto Workers about this issue.
At that time, he indicated he had not made any decision about the TAB program. He indicated to us he would be getting back to us at some future date for further discussion. I have the impression that such discussions would hinge upon the employment package he indicated he would be announcing later this month or early next month.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. It relates to the Keating Channel dredging proposal recently approved by the Minister of the Environment, which would remove 300,000 cubic yards of sediment, loaded with oil, grease, lead and other contaminants from the channel, and dump it in a marine site on the east harbour headland, a site which until recently was opposed by the ministry because of the high probability that the contaminants would find their way to the water intake for the city of Toronto.
In view of the fact that one of the rationales given by the minister for not holding a full environmental impact study of the proposal prior to its approval was the imminent danger of flooding by the Don River if the dredging was not done this summer, could the minister tell the House what he is planning to do to provide an adequate solution to these two hazards of pollution or flooding?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, on the first question relative to the assessment and the hearing, I think I indicated in my response on Tuesday to an almost identical question that we would get back to the member. On the question of flooding, I think it would be appropriate to ask the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld) that same question if the member would like to redirect it.
As the dredging proposal has been in the works for several years, during which time the Environmental Protection Act, the Ontario Water Resources Act and the Environmental Assessment Act were all in effect, but these were waived in favour of backroom negotiations which have brought us to the predicament we are in, and given the air of urgency, crisis and confusion surrounding this matter, will the minister consider an exceptional measure in this case and appoint a person of stature and qualification to deal immediately with it as a one-man commission and to report quickly on this Hobson’s choice of flooding or contamination? I am thinking of someone like Dr. James Ham, the president of the University of Toronto, who has a background in engineering and environmental expertise.
Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Government Services. I would like to know when the plans for the Ottawa courthouse are going to proceed into the planning stages. What is the present status of the planning and the site for the courthouse?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that everything is proceeding as planned. We have a site plan, which has been presented to the National Capital Commission. I understand they have shown this to the city just this week. I have not had a report on that, but I am hopeful that the city and the National Capital Commission will agree to the site plan that has been presented to them.
Mr. Sterling: Can the minister give us any timing on when he expects to receive an answer from the city as to when it is going to make some definite commitment about whether it is going to turn over the road allowance between the two sites about which has he been negotiating?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I will let the member know as soon as the site plan is agreed upon. As he knows, if the site plan is agreed upon, we are hoping to secure the additional piece of land which at one time was going to be sold for an American embassy. We will arrange the building on that big lot. If we agree to the site plan, it would mean the city would have to deed us the road allowance, which has never been opened but which, however, is deeded to the city. Once we get the site plan agreed upon, we hope that will mean the city will deed that road allowance to us and we will not have any problems at that time.
The question to the minister is as follows: Did the minister get in writing a commitment from the member for Ottawa Centre that he is in favour of that site for the courthouse? Did he get that from the mayor of Ottawa? Did he get a commitment in writing from these people as well that there will be no delay in the period that has been fixed for completion; that is, February 1985?
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the record in Hansard will be sufficient. Both the mayor of Ottawa and I gave a personal commitment to the minister at that meeting that we believed the courthouse should be built on the Cartier Square site. We also gave personal commitments to ensure that the date for completion of the courthouse would be respected and would be met.
Will the minister undertake, also for the record in Hansard, that he agreed there should be a study for a concept plan for all of Cartier Square, in which the province would participate, along with the municipal and federal authorities, and that study should be done within a 90-day period, as the architects employed by the province recommended?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I would like to clear up a statement the honourable member made. I did not make that commitment. I said the Honourable Paul Cosgrave has that responsibility, being head of the National Capital Commission, and that I would not say one way or the other until I spoke to him. In my conversations with him, I understood him to be of the opinion that it was his responsibility, which it is, to head up the national commission, and he was not about to turn that authority over to the city of Ottawa.
The mayor, as the honourable members know, when she left that day said she would get back to me and let me know whether she was right or I was right. Up until this time I have not heard. I had an update this morning and that is what I gave to the honourable member who asked the original question.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I have a response to a question posed by the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock) on May 27. To help clarify the situation, first may I say the member was correct in stating that one member of the junior agriculturalist program was unable to attend one of the orientation days organized by my ministry because final examinations fell on that day.
Last year, when it was not possible, because final examinations must come first, the co-ordinator in the program made arrangements to cover personally the information given in the orientation program to the student involved.
This year we are again scheduling eight orientation programs, and again it may be that some of them will conflict with final examinations. If a student is unable to attend orientation day, then every effort will be made to schedule him or her into another orientation session. If this is not possible, then once again the area co-ordinators will cover the material on a one-to-one basis with the students.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, would the minister consider starting the program a week later to make sure the orientation day can be held after the examinations, which would also allow the program to extend a week longer into the harvest?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I stated there was one student last year who was not able to attend the orientation. To reschedule the whole thing because of one student seems a little bit unfair to me. My staff are ready to give the necessary information to that student on a personal basis. So at this moment I would have a difficult time convincing myself we should change it because there are areas in the province where we need the students earlier.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. Since the Premier’s offer of funding of witnesses at environmental hearings has turned out to be only the regular power of the Environmental Assessment Board, would the minister consider setting up a funding mechanism whereby municipalities or citizens’ groups could fund witnesses prior to the Environmental Assessment Board hearings so these people would be in a position to prepare their case prior to the opening of the hearings? Second, would the minister also consider funding consultants who would make an objective analysis and critique of the proposals prior to the hearing?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, the environmental proposal does precisely that. It has a total presentation of all the ramifications of that proposal. That is the whole purpose of an environmental assessment.
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, has the minister given any consideration -- and we did discuss this yesterday at estimates -- to the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s presentation with respect to funding of citizens before environmental assessment board hearings?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: What is bothering me a great deal about this particular item is that particularly the leader of the Liberal Party seems to want to short-circuit the hearing. I do not understand why he wants to do that. It is the process that we in this Legislature set up. It is a process that we believe and the whole Legislature believes is the most open, most complete process of hearing everyone’s concerns that there is in North America and indeed in the world. It is a tremendously open process.
What I hear time and time again, however, is not that we let the hearing process work as it is intended to, but that we short-circuit it and say two things: (1) We have no confidence in the board to make a right decision, and (2) we are opposed, period, before any facts are known. It seems to me that destroys the very process being touted by those who question an excellent process. I find that hard to understand.
We should allow the process, which is the best by all acknowledgements, to work and work fully -- and that is the way I think it should be -- and stop talking about the inability of the board to hear or judge properly, and certainly stop talking about opposing before we know anything about it.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Now that about 30 days have passed since we last raised the question of Three Trilliums Community Place and the new deadline is upon us, and once again the apartment accommodation for the physically handicapped is threatened with collapse, may I ask the minister whether he has come to a resolution of the problem and whether he can tell us today that the province is prepared to move off its intransigent position and to fund Three Trilliums Community Place at 100 per cent?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, following question period today, I will be meeting with a number of people who are present in the gallery at the moment representing the interests of the Three Trilliums project. We will be discussing the current position and what options remain at the present time.
I would inform the honourable member that in spite of the repeated efforts on my part, representing the government, to put forward proposals that I believe move substantially towards what Metro was holding out for in a ransom on the other side of this equation, I have not yet had a positive response from either the social services committee of Metro, the chairman or anyone else.
Other municipalities have indicated formally an interest in cost sharing in this program. Even if Metropolitan Toronto persists in its present position and for the time being at least is willing to abandon or ignore the needs of this group of citizens, the government of this province will not allow those citizens to be held at ransom any further.
Mr. McClellan: I do not want to choose between blackmailers in this issue, but the minister has made commitments to the handicapped community since 1974 to fund independent community living arrangements, with never a hint until six months ago of cost sharing. He has funded projects since 1978 at 100 per cent. Most important, he established a precedent with respect to the developmentally handicapped, for example, under the Developmental Services Act whereby residences and services are funded at 100 per cent.
In view of all this, does he not agree that to be consistent with his own promises and practices and his own legislation for the developmentally handicapped, the wise and just course of policy is to fund at the provincial level of 100 per cent?
I happen to believe that the physically handicapped citizens of this province are entitled to the same services as other citizens on the same basis. I do not believe, as do some other persons, that physically handicapped persons have a health problem; it is not a sickness. What they are in need of is a social service, and it ought to be delivered to them on the same basis as it is delivered to other citizens of this province.
In terms of the concept of normalization of living accommodation, the services that are delivered to the elderly or persons who may be less severely handicapped in their own homes are delivered through an existing program of this government -- homemakers and nursing service, for example. It is precisely in the same manner that I believe the physically handicapped people of this province ought to receive the service as well.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, could the minister say whether it is true that there are only six municipalities in the province which have had informal discussions with him along these lines? Is it not true that of those, only two have informally agreed to go with the 80-20 split? Does that not strongly suggest that his province-wide policy is not an appropriate one for most of the municipalities in the province, not just Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I cannot confirm precisely how many municipalities have been engaged in informal discussions at this point with staff of the ministry. The answer to the second part of the question is no.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations with respect to the General Motors situation on substituted engines in cars, which follows the question asked by my leader of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) on Tuesday.
Could the minister explain how it is that the two-year limitation period on prosecutions under the Business Practices Act has expired without any action on the part of the minister which would have provided an equitable remedy for the hundreds of motorists who have been subjected to these misrepresentations? Can the minister explain how we will arrive at a settlement with General Motors in this case without the potential clout of a criminal prosecution to back up his negotiating position?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, first of all, at that time under the Business Practices Act we could not have taken General Motors to court at any time. The representation was not made by General Motors; it was made by the dealer, and the dealer was unaware of the switch. If one reads the history of this thing, it was only found out by accident in the United States. A man wanted a filter on his Oldsmobile engine and somebody at General Motors called down and said, “Put a Chev one on.”
Mr. Breithaupt: The minister said in Hansard almost a year ago, on June 8, 1979, and I quote from page 2722, “In no way, shape, or form are we suggesting that each one of these people go into the courts.” What are these people supposed to do now?
The problem with those people going into court is that nowhere in all of North America has there been any expert evidence adduced as to whether a Chev 310, or whatever the engine was, is equal to, better than or lesser than the Rocket 88. Nobody has challenged by an evidentiary proceeding whether there was an actual loss. In every case it has been the General Motors offer. The $200 has not been challenged, and the warranty work has not been challenged as to whether it is up, down or equal.
All the owners have been very co-operative. We have explained what their position was all the way through. They often talk about court, and we point out that one of the difficulties would be establishing whether they were damaged. There have been small claims court losses in other jurisdictions. On that basis they have put their faith in us, and I am very confident we will be there.
The obvious question is -- and they have understood this all the way through -- in the price of a very quick settlement is the minister setting out new laws for the rich and for the poor? The demand being made upon me is that I will give them immunity to prosecution if compensation of some description is offered after the event. The moment one opens up that door, it is really open. The point at which compensation should be given weight is at the time of sentencing, as it is in all other matters.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, would the minister explain why everybody is out of step except him? Specifically, would he explain why he continues to resist an offer made by General Motors after this offer has been critically examined and now accepted, I think, by 49 states in the United States and by the governments of seven provinces in Canada? Why is the deal so wrong if those people who drive Chevymobiles have got protection in those other 56 jurisdictions? Why does this government continue to drag its feet at the expense of people who were similarly hit here?
The New Democratic Party commended me in a private communication for the approach I took to General Motors in that I am not going to give them immunity. If the member is telling me for the sake of a signature I should grant a big company immunity provided they do something right, then what happened to his long history of principles?
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Inasmuch as the provincial funding available at yesterday’s meeting between Local 3009 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Hamilton and District Association for the Mentally Retarded was inadequate in achieving a settlement, can the minister tell the House whether his ministry looked at the books of the local association? Has it found anything, other than inadequate provincial funding, that would justify the total inadequacy of the wages for the workers providing the essential service they are? If not, can he tell us why there were no additional funds from the ministry, other than the original offer, and yet suddenly the association came up with enough money to make an additional offer yesterday?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that the staff of my ministry, both financial officers and auditors subsequently, on two occasions have examined the financial situation of that association. I think it is sufficient for me at this point simply to say we are satisfied that funds exist in that association that ought to lead to a settlement.
Mr. Mackenzie: Is the minister aware of the problems of some of the clients and their families which may result in the necessity of institutionalization very quickly of some of the clients involved? What assistance is his ministry willing to offer these families where they may find such a move necessary?
Hon. Mr. Norton: My advice to anyone who is facing those kinds of difficulties would be to contact immediately the staff of my ministry in the area office in Hamilton. I think they will find our staff very co-operative in trying to resolve their difficulties.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Supplementary: Is the minister saying -- and I want him to be very clear and specific about this -- it is the impression of his staff, after looking at all of the books of the association, that there is currently enough money in the association to bring those levels of payment to staff up to the levels paid to other people doing similar jobs in other jurisdictions? Is he therefore implying that somewhere the association has been wasteful or somehow has misused the funds it has? If that is the case, would he give us specifics on that?
Mr. Sweeney: I have a question for the Attorney General, Mr. Speaker. My question relates to the air crash last week over Kitchener in which one plane crashed on a front lawn and killed two people and another one was forced to land on the road. Coroner Dr. J. G. Christ seemed unsure what form of inquest or inquiry would take place and whether criminal charges would be laid. Given the circumstances of this accident, to what degree can the provincial government be involved and to what degree can it ensure the residents of that area that something will be done about this?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have to admit I was not aware of this particular tragedy. I would have thought the provincial coroner would have jurisdiction. I know this has been a matter -- and it may be of interest to the members -- of some debate with respect to some proposed federal legislation in the accident field, be it an aircraft accident or a train accident as to the roles of the federal investigatory body as opposed to the provincial coroner’s office. I have always taken the position that the provincial coroner should have jurisdiction in so far as ordering an inquest into these circumstances. I would have thought the provincial coroner would have jurisdiction in the matter the member has just related to me.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to declare that every person who is arrested on the grounds of having committed a provincial offence is entitled to retain and instruct counsel without delay. It is a good bill and should be passed.
Mr. Sands: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to permit lawyers in Ontario to advertise their services to members of the general public and, I might add, beyond the present regulations adopted by the law society.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to question 19 and 172 and the interim answer to question 169 standing on the Notice Paper. (See appendix, page 2322.)
I am very pleased to introduce this resolution. This question has been of concern for a number of years, and I believe it is time it was addressed in the House and that we had some definite commitment from the government about whether it is going to reform the Police Act in regard to the complete act, or whether it is going to remove some of these inequities and make sure municipal police forces receive compensation and assistance on a par with those regional police forces.
As one who served as a councillor and as a mayor, I am very much aware of the need for such a resolution. I wish to thank Mayor Flynn and the council of the town of Lindsay for their strong support and encouragement in presenting this resolution. The same resolution as I am presenting today has been supported by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario at their convention last year and will be introduced again this year by a number of municipalities, including the towns of Picton and Palmerston.
Strong support has also come from the city of Windsor, the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario and the Organizations of Small Urban Municipalities of Ontario and the Association of Police Governing Authorities.
I would like to place on record the feeling of the municipal people of this province by reading into the record the resolution that appeared at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario convention last year. This resolution is one of long standing. I might say credit for this resolution originally must go to the town of Tilbury under Mayor Charles Carrick, which has been a strong supporter of equal assistance to these municipalities.
“Whereas the cost of providing police protection in those municipalities having their own police force has increased beyond the means of the average ratepayer; and whereas ratepayers in those municipalities having their own police force are paying for the cost of police protection by the municipal police force and are also contributing towards the cost of police protection provided by the Ontario Provincial Police; and whereas the province of Ontario has consistently refused requests of those municipalities having their own police force that police protection be provided within the municipality by the Ontario Provincial Police by agreement with the municipality.
“Therefore, be it resolved that the province of Ontario be requested to pay the same grant of $15 per capita to municipalities that have a nonregional police force as is presently paid to regional municipalities, rather than have the present $10 per capita being paid to municipalities having a nonregional police force.”
This was supported at the convention, and I am sure it is going to be supported again this year. Many of the problems and concerns can be summarized in statements made to the public accounts committee just recently, on May 1, by Mr. J. D. Hilton, the Deputy Solicitor General. I will quote some of his remarks to highlight the problem that exists today:
“We have in the province of Ontario a hotchpotch of relationships between the Ontario Provincial Police and certain municipalities. We have some municipalities that pay for their policing and we have other municipalities that don’t pay for their policing. Some municipalities pay part of their policing. Some municipalities have police grants of $15 and other municipalities have $10 grants. This has been of some concern to me. I brought it to the attention of Mr. McMurtry, and it is of some concern to him.
“The establishment of regional government is one problem that affected the dual-grant structure. For instance, Thunder Bay was made up of three municipalities that came together, not as a region but as a city; so they got no startup grant for that unification. They only get the municipal grant that is payable to a city, that is, $10, while Durham, Peel, Halton, Niagara and so on receive their grants on the basis of regional government and get $15.
“Representation has been made to the minister and to myself by certain small rural towns that say it should be the other way around, and I can see some justification in their arguments. They say, ‘When we go out to buy a police car, we buy one. When we go out to buy uniforms, we buy three. A region goes out and buys them cheaper by the dozen. We are the ones that should be getting the higher grants, rather than the larger places that have the greater purchasing power.’ I’m not prepared to say whether that’s right or wrong -- I don’t know -- but I think it’s something that should be seriously looked at.”
Policing and the problems associated with policing have been seriously looked at, as Mr. Hilton is suggesting. On July 20, 1977, Emil K. Pukacz, special consultant, was appointed by order in council 2055-77, to look into policing and other services in Ontario. On October 28, 1978, Mr. Pukacz reported: “I have the honour of submitting herewith the final report of my study and investigation with appropriate recommendations.”
I would ask why the Solicitor General has kept this report secret and hidden for the last year and a half. Why has this report been kept from the Ontario Association of Police Chiefs until about a month ago? Why has our critic the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) only just received a copy of the report after demanding one about three weeks ago? If this government would table and deal with the report, then I feel such a resolution as this might not be necessary. But because it has not been tabled, we have no alternative but to proceed and place this resolution before this House.
If our municipalities are to be served and protected, our police forces must have adequate facilities, adequate training and up-to-date equipment. This means adequate financing. If they are to be involved in crime detection and crime prevention, they cannot be expected to carry out the functions they are now saddled with. For instance, the transportation of prisoners is performed in each case at the direction of the courts. I agree with the Pukacz report that this does not and should not fall within the responsibilities and functions of our law enforcement agencies. Why should well-paid and highly trained police officers, with their various benefits, be acting as chauffeurs on a shuttle service?
This report states that the use of specially trained and highly remunerated police officers for custodial functions on the way to court and in the courts could be performed at a much lower cost by trained civilian staff, custodial or special officers.
This is one reason why the costs of municipal policing are high. I want to say again, as the Solicitor General is leaving, that I am going to be pressing in the House for the release of the Pukacz report, which has been shelved for a year and a half and which the Solicitor General has not seen fit to present to this House. I say that as the Solicitor General departs through the door. I would hope that either he or his parliamentary assistant would be here to answer some of the questions in regard to this report.
Mr. Speaker, if you were to review the per capita grants for policing between police forces of regional municipalities and non-regional forces, you would see a very substantial inequity. In 1977, the grants paid to municipalities amounted to $91,948,395, or 25 per cent of the cost municipally for policing by the municipal police departments and under the OPP? contracts. You would also see that regional municipalities with regional police force -- excluding Metro Toronto, which is subject to a specific assessment -- received per capita grants for policing amounting to 34.47 per cent of their cost of policing in 1977.
Not only are smaller area forces not receiving their fair share of assistance, our major nonregional departments are not receiving their fair share by comparison. In 1977, for example, Ottawa received 16.19 per cent; Windsor, 17.22 per cent; Kingston, 20.40 per cent; Belleville, 19.11 per cent; Sarnia, 23.13 per cent; London, 24.23 per cent; Peterborough, 21.64 per cent; Cornwall, 23.38 per cent; Guelph, 24.80 per cent; Sault Ste. Marie, 25.05 per cent; Timmins, 25.32 per cent; North Bay, 18.43 per cent; and Thunder Bay, 21.51 per cent.
This is unfair and shows clearly the price we are paying for regional government. The percentages I have given show clearly the inequities in the application of this grant. They become even more obvious if we take into consideration the fact that most of the regional police departments are responsible for mixed urban and rural policing, where the rural is much less expensive and requires fewer resources than the policing of the cities I have just referred to. Those cities, with minor exceptions, are responsible for policing dense urban populations.
Metro Toronto, as I have mentioned, is subject to a special assessment. This is the seat of the provincial government, agencies of the federal government, foreign consulates and missions. It also must deal with unpredictable emergencies.
Ottawa is the seat of the federal government and foreign embassies. Windsor, bordering on the large American metropolis of Detroit, must also provide additional security services similar to those provided by Metro Toronto but only to a lesser degree because of the size of the city. The situation in Ottawa and in Windsor is clearly shown in an analysis of their costs in manpower.
I want to use an example of policing costs and what it can mean to taxpayers in the smaller communities. For the town of Lindsay, with a population of 13,755, and a police force of 22 officers and three civilians, the 1980 budget totalled $768,000. The 1980 per capita cost is $57.14. The unconditional police grant in 1979, at $10 per capita, amounted to $136,870.
If the per capita grant were increased to $15, it would mean an extra $68,775. This would lower the mill rate by 2.9 mills and would reduce the police per capita cost from $57.14 to $42.15. In 1979, the per capita payment to the town of Lindsay represented 19.3 per cent of this police budget In 1980, that percentage will be reduced to 17.9 per cent. This is a well-administered force with a good chief, good manpower and good equipment, but the inequities in provincial support must be addressed and changed.
I would like to read into the record some of the comments made to show what serious changes must be made in Ontario in regard to policing. This is from the report the Solicitor General refuses to make public. It is from his own consultant and shows that major changes are needed in Ontario. I want to read some of his comments.
“The provincial financing of municipal police services by the present system of unconditional grants implies that the population of regional municipalities with a regional police force requires more protection than that of cities, towns, townships or villages with their own police departments. This system of financial support to policing deprives the Solicitor General, who is ultimately responsible for the development, operations and control of the law enforcement in the province, from the equitable apportionment of financial resources, according to the factual requirements of policing in various regions of the province, with a specific emphasis upon the respective allocation of such resources between the municipal police departments and the Ontario Provincial Police where one supplements the other in the basic function of maintaining law and order in the municipality.
“The existing inequities in the financing of municipal policing can only be rectified by “(1) removing provincial financing of all policing in Ontario from the system of municipal unconditional grants.
“(2) transferring budgetary funds for this purpose from the direct control of the Ministry of Treasury and Economics, or the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, to the Ministry of the Solicitor General, directly responsible for the law enforcement in Ontario; and
“(3) directing the Ministry of the Solicitor General in conjunction with the Ontario Police Commission to develop comprehensive standards for municipal policing by regional and local police departments in the Ontario Provincial Police, including criteria governing provincial financing of these operations.”
The conclusions and the report of the Pukacz task force must be tabled officially and immediately in this Legislature. This report has sat hidden for a year and a half and, as a result, needed reforms in our police functions and financing have been stalled. In the meantime, the Solicitor General must take the initiative and assure equal treatment of nonregional municipal police forces by making their per capita grants equal to those of regional municipal police forces.
Mr. Bounsall: I say very strongly, Mr. Speaker, that I support the resolution put forward by the member for Victoria-Haliburton in this regard. There is no longer, if there ever was, any valid reason at all for the differences in police funding and the per capita grant to be paid to nonregional municipalities and regional municipalities.
We all know the reason why some of the funding arrangements arose with respect to regional municipalities. Additional payments and different payment arrangements were made in various categories to those municipalities that were about to form themselves into regional municipalities or were given as an incentive to form themselves. That did not work. When they were forced into regional government, the government sweetened the pot a bit by making these higher per capita grants, either as an incentive or as a bonus to smooth over feelings with respect to financing when they were forced into it.
When one looks at some of these costs of regional municipalities vis-à-vis other municipalities, particularly when it comes to the cost of the police forces, it is clear there is no real difference in the costs that have arisen. There should therefore never have been a difference between the per capita payments to police forces in municipalities that are not regional and in regional municipalities.
It is time this inequality and these discrepancies should end. In fact, I would recommend not only that they end now but, having recognized the fact, there should definitely be some payments for the inequalities of the past that have persisted.
The various regional and municipal bodies have spoken to this point. I understand the Association of Municipalities of Ontario has collected data that show there is no difference in the costs of policing across this province. No argument can be made that regional police forces have higher expenses than do large municipal police forces that are not regionalized. The representatives who attend the Provincial Municipal Liaison Committee have brought these facts to the attention of the provincial side which attends those committee meetings, with the frustrating situation that no action has been taken.
One of the prime movers in pointing this out has been Mayor Albert Weeks of Windsor, who is quite adept at looking at financial figures and their impact and understanding. He has been talking about the grave in- equality that occurs in funding between his city of Windsor and various others in the province and the regionalized municipalities in the police funding factor and has pointed out there is no valid reason for it.
As the mover of the resolution indicated, in the list of cities where he gave the percentage of provincial support, Windsor is again one of the very lowest at 17.22 per cent of the costs. Here Windsor is being very badly disadvantaged. It has been disadvantaged on the equalization factors, and there still is not a true modification of the equalization factors taking place.
On the normal municipal equalization factors, not counting the present year we are in, Windsor is cumulatively $20 million behind where it should be. This year, depending what is finally agreed upon, there will be another $5 million or $6 million added to that figure. If the amount of money that is going to come forth this year is $3 million, as opposed to the $8-million discrepancy because of the improper equalization of the municipal assessment, we then have added to that a much lower payment by the province in support of municipal police funding to the tune of only 17.22 per cent. We have in Windsor a situation that is intolerable, with the city short-changed on virtually every side.
In bringing forth this topic as a matter for various municipal agendas in the province, the mayor of Windsor, as he has always done, has shown his great concern not just for the finances of his own city, but also for those of other cities in Ontario which are being disadvantaged in exactly the same way. I ask this government why it allows these discrepancies and these inequalities to persist.
If the government felt there was a commitment at a certain level that must be carried through to the regional municipalities on the percentage of the funding of their police costs which cannot be evened out across the province, then there is a distinct obligation on this government to bring the other municipalities’ per capita grants up to those of the regions. If that firm commitment is not there and if this government continues to argue that it simply does not have the funds to bring all the other municipalities into an equal position with the regional municipalities but do not have a locked-in amount for the regions to which they must adhere, then those grants should be evened out across the province.
Those grants should be evened out for all people in Ontario, bearing in mind that a provincial tax collection base is preferable to a municipal property tax collection base, so the nonregional forces can be brought up in funding to those of the regional forces. I definitely recommended using the much wider and fairer provincial tax resource base.
In any event, the inequality that exists between our major municipalities and our regional municipalities must end. I do not know how long this government figures it can have these inequalities persist across the province without all the people in those municipalities getting totally disenchanted with this government. I would say to this government, when one sees those inequalities arise, one can hardly credit what is happening in terms of what will happen in electoral terms unless these are redressed and redressed immediately.
I cannot understand the political lack of awareness occurring on the part of this government when we have those inequalities continuing to exist and people becoming more and more aware of them. Certainly the municipalities are now aware of them, and they are giving interviews to the press to that effect. If the government is at all interested in its political survival, it will equalize these police- cost payments to all municipalities right across the province.
Windsor is in dire need of such equalization, as are all those municipalities that are not regional, whose costs for policing are the same and whose equipment costs are virtually the same. That must be recognized and that financial difference made up. The particular problem with Windsor is that they are already being severely short-changed on the equalization factor.
I commend this resolution very highly to the government. They should support this resolution and take action immediately to see that the sense of it is implemented, that these payments are equalized and that those payments are made in the current year. In addition, they should consider paying redress payments over two or three years to those municipalities where those differences have existed. In essence, they should be showing a deficit on their accounts owed to them by the provincial government for those additional costs which they have borne for 10 years.
I would say to the members across the House, they should support this resolution. Many of them must come from municipalities that are suffering the same disadvantages. I hope we will hear the members opposite speaking in favour of this resolution today and doing everything within their power to influence their colleagues in the cabinet to see that this inequality is ended.
Mr. J. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to express my deep concerns on the issue of police funding. As a member who represents rural Ontario, where many of my constituents depend on small but efficient local police departments, I fully support the resolution calling for the same per capita police grants as regional municipalities receive in the province.
I have received resolutions of a similar nature from the towns of Fergus, Shelburne, Mount Forest, Palmerston and Harriston and have been corresponding with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) and the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry) since the beginning of the year.
I fully understand the arguments presented by both sides in this issue but I feel, as do many of the municipal councils in my riding, that the per capita funding is simply not covering the costs and that funding must be brought to the same level as that which regional police forces now receive. Rising police costs are placing an increasing strain on already limited municipal budgets. Since 1977, local and regional police spending has increased by approximately 28 per cent, while provincial grants have risen by only three per cent. In 1980 alone, police costs are up 10 per cent over last year’s level, while the grant, which is based on population growth, will increase by only one per cent.
Police grants are continuing to fall behind the rising costs of operation. Both municipal and regional forces face similar increases, yet municipalities received one third less grant per capita. In addition to rising costs caused by inflation, the Ontario Police Commission continually demands updating and improving of equipment standards for police forces of only five to 10 per cent. I fully support the reasoning behind the OPC policy; the people of Ontario have a right to the best possible service that can be provided. But small rural communities simply do not have the same tax base from which to finance these improvements.
A prime example of this problem now faces the tritown police answering service of Mount Forest, Harriston and Palmerston. An Ontario Police Commission directive calls for a new communications facility to be constructed which will increase the costs of operation to $75,000 a year, a jump of 248 per cent over the present communications operation. To compound matters in this issue, the OPP will not relay critical information from the Canadian Police Information Centre to the tritown communications group through the present system. Improvements of this nature, if they are warranted, will place undue pressure on the limited tax base in the tritown area. The municipalities will have to use funds from general revenues to pay for the new system or increase taxes to the residents.
The distinction between municipal and regional police forces will continue to decline in the 1980s. It has been assumed that all police forces in the province perform similar duties and provide similar services and, as a result, face similar costs. Yet the province continues to fund the municipal and regional forces at different levels. Many police arbitrators accept this as fact and make their decisions when settling police contracts based on this assumption.
Another fact that sometimes is overlooked is that municipalities with their own police forces may call in the OPP for assistance in specialty areas such as violent crime investigations, search and rescue and many other services.
This argument is given by those who feel the status quo on per capita grant should be maintained. But I do not think arbitrators consider this when settling police contracts. As a result, the municipal police officers in most cases are receiving comparable wages to regional and OPP officers.
To further compound the problem, the cost of maintaining regional police is spread over the whole region, while in counties only the towns that have their own police forces bear the costs. Therefore, the residents of a municipality with a police force pay more tax dollars than a community that does not have its own police department but relies on the OPP for protection.
These are a couple of areas of concern that could be alleviated by increasing the per capita police grant to municipalities. To reinforce my position, I would like to refer briefly to few examples that I am familiar with in my own riding of Wellington-Dufferin-Peel.
As a former mayor and chairman of the local police commission, I received firsthand experience in the hiring of municipal police officers and have been involved in police contract negotiations. The municipal police officer is a constable with good common sense who is able to handle a wide variety of situations that develop in small towns which require much more personal involvement. Specialty skills are not usually required and special equipment is not usually available. Yet under the present contract dispute system used throughout Ontario, an arbitrator is appointed by the Solicitor General to settle contract negotiations.
Very often, the arbitrator bases his decision -- as was the case in Fergus -- on regional and Ontario Provincial Police contracts. The arbitration settlement based on regional police salaries is very often higher than the police association demanded when discussions began. As a result, small communities are paying top dollar for police protection.
In the case of the Fergus contract settlement, arbitrators compared the Fergus police force salaries to those of the OPP, the Waterloo regional force, and the Guelph and Orangeville forces. The arbitrator compared salaries and dental plans. It was decided that Fergus police were in a catch-up situation in the area of salary, and they were awarded a 21 per cent increase over two years, with a similar dental plan. Therefore, under the present system of arbitration, a municipality like Fergus, with nowhere near a similar tax base and with a smaller per capita funding by the province, must pay salaries based on those of regional police forces.
This situation cannot continue. Obviously the arbitrator is trying to be as fair as possible, but rural municipalities cannot continue to face 21 per cent increases in salaries and three per cent increases in funding. How are small communities expected to cover these costs without continually raising property taxes?
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I want first to commend the Liberal member for Victoria-Haliburton for bringing forth this resolution which, if passed today, would indicate that in the opinion of this House municipalities with police forces should receive the same per capita grant from this government as regional municipalities do for their police forces. This discrepancy, where regional municipalities get $15 per capita to run their forces and other municipalities get only $10 per capita, has been going on for too long.
I have had delegations down to meet with the Solicitor General on various police matters, and this topic always brought forward. Why don’t Harriston, Durham, Meaford and all the other small towns in Ontario get at least the same per capita police grant as regional municipalities? In fact, I think it should be reversed, with $15 going to the small towns and $10 to the regions, which have larger assessments and are more capable of paying the extra.
When we met with the Solicitor General, he said although he tended to agree with us, he had control of the police forces but not of the funding. We would have to go to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). Surely the Solicitor General will want the best policing possible in all municipalities and will be pressing the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs himself to get this change made immediately.
I went to the Treasurer, and he said: “The responsibility for per capita grants rests with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Accordingly, I am deferring to my colleague, the Hon. Thomas Wells, to deal with your query.” It seemed everyone was deferring the matter to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. That’s great, we thought; we will get down to the man who makes the decisions.
We went to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and he said: “The enriched grant for regional municipalities was introduced some years ago in order to take account of the startup costs of regional forces and the responsibility which those forces were absorbing from the OPP, both in terms of rural policing and general police administration.”
I want to inject here that some municipalities are so burdened with police funding that they are considering turning the policing back to the Ontario Provincial Police. I think it best that the government give these municipalities equal funding before this happens or more work will be put on the already limited OPP force.
As to startup costs, surely every municipality has startup costs, but the government seems to be saying by giving regions more that it costs more to police a region than it does a town. I do not agree. Policing is policing wherever it is, and a per capita amount seems to be a logical way of funding. But it must be the same for all municipalities.
I will finish with a quotation from the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs’ letter. He says: “A number of municipalities have, together with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, now asked that the regional grant rate be extended to all municipalities providing police services. The government is reviewing the issue to see whether a change in the grant would be appropriate in light of the present conditions and what other option might be available with respect to policing in smaller towns. However, in the meantime, I have indicated that the existing grant rates will continue at the current level until at least the end of 1980.”
How long does it take to decide whether it is appropriate? I have been saying for the past four years that the funding is not appropriate the way it is, and I have been prompted by the municipalities out there. This is a resolution I have from the town of Palmerston:
“Whereas the government for the province of Ontario, to create regional police forces, increased the per capita grant for policing to regional municipalities; and whereas regional municipalities have a much higher and wider tax base on which to levy costs of policing, and we feel this type of funding is very unfair and we can see no justification for it; and at a meeting with the Hon. Roy McMurtry, Solicitor General for the province of Ontario, he agreed with this statement; now, therefore, be it resolved that the council of the corporation of the town of Palmerston hereby requests the government for the province of Ontario to increase the per capita grant for policing to municipalities having their own police force to the same rate of per capita grant for policing as that received by regional municipalities.”
The Solicitor General tells me no legislation is required -- only a change in policy and regulation. Surely, if this House passes this resolution today, that will be review enough and the decision will be made for the government. It can proceed to send the increased funding to those nonregional municipalities to allow them to keep the laws of this land upheld and to keep peace and order in all parts of Ontario with no discrimination in funding which could make it otherwise.
There are a number of reasons why I rise to support the resolution. They fall into two categories. One is that I am very pleased the member has brought forward the. resolution in terms of principle. I am also very pleased because it gives me a platform on which to discuss a particular interest that I have with regard to my own municipality, the city of Thunder Bay.
For the moment, I want to talk about the principle involved. Surely the principle is that it costs so much per capita to police an area just in straight, logical terms. If the grant is a per capita grant, then it should apply no matter what the district being administered is -- regional, one-tier municipality, village or what have you. Presumably that is worked out in the establishment of the per capita grant, and so I think the principle involved is a good one.
If I may get into the second part of my discourse, I think Thunder Bay provides an important example of the disparity. Presumably the reasons that gave rise to regional municipalities having a larger grant had to do with larger responsibilities. Thunder Bay happened to be one of those municipalities that did not become a regional municipality in name but did so in fact.
The former cities of Port Arthur and Fort William, along with two rural municipalities or parts thereof, were amalgamated to create Thunder Bay. Instead of becoming a two-tier level of government, it decided, for good reason, to become a one-tier level of government. That made a lot of sense and might have made a lot of sense in other areas where regional government developed, because it has led to streamlining of administration. We are celebrating our 10th year as an amalgamated municipality. Some of the frictions caused 10 years ago have dissipated and the municipality is working well. If I may get in a plug, we are celebrating a very fine 10th anniversary this year in which all members are invited to participate.
The municipality received no startup grants for police services at a transitional stage, at the beginning, as did regional municipalities. Nor does it receive the extra grant at the present time. It has suffered in two ways: because it did not receive any startup grants and because on an operational basis it receives the lowest of the grants, $10 instead of $15.
I will get to the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) in a moment, because I know he is very sympathetic to the underpaid position, which has been put to him on a number of occasions. The Solicitor General is sympathetic to the municipality. Both the municipality and the elected representatives in that municipality recognize that fully. For the edification of other members, I want to give a few statistics in terms of the background.
In 1970, in the newly amalgamated city of Thunder Bay, the former police departments of Port Arthur and Fort William joined to form the Thunder Bay police force, adding to their area of jurisdiction large portions of McIntyre and Neebing, which were formerly policed by the Ontario Provincial Police. They increased their territory 156 per cent when those two rural areas were added; there was an extra 156 per cent of territory to be policed.
As well, the municipalities improved the quality of the policing. Instead of the OPP policing on a demand-call basis, they have upgraded service to a regular patrol for various reasons, including expansion of the municipality into that area. There is a planned, systematic, around-the-clock patrol, and I must say it is handled extremely well. It is important to recognize that the present police force in Thunder Bay has accepted the additional responsibility and done it, I may say with some pride, extremely well. But they have done it at some disadvantage.
The regionalization of other police forces in the province took place following the amalgamation of Thunder Bay, and the 1972 system of grants for policing began to show disparity between municipal and regional police forces. Presumably that was to offset the cost of taking over areas formerly policed by the OPP. The same principle applies in Thunder Bay.
Recently, the Ontario Police Commission did a report on the Thunder Bay police, a very good report which was finally made public, to the satisfaction of all parties. They recommended that a joint, centralized police station be established for a whole host of reasons I will not go into. One has to do with the morale of the police force and one has to do with providing better service. In a municipality of that size, the two divided police headquarters do not seem to work properly.
The equalization of the grants would go a long way to solving the problem in Thunder Bay. To give an example, if Thunder Bay from the beginning, in 1972, had been awarded the grants on the basis of regional police forces instead of on the basis of the city rate, it would have had an additional $3,097,000 over the past seven years. That is just about the amount of money it needs from the provincial government in assistance for the new police headquarters. As I said, I know they have been in contact with the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry) and the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier), who has been extremely sympathetic, and they are very grateful for that.
I know there are some problems that need to be worked out, but I would urge all government members, as well as members on this side, to support this principle. I think the working out will be a lot easier. I know my good friend the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy) associates himself with and supports the city council resolution asking for the implementation of the equalization of the grants for the city of Thunder Bay.
I do not have time to quote from all of the documents and letters I have. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), who seems to be the goat some people want to single out, has had some second thoughts. I want to quote from a letter he wrote to the municipality of Thunder Bay. In effect, he says, “too bad for the present.” I won’t read the five paragraphs that say that, but I think there is some hope, because in the second last paragraph of his letter he says: “I do not wish to deny that there is evidence that the gaps in police costs between the regional municipalities maintaining upper-tier forces and other kinds of municipalities has been narrowing recently.”
In other words, he recognizes that the costs are becoming the same and probably always have been the same. He goes on: “The province is aware of this growing concern among many municipalities and is reviewing the present differential in the police component of the unconditional grant. The necessary province-wide analysis is complex because of problems of cost comparison and will simply not be available in time for any changes in present funding arrangements until at least the end of 1980.
I would urge the government, as a result of this resolution, to get on with that review and have it completed so that at least for next year’s municipal grants the principle embodied in this resolution can be adopted. It is important, as we have heard from members on all sides, not merely for a municipality like Thunder Bay -- although I think that is probably one of the most dramatic examples but for all single-tier municipalities.
That gets me on to the final point I would like to make, which I think is important. I have never been known -- and I don’t quite know how to phrase it -- as one of those tough, mean, Claire Hoy type of law-and-order men, but I have enormous respect for police forces in this day and age. It is not so much that we need to throw in a lot of extra money to solve the problem, but we do need to give extra money so that in this day and age the different kinds of policing and the more complex kinds of policing that are necessary, even in one-tier municipalities, are adequately funded, not for the benefit of the police so much, but for the benefit of the citizens as a whole.
Mr. Hodgson: Mr. Speaker, I am going to be the devil’s advocate in this debate. I cannot support the resolution by the member for Victoria-Haliburton. I will try in the few minutes I have to give justification for the difference in grants between the local municipalities and regional governments.
As members of this House will know, it was the wisdom of the government of Ontario to form regional governments. Regional governments were formed in areas where there were growth problems. Our economy began to boom in the 1950s and 1960s, and many people moved to the areas around the cities. People moved to towns and villages which could not afford to pay for the services that the average Ontarian had come to expect.
Many of the municipal units were too small and became suburbs. Urban sprawl made a mockery of their boundaries. I participated in this progress, because I was a navigator of regional government, particularly in York. The basic goal was local government. We succeeded in getting it. It was a thorough overhaul of the municipal system.
All the problems have not disappeared. But the regional system is working. It has proved to be an effective way to handle growth. Along with population growth come big-city problems: more crime, more traffic control offences and more family discord. The regional police forces were set up with this in mind.
Unlike municipalities in outlying areas, the new regional governments were not going to rely on much help from the Ontario Provincial Police. In fact, they do not get any help from the OPP, except control of the provincial highways.
The idea of the per capita grant was that the regions were setting up full service for police forces, just like the people who moved from the larger centres were getting and would expect in the new areas. Obviously they need all kinds of resources the smaller municipalities get from the OPP. I do not think anybody in this Legislature can deny that the smaller police forces get a lot of help from the OPP. Some, in fact, get all their policing with very little cost at all.
I would say to the mover of the resolution that is one thing that should be worked out. They all should pay for the services they receive, in the same amount, as far as the smaller municipalities and the larger ones are concerned.
The region of York’s budget for 1980 will be $11 million, and they receive $3 million in grants. From the report, the member says they were getting as much as 34 per cent grant. For York, it comes to between 25 per cent and 26 per cent. Depending on the size of the population of the region, I would say they were getting as much as 34 per cent. I know they do a good police job.
Basically this is because of the regional need for bigger forces. Regional municipalities cover large urban centres, small towns, villages and large rural areas. All these extremes require police protection. To provide this service, regional forces must spend more for cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and snowmobiles. They require other types of equipment as well.
They have larger fleets of all these vehicles. They have higher costs for maintenance. They need to spend more on gas and oil for long trips, tires and extra equipment, such as roof lights, fender lights, safety flares, fire extinguishers -- which all cost more. Also, the regional forces cover very large areas. Their size means that higher mileage figures are logged on the patrol vehicles. This means more frequent purchase of patrol vehicles.
The size and scope of the regional municipalities makes policing expensive in other ways. A reliable communications system is necessary for every police force. In a large regional municipality this may mean installing more than one radio tower. A better grade of radio is required in the patrol vehicles in the large areas. It costs more to obtain these. It also costs more to install them in new cars, motorcycles and other vehicles. Changeover costs are very high.
Telephone communications are a big item in regional police budgets. Telephone communications have to cover a lot more external lines. There are several buildings scattered over a large area and they have to be joined by extensions.
When the regions were formed, municipalities transferred buildings to the new regional government. Once people realized this was happening, spending on replacement and maintenance had a natural tendency to stop. This resulted in increased startup costs, for the new governments needed to bring the buildings up to an acceptable standard.
This was a real justification for increased per capita grant costs for regional forces, and remains one today. Many of the buildings of the regional forces were old. Also, many were poorly located for regional needs. Regional forces have found that to provide good service, they have to rebuild at better locations. For the fast patrol service, police have to be stationed at various points in the region, and it costs more for these buildings. They do permit some reduction in man-hours, however.
These centralized buildings also make it more convenient for people to get to police stations. This is necessary to recover stolen or lost property and to get firearm certificates and things of that sort
Increasing the nonregional rate from the present $10 per person would cause massive pressure to increase the regional rate. These forces are still building up to the level they need. They are in growing communities which need growing police services.
As I said at the start, I have not heard anyone on our side of the House or on that side of the House who lives in a region say the region does not need this extra money. It is a motherhood resolution, but the regions will need the high grants for some time to come.
Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. I want to speak in support of this resolution because I am from an area with a region. I want to point out to the government that, according to the former Treasurer, Mr. McKeough, who has now departed from this House, the main reason the regional system was set up in the first place was for improved efficiency.
I can remember debating this issue as far back as 1970, long before my days in politics, when the regional idea was being promoted by members of the government. One of the key points made by those members time and time again was that regional government was to be more efficient than municipal government. It is incredible that the system of perks and advantages is being carried on to this day, long after regional government was implemented, and a long time after the transfer and startup costs and so on were --
Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member must understand that as long as the discrepancy continues, as long as the differential continues between the municipal system as we have it and the regional system, it is a continuing admission of the failure of the regional idea. It is a continuing admission of failure.
When one sees the economic advantages given to the regional system and then sees the regional system’s costs escalate way over and above the costs of doing municipal business in the municipalities which did not adopt regional government, one can only conclude that the efficiencies so widely touted and advertised when regional government was pushed down our throats in Halton have not materialized. Because those things are continued today, it is apparent to the government they are not going to materialize.
We are dealing with at least one municipality in our region that has had a tax increase this year of 21 per cent. That is under this so-called efficient regional system. If the government wanted to put in money where its mouth is in this kind of thing, at least it would put the municipalities on equal footing with the regional system and allow the true economics to show through, rather than continuing this façade that has been going on all these years.
It is time we got a true equalized picture; so I urge every member of the House to support this resolution, on the understanding that until this financial equalization takes place, not only with the police forces but also in all the other areas, it will be a continuing admission of failure on the part of the government to make anything out of regional government.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution. I know the member for Victoria-Haliburton has a riding much the same as my own, in my case, I speak mainly of the two larger municipalities, the city of Belleville and the town of Trenton, which have two of the best police forces in Ontario.
At a time of restraint when grants have been cut back by the provincial government, I know it is very difficult for the police forces to get the funds they require to run an adequate police force. They are under restraint because of the increased taxes that municipal taxpayers are forced to pay. Therefore, when we have councils cutting back on the money going to them, it sometimes makes it very difficult.
I know the difference in percentage between what is paid out to the regions and what is paid out to municipalities. If we were able to get additional funds for towns and cities such as this, it would mean they would possibly have a couple more constables or another car for patrol. In these two municipalities particularly, the work load is very heavy. Having to cover 24 hours with the restricted amount of manpower and equipment they have makes it very difficult.
I rise in support of this resolution. I hope all members on all sides of the House will support the resolution of the member for Victoria-Haliburton so that things will be more equitable for some of the smaller municipalities that do not have regional government.
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, in summing up, I would like to take the opportunity to express my appreciation to all who participated in the debate, and especially to those who spoke in favour of this resolution.
I feel this is an appropriate time to impress upon government the needs of those municipalities that have their own police forces and are not receiving the same funding as the police forces under regional government in Ontario.
I appreciate the comments of the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. Johnson), as one who has served in municipal office. He has certainly caught the spirit and the needs of the municipal people and municipal councils in trying to operate a first-class police force without having sufficient funding to do so.
The member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) has pointed out very well the fact that his municipality, if any in Ontario, is perhaps taking a hosing when it comes to the equalization of grants. I well remember when the municipalities came together. They formed what might be termed a region in this part of Ontario. Because they did not have the name of a region or were not referred to as a region, they received no startup grants. At the present time, they are still receiving only the $10 grant from the government rather than the $15. I was delighted the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) was in the House. I hope he and his colleagues will look into these inequities.
In closing, I want to urge the members of the Conservative Party in the government to press the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry) to make public and table in the House The Report of the Special Consultant on Police and Other Services to the Administration of Justice in Ontario -- a report which was commissioned on July 20, 1977, and which was completed and released to the ministry on October 8, 1978.
This report proposes some sweeping changes as far as policing in Ontario is concerned. Until this report is tabled in the House and until we have discussion on it, we are not going to see equal opportunity for the small municipal police forces and the city police forces in this province.
That this assembly request the select committee on the Ombudsman to consult with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists and others, if advisable, with a view to reporting to this assembly on ways in which this assembly may act to make its voice heard against political killings, imprisonment, terror and torture.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to this resolution mainly and principally to share with the members of the assembly my sense of impotence and frustration about the inability I have to participate or be seen to participate in some small way in dealing with the question of the violation in many countries of the world, and not necessarily always excluding our own, of the political rights of individuals.
First of all, I want to emphasize that in my resolution I am speaking about the fact that this assembly may act to make its voice heard against political killings, political imprisonment, political terror and political torture. The connotation of my remarks is basically within that framework.
Let me make very clear to this assembly that totally distant from my mind and having nothing to do with the reasons I put the resolution on the Order Paper was the intention to raise any questions about the right of this assembly to participate in international affairs; nor have I given any thought whatsoever to its being some other version of constitutionality. That has nothing to do with the kind of suggestion I put gently on the Order Paper about this matter. In other words, I am not asking for any specific action. I am not asking that the select committee on the Ombudsman travel abroad and get involved in something called international affairs.
What I am only saying and asking is that this assembly support the resolution to say to the committee which appeared to me to be the obvious one -- the select committee on the Ombudsman -- will it perhaps take a look at what Amnesty International does, will it perhaps take a look at what the International Commission of Jurists does and will it perhaps, in whatever way it sees fit, look at the work of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to see whether in some small way, divorced entirely from political considerations and from any suggestion about us playing a role on the international scene, we can do some small thing as an assembly to indicate our support for the work of those organizations and to be able to say: “Yes, we are concerned.”
I make that very careful caveat, because it would be so far removed from my intention if this matter were to be dealt with by this assembly saying: “Oh, it’s the member for Riverdale wanting somehow or other to take some role in international relations, in international affairs, for the Ontario assembly.” It is not that at all. It is related solely to our concern as individuals elected into an assembly on a representative basis, dealing in a democratic society with items which come to our attention of significant violations of individual political rights in other jurisdictions, and to see whether in that framework, in some small way, we can associate ourselves with the aims and objectives of those organizations.
One of the other ways I want to deal with this topic, in expressing the frustration and concern I have, is my concern that in the kind of world in which we live, the media one way or another brings to our attention in a very dominating way, almost as a single issue matter, for a limited period of public attention, matters of the utmost concern in basic human rights and basic political rights. Then they disappear from the scene and something else takes its place. It is almost as if there is a rhythm to the public attention span that the media grants to us. We all know examples of it.
How does one cope in an assembly when for a period of time front and centre in the news media is the destruction of the people in Cambodia? To be superseded then by what? The tragedy and plight of the Vietnamese boat people. To be superseded by what? The tragedy involved in the hostage taking in Iran. It is an interesting sidelight that since the failure of the so-called rescue mission of the United States government, we very seldom see anything about the hostages in Iran who were totally preoccupying the public media. But the hostages in Iran are still hostages. They are still suffering the identical deprivation of liberty for political reasons, through no fault of their own, now as they were three weeks ago, but who reads about it now?
I think the point is very clear. I think all of us will say the events that call forward this media response outlast the span of public attention. We are a continuing body; the events are continuing events. Can we make some connection in some way? I have used the group disasters as an example, but in a very real sense my resolution is directed towards cases of political oppression of individuals because they have attempted to exercise their political rights.
Amnesty International is an organization that was founded in 1961 on the individual initiative of a barrister in the United Kingdom. It was only to be a one-year project, but the response was so great that over a period of time it became a continuing body and has served a very valuable purpose. So much so that in 1977 Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in proclaiming 1977 as Prisoner of Conscience Year. This was in respect of people detained anywhere for their beliefs, colour, ethnic origin, religion or language, provided they have neither used nor advocated violence. The citation commended Amnesty International for having given practical, humanitarian and impartial support to people imprisoned because of their social, religious or political beliefs.
That organization, in a very short time, has intervened on behalf of some 15,000 individuals who have been imprisoned in one way or another because of their political beliefs and because of their fundamental opposition in many cases to the political oppression in the countries in which they live. Amnesty International has been of great assistance in achieving the release of upwards of at least 50 per cent of those on whose behalf they have intervened.
Amnesty International is very much an individual membership organization, but it also has national sections, of which Canada is one. By the end of the last decade it had a membership of some 180,000 people distributed in more than 100 countries. Of course, Amnesty International has here a Canadian section -- many of us are members of that Canadian section -- and it publishes regularly a bulletin about the very matters of which I am concerned.
By coincidence this matter is being debated in the assembly today, and the annual general meeting of the Canadian section of Amnesty International will take place tomorrow and the next day in Sackville, New Brunswick. It did seem to me, fortuitous as that may be, if this resolution were passed it would be helpful and a very real incentive and support for the work of the Canadian section of Amnesty International and for the work of the whole of that organization if we could send to them a notice that this assembly had passed this resolution.
The other organization is the International Commission of Jurists, and the Canadian section has had some very eminent Canadians involved in it. The late Hon. Justice Joseph Thorson was for many years the president of the Canadian section of the International Commission of Jurists. It has a connection through to the United Nations of which it is very proud. It was founded in Switzerland in 1952, I think, and it is an organization primarily related to the law respecting individual rights and the rule of law throughout the world. It sends missions to various countries to talk about specific matters and to make reports on specific matters.
There are men sitting on that International Commission of Jurists of the highest standing. I think of Haim Cohn, who sits on the Supreme Court of Israel. I think of John Humphrey, who is a Canadian representative who has served for many years in that role. There are any number of persons who sit on the International Commission of Jurists who have a very real role to play in trying to protect and extend respect for the political rights and the rule of law of individuals throughout the world.
Again, its mode of operation is simply to send observers, to make inquiries and to issue reports. One of its major regular publications is The Review, published quarterly by the jurists. It deals with a number of very significant matters, not the least of which is related strangely enough to the statistical information made available by the Provincial Secretary for Justice and the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker) related to detention prior to trial in Ontario and all the aspects of that problem. It is interesting to note that one of the major articles in the latest issue of The Review of the International Commission of Jurists discusses pre-trial detention in western Europe. It covers the procedures, the numbers and the reasons for pre-trial detention in the major western countries, including the United Kingdom.
I want to ask the assembly to share my concern. I want to ask the assembly to approve of the resolution. I want to emphasize I have no idea that we are going to make a great mark in the world in protecting individuals. I have no illusions about the magnitude of the problem and the difficulty of anybody adequately affecting and protecting individual rights on the scale to which those rights are entitled throughout the world. I do think, in a strange way, that a democratic assembly which owes its existence to a tradition of individual freedom, individual liberty and individual rights on behalf of the society which it represents may in some small way be able, through one of its committees, to come back to the assembly and say there are one or two things this assembly can do on a totally nonpartisan basis and as a representative group without any intention of playing any great role.
They can indicate, for example, an expression of support for the work of those organizations. They can express, if they wish to, that perhaps every year in this assembly we would appoint one or two people to attend the annual general meeting of the Canadian section of Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists when it meets in Canada.
It may show some visible interest and support for the work. It may even be, considering the number of organizations of one kind or another to which we contribute on occasion, that right out of the funds available to this assembly -- not the funds available to the government ministry, but out of the funds available to this assembly -- we might make a contribution to the support of the work of those bodies.
It may well be that on a continuing basis, the select committee on the Ombudsman, if that is the proper committee and the proper way to deal with it, would say, this assembly will this month write on behalf of a particular prisoner detained for political reasons in his own country to see whether we can contribute in some small way to his release from incarceration.
Let me plead with my colleagues in the assembly not to confuse my request with any suggestion that we are involved in, or that I want in any way to involve us in, something called external affairs, international affairs, or any of those matters. I am just asking that we, as a representative assembly of individuals in a democratic society, decide on one, two, three or four things we can do on a continuing basis to support in legitimate cases the rights of individuals detained for political reasons in other countries.
I think we can do that. I think we can do it in a way that will not interfere with the relationship Canada must have with foreign governments. I think we can do it on the basis of humanitarian concern. I think we can do it with adequate consultation so that we do not infringe on international affairs but act in a way that makes sense.
It did appear to me that if the select committee on the Ombudsman were to consult with the Canadian section of Amnesty International, the Canadian section of the International Commission of Jurists and go through, say, the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations to representative persons in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, it just may be they could report back and say, “Yes, there are two, three or four small things which we in a small way can do on a continuing basis to deal with this kind of problem.”
Mr. Speaker, you will note I have not attempted, and there was no need for me in an assembly like this, to regale the assembly with particular incidents. We are all aware of them and we hear about them regularly. They appear in the press. They have their fashions. One of the matters of utmost concern to me is that they become fashionable f or a period and then the detention of the person continues and the isolation of the person continues, but it passes out of our minds. We have some claim to continuity here. It may be in that continuous way we can assert our interest in, our concern for and our support of the kinds of institutions which are involved.
I am quite sure many members of the assembly receive the same Bulletin of Amnesty International and the same Review of the International Commission of Jurists, but the topics in any one very clearly illustrate the immensity of my personal concern and the sense of frustration I have.
I suppose if Clausewitz was right and war is the continuation of politics by other means, perhaps in a way I spent some short time incarcerated for something called political beliefs. I have some knowledge of the kind of isolation involved. It is basically within that framework of a very personal plea to the assembly I would ask that this resolution in that limited way be adopted by the House.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I have looked forward to my participation in today’s debate. I welcome the initiative taken by the member for Riverdale. I must begin by saying I have one or two reservations, but essentially I support the thrust of what he has proposed.
To deal quickly with my reservations, first, I am not sure whether the select committee on the Ombudsman is the proper vehicle for making these inquiries and reporting to the House. At the same time, I cannot suggest a different or other mechanism which may be as effective as that committee.
Second, I must say I can see the day down the road when members of this assembly will perhaps sadly be called on in a rather repetitive fashion as a group to join behind a resolution or proposal brought to add some pressure to the lobbies and forces against the political imprisonment, killings and terrorists’ acts the member refers to.
It has dawned upon me that some of the most meaningful and touching moments I spent in political life have been those which have centred on some of the demonstrations supporting the causes of political prisoners. Some of the best moments have come from the thoughts of individual legislators whose consciences have been pricked and challenged by the particularly outrageous nature of the case in question.
In a sense, I worry about the institutionalization of some of these very important personal matters. I say they are personal matters, because when we develop institutional responses we fail to grasp the full meaning and implications of the cause we are supporting. All of us in this assembly on occasion have been caught up in a rather mechanical exercise, perhaps not on civil rights matters but on other matters, where we have truly voted without a complete and full understanding of the nature of what was being undertaken. If there is any area in which we must have that full and complete understanding, if for no other reason than to develop the proper degree of outrage over what we are talking about it is surely the area brought to the fore by this resolution.
Of course, marshalling the resources of this assembly may or may not move mountains in those countries where these political violations are being perpetrated. It would be far more effective if the members of this assembly, individually as members of their own communities, were able and willing to play leading roles and had the capacity, drive and initiative to play leading roles in mobilizing public support throughout this nation and throughout this province in protesting against the very things this resolution asks this assembly to do in a rather institutional way.
I do support this resolution, though, because in broad terms it reinforces for us as legislators, individually or collectively, the need to be involved in those matters in nations far removed from ours, thousands of miles away in some cases, and to get involved in the violations of civil rights occurring there.
My grandparents fled from Poland in the first 10 years of this century, sensing somehow that some great disaster would befall those of the Jewish faith later in this century. They did not fully understand the real danger of that, but made enormous sacrifices without the benefit of any sort of public support or outrage, or of any political support overseas that might have helped that thrust. They simply came across in about 1908 or 1909 in the bottom of cattle boats to start a new life here, free from persecution. Little did they understand what awaited those who stayed behind, who did not quite have the wherewithal to make that adventure in the early part of the 20th century.
Yet we find, incredibly, 20 or 30 years later, when these matters were truly in the forefront of international politics, on the front pages of the newspapers, there was still the sense that the problem was far removed. I suppose it was in 1939 the ship, The St. Louis, was turned away from Canadian and other shores with many hundreds of Jews who subsequently were to go to their deaths on that very same ship.
Why? Because the problem was not up front; it was not on the main streets of our cities and towns. They were essentially left on their own and eventually perished. Here we had an incident on the very borders of our country.
Happily, things seem to have changed. They have changed to the degree to which, today, we are in a position where the Chinese-Vietnamese refugees are taken in in very large numbers. Yet, let us be honest, there is not a true sense of outrage at the slaughter occurring in that part of the world.
Like the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), I feel there is no point in my standing here and making a list of all the outrages and violations. The ones we see and the ones we talk about, even the ones I have referred to, are just the absolutely obvious ones. They are not the ones occurring in at least equal numbers, unseen to us. For every Scharansky and Nudel, for every Ginzburg and Moroz, the latter two having been saved by international pressure, there are hundreds of thousands behind them who do not have the luxury -- if one can even believe the use of the word -- of having some degree of free world support for the causes they are leading, some free world support to get them out of their internal exile, their internal imprisonment, their internal torture.
As the member for Riverdale also pointed out, when we do get involved on an individual basis, too often we are down there in front of a mass gathering, a rally, to give some assistance, and yet we tend to focus on a single individual. What we forget too often is that the individuals we are trying to free, the Scharanskys or the Ginzburgs, are the focal point of our activity not for themselves but because they are involved in speaking for hundreds of thousands of others who stayed behind when they, in the case of Ginzburg, are let out simply to put the issue on the back burner in the democracies of North America for a period of months.
We do have a history -- let’s face it -- of forgetting those who are left behind when the Ginzburgs come out. Anything we can do as individual members, or collectively, to continue to focus on the hundreds of thousands left behind, I think is important.
I also thought, in looking at the resolution, that those of us in this forum, as elected members, ought to be sensitive to a full and complete definition of those acts of political imprisonment, those acts that deny those in other countries their full freedoms, and draw as broad as definition as we can around those kinds of activities which we should be concerned about, individually or collectively.
I think of the millions throughout this world who truly do not have, for example, the right to full and complete information. The right to full and complete information is almost as important as many of the other things we talk about, because without that access to information, without the right to know about international concerns, international pressures, rights, privileges, even duties and responsibilities, no citizen can properly measure the degree to which he or she has civil rights and human rights.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, in closing, may I say that these and other rights, a full and complete outline of what we mean by political imprisonment and protection of human rights, should also be considered in the light of this resolution, as we discuss the alternatives laid before this House quite fairly and openly and properly by this resolution.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have the impression that there is probably more political imprisonment, killing and torture going on in the world today on a regular, almost accepted basis, than there has been at any time in history.
I believe the previous speaker is perhaps entirely too optimistic. I sensed that he said in his comments that the world is getting better in that regard. I do not believe it. I think it is getting worse.
I think there are more totalitarian governments which undertake a modern, professional approach to punishment and eliciting information by torture than ever before. I regret that, and I am appalled by it, along with everyone else.
At that point I part company from the two previous speakers. I have seen them both in public print and on television, very properly as individuals, expressing their views to other interested citizens in a most compelling and useful way. I have seen their names in large, important and imposing advertisements, along with citizens from every walk of life, indicating their commitment to the ending of the suffering of individuals and in support of causes which cut well beyond any sort of partisan lines and which fade into complete insignificance in a topic such as this.
I do not agree, however, that this House formally constituted has a role to play that is significant. It may ease our consciences to come forward with a resolution and feel that at least we have done something. I personally do not believe that something is anything. In situations such as this there are local, national and international organizations that are fully accepted and crying for the kind of assistance and leadership that we, as individuals, can proffer. The fact that we are elected members of this chamber in many respects makes our influence as individuals greater rather than less.
I personally do not favour this House expressing its views on matters beyond its jurisdiction. We have done this more and more frequently. Perhaps the first occasion that I remember was a debate and a resolution passed in support of the starving natives of Biafra. No one can question that the situation was appalling. We, as individuals, had expressed views and the fact that the Legislature took a stand might have been a bit of a sop to our own consciences, but I do not believe it had any significant, measurable, discernible influence in the unfolding of the universe beyond that. We have clear responsibilities here. It may be frustrating for many of us that that restricts us from imposing our views by our majority vote on events that we see in the universe that we would like to change.
My view is very simple. It is that the Legislature should not concern itself with these important matters. Other jurisdictions may, but the solution lies with the role of the individual and the commitment of the individual in support of organizations, or as an individual, in alleviating the circumstances.
I do not have to protest to anyone my abhorrence for what is described in the resolution, but from consistency, as I see it, I can only express that view as an individual and not support the motion as a member of this assembly.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the committee that is to be deputed with this task, I want to say immediately that I am not speaking in that capacity. I observe a magnificent neutrality with respect to it. However, I do believe that I am entitled, like anyone else, to speak as a member of the House on a matter of this kind. I will personally support the resolution and not just because the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) happens to be a colleague of mine.
My feeling is that every one of us has a responsibility well beyond our borders. Each of us is a citizen of the world and we cannot blind ourselves, either individually or corporately as a body, to the numerous savageries, holocausts, genocides, unjust imprisonments, governmental crimes and denial of human dignities and rights that go on all around us.
As far as we are concerned, there is no forum here to do so. There is no mode of handling these matters except, on occasion, on an ad hoc basis as when the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell), rightly exercised over the Armenian situation, introduces a resolution in the House and it is discussed.
I remember a previous debate here on the Biafra issue. It was again an isolated instance of coming to confrontation and facing world problems outside the tiny domain in which we bask over against the terrors of the year 2000.
It falls outside all jurisdictions. I do not think the federal government gives much attention to this, except on occasion with respect to notorious cases when petitions or what not are made to the Minister of State for External Affairs, touching a particular prisoner or a particular condition. The tendency of External Affairs is to shy away, as we appear, at least as the last speaker appears, to shy away from accepting that kind of responsibility. If the federal government has the responsibility it is not much exercised.
Also in this context I think of a reformed constitution in this country, invariably, and on all sides, with respect to the proposals that there be extended powers, limited but extended, over against the present situation of the provincial government vis-à-vis international affairs and our location and dealings with other countries. It is certainly a primal factor and I believe that must come to pass, just to legitimate what is going on at the present time, not only with Quebec but also with Ontario in its various houses abroad and its constitution. It does not fall within the strict terms of the otiose British North America Act.
That would be another consideration that would take place. I am a little hesitant to speak in this matter, because I intend shortly to bring before the House another area of responsibility that particular committee might very well consider having to do with petitions coming from citizenry to the Speaker, to the House, et cetera, which seem to get lost thereafter. This would exclude petitions addressed against the Ombudsman himself, which I do not think should fall within our jurisdiction, because we are fundamentally protective of the office. If there is a mesalliance there, we will deal with it in regular course of duties.
Excluding petitions of that particular kind, perhaps the select committee on the Ombudsman would address itself to, and be given in due course, a mandate with respect to that area to hear delegations and to give the citizen the voice he is really very deeply denied as things stand at present, extending our concept of democracy.
‘I am speaking as an individual, but we on the committee are not proud and we are not not proud; we are both and we are neither. If this particular task were given to us, it would not shake the foundations of this place or even our foundations. The committee does not lust for either power or an increased work load. We are such an efficient bunch that we handle our business adroitly, quickly and dispose of it, and I suppose, for reasons of our high quality, we could perhaps consider another task if this House were disposed to give it to us.
In any case, I see it as a legitimate task, a task which no one else seems to perform. It somewhat broadens the imagination. I think this is the time with respect to the elements of usurpation or the elements of assuming roles that are not properly conferred upon us.
We are not classified in that category; we will not play fantastic tricks. Nevertheless, as citizens of the world we feel we would be prepared. In any event, I am sure the committee would be willing to consider it. In this House, the only recommendation I can make is that, if it passes, it be referred out to some committee, possibly even the Ombudsman committee itself, to determine whether the committee as a selective group as a consensus -- and we always have a consensus in that committee; it is an amazing piece of business and totally different from any other assembly around here -- would be prepared as a body to accept that particular responsibility as it goes on. There are not all that many members of the committee here today. Although I have spoken to a few of them, I am not sure exactly what their position is, nor would I dream of pre-empting it in any way.
We are threatened by acts of cruelty and violence in many areas of the world which affect the people of Canada and of Ontario. The member for Riverdale and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) have dealt mostly with political detention, torture and imprisonment. I want to deal with the one other aspect which no one has dealt with yet in the resolution; that is, terror and the growth of international terrorism. In this debate I would like to highlight some of the problems of international terrorism and some of the things we can possibly do about them.
I would point out that some of this work has already been done. Specifically, there was an international conference on terrorism last July 2 to 5 in Jerusalem. There were some suggestions arising out of that conference about the things that could be done to combat international terrorism and highlighting some of the problems. Some of the papers and quotations of that conference can highlight these things far better than I could. I want to read some of the excerpts from some of the papers there, which will indicate to us just what we are faced with. This was an international conference attended by people from many countries.
First, let me give a definition: “Terrorism is the rejection of politics as the normal means by which communities resolve conflicts. To terrorists, violence is not a political weapon to be used in extremis; it is a substitute for the entire political process.
“The Arab terrorists, the IRA, the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, the Red Army in Japan and Italy and elsewhere have never shown any desire to engage in the political process. The notion that violence is a technique of last resort, to be adopted only when other attempts to attain justice has failed, is rejected by them.”
Another statement at the opening of the conference was: “Terrorism is not neutral in the political battle. It does not in the long run tend towards anarchy; it tends towards totalitarianism. Terrorism actively, systematically and necessarily assists the spread of the totalitarian state.
“The countries which finance and maintain the international infrastructure of terrorism, which give terrorists refuge and havens, training camps and bases, money, arms and diplomatic support as a matter of deliberate state policy are without exception totalitarian states. The governments of all these states are ruled by military and police force. The notion then that terrorism is opposed to repressive forces in society is false. Indeed, it is the reverse of the truth.
“International terrorism, and the various terrorist movements it services, is entirely dependent on the continuing goodwill and the active support of police states. The terrorist is sustained by the totalitarian tank, the torture chamber, the lash and the secret policeman.
“International terrorism,” as one of the members has pointed out, “has grown tenfold in the last decade. The critical factor in such growth has been the support given to terrorist organizations by certain states in the form of arms, training, money, sanctuaries, intelligence, diplomacy and propaganda.
“While Arab state support for terrorism is widely known, there has been a curious reticence about the massive evidence of Soviet involvement with terror movements. For a complete understanding of international terror today, it is essential to reveal the nature and full extent of this involvement.
“The facts presented by students of terrorism were buttressed by the statement of two conference participants currently involved in some of the leading intelligence services of the west. Commenting on Soviet involvement in global terrorism, the head of West Germany’s anti-terrorist Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Dr. Hans Josef Horchem, said, ‘The KGB is engineering international terrorism ... the examples given by the participants can be proven. Documents are well known in the international western intelligence community.’
“The former chief of Israeli military intelligence, General Shlomo Gazit, stated publicly that the Soviet bloc has had training facilities for Arab terrorists. He said, ‘Arab terrorists participated in 50 different military schools and courses, some 40 in the Soviet Union itself.’”
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the US Public Broadcasting Service had a very good program on The Russian Connection. To finalize this point, Zehdi Labib Terzi, the PLO’s observer in the UN, told a PBS interviewer in September 1979: “There’s no secret about it. Our boys go to the Soviet Union and Socialist countries for military training. We get direct consignments of Soviet weapons, machine guns and explosives.”
One of the participants in that conference was a Mr. Brian Crozier, director of the Institute for The Study of Conflict in London. He said: “Another striking example of indirect Soviet involvement in terrorism came to light with the seizure at Schiphol Airport in Holland in October 1971 of a large consignment of weapons destined for the then anti-Marxist wing of the IRA in a deal negotiated with a Czech agency.
“Libya benefited in 1976 from what appears to have been the biggest arms deal in history -- probably to the order of $12 billion. Arms in such quantities are of course massively beyond the needs of Qaddafi’s armed forces, and the surplus serves, among other things, to feed terrorist groups. Indeed, apart from the IRA, recipients of large-scale shipments of Soviet arms channelled through Libya include the Black September Organization the Japanese United Red Army, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Arm of the Arab Revolution (Carlos’s group) the Baader-Meinhof gang, and terrorist or guerrilla groups in Turkey, Iran, Yemen, Lebanon, Eritrea, Chad, Chile, Uruguay, Nicaragua and the Philippines.”
Jacques Soustelle, a French statesman and scholar said this also about terrorists: “Either spontaneously or through insidious influences from certain circles, an alteration of the vocabulary takes place. The murderers are called ‘patriots,’ ‘freedom fighters,’ ‘guerrillas.’ No hint is given of their brutish cruelty and their cowardly attacks aimed at unarmed civilians, peasants and school children. The very words used to name them provide the terrorists with an aura of heroism. To hide a time bomb in a basket or a bag so that it explodes and kills or maims 20 or 50 innocent passers-by is nothing but one of the lowest forms of wholesale murder. When a group of killers murders a hostage, nine times out of 10 the newspapers announce the victim has been ‘executed,’ as if it were the result of a sentence under the law, which would be respectable.”
I have quoted a number of things from this conference of a year ago. It was well summarized by Senator Henry Jackson of the United States of America. I would like to quote from some of the things he said:
“International terrorism is a modern form of warfare against liberal democracies. The ultimate but seldom-stated goal of these terrorists is to destroy the very fabric of democracy. It is both wrong and foolish for any democratic state to consider international terrorists to be someone else’s problem. One of the great coverups of the century is the effort by western governments, who know better, to muffle the facts about Soviet bloc support for international terrorism.
“I do not refer to individual acts of madmen.” -- I am still quoting Senator Jackson -- “I am discussing highly organized groups with international connections and support who systematically rely on major acts of violence as political instruments. Such acts of terrorism are part of a broad campaign aimed at the disintegration of democratic societies by undermining the confidence of their citizenry in their governments. International terrorism is a special problem for democracies. To a totalitarian regime like the Soviet Union, it is mainly a nuisance. The government applies whatever force is needed to liquidate the group.
“Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. What is new is the international nature of terrorism. Today’s terrorists have modem technology to help them, permitting rapid international communication, travel and the transfer of moneys; they can work with others of like mind across international borders in the world’s free nations.
“Second, every free nation must work against Soviet and radical efforts to define away terrorism. The idea that one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter cannot be sanctioned. Freedom fighters or revolutionaries don’t blow up buses containing noncombatants; terrorist murderers do. Freedom fighters don’t set out to capture and slaughter school children; terrorist murderers do. Freedom fighters don’t assassinate innocent businessmen or hijack and hold hostage innocent men, women and children; terrorist murderers do. It is a disgrace that democracies would allow that treasured word ‘freedom’ to be associated with the acts of terrorists.”
Then Senator Jackson says that the liberal democracies must work together to apply sanctions against countries which provide sanctuary to international terrorism. If the democracies had got together much sooner and stopped hijacking by stopping sanctuary to hijackers, hijacking would have stopped many years ago. It is ironic that the airline pilots, and not the democracies, stopped the hijacking.
The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) has said it is not within the scope of this assembly. I must disagree with him, because we must recognize a problem that is a threat to the very democracy of Canada and a threat to us in Ontario.
What can we do? I support the idea of some committee -- maybe not the Ombudsman committee -- looking at this. First, we must support the initiatives that are being taken elsewhere in the world, even if it is just moral support. We must urge our federal government to endorse these initiatives. Second, we must educate our public as to the dangers and the threat to us of these international terrorists and the other matters which the member for Riverdale has so rightly pointed out. Possibly something we can do within our jurisdiction is to see that there are courses available in our educational system to alert our young people to the problems. Finally, we must not give credibility and support to international terrorists and those who support them.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, let me begin by stating my strongest support for any action that may reduce or alleviate the plight of political prisoners. I take this position because of a belief that any such assault on any man or any woman anywhere is an assault on each of us. To the extent that any man or any woman is so diminished, we are all diminished.
I have long taken as my creed the words of Edmund Burke: “The only way evil will ever dominate is if good men do nothing.” I say this because so many Ontario citizens feel a sense of helplessness in this matter even though they strongly oppose such persecution. “But what can I do?” is a common cry. Mass political killings in Nazi Germany, in Uganda, in Cambodia, in Vietnam, in Iran have become so grotesque and so unbelievable that our minds have blotted out the reality.
The other side of the same coin is to recognize the loneliness, the isolation and the fear of the individual political prisoners subjected to torture and terror as part of their political imprisonment.
But, thank God, there are groups such as Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists who refuse to allow us to forget, and there are individuals who have shown by their own actions that you can get results. They have embarrassed the sadistic torturers who prey on their helpless prisoners by putting the spotlight of public opinion on their activities. I want in no uncertain terms to identify myself and, I hope, many of my colleagues in this noble and humane endeavour.
It is not enough to say that this provincial Legislature has no jurisdiction in international affairs. It is, rather, our responsibility in our own name and in the name of all humanity to say, “What can we do?”
I sense a change of attitude in our people as they have opened their arms to prevent the liquid holocaust of the Vietnamese boat people. This massive outpouring of activity shows what can be done when leaders come forward to show the way. The Ombudsman committee may or may not be the best vehicle to embark on this endeavour, but it has my support if the members choose to take on the task of consultation and recommendation.
Like previous speakers in this debate, I ‘have no illusions that our words and actions will have dramatic or large-scale results, but any reduction in persecution is worth the effort. Surely we, as legislators, have long ago learned that changes in human behaviour are slow and take place in small steps. Let us, in this assembly, at least make a commitment to begin.
Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, the subject matter has been spoken on very eloquently by the previous speakers. I am not going to repeat some of the things that have been said, although I must say the issue is one of the most important of our modern times.
I am very concerned that the agencies which are at work to try to alleviate the problem are allowed to continue and expand their work and enhance what they do. That is the reason why I am going to raise a question here that has not been raised in this debate so far. That is the question of whether the institutional marshalling of forces -- that is, as a government -- to take a stand may result in inhibiting the work the organizations are able to accomplish at the present time.
I think particularly of the work that has been done by Amnesty International and the dependence of an organization such as that on the goodwill and the conscience of individual countries all over the world, individuals who are representative of government of all persuasions, whether that government is capitalistic, communistic, a dictatorship or whatever.
To function Amnesty International depends on the individual influence of people of conscience, regardless of their political stripe. My concern is that if a capitalistic government, for instance, such as the government we have here, were to be seen to give an institutional approval to their kind of work, it might be reacted against negatively by other governments and result in the reverse of what we are trying to do.
Mr. J. Reed: The honourable member who is interjecting should know full well that much of the response to what government does is a response in perception of what takes place. I wonder if the member for Riverdale might indicate whether he has talked to Amnesty International and whether he has the support of that tremendous organization.
I believe we are all of one mind regarding the gravity of the situation and the need for it to be corrected in the world. I wonder if the most effective way is to keep it outside of the government sphere so that we, as individuals and as individual legislators, if our conscience is moved, can respond to the needs of Amnesty International and not be associates with institutionalized support.
I heard a radio interview with an official of Amnesty International this week, and that is why I raised this question this afternoon. He was being asked about where the support came from and whether it came from government. If I remember the response, he was very careful to point out that Amnesty International deliberately does not look for and does not want the support of governments. While it will approach individual legislators and appeal to the conscience of those individuals, it does not elicit the support of countries, because it has to be free to walk in all countries and to work in all countries.
I am a little taken aback by the previous speaker’s comments. This is not a government in action here; this is an assembly and a private member’s resolution. I do not think we are attempting to institutionalize by expressing our opinion and suggesting that a committee deal with this. I will only say that if this does go to committee, I hope we can approach it, as suggested by one of the previous speakers, in a very nonpartisan way and look at not only the effects of political terror but also the causes and raise our voices collectively against totalitarianism and oppression of all political stripes, whether in Chile, the Soviet Union, South Africa, Iran or wherever.
I support the resolution. I think the objections or concerns raised by some members about our jurisdiction fail to see the significance of a group of legislators collectively expressing a view held very seriously on a question of conscience.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I wonder whether the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed) took the time actually to read the motion to which he was speaking. The motion calls upon us to vote in favour of a move to have the select committee on the Ombudsman consult with various groups, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists and others to find out whether there is a way in which we can usefully have the committee report to the assembly so that the assembly can make the views of its members known to governments and groups in the world that have practised, are practising, will plan to practise and will practise killings, imprisonment, terror and torture.
We are not in any way requesting here that there be a substitution of official government action for the voluntary efforts these bodies have carried out. We are seeking their advice so that we as a body might best express our private and group abhorrence of these methods of political control.
I hope the member for Halton-Burlington will take a look again at the motion, reconsider his expressions of concern, which I think are misplaced in terms of the actual wording and intent of this motion, and, with other members of this Legislature, support the resolution before us today.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this very important resolution brought forward by my colleague. It has disturbed me for some time, as I am sure it has disturbed other members of the assembly, that our constituents often are people who have escaped from countries where there is political terror and, when they come to see us, we are almost powerless in having any voice against the atrocities that have been committed in those countries.
The people of one such country, some of whom live in my riding and have been very close to me, are from Chile. Members will recall that a few years ago the American government through the Central Intelligence Agency, was able to overthrow the democratic government of Chile and arrange for the demise of the president of that country. Many of us abhorred the American action in Chile. As it comes closer to home, we know that since that time some Canadian companies, some of them situated in Ontario, such as Noranda Mines Limited and the Toronto-Dominion Bank, continue to have dealings with Chile.
We have been voiceless and we have been powerless. There are things that can be done. Some of them are fairly simple. If the government think it is entirely a federal matter, I will give one very special, simple thing this government could do which would be helpful to the Chilean refugees who are here in Toronto. That would be a boycott of Chilean goods and the removal of Chilean wines from the stores of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. That is something that is within the power of this government.
This government saw fit to remove Russian vodka from the shelves in protest against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. I agree with that and, for the most part, the people of Ontario agreed with that as well. It was a good move. This government could do the same thing by removing Chilean wines as a voice against the American government for its invasion of Chile, but they haven’t done that.
We now have an opportunity, through this resolution, to have a voice in affairs that do come home to us from time to time and do affect the lives of constituents whom we attempt to represent. I hope this assembly will pass the resolution and that, when various matters affecting foreign countries come before us, we can have a voice. We can be a voice of humanity in the world, a world that is far too troubled and has far too many atrocities.
We should not stand idly by; we have done that too often. When members in this assembly raised their voice of concern about the Moscow Olympics, they did so knowing full well that it was ultimately a federal matter, but they did so out of concern. I ask that the members have the same opportunity to raise their voice of concern when Chileans are affected, or any others who have lost their rights and, ultimately, their opportunity to live a peaceful life.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a correction to the Hansard of May 26, 1980. On page 2187, line 19 reads, “A car, hitting one or two parking meters ...” It should have been “gas meters.” I do not know how parking got involved in it.
Tonight the House will consider in committee of supply the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. We will also consider the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs tomorrow morning.
On Tuesday, June 3, the House will deal first with the motion establishing the constitutional select committee, and then with Bill Pr26 and Bill Pr4 and Bills 60, 49, 50, 51, 74, 71, 75, and 76, in the afternoon and evening, as time permits.