ANNUAL REPORT, LEGISLATIVE LIBRARY, RESEARCH AND INFORMATION SERVICES
ATTENDANCE OF STAFF AT ESTIMATES
EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE
SALE OF BEER AND WINE
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AMENDMENT ACT
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT ACT
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ACT
RIGHT TO FARM ACT
ORDERS OF THE DAY
YOUNG OFFENDERS IMPLEMENTATION ACT(CONTINUED)
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
ONTARIO UNCONDITIONAL GRANTS AMENDMENT ACT
The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: I would ask all the members of the assembly to join with me in recognizing and welcoming in the Speaker’s gallery the members of the Consular Corps Association of Toronto, led by Mr. Oswald Murray, dean of the consular corps.
We are also fortunate in having in the members’ east gallery the following members from the South Australian Parliament: Mr. John Oswald, the member for Morphett, and Mr. Graham Ingerson, the member for Bragg.
ANNUAL REPORT, LEGISLATIVE LIBRARY, RESEARCH AND INFORMATION SERVICES
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that I have today laid upon the table the annual report of the director of the legislative library, research and information services, for 1983-84.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, this may be a point of view. We have been long awaiting an announcement from the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) in regard to funding in the field of co-operative education. I understood that today we would have an announcement from the minister on funding and co-operative education. Have you received any knowledge of this?
Mr. Speaker: I never receive any knowledge of this, and I think it would be more proper for the honourable member to ask the question during the oral question period.
ATTENDANCE OF STAFF AT ESTIMATES
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I should call to your attention and to the attention of this Legislature the fact that in the estimates of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) for the third year in a row has chosen to bring with him into the committee room only his deputy minister and none of the senior officials of his ministry, as is the custom and practice of all the other ministers of this Legislature. In my experience, he is the only minister who has chosen to take this course.
At a time when we have legislation on freedom of information before this House, when the government stands before us and tells us how open and accessible it is, why does it allow a minister to keep his senior civil servants under lock and key and away from the questions of the opposition? This course of action is not serving the democratic process and is a reversion to times past when citizens did not have access to government. Would you look into this, sir?
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the honourable member knows well that is not a matter of privilege. Certainly I do not have the authority or the jurisdiction to instruct members of government to do anything. I would make the observation that if the minister feels confident in doing that, he must be extremely well informed.
Mr. Rae: It is unbelievable that you would make that kind of editorial comment.
Mr. Speaker: Resume your seat, please. Unbelievable as it may be, it was just an observation.
Mr. Laughren: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I suspect you would agree with me it is possible for privileges of members to be abused without standing orders of this Legislature being violated. I believe that is what is happening to members of the opposition and through them to the public at large. For three years now, during the estimates debates of the Ministry of Natural Resources we have been receiving the truth according to the minister alone.
I am sure you follow the politics of Ontario very closely, Mr. Speaker, and know there is a lot of dispute out there over the true nature of the second forests in the province and other matters dealt with in the Ministry of Natural Resources. I do not believe it is appropriate for a minister to decide the opposition will get the facts according to him only. Surely to goodness one of the reasons that estimates were sent to committees in the first place was so members of the opposition could have access to expertise from the bureaucracy of Ontario.
For that reason, we increasingly feel there is no sense in our attending the estimates of the Ministry of Natural Resources. The minister simply interprets the facts as he wishes to interpret them and stonewalls us on getting any further information from the experts in the Ministry of Natural Resources. I think it is time it was ruled on.
Mr. Speaker: It is really not a point of privilege and it is not a matter of order. My understanding, which may or may not be correct, is that the civil service staff of the ministry are there to assist the minister when called upon to do so.
Mr. Sargent: What are you going to do about it?
Mr. Speaker: It is beyond my jurisdiction to do very much about it. I am sure the minister involved has taken note of the many remarks that have been made and will perhaps govern himself accordingly.
Mr. Martel: On the same point, Mr. Speaker: In 1969 this House established a committee to look into the rules of the Legislature because at that time everything was done in the House. One of the reasons for moving estimates out of the House was to allow the opposition to question some of the civil servants.
Later on, we allowed a break in a 100-year tradition when the ministers wanted someone to assist them. We allowed the table to be brought into the Legislature so the deputy minister or a head of a department could be with the minister to provide him with answers.
We went out to committee. I have heard the government House leader say on many occasions and, if the Speaker will check the remarks, the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) said last week with respect to the Ministry of the Environment, that the appropriate opportunity would be available to ask the appropriate people with respect to various government cuts or where the government was spending its money. He said that was why we had estimates.
Last night I sat listening to the minister simply stonewall and say, “It is my opinion and I will not provide you with the documentation.” He does that continuously in that committee.
Hon. Mr. Pope: I did not say that. That is wrong.
Mr. Martel: It runs off his mouth. He will not put the material, the studies before the members.
Hon. Mr. Pope: As usual, you do not know what you are talking about.
Mr. Martel: My colleague has been asking for some of them for a year or a year and a half. The minister keeps telling us it will happen when he is ready. If the opposition is to follow its mandate to look into the spending of the government, we have to have the documentation and the right to question the civil servants who run this province.
Mr. Speaker, you have an obligation to indicate to the minister that the government cannot use its majority to say, “We will not allow anyone to answer except the Pope himself.”
Hon. Mr. Pope: May I now answer this nonsense?
Mr. Speaker: No, because it is still not a point of order and it is still not a point of privilege. I must point out to all the members that, as I have said before, what goes on in committee is beyond my jurisdiction.
If I may make a suggestion, it seems to me this is a matter that would be better discussed by the three House leaders. They could come to some understanding or agreement as to how estimates are going to be handled, particularly those that are handled outside this chamber.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I understand you are saying it should be resolved among the three parties, but I want to tell you there is no sense in us participating any more in the estimates of that ministry as long as the minister continues to treat it as his personal toy. That is what he does. I see no sense in our continuing those estimates.
Mr. Speaker: I must again rule that is not a matter of order, nor is it a matter of privilege. I hear very clearly what you are saying. I hear your dissatisfaction. I respectfully suggest that the House leaders resolve it.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I might add that somehow or other the members of this Legislature are entitled to information from the ministries. The minister has not answered the questions in Orders and Notices, for goodness’ sake, and he chooses to take this course of action. Surely the Speaker should be concerned.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Your point has been well made and I am sure the three House leaders will get together and resolve this matter.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, with respect, this is a matter which does affect the business of this House and it affects a very basic understanding of the members. Looking at the history of why estimates have been referred to committee, that history clearly establishes that the reason was to allow members to cross-examine officials of the government who were responsible for the implementation of particular programs.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Absolutely not.
Mr. Rae: I know they do not want to hear it. They are going to have to hear it anyway. If the Minister of Natural Resources is saying we are not allowed to cross-examine the chief forester of this province, and that is exactly what he is saying, that runs directly counter to the basic principle that we are supposed to be able to get the evidence and information that should be accessible to the people of this province with respect to the most basic resource.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Rae: That is what has happened.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Cross-examine me; I am the minister.
Mr. Speaker: Again, the matter is --
Mr. Martel: Baloney, you are the Pope.
Mr. Rae: You are not the only person who knows anything. You do not own everybody who works in your department either.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The point has been well made. The suggestions and comments are becoming repetitive. I advise all honourable members that it is beyond my jurisdiction to deal with it. I would suggest very strongly once more that the House leaders take this matter under their consideration immediately.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Apart from the idiosyncrasies of the Minister of Natural Resources, what bothers me is your comment that it is beyond your jurisdiction, by ruling that it is not a matter of privilege or order or anything you can do anything about. As representing all the members of this assembly, you are putting your approval on an erosion which needs to be stopped right in its tracks before it spreads, as it will, to other members of the government on the question of the way the estimates are dealt with in the assembly.
The House leader of our party has drawn to your attention, briefly and in a very cursory way, a very lengthy process the assembly went through, and not on the question of majority or minority government, because it started long before that with the appointment by the then Premier of the Camp-Oliver-Fisher commission and the subsequent appointment of a committee of this assembly to review the recommendations of the Camp commission.
One of the fundamental basic decisions was that the estimates should be dealt with in an atmosphere that permitted the members to have access to the experts in the various areas of the ministries at estimates time for the purpose of verifying whether or not the moneys the government had asked to be expended were being properly expended and accounted for.
I want to make it as clear as I can that in the etiquette and manners of the assembly it has been the conscious policy of members of the opposition to say to the minister, “I want to ask a question about this matter.” Because manners and etiquette and the way we deal with each other are profound and fundamental to the working of this place, it has been customary for the minister to say, “I will have my deputy answer that,” or, “I will have this particular official or this other person answer that question.” The minister did not think he was lord of all he surveyed and the sum and total part of it.
That bothers me, and unless we bring it to your attention at its early appearance in the assembly, it will be a backward step to erode a process which is detached from the idiosyncrasies of that minister and from the particular persons who represent the ridings in this House, and was part of the process of this assembly adapting itself to the requirements of modern government in relation to the accountability and obligation of the members of the assembly to vote the estimates.
Mr. Speaker, I find it passing strange that you should take such a narrow view of your office as to say it is not a point of privilege, a point of order or a matter related to the rules but only a matter to be worked out among the House leaders. It is not a matter to be worked out among the House leaders. The whole process that took place from whenever that Camp commission was appointed, which, if my memory is correct, was done under the premiership of John Robarts, was for the purpose of bringing this Legislative Assembly into modern times.
My colleagues and members of the Liberal Party are trying to say to you, Mr. Speaker, that it has nothing to do with the Minister of Natural Resources, it has to do with this assembly and with the way it conducts, in public, public business. That is what it is about and that is why I find it passing strange that you, interested and knowledgeable about the history of this House, should take that short-range view, as if this is just something that has happened and that if the government House leader cannot put a rein on a maverick minister of the crown who does not appreciate the history of this place and does not appreciate the problems involved in accounting publicly about public business, our only recourse is if the government House leader will agree.
If that is your view, then I say that in a strange way it comes through to me that you have, with great respect, a lack of perception of the responsibility of the Speaker of the assembly.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to think I do not take a narrow view of my responsibilities or my interpretation of the rules and standing orders. But it is very clear to me, as I understand it and as I hear what everybody is saying, that you are asking the Speaker to be put in the role of making a judgement.
Quite clearly, the responsibility for the conduct, the attendance or even the scheduling of the work before the committee stems from a decision or an agreement or a consensus or something arrived at by the House leaders. All I am saying is that my jurisdiction does not extend, as you know full well, to the committee. I cannot deal with anything before a committee until it comes before this House in the form of a report.
Again, I would advise and implore the three House leaders to get together to resolve this matter in some way, shape or form. If I can be of any assistance in sitting in on a meeting with the three House leaders, I would be pleased to do so. But please do not try to put the Speaker in the position of making a judgement.
Mr. Martel: You are going to be on the spot now.
Mr. Speaker: No, I am not.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, as one of the House leaders to whom you have kindly referred this matter, I am somewhat less than enthusiastic about the prospects of a solution that is going to be acceptable to all sides. You know the House leaders do not take votes. In this instance, the government House leader is not going to be able to attend a meeting for a week or two. If you are going to leave it to the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) and me, we might be able to arrange something.
Frankly, I must agree with those who urge you to accept the specific responsibility in this regard. You may recall incidents in the past where committees have, by their motion, called for your order compelling the attendance of certain witnesses at committees. Surely it should not be necessary to present such a motion in order for the minister to bring forward the officials of his ministry to respond to questions by the members of the Legislature considering the estimates.
Rather than simply put it off on the House leaders, which I say will not really be a successful solution to the problem, other than perhaps to get rid of it for the next few minutes, I would ask you if you would personally accept advice from the table and from other sources in order to come up with a judgement in this matter that might be more generally accepted.
You know and the minister knows these officials are very competent, well-remunerated employees of the crown. For him to continue to deny the members of the Legislature access to them in the discussion of the estimates is a very strange procedure indeed. I would suggest that without your assistance there is not going to be an acceptable solution.
Mr. Speaker: This will be the final comment.
Mr. Martel: You are going to be forced to make a decision.
Mr. Speaker: No. As the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) said, I find it passing strange that the House leaders do not want me to refer it to them, but they have no hesitation in referring it back to me. I shall take the member’s advice and the advice of other members of the assembly and seek advice from my advisers and others and report at the earliest possible time, probably on Thursday, I would think, on how this matter may best be dealt with.
Again, off the top of my head, my impression and my understanding at the moment is that I think it is beyond my jurisdiction. Having said that, I shall seek further advice.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, the question we are asking is what is it he has to hide. What is he hiding from us? It has been three years.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member can ask the minister that during question period. The honourable member will resume his seat, please.
A new point of order. The member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Martel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: As you have heard from us, we feel what has transpired is an erosion of what we had worked towards. Part of improving the work of the House allowed civil servants to sit on the floor of the Legislature to assist the ministers. I wonder what position you are going to take when we say no the very next time it occurs, which is a further erosion of what we had worked towards in improving this business. I wonder what position you are going to find yourself in then if the opposition uses the tactic the minister is using and says, “No, they cannot have them there any longer. Get back under.”
As you know, the only way they are allowed on the floor of the Legislature is with the consent of this Legislature. I am prepared to suggest that very shortly you are going to have to rule on that, if this bird is going to continue to act in the cavalier fashion he does, because we are not prepared to accept that nonsense.
Mr. Speaker: Having made the point on the old point of order, I would point out to the honourable member that he makes a valid point in that no strangers are allowed on the floor of the House except by consent of the House. Okay -- I mean all right. We must stay formal here.
Mr. Martel: That will end it for all the other cabinet ministers.
Mr. Speaker: If that unanimous consent is withdrawn, then that is the decision of the House and not a decision of the Speaker.
Mr. Martel: It will be.
Mr. Speaker: No, it shall not.
Mr. Martel: You will find out. We will have some bells on it. It will be challenged.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Oral questions. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson).
Mr. Peterson: Do you need any more advice on this matter, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Revenue. As members know, he is part of the government that prides itself as being lean and mean, as flat-lining the administration and being conscientious about its administrative expenses. How can he as the minister responsible justify the explosion in expenses for outside consulting services in his ministry over the past several years?
From 1979 to 1982, for example, creative consulting services went up by 989 per cent. From 1978 to 1982, management consulting services went up by 725.2 per cent, from $60,000 to $498,000. In the same period, communication services went up by 90 per cent, from $167,000 to $318,000, and legal services by 81 per cent, from $728,000 to $1.32 million. At the same time, the ministry’s staff complement went up substantially from 3,873 to 4,041.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: How can the minister be part of a government that suggests it is implementing restraint when, over that period of time, we saw this huge explosion in costs directly attributable to his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the official opposition knows full well that the estimates of the Ministry of Revenue are being dealt with at the present time. This is a matter that will be addressed. He raised it the other day on a general basis about all the different ministries. The question was asked by the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) yesterday in my estimates and we will be addressing that at the proper time during my estimates.
Mr. Peterson: Is the minister telling us he needs his experts here in the House to answer the question for him? The minister is answerable in this House as well as in committee and he should have been prepared. It is like pulling teeth getting information out of the government. When the information finally comes out, it is absolutely shocking the way the government is being run.
Mr. Bradley: Even the St. Catharines Standard says that.
Mr. Peterson: If the St. Catharines Standard says that, we know it is true.
In the year of restraint, 1982-83, is the minister aware of how the costs exploded in that one year? Management consultant contracts went up by 71 per cent, communication services by 25.2 per cent, legal services by 15 per cent and communications by 36 per cent. Expenditures for trips outside Canada went up by 131 per cent in the year of restraint. From a policy point of view, how does the minister justify that? How does he avoid the accusation that he and his colleagues are nothing but hypocrites when it comes to restraint?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I would ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw the word “hypocrite,” please.
Mr. Peterson: Would you prefer “fourflushers”? I did not make the accusation. I asked how he avoids the accusation. I did not actually accuse him, but I am prepared to accuse him of that after he answers the question. At this point, I have asked him how he avoids that accusation. If you check the rules, you will find it quite parliamentary the way it was delicately presented.
Mr. Speaker: Yes, I have no argument with that. I have an objection to the use of the word.
Mr. Peterson: In the interest of parliamentary niceties, I will withdraw that and still put the question to the minister.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I do thank you for your concern, but I really do not get too excited about things that come from the leader of the official opposition from time to time. He tends to be rather loose with his lip with his accusations.
However, I do wish to comment that the --
Mr. Riddell: People who live in glass houses.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: And that goes for that member too -- big mouth; he has a big lip.
Mr. Speaker: Now for the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: As mentioned when I addressed the question when it was first asked, the member is picking out individual items from a budget. It is a very well put together set of estimates, as he would have to admit. He knows full well there was reason for consultation in the past. He knows full well, as we discussed it in the fall, about the trips overseas for recruitment. He knows all that and he has had the answers before. Things are getting pretty shallow over there when they are having to go back over the same questions. I repeat, I will be addressing this in the estimates, which resume on Monday.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister could give us a brief response to some of these rather alarming increases? For instance, in management consultant services in 1982-83, the increase was $498,400; in legal services, more than $1.3 million; in creative communication services, slightly more than $99,000, and in communicative services, $318,000. What is the reason behind such a dramatic increase in expenditure in those specific fields?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I mentioned this to the leader of the official opposition when he asked the question. Incidentally, the member for Oshawa asked the same questions yesterday in my estimates. He asked me to prepare answers for this, to do some research and not to rush. In his words, he said, “We want these to be very carefully put together.” We are attempting to do that. We will have some detailed answers for him on Monday during the estimates.
Mr. Peterson: The minister is very well aware of a trick or device used by a number of his colleagues with regard to splitting up large contracts into smaller contracts under $15,000. This is done in order to avoid the Manual of Administration with respect to untendered contracts. Would the minister be prepared to provide the information with respect to those under-$15,000 contracts, particularly when so many of them are going to the same firms?
We can already see, with the little information provided, many contracts -- five, six or seven -- going to one firm for under that amount, obviously a technique employed by the minister and his officials to avoid the Manual of Administration. Will he provide information in specific terms on what those contracts relate to and explain at this point the unexplainable in his estimates?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: I do not know how I explain the unexplainable, but I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that in the opening statement in my estimates yesterday I addressed the answers to these many questions that were asked by the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid). They were answered at length and additional information was given along with those answers. If the Leader of the Opposition consulted with the member for Rainy River, he might have the very answers he is looking for.
Mr. Peterson: It is exactly for that reason I am asking these questions in the House. The minister is not answering them in committee; that is exactly the problem. He is not prepared to answer them.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education with respect to special education. As she knows, some years ago many members of this House entered into discussions on Bill 82 with great promise in the hope of offering every student in this province the right to special education.
Is the minister prepared now to reaffirm her commitment to the right to special education for all students in this province? Is she prepared to fund it properly? Is she prepared to clean up the administrative process? We have found so many snags in the appeal process where it has taken unnecessary delays for students in need of special education to get through the process and to get action. Is she prepared to review that legislation with those three concerns in mind?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the legislation has been under constant review and its intent is reaffirmed daily within the Ministry of Education. The funding that has been made available will, I think by the year 1985, have an additional $105 million added in support of special education in 1985 dollars if projections are reasonable. We promised, as the Leader of the Opposition is very much aware, $75 million in 1980 dollars in addition to what was already being spent in support of special education.
There are, or have been, some growing pains in the second tier, and sometimes even in the first tier, as boards became operative in the areas of identification and placement review committees. There have been some growing pains in facilitating the establishment of that mechanism.
Those have certainly been reviewed. The implementation team is working with the boards on a regular basis and the appeal mechanism at the regional and provincial levels is beginning to come along quite reasonably.
I would remind the member that the mandate of that bill sets the date of September 1, 1985, and it is my commitment that we will be ready. I am convinced every board in the province will be ready to provide what it can in support of special education within its own jurisdiction and with our help.
Mr. Peterson: The minister will be aware that one of the great problems is the funding, which has been causing concerns --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, it is not.
Mr. Peterson: Yes, it is. If the minister is not aware of it, everyone else is. Surely she is not that isolated from the realities of this situation.
The minister has been accused of not providing any real additional money, that the $14.5 million allotted to that program this year was part of the overall five per cent increase, so it is not real new money. She is doing accounting sleight of hand.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is not true.
Mr. Peterson: That is the allegation. The minister must be well aware of it.
Mr. Bradley: David Lennox says that.
Mr. Peterson: Dave Lennox says that.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Do you know who David Lennox is?
Mr. Peterson: Of course I know who he is.
Mr. Bradley: President of the Ontario Public School Teachers’ Federation.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member please place his question?
Ms. Copps: He knows him personally. Relax.
Mr. Peterson: I know these people better than the minister does, and do you know what? They like us a lot better than they like the minister. They talk to us, too. She is the one who is alienating the whole situation.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Peterson: The minister has not, in real terms, put anything new into that situation this year, and it is one of the reasons for the problem. Why did the minister break the promise in that regard?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I did not break a promise. If the honourable member will review the history of funding of special education in this province, he will understand that in 1980-81 we referred the matter of the method of delivery of the additional dollars for special education to the Advisory Committee on Financing Elementary and Secondary Education. It made the recommendation that specific dollars should be delivered on behalf of every single student in the province for the support of special education, based on the total enrolment within a board’s jurisdiction.
That has been carried out annually. It is a commitment that has been made and honoured. The suggestion that it has not been honoured, I fear might lead me to use unparliamentary language. I shall not descend to that level, but I will honestly tell the leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition exactly what the provincial council of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation felt about his performance if he would like to come over and talk to me.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, the minister today received information from the Parents’ Caucus for Fair Education. I presume the minister --
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I believe the minister received a submission from the Parents’ Caucus for Fair Education. I presume she has been briefed on that at this point. The major assertion of that paper is that for the kids who are hardest to serve, the kids with the most difficult learning disabilities, it is now harder to get money for special programs than it was before we brought in Bill 82, because of the regulations that she and the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) brought in subsequent to the proclaiming of Bill 82.
Will the minister agree or not agree with this? What will she do to stop the incredible morass of legal hoops people have to go through and the amazing amount of time they have to spend to get appropriate education for their children today?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I think the rules are relatively clear. It is the intention that by September 1, 1985, each board in Ontario will have the capacity to provide the appropriate educational program for all exceptional children, either within its own jurisdiction or as a result of agreement with another jurisdiction.
ln 1980, boards were at different levels of sophistication in the area of capability to meet those requirements. That was the reason the honourable member agreed to the phasing-in program. As well, he agreed to it because he recognized that not all boards had the same capability. He also recognized that there would need to be a transition period.
There is no doubt that what we were talking about was public education. We determined that the children who were to be served were to be those who were resident pupils within a board’s jurisdiction. That is the only rule that has been changed; the pupil must be a resident pupil within a board’s jurisdiction who is enrolled with a public board or a separate board to be considered seriously for the kind of supplemental activity which my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services has been looking after under the vocational rehabilitation program.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the minister will well remember December 1980, I believe it was, just before the last election, when the final draft of Bill 82 was hammered through on the floor of this Legislature. It was one of the few times when there was a genuine attempt at consensus among the three political parties in this House. We all believed deeply in the principle behind it.
Does the minister recall there was also a consensus at that time that we were doing the best we knew how, given the information that was available? However, and the minister just mentioned this herself, we agreed that flaws, loopholes and omissions would become apparent during the phase-in period and that prior to September 1985 changes would be made to adequately address those problems.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Sweeney: My first question was whether the minister recalled that. Second, does the minister also recall that the figure of $75 million was the best educational guess that was available? However, there was also an agreement that if it required more -- and my recollection is that it was up to $200 million -- the money would be provided.
Will the minister not agree that there are enough flaws -- unintentional yes, but nevertheless there -- that there are some omissions, that there are some changes required, that there is additional funding required and that, prior to September 1985, the legislation must be reviewed and amended?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not at all sure the legislation requires amendment, and I certainly do not recall the figure of $200 million. That was the honourable member’s suggestion at one point about the estimated cost.
The best estimate that could have been developed at the time was the $75-million figure. We have monitored that very carefully over the years, and I think we are right on target, if we are looking at the way the funding has been delivered.
The question I have to ask now, and I ask it of the advisory committee, is whether we should continue to flow the funds on the basis upon which they have been flowed in the past three and a half years, which recognizes the different levels of capabilities of the various boards. The intent is that all the boards will be at equal capability on September 1, 1985.
Should we then, as the Ontario Teachers’ Federation has asked and as some other parent advocacy groups have asked, produce directed funding specifically for special education, forgetting the principle that elected boards of education are made up of adults who must have some capability and understanding of this matter? They should have the opportunity to deliver funds on the basis of their assessment of the appropriate means within their own jurisdictions. That is the question we are debating at present within the school system. We are also looking at those flaws we have found, some of which have already been corrected as a result of joint action we have taken with other ministries.
This is not the end of an era; it is the beginning of an era. The level of sophistication we all had at the beginning of this debate has changed now. We really are on the threshold of dealing with the problems of exceptional children. We do not know all the answers and we will never be entirely perfect, because this matter relates to the problems of young people learning and adults, who happen to be human beings as well, attempting to help them learn. Since all human beings are essentially imperfect, I do not anticipate perfection. I simply anticipate that we shall continue to do our very best, in joint operation, to deal with the problems so those young people will have the most appropriate educational program.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Education on the same matter. It may be that we are moving towards nirvana, but in the meantime, the hardest-to-deal-with kids are getting messed up. I take the appeals and I know. We cannot win.
Will the minister agree with the recommendation from the parents’ group that has been brought to her today? It suggests section 7a of the regulations to the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act, which covers a lot of the kids caught in this interim period, should be repealed because it is a catch-22 situation. It does not allow the Social Assistance Review Board to determine the merits of a case but does allow school boards to veto the possibility of the board even making a decision.
The Minister of Community and Social Services said he would talk to the Minister of Education about this. Has he done so? Is the minister willing to have this section repealed so that at least we can have real hearings for these kids?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the role of the school board is to inform the appeal board whether it has a program within its jurisdiction or is supporting a program in a neighbouring jurisdiction that could provide the appropriate educational experience for those children. That is a board’s responsibility to state.
The Minister of Community and Social Services has not yet spoken to me about this specific matter, and I have not yet received the outpouring of the group the honourable member is talking about. I have not yet seen it. It has not been delivered to me today to this point. When I have seen it, I shall consider it.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It was delivered this morning at 8:30.
Is the minister not aware that it is not only a matter of the board giving a letter saying it can or cannot provide a program, but also, in the absence of a letter from the board, if the school board does not say anything about its capacity to provide, a matter of the Social Assistance Review Board saying it cannot make a decision on the merits of this child because that letter is missing? A child can wait months for that kind of hearing. The Social Assistance Review Board can wait 90 or 100 days to get a ruling. A child can miss a whole school year because of a technicality.
Will the minister not see that the horrible regulation is rescinded immediately, and not by the end of the summer, as the minister said, so we can help those children who are not in the school system to maintain the present appropriate education they are receiving?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I said that when I see the recommendations, I shall most seriously consider them.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, does the minister not realize that boards of education across the province are being very resistant on this point and on other points related to special education because of the fear that the minister is not going to provide sufficient funding?
Will the minister not admit, as members of boards of education and officials and people from the teachers’ federations have contended, that this year she has folded that $14.4 million into her general legislative grant? They have no faith that in 1985, when all this money is going to be required, it is going to be there, because of the way programs such as continuing education have been treated in the past, by mandating them and then pulling out the financial rug just when the programs are in place.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member speaks with a forked tongue as usual. That individual knows full well that we continue to mandate continuing education programs for credit purposes and that it is an important function of the Ministry of Education.
If the member would simply reread history, he would understand the funding has been folded in for four years now. Does he not realize that? It is there and it has been there. I have made the commitment
Mr. Bradley: You are the one causing the --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Why does the member not sit down? He does not want an answer.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Would you not agree that the phrase “speaking with a forked tongue” is as objectionable as “hypocrite,” and would you assist the minister in keeping her responses parliamentary?
Mr. Speaker: I must point out to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, as he full well knows perhaps better than any other member in this House, that there is a list compiled by those who are much more knowledgeable than the rest of us.
Mr. Nixon: I am trying to assist you with consistency.
Mr. Speaker: I know, but I go by the printed word and I must say that, to the best of my knowledge, subject to correction, the one word appears on the list and the other phrase does not.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: As somebody who has taken the first case before the minister’s provincial tribunal for a leave-to-appeal process, I wonder whether she would agree with me that the fifth recommendation of this group is very appropriate, given who she has put on those tribunals.
They are recommending that section 36 of the Education Act be amended as well as section 7 of Ontario regulation 554/81, regulations to the Ontario act, to provide for the creation of fair and impartial appellate tribunals whose members shall not be employees or agents or representatives of a board of education or ministry of the government.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: If I may say in response to the earlier comment, my statement was anatomical, related to the genus zoologicus of the individual involved. I promised the member that I would look at those recommendations and consider them seriously.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Energy. It concerns radioactive pollution and emissions from Ontario Hydro.
I wonder whether the minister can explain why Ontario Hydro is apparently fighting recommendations from Environment Canada. We have received information about this under the federal freedom of information act with respect to correspondence between Environment Canada and others.
Can the minister explain why Ontario Hydro is fighting basic recommendations from Environment Canada which would protect the public from the dangers of radioactive pollution in Lake Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure it is fair to say that Ontario Hydro is fighting regulations being suggested by Environment Canada. I think Ontario Hydro is somewhat confused by the signals that are coming from Environment Canada in that the current regulations on radiation have been promulgated by the Atomic Energy Control Board and have always fallen under that jurisdiction.
Ontario Hydro has reinforced the position of the AECB and has asked that the signals and the control of radiation and radiation emissions be clarified by the government of Canada as to the jurisdiction in which it should be dealt with.
Mr. Rae: Since the minister has spoken so favourably about the AECB, I wonder whether he would care to comment on the remarks of Mr. Liberty Pease from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., who wrote to Environment Canada summing up the attitude of those who oppose control, saying:
“Not only do I see no particular obligation on the part of the present generation for the comfort of future generations, but I also think we underestimate the ingenuity of future generations to control pollution from the technologies they devise.”
Is that also the position that is being taken by Ontario Hydro? Also, is the minister denying that tritium pollution in Lake Ontario has gone up by about 60 per cent in the last two years?
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: On the question of tritium pollution in Lake Ontario, Ontario Hydro has always lived well within the levels of pollution allowed under the guidelines of the AECB, and it intends to live within those levels. I think it is unfair to suggest that Ontario Hydro be held up as an example of having flouted those regulations.
We have in Ontario Hydro an example of a corporation that has done an admirable job in dealing with the problem of radiation in Lake Ontario. I can only repeat, as I said at the outset, that Hydro is looking for some clear direction in terms of the future control of that problem.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, since the minister and his predecessors have allowed Ontario Hydro to proceed with many of its radioactive developments without the assessment required by provincial law, does he not feel that he has a special responsibility, along with the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Brandt), to make the decisions on behalf of Ontario Hydro that affect the environment? The point is, he and his predecessors have allowed them to escape environmental assessment in many of their projects; so a special responsibility devolves on the ministry.
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say the Minister of the Environment and myself continue to exercise that degree of consideration within the operation of Ontario Hydro.
I am simply saying the rules and regulations as set down and the radiation emission guidelines are those set down by the AECB. The record will show that Hydro has been eminent in living within those regulations.
Mr. Rae: If, as we understand, Environment Canada has recommended that there be a reduction in tritium to about one sixth of what is currently being emitted and a reduction in what is called gross beta, which includes strontium 90, by about 3,000 times; if it is the view of Environment Canada that those kinds of improvement are technologically possible, and since we know tritium is a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, can the minister please tell us why Ontario Hydro cancelled the tritium recovery project in 1983?
Can the minister tell us why Ontario Hydro today is resisting technological improvements that would protect the health of this generation and of future generations? Why is he supporting Ontario Hydro when it is doing something that clearly is morally indefensible?
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: I think it is quite an exaggeration to suggest that Ontario Hydro’s operations are morally indefensible. Ontario Hydro has lived well within those guidelines; in fact, it has consistently been well under them.
The tritium removal program will proceed in tandem with construction of the Darlington plant. The member knows that. I have no reason to suggest that Ontario Hydro will not live within those rules.
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of the Environment has the answer to a previously asked question -- a brief answer, I would suggest.
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) asked a question with respect to a spill that occurred at Stelco involving some tar-like material. That spill did take place on May 27 at eight o’clock and, according to the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act, my ministry was informed approximately one hour later at nine o’clock.
Our best estimate is that about 800,000 to one million gallons of this tar-like substance were released from the storage tank and I am pleased to indicate there was no measurable environmental impact either immediately off the site or in Hamilton harbour.
My ministry is monitoring the situation and we expect that two to three days will be required for the final cleanup. The amount of material that did leak from the tank was as extensive as I indicated primarily because the rupture in the tank occurred at the bottom part of it, and because of the location of the rupture it was virtually impossible to stem the flow of the material.
As per the question raised by the honourable member, we are reviewing the issue of the integrity of the tanks and the question of inspections as well, and I will get back to him with a more detailed report on it, because it is still under investigation.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, in view of the spill that the minister has just divulged to this House and in view of the fact that only seven people showed up at a public meeting advertised, supposedly, by his ministry to amend the control order for Stelco, will the minister respond to the demands of Local 1005 of the United Steelworkers in Hamilton that a new meeting be convened to reconsider the decision to extend the amending control order?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the local’s request for additional hearings with respect to the control order. I share the honourable member’s disappointment over the small number of people who did show up and some of the allegations that emerged with respect to short notice and the time for which the meeting was called.
I have not discussed this fully with my staff, but I am prepared to give the member an undertaking that we will hold a further meeting to discuss that control order in the Hamilton area.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, in responding further on this situation, can the minister find out if there was a recent inspection of that tank by one of the company superintendents and whether or not that tank was classified at the time as being in a deplorable condition? Can he report back to this House on that situation?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I thought I had covered that in my initial response. I have the same concerns as those being raised by the honourable member. At this time we do not have the information with respect to the integrity of the tank or the inspection process; but my ministry officials are looking into it, and I will be quite prepared to respond with respect to when the last investigation or inspection took place and the condition of the tank. We will also be putting into place a more extensive monitoring system with respect to future inspections of those particular vessels. I will be happy to respond.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased the clerk-treasurer of Middlesex county is in your gallery to observe at first hand the inadequacies of a government that is prepared to place all its responsibilities on the shoulders of the local councils.
Mr. Speaker: Now for the question.
Mr. Riddell: I have a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In view of the fact that the government could find absolutely no money in its recent budget to introduce any new programs to help the farming industry of this province -- and let him not give us that 16 per cent increase bit, because that is purely illusory and does not go towards any new programs whatsoever -- how can the minister justify the expenditure of $120,000 of public funds to conduct a poll last year of 600 beef producers -- that is $200 per producer -- which evidently was taken to test industry conditions?
Can the minister tell us why he needs to spend $120,000 to tell him that beef farmers in Ontario are in dire straits, in view of all the submissions he has received from various agricultural groups? Last year the Liberal Party called for an emergency debate on the dire straits of the red meat industry and the government refused to allow the debate. Why did the minister have to spend $120,000 when we have been telling him right along that the beef industry is in dire straits?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, for the record, in 1983-84 this ministry spent approximately $283 million, and in 1984-85 we have been allocated $334.7 million to fund a variety of new programs. This is the second year of the beginning farmer assistance program. The red meat development program, for which a $12.5-million allocation has been made, is a new program in fiscal year 1984-85 that will carry on for five years.
The honourable member will also be aware that we have spent a great deal of time and public resources in looking at all aspects of the problems of the red meat industry. In the past, I have acknowledged my appreciation for the submissions made by the member opposite. I do not believe the member has all the answers to the problems of the red meat industry any more than I do. We have tried to be sure that we canvass all aspects of it, including an objective, independent survey of producers themselves, one that could not be biased in any way, shape or form according to the source of the request for the information.
Mr. Riddell: In view of the fact that other provinces are currently introducing programs to help their farmers who are in trouble, can the minister tell us why he continues to refuse to provide some emergency financial assistance for the farmers of this province?
As the minister well knows, Saskatchewan has recently introduced a $25-per-head income tax credit for beef cattle, and $5 per head for hogs and $2 per head for lambs.
New Brunswick has introduced a program for pork producers to set aside a portion of long-term debt for both Farm Credit Corp. and provincial government loans at zero per cent interest until the market price for hogs exceeds the provincial stabilization price by $5 per hundredweight.
Why can other provinces offer assistance to their farmers without jeopardizing tripartite stabilization, and all the minister can do is say, “Any assistance I offer the farmers of Ontario would appear to be bargaining in bad faith for tripartite stabilization”? When is the minister finally going to become so embarrassed about his comments in the House regarding the agricultural industry in this province that he will follow the trend set by other provinces and say, “Our farmers need help. I am prepared to give them that kind of assistance until the tripartite stabilization program comes into effect”?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I do not intend to go through the whole litany of new programs we have introduced, but I will remind the member of a couple. First, there is the rather generous increase in the municipal farm tax rebate program, which in 1984 and beyond will rebate 60 per cent of municipal taxes on eligible farms. That will result in a $90-million allocation in my budget this year.
Mr. Riddell: You took away their 100 per cent.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: So what? The fact is --
Hon. Mr. Eaton: Were you in favour of it?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Eaton: Where do you stand on the 100 per cent?
Mr. Riddell: Do I hear the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton)? Maybe he would like to ask a question.
Mr. Bradley: We ask the questions
Mr. Riddell: When we are over there after the next election, we will answer the questions.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Don’t hold your breath or you are going to suffocate.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Liberal arrogance.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is rather interesting --
Hon. Mr. Eaton: Where do you stand?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am amazed the honourable member would have the gall to make that kind of an interjection. As I recall, when we discussed this issue at length at estimates last year he was on all sides of the question. He never did take a position one way or the other. He is like the fellow who said, “Some of my constituents are in favour, some of my constituents are opposed, and I am with my constituents.” That is the way he is almost all the time.
Mr. Ruston: The minister has no farm constituents.
Ms. Copps: Are you consulting with Adrienne Clarkson?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Swart: On top of all that, the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) believes in high interest rates for farmers.
Mr. Speaker: Now for the question.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, recognizing that --
Mr. Riddell: One of my colleagues said the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) was lying, Mr. Speaker, and I am inclined to agree with him.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member please resume his seat? Now, I presume, the member for Welland-Thorold can place his question without being provocative.
Mr. Swart: I think maybe I was provocative and not somebody who is feeling guilty.
Mr. Riddell: Not a bit.
Mr. Ruston: I know $1.99 was paid for four litres of milk the other day -- right in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Swart: The minister will recognize that a question was posed to the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) by myself when this minister was not in the House, relative to the fact that the budget contained no funds whatsoever for red meat stabilization. He may recall, if he read Hansard, the Treasurer said if that program came in before this fiscal year was finished, he would find the money for it.
If there was nothing in that budget at all for red meat stabilization, does that not mean he anticipates that program will not be in effect this year -- or at least that he will not be making any payments? If he does not make any payments until March 31, 1985, does that not really mean the red meat producers will get little or no stabilization payments in 1985 at all? Is this not what it will mean unless the minister puts in a funded program up front?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first, I would point out there is no support among the red meat producer organizations in this province for a retroactive subsidy that would jeopardize the tripartite stabilization plan. They have indicated this in writing, particularly the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association. It is their view that this would destroy the plan.
Second, as the Treasurer has said, when the agreements are signed the money will be allocated. Then I will have to go to the Chairman of Management Board and the full board of cabinet to find that money.
Third, the federal Minister of Agriculture has given his word in writing and in public on a number of occasions that he will amend the Agricultural Stabilization Act of Canada during the present sitting of the federal Parliament. He has four weeks left within which to keep his word. I am sure the member for Huron-Middlesex is calling the federal minister on a regular basis. If not, I will give him his number again and maybe now he can get his digital people working on the dial.
Mr. Riddell: As a matter of fact, I called him today.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Fourth, once the federal minister and the federal government keep their word with respect to the amendments to the Agricultural Stabilization Act, we will finalize the agreement at the annual meeting of ministers to be held in Winnipeg on July 23 to 25.
Fifth, the portions of the tripartite stabilization plan for hogs, slaughter cattle, backgrounders and sheep are quarterly programs, so we should be able to put those into place very soon after the agreement.
One would hope, of course, that the current market will be as strong as possible, in which case they may not have to draw on the program. If it is not, it is entirely possible there will be benefits payable in fiscal 1984-85, because they will be quarterly programs. The program for the cow-calf sector will be an annual program which should begin on or about the same date as the others but be calculated a year later.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. How does he justify his defiance of the Legislature when he apparently said to a radio reporter, Mr. Sam Bornstein, on May 16 after a cabinet meeting that, as Minister of Health, he will not act on the resolution to implement Ontario health insurance plan coverage for medically necessary travel when the Legislature voted overwhelmingly by 52 to 17 in favour of it?
The cabinet present voted seven to six in favour, the Tories present voted 23 to 17 in favour and the opposition voted unanimously in favour. Does the minister not think he has a responsibility not only to the Legislature but also to the people of the north to provide equal access to health care and to implement that program?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, my recollection of the resolution is that it did not apply only to the northern part of this province. The member went to some considerable length to try to make it not a specifically northern Ontario resolution.
Supporting the principle of such a resolution and facing the pragmatic responsibility of implementing a policy that might be consistent with the principle are two quite different matters.
The member might be interested to know that the discussion I had with the press on the occasion that gave rise to the story to which he is referring was a little broader than that. I did point out that the cost implications of implementing such a resolution were very extensive and that estimates I had seen ranged from $60 million to $75 million a year.
I felt if the members really wanted to see that kind of new spending initiated within my ministry, they would also have to recognize certain sacrifices would have to be made and one might well concern the enhancement of health care services in the northern part of the province, in which the member has expressed a particular interest. If he is saying he would rather not have us spend money to improve health care services in the north but rather spend that money on travelling costs, then fine, he should say that.
Mr. Foulds: Will the minister stop using false and misleading arguments when he talks about putting more services into the north because he has cut the budget for the underserviced --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Port Arthur --
Mr. Foulds: Well, it is. Where does he get the argument --
Mr. Speaker: The member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: -- that he uses with a reporter when in his written answer he says that the Ministry of Health has conducted no study into the cost of the program? Where does he get his false and misleading argument?
Mr. Speaker: The member knows full well that kind of language is not allowed in this House. I ask him to withdraw the remarks and rephrase his question in compliance with standard parliamentary language.
Mr. Foulds: I will not rephrase the question until the Minister of Health proves his statement he gave to a reporter because --
Mr. Speaker: Order. I am not interested in receiving a conditional compliance with my request. I ask the member to withdraw the offensive language.
Mr. Foulds: No, Mr. Speaker, it is a question of equality and a question of service for northern Ontario and all the people of this province. This minister is playing fast and loose with the truth.
Mr. Speaker: If I heard you clearly, you said you were not going to comply.
Mr. Foulds: That is right.
Mr. Speaker: Then I have no alternative but to ask you to withdraw. I name the member for Port Arthur and ask him to leave the chamber.
Mr. Martel: This has got to be done legally. We want a Sergeant at Arms.
Mr. Speaker: We do not have one today. I am sorry.
Mr. Foulds was escorted from the chamber.
Mr. Rotenberg: Good acting. Give him an Academy Award.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I noted there was no sword out. I was wondering if the legislative assistant might have had a nine iron he was going to use to assist the member for Port Arthur.
My supplementary goes back to that number of $75 million to $90 million, whatever it is. Is the minister prepared to share with us the research that brought those numbers to him? Can he share with the members of the Legislature how he got those estimates and give us some details on them?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I was on my feet a moment ago, before the member for Port Arthur departed, wanting to explain for his benefit the distinction between a study and an estimate.
The fact is that there has not been any detailed study; we have not had the opportunity to do such a detailed study of the matter. Therefore, the answer to the question in Orders and Notices was being perfectly honest.
Likewise, I was being forthright with the members of the Legislature in presenting to them the results of a preliminary estimate that had been made on the basis of a calculation of average costs of transportation, multiplied by the data we have on the number of patients who have received service in hospitals in southern Ontario and who have been discharged from those hospitals to return to home addresses in northern Ontario that they had given the hospital.
That is not necessarily a detailed and reliable study, but it is, nevertheless, a very sensible way in which to approach a preliminary estimate of the costs. That is how we arrived at the $60 million to $75 million.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. He will be aware that a large delegation of tobacco producers from Norfolk county and southwestern Ontario, headed by the executive of the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board, travelled to Ottawa last week demanding the inclusion of tobacco as a marketable controlled product in federal legislation.
What steps is the minister taking to support them in this demand? What advice is he offering to the farmers and to his colleague the federal minister in taking some action that is going to assist the tobacco producers in their calamitous marketing situation?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, over a year ago the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board presented to the federal minister and to me a draft of what it proposed could form the basis of a national plan at some point.
As recently as last week its representatives met with the federal minister, who apparently indicated to them he could proceed with the introduction and the passage of legislation in the current sitting of the federal Parliament to include tobacco under the federal legislation, which covers the marketing plans for chicken, eggs and turkey.
I have indicated in the past that where our growers vote for such a plan, there is a mechanism in provincial law to implement such a decision. However, there are a number of uncertainties about the current situation.
First, as we discussed earlier in question period, we are waiting for the federal minister to honour an earlier commitment to bring in the necessary amendments to the Agricultural Stabilization Act concerning the tripartite program for red meat.
Second, I understand that after the delegation’s meeting with Mr. Whelan it met with the chairman of the National Farm Products Marketing Council, who indicated that even if -- and it is a big if -- the legislation were to pass the federal Parliament this sitting, it could take a minimum of eight months to put such a plan in place.
Third, I am led to believe that the producers in certain other provinces have already indicated they are not interested in joining in a national plan. Of course, for a national plan to be effective, it should be all-encompassing.
Fourth, there are those who apparently believe a national plan for tobacco would eliminate imports of tobacco from other countries. Such is not the case. Because of our agreements under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other treaties to which Canada is a signatory, we would continue to have imports of tobacco at historic levels, which tend to be somewhere in the order of five to six million pounds per year.
There are a number of uncertainties. I really cannot predict with any certainty at all what is going to happen with this proposal for a national plan. The first thing that has to be done is for the appropriate legislation to be amended in Ottawa at some point.
Mr. Nixon: If imports can be limited to about five million pounds of tobacco, which is a very small proportion of the total pack, and if the farmers can be given the power and the right to establish their prices on the basis of the cost of production, which is some 40 cents a pound more than they would get under the present circumstances, is there a downside the producers should be considering? Should they be pressing ahead in every way, one hopes with the support of this minister, in the situation as it is evolving?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have some concerns about our export market, to be sure. The offer which was voted down two weeks ago this Friday was for 91 million pounds minimum production for domestic purposes and 79 million pounds for export, 25 million of which is speculative on the part of the manufacturers. Frankly, this poundage came about because of some intervention on our part to try to encourage more export of tobacco and therefore to have a better crop size this year.
I do have some concerns. I have outlined some problems. Some people think the imports can be stopped, but they cannot be. Some people think such a plan would preserve in perpetuity everyone who is producing tobacco today; it would not. It is not a panacea, a cure-all.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. He will be aware that at the beginning of this week we had yet another plant closure at the International Minerals and Chemical Corp. plant at Port Maitland. There are another 160 workers. The average age in the plant is 40, although the range is from 20 to 60. Most are married with children. They received less than two months’ notice of the closure of the plant.
Can the minister tell us what advance notice he had as to this closure? Can he also tell us whether he is now prepared to take a look at both earlier notification and some form of public justification before workers are thrown to the wolves, as has happened again in this case?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the first question, I had notification approximately three days ahead of the actual announcement. Am I prepared to take a look at earlier disclosure? The answer is yes. Am I prepared to take a look at justification? The answer is no.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I want to raise a subject that concerns me. It has developed as a result of some concerns with diction around this place this afternoon. I think that somehow, some way, time has passed us all by here. However, I see an anomaly that has developed which I think is frankly unacceptable.
I saw a member removed from the Legislature for using the word “misleading,” which is unfortunate. It is generally accepted around here that one cannot accuse a member of being misleading or causing someone to deliberately mislead other members of the House. Yet I see you have allowed a reference to a member “speaking with a forked tongue” to stand. Where I come from that means a lie or prevarication.
I refer you to the standing orders where it states quite clearly that no member shall make “allegations against another member,” impute “false or unavowed motives to another member” or charge “another member with uttering a deliberate falsehood.” I suggest, with all respect, that perhaps it would be prudent to re-examine the list of words you find to be at variance with acceptable behaviour in this House, with a view to seeing that some equity and some common sense are developed.
Mr. Speaker: Order. That is not a point of privilege, with all respect.
Ms. Copps: It certainly is.
Mr. Speaker: It certainly is not.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I will not compete with you. I am referring to my privileges as a member of the House.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member will resume his seat right now.
Mr. Roy: It is a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: It may very well be, but it is not a point of privilege.
I point out to the honourable member, as I have done so many times before and will do once more, it is not only the use of offensive language but the manner in which it is used. It is not a matter of using offensive words; it is a matter of how they are used and in what context. I am charged with the responsibility of making that decision and I shall carry out that responsibility to the best of my ability. Thank you.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: No, I am not going to listen to any more.
Mr. Cunningham: How can you tell what I am going to say?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Please resume your seat right now.
Mr. Cunningham: I implore you to hear me. You cannot know what I am going to say.
Mr. Speaker: I have heard you and I am not going to argue with you.
Mr. Cunningham: I find your ruling unacceptable. How can you tell what I am going to say until you hear what I have to say?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, why do you not hear a point of order?
Mr. Speaker: I have heard it.
Mr. Roy: Can I just raise a point?
Mr. Speaker: I am not going to argue with you.
Mr. Roy: I want to raise a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: No.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order on a different question. I wonder if the Speaker could clarify for the new members, the rookies in the House who have only been around here for a few years, the difference in approach or behaviour that somehow made the comment of “hypocrite” by a member on this side of the House unacceptable and the comment of “forked tongue” acceptable. Can you explain what correct behaviour we should adopt to have the comment “forked tongue” accepted by this House?
Mr. Speaker: I suppose you are asking me to impose on you matters of behaviour that should have been learned elsewhere; I am not sure. I can tell you that the responsibility is mine and mine alone.
Mr. Roy: We know that. How do you impose it? That is all we want to know.
Mr. Speaker: I impose it with extreme fairness, with extreme patience and with extreme tolerance. In my short experience in this House, and it may be immodest of me to say so but I am going to say it anyway, I do not know of any other Speaker who has demonstrated patience or tolerance to the degree I have.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, this is on a different matter.
Mr. Nixon: Before we leave this one, Mr. Speaker, I know this is a difficult day for you and some others, but surely when the honourable member rose in his place on a point of privilege which he changed to a point of order -- it is always difficult for everybody to determine what is right there -- and asked you to consider the list of acceptable or unacceptable words, he was acting in the best interests of all of us here. It seemed to me unfair, not so much in its application, but in the rigidity by which certain words are taboo and certain others, the ones used by the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), are acceptable.
Mr. Speaker: With all respect, I would point out once more to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) and all other members in this House that I had no part to play in the compilation of that list.
An hon. member: Zoological terms are okay.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Diagnostic terms.
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps the clerk at the table would pull out the copy of Beauchesne that is at his elbow. That is the book in which the words are compiled. I only use the direction that is given me. I do not make the rules; I only interpret them. There are certain words contained in that book that are considered by all Speakers in all parliamentary jurisdictions of the Commonwealth not to be acceptable.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: On the same point, if we are to use medical terminology, would it be acceptable to call a member a pathological liar?
Mr. Speaker: Order. I have ruled there is no point.
Mr. Cunningham: Your application is not consistent.
Mr. Speaker: Certainly it is.
Mr. Cunningham: It is not.
Mr. Speaker: I am not going to argue.
Mr. Riddell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: A little different matter that has often bothered me is, when certain members of the House continue to distort the truth, as the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) is oft wont to do, what recourse do members have to bring them to task? Are we simply expected to sit in our place and listen to them continue this practice?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: You will have to exercise your authority. You see what happens when you allow cabinet ministers to get away with violations of the rules of this House.
Mr. Speaker: I am not letting anybody violate anything. Maybe that is the problem.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I am sure you want to have on the record that the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) speaks with forked tongue.
Mr. Cunningham: That is exactly the problem.
Mr. Speaker: I understand it full well.
Mr. Cunningham: If you had not accepted wrong diction in the first instance, you would not have it now. You should never have tolerated it. You just impose a lower standard on this place.
Mr. Speaker: Now we are sanctimonious.
Mr. Cunningham: You get the danger pay. I do not.
Mr. Speaker: I accept that.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Are you thinking on your feet, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: No. I am not. I am waiting until people pay attention. The member for Huron-Middlesex has raised a point that I think I have dealt with innumerable times, maybe even earlier today. He is asking me as the Speaker to make a judgement, which I am not going to do. It is not within my jurisdiction to do so. I have no idea whether the member for Welland-Thorold distorted or did not distort the truth. That is not my function in this House.
Mr. Breaugh: But you are wrong to let the record stay as it is.
Mr. McClellan: I assume there is a precedent there in what he said, that he can accuse someone of deliberately distorting the truth.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It is how you say it really or whether it is a pathological problem.
Mr. Speaker: No, it is not. Everyone is an expert. I shall take a look at Hansard, consider it and report back.
Mr. Cassidy: It is just like Animal Farm: Tories good, opposition bad.
Mr. Speaker: I will not comment on that.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I do not want to delay unduly your ruling on the question of what is offensive and unparliamentary. I quite appreciate what you say, that the Speaker has to be given extreme flexibility.
If one were to go through Beauchesne to review everything said there, there would be no more parliamentary debate, and the opposition would be completely stifled. I could not call the people across the way “stupid,” for instance. That has been ruled to be unparliamentary, even though sometimes it is most factual. There are also words such as “deceive” or “debate” which are regularly used.
I note that in Beauchesne, page 115 states, “An expression which is deemed to be unparliamentary today does not necessarily have to be deemed unparliamentary next week.” It is a strange process.
I go back to the comments made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) when he said that some people would say the minister’s approach was hypocritical; in some circumstances that would not necessarily be unparliamentary, just as when the minister says someone “talks with forked tongue,” that may or may not be unparliamentary.
When the guidelines are imposed and when you are making your decision, we are asking that there be some objectivity in the application of the rules so that we know there are some circumstances wherein even though a word is used it does not automatically require retraction or apology on the part of the member.
Mr. Speaker: I thank the member for Ottawa East.
Mr. Kerr: It was a lesson.
Mr. Speaker: It was indeed, because he made my point for me. It is a very difficult position, and it is very difficult to gauge the temper in which certain language is used. I thought and still think that I have and will continue to demonstrate a degree of evenhandedness and flexibility that will not -- this is important -- diminish the level of debate. That is something we must all work towards and maintain in this House.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, if it would bring some finality to this debate, I would be willing to withdraw the use of an expression which I do not believe is unparliamentary but which has offended the ultrasensitive psyche of some of those across the floor so dramatically today. It would be appropriate if all of us were to observe that, because it is my observation that the members on the opposite side of the House like to throw those epithets but they do not like to receive them. So I shall withdraw it, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McClellan: That kind of ungracious apology we do not need. The problem is the application of the rules evenly on both sides of the House.
Mr. Speaker: I rest my case with the observations that were made by the member for Ottawa East.
EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the members representing the constituencies of Wentworth (Mr. Dean) and Oriole (Mr. Williams), I table the following petition:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas women in Ontario still earn only 60 per cent of the wages of men; whereas women are still concentrated in a very small number of occupations; and whereas unanimous approval of the concept of equal pay for work of equal value was expressed in the Ontario Legislature in October 1983,
“We petition the Ontario Legislature to amend Bill 141 to include equal pay for work of equal value and to introduce mandatory affirmative action.”
SALE OF BEER AND WINE
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I table the following petition:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, petition the government and the Legislative Assembly to support the private member’s bill of Don Boudria, MPP, to permit the sale of beer and Ontario wine in small, independent grocery stores.”
This petition is signed by 108 people, mostly from the area of St. George and Paris, Ontario, which brings the total to 6,525.
“Pétition adressée au Lieutenant-gouverneur en Conseil et l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario:
“Nous, soussignés, par la présente pétition demandons l’Assemblée législative et au gouvernement d’appuyer les projets de loi du député Don Boudria qui permettraient aux petites épiceries indépendantes de vendre de la bière et du vin ontarien.”
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that standing order 72(a) respecting notice of committee hearings be suspended for the consideration of Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the Harold and Grace Baker Centre, by the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments on Thursday, May 31, 1984.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Baetz, first reading of Bill 84, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act.
Motion agreed to.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Baetz, first reading of Bill 85, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, these two bills change the indemnity and remuneration for members of the executive council, other special allowances and expense allowances for the members of this Legislature.
Members will recall that the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses brought in a report recommending a five per cent increase for all these allowances and members’ indemnity. In conformance with the Inflation Restraint Board’s guidelines, the amount of increase here is 4.39 per cent, which represents the difference between the fringe benefit package paid to members of the Legislature and five per cent.
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ACT
Mr. McClellan moved, seconded by Mr. Stokes, first reading of Bill 86, An Act to declare the Rights of Children in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill, which I introduced once before in 1979, is to declare the rights of children in Ontario and to provide a means for enforcing those rights.
The bill sets out a series of rights belonging to children who are residents in Ontario and states that every parent and the government of Ontario have a duty to protect those rights.
In certain circumstances, an application can be made to a judge for a determination in the form of a judicial declaration on whether a duty to a child is being fulfilled and the nature of that duty.
The bill provides further guarantees for children in any proceeding concerning matters affecting the guardianship, custody or status of children.
RIGHT TO FARM ACT
Mr. Riddell moved, seconded by Mr. McGuigan, first reading of Bill 87, An Act to protect Farming Operations against Nuisance Claims.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, this bill is intended to encourage the preservation of farm land by protecting farmers who carry on normal and non-negligent farming operations from nuisance claims by neighbouring land owners.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 57, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Retirement Allowances Act.
YOUNG OFFENDERS IMPLEMENTATION ACT(CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 28, An Act to provide for the Implementation of the Young Offenders Act (Canada).
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, when I adjourned the debate last night, I had finished about all the response I had planned to make.
I just want to say that Bill 28 is a very good bill; it is a very thoughtful bill. In all the debate that has taken place here on two occasions, Bill 28 has not been criticized. A lot of other things may have been criticized, but not Bill 28.
I commend the bill to the Legislature. It is going to committee. This ministry has always co-operated with committees. It should be very interesting to see what is brought forward in committee.
I think this is perhaps the wrong bill to single out as a protest, because it deals with a very important subject. It deals with the ramifications of the changes brought about by the Young Offenders Act, a federal piece of legislation. The bill deals only with youths under 16; it implements only what has been proclaimed by the federal government.
I believe that as an implementation bill it will be more than sufficient to ensure that the goals of those who worked over so many years to develop the Young Offenders Act in the federal House, to pass it and to proclaim it, will be more than met at the delivery stage.
The House divided on Hon. Mr. Drea’s motion for second reading of Bill 28, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, McMurtry, Miller, F. S., Mitchell;
Norton, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.
Allen, Boudria, Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Edighoffer, Elston, Epp, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., Laughren, Lupusella;
Mackenzie, Martel, McClellan, McGuigan, McKessock, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, O’Neil, Philip, Rae, Renwick, Riddell, Roy, Ruprecht, Ruston, Samis, Sargent, Stokes, Swart, Sweeney, Van Horne.
Ayes 62; nays 42.
Bill ordered for standing committee on social development.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Rotenberg moved, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Bennett, second reading of Bill 61, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to make a number of amendments to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act. The bill is similar to Bill 137, which received first reading last fall but was not proceeded with because of lack of time.
Mr. Laughren: That was not the reason. You are speaking with a forked tongue.
Mr. Speaker: Who said that?
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, that remark was made in jest, with tongue in cheek, and I will let it go by. But I would draw to your attention that a tongue in cheek is much different from a forked tongue. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you consider whether “forked tongue” is out of order, because it does really indicate a lack of confidence in the veracity of the speaker.
Mr. Rotenberg: May I proceed, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rotenberg: I am glad so many members of the Legislature are interested in this legislation.
As I was saying, the bill was not proceeded with last fall because of lack of time, but many provisions in this act are already in the Municipal Act and in other regional acts. The proposed legislation makes a number of individual changes in the act. It establishes the right of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto to charge for providing copies of documents to members of the public. It reinstates Metro’s ability to establish reserves. It will enable Metropolitan Toronto to operate in English or, if it prefers, in English and French. Because boundary adjustments are now dealt with in the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act, it will delete the provisions in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act for boundary adjustments.
In 1983, Etobicoke, Scarborough and York were made cities by regulations under the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act. The bill will make a number of minor alterations to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act to reflect the fact that these municipalities are now cities.
A number of additional provisions have been included in the bill at the request of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. One such provision will change the basis for apportioning costs for Metro purposes by revising the definition of “total rateable property” to reflect the differential between the residential mill rate and the commercial mill rate. Another will enable the trustees of Metro pension funds to exercise the powers of a corporation when buying or selling real property.
In addition, Metro will be given the authority to spend the accumulated interest for the years 1955 to 1973 from the trust funds of residents of homes for the aged for the benefit of residents of those homes. A further provision will clarify that the revenue from fines for contraventions of the building code belong to the area municipalities and not to Metro.
A very important provision of this bill will remove the 25 per cent limit on the amount that Metropolitan Toronto can contribute to area municipality projects to separate sanitary and storm sewers. The municipality of Metropolitan Toronto has requested this change in order to reduce the load on its sewage treatment facilities and to minimize the amount of untreated effluent that will in future reach Metro’s beaches.
With those few comments I commend the bill to the Legislature and ask for approval of second reading.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill, which in many respects is a housekeeping bill. I find it somewhat odd that the parliamentary assistant indicated we were not able to pass this last fall because of lack of time, implying, I thought, that the Legislature was in a hurry to get out and that we therefore did not have time to pass this bill.
He may want to clarify that, but I did not see anything in here that was very controversial, and I do not think we as a Legislature would have held this bill up, certainly not from this side of the House, if Metropolitan Toronto wanted to have the bill. Certainly the fact that it has been held up for a good number of months since last fall is no fault of this opposition party or of opposition at all, because he was implying it was held up by lack of time.
I find it a little difficult to understand why in this age of greater municipal autonomy we are only now getting to the point where Metropolitan Toronto can charge more than 15 cents per copy for photocopying some of its documents for citizens, corporations and businesses that come in for copies. We are in an age when we should be encouraging municipalities to do their own thing.
Metropolitan Toronto has budgets that are in excess of $1 billion, and we are saying it does not have the expertise, the knowhow and the maturity to be able to make a decision to charge anybody more than 15 cents for a photocopy. We have finally got to that point now, but until 1984 we were not able to give Metropolitan Toronto that power. Until only a few months ago, we were not able to give other municipalities that power.
I find it difficult to understand how we can say we are for autonomy for local municipalities when we are only getting to the point now of making those changes in the legislation.
I am sure there are other examples. I did not have a chance to research the Municipal Act, but I am sure the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett), having thousands of civil servants, should be able to have someone go through the act and find all kinds of other examples where municipalities are denied their rightful autonomy and where these changes should be made in the future.
There is another thing I find difficult to understand. Between 1955 and 1973, no interest was paid by trust accounts at homes for the aged. The various homes for the aged across the province, particularly in Metropolitan Toronto which this bill deals with, had trust accounts and they were keeping the interest for themselves, for whatever purpose. I am sure there were very justifiable purposes, except that people had money in those accounts and the interest should have accrued to the individuals whose money it was, rather than going to the various homes for the aged.
I want to get on to another point. In dealing with Metropolitan Toronto, I think one of the areas in which we are lacking by not addressing, and which I wish this government would address, is the selection of the chairman. As the members know, the province is very jealous of the powers of the chairman. As a result, they prefer a chairman to be selected by the members of the regional council rather than being elected.
I am not for a moment suggesting that the chairman of the region, in this case Mr. Godfrey, his predecessors or his successors, whoever they will be, should run in an election at large, because it would be very difficult to try to get more than two million people to select the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto.
That would make the position extremely powerful, much more powerful than it is now, and it is fairly powerful now. It would be very difficult from a financial standpoint for a candidate to run at large in a Metropolitan Toronto election; it would be very expensive indeed. There is no other such campaign. Even the leadership race for the Tory party would be a pale duplicate of the money one would have to spend to be elected chairman of Metropolitan Toronto if the chairman were chosen at large.
What my colleagues and I have been suggesting for some time now is that the Metro chairman, who should be responsible to some people in Metropolitan Toronto, should run for election on a regular basis. It is now on a three-year basis. He should run in a ward or in his municipality. I am not suggesting that the mayor of the municipality, each mayor of each of the six municipalities, is very busy and would not have time to run a municipality and be chairman of Metropolitan Toronto.
I am suggesting the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto would have to run in a local ward in one of the municipalities and thereby be somewhat accountable to the local citizens. That might mean 50,000, 100,000 or 150,000 people. It certainly would not mean that he would have to account to two million people directly. It would mean he would have to go back on a regular basis and be elected. To that extent the position would be held more accountable. It would be more meaningful then, rather than having to lobby with 30, 35 or 40 people in Metro council.
The other point I want to raise has to do with the Robarts report of a few years ago. That dealt with the establishment of new boundaries for municipalities, direct election to council, moneys the provincial government should give to Metro council and a whole array of matters. It brings into question the seriousness of the government when it asks very honourable people to bring forth reports. After they are brought forth and suggestions are made, the government of the day sees fit only to put that report on a shelf never to look at it again.
Perhaps the only time it will look at it is at election time when it wants to dust off a few of the examples and say, “This is what we should look at after the election.” Then they put it back on the shelf and do not do anything with it. That report cost over $1 million. It goes to show the kind of regard this government has for the money of the taxpayers of Ontario. After a report is public they do not do anything with it.
I want to draw to everyone’s attention that the minister is not here to deal with this legislation. I think on only one occasion in the last three or four years has the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing been in the House to deal with legislation. I am not for a moment suggesting the parliamentary assistant, the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), is not capable of dealing with the legislation. However, one would think the government would ascribe greater importance and priority to such legislation by having the minister here sometimes to defend it. Yet time after time the minister is absent from the House for those purposes.
I have one other point: The 25 per cent limit on the participation of Metropolitan Toronto in the construction of storm and sanitary sewers is another example of the kind of limitation the government has put on metropolitan and local councils over the years. We endorse the removal of this limit because it does give a small amount of added autonomy to the local municipalities, local being nonprovincial in this context.
We also endorse the other changes included in Bill 61. Therefore, we will support it on second and third readings.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to support the bill now before us. I cannot let it pass that this is another one of those occasions when the government hurries up and waits, and after it has waited a long period of time it then has to hurry up again. This is a bill that should have been through the Legislature last fall --
Mr. Stokes: Sort of herky-jerky.
Mr. Breaugh: I will not go into who are the herks and the jerks, but we know who calls the bills on the Orders and Notices. We also know who is supposedly the government of Ontario -- at least on some occasions it purports to be the government.
I have said on a number of other occasions that this bill is a little confusing. It deals with such things as how much they can charge for duplicating materials -- 15 cents a page. I share with a previous member some question as to why we are doing this by means of a provincial law. It does seem difficult to understand. It runs all the way from that to whether some place will be called a city, a town, a township or a concession; through speed limits, to something which is not printed in the bill but which is the reason I am prepared not only to support the bill this afternoon, but also to give unanimous consent to let the bill go on for third reading. In the middle of the bill is a little clause which does not appear to give, but which in fact does give, East York the ability to rectify a very serious problem.
As members will recall, last summer the beaches around Metro Toronto were closed because there was a pollution problem. I believe they have come to the point where they now have contracts ready to let by June 1. The specifics of this separation of storm and sanitary sewers have all been discussed. I understand the federal government has put a substantial amount of money aside for this problem.
There was a study of some major proportions by Metropolitan Toronto. The residents here in Metro were rather taken aback last summer that Metro beaches were polluted. In part, the problem was due to storm and sanitary sewer problems. In an ironic way, while we could look at this legislation as simply housekeeping, we should not forget that in the middle of what appears to be housekeeping legislation is a solution to resolving a very serious pollution problem in Metro Toronto.
For those and a variety of other reasons, we are pleased to support Bill 61 on second reading. We are prepared to engage in unanimous consent to give it third reading this afternoon, so those contracts can be let by June 1 and a very serious problem in Metro can be resolved.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the members for their co-operation in these matters and their comments on the bill. Maybe we move a little more slowly in some cases, such as the cost of cops and so on, but we do move at the request of municipalities and we hope we can satisfy most of the requests. I thank the members again for their co-operation on this bill.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
ONTARIO UNCONDITIONAL GRANTS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Rotenberg moved, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Bennett, second reading of Bill 59, An Act to amend the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Chairman, the purpose of Bill 59 is to implement the 1984 unconditional grants policy announced in February 1984 by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) to the executive of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
All the details in the announcement were sent to each municipality in the province. They were given an estimate of the amount of grants they would receive, assuming this bill passes today. All that has been given to the municipalities, and they have already prepared their budgets based on the announcement by the minister in February.
In summary, this bill proposes: first, to replace population with households for purposes of calculating the general, density, police and resource equalization grants; second, to eliminate the differential in the grant rates for the police grant between local and regional municipalities, and third, to remove the guarantee that applied only to the resource equalization grant and to implement instead a revenue guarantee on the total unconditional grants received by a municipality.
One of the most significant changes included in this bill is the use of households instead of population in the calculation of four of the grants. Until this year the general per capita grant, the density per capita, the police per capita and the resource equalization grant used population as part of the grants formula. The change to households is desirable as household figures are available on an annual basis and therefore more easily updated than population data which are now prepared every three years. The change to households is supported by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Apart from the fact that households are more easily identifiable, it is felt they reflect service costing better than population and also provide a more stable measure than population.
Some municipalities, such as those with a high proportion of cottages, will benefit from this change. Beginning in 1984, cottages will qualify equally with other residential property for full grant payment. This change is desirable as more cottages are now being used on a year-round basis and necessarily require more servicing. Furthermore, the cottagers themselves are required to pay full property taxes, including the educational mill rate. It is only fair that we recognize them fully in calculating the grant.
Also, regional municipalities which currently provide policing receive a grant of $17 per capita while nonregional municipalities receive $12 per capita. This proposed change to $47 per household will eliminate the difference in rates between regions and nonregions and will provide more funds to those nonregional municipalities now receiving a lower rate.
The rate differential has in the past been the subject of some criticism, and closing the gap is endorsed by the AMO. We are basing the per household grant on the $17 per capita, not on the $12 per capita, so nonregions, as I have indicated, will receive a considerable increase in the police grant.
The third major change proposed, the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, is the introduction of a revenue guarantee on the total amount of grants received by the municipality under the six grants that make up the program. The new revenue guarantee addresses the municipality’s concerns about year-to-year fluctuation and grant entitlement due to policy changes.
This year the revenue guarantee will mean that no municipality will receive less than a 2.5 per cent increase from 1983 and, furthermore, no municipality will have an adverse tax impact due to a change in policy. As I said earlier, this total guarantee replaces the one that applied last year only to resource equalization grants.
In summary, therefore, the proposals contained in this bill will further simplify the unconditional grants program and increase the stability of grant revenues to municipalities. As I have indicated to the opposition critics and to the clerk, I have one minor technical amendment. After second reading I would ask that this bill be referred to committee of the whole House.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak to this particular bill. As members know, the unconditional grants the province gives to municipalities on an annual basis are determined every year around February and sometimes in March.
The fact is that the amount of grants is provided late in the year. I say “late” because there may be people who see February as an early time when municipalities can plan, but they have to understand that even the provincial government does not appreciate that municipalities start planning their budgets in late fall of the previous year. Before they have spent all the money for 1983, they are planning to see how much money they are going to have available in 1984. They try to plan their budgets and they often look to the province for some kind of leadership and some kind of signals as to the kind of moneys they are going to receive in the form of unconditional grants.
When the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing indicated last year that municipalities would receive at least what inflation was during the past year, municipalities felt they were going to get about five per cent of unconditional grants in order to tide them over for 1984, hoping that 1985 would be similar, because their costs are not going down. We have to recognize that the provincial government at a time of restraint is putting additional responsibilities on to municipalities.
Let me give members just one small example of that. Just a few weeks ago the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) presented his budget, in which he indicated most magnanimously that from now on senior citizens living in various municipalities in Ontario would not have to pay taxes on improvements to their homes if they spent $5,000 or less. If one improved a home and spent up to $5,000 in order to accommodate senior citizens or disabled people, one would not have to pay the additional taxes which would usually accrue to that property.
That is fine and dandy. I do not object to the principle at all. The only problem with that particular principle was that the province was not losing any money on it. The municipality was going to subsidize the change. Yet the Treasurer got up in the House and indicated, supported by the applause of his back-benchers, that he was making this great change and was he not great as far as being the Treasurer of Ontario was concerned. It was not costing him one red cent to make the change. He had not consulted with the municipalities with respect to the change, yet he announced the change.
I do not want to be called out of order, but it is almost to the point of deception when one gets up in the House and makes that kind of statement, implying one is trying to do something for senior citizens when one is giving away somebody else’s money.
Mr. Boudria: How about not being entirely truthful?
Mr. Epp: It is almost to the point of deception, but I would not call it deception because then the Speaker would call me out of order and ask me to withdraw it. I would have to withdraw it or leave the House. I would not be able to finish my speech and since I have worked on my speech, I would waste that time.
Mr. Breaugh: The member is making it awfully attractive.
Mr. Epp: Thanks. I was thinking the same thing about the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) earlier, but I noticed he cut his speech short.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch --
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order:
I was counting and I do not think we have a quorum.
The Deputy Speaker ordered the bells to be rung.
The Deputy Speaker: We have a quorum.
The member for Waterloo North will please continue.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the Treasurer takes this credit for things he really is not paying for and has no intention of paying for.
I want to deal for a moment with the increase in the per capita grant and the change to a household grant for policing purposes. As members know, my colleague the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) brought in a private member’s bill a few years ago and a number of us from this side of the House have spoken continuously about inequities with respect to nonregional municipalities.
There was a particular incentive for regional municipalities, all except the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, whereby they would get $17 on a per capita basis if they were to buy into regional government for policing purposes.
Although this was an unconditional grant, it was shown as being for policing purposes. But if a municipality did not buy the idea of going into regional government, or at least of having a regional police force, as Ottawa-Carleton did not, then the municipality was deprived of $5 per capita.
We have continuously gone after the government on this matter and, finally, I guess we broke down its resistance to it. The government became embarrassed to the point where it had to make a change and it finally made a change such that all municipalities are now treated not on a per capita basis but on a household basis whereby each municipality get $47 per household.
That is an improvement, but it certainly is not equal to the kinds of expenses that local municipalities have. It still leaves in question another very important principle, which is that, although the municipalities are paying the majority of the costs of policing, the province nevertheless still appoints the majority of members to local police commissions.
It is inequitable; it is not fair to local municipalities. But whoever accused this government of being fair to municipalities? Certainly, I never have. I would have to withdraw my remarks if I ever suggested to this House that the government is fair to municipalities because I would be misleading the House and I would not want to mislead the House by saying the government of Ontario is fair to the 835 or so municipalities of Ontario.
It is not fair as far as police commissions are concerned. If the government were fair, then since whoever pays the piper calls the tune, it should be the local municipalities that appoint the majority of members to the police commissions. As that is not the case, who would accuse this government of being fair?
The other point I want to raise has to do with the by-election we had not very long ago. I notice the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) is here. He was not here before the quorum call, so I welcome the quorum call because it brought him into the House. He will have a chance to speak to this, and I am sure he will want to set the record straight.
The record, as some members will know, is that the government wholeheartedly defended its unconditional grant policies to municipalities last fall during the time of the by-election. It said the status quo was great and the municipalities were far ahead in getting the grants from the province.
Shortly after winning the by-election, the government went ahead and changed the formula. The municipalities did not get the grants they were promised, but that is another matter. The member was elected for the government, and that was what was important. It is not the perceptions which are left with the public; it is not the fact that one thing was said and another thing was done; it is the fact of whether or not the person is elected.
There is still another very important point here. It has to do with the new formula as far as taxation is concerned. The member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), who is the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, indicated cottages were now being put on an even footing for tax assessment and taxation.
Last Wednesday, as the chairman of a committee on tax assessment, I had the opportunity of being in North Bay. One of the problems constantly raised at that particular hearing was that some cottagers or people in rural areas -- they were not all cottagers and I do not want to mislead the members because there are some permanent homes in there -- were paying for hard services which they were not receiving.
For instance, they were not receiving water service, yet they were paying for it. They were paying for some form of fire protection, which is not necessarily a hard service, but they were getting very sparse fire protection. They were paying for garbage collection, yet they were not receiving garbage collection. They were paying for a number of things.
They told me that under the assessment rules of this province they could not get any breaks in their taxes for those kinds of services. I am wondering whether the parliamentary assistant could clarify for us this whole matter of assessment with respect to the cottagers and also the permanent residents.
The member for that area may want to speak to this later on to clarify the whole matter for us and to tell us those people were not telling me the truth. However, at the hearing they were saying they were paying for services for which they were not being reimbursed. They felt it was unfair.
The other point I want to raise has to do with revenue guarantee grants. In section 7 of Bill 59, the government has indicated that the municipalities will be provided with an annual revenue guarantee grant. I would ask the parliamentary assistant to indicate to this House what he means by an annual revenue guarantee grant.
How is that grant going to be established? What is the formula for the grant? When is the money going to be given to the municipalities? These kinds of questions have to be answered. I hope he will be able to answer clearly those questions for us.
I want to get back to another point I raised earlier. With the bells ringing, I did not get back to it. It has to do with the planning of expenditures by the municipalities. As the members know, the municipalities start to plan in the fall. They were told only in February of this year what their unconditional grants were going to be. The grants amounted to a significant part of their budgets.
I implore the parliamentary assistant to go back to the minister, whether he is in his cottage, his other home or wherever he might be, to indicate to him the frustration municipalities feel with respect to the planning process and the lateness of the province’s announcement of what kind of grants they will receive.
As I indicated earlier, the municipalities were told they were going to get the grants of last year plus inflation. Then this year, all of a sudden, about half the municipalities received only 2.5 per cent increases in those grants. They had based their budget planning on the basis of last year’s cost plus inflation. After drawing up their preliminary budgets, they had to go back to the drawing board and plan all over again.
In the midst of this planning, they had the special grants which the minister announced the day before the task force went to Hamilton. He announced that Hamilton-Wentworth region was going to get more than $1 million, for which it is very grateful. The chairman of that region, Anne Jones, indicated to our task force that the region expects that next year those grants will be announced earlier and that in establishing next year’s grants, the grants they received this year plus the special grants they received this year will be the base for establishing the grants for next year.
I hope the parliamentary assistant will be able to address that and will be able to tell us whether the special grants they received this year will be added to the ones they originally received and that will be the new base for the coming year. He would make the region of Hamilton-Wentworth very happy with that kind of announcement. If he cannot announce to us what that will be, it underscores the fact that the minister should be here carrying the bill, rather than the parliamentary assistant.
I hope the parliamentary assistant will bury my suspicions that he does not have all the answers and will be able to tell us that is the new base for grants for next year.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, we are not going to support the bill. I want to give a couple of brief reasons why and then point out one slightly more positive thing we are going to attempt to do this afternoon.
The bill itself in many respects is an interesting study in how the government of Ontario goes about providing unconditional grants to municipalities. One of my first complaints about this approach to funding municipalities is that it means each and every year the municipalities sit around and wonder, for the better part of the year, exactly what they might get in the way of unconditional grants in Ontario.
The format is a very political one. It usually begins some time in August at the convention of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, usually down at the Royal York Hotel. Some time during the course of that convention, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing usually makes a speech, and somewhere in that speech he gives them a sweet, faint clue as to what the province might be doing in terms of unconditional grants or municipal financing for the year.
The clue is generally left there. It is not specific; it is kind of a hint that maybe moneys will be up or be down. For example, last year, I believe the clue consisted of the minister saying, “You should not anticipate any increase in funding next year.” The next line was something to the effect that, “If you adopt that basis and it gives you more money, you will be happy; but you will not be disappointed at any rate.”
After that bubbles on for a while, somewhere in the early part of the new year, usually in January or February, the minister will make some grand announcement about what the unconditional grants will be for that year. Later on, this will bubble through the municipal process so that by the time municipalities sit down in March, April or May to finalize budgets for the forthcoming fiscal year, they will have received a notice from the ministry as to what their grants will be.
I anticipate there are not a great many people in Ontario who are experts on municipal financing. Some of my other colleagues want to go into some of the deviant behaviour that is inherent in the way the province funds its municipalities or participates in that funding. However, I want to deal with a couple of what I consider to be major deficiencies in this process.
The first major deficiency is that many of us who are now members of the Legislature were on municipal councils in the 1970s, the early 1970s in particular. At that time, it was quite fashionable for the various and sundry lot of Treasurers of Ontario to travel somewhere in Canada and make commitments. For the most part, when they made financial commitments to municipalities, they made damned sure they got out of the province, to somewhere like Edmonton.
They tried to find a nice piece of neutral turf where they could make an announcement of some commitment that would resolve the longstanding problem in Ontario municipal finance of not knowing where the money is going to come from next year, of living hand to mouth, so to speak, from one year to the next, dependent on the whims of a Treasurer and a government that never really did take them into its confidence except in the most peripheral of ways.
From that time until now, in various forums and various places, various Treasurers have touted formulae, commitments, long-term planning strategies, new initiatives to “Go east” and to “Go west” and new developments for different parts of the province; but there never has been a commitment in writing to provide the municipalities in the province with long-term stability in terms of financing, not even in one portion of their funding.
As one goes through this year’s budget, one sees the old chess game is at work here. In some ways, municipalities get a few more dollars. For example, in this act there is some improvement for some municipalities around police costs. That is not to say they will actually wind up with more money in their coffers, but in one form of the grant structure, more money will be distributed. That does not mean there will be an overall increase.
In other areas -- roads, for example -- there is a slight decrease in the budget. If there is anybody in Ontario who truly understands the system for funding municipal roads in Ontario, I would like to meet that person. There is a kind of framework of funding, there is a set of criteria laid out and there are road needs studies done, but in the end it seems to be some kind of crap game. If your number comes up, you get the money; if your number does not come up, you do not get the money. It is about as complicated as that.
The other thing in the bill I want to talk a little about on second reading is that this creates immense problems for municipalities. One of the main principles in Bill 59 is that there will be a change in the way in which funds are figured out. We will move from a per capita basis to a per household basis. I note again that it is an interesting study in Ontario politics to go back over the history of how we got to this, what is going on here.
One finds that the minister created a discussion paper. Somehow, this discussion paper landed in the middle of the municipal organization in Ontario; it was discussed and dealt with by committees of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. I was at last year’s AMO convention where there was a protest in my own municipality, among others. We bought little buttons and had a demonstration on the floor, which I thought was rather unique in the sense that municipal organizations in Ontario are not known to be violent revolutionary forces. To see an actual demonstration on the floor of AMO was really quite something.
They made their point, which was basically that in this crap game called restructuring, some municipalities will win, it is true, but other municipalities will lose. They got their own little set of numbers out. Some of our municipalities are now reasonably sophisticated in terms of designing projections around what these grants might be. We are beginning to understand how this metamorphosis opposite really works.
They put their numbers together and put them on the floor of the convention. While it is safe to say that they did not win the day, they did win the point that this process was going to harm some of the municipalities. So when his magnificent self rose in the Legislature last fall, he said, “Not to worry, boys, we will see that you do not lose money on this.”
In this year’s announcement there was a one-time-only guaranteed revenue in unconditional grants for the municipalities: no one would get less than 2.5 per cent. It put some municipalities in a bit of an awkward position, because in a sense they had won a point in principle. There was not going to be a transfer of unconditional grants this year that would be in actual dollars less than last year, that is true.
However, it also produced a remarkable array of numbers to look at, all the way from a 2.5 per cent increase in some municipalities to a 12 per cent increase in others. It is difficult for me, in trying to follow those numbers as they move around, to understand why a place such as Oshawa gets 2.5 per cent while other municipalities that seem to me to be not poor -- if I may use that term -- such as Etobicoke, get closer to 10 per cent and 12 per cent. I have some difficulty in establishing just why that is.
Then around the edges came all the little sweeteners such as if a disaster hits a community, it will get more money.
If one studied Ontario politics again for a little while, one would see a pattern emerging here that emerges before every provincial election. The year prior to the provincial election, everything gets withdrawn. The government starts shaving a percentage point or two off the roads grants. It starts dropping things such as recreational program grants. It starts withdrawing funding for environmental things. That is just to put some money into an old sock.
Somewhere in the process of getting ready for the next provincial election, a great new program will be announced. When this program is announced, the province will then sock some money into new roads. There will be a sign with a trillium on it, just prior to the provincial election, saying the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program gave this new road. Or, if there is a pollution problem somewhere, the BILD program will put up a new pollution control centre. If there is a need for a new rink, baseball diamond or a speed skating oval, there will be a big sign out front saying the BILD program provided the funding. All of this will happen just prior to the provincial election.
I notice as I drive home these days that the BILD program -- having spent three years providing me with a new road, for which we are all immensely grateful -- is now going to provide me with an advanced light rail transit system from Pickering to Oshawa, for which we are immensely grateful.
I suppose one of the problems the government had to deal with was that the ALRT system does not come near Highway 401. One has to compromise one’s principles. It cannot put the BILD sign in the middle of a field where it actually will be building. So the government of Ontario in its magnificence gives us a light rail transit system plunked down beside Highway 401; that is not where the transit system will go, not to worry, but the government is afraid few folks would notice if it was put on the actual site.
It is like in the old days in Ontario -- and it still happens -- when bridges were built in the middle of empty fields. Some citizens of Ontario have asked me why a government would build a bridge in the middle of an empty field. The answer is that the government some day will put roads up to the bridge and the public will actually be able to use that bridge. However, it is not ready to provide that kind of funding.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): I think the member is straying from the bill under debate.
Mr. Breaugh: I do not think the Speaker is right on there. If he will listen just a little bit more, he will be quick like a bunny to see the connection between unconditional grants and funding to municipalities. It should not be too hard. I think he can pick that up.
We may even find parts of this province where roads are built in stages. We can tell an election is coming because out come the paving trucks. The gravel roads will end, the brand-new pavement will open up, and there will be a BILD sign telling us the government of Ontario gives us the road. “Me and the Premier brung you this cheque.” It is an old technique, one that sadly seems to have worked far too often.
Mr. Stokes: Up north we get three names on the signs: Davis, Snow and Bernier.
Mr. Breaugh: Big signs. At any rate, one of the continuing problems which is exacerbated by this bill is that it misses what I think most municipalities have said for some time needs to be done and what appears to me to be an extremely rational thing to do.
The government of Ontario, usually through the Ontario Municipal Board, says to most of its municipalities: “Now listen, we do not want you going month to month on this stuff. We do not want you establishing municipal financing on a year-to-year basis. We want to see five-year forecasts. We want to see five-year projections. We want to get you in a position where you can anticipate your capital costs over a five-year period. We want to see some knowledge that in your municipality, you can give us operational costs projected over a five-year period. We would like to see where your mill rates are going. We would like to see some computer runs about your assessment totals.”
In many ways, Ontario has acknowledged that this should not be done on a hit-or-miss basis. There should be some direction and stability provided. Yet again this year, at the very best, the minister has said: “Hold the phone. We are not prepared to give you all the deep six at the same time. We are going to put a little guarantee in here that for the first year of this new program there will be no fewer dollars than you had in previous years. Even though the inflation rate is 5.2 per cent, 2.5 per cent will do; but you will not get fewer dollars than last year.”
One has to look at budgets overall and at the other components of municipal financing to see whether that is true. I remain unconvinced that it is the case. In this bill, they have put a floor in this type of grant, but they have not given any projection on it. Frankly, I think they ought to.
When we go into committee, I will move an amendment which at least will start the discussion about providing municipalities, specifically in terms of unconditional grants, with a floor for a foreseeable period. I am using a five-year period, because traditionally that is what we have talked about. I am using a five per cent figure, which I suppose one could argue with and say that is inflation, the government’s magic number or anything one wants.
From the point of view of most municipal councils, it can be an arbitrary floor on the basis, of course, that one takes it as a floor; it will be the guaranteed increment that will happen over a five-year period. At least municipal councils will know for a five-year period where they are going in terms of the grant structure.
If there are going to be changes, that approach certainly gives the minister a lot of latitude in changing other forms of grants to municipalities. It also gives him lots of latitude in saying, “That is the floor for unconditional grants. We may go higher if the inflation rate goes higher, or if the unemployment picture changes or for a variety of reasons. We might want to provide incentives to different municipalities.”
My final objection to the bill now before us is simply that it ignores the problem. It ignores trying to inject a measure of stability into municipal finance at a time when it is getting to a critical level. Many municipalities have run very lean for four or five years.
Municipalities can make a dramatic difference in their budgets by simply saying: “We will not build this road this year; we will put it off until next year. We will not build a new arena.” Most of our municipalities have done that. Their capital budgets, which were booming rather nicely through the late 1970s and into the early 1980s, have been ground to a halt.
Municipalities can do that. They have the ability to say: “We will stop a road program. We will slow down recreational programs. We will not engage in capital projects for a short period of time.” However, they can let road systems or storm sewer systems deteriorate for only a set period of time, and then they run into another awkward problem: though they have saved money for a four- or five-year period, it may well cost a lot of money to have let that deterioration happen.
In many municipalities there are many arguments about how serious that problem is. My own municipality, among others, always has somebody on the council who takes on the standards of service or the standards of construction provided for building new roads. Some members think they are too high, while others think they are too low. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money fixing potholes. The difficulty with this bill is that in large measure it misses addressing itself even to that problem.
I appreciate that I am somewhat at odds with the official majority position of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, which is that the movement to a per household basis for unconditional grants is a good one. If I were looking at a government whose track record was that it had been slowly but surely building stability into the system and slowly, surely and consistently improving its support for municipal financing as well as substantially absorbing more costs for services that belong to a provincial government, I would look at this proposal and say: “Whether a per household basis is better or worse makes no difference. The government’s track record tells me that it has consistently assumed its rightful responsibility over a period of time.”
However, the problem is that over a period of time this government has worked very hard, very consistently, across the board, at shedding its responsibility. It has established a clear pattern in the last decade of wanting to establish new programs at the municipal level, both with councils and school boards, offering them sweeteners to get that program under way and then abandoning them. Not in the dead of night, but slowly, surely, point by point on a percentage basis, it has eroded its financial support for those programs.
The municipalities have to look constituents straight in the eye and say, “There is a provincial law that says we have to provide this kind of education for your kid in our school and our community, but we do not have the money.” Or they are saying: “There is a provincial program that says there are going to be more day care spaces available, but there are 1,500 spots and 8,000 spots are required across the province, so we get 150 when our need is 300. We are sorry your child is not one who will win that draw.”
That has been the problem. The track record of Ontario has at best been spotty in addressing itself to the whole field of municipal financing. With regard to unconditional grants, it has been somewhat erratic in its disposition of meeting municipalities’ needs.
It is true to say that from this government’s point of view, it retains every advantage by having the minister make a casual announcement; by withholding that information until the last possible moment and then issuing it to the municipalities. It retains every advantage by saying, for example: “This year we are going to move. We are going to respond to a suggestion we ourselves generated at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. We are going to move from a per capita basis to a household basis.”
It leaves the government with all the options. The government of Ontario not only maintains fiscal control, as the Treasurer alluded to in his budget presentation, it does not just hold on to the purse strings as far as municipal financing is concerned, but also it holds on to every conceivable option we can come up with. It retains the right to change the grant structure. It retains the right to move around the basis for the grant. It maintains the right to move all the other grants around. It maintains the right to tell municipalities, when it sees fit, what its financial commitment will be for the forthcoming fiscal year.
My argument is with the thrust of all that. My argument is really with the principle of this bill. If this government was interested in giving some financial stability for the foreseeable future to municipalities and school boards around Ontario, I would be on its side. If this government had a better track record with regard to providing a consistent growth pattern in municipal financing, I would say, “All right, let us try on a per household basis as opposed to a per capita basis.”
What we know about that formula now is essentially from computer runs. It is a good guess that it will be a better system, but I already know that for some municipalities it will not be a better system.
Someone called me yesterday from one of our outlying municipalities and said, “There is a guarantee that we will not get less money this year, but what about next year?”
It occurs to me that although I have seen a couple of motherhood statements by the minister that they do not do bad things to municipalities, the truth is quite the opposite; they do. I have not seen any commitment past this year to provide a guaranteed amount of money that will not be less than last year.
If I were a municipality out there that was perhaps a little mollified now because the announcement is in and they will not get fewer dollars than last year, I would be arguing pretty strenuously that it is 2.5 per cent when the inflation rate is more than five per cent. I would be going at that argument. Maybe I would have to soften it a bit because we have as many dollars in our hands this year from the province in unconditional grants as we had last year, or more.
I would be looking towards next year. I would want to know what happens if we have a January election, for example, before the minister gets his chance to make the big announcement. One might even be a little suspicious around the edges and say if that election were imminent, maybe the Treasurer would be saying to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: “Just hold off on your announcement for a little while until we get this election over with. We might have a slightly different tune for you to sing to the municipalities.”
Mr. Rotenberg: We cannot do it without Earl McEwen.
Mr. Breaugh: The member for Wilson Heights should not get into this debate. He always gets hurt when he enters into a debate here. He should just stay quiet.
Maybe there would be a different set of numbers put out.
I think what it really comes down to is that in principle this government, by its actions, has built a spotty track record. This government can argue that this proposal to change to a per household basis came from the municipal organizations. But I think it would have to admit in all honesty that it is just an argument -- it is hardly an indisputable fact.
For example, I recall there was not a conclusive statement from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario as of its last convention that it formally wanted to go to unconditional grants on a per household basis. I may be wrong in this but I seem to recall that would be a little beyond the pale. I think they fell far short of that mark. They had a committee which was still dealing with the matter. So I think one has to couch one’s language, so to speak, to get to that position.
I am not an advocate of changing the basis for unconditional grants unless I am reasonably sure there is a reversal in the current trend in the entire approach towards municipal financing. I now think no changes should occur in municipal financing -- not on the basis of unconditional grants nor in changes in assessment formulae, whether market value assessment or any other variation of that -- until we see at least a halt and probably a dramatic reversal in the trend in municipal financing. It is disappointing, to say the least.
That is why we are going to oppose this bill in principle on second reading. When it does go to committee, we are going to try on for size what I know a number of people in the ministry have tried for many years now. We will attempt to get them to talk about a long-term commitment on unconditional grants and then see what happens. Such a commitment would provide municipalities with a guaranteed floor for those unconditional grants. We look forward to an interesting discussion about that.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to participate in the debate on Bill 59, An Act to amend the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act. I would be remiss not to speak to this bill in view of the very serious financial difficulties that municipalities in my own riding are experiencing.
On April 16 of this year I raised in this Legislature with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing the very sad state of municipal finance in the town of Hawkesbury in my riding. I am sure the parliamentary assistant, who is far more capable than the minister, will likely be able to answer it because the minister was not able to do much at that time -- not that we expected much of him.
Mr. Boudria: It is true. I would not say the same about the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) but he is far better than the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I was just admiring the member’s sense of humour.
Mr. Boudria: It is not a sense of humour; it happens to be a fact.
During question period that day I raised with the minister the prospect the town of Hawkesbury was facing -- a loss of $309,000 a year in municipal taxes as a result of the closure of the Canadian International Paper mill in that town. This is an enormous loss for a small town of 10,000 such as Hawkesbury; I am sure all members can appreciate just how serious that condition is. It could result in a tax increase there in the order of $175 per household.
I understand the town has implemented severe budgetary cuts. They have brought down a bare bones type of budget this year and have managed to reduce the tax increase to something less than the original prediction of $175 per household.
Another prospect the town faces is the possibility of having to raise water and sewage rates to the tune of 40 per cent because that one mill was such a large consumer of the services in the town that once it was removed as a proportional user of services, it added so much to everybody else that it created a severe financial burden.
Unfortunately, on the day I raised this issue, April 16, I got little in the way of an answer from the minister. The minister indicated that he and his officials were discussing the matter, that they have been discussing it for a year and so forth.
The town is also faced with a situation where the pumping station of the municipality is physically located at and belongs to the Canadian International Paper Co. It is right on its grounds. We are faced with the possibility that CIP may wish to demolish that structure this year or at some time in the future because it is now apparent it will not reopen the place. If that were the case, the town would need $500,000 to buy that facility. Where is it supposed to get the money to do that? It has none and it cannot get anywhere with this government. It needs $700,000 to recover from the loss of revenue this year and last year. It needs about $500,000 to buy that facility.
The sewage system in that town is also in dire need of repair. According to municipal officials, the eastern end of the town is hooked up to a rather old sewage system by which it seems to be treating all the sewage, storm and sanitary, and it is wasting an awful lot of energy doing that. To replace defective lines, upgrade the system and separate the waters, they would need something in the order of another $750,000. I will leave the members to do the addition for everything that is required by that municipality.
The only answer the minister came up with was that the town has a very nice mayor. That is good. We all know the mayor is a great guy and everybody agrees with that. In spite of the fact he has mentioned he may wish to run as a Conservative candidate in that riding, I still like him. He is a nice fellow.
I know the mayor wants to hear that he is a nice guy; everybody does, but what he wants more right now is assistance for the people of the town of Hawkesbury. That would be far more important than hearing the platitudes the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing states at times when municipalities are in difficulty.
It is my hope that the parliamentary assistant will be able to shed some light for us on the difficulties the town and the whole of the united counties of Prescott and Russell are experiencing.
I raised the fact that $309,000 in municipal taxes were going to be lost because of the closure of that facility, but it does not stop there. One has to add the loss of revenue for the board of education, the separate school board and the united counties of Prescott and Russell. If one puts it all together, the loss of revenue because of the closure of that one plant is $826,000.
We have people living at the other end of the county, 60 miles away out at the western end of the riding, who have never seen the CIP plant whose taxes are going up this year because that facility has shut down. The facility was that important with regard to the financial contribution it offered, not only to the town of Hawkesbury but to the united counties of Prescott and Russell as a whole.
In this bill, the parliamentary assistant, on behalf of the minister, is proposing there will be a revenue guarantee, but that guarantee for one year is not exactly what municipalities have in mind.
By offering municipalities two per cent or 2.5 per cent -- is 2.5 per cent the figure? -- in so far as a guaranteed increase is concerned, when the cost of living is going up by something in the order of 4.5 per cent or five per cent, we are not guaranteeing them an increase. That is a decrease in constant dollars. Everyone knows the expenditures of municipalities are rising faster than that rate.
Where does that leave Prescott and Russell? We have a reducing assessment base, grants that are increasing in an order less than actual expenditures, and an increased municipal welfare roll to the tune of 20 percent, which has to be taken from the municipal taxpayers at the county level. We have all those at the same time as we have reduced assessment. How can we reduce the assessment, increase the tax load, increase the expenditures, increase the water rate, do all that and take it from the people in that municipality who have fewer dollars in their pockets to start with to pay their municipal taxes because so many of them are out of work in that area?
We need far more comprehensive measures than those we are hearing about from the government. In my view, we need substantial revenue guarantees, which would be guaranteed for a number of years to come, notwithstanding that they could be greater. We are asking municipalities to forecast their expenditures for five years, while the government is offering them about five days’ notice as to when they will get their municipal grants for the current year.
One gets to a point where one has to practice what one preaches a little bit more than this government is doing. It is fine for the government to come in with 20 minutes’ notice and announce to this House it is buying Suncor for $650 million that it does not have. Municipalities are more responsible than that. They need more time. They need to plan their expenditures better. They have to do that within a system that would at least forecast, for some period in the future, what municipalities will be offered.
Last fall we heard quite a bit about unconditional grants. In eastern Ontario it was quite a hot topic. The members will recall there was a by-election in eastern Ontario. I see the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is in his place in the House this afternoon.
Mr. McLean: He will be here for a long time too. He will be here longer than the member.
Mr. Boudria: I hear an utterance from the member for Simcoe East (Mr. McLean). He says the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry will be here for a long time. That is quite possible, I suppose. Nothing is impossible in this world. Maybe he will be a good opposition member when we form the government after the next election. Who knows? I want the members to know we will treat his riding very fairly as a government, because Liberals are very fair-minded people.
I was discussing the subject of municipal grants, and how they were discussed in eastern Ontario last fall. As I was saying, we had a by-election. Prior to any by-election there is an election campaign. During that campaign we discussed the issue of unconditional grants. The Liberal candidate suggested the government was going to change the formula for unconditional grants. There was a violent reaction on the part of the government to this.
Let me read you a quote here by Dan Karon in the Ottawa Citizen: “The release of this document has been described as ‘a scare tactic’ by Noble Villeneuve, the Tory candidate,” who said there would not be a change in the grant system.
Mr. Epp: Do you mean the member?
Mr. Boudria: Yes. Maybe it is wrong. Maybe it is a misprint. Do the members want me to read it again?
Some hon. members: Yes.
Mr. Boudria: Maybe I will read a little further instead because we are not supposed to be repetitious and I know the Speaker would call me to order if I were.
Let me read from this newspaper. This is a speech that was made by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. It says, “On a visit to Chesterville Friday, Mr. Bennett also denied that there is a government policy to change the present method of determining provincial funding to municipalities.”
Mr. Epp: Which Mr. Bennett?
Mr. Breaugh: That cannot be right.
Mr. Boudria: I think this is Claude Bennett.
Mr. Breaugh: Who is he?
Mr. Boudria: I think he is the member for Ottawa South who used to work here.
Mr. Breaugh: What does he have to do with the municipal government?
Mr. Boudria: Let me quote: “‘Such statements are completely incorrect,’ he said.”
Mr. Breaugh: That has to be a misquote.
Mr. Boudria: Yes, it has to be a misquote. It was Mr. Bennett who was quoted as saying this. I will repeat it to the members again. “‘Such statements are completely incorrect,’ he said.” “He” is Mr. Bennett. “‘There was no plan to change those grants.’” Is it not interesting that we see those grants changing? Is it not a coincidence they were not changed before December 15?
I leave the members to answer this question. Let us give this some thought. Do they think the grants would have been changed on December 14 or December 13?
Mr. Epp: This is 1884, not 1984.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Prescott-Russell has the floor.
Mr. Boudria: No. The grants would not have been changed on December 14. I am sure nobody would have contemplated doing that because, had the grants been changed on December 14, perhaps the electors from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry would have felt that what the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing was telling them was not consistent with what was happening.
We must never be inconsistent prior to an election. According to this government, we must always do that very shortly after an election and a long time before the next election to leave a certain period of time for the electors to forget about the inconsistency.
Mr. Breaugh: The body was not even cold yet, was it?
Mr. Boudria: Yes. Let me read from the Morrisburg Leader. There is a little article here by Louanne Munhall entitled, “Plan ‘Only Discussion Paper.’” Let me quote again from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. He said: “Any time the government changes a formula, and we deal with many, we never allow anyone to suffer. I assure you no municipalities will be hurt.”
Mr. Speaker, if you were reeve or mayor of a municipality and were going to get seven, eight or 10 per cent under the old formula and you were now going to get 2.5 per cent under the new formula, would you agree you had not been hurt by the change in formula? I would suggest you might have a different view of how this formula affected you, were you or the parliamentary assistant or the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry or the minister sitting in the chair of a reeve today, looking at the possibility of that loss of revenue. Loss of revenue does hurt municipalities.
Mr. Stokes: I would say that was less than noble.
Mr. Breaugh: You do not think you would say that?
Mr. Boudria: No, I will not comment. It is not my style. I would rather stick with the issue. I want to read a quote now from the Winchester Press.
Mr. Villeneuve: We know the member can read. He is doing a good job.
Mr. Boudria: I have to read because I have to remind the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry of all of this before he makes his contribution to this debate. I just want to make sure that everything is fresh in his mind so that when he speaks to this issue, we can all the better appreciate his comments. In that way everything will be fresh in our minds.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will not mind if I remind everybody of how unconditional grants affect us in eastern Ontario and what happened to unconditional grants last fall.
Mr. Epp: That is a good point. Speak until six o’clock and then he can get Instant Hansard.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Boudria: A good point. If I talk out the clock, then between six and eight the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry can get Instant Hansard and make his contribution at eight.
Mr. Breaugh: They do not have any cartoons in Instant Hansard. He may have a problem.
Mr. Boudria: I do not know about that.
Mr. Rotenberg: The member has not yet said anything that needs commenting on.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Prescott-Russell is proceeding with the debate.
Mr. Boudria: They are being awfully provocative, but I am doing my best to control myself.
Mr. Villeneuve: Where were you during that by-election?
Mr. Boudria: I am glad the member asked that. I canvassed the towns of Crysler and Alexandria and I would like to remind him that those are the two communities we won.
Mr. Villeneuve: What about the other 100?
Mr. Boudria: Those are two communities I did door to door. I challenge the member to look at the results of Crysler and Alexandria.
I was beginning to quote from the Winchester Press. It was right before the election, and this article is entitled, “Final Stretch ‘Requires Most Effort.’” On that day the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) was in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and I am going to read the article from the newspaper. It says: “Dr. Stephenson said that Liberal candidate John Whitteker’s claim that the Ontario government is planning a change in the formula for unconditional grants to municipalities ‘is plainly false.’”
The member for York Mills said that. It is not unbelievable that the member for York Mills would make a comment like that? She must be really disappointed. I will bet she is going to vote against this bill today because it is inconsistent with what she said. Of course, nobody would want to accuse the member for York Mills of stating falsehoods. Just to keep up the good reputation we on this side of the House know she has, we are sure that will vote against this bill.
Let me quote further: “‘What he has produced by way of information is, in fact, quite untrue,’ she said. ‘It’s unfortunate that he has sunk to that level this early in the campaign.’”
Mr. Ruston: Did she say he had a forked tongue or not?
Mr. Boudria: No, she did not say he had a forked tongue, but she is saying here that the Liberal candidate has, in her words, “sunk to that level this early in the campaign.”
Mr. Breaugh: Maybe she was just talking about Liberal candidates in general.
Mr. Boudria: Now, now. We were nice to you.
I have another clipping here. Again, this one is from the Winchester Press, headed “Parties Clash Over Grants.” This is about the member for York South -- sorry, the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett). We would not want to confuse those two.
Mr. Breaugh: The member for Ottawa South does not play the piano.
Mr. Boudria: That is right. The member for Ottawa South does not play the piano.
Let us hear what it says. “In his visit to Williamsburg last Friday, Mr. Bennett insisted this was not the government’s intention,” again talking about the change in grants. “‘It’s a fabrication,’ he said.”
Mr. Breaugh: Do you mean it was a lie?
Mr. Boudria: Well, I do not know if he accuses Liberals of being liars here; that would be unparliamentary. It is a good thing the article does not say “lie”; it says “fabrication” to keep it parliamentary.
A further quote says, “‘You haven’t got an issue, so let’s make one.’”
It is unusual that we have seen those newspaper clippings. They do not come from another planet; those newspaper clippings are from eastern Ontario, from all kinds of newspapers in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, in Ottawa and everywhere else, quotes from ministers of the crown, quotes from the Premier (Mr. Davis), quotes from a member of this Legislature now who was not a member then. At the same time as we see that, we see Bill 59 proposed in this Legislature.
We can only conclude that when this bill comes in the House, the member for Ottawa South who proposed the bill is going to have to vote against it himself. He said he would not do it and we believe the member for Ottawa South.
Mr. Breaugh: If he had any sense of honour.
Mr. Boudria: If he had any sense of honour, he would vote against it. The member for York Mills would vote against this too and, of course, the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry will vote against this bill.
Mr. Breaugh: Or he could resign his seat.
Mr. Boudria: No, he would not resign his seat.
Mr. Breaugh: He could cross the floor.
Mr. Boudria: Perhaps he would cross the floor, but I am sure he will first want to put himself in a position tonight where he will not have to defend this bill.
I am sure he will stand up in his place and tell all the members that this legislation is inconsistent with the campaign of last fall, that the legislation is totally inappropriate in view of the promises of the last campaign, and that he and the members of the executive council of the province who participated in that election campaign will vote against Bill 59, because the people of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry would not want to have a member who says one thing and votes differently.
We know the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is a very proud man and he will want to put the honour of the people of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry ahead of partisan legislation.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak on this bill, not because I am an expert on municipal taxation, but because it does not address the problems facing resource-based, one-industry towns in northern Ontario.
The explanatory notes say of section 7 of the bill, “The section added provides for the payment of a revenue guarantee grant to municipalities where necessary to stabilize the total grants received under the act from year to year, except in respect of grants paid under section 5...for the purpose of limiting shifts in taxation caused by a change in the apportionment formula or equalization factors.”
I want to bring to the attention of the parliamentary assistant the dilemma facing many communities in northern Ontario, but in particular those that are facing rapid expansion and are being placed in undue hardship as a result of acting as bedroom or dormitory communities for a work force that is located elsewhere, much as the case the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) mentioned with the CIP mill in his riding.
I want to quote from a letter as the basis of making my argument and my criticism of this bill. It is addressed to me and is signed by Silvio Cortolezzis who is the reeve of Manitouwadge, the largest town in my riding. He writes:
“I am writing to inform you that the township of Manitouwadge will soon be presenting the 1984 municipal tax requisition to industries, businesses and home owners within its jurisdiction.
“As you are well aware, the financial responsibilities associated with the rapid growth of the municipalities involved with the Hemlo gold discovery are enormous. The consequence is an increase in the 17 to 19 per cent range for the combined school/municipal levies for this year. Furthermore, we are projecting additional major increases in future years to meet the challenge of development.
“The taxation dilemma in Manitouwadge is really quite simple. It has long been our conviction that the formula used to generate municipal taxes from underground mining operations is unfair to our industry towns, especially in the context of Manitouwadge. Since we are a small municipality, we must share with others as partners in regional bodies such as the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, the Home for the Aged, the Lake Superior Board of Education, the North of Superior District Roman Catholic School Board and the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay.
“When comparing our tax burden with sister municipalities within the same region, the case for assistance to the taxpayers of Manitouwadge becomes self-evident. At present, home owners in our town must pay the highest school taxes in northern Ontario, 55 per cent of the total residential levy. We are getting hurt on two fronts, local and regional.
“With respective assessment in excess of $25 million placed on the James River property in Marathon and $29 million on Kimberly-Clark in Terrace Bay, the residents of these two communities pay approximately 30 to 35 cents for each dollar needed for all purposes. In the case of Manitouwadge, the reverse applies. Home owners are asked to ‘carry the guilt’ to the tune of 65 per cent of the total raised. You see, Mr. Stokes, Noranda Mines Ltd. is assessed at $6 million.
“The province provides a resource equalization grant of $37,077 to compensate for loss of revenues. This payment is made in lieu of allowing us the right to tax underground wealth. Our figures indicate for a 10-year period the total grants received by the township of Manitouwadge increased by $144,750, or only 39 per cent, while our costs have quadrupled during that time.”
If we look at the estimated grants under the new formula, as witnessed by a document that was sent by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, dated April 18, 1984, it says:
“The estimate of grants for the year 1984 under the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act for lower-tier municipalities and for the municipality of Manitouwadge: The following 1984 estimated grants are on the information from the 1983 analysis of taxation and the 1983 estimates of fund revenue submitted by your municipality last year.
“As usual, the final calculation for the 1984 unconditional grants will be based on your audited 1983 financial information return and will be completed in the fall. Please note that the provincial estimates below should not supersede your own 1984 grant estimates, as you may have been using more accurate information.”
In the context of this bill, I want to tell members that for the largest municipality in my riding, faced with all the problems I have mentioned, acting as a dormitory community for a work force and industry that is located outside its boundaries, the resource equalization grant for 1984 is estimated to be $37,077. That same resource equalization grant for last year, 1983, was $191,647. For 1982 it was $179,520 and for 1981 it was $179,520.
We have smoke and mirrors here in as much as the resource equalization grant has been reduced in one year from $191,000 to $37,000 and we have a one-time payment of a revenue guarantee of $144,000. One must appreciate that Manitouwadge, which is probably one of the two fastest-growing communities in Ontario, based on that new-found wealth valued at between $10 billion and $12 billion on the gold that is being identified by three mining companies, namely, Noranda Mines Ltd., Long Lac Minerals Ltd. and Teck Corp. --
The Deputy Speaker: I wonder if this might be an appropriate point for the member to end his remarks.
Mr. Stokes: All right. Suits me.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.