MUNICIPALITY OF KINCARDINE ACT, 1999
REVIEW OF REGULATIONS REPORT
Wednesday 23 December 1999
Municipality of Kincardine Act, 1999, Bill Pr15, Mr Murdoch
Mr Bill Murdoch, MPP
Mr George Magwood
Mr Gordon Jarrell
Ms Rosaline Graham
Mr Lynn Caldwell
Ms Ellen Zavitz
Mr Jack MacGillivray
Mr John Ribey
Review of regulations report
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Chair / Présidente
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York ND)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / -Nord PC)
Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay / -Timmins-Baie James ND)
Mrs Claudette Boyer (Ottawa-Vanier L)
Mr Brian Coburn (Carleton-Gloucester PC)
Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / -Nord PC)
Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale PC)
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York ND)
Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex L)
Mr David Young (Willowdale PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr Brad Clark (Stoney Creek PC)
Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East / -Est L)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms Anne Stokes
Staff / Personnel
Mr Andrew McNaught, research officer, Research and Information Services
The committee met at 1008 in committee room 1.
MUNICIPALITY OF KINCARDINE ACT, 1999
Consideration of Bill Pr15, An Act to change the name of The Corporation of the Township of Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton to The Corporation of the Municipality of Kincardine.
The Chair (Ms Frances Lankin): We'll call the meeting to order. Good morning. Those of you who have travelled to join us, I appreciate your waiting. Sorry for the delay. We'll begin now.
The first item of business on our agenda is Bill Pr15, an act respecting the municipality of Kincardine, and Mr Murdoch is presenting that. Would Mr Murdoch and the applicants come forward to the table, please?
Mr Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey): My name is Bill Murdoch and I introduced this private bill about a week ago or so. It has to do with the municipality of Kincardine. Under restructuring in Bruce county, they restructured down to eight municipalities. This municipality didn't have its official name, so they had a vote and had this name picked out. Because it wasn't done originally when they restructured, it has to have a private bill.
I'm the neighbouring MPP for that part of Bruce county. Part of my riding is in Bruce county, but not this part. Helen Johns is the member there. She's a minister, so she can't introduce private bills, so it was left up to me. I was approached by the municipality to do this and I did it. It's been introduced and that's why you have people here today. That was my job.
The Chair: Could I ask the applicants and representatives who are here if you could each introduce yourselves, first of all.
Mr George Magwood: Thank you, Madam Chair, honourable committee members. My name is George Magwood. I'm a solicitor in private practice in what is now known as the municipality of Brockton, formerly the town of Walkerton, which is in Bruce county.
I'm also solicitor for the applicant municipality which is the subject of this bill. I have assisted them throughout the process in terms of providing legal advice; also with respect to the process involving this bill, drafting it in this first instance, dealing with legislative counsel and preparing the compendium. If permitted, I will be making some remarks.
With me today are Gordon Jarrell, mayor of the municipality, and Rosaline Graham, the clerk of the municipality.
The Chair: Thank you very much, and welcome to all of you. Do you have some introductory remarks you would like to make?
Mr Magwood: Thank you very much, Madam Chair. First of all, I've never been in front of this committee so I'm in your hands with respect to procedure.
It reminds me of quite a few years ago when Mr Murdoch was a member of Grey county council and the chairman of the land division committee. I was appearing in front of the committee and giving my client the best shot with respect to an application for severance-
The Chair: Sorry, this is Mr Murdoch? An application for a severance?
Mr Magwood: Exactly.
The Chair: I can only guess what the results would have been.
Mr Magwood: In about 15 minutes he put his hand up and said, "Mr Magwood, we're probably inclined to grant your application, but if you keep talking we might change our minds." I hope you'll give me the same courtesy.
Just by way of background, first of all the bill itself is probably, I guess I can say, a model of brevity and clarity. Obviously, it has one operational section, which is to change the name of the municipality as it legally is to that requested.
The reason for the change-I guess we can go back, if you wish, briefly in history. Bruce county was created probably well over 100 years ago literally out of the wilderness by what was then the province of Upper Canada, even pre-Confederation.
Originally, it was connected with Huron county. It was given separate status, and the townships were created by the crown surveyors. Two of those townships were the township of Kincardine and the township of Bruce, neighbouring municipalities along the shores of Lake Huron, Bruce to the north and Kincardine to the south; very proud municipalities and the names, as you can see, closely associated with the Scottish settlers at the time.
As settlement patterns basically were created and were opened up and the area was settled, local municipalities were created from the townships, two of those being the town of Kincardine, at the mouth of what is known as the Penetangore River on Lake Huron, and the village of Tiverton, which was created out of part of Bruce township, a little bit to the north.
The structure of the county of Bruce was pretty static. The Bruce Peninsula was added subsequent to its creation by way of the surrender of lands from the native people at that time. Local municipalities were created throughout the county, reaching approximately 34 municipalities participating in county council for probably the best part of 100 years.
Prior to the amalgamations Mr Murdoch has made reference to, there were some, I guess we can say, consensual amalgamations of some of the smaller villages, and basically at the time of the major county restructuring there were 30 municipalities that were subsequently reduced to eight.
The village of Tiverton and the township of Bruce had actually amalgamated one year prior, on January 1, 1998. Hence, Tiverton no longer exists but became part of the township of Bruce and continued under the name of the township of Bruce. That is why the name "Tiverton" is referred to in the overall bill, because it was part of the previous municipality. That happened, I guess we can say, consensually. Those municipalities presented their own restructuring request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. It was granted. A second municipal restructuring, which was county-wide restructuring, was effective on January 1 of this year, 1999.
The restructuring order which created the eight municipalities also designated the names. There was no discussion at that level, obviously. The minister's name for this municipality is the one that you see in the bill, The Corporation of the Township of Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton. There was a very summary method in the restructuring order to change that, and the other municipalities within the county of Bruce availed themselves of that. They had the time to do it. It just involved some public participation, a resolution of the transition team created by the restructuring legislation and a request to the minister, and he amended his order. But the legislation was structured such that it had to be the transition team passing the resolution and making the request. They automatically became functus, or by law disappeared, at midnight December 31, 1998. Thereafter, of course, they didn't exist; they couldn't do anything.
In this case, because of some opposition to the actual restructuring legislation and court challenges, which I've referred to in the compendium, which actually ended up at the level of the Ontario Court of Appeal in about October 1998, the transition team just didn't have the opportunity or the ability to deal with the name. It wasn't the smoothest of transitions, I guess we can say, because of the legal transition. So they were the only municipality in Bruce county that couldn't avail themselves of that summary procedure. That, therefore, is the reason we're here today. There was no other way to do it, other than if they wished to actually change their status to a town, there was an ability to apply to the Ontario Municipal Board. But that was not the wish, so that's why we're here and the bill is before you.
The other thing I'd like to add is that the Bruce county restructuring, depending on the eye of the beholder and who you're talking to, was not an imposed restructuring, but I think a lot of people might think it was. It was in fact a restructuring brought about by the amendment to the legislation, the Municipal Act, which allowed local municipalities to basically do their own thing, come up with their own plan and present it. This was done by Bruce county council, which of course, as I said, was the representative of all 30 municipalities at the time, following the formula of the triple majority, as it's called, and based on a committee report and adoption by Bruce county council, all the local municipalities and the reeves, and submitted on that basis to the Minister of Municipal Affairs as a local option type of restructuring. That's how Bruce county became the way it is today.
The word "democracy" of course means all things to all people, but it was done democratically by elected representatives based on the legislation that this House, your assembly, created and the mechanics that you created to allow that to happen by local municipalities.
Having said that, that's how the name got its official status. It wasn't something that was chosen locally; it was something that was put in the bill. Like all municipalities, they were combined names. I have put in the compendium for your information, just so you can see what the other municipalities did. Some of them created combined names, and some of them created brand new names. They've all been approved by the minister under the current existing rules, which allowed the transition team to do that. That left, as I said before, Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton. Because of their late start, if you want to call it that, they didn't have that opportunity.
Those are my remarks with respect to some of the background and the legal application of why we're here and why it's necessary and how the name was created.
Mr Jarrell, the mayor, of course was involved first of all as the reeve of the township of Kincardine, as a member of the transition team and as the first mayor of the new municipality. He has gone through the whole process at every level. He would like to address the committee, if permitted, to talk about the selection of the name and how it came to be, the name that is referred to in the bill.
Mr Gordon Jarrell: Madam Chair, honourable members, I would like to add a few words on this, because it has been a most interesting and sort of chaotic process.
Back in the transition, we were late getting off the ground. As Mr Magwood has alluded to, we were under court challenge, and so it was into October before we had our meetings. We recognized that the name was one of the most important things we had to get established, so instead of the transition board naming, we elected to use a citizen committee to perform this task for us. Instead of worrying about representation by population, we have the three wards-the town of Kincardine, the township of Kincardine and the township of Bruce-so each of those municipalities appointed two members to the citizen committee, for a six-member committee.
They started working, I would say, about November. In January they brought in a list of names to the council, and unbeknownst to the council they had elected to eliminate virtually all the original names and come up with new names.
Our suggestion to them, which we had basically stolen from the municipality to the north of us, Saugeen Shores, was to get a marketing name, something that would be good for economic development, something we could use as a marketing tool.
The committee came in with what we thought may be almost retirement names: Bluewater Shores, Gaelic Winds-and I should make a comment on this one. The papers had tremendous fun with "Gaelic Winds," if you can imagine a piper with flatulent air, and this was published all over the local papers. There were Piper Shores, Sunset Beach, Sunset Shores. They did put the name Kincardine, and Kin O'Bruce. We, as a council, were not happy with this selection. We didn't feel it did for us what we were after, so we requested of the committee if they would kindly reconsider, take it back, do a little further study and not force the elimination of any names, that they give all due consideration.
We ended up, as a result of that, with a few resignations. But again, the member replacements were taken on the same basis: the ones from ward 1 replaced their single member; ward 2 had to replace both members; and ward 3 had to replace, I believe, one member. But we had the committee back again and the same chairperson.
Later they came in with a list of names, and this would have been about the end of June or July. They were Kinbruce, Kinbruton, Kincardine, Kincardine-Bruce, Penetangore and Scotslanding.
There was some discussion at council: "I wonder why they didn't bring in "Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton?" I suppose I can take part of the blame for this. It was a long, unwieldy name and I had to abbreviate it to KBT, which rolled off the tongue fairly well. The committee had considered it, because we did ask them to, and they thought no, they didn't really want to recommend it, so they didn't. There was some query from council, "Could we add it?" Yes, as council we could, but the majority of council decided no, we should not tamper with the democratic process of the committee from the three municipalities that had made the recommendations. So those names I just read were the names that were put on the ballot.
It's interesting that we're being told we didn't really advertise it properly. I'm sure the clerk will address this. We advertised in the three local papers, the two in Kincardine and the one in Port Elgin, which reach the majority of the area. We had some concern about the area immediately to the northeast of our municipality. Paisley, which is the closest community, doesn't have a weekly paper, so we couldn't advertise there.
I was rather surprised, because I expected at the fall fairs to see some move to incorporate and urge voters to go in a specific direction, whatever that direction might be. There was none.
Council were not out beating the drums for anyone. When I spoke at different functions and several banquets-as you know, mayors get nominated for these jobs-I always, prior to that election, raised the question: "Don't forget October 4. Get out and vote. Remember the names. Pick the one you want and represent it." So I think the democratic process was followed. The voting pattern was down somewhat, but if we look, ward 3, which was Bruce township, voted about 19.5%; in the last municipal election, the year before, the one I was elected in, they came in at about 38.5%. Kincardine township on this name vote voted 20%, which is very close, and 36.5% in the one before.
So there seemed to be a parallel. There didn't seem to be any great discrepancy in the percentage turnout of voters at the election. So I was most surprised to hear of the objections being raised to it as not being a democratic process and being confounded in one way or another. As a council we certainly had no intention to do that, and we don't think we did.
Mr Magwood: Madam Chair, as Mr Jarrell has indicated, council elected to put the names recommended by the committee to the electorate. It was done by way of a special question, pursuant to the provincial Elections Act. The election was held on October 4 and of course the results certified, and they're in the compendium. The process of administering that election, as required by law, fell to the clerk of the municipality, Rosaline Graham, and she would like to address the committee with respect to that process involving the timing, the advertising, the counting and of course the results.
Ms Rosaline Graham: Madam Chair and honourable members, in accordance with 65(3) of the Better Local Government Act, Bill 86, amending the Municipal Elections Act, a by-election is to be conducted as far as possible in the same way as a regular election. For the election, the clerk can give notice. Any notice or other information that is required is given by the clerk in a form and a manner that the clerk considers adequate to give reasonable notice or to convey the information, as the case may be.
As the mayor and Mr Magwood have alluded to, we did give notice, and you can see that we made a big effort to make sure we had large notices. In fact, the newspapers were really happy with us for doing this. We gave three consecutive weeks' notice. We were required to conduct the by-election within a 60-day time frame.
The extra effort we made was to ensure that our summer residents would be able to vote, and a lot of those live in the township of Bruce. So we held an advance vote on September 25. At the actual vote, we used electronic voting equipment. For the vote itself, in the township of Bruce, "Kinbruce" received 130 votes, "Kinbruton" received 31 votes, "Kincardine" received 14 votes, "Kincardine-Bruce" received 153 votes, "Penetangore" received 12 votes, and "Scotslanding" received 39 votes. So each name was considered.
I believe the municipality did make reasonable effort to advise the people and to give them an opportunity to decide on the name. I believe the process was thorough and that we have demonstrated this at this time.
The Chair: Ms Graham, I'm sorry. Would you just read the results again? I'm having trouble following.
Ms Graham: This was in Bruce township only, OK? I just want to-
The Chair: Oh, I'm sorry.
Ms Graham: This is the whole election. This is the total vote. No, in Bruce township, sorry.
The Chair: Thank you. I just got confused that it appears to be different from the compendium.
Ms Graham: I just wanted to let you know that they did vote for every name in Bruce township too.
The Chair: That's what was confusing me. Do you want to read into the record the overall results? I think that would be helpful for the Hansard record.
Ms Graham: The overall votes: "The municipality of Kinbruce" received 367 votes; that was 13% of the vote. "The municipality of Kinbruton" received 62 votes; that was 2% of the vote. "The municipality of Kincardine" received 1,607 votes; that was 59% of the total vote. "The municipality of Kincardine-Bruce" received 521 votes; that was 19% of the vote. "The municipality of Penetangore" received 117 votes; that was 4% of the vote. "The municipality of Scotslanding" received 96 votes, which was 3%. There was a total number of votes of 2,770 votes altogether.
I'd also add that we made other efforts by contacting the local radio station. I know the mayor was interviewed and actually even CBC were in the area at the time and did a blurb on it. I think we made a good effort.
The Chair: May I just welcome Minister Johns, who is also the local MPP for the area involved, who has joined us today. Welcome.
Mr Magwood was there anything further?
Mr Magwood: I think that's basically our presentation.
In summary, the only thing I would really like to emphasize to the committee is that I believe, and I think it's evident from both the submissions of Mr Jarrell and Ms Graham, that every effort was made to really involve the community in the selection of this name both by the transmission team and, if you want to call it, the contest they had before the local committees that were reporting and that came back to the council.
When you think about it, first, I guess this name could have been selected by the transition team on a resolution made behind closed doors and that would have been it, to a certain extent. That didn't happen. It could've actually been made by the new council. They could have, as they did, of course, brought the bill forward just on their own resolution. That didn't happen. We actually had a real election: one person, one vote, under the laws of our province as to how these elections are to be held. I don't think you could get any more participatory involvement in a process than that.
And not only that; the results were respected. Referendums, if you want to use that word, are not binding. I suppose council would have had somewhat a lack of credibility if they chose not to follow the winning name, but obviously they did.
So it comes to you not only as the name selected by every person living in the municipality who had the right to vote and did vote; it also comes to you by the local elected representatives of that municipality on their motion to you for this legislation to be approved. I would hope you would have no concerns with the fact that the public consultation was not to the highest degree.
With that, subject, obviously, to the response you have from the other people here and questions to us, I believe that completes our submission. I request that you give the bill satisfactory consideration and recommend it for third reading. Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you, and there may well be questions from the committee members after we hear from other interested parties.
I understand that there are other interested parties who would like to make presentations with respect to this. Could I ask that the applicants vacate the table just for a period of time and other interested parties come forward.
Welcome. May we begin by going along the table and asking each of you to identify yourself, your names and the communities you come from.
Mr Lynn Caldwell: I'm Lynn Caldwell. I live in Bruce township, the northern part of our amalgamated municipality.
Ms Ellen Zavitz: My name is Ellen Zavitz. I live in Bruce township.
Mr Jack MacGillivray: Jack MacGillivray. I come from Bruce township.
Mr John Ribey: John Ribey, from Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton. Jack and I are co-chairing here. We represent a sizeable group of people from Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton who are opposed to this name change. As many of you may be aware, we-
The Chair: I'm sorry. Could I interrupt you for a moment? I realize there's only one mike there. Sorry, we're not set up appropriately. You can share it as you go along this morning.
Mr Ribey: Can you hear me?
The Chair: Yes, thank you.
Mr Ribey: We represent a group of concerned residents from Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton and we are obviously opposed to the changing of the name to the municipality of Kincardine. Some of you, I presume, are aware that we have lately done a petition in the municipality and have submitted that petition to this committee. We had over 1,100 names on it. That's a significant amount, we think, and we were very pleased with the response we got as we circulated the petition.
Some of you, as I say, may have read this petition. I'm going to ask Lynn to read that to you.
Mr Caldwell: This was addressed to the committee members:
"We the concerned ratepayers of Kincardine, Bruce, Tiverton hereby present the following petition of over 1,100 signatures supporting the following:
"Bruce-Tiverton has been our home and a vital community for almost 150 years. As part of that community we the ratepayers of Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton believe that the proposed name change to `The Corporation of the Municipality of Kincardine' ignores and excludes a significant part of our identity and our heritage and therefore oppose the name change. We feel the name should reflect the attributes of all three communities, and therefore endorse the name KBT (Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton)" which we've operated under for approximately a year.
Going to some of the significant impacts that Bruce township has to offer as part of this municipality, we have some significant industries that contribute greatly to all three of the municipalities, those being the Bruce Municipal Telephone System, the Bruce Energy Park, Bruce Tropical Produce Inc and Bruce Pasture Farm. We have the Bruce nuclear power plant, from which a lot of people from our area have received a substantial amount of their income over the past number of years.
The abovementioned industries, plus RKM, which employs a significant amount of people-it's the second largest employer in Bruce county-are the driving force behind the amalgamation in this municipality.
Going back to BMTS, on March 11, 1911, our forefathers of present-day residents of Bruce township pledged their farms as security should the venture fail, and in turn formed the highly successful Bruce Municipal Telephone System, which we have today, and it's probably one of the largest privately owned telephone systems in the industry.
We have contributed to three community centres, a sports complex, a library, a medical centre, and a fire and rescue department to serve the new municipality. We have two parks, Inverhuron and Brucedale, which are both in Bruce township.
Although Bruce township and Tiverton population is not as large as Kincardine, they are a very loyal and community-minded group of people, situated on a land base approximately half of the amalgamated municipality. The distribution of eligible voters throughout the three wards left ward 3, Bruce township, at a huge disadvantage.
Anyone who has read the Bruce township Tales and Trails, published in 1983, illustrating pioneer life and the hardships they endured, would certainly agree that it would show little or no respect or honour to those who have gone before us to remove "Bruce" from our identity.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Caldwell. Could I just indicate to you all that the committee members have copies of the letters that have been submitted by yourself and by other interested parties from the area, and the committee has a copy of the cover letter of the petition, not the full petition, just so everyone understands that the clerk's office has received the full petition with all the names you have referred to.
Ms Zavitz: Madam Chair and honourable members, this committee of concerned ratepayers proposes that we retain the name we've been using since the amalgamation took place: Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton, or KBT. Our reasons are many. First of all, we feel that the name KBT represents all three communities, whereas if the name Kincardine is adopted, two of our most important areas are forgotten.
Bruce township boasts Bruce Nuclear Power Development, Bruce Municipal Telephone System, RKM Wood Products, the Bruce Energy Centre, two parks and a thriving cottage industry. Tiverton boasts a new arena, community centre and a wonderful fall fair, as well as small town flavour. Kincardine does well with tourism but is really a bedroom community.
The name KBT includes the three areas: "K" for Kincardine and Kincardine township, "B" for Bruce township, and "T" for Tiverton. Could it be any more simple than to leave things the way they are? The name Kincardine alone does not reflect the common attributes of all three communities.
We feel the town of Kincardine is thinking only of itself. Every other amalgamated community in our area has either chosen a brand new name-for example, Saugeen Shores-or a combination of names, for example, Brockton. Why should the people who have lived here for generations be left out and not be recognized at all? We feel that should not have to happen.
The council of KBT have taken it upon themselves to go full-steam ahead with their new name and have already changed letterhead, bag tags and dog tags, but it is our understanding that the name has not been passed in the Legislature, so how can this be legal?
Council, in our estimation, did not follow its own guidelines when deciding to let the name Kincardine stand on the ballot. How could the outcome of a vote be any different when the population is so one-sided? A fair vote? We think not.
We are asking for your consideration when making a decision that could so badly reflect on our residents. The confusion that could result could be overwhelming. Our concessions would have to be changed, not to mention street names and 911 numbers etc.
Mr Caldwell: There is one other thing I was going to point out. I brought a little map along with me for those of you who may not be familiar with the area.
It's approximately 30 miles from the town of Kincardine to the outermost, farthest area that would be part of our amalgamation. For that reason it would seem very unfair, when you have Kincardine down in this area and Bruce up here, not to have all three representing a common thing, which I think would-I heard the comment made about marketing. I think people who would come into our area would readily be able to identify where they're going and it would still promote tourism, which is a major part of our summer industry and growth for the income we get in the summer.
Mr MacGillivray: Madam Chair and honourable members, I would just like to add a few comments to what already has been said.
Most of our members here today are from generations of people who have lived in the area all their lives. It's very important to them to retain our name. Bruce county and Bruce township are names that have been here for a long time. I think we've been very fair when we included Kincardine first, Bruce and then Tiverton.
For myself, my son is the fifth generation in the township, and this holds true for many of the other people here today. We feel there's something wrong when we see trucks in Kincardine now with the name "Kincardine" on them, when we are still KBT. This has not been settled, but I would like an explanation from somebody why we have "Kincardine" on dog tags and on garbage bags. To me, there's something wrong.
I don't think I have anything further to say. I endorse everything that has been said. If I can answer any questions, I'd be willing to try my best. I've been here for a long time and I hope the rest of us will be here for years to come.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Before I go to committee members for questions, I'd like to ask the parliamentary assistant if the government has any comments.
Mr Brian Coburn (Carleton-Gloucester): As you've heard, the restructuring order took effect January 1, 1999. Unfortunately, the name wasn't able to be decided at that time. We have no objections. We see no objections to the proposal from any of the ministries. Our ministry has no objection to the proposal. We have received four letters from members of the community objecting to the proposal.
The Chair: I'm going to go to questions at this point in time. There are four interested parties and there are three representatives of the applicants, so we may have to juggle chairs back and forth to allow you an opportunity to answer questions.
Mr David Young (Willowdale): I appreciate the opportunity of posing a few questions. I want to start by thanking all the deponents who came down today, before Christmas, to express their views. It's a lot easier for us around this table to understand the nuances of these issues when you're here to express them as you have done. I'm sure the other committee members all appreciate your attendance here today.
A couple of questions, and I'm not sure if they're best answered in totality by the people currently at the mike.
The first one is this: In ward 3, which is the Bruce-Tiverton area, do we have some idea of the population that would be of voting age?
The Chair: Could I just ask that Mr Jarrell and Mr Magwood perhaps join us up here at the table, if we could make room.
Ms Graham, perhaps you might have that information. We're looking for eligible electorate number from the ward 3 area.
Mr Young: Am I right that ward 3 is the Bruce-Tiverton area?
Mr Jarrell: Yes. I can give you the precise numbers on that for the eligible voters. There are 2,439.
Mr Young: Of that number, how many cast ballots in this referendum-type question?
Mr Jarrell: It was 467 who cast ballots.
Mr Young: Thank you very much.
The other questions I have, and I don't have too many more, are for the other delegation that has come down. I have had the opportunity, over the last few minutes only, to review this petition in its entirety. I appreciate your providing this to us. My questions are a reflection of the fact that I'm from Willowdale and not from the much prettier part of the province where you folks reside. Tell me, if you would, where Paisley is and Port Elgin and places like that? Those are in ward 3, first of all?
Mr Caldwell: No. May I just show you this map? It might clarify it a little bit. Port Elgin is up here; which is Saugeen Shores now. Paisley is approximately there. This is the area all along Saugeen Shores. The nuclear power plant is in there and the energy centre is there. Tiverton is approximately in the middle. Kincardine is in this area.
Mr Young: Thank you very much; that's very helpful. The map answers some of my other questions, and maybe I can just put this on the record. It seems as though-and you folks will correct me if I'm wrong-Port Elgin is outside of the municipality we're here discussing today. Do we agree on that?
Mr Caldwell: Yes.
Mr Young: All right. Similarly, Southampton is outside, and that's another area that we see reflected or identified as the residences of some of the people who have signed this petition. I think you'll find, if you go through it, that there are some. Then finally, Paisley, as I indicated earlier-
Mr Caldwell: Can I speak to that? I believe you'll find that some of those are landowners within Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton and live outside of the municipality.
Mr Young: Could be. I'm just telling you that as I review these pages, many of them have signatures from people who have identified themselves as having a residence in Paisley, Southampton and Port Elgin. So that helps me to understand that these people do not necessarily reside in the subject municipality. Is that right or wrong?
Mr Caldwell: May I clarify that? Paisley post office serves over a third of Bruce township and Port Elgin post office serves another portion. That is another reason you may get some addresses of Port Elgin and Paisley.
The Chair: Ah, to be from Willowdale and not understand rural life.
Mr Young: We have similar problems, but they involve Downsview and Don Mills. If you use that analogy, I'd be all right.
The Chair: Mr Caldwell, perhaps I could be of some assistance here, I think the intent of the question is for us to understand whether the entirety of the signatories to your petition are from people who reside within the affected area, within this new municipality.
Mr Caldwell: Half of Bruce township is served by Paisley/Port Elgin post office, which might clarify that.
Mr Young: I suspect you're here saying it's your understanding that most of these people reside in the subject municipality; there may be a few who don't. Is that what you're here to say? OK.
Madam Chair, is this an opportunity for comments as well on our part?
The Chair: No. At this point, could we just proceed with questions to the applicants, the interested parties or the parliamentary assistant,? We'll have an opportunity to debate after that.
Mr Young: I'll withhold my comments. Thank you very much.
Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): A couple of questions with regard to the breakdown of the population. You've given the numbers for ward 3. There are three wards. What is the population breakdown of the other two?
Mr Magwood: In our compendium on the very last page, actually, if it's been distributed, is the information the member is requesting. There's a chart.
Mr Agostino: Just a rough number so I can get a sense of the percentage of the population.
Mr Jarrell: I can give that to you very easily. The total is 10,875: Ward 1, which is the town of Kincardine, is 5,405; ward 2, which is the township of Kincardine, is 3,031.
Mr Agostino: Thank you. A question on the notification process for the-the clerk suggested that this was run under the Municipal Act that applied to this. In a general municipal election, would there be a notification that would go to each individual eligible voter in the area?
Ms Graham: You're talking about voter identification lists?
Mr Agostino: Right.
Ms Graham: In a general municipal election, yes. This municipal election was a by-election. It was done in a very short period of time. We did consider sending out voter identification notices. I think the access, as far as possible, should be done as a regular election. We had to deal with our software people. The notices would have been very late going out, had we sent them out. It wasn't a requirement. We spoke with Municipal Affairs about it. This was not a requirement, so we actually published larger, bigger advertisements. We published them for three consecutive weeks in the three papers that served the area. In a normal election, we'd probably publish them for one week.
Mr Agostino: So it would be fair to say that not everyone in the area would have had-I understand that you did the notice and that you did three of them, but it was not the same process that would be used where every individual resident or citizen would receive a notice advising them to vote and so on, as normally would happen in a municipal election campaign.
Ms Graham: It was a by-election we were conducting, and that's what we did.
Mr Agostino: OK, that was just to clarify that.
In regard to the name change, a question was raised by the residents here about the process for the name change, and I was just curious. There were suggestions that the name on the trucks, for example, or other services and things provided by the township and the municipality already had been changed. Can I ask the rationale for that and if that decision pre-empted this decision to be made by the Legislature?
Mr Jarrell: Rosaline may come on after and maybe can correct me if I'm wrong. All legal documents are still being processed under "the township of Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton." K-B-T was never a legal name. What we have done in a few-particularly where we've acquired new trucks, rather than repainting the doors, yes, we have put "The Municipality of Kincardine."
Ms Graham: With respect to dog tags and stuff of that nature for the year 2000, obviously we have to order them beforehand; you'd be amazed at how many people come in and want next year's dog tags. So we did order them with "The Municipality of Kincardine."
Mr Agostino: Just a final question, through the Chair: Would it be appropriate to ask the position of the local member on this?
The Chair: That's a good question. I'm not sure if it would be appropriate to impose upon Ms Johns at this point in time. If you would like to comment, you're certainly welcome to. Ms Johns, you may want to wait until we have debate on the bill, or if you would like to offer your opinion now, feel free.
Hon Helen Johns (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, minister responsible for seniors and women): I think I'll wait until we have the comment, but let me just preface this by the fact that a lot of this was going on through the election. As you know, I'm fortunate enough to be representing this part of the riding for the first time after June 1999, so a lot of the work that was done before this to come up with the name I'm not a party to because I wasn't their representative before that. Some of those questions would be best put to Barb Fisher, who was the representative, as opposed to Bill and I, who are now fortunate enough to represent Bruce since that time. I think the committee will have to decide today, with the information they're given, to get the best results.
Mr Brad Clark (Stoney Creek): I wanted to start off by thanking you for coming down. I know how difficult it is. I've been in those chairs before as a constituent and as an advocate. Sometimes this place can be a little bit overwhelming.
Mr Agostino: The good old days.
Mr Clark: The good old days, as Dominic says.
I do have a number of questions, if I may. In Kincardine, if you can help me out, please, in terms of the numbers-the people voted in Kincardine on the name change. How many people in Kincardine, percentagewise, voted for "Kincardine"?
Mr Jarrell: I'll give you a partial answer. It's not the complete answer you're after; our clerk is going to try to look it up. It's 1,676 people out of the 5,405 voted, or 31.01%. I'm not sure how many voted for "Kincardine." That was your specific question, I believe.
Mr Clark: Yes.
Ms Graham: In ward 1, the vote for "Kinbruce" was 93, the vote for "Kinbruton" was 20, the vote for "Kincardine" was 1,071, the vote for "Kincardine-Bruce" was 191, the vote for "Penetangore" was 62, and the vote for "Scotslanding" was 33.
Mr Clark: That was just the one ward or all of them?
Ms Graham: The total ballots cast for Kincardine were 1,676.
Mr Clark: That's in Kincardine proper, total?
Mr Jarrell: Yes.
Mr Clark: OK. I have some questions with reference to the actual committee that set up-process, I guess, in terms of the name change. Were there terms of reference that were provided to the citizens who volunteered to sit on the committee originally to look at different names?
Mr Jarrell: Yes, a fairly simple one. One of the main tools-they were asked to come up with an attractive name and a name that would be useful in marketing. Those were the two, with no limitations. We felt that by having two members from each ward elected by that specific ward, we were not loading the deck. We felt we were being fair.
Mr Clark: Was there at any time in the terms of reference any mention made of the fact that they should not consider current names for the municipalities?
Mr Jarrell: The first group that was appointed, unbeknownst to us, did develop that among themselves. The first list they brought in had been under that guideline that they themselves had subjected themselves to, and they complied with it with the exception that they did bring in the name Kincardine.
Mr Caldwell: I have the terms of reference here with the criteria. Also part of that, which Mr Jarrell has not mentioned to you, was that the name should reflect the common attributes and flavour of the three present communities.
Mr Clark: Thank you. So they had set for themselves the parameter that they should not consider current municipalities, but at some point "Kincardine" was added to their list. Can you explain why?
Mr Jarrell: No. Without being a member of that committee, I couldn't explain why that happened, but when those names came back in to us and we requested them to take them back and rework them, we did ask them specifically not to exclude any name because of its relationship to an existing municipality.
Mr Clark: Was the name Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton excluded from consideration?
Mr Jarrell: The committee that was set up, representative of the three wards, did not bring it back in. We specifically asked them if they had considered it and they said yes, they had.
Mr Clark: I have a letter here from a Stephen Caldwell. I'm assuming the mayor has seen this. The second paragraph reads: "No advertisement came directly to landowners and residents of this municipality. Upon talking to the mayor, he admitted that the area in which I live-the former Bruce township, northeast corner-was not adequately covered by newspapers and media in which this vote was taken. Not all get the same newspapers; therefore we should have had something in our mailbox-leaflet etc." Would you care to comment on that?
Mr Jarrell: Yes. It's the area that Mr Caldwell referred to, the one up closer to Paisley. It is the farthest distance from Kincardine, if you were to take a diagonal line across. The comment is not particularly true where I acknowledged that it wasn't served by newspapers. The newspapers do say they service that area, but that doesn't mean that the residents there have to subscribe. I know that Mr Caldwell and at least one other member from up in that area said no, they don't take any papers.
Mr Clark: Could you have done anything differently to ensure that all the electors in the area, in the region itself, would have been given personal notice of the vote?
Mr Jarrell: One vehicle that I used personally when I was campaigning for office was to use Canada Post and the flyers. The flyers aren't precise and I know certain areas that did not receive them, but it would give a broader coverage.
Ms Graham: The name selection committee, in attempting to garner names to determine what the name of the municipality would be, actually did send out a mail-out questionnaire to every home in the municipality during this whole process, and there was a buzz about the name throughout the municipality.
The other thing I just would like to point out is that I do have a list, and I got this recently from our local newspapers, of stores selling papers within the whole municipality. I notice that the Cottage Grocery Store in Inverhuron, McMann's Garage in Underwood and G & M Variety in Paisley, all hold newspapers there. These, I'm assuming, are stores that would be frequented by people perhaps in north Bruce, I would think.
Mr Clark: If the numbers are correct here, it was 1,607 for "Kincardine" in total? The total number of votes for "Kincardine" in the entire region.
Ms Graham: In ward 1, the number voting for "Kincardine" on October 4 was 1,071.
Mr Clark: Do you have a total for all the residents in the entire area who voted for "Kincardine"?
Mr Jarrell: In the total municipality, 1,607 voted for "Kincardine."
Mr Clark: That's the number I had. Do you have any comment with respect to the fact that you have a petition here with 1,100 names opposed to the name "Kincardine" and the total number of votes for "Kincardine" was 1,600? It seems pretty close.
Mr Jarrell: A comment?
Mr Clark: Yes.
Mr Jarrell: I wish the same enthusiasm had been applied prior to October 4 as is being applied now.
Mr Clark: One final question for the residents over here: If this had been put to a ballot in a normal municipal election as an added question, would you have been satisfied with the outcome if "Kincardine" had been chosen?
Mr Caldwell: Yes.
Mr Clark: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Mr Gill, do you have questions?
Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): Mr Mayor, this might have been mentioned earlier, but could you please give me the name of ward 1 again?
Mr Jarrell: The name of the original municipality? Ward 1 was the town of Kincardine.
Mr Gill: And ward 2?
Mr Jarrell: Ward 2 was the township of Kincardine and ward 3 was the township of Bruce.
Mr Gill: As I understand it, the ward 1 and ward 2 eligible voters are 8,436, from your numbers.
Mr Jarrell: Yes.
Mr Gill: And in ward 3, which is Bruce-Tiverton, the eligible voters are 2,439. Am I correct?
Mr Jarrell: Yes.
Mr Gill: I'm going to make a comment, that as long as on the ballot item the name "Kincardine" itself appeared, it seems to me that the overwhelming majority lived in wards 1 and 2 in which Kincardine was the primary name. I don't know how much advertisement would have changed anything. I do hear the concerns from everybody that if you had done the mailing, door-to-door and using Canada Post, but as long as the question was there as Kincardine-
The Chair: Mr Gill, could I ask you at this point to keep to questions? We'll enter into debate and comments, but you might have other questions-
Mr Gill: I'm OK. My questions have been answered. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much. If I could just point out to the committee members again, some of these answers, if you need to refer to them during the course of debate, are contained in the compendium of information that all committee members received prior to this meeting. I see you shaking your head.
Mr Gill: I did not receive it.
The Chair: In fact, all committee members received the package for today, which has the compendium. I just checked with the clerk on that.
Mr Young: Madam Chair, can I ask one quick question? To the delegation sitting at the end of the table here, I want to be very clear about your position today as we enter our deliberations: Is it your position that the residents of ward 3 and the residents of the municipality in general did not have notice of the plebiscite or referendum or question? I want to know what you say about that.
Mr Caldwell: I'll make a comment to that. I was combining in the field. I didn't know a thing about it till 5 o'clock. I was 20 miles away from home; no way I could possibly get to it. I heard it on the radio. I don't think it was adequate notice, personally for myself or my son, to even know.
Mr Young: You don't subscribe to or read the local papers they've mentioned where it was advertised?
Mr Caldwell: We don't get a local paper. The local paper we get is published every other week in Paisley. It could have quite conceivably been put in there and we would have gotten notice.
Mr Young: How did you ultimately get notice of it?
Mr Caldwell: I heard it on the radio at 5 o'clock that day.
Mr Young: Did you vote?
Mr Caldwell: No, I couldn't. I didn't have time.
Mr Young: The other members: Can I ask the same question?
Ms Zavitz: I didn't vote, and that's the first time I've never voted, at any time. I heard about it at the beginning, but I forgot about the date and completely forgot about the day.
Mr MacGillivray: I did not vote because we were in Europe at the time. We were in Europe in September and October and we were not at home to vote.
Mr Ribey: Yes, I voted. We happen to take the Kincardine paper and I saw it there, but we're a long way from Kincardine. People don't shop there; they don't mingle in Kincardine; they go the other way. They had no way of knowing, unless they were talking with some other people.
Mr Clark: The gentleman mentioned the fact that he was in Europe. Were proxies or advance ballots allowed?
Ms Graham: Yes.
Mr Clark: There were advance ballots also?
Ms Graham: There was an advance vote too. I could read you the numbers for the advance vote.
Mr Clark: No.
The Chair: Are there any further questions from committee members?
I thank the applicants and the interested parties who've attended and ask you perhaps to resume your seats in the audience.
We will at this point in time move to comments and debate on the bill by committee members. At an appropriate time, when it appears the committee is prepared or ready, we can move to an actual vote on sections of the bill.
The committee members will know they have the option, obviously, of carrying the bill as proposed, of amendments, of deferring a decision on the bill and referring back to the municipality for further action. There is a range of options the committee has and that will, I think, be appropriate to be discussed at a point in time when we finish comments and debate.
I had interrupted Mr Gill when he was making some comments. I don't know if he would like to resume now.
Mr Gill: Continuing where I left off, I still feel that there is always a better way of informing people. Perhaps the residents might feel that they could have been informed more properly. At the same time, from the question, it seems to me-this is hypothetical-it may not have made a difference. As long as the Kincardine name was there and as long as 75% of the people come from that area, the outcome may have been the same. That is the kind of comment I wanted to make, as I said before.
Mr Clark: For me, I have serious concerns about this situation on a very personal level. I'm just now going through amalgamation in my own community, and all the members in the room know my concerns there.
The identity of a community itself is something that's very personal for most members in that community, especially when they've lived there for many generations. Over the years I demonstrated in many aspects, in terms of my concerns about direct democracy and the need for it from time to time, that when we venture down that path on any mechanism of direct democracy, it's an absolute imperative that we operate with complete due diligence to make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak to that matter. It does concern me to read a number of letters where people state that they did not have notice. If that is the case, the question comes to me, how many people really didn't know? How many people in those communities really did not know that this vote was happening and, as a result of that lack of knowledge, were disenfranchised of an opportunity to vote to that issue? That I'm having difficulty overcoming, I'll be very frank.
I'm not sure. I'm stilling mulling over in my mind what resolution we might have to this situation, but I have to tell you that it does concern me. It does concern me that you're talking a very low turnout in a vote; you're talking 1,607 people voting for the name of Kincardine and we have a petition for 1,100 names now opposing it.
There does seem to be a problem. I have some very serious reservations about it and I'd be interested to hear from my other colleagues.
Mr Agostino: I share the concerns of my colleague from Stoney Creek. There was a vote taken; I understand that. I guess I have concerns with the notification process that was used. If we're going to use the numbers to legitimize the process, I think we've got to ensure that the system is foolproof from the point of view of a notification process. The numbers may have been different; they may not have been different. However, the integrity of our democratic system-if we're going to use this, the rationale is that the numbers overwhelmingly point to one particular choice. Then I think we have to ensure that the system used to achieve that is within the keeping of our democratic system. Generally we never would run a provincial, municipal or federal campaign without a proper notification process, and we use those results, obviously, to determine how we govern ourselves locally, provincially or federally. So I have a problem with that.
I have a difficulty in the sense that the choice-maybe somebody can clarify if I'm wrong, but I understand that the name currently used, Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton, was not on the ballot. Is that correct? That was not one of the options given to people? That may have made a difference, in the sense that that may have been a good compromise position for all parties involved and may have been the majority number that would have come out of that. Because the numbers are so slanted in terms of population base, almost 75% or 80% in one particular area, it also would be a foregone conclusion from the point of view of protecting the minority in those townships that are clearly in the minority situation. I think we have somewhat of a responsibility to do that.
Chair, I would have a difficult time. I cannot, in good conscience, support the resolution that is here.
I have a suggestion-and it is a suggestion; I'm not sure how we could work around that-that we look at keeping the current name as it is until the next municipal election and then asking the township to consider a referendum question on the municipal ballot, putting "Kincardine" as one option and "Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton" as another option on that same ballot in a properly run municipal election. There would be a ballot question on that, there would be proper notification, and people would then have the full choice, which appears to be "Kincardine" or "Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton."
That, in my view, would make it much more democratic. That, in my view, could reflect much more, because it does give people the option of keeping the name that appears to combine the areas together. At that point, I think we would have to respect the democratic outcome at that decision. But it would at least level the playing field by an opportunity giving people the full ranges.
I certainly can't support what's in front of us today with this bill. I would like to see it go back with a properly processed way of voting and giving the people the options they have, of keeping the current name or moving to Kincardine as the name.
Mrs Claudette Boyer (Ottawa-Vanier): For the same reason as Mr Clark and Mr Agostino have suggested, I have reservations on voting today on this bill.
First of all, I was shocked when I read the letters from the opposition saying that the committee had added this name, which was not the first name. I have quite a lot of reservations about that. Along the way, we say that the township, the mayor there and council wanted to have a democratic process instead of giving a name and saying, "This is the name," but the way it's going, I find that there's a lot of contradiction. I still wonder if it was very democratic.
As far as communication was concerned, when there's a will there's a way. They should have ensured that everyone concerned had a written notice of the election.
I will not repeat what my two colleagues said. At this stage I don't think that I could vote in favour of this bill.
Mr Young: Madam Chair, before I speak, can I get clarification from you and perhaps legislative counsel and the clerk as to what we are being asked today? It's my understanding, as you had indicated earlier, I believe, Madam Chair, that we are being asked to either essentially approve this legislation and send it on to the next stage or reject it. Are those our options, or are there other options beyond that?
The Chair: I'll ask the clerk to elaborate or correct me if there's more to add. The question before us today-there's been a bill properly put before the Legislature, which has been found to be in order, which is for our consideration. The question that will be put to the committee is, shall the bill carry?
The committee has options. If the committee determines that the bill shall not carry at this point in time, the bill can be defeated. Or the committee has an option to defer consideration of the bill today to request further action to be taken. Perhaps the clerk could just add to that.
Clerk of the Committee (Ms Anne Stokes): Those would be the options available, and it's fully within the power of the committee to do what you will with the bill.
Mr Young: I appreciate that. I don't want to complicate what is already in many respects a particularly complicated situation. It is a difficult decision, and I understand both sides.
I understand the affinity and the connection that individuals, groups, parts of our province or our country have with names and it's not to be disrespected, but I do wish to point out that names continue well beyond legal amalgamations and alterations that occur from places like Queen's Park.
One example of it is-and it was very interesting reading the petition, because for me it meant one of two things as I went through it and asked some questions earlier. To me it meant either that there were a whole lot of signatures on this petition from people who had no connection with the subject municipality-and I'm told that's not likely the case, although we don't know for sure-so it was either that these are people from Port Elgin and Paisley and so on and so forth who have no connection, or alternatively, they are people who are in the subject municipality, which may well be the case, who continue to utilize names of smaller towns, townships and jurisdictions even though they don't necessarily find their respective names reflected in any of the proposals we've heard. We've heard no proposals, at least I haven't taken down any notes, that would suggest that names like Paisley would be included in there, and there is no Paisley adjacent or up or down. These have been amalgamated into other areas, yet they continue to use their names.
I also heard with interest-and it was very interesting, because I quite like hearing about the historical underpinning of things-about how the name Bruce in particular has continued to be used for generations and generations and how successful some organizations and corporations that utilize that name have been over the years.
There is no evidence and no information in front of us to suggest that continued use of the names Bruce or Tiverton would not be maintained by these organizations-Bruce nuclear plant and so on and so forth, the telephone exchange that was mentioned. I have some considerable level of optimism that these names, that are very important to some of the deponents who have come here today, will continue to be used, just as names in neighbouring towns that have been amalgamated into other municipalities continue to be used. There's no suggestion in front of us that there's going to be some revamping of these names or postal stations or anything along those lines.
It would be difficult, in my respectful opinion, for us to vote against this legislation, for two reasons. The first is that from what I've heard I believe there has been a bona fide attempt by the town's duly elected municipal officials to have a fair process. I'm not going to sit here and say they could not have done better. As a Monday morning quarterback I probably could dissect the process-I think my friends have done so; I have perhaps as well-and consider ways we might have been able to improve upon this process. We should aim for perfection, but simply because the process wasn't perfect doesn't mean the results of the process should be discarded.
It seems to me there was a bona fide attempt to go out and obtain the opinion of the residents through a referendum, for want of a better term. There was a reasonable attempt made to go out and advertise and inform individuals of this referendum, not perfectly, but the reality is that they did try. I think that information was there to be had and there was an opportunity for people to exercise their franchise and express their opinion in that manner.
In closing, let me say this. I am not overly swayed, although I certainly am impressed, by the number of names on the petition, for this reason. First of all, I'm not sure if all these people reside in the subject municipality, but I'm prepared to assume that most of them do. Second, if you compare the numbers, 1,600 and change who voted in favour of the name we're being asked to approve today as compared to about 1,100 on the petition, it seems to me that what we have here is a reiteration by the 1,100. Most of the 1,100 presumably went to the polls and voted against the name that's in front of us today: the municipality of Kincardine. In fact I guess there was closer to about 1,400 or more who actually cast a ballot contrary to the proposed name. But it seems to me that simply the fact that this has been reiterated by way of a petition shouldn't alter our decision-making process, and it's time to get it on with it, it would seem to me.
This particular municipality for numerous reasons has gone through a rather tumultuous period as part of this amalgamation. It's time to get on with it. I do not personally believe it's going to have any significant or adverse effect upon the lifestyle of the community if we approve of the legislation that's in front of us, and I, for one, will support the legislation.
Mr Coburn: I'd like to point out a few observations as I was listening to the comments made. Correct me if I'm wrong, anybody, but the request was made of Mr Murdoch to bring a private bill forward by the lawyer representing the council. That's correct? OK.
There are a couple of things here that are important. The council determined a process by which they could resolve this issue and they exceeded the requirements under the Municipal Act. It's a process that's very well known to us here in the democratic system to try and resolve situations, and they went beyond that.
The thing that puzzles me a little bit is that we went through a restructuring in this community. Certainly everybody, who would have been sitting on the edge of their chairs, I would think, as they were going through this restructuring, would know there would be a name change, given the background I've seen. They know there are going to be some other changes. To come up and say after the fact, "I wasn't aware something was going to happen," I think is that after the horse is out, we're going to try and close the barn door. This was something that happened in the community and had been ongoing for some time. I guess the onus has to go back on ratepayers to a certain degree, that you have a responsibility in your community to be aware of what is going on.
The council I think did its utmost in trying to inform residents that a decision was going to be taking place, in addition to the fact that, because of the legalities precluding the final date of restructuring, that didn't permit them to incorporate the name change at that time.
The other issue here is that this was not a binding election. The municipality had the ability to stop the process or to move ahead and request a private member's bill. That was the only avenue to make change. So I think the decision rested with the community. We have to have some regard for those who took the effort to come out and vote on the day designated.
When you get into name changes and restructuring, it tugs at the heartstrings and it pulls you in all different directions, but as my colleague Mr Young said, when the rubber hits the road, you've got to make a decision. All the processes were followed, and therefore I support the process and this bill.
The Chair: Any further discussion or debate? Seeing none, are the committee members ready to vote on this matter? OK.
Just for the information of those attending today, only members of the committee are eligible to vote. There are a couple of members of the Legislature in attendance here today who are not members of the committee, so they won't be voting. Also, the Chair, myself, I don't vote unless it's a tied vote, so don't let that happen, folks.
We have before us Bill Pr15, An Act to change the name of The Corporation of the Township of Kincardine-Bruce-Tiverton to The Corporation of the Municipality of Kincardine. We can move directly to voting. There have been no amendments put at this point in time-
Mr Clark: Can I ask for a five-minute recess, Madam Chair?
The Chair: We're not into the vote yet. You almost missed your opportunity. It is 25 minutes to 12. A five-minute recess. We will reconvene at 20 to.
The committee recessed from 1132 to 1139.
The Chair: I call the meeting back to order. May I ask committee members again, at this point are you ready to vote on this matter?
Mr Young: Absolutely, yes.
The Chair: There have been no amendments put or any indication that amendments are being put, so I'll begin with sections 1 through 4 of the bill, which is the entire bill, just for explanation to folks out there.
Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? Please put your hands up if you agree. Would all those in favour please indicate. Those opposed, please indicate. Sections 1 through 4 carry.
Shall the preamble carry? All those in favour, please indicate. Those opposed? Carried.
Shall the title carry? Those in favour? Those opposed? Carried.
Shall the bill carry? Those in favour? Those opposed? Carried.
Shall I report the bill to the House? Those in favour? Opposed? Carried.
Thank you very much. Bill Pr15 has passed through committee. It will be reported out this afternoon to the House. It will remain with the House. The House will deal with it in its own time and fashion.
Just for interested parties to know, this is close to coming to the end of this legislative sitting. I don't know whether that will be today or tomorrow and/or whether there will be any resumption of the House after Christmas. There has been no adjournment motion yet, so that's up in the air.
I can't actually give you notice at this point of when the matter will be dealt with, but you certainly can rest assured that we will report it back to the House and it will rest in the hands of the Legislative Assembly as of this afternoon.
Mr Magwood: Is there a process of notifying us of proclamation?
Clerk of the Committee: I will advise you when royal assent has been received.
The Chair: I appreciate all of your attendance here today and I thank you for taking the time.
REVIEW OF REGULATIONS REPORT
The Chair (Ms Lankin): Committee members, we have another item to deal with. The next item on the agenda is resumption of consideration of regulations report. If I may, the clerk has provided me with a brief summary of the role of the committee with respect to these matters, and particularly now that we're down to having asked legislative counsel to review these matters with ministries, we're down to two outstanding issues that are being brought back to us. It may be helpful if I share with you this summary. This is a new process to me and I found this helpful:
"The role of the committee with respect to regulations is stated in the standing orders. The committee is not to review the merits of the policy or objectives to be effected by the regulations or enabling statutes of any regulation. The committee is to examine the regulations with particular reference to the scope and method of the exercise of delegated legislative power within a framework of nine guidelines.
"The lawyers in the legislative research branch are tasked with the responsibility of doing the actual review and analysis of each and every regulation enacted and to produce a draft report for the committee's review.
"You have a copy of the draft report in front of you and are now being asked to consider it and make a report to the House.
"You will note that the legislative research officer has undertaken to contact the ministry in the case of any question regarding a regulation and that ministry has the opportunity to reply in each case. After examining the responses, the report comments upon 13 regulations and indicates that there are two outstanding issues that have not been resolved."
"This is your opportunity" as a committee now "to ask any questions of the research officer and to discuss the issues raised in the report. The report is in draft form and may be changed" by the committee in any way that we instruct. "What you are then going to be asked to do is to make a motion to adopt the report and report it to the House. You may present the report for the information of the House or ask the House to adopt it.
"Pursuant to standing order 32(d), the committee may also request that the government table a comprehensive response to the committee's report within 120 calendar days of the presentation of the report to the House."
If I just may add to that for committee information, in most cases, if we've come to a conclusion ourselves among the committee, the report will just be presented to the House. If we vote to present and move adoption, it's because we believe there's some reason there should be debate in the Legislature.
Pursuant to standing order 32, a request to the government for comprehensive response is most likely to arise in the circumstance where the information provided to us by legislative counsel leads us to believe that the ministry has not satisfied the concerns that this committee should be concerned with with respect to the regulation. The committee may feel it is not prepared to simply reject the regulation or report that back to the House for debate, and we want to provide the ministry and minister with an opportunity to give a full response. A range of options are available to the members of the committee.
I think what would be most helpful is if we ask legislative counsel to briefly outline the regulations in question. We'll do them one by one.
Mr Clark: Do we have the report?
The Chair: You have the report in front of you. This is the draft report. It covers the comments on all the regulations.
Today is the resumption of the discussion with respect to this. The full information was presented to the committee at the last meeting. There are two outstanding issues, although, if the committee would like a presentation on the full report, I'm going to suggest as a matter of expediency that we simply ask for an update on the information with respect to the two outstanding issues, because I think that's the bulk of what we have to deal with here today.
If I could ask committee members, I think you will find the two outstanding issues on pages 7 and 9 of your committee report. We will deal with them individually as matters. Could I ask legislative counsel to please provide us some information on the first matter, the regulation under the Ministry of the Attorney General?
Mr Andrew McNaught: First of all, I should point out that I'm not from legislative counsel. I'm from the Research and Information Services branch of the library. It's a common mistake. However, I'd be happy to have a salary review.
Anyway, as the Chair has mentioned, there are the two outstanding sections, and they deal with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance. I'll go over the two areas again.
The section on the Attorney General begins on page 6. That section deals with two regulations made under the Administration of Justice Act. These regulations set the fees payable by those who file a claim in Small Claims Court. For this purpose, the regulations distinguish between frequent claimants and infrequent claimants.
A frequent claimant is defined as someone who files a claim in a Small Claims Court office and has already filed at least 10 claims with the court in that calendar year. An infrequent claimant is simply someone who has filed fewer than 10 claims in that year. You will see from the table at the bottom of page 6 that the fees prescribed by the regulations are significantly higher for frequent claimants. We raised the concern with the ministry that the higher fees appear to penalize frequent claimants.
For example, we've indicated that for filing a claim, the fee is $50 for an infrequent claimant, whereas it's $120 for a frequent claimant, which is 140% higher. For fixing a trial date, an infrequent claimant pays $100 and a frequent claimant pays $130, which is a 30% higher fee. The fee for entering a default judgment is $35 for an infrequent claimant and $50 for a frequent claimant, which is 43% higher.
We raised the concern with the ministry that the higher fees appear to penalize frequent claimants and that this would constitute a violation of committee guideline number 6, which prohibits the imposition of a penalty by regulation. The ministry responded that infrequent users are usually individuals or small businesses, whereas frequent users are generally larger institutions. So on the basis that it would be fairer to ask large institutions to assume a greater share of the funding of the Small Claims Court program, the ministry decided to set higher fees for frequent users.
However, our view was that the committee's guidelines are concerned with the effect of a regulation rather than with the underlying policy, and since the effect of the higher fees for frequent users is to impose a penalty on such users of the Small Claims Court, the regulation violates the committee's guideline against the imposition of a penalty by regulation.
Do you want to deal with that issue now?
The Chair: Yes, I think we will.
Mr Young: As a point of order, I guess for want of a better way to interject, can I get a copy of what you read to us earlier about what our responsibilities are here? It's kind of clear as mud to me.
The Chair: We're just going to get the photocopies-
Mr Young: Because it will reflect what we ask and what we don't ask and ultimately how we vote.
The Chair: While we're waiting for that, let's take a run through this again and also ask the clerk to elaborate. In this example, whether or not you think it is a great policy in this case, as the ministry is suggesting, to have large corporations pay the lion's share of the cost of administration of this process of Small Claims Court and cross-subsidize, therefore, individuals and small business-whether or not you agree with that is not a matter for consideration by the members of this committee.
The question you are being asked to decide on is whether or not, as has been suggested by legislative library and research-have I got that right yet? The lawyer from the branch who advises our committee suggested that it violates the guideline in this case because it imposes a penalty through regulation, which the guidelines suggest should be done through legislative provisions, not through regulations under the legislation. Do we wish to do something about that? Do we agree that it is a violation of the guideline and do we wish to do something about that?
The options we have available-rather than me trying to run through them again, I'm going to ask the clerk just to set it out clearly in terms of what the committee can do in this circumstance.
Clerk of the Committee: Just to recap, there are nine guidelines-it's in the standing orders-in terms of the mandate of the committee. As the Chair has said, it's not to review the policy or the merits of a regulation. The nine guidelines are things like: the regulations should be in strict accord with the statute conferring of power; regulations should be expressed through precise and unambiguous language; they should not impose a fine, imprisonment or other penalty; regulations should not impose anything in the way of a tax. Those are the only guidelines this committee is empowered to review regulations by.
The people in the research branch are tasked with doing the actual review and analysis. Any regulation that is regulated is reviewed by them, and if there are any questions in terms of these guidelines, they contact the ministry and ask for a response. A report is then generated from those responses, and that's what we have now in front of us.
The Chair: And the options of the committee?
Clerk of the Committee: If the committee is satisfied with the responses from the ministries, then the committee would adopt the report and it's presented to the House. We could ask the House to adopt the report, which means it would then go on the order paper and it could be called for a debate at some future date. The committee could also actually place recommendations in the report, recommendations to the ministry to do whatever the committee feels the ministry should do. In that case, we would ask the House to adopt the report.
Mr Young: OK. That's great. Thank you.
The Chair: The committee also has the option of asking the ministry to provide a comprehensive response, which, if I could ask the clerk, might lead to what?
Clerk of the Committee: The government House leader would respond on behalf of the government, of the ministries, for a comprehensive response. If the response has already been received from the ministry and that is in the report, we could ask for further response and they would presumably elaborate on the response that was given previously.
The Chair: If I just may ask the clerk, in that situation, the committee may defer actually dealing with the report or the recommendation at this point in time? It might ask for that response and give consideration to this when a response is received?
Clerk of the Committee: The response would only be requested when the report is tabled in the House.
Mr Young: We would adopt and then ask for a response as part of its tabling?
Clerk of the Committee: We could, yes.
Mr Young: Then this committee wouldn't see the report again?
Clerk of the Committee: The report then would be tabled. The response would come back and would be circulated to the committee.
Mr Young: Would it be possible to ask for that response to be returned to this committee?
Clerk of the Committee: Yes.
Mr Young: Is there some concern about doing that, timelines or something?
Clerk of the Committee: The standing orders state that the response should be received within 120 days.
Mr Young: Of our request to them?
Clerk of the Committee: Yes. Of being tabled, I should say.
Mr Young: Madam Chair, I'm sorry to dominate this.
The Chair: No, this is fine. It's helpful to all of us.
Mr Young: If it was our decision today to ask for a response from the respective ministries to be returned to this committee, it's implicit that it has to be done within 120 days. Then we could have a discussion with the respective ministries here as well, at that return date? Am I on track or have I lost it somewhere?
Clerk of the Committee: The report would have been tabled at that point.
Mr Young: The report?
Clerk of the Committee: The report is tabled in the House, yes. But the committee could still leave those as outstanding issues and then we could present-with a response, then there could be another report that would be presented.
The Chair: If I could at this point-I hope it's helpful in clarification-our committee, in the end, is not being asked to pass or to approve the actual regulations. We're preparing a report based on the review. It's the report that we're looking to approve. So the report as it is drafted on these two issues, the one that we were talking about in particular, contains the concerns set out and contains our opinion that it is in violation of the guidelines.
That matter can be presented to the House. It can be presented to the House for adoption, which will allow some debate with respect to that. It can be presented to the House with recommendations to the ministry. It can be presented to the House with a request for a comprehensive response. And from what you've said, Mr Young, one other option at this point is that it could be presented with a request for a comprehensive response but without these matters included, and we could deal with them later. This is the range of options.
Mr Young: Thank you. That's very helpful.
The Chair: I think the one important thing for us to remember is that within the standing orders there are the nine guidelines, only the nine guidelines, and it is rare that we end up in a situation where one of them is being presented to us as being clearly in violation of those guidelines. It's a technical process that we're undergoing here and one that obviously we all take seriously in terms of this review.
Mr Clark: If it's tabled to the House, the response would be coming to the House then, correct, or back to the committee?
Clerk of the Committee: If we're requesting the response, it would come to the committee.
Mr Clark: It would come to the committee, but the report's already been tabled in the House.
Clerk of the Committee: The report is tabled with a request that a comprehensive response be made to the committee.
Mr Gill: To the research officer, when did this differential start? How long does it go back? Has it been long-lasting or did it just happen?
Mr McNaught: This looks like it was 1997.
Mr Gill: And prior to that everybody paid the same fee?
Mr Clark: It doesn't say that.
Mr McNaught: I don't know what existed before.
Mr Gill: OK. I know that's not what we're discussing.
Mr McNaught: I can certainly find that out.
The Chair: I'm sorry, I can't follow the side discussions. Can we keep things on the record here?
Mr Gill: I think we were all discussing things. We took the opportunity while you were discussing to discuss something among ourselves.
The Chair: I'm sorry. I thought you were-
Mr Gill: No. The question was basically, how long ago did this differential start? Not that we're discussing that, but I was just curious about how long ago that differential started.
The Chair: If I might, it's an interesting question but it is really irrelevant to the decision we have to make. If you want that answer, we can ask the legislative branch to get it, but I don't want us to confuse the discussion here.
Mr Gill: Sure.
The Chair: Again, I'm just asking questions just to understand clearly the role of the committee. If we are of the opinion that a regulation is in violation of one of the guidelines in the standing orders that governs the review conducted by our committee, it is our job to report it, or report it with a request for action, or report it with a request for information and response.
There isn't an opportunity for us to fix the problem that we may see here at this committee. That rests for others. By and large, it could be done voluntarily by a ministry if a recommendation has been made by the committee; they may or may not take it into consideration and act on it. In the response, if you've asked the ministry to respond and it has to come through government ministers at that point in time and the House leader, the government may decide to take some action-the political government, I'm saying-in response to seeing the concern of the committee.
An individual member who might read the committee reports might decide through their caucus process to pursue it in the Legislature in all the variety of ways that are there, like motions or whatever.
But it's not up to this committee to actually fix a problem if we see it. It's up to us to take appropriate action with respect to reporting and/or reporting with more information.
Mr Clark: I'm getting the distinct impression that really there are two options for us here. We can take the entire report and table it to the House, asking for additional information, or report on the two outstanding items, or table the report without those two items and ask for information. What would the difference be to that?
Clerk of the Committee: The report is in draft form right now and any changes can be made to it. The report would go forward to the table. Say we've made no changes to it; the report would go forward as it is. The options are that the report would be tabled and you could ask for a comprehensive response from the ministry and they would respond to the report as a whole. There are other comments that are made, but basically these are the two outstanding ones, that there has been some disagreement or difference of interpretation between the research branch and the ministry. The letter would come through the government House leader to the committee. So it would be that the whole report is tabled and the whole report is commented on or responded to.
Mr Clark: Then we could as a committee take these two items out of the draft report, table the report that we don't have difficulties with and ask for further comments from the ministries in question regarding the two outstanding items?
Clerk of the Committee: There has been correspondence already between the research branch and the ministries, and the result is that-
Mr Clark: We're at loggerheads.
Clerk of the Committee: We're at loggerheads, basically. The difference is that you're bringing it to the attention of the House and it's up to the House to decide what to do.
Mr Clark: In essence, we're at an impasse on these two items as a committee and they should go to the House to be dealt with.
The Chair: Again, there is a range of options there. You can simply present it to the House. You can present it and ask for adoption, which means that you are specifically putting it in the realm of suggesting that it go into debate in the House. That is a large step for the committee to make, just to be fair in understanding the process. The other option that's available to the committee is to amend the report in such a way that we as a committee make a request of the ministry to make amendments to the regulation to bring it into compliance with the guideline that we think they're violating. They don't have to do that, but then it's there in the record and we present that to the House. Again, our job would be done and it remains with members of the Legislative Assembly to take any further action they deem fit or not at that point in time. Am I correct?
Mr McNaught: I just wanted to point out that I think this goes to something Mr Young was raising earlier, that the committee could, if it wanted, call ministry officials to come before the committee to explain their position. I think that could be done at any point; it doesn't have to be done after the report is tabled.
The Chair: I'm going to try and move us along here. Let me get a sense from committee members. On this particular regulation, do you share the concern that has been put forward in the draft report at this point in time? Can I just get nods whether there's general agreement?
Mr Young: I don't know if it lends itself to a nod, Madam Chair. I do, on a preliminary basis, have some concerns. I understand the concerns. I also have some understanding of the response that's contained in the paragraph from the ministry, and I would like, if possible, to have a representative from the ministry here to hopefully better explain and answer our questions about whether or not this isn't, in their view, a penalty. Obviously, they'll say otherwise, in view of their earlier comments.
I don't know if it's appropriate to move or not, but I would like to send the report on to the next stage, with the exception of the two controversial aspects of it, which I would like to have returned to this committee within the 120-day period, together with representations from the respective ministries. Is that doable?
The Chair: That would be entirely in order and doable.
Mr Young: That's just my opinion. I'll put that on the floor if that helps.
The Chair: The intent of that motion would be to forward this report. We would, by your motion, be amending the report to delete these two regulations but within our report include a request to the ministry for a comprehensive response on each of these regulations and a request to the ministry to send representatives to our committee, after we've received the comprehensive response, to answer questions we may have.
Mr Young: Quite so.
The Chair: If I may-and again, I'm attempting to help here-
Mr Young: You are.
The Chair: For the record, it would be helpful if we just had the item in dispute, the second regulation, put on the record by legislative research.
Mr McNaught: That sections begins at the bottom of page 7 of the draft report. This section deals with two regulations again. These are made under the Fuel Tax Act and the Gasoline Tax Act. They provide for the implementation of the international fuel tax agreement. These regulations were filed on January 24, 1997, but were deemed to come into force on January 1, 1997, so in other words, to have retroactive effect.
Committee guideline 4 provides that regulations should not have retroactive effect unless clearly authorized by statute. In some provisions of the Gasoline Tax Act and the Fuel Tax Act there is authority to make regulations that have retroactive effect. However, we were unable to find this authority in the particular sections under which the two regulations in question were made.
The ministry's explanation appears to be that because there is authority in other sections of these statutes to make retroactive regulations, this should be interpreted as sufficient authority for any regulation made under these two acts to be retroactive.
Again, we set out the legal principles applicable to analyzing this kind of legislation. You will see that at the bottom of page 8 and on to page 9. But based on these principles, it's our view that in order for a regulation to have retroactive effect, there must be specific authority in the section under which that regulation was made. As we could not find that authority, we identified them as potential violations of the committee's guideline on retroactivity.
The Chair: We have a motion before us by Mr Young. That motion would see the draft report in front of us amended by deleting the recommendation on the two outstanding issues in dispute and substituting a request on those two items for a comprehensive response from the respective ministries and that, upon receipt of those responses, the ministries be invited to attend at this committee to answer questions from committee members. The matters then could be dealt with and a report following that to the legislative counsel. Correct, Mr Young?
Mr Young: Yes.
The Chair: Is there any debate or discussion of that motion? None? May I ask all those in favour? That's unanimous.
Is there any other matter to be brought to the committee?
Thank you. We're adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1212.