Mr. Cousens: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Out of the last day’s session on Wednesday afternoon, there were two instances concerning the Speaker -- who is normally a very fair, balanced, kind and generous person -- about which I would like to take exception and bring to the House’s attention two concerns I have that arose in Wednesday afternoon’s session.
The first has to do with a supplementary question that I had for the Minister of Health (Mrs. Caplan). The Speaker, before I was finished asking the supplementary, said: “You have had 60 seconds to lead up to it. Would you place the question now?”
I would like to ask the Speaker whether it is his considered opinion that in the future all questions should take no longer than 60 seconds to ask and, if that is the case, is it true that no answers should take longer than 60 seconds before the answer is given? I think if you look at the timing of the first question I asked that afternoon, it was a very short question. Then I did take some time to make some points.
I would also like to table with the Speaker that the minister, in answering the question, spent an awful long time and never did answer either the first question or the supplementary. That is my first point that I raise to you, and I do it in respect and ask if, in fact, there is a new basis for your considered opinion on how you are going to be timing questions and answers.
The second point that I would like to make on a point of order -- and I think it has to do with no sense of persecution on the day before we took our Christmas break -- is that the honourable Speaker, when bringing members to order, was very quick to bring the member for Markham to order, but may I suggest with all due respect that the Speaker was not as quick to bring members of the governing party to order.
I would like to know, Mr. Speaker, whether it is your intention to be equal to all members of the House or whether you have some special basis for having a shorter fuse for those who are of another party. I do not mean that with any disrespect, but I am concerned that the Speaker and the other Speakers are not being consistent in applying fairness to all members of this House.
However, with regard to the timing of questions and responses, I can show the honourable member that I have done that ever since I was Speaker. I feel very strongly that any questions and responses that take the time of a member’s statement are more in line with a statement rather than a question. Therefore, I try on all occasions to bring members back to their question or to their response in a reasonable time.
As far as the quick fuse the member mentioned is concerned, I am not certain whether there was a problem there. However, I do recall calling the member to order because of the volume there was in the interjection. I would draw to all members’ attention that one of the standing orders says that interjections are out of order and members should speak only when recognized by the Speaker.
The gentleman to whom I refer is Robert Carmichael, who is the creator of the loon design for the new dollar coin, known popularly as the loonie. Mr. Carmichael has gained a great and deserved reputation as a landscape and portrait painter around the area and throughout Ontario and is now certainly developing a national reputation.
He is bringing a great deal of notice to his local area. His contribution to the arts scene in our area and across Ontario and Canada is a very important one. The people of Echo Bay and Sylvan Valley certainly appreciate the fact that his success and the recognition it has gained him is also gaining recognition for his own local area, the very beautiful Algoma district, which is the setting for the painting that led to the design of the loon on the dollar coin.
This weekend was also significant for the Premier because on Sunday Lorrie Goldstein announced the results of voting by members of the Queen’s Park press gallery in a year-end survey. A majority of reporters picked the Premier as almost certain to run for the federal Liberal leadership in the future.
First of all, we have a road map of Canada, which I am sure the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. Kwinter) will find interesting since it shows him there are in fact nine provinces other than Ontario.
Third, there is a special booklet that lists all the Premier’s clear and decisive statements on tree trade. Naturally, all the pages are blank. If you flip it over, it also serves as an effective document. It lists all the legislation passed since the election on September 10. Again, in both official languages, it is blank.
Mr. Dietsch: The third party, the Conservative Party, has spent many hours in these chambers espousing the views of the free trade agreement, trying to tell this House that the agricultural aspects of the grape and wine industry will be protected.
What about the grape and wine industry? Wine, sure. Some of our estate wineries will survive because of the excellent product they produce. Despite the Conservatives’ efforts to trade this industry away, the estate wineries currently buy approximately five per cent of the 40,000 tons of grapes produced: 2,000 tons, which produce 10 million gallons. Compare that 10 million gallons with the 330 million gallons that Gallo alone produces: 10 million to 330 million.
The commercial wineries have already said they will become bottling plants for American imported juice. What about the grape growers who supply these wineries? Convert to other crops, you say? Most grape soil will not grow other crops. The growers need specific considerations for the transfer of grape acreages. The farming professionals are proud people. They only want to be treated equally.
Mr. Allen: Earlier this year I raised a question in the House about the air quality in the so-called open-concept SEF schools built in Toronto in the 1960s. The closed air-circulation system appeared to issue in headaches, poor attention spans, high absenteeism and nausea among children, and a similar phenomenon consequently leading to a high turnover among staff.
Now the chairman of the York Region Roman Catholic Separate School Board reports similar symptoms showing up in portables and portapacks installed to cope with high, overflowing student numbers. Tests to date have not pinpointed all the reasons for unacceptably high levels of carbon dioxide and other toxins, possibly traceable to floor cleaners, paints, glues, and so on, used in schools.
With the large numbers of children in such facilities across the province, it is surely time for the Ministry of Education to undertake a study of air quality in schools, particularly those with an enclosed air exchange system of ventilation. The time to do such a study is in these winter months when those operating the buildings are most tempted to avoid increasing heating hills by constant recirculation of internal air without sufficient refreshment from outside air.
Such an elementary study could be of great benefit, not only to the learning environment in our schools and the consequent advancement of students but also to the health of the students and the teachers alike.
Mr. Harris: Recently, it was reported that the Minister of Health (Mrs. Caplan) had ordered an investigation of five Cambridge-area doctors who propose to purchase and maintain, with their own money, a carbon dioxide laser to perform surgery for cervical lesions. The doctors want to charge a fee to cover maintenance costs of the equipment.
This opens up a number of questions: What should be investigated is why doctors have to purchase the equipment themselves. Why do they or their patients have to cover the maintenance costs? With Bill 94, is this another example of deterioration in services that many predicted? If the government is going to ban all so-called extra billing, surely it has an obligation to provide the necessary equipment and services for doctors to practice their trade.
This action also begs another serious question of this government’s priorities. They have a full investigation into five gynaecologists who want to save lives, but what about Drs. Morgentaler and Scott? Is there any investigation of what they charge for an abortion at the clinic the government allows them to operate illegally in Toronto? It is more than the Ontario health insurance plan rate. Yet is Dr. Morgentaler or Dr. Scott being investigated for extra billing under Bill 94? What amounts has Dr. Morgentaler billed OHIP for what services since this Liberal government gave him an OHIP number for practice in Ontario? Why is it that the only two doctors in Ontario who are allowed to extra bill by the Liberals are Dr. Scott and Dr. Morgentaler?
Mr. Daigeler: For the record of Hansard, I am proud to announce that Nepean, the city I represent in this House, has been named one of the 10 best places to live in Canada by Chatelaine, one of the leading national women’s magazines. Our city of 100,000 people was awarded top marks in the January issue of Chatelaine for being an organized, clean, safe, and sports- and family-oriented place.
As the magazine says, Nepean is close to major museums and the National Gallery, the Gatineau Park and Ottawa’s superb medical centres. Our sports and recreational facilities are unrivalled, real estate is reasonable, the business sector is booming and there is little unemployment, Chatelaine reports. I am pleased to confirm this report.
This enviable position is due to the far-sighted planning of our past and present city administration. It is also a credit to the many volunteer and business groups that make our city a vibrant community. I invite the members of this House to join me in congratulating Nepean on this national recognition.
First, this government said it had a veto but did not want to exercise it until it saw the terms of the final agreement. Then they set out some conditions that said there would not be any agreement if those conditions were not met. Then they saw the draft of the agreement and said they could not do anything until saw the final draft. When they saw the final drain, they said that now they cannot do anything until they legislate to implement it.
Hon. Mr. Riddell: It gives me great pleasure to inform the House of an important occasion in the history of the government of Ontario. Beginning January I of the coming year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will be celebrating its 100th anniversary of service to the agriculture and food industry in Ontario.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food was established as a separate government department, the Department of Agriculture, in 1888. The provincial government encouraged agriculture from the very early years. For example, legislation in the 1830s granted financial support to agricultural societies and their annual fairs. But it was not until a commission was established in 1880 to look at the state of food production in the province that the importance of the agricultural industry was fully recognized.
Agriculture was separated from other branches of government activity in 1888 and made the sole responsibility of one minister. In that year, Ontario was largely rural, with two thirds of the population engaged directly in farming. Today, farmers represent only three per cent of the population. Since that time, agriculture has moved from a labour-intensive activity that fed some two million Ontarians to today’s highly technical business that feeds nine million of us and exports products to feed people in scores of other countries.
During 1988, we in the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food salute the thousands of men and women of yesterday and today who work to bring us life’s most essential element, our food. In keeping with this theme, I will be making a series of announcements in the next few weeks pertaining to my ministry’s tribute to the agriculture and food industry and its accomplishments in the past 100 years.
Mr. Wildman: On behalf of our party, I would like to join with the minister in congratulating the former and present staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for the work they have done on behalf of the agriculture and food industry in this province. But I think it would be a far more appropriate way of celebrating the 100th anniversary of that ministry if this government were to change the situation which now has Ontario as the last of all provincial jurisdictions in terms of funding, on a percentage basis of its budget, for agriculture.
That is a terrible situation to be in when you also consider that so many farmers in this province are facing a debt crisis that is not being properly responded to by either the Ontario government or the federal government. It is not enough for this minister to say in this House that we need a national plan and that this government is prepared to co-operate with the federal government.
It is time this government took the same approach as other provincial jurisdictions on behalf of the farmers to help them in the current financial crisis that they face, rather than wait for the federal government to act. It would be a far more appropriate way of celebrating 100 years of working for agriculture in this province if we dealt with the problems that the farmers are facing today in Ontario rather than simply have a lot of fluff.
However, I have statistics here from the Farm Credit Corp. that show, for instance, the reduction in farm land values over the last three years, since 1985, and I believe there was a change in government in this province in 1985.
In southwestern Ontario, for instance, there was a reduction in farm land values of 12 per cent in 1985, 24 per cent in 1986 and 46 per cent in 1987. In northern Ontario there was a two per cent reduction in 1985, a 15 per cent reduction in 1986 and a 21 per cent reduction in 1987, and I could go on and on.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) mentioned that only three per cent of the population are producers. That is right, and under the kind of leadership that seems to be coming from this government, it may be down to one per cent in the not-too-distant future.
The federal government pumped in $1 billion last year and $1.1 billion this year to assist agriculture. The wine growers, for instance, whom the member over here often talks about, are a provincial jurisdiction. This government sits here and negates a free trade agreement as opposed to, as the minister would like to say, grabbing the bull by the horns and making something happen to assist those grape producers here in Ontario.
This government promised to double the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. What has happened over two years? It has increased it by less than half of one per cent of the provincial budget.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: As many members will know, or as probably all members know, on Christmas Day, Jenny Green, a young woman from Toronto, was killed in Nicaragua in a very unfortunate accident. I wanted to say a few words about her both because of my own connections with Nicaragua and because members of this House have travelled there and have felt a little bit of the insecurity that one feels when one is travelling in a Third World country that is in the middle of a lot of violence.
Jenny was a young idealist, active politically here in Toronto as well as internationally, and I think she understood well what I hope many members of this House will understand: the connections that are naturally there between struggles of people for liberation in places like Nicaragua and the struggle to maintain democracy vibrantly in a country like Canada.
She went probably not with the total blessings of her family because, as I know and as anybody else who has been there knows, there are always misgivings before you go and you know that there is always the danger of a surprise attack, a land mine or something like this; but you do not expect there to be an accident of the sort that took Jenny’s life. I am sure this made this Christmas a devastating one for the Green family.
I want to say that no matter how you prepare yourself for a Third World experience, especially when there is strife in the area, you can never be totally prepared. It is ironic that five days before Christmas I happened to see pictures of Jenny as a member of an electrical brigade which a dear friend of mine was on just the week before. He was showing me the work she had done wiring a schoolhouse so that kids could get shops and other kinds of things we take for granted up here. It was very sad to me to then pick up the paper the day after Christmas and realize she was dead.
On behalf of my party, with which she had some connection locally, I would like to pass on words of consolation as deeply as I can to the family and to all her friends and to say that she understood the risks, as we all did who went there, and her beliefs were strong. I hope her memory will be strong for all of us as well.
Mr. Jackson: Our party certainly wishes to join in the statements just made on behalf of the Green family in expressing condolences at the loss of Jenny and her work. Obviously, her life is a story of a mixture of action and idealism that she felt so strongly that it moved her to go to Nicaragua.
The work that she did is of course a very Canadian and particularly an Ontarian attribute. I am very much mindful of other great Ontarians such as Norman Bethune, whose idealism moved him to go to China, and Lester Pearson with his work in the Middle East, and in no way do we wish to diminish the efforts of one Jenny Green with her work with the peace brigade in Nicaragua.
The circumstances of her death are still quite unclear, but the purpose of her life is very clear. She saw herself in service to mankind, and that was probably the last thought she had on Christmas Day. We join all members of this House in expressing deep sorrow at the loss of this Canadian in her work in Nicaragua.
Hon. Mrs. Smith: Thanks to the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston), I had the opportunity to visit Nicaragua with him and to see there so much idealism and so much hope about what people in poverty can do to take over their own lives to try to reach out for new existence. But I also saw in Nicaragua amazing numbers of people, church groups and countries that were helping them, that were reaching back to Nicaragua and saying, “We know what you want to do and we will help you do it.” We saw cattle farms and we saw electrical plants, both of them contributed in a large part by Canada.
We saw as well many individual people. I know the member for Scarborough West went with a group of teachers and built a school at the battleground end of things, where they indeed took their own lives in their hands. They represent what I understand about all our compassion for the whole situation, and therefore for this particular person, whom I did not have the honour to meet, but I know she represents what so many have done and what I hope we will continue to do to see democracy come about in Central America.
Mr. Speaker: On behalf of all members of the Legislative Assembly, I will make certain when Hansard is printed that a copy is forwarded to the Green family so that your words of sympathy are received by them.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have a question of the Premier. The Premier will be aware of the Christmas present received over the weekend by better than 1,300 workers at Firestone in Hamilton. On January 15, 1988, it is, “Goodbye, it’s been nice knowing you.”
The Premier may also be aware that Cooper Tire and Rubber is reputed to have said all bets are off and the deal is finished because it cannot get enough government assistance to make it worth its while. Others of us have had real reservations from the beginning about the seriousness of the negotiations by Firestone.
Will the Premier now make public all the facts relating to this situation, what the various parties were asking for, what the bottom-line differences were and what the government was prepared to commit itself to in these negotiations?
As the honourable member would be aware, the negotiations were going on, I believe, in the order of nine months, at least in that rough period of time, trying to salvage the Firestone situation. The province has been intimately involved in those discussions, as have the federal government and the union.
The negotiations were with Cooper Tire, and I have no problem in sharing with my honourable friend the offer that was made from the province. It was a 20-year, interest-free, $30-million loan with a graduated repayment schedule commencing through years nine to 20. The federal duty-remission assistance was estimated at $6 million. A federal training grant of $6.75 million and the forgiveness of $13.5 million outstanding under the industry and labour adjustment program gave a total of some $56 million. The intention of that -- and my honourable friend would be aware -- was to build a world-class, competitive plant in that Firestone facility.
To the best of my knowledge, it was not a lack of federal or provincial assistance that was the determining factor in Cooper’s not going ahead. My honourable friend, as I said, will be aware that we have had many, many discussions. Perhaps I was mistaken, but I was one of those who was optimistic that we could salvage the situation. I do not believe it was because the provincial government was not there in a constructive and thoughtful way that this deal did not go ahead.
How can the Premier justify the cruel hoax that has been played on these workers who for almost nine months have been kept waiting, hoping against hope that there might be a reprieve for their jobs? As he knows, the negotiations, as far as the workers were concerned, were in secret. They were not privy to the information during the course of the negotiations. They had to request a number of meetings to try to find out exactly what was going on.
This is not how it should have been. Will the Premier now agree with me that all of this could have been avoided if we had in place in Ontario legislation requiring justification of plant closures before a public audit board?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: No. I say to my honourable friend I am not sure that would solve the problem in any way. There were ongoing discussions between all the parties; with the union as well, as my honourable friend knows.
I do not believe the reason Cooper did not proceed was a lack of government assistance. I do not believe that was the issue. It was not as if there were an offer of $56 million and they wanted $70 million or $80 million. That was not the issue at hand.
They looked at all the factors. There were many discussions ongoing with the union leadership, as my honourable friend will know, and he will be aware of some of those discussions. Unfortunately, all the pieces were not able to be put in place. I can assure my honourable friend that I am just as sad as he is. I believe, though, that the government did everything that was possible in the circumstances to try to effect a resolution.
Mr. Mackenzie: When is the Premier prepared to live up to his promise to provide legislation requiring justification of plant closures in Ontario? That has been a promise for two and a half years now. Or does he just intend to continue with the current ad hockery on a crisis-by-crisis basis in terms of plant closures? Are there any of his promises that we can expect to be lived up to?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: My honourable friend will be aware that we announced not too long ago the creation of an industrial restructuring commission. There is massive change going on in the marketplace, as my honourable friend will be aware. It will be dramatically exacerbated, in our view, if a free trade agreement comes about. We are trying to take a constructive role, as we did in this case.
I say to my friend, we knew about it, he knew about it. We were there from the beginning. I think we played a constructive role. I say to him as frankly as I can that we cannot prevent these things from happening if they are ultimately going to happen. I do not honestly believe that any review board, any Star Chamber, any appeal court could prevent this kind of thing from happening. But I do believe in many circumstances the government can play a constructive role in bringing parties together and looking at alternatives.
We were almost there with the Cooper situation. I am sad it did not come around, but we have many other industries that will need help to be competitive internationally, and we intend to play as constructive a role as we possibly can.
The Solicitor General was reported in the media recently as saying that she believed this past Sunday’s shopping frenzy meant that wide-open Sundays were inevitable. If this one-day experience is enough to convince the Solicitor General that this is the ultimate outcome of the government’s new policy of dumping this policy-making power on the municipalities, could the minister confirm that it was always the government’s intention to have wide-open Sundays and that she simply did not want to take the responsibility for it and so dumped it to the municipalities instead?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: I would be happy to say that I want, as much as possible, to discuss with the municipalities and with the people there what their options are and to keep those options as open as possible for them so that they indeed may have that opportunity to control their own situation. That has been the government’s policy and continues to be so.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: The minister knows that is impossible. Due to the incompetence of her government in ordering the business of this place, later this week we may be considering Bill 51, legislation that will create three classes of worker in the province: retail workers in stores that fall within the guidelines of the Retail Business Holidays Act; retail workers in stores that do not meet the guidelines in the act, and nonretail workers.
Obviously, it is because of incompetence that she has not been able to pass Bill 51, but I would like to ask the minister: When this becomes legislation and she brings in her new legislation next spring that dumps this whole matter on municipalities, who is going to offer protection for workers in this province if they do want a common pause day? How is that protection going to be built in? Is that also going to be dumped on the municipalities?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: The member should well understand that Bill 51 deals with stores that are breaking the law. Municipalities will have the power to write their own laws. I would assume that under any new legislation written in by a municipality, if it so elects to make a law that says it will not open, then Bill 51 would come into effect; it simply says that if it is against the law for you to open, you cannot require someone to work there against the law.
Mr. Reville: The Solicitor General was quoted in the Toronto Star on December 24 as agreeing that the loophole in the Sunday shopping law had created chaos and that she was doing all she could to straighten it out. Do her current comments begin to clear up the confusion -- that municipalities are going to hold referenda perhaps and they might want to do that some time in November, when I believe their elections are going to be -- and assuming that a municipality decides on the basis of a referendum that it is going to open or close, does that not indicate to the Solicitor General that this confusion is going to go on for at least another year?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: I hope that everybody in this House can straighten out in their minds what is very difficult for people outside the House to figure out. We have two separate situations. We have a situation that existed strictly this weekend because of a once-in-seven-years cycle that was discovered by some fancy lawyer in Cadillac Fairview’s back office. That is one situation.
We have another situation, which is that the province is going to bring in new legislation to do with Sunday shopping. We will have it in long before seven years from now, so we will not have another weekend like this one where people cannot separate the two things.
Mr. Brandt: I too would like to join the House leader for the official opposition in wishing the government the very best at this festive holiday season. I certainly hope that Santa Claus has brought it everything it had coming to it.
I have a question for the Premier with respect to comments the Premier has made in regard to free trade. The Premier has indicated time and again that the debate on the free trade issue is perhaps the most important debate that will occur in the province and in the nation for some long time to come.
In respect of that, the Premier will be aware that perhaps the only cabinet minister of his government who has spoken in regard to free trade has been the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. Kwinter), who spoke very briefly on the trade issue at the time he introduced his ill-thought-out resolution. Further to that, the total amount of time that I can determine that the government has spoken on this issue is about 30 minutes in all throughout the entire debate.
Could the Premier perhaps indicate to this House when we will be hearing from the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell), who I know is very anxious to speak on this topic, the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms. Munro), the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and the Minister of Energy (Mr. Wong)? When will those ministers be speaking on the issue of free trade during the course of this debate?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: First of all, let me thank my honourable friend for the generosity of his Christmas greetings and tell him, on behalf of my colleagues, that we all had wonderful Christmases but we all so thoroughly enjoy the honourable member’s company we do not mind spending part of the festive season with him. We all know how lonely the member is and we want to be here to try to assist my honourable friend.
My honourable friend raises the question that he would like to hear more speeches from my colleagues on the issue of trade. I thank the honourable member for that idea, because they are thoughtful speeches that my friends have made. As he knows, my colleagues have spoken very widely on this issue of importance.
We wanted to be here yesterday -- actually, they were all scheduled to speak yesterday, because one of the things that my colleagues have learned is a certain cogency of intellect, a certain precision of thought. They are able to apply their highly trained minds to these questions and do not necessarily take two and three and four days to make the same point. We were all ready to go, but out of a sense of charity at this time of the year, it was agreed that we would defer to the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), who had such a worthwhile contribution to make when he was here that couple of days this month.
So I say to my honourable friend I think it is important that we have this debate, and I encourage him and I encourage all others to stand up and share their views on this issue. I think that he will see in this government no reluctance to express our points of view as we have in the past and will do in the future.
Mr. Brandt: That is a very charitable answer to what I thought was a very specific question related to when the ministers were going to speak. Had you indicated, Mr. Speaker, that the ministers wanted to speak yesterday, I would have made a point of being here. I cannot wait to hear what the Minister of Agriculture and Food and others have to say about this matter and I would like to hear it said here in the House where it can be recorded somewhat accurately.
However, in regard to a statement made by the Minister of Culture and Communications in this House in which she indicated, on December 17, “My briefing notes indicate that the cultural industries are not in as much jeopardy as we had originally felt,” would it be possible for us to ask the Premier and through him his minister when we can anticipate hearing from that minister in this House and when that minister will be sharing with the other members of this great assembly her briefing notes or her background material relative to that question?
Her response to a question raised by one of my colleagues -- I believe the member for Mississauga South (Mrs. Marland) -- would indicate that in that particular instance, culture is not as badly jeopardized as the Premier would have the people of Ontario believe. When will we hear from the minister? When will we get the background papers?
My honourable friend feels this is the only place where there can be accurate transcription of what we say. I have far more faith in the press than my honourable friend does. I do not think he should launch this vicious attack on the accuracy of the press, who report daily on the things that my colleagues say about agriculture, about the effects on industry, the effects on culture and a whole wide range of activity here.
My honourable friend, I am sure, does not lack the temerity to stand up and ask the honourable minister her views on the cultural questions. As he knows, there were some changes in the final text, particularly with respect to postal rates. I gather that was one of the last-minute negotiations that was traded for a binational panel or pulling transportation off the table. It was part of the last-minute fiddling around with the text.
I am not one of those many others who felt we were going to lose our great cultural identity particularly out of this deal. The question of sovereignty is far more profound than that: the question of economic sovereignty, the question of our capacity as a nation to make our own decisions about the things that affect our own future. That is what I believe the issue is all about, and I want to share that with my honourable friend.
Mr. Brandt: In terms of getting some accuracy from this government with respect to the impact of this proposed trade agreement, I look with interest upon the time when the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology released a report which indicated that the north would in fact benefit in terms of direct job creation as a result of a trade agreement with the United States.
I also recall the Premier’s statement, which was a headline in one of the northern Ontario newspapers, saying the north will get nothing out of a trade deal. Either his minister’s statement is wrong in the report that he released or the Premier’s statement is wrong.
When will we get an opportunity to hear from the Minister of Northern Development (Mr. Fontaine) with respect to his position on what the impact of free trade is going to be on the constituents he is supposed to serve? The question is, when will the minister --
Mr. Brandt: -- but I ask the Premier, other than the musings, the mumblings that we cannot understand over here in the House from the minister, when can we in fact get some straight answer from the minister with respect to the impact of free trade on northern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Let me just go back and try to take seriously this question from my honourable friend. This government has a very strong view about the benefits of this trade agreement from two points of view. Number one is that we make a good deal, and we do not believe that we made a good deal. In other words, we gave away more than we got as a nation. Number two, we believe it is going to have effects on this country over the next five, 10 and 20 years that a lot of us will not like to behold at that point in time.
Those are judgements, frankly, that no one -- I admit this -- can make with absolute certainty now, but I think it is a question that people apply their values, their judgement, their wisdom and their political philosophies to and draw certain conclusions. Just as you have every right to do that, this government has done that as well.
We have tried to conduct this debate in as intellectually honest a way as possible. We are not cooking the numbers. We are not trying to say there are not winners as well as losers. We are sharing all the information as best we possibly can, and then we are, as a responsible government, drawing our own conclusions. We believe the automotive industry loses. We believe there are a number of others. The food processing industry will be a big loser, and as a result of that, agriculture as well.
We do not believe we have achieved the big gains for the resource industries that others believe we have achieved, because we have not achieved secure access. My friend will recall that the primary reason for going into this discussion with the United States was to achieve secure access for our goods, particularly resource-based industries, in the United States. We have not achieved that, in our view, so for all of --
Mr. Brandt: My question is to the Solicitor General, and it is with respect to two quoted comments that have appeared in yesterday’s paper and that of the day before, relative to this long, ongoing problem of the Sunday shopping question.
The Solicitor General indicated that there was “chaos” with respect to the enforcement of the Retail Business Holidays Act. She also went on to say that the government had “lost control” of the Sunday shopping issue. I wonder if the minister could confirm the accuracy of those statements and indicate what she intends to do, in co-operation, of course, with the Attorney General (Mr. Scott), to try to bring about some damage control on this issue.
Hon. Mrs. Smith: As I have already said, the situation that existed came about through a loophole in the law that is now a thing of the past. Before this loophole occurs again, which will be in seven years, the law will be different and we will have no problem. The confusion that exists is not a confusion in the shopping place so much as a confusion of people’s thinking in trying to understand the distinction.
Mr. Brandt: Speaking about shopping on Sunday, the minister said, “If charges are laid, then we would probably go ahead under the act.” A spokesperson for the Solicitor General’s ministry said that stores opening on December 26 “should be charged because it is strictly illegal.” Then today we read that the Solicitor General admitted that charges laid this past weekend will be difficult to prosecute because of the confusion created by the government. What is her response to that?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: I once again reiterate that the confusion is not because of the government. it is because of a loophole that was found in a law that exists only this year which was not discovered until too late to correct the loophole and which did indeed create a problem.
Mr. Brandt: The minister does not seem to realize that the problems she has created with respect to this question not only involve police forces and retail stores but also involve the people who are going to have to work in those stores.
I would bring to the attention of the minister and of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) a full-page ad that appeared in the London Free Press from one of her constituents. If I might just very briefly, Mr. Speaker, it reads:
“We urge you to stand strongly behind your original legislation. Do not pass the buck. While we value our customers immensely, we think that they would agree with us. On Sundays, it is more important to be with our families than in our stores.”
Will this minister, responding to the signatures of literally dozens upon dozens of constituents in the minister’s municipality and from a business that has been in operation in London for some 110 years, which is taking a very firm stance on this question, indicate to the people of Ontario whether she and her government are prepared to do anything to reduce the incidence or stop the incidence of openings on Sunday, which the Premier agreed to do in August 1987 just prior to the election and which this government has now simply passed on to the municipalities? Is the minister prepared to do anything other than to create more chaos and more confusion and continue to pass the buck?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: I recognize, as I think the member for Sarnia must recognize too, that the tourist exemption that was in the law we had could not hold its place in law, because to define tourism as it would be appropriate to London, Grand Bend, Parry Sound and Toronto cannot be done. We have found ourselves unable to find a tourism definition that will apply to the whole province. We are doing everything we can to make it possible for municipalities, including London, including where Braille Copp lives, to have the choice, if they wish, to make their own decisions locally.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have a question once again of the Premier. Will the Premier comment on the recent article in the Globe and Mail in which the Institute for International Research plans seminars for the real decision-makers in Canadian companies who are thinking of relocating south to the United States with the advent of a free trade deal?
Does he not agree that these leeches and their $500-a-day fees make it clearer than ever that working people in this province need a government that is willing to say, “No deal, no way,’’ to the Mulroney trade deal, instead of the resolution we have before us, which simply says that if they do go along, it will be because the feds tell them they have to?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I read that article, I believe on the front page of the Globe and Mail, about some private sector organization that is sponsoring seminars, I gather, trying to persuade companies to move to the United States. I guess that is a private sector entrepreneurial response by some who think, as I do, that this deal will favour companies moving to the United States. I am not sure we can pass a law to prevent that kind of company from operating.
That being said, it exacerbates indeed the fears I have. I have talked to a number of companies, a number of senior executives, and some would like the flexibility. Of course, why would they not like the flexibility? It removes the necessity for them to be here in Canada and gives them the option of moving to the United States.
I am not sure there has been any uptake on that particular ad or that particular series of seminars. I do not know if anyone has taken advantage of the situation, but it is one more little bit of evidence, it seems to me, or one more kind of thing we will probably see more of in the future, as entrepreneurs rush in to take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, none of that is in the national interest.
Mr. Mackenzie: The Premier will see from the article that the emphasis is clearly on doing the workers in. Some of the topics are “lower labour costs in the US,” “the question of which country has a more favourable environment for business,” “US trade unionism in retreat” and “‘repatriation’ of US branch plants.”
Does the Premier not agree that, while he is posturing in this House with what is really a wimpy resolution, there is already a growth industry developing to make money for the exploitation of workers under the terms of the Mulroney trade deal, and does he not believe that this puts his current charade over free trade in its proper perspective in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: My honourable friend sees it in conspiratorial terms and I do not see it that way at all. I see it as a great mistake. One of the realities is that we do compete with a variety of other nations and we always have to keep all those factors in mind. I believe, as I think my honourable friend believes, that this will be exacerbated under the so-called trade agreement. We will see more and more of that kind of thing going on. It is things like this that my honourable and good friend the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) is going to have to explain more and more, as I think we will see those things happen in the future.
One of the things we see is the tariff situation, where our tariff situation is three to four times higher on average than it is in the United States. I recognize that there are winners -- bulk petro-chemicals, for example, processed fish -- but not many in tariff terms, and there will not be the same incentive for some of those companies to stay here as there was in the past. It is very interesting.
Jacques Parizeau, great free-trader, who is now pretending to be the leader of le Parti québécois in Quebec, said in an interview I saw not too long ago that if he were the Premier of Ontario he would be very much against this deal because he does not see the free trade deal being in the interests of Ontario, even though he sees it in the interests of Quebec.
Now we have a group, I gather, Mr. de Grandpré, looking at the readjustment costs of this matter. Can you imagine anything more ridiculous? He said he is not going to spend any money and he is not going to assist with readjustment. How they could choose a man like Mr. de Grandpré, who has a preconception that nothing is going to happen, is beyond me. At the same time, Donald Macdonald said we should put aside $4 billion for readjustment. Now Mr. de Grandpré apparently does not want to put anything aside. That is the kind of damage the federal government is prepared to inflict without any plan to cut the damages.
I would like to ask a question of the Attorney General. I have been reading clipping after clipping on the weekend events and, given the obvious confusion felt by almost everyone in the province over the store openings, with the possible exception of the superintelligent, he and the Premier, and given that he has already taken the enforcement of the law into his own hands and signalled that no prosecutions would proceed on charges that were laid on December 27, would he tell us what the superintelligent people plan to do about prosecutions on charges that were laid December 26?
Hon. Mr. Scott: I think our policy on prosecutions as of December 27 has already been made plain and it is not going to change. It should be observed that Saturday, December 26, was across Ontario a fairly typical closed day, such as a Sunday is a closed day under the legislation. For example, only 21 charges were laid in the city of Toronto, which is fewer than there would normally be, even on a Sunday.
On Sunday, December 27, on the other hand, the open nature of the day was made plain as a result of our policy, and I notice from reading the press that it does not appear to have been very different in Ontario, and in particular Toronto, from what it was in Montreal, or Edmonton, or Calgary, or Vancouver, or Victoria. I think, on the whole, the system went through.
Mr. Harris: Then clearly that gets to the gist of my question. Charges were not laid in Montreal or in Victoria. The minister said the 26th should have been clear to everybody, and yet the Solicitor General (Mrs. Smith) says there was chaos over the weekend. She says there were “differing interpretations of the law by various police forces” -- which I guess cannot keep up with the Attorney General’s supersmarts -- “across the province which contributed to the chaotic legal situation.”
We had problems in 1985. The Premier said, “We will solve them for 1986.” We had bigger problems in 1986. Here is what he said on May 22: “I think we owe it to people, particularly for the next pressure point, which will be the Christmas season” -- the one we just had -- “to tell them exactly what the law is and make it enforceable so that everyone follows those rules.” Clearly that did not happen.
Clearly, it is worse again in 1987. The Attorney General took the law into his own hands for the 27th. Given the confusion acknowledged by the police and the Solicitor General, does he not feel he should take the same law into his own hands, which he seems to be able to do, and not proceed with charges that were laid on the 26th?
Hon. Mr. Scott: It may be a demonstration of arrogance that I am reluctant to put forward at the present moment, but I have more confidence in the ordinary people of this province than the member for Nipissing has. In fact, the ordinary people of the province responded in general compliance with the law over the last weekend.
On December 26, which was Saturday, Boxing Day, a day closed under the Retail Business Holidays Act, the stores of the province, by and large, remained closed. As I have said, in Metropolitan Toronto there were only something in the neighbourhood of 21 charges laid, which is a low figure for a normal Sunday over the last year of our history.
Now, with respect to Sunday the 27th, we made our policy clear in the light of the loophole in the legislation which would have permitted small shops to stay open but not large shops. We judged that to be a case in which there should be no prosecution of those large shops that elected to stay open. The people of the province understood that, and on Sunday they went shopping in large numbers, just as the people in Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria did.
Mr. Faubert: My question is to the Minister of Health. As the minister is aware, Scarborough General Hospital, one of Ontario’s largest, most efficient community hospitals, has submitted an exciting redevelopment plan to the Ministry of Health. Its plan combines an innovative medical-mall concept with community outreach facilities much needed by the residents of Scarborough.
As the minister is further aware, the severe shortage of space and the current need for outpatient care make this project a high priority for the residents of south-central Scarborough. Will the minister assure us that early consideration will be given to funding this exceptional redevelopment project?
Hon. Mrs. Caplan: Let me note that all of my colleagues from Scarborough have discussed this matter with me. There are a number of hospitals in the province which at any given time have proposals within the planning process in the ministry. Let me assure the member and all the members from Scarborough that the matter is currently under review and that the proposed redevelopment will be considered in the light of the long-term requirements for the region.
Mr. Faubert: I understand the chairman of Scarborough General Hospital has invited the minister to visit the hospital to experience at first hand the excellent service Scarborough General provides to the residents of Scarborough and to view and discuss the hospital’s plans. Will the minister advise whether she will meet with the administration of Scarborough General as requested and when such a meeting could take place?
Hon. Mrs. Caplan: As I think most members in the House are aware, the numbers of requests for meetings are very great, and I have been asking those who have been calling and sending letters to keep the cards and letters coming. I am attempting to meet with as many as I can. I want the member to know that it is my intention to meet with as many of the hospitals as I can in the next year, and I hope that I will be able to meet with Scarborough General, whose reputation I am very well aware of, early in the new year.
Mr. Pouliot: My question is to the Minister of Northern Development. When will the minister give us the assurance that he will initiate the norOntair service in northwestern Ontario to upgrade the existing runs between Thunder Bay, Atikokan, Fort Frances and the township of Kenora?
L’hon. M. Fontaine: Je tiens à remercier le député de Lac Nipigon de sa question. Premièrement, je dois lui rappeler qu’il devrait regarder combien de passagers voyagent d’Atikokan à Thunder Bay. Je crois que c’est moins de un; alors, je ne crois pas que ça justifie un Dash-8 à Atikokan. Je suis d’accord avec lui qu’en ce qui concerne Kenora et Fort Frances, on va les regarder.
Comme il le sait, et je dois le lui rappeler, le premier Dash-8 est retourné au manufacturier pour passer un examen pour la sécurité. Avant que cet avion revienne, on va regarder ce que l'honorable député me demande. Mais une chose que je dois lui rappeler, c’est qu'il n’y a pas de Dash-8 qui voyage avec une personne.
Mr. Pouliot: I would like to thank the minister for kindly reminding the House, and I quote verbatim, that “less than one person utilizes the service between Atikokan and Thunder Bay.” How can that be? I guess plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
I am aware the minister adheres to the school that the marketplace always chooses better. Therefore, he will not be surprised that rumour has it the government is intent on selling norOntair, its service and equipment. If so, will the minister kindly give us the assurance that the existing runs will be maintained and that a sense of the common people of the north will give them access to a reasonably priced ticket in the event he should decide to sell norOntair?
L’hon. M. Fontaine: Je dois rappeler au député de Lac Nipigon que je n’ai pas dit qu’Atikokan n’aurait pas de service. J’ai dit, peut-être qu’il n’y aurait pas de Dash-8 pour transporter une personne.
Une chose que je voux dire, c’est que this government is committed to quality air service in the north. If we ever privatize this service, we will guarantee that the people who are bidding will give the status quo or better service. That I guarantee or there will be no sale.
Second, we are looking at the preservation of the jobs. As the member knows, we were stuck by the previous government with the big hangar in Sault Ste. Marie that cost us over $1 million. Now, we have to be sure that this hangar is sold to the bidders, because otherwise we do not want to be stuck with a garage.
Hon. Mr. Fontaine: The bottom line is that we are looking to privatize for sure, but I am looking in a way that nobody will suffer. Those seven areas, like Atikokan, Red Lake and Hearst, that are part of that, the seven areas which are below money-making, will be protected, if it is accepted by cabinet, under some grants.
Mr. Eves: My question is to the Solicitor General. I am sure the Solicitor General would agree that the 911 emergency service number is very important to fire departments, police departments and ambulance services to provide emergency response to some very crucial situations. Can the Solicitor General please tell us why the 911 number is not available to every resident everywhere in Ontario?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: That is a very important question. I was not aware that it was not available throughout the province. I would be glad to inquire into that and see what can be done to make it universally available.
Mr. Eves: There have been several instances lately in the newspapers, one as recently as today -- as a matter of fact, this morning -- where responses were not provided because 911 service was not available. The fact remains that there are many municipalities throughout Ontario -- as a matter of fact, there are only some 11 municipalities in the entire province currently that have 911 service. Mississauga, for example, does not have 911 service. The city of Orillia cannot afford the service, because it cannot afford the $90,000 that it costs to install.
I think the inconsistency of the service throughout Ontario not only is creating confusion for Ontario residents but is also a very serious situation because, more important, it is costing emergency response time and lives are being lost. Will the minister give this House an undertaking today that she will make this service available to all residents in Ontario and provide the necessary funding?
Hon. Mrs. Smith: I have accepted, as I said in the first answer, that this is a very good suggestion that 911 should be a provincial number right across the province. I am more than happy to look at it. I do not know what is entailed either legally or financially in making it available right across the province, but I would be happy to look at it because I do believe that the people who live in London or Toronto may visit other places and might indeed pick up the phone and like to call that number.
Mr. Owen: I have a question for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. In the north end of my riding is the city of Barrie. In large part, Barrie relies upon branch plants for its degree of prosperity. It has been brought to my attention consistently over the last number of months by the employees of these branch plants that they are worried that they are going to be losing their jobs and that the branch plants will be returning to the United States in the event the free trade pact is signed.
Has the situation of communities like Barrie and the concern over their jobs been brought to the attention of the federal government in the negotiations? And what is going to take place to protect these people in the event that their worst fears are realized?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I am sure all members will know that during the negotiations they had groups set up called sectoral advisory groups on international trade, which represented various sectors in the economy, to take a look at what would happen to them. There is no question in my mind that we in Ontario, particularly southern Ontario, are greatly at risk.
The study I released showed that 400,000 jobs are at risk because we are a branch plant economy and because we do have a large manufacturing component. This is something about which we had indications, but unfortunately we are getting mixed signals. We have the Prime Minister saying that there are great amounts of funds available, there is a terrific restructuring program going on; and then we have the Minister of Finance saying there is no money available.
Mr. Owen: The logic is there. We have a higher minimum wage; we have less stringent labour laws; we have a situation where there are greater economies of scale should they relocate back in the United States. I can remember when these branch plants came here. The only reason they came here was that it was the only way they could get access to sell to us.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I am sure members will know that last week I announced the appointment of an industrial restructuring commissioner. With or without free trade, there are manufacturing jobs that are at risk just because of the new technology that is engulfing the world. It is not peculiar just to Ontario.
To get to the honourable member’s question, we have had no indication at all as to whether or not the federal government is prepared to provide any funds for an adjustment program. The Premier (Mr. Peterson) commented in a response to another member earlier today that the man who has been put in charge of the project has said there is no money available. I can tell the member that a lot of the hardship that is going to befall the workers in Ontario is a direct result of the federal government’s initiative on free trade, and it has an obligation to make sure that it addresses the problem.
Is the minister aware that lack of timber is the cause of two sawmills in the Wawa area being currently shut down, one permanently and the other with a deadline of December 31 for permanent shutdown unless there is an allocation of timber? There is a shortage of timber, and all that is available on crown land is currently committed to St. Marys Paper, Dubreuil Brothers and G. W. Martin Veneer.
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: That was one comment I made resulting from the report. The only problem I see in some areas is not having the species that are the particular ones for those areas. I also have been very aggressive and active with my foresters to relate to the question the member raises, and I am prepared to do that now, to examine those circumstances. I think we have been most helpful in many cases where there needs to be reallocation or help to the district cutting licences, as the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Pouliot) asked for a week or 10 days ago. Yes, I am very much prepared to examine that kind of problem that may exist and see what we can do about it.
Mr. Wildman: The two mills to which I refer are small DCL operations. Since one of the larger companies to which the timber is already committed is G. W. Martin Veneer, which is currently involved in negotiations for its two mills, one in Searchmont and the other in Sault Ste. Marie, can the minister make the commitment today, and reconfirm the commitment he made last year, that in order for G. W. Martin to maintain the limits it now has, it must continue to operate the Searchmont mill?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I certainly am very willing to examine that and take into account what the honourable member is suggesting. It will not be the first time the ministry has intervened where it could impact on licensing arrangements, whether it be for the initial licence holder or the third-party arrangements over the area. I am very much prepared to examine the situation and report, when I have information, to the member.
Mr. Cousens: I have a question for the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons. The minister will have received a letter from a constituent of mine who was born deaf and blind. His mother wrote the honourable minister and asked for some help, because this boy has been going to the W. Ross Macdonald School for 15 years and graduates from the program this spring. She is concerned with what is going to happen to him in the future.
In the minister’s response he says in his letter, “My staff will monitor progress and I would hope that the matter might soon be resolved.” Could the minister please indicate to me and to his mother and others what he means by monitoring progress?
Hon. Mr. Mancini: The honourable member asks a very important question; that is, once young people reach a certain age, services which were given to them are no longer available to them. At this time, we would like the honourable member’s assistance in helping to monitor these particular situations where people such as the young person he mentioned, who has been receiving some particular services and now, because of his age, no longer receives that type of service -- we want the member’s help and the help of any other member in the House to see what in fact happens. At the appropriate time, I will be working very closely with my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) to see what programs are essential and what programs the government can fund.
Mr. Cousens: One wonders when the time has come. This deaf and blind boy was born deaf and blind and has been in this school for 15 years. There are seven other graduates who will be completing the program this spring. The ministry has offered to allow them to stay in the program for one more year, but we have known for 15 years that there is going to have to be a carry-on program once they had completed the course at W. Ross Macdonald School.
Why is it that the minister will not become an advocate for progress, become personally involved in this kind of situation and try to come up with a solution for these young people who have personal goals to complete? They want to get on with their lives and develop a program that is meaningful for them once they are through that program. Can the minister not personally get in charge and get involved?
Hon. Mr. Mancini: The member asks a very important question and touches on some very sensitive issues here. I am an advocate for the disabled and I do get personally involved on many different occasions. This government is firmly committed to advancing the situation that disabled people find themselves in today. That is why the Premier (Mr. Peterson) only two years ago established a ministry for the disabled. We did not have a ministry for disabled persons prior to the Premier forming a government in this province.
When the member was in office, his government had a small unit of approximately five people in the old secretariat for social development, which did or did not do some good. We are committed to advancing the future goals of all disabled people here in this province. I am planning on working very closely with the Minister of Community and Social Services, and any other minister that I have to, to ensure that appropriate change takes place as quickly as possible.
Mr. Callahan: Over the Christmas holidays I had occasion to attempt to assist constituents of mine, who are also good friends, with reference to their son who is a very ill young man. In doing that, I discovered that when a person is placed in custody at the local detention centre, even if the detention centre is made aware of the fact that he or she perhaps could be suicidal, he or she is not listed on the particular list indicating that person is to be looked upon as a possible suicide unless he or she has been seen by a psychiatrist and that determination is made.
I would ask the minister if he is aware of this. If he is not, would he look into the matter and arrange that the centre could at least accept the statement from all and sundry that a person may be suicidal and make certain that he or she is in fact listed as suicidal so that the appropriate authorities can look after his or her wellbeing?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: In answer to the member’s question, it is my understanding that routine procedure for offenders entering our institutions is that a complete medical examination is given to each offender as he or she enters the system. At that time, a determination would be made whether the offender is deemed to be potentially suicidal or not and appropriate measures are taken at that time.
In quick succession, the Offord report on children on welfare, the Ontario Advisory Council on Women’s Issues and now David Greenspan, as chairman of the Ontario Housing Corp. and after spending 48 hours trying to cope with the life of a welfare recipient, have all come to a common conclusion. If I can quote Mr. Greenspan: “The major factual finding was that a single parent on social benefits, even with a very high level of rent subsidy, cannot attain an adequate level of nutrition. There has to be other help.”
In the light of this, would the minister care to comment on the question that I put to him last week regarding the two cases in which it was suggested at least that two individuals, whose circumstances we looked at after his co-resident minimum penalty of $40, in fact ended up with less money than they had in the first place under social benefits, and will the minister assure us that he will see that this kind of result under that program does not happen in future?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: Following the honourable member’s raising of that particular question, I asked members of my staff to review the very specific circumstances he provided me with. I have since been assured that, in those two particular circumstances, the distribution of shelter costs would remain the same both before and after November 1.
The member perhaps might remember that the specific point in question was whether or not the sharing of shelter would automatically be 50-50. It is presumed that it would be 50-50, but if the two parties make a different arrangement and notify the family benefits office of that arrangement, that arrangement is respected. That is why in the two particular cases he brought to my attention there would have been no change either before or after November 1.
I am unable, however, to indicate that in no situation may there be a change. I certainly will look at any specific example that is brought to my attention, but in the case of the two, no change would have occurred.
Mr. Allen: I would be surprised if the minister would not undertake before this House at least to give us assurances that he will do all he can to make certain that where the impact is an adverse one and the parties in question end up with less income than they had in the beginning, he would be prepared to go to bat on their behalf and to see that this circumstance in fact is righted through regulation or whatever.
But might I ask the minister why it is that so often under the system as administered by his ministry it appears that whenever someone who is a client on family benefits or general welfare tries to get a leg up on the system, he somehow gets a putdown the next day. The minister, for example, recently provided a maximum $27 increase for single employables under the welfare system, but then the co-resident penalty appears to kick in and to wipe out all of that. The court recently allowed a single mother the family benefit allowance for a dependent child over 18 years of age, and then the ministry appeared to kick in with an attempt to close the loophole to see it would not happen.
Mr. Allen: How are single parents in Ontario going to get ahead, as the minister professes he wants to see them get ahead, if every time they take a step forward they seem to get put down the day after by some regulation, some ruling or some new piece of legislation in his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: I would put to the honourable member that the recent change with respect to a spouse in the house will result in at least 9,000 single parents being better off afterward than they would have been before, so that is a very significant change.
The honourable member will also be aware of the fact that we have approximately 75,000 single parents on our family benefits program, and there has to be some sense of fairness and equity in how we treat each of these people. That is why you need rules and regulations in place. We cannot leave it totally to the subjective decision-making of whomever they happen to end up coming to.
However, I certainly want to concur with the honourable member’s observation that our responsibility is to provide every assistance, every support and every encouragement for single parents, the disabled -- whoever happen to be recipients of our support programs -- to better themselves.
For that reason, one of the major thrusts of my ministry over the last several months and into the next two or three months is to find ways of improving the incentive programs and getting rid of the disincentive programs so that single parents in particular may go into part-time or full-time work and get support for their child care needs, their transportation needs and their training needs. I can share with the honourable member that that is well on its way.
“We, the undersigned, all of whom are tenants of the Grenville and Prescott Housing Authority at The Pines, Kemptville, understand that the Grenville and Prescott Housing Authority and the Leeds and Brockville Housing Authority are to merge, with all offices and services moved to Brockville. It is our opinion that as one of the farthest apartment units from that proposed office in Brockville, the service and rapport that we have had, stretched at some times, with the Prescott office will definitely not stretch as far as Brockville.
“We in Grenville county have a larger-than-average percentage of the population 65 years of age and over. As evidence of this we have enclosed excerpts of catalogue number 94-111 1986 Census of Canada with the percentages marked on the map for comparison.
“We, the undersigned, all of whom are tenants of the Grenville and Prescott Housing Authority at The Maples in Spencerville understand that the Grenville and Prescott Housing Authority and the Leeds and Brockville Housing Authority are to merge, with all offices and services moved to Brockville. It is our opinion that as one of the farthest apartment units from that proposed office in Brockville, the service and rapport that we have had, stretched at some times, with the Prescott office will definitely not stretch as far as Brockville.
“We in Grenville county have a larger-than-average percentage of the population 65 years of age and over. As evidence of this we have enclosed excerpts of catalogue number 94-111 1986 Census of Canada with the percentages marked on the map for comparison.
“We, the employees of Square One, have signed this petition to show our disapproval of Sunday openings. We feel that the stores are open 9:30 to 9:30 Monday through Friday and 9:30 to 6 Saturdays, ample time for the public to do their shopping.”
Mr. Cousens: I would like to begin the final part of my remarks because indeed, though there is much yet to be said on the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States, I know there are many others who want to participate and I will cut my remarks short.
I believe, however, that what is happening here in the House shows at least two things about the leadership of our province and I think it points up a major flaw in the strategy of the Premier (Mr. Peterson). The Premier has chosen to ram this resolution through the Legislature rather than work out a compromise.
There are ways in which this resolution could have been directed to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs but, instead, the Premier has decided that this House is going to resolve this resolution and will do it during the Christmas holiday or at any other time because he wants it done that way, when in fact there was a desire on the part of many of us to work out another way of handling this resolution. It could have been studied in committee -- the committee would not have been constrained by the wording that is in this resolution -- and then the committee could have come forward with its own thinking rather than being so directed as this resolution does.
So the bad choice by the Premier was to ram this through the Legislature. He has chosen to fight the agreement rather than to be a conciliator, and I think this is a time for Ontario to show that we can be leaders in Canada and that we can work for all our country. Here is a true example where leadership is needed. Our country can fall so widely apart, and yet on an agreement such as this we could be pulling together.
If the Premier and his government would come together and work with the federal government to make free trade work in Canada and work in Ontario, it would generate wealth, it would generate jobs, it would do many good things for us. If he was even able to find some way of working towards the resolution of the problems he has with the agreement, that in itself would show good intentions, and those intentions are lacking; they are lacking in the resolution, and they are lacking in the speeches he has given.
The Premier has chosen to find the ways in which the agreement will fail rather than to find ways to make it work. You can make anything fail if you want to, but if you want, even an agreement such as this free trade agreement between Canada and the United States can be made to work. Although it is flawed and is not perfect, Ontario could say: “We will help make it work. We will stand behind it. We will help make it go. We are Canadians first and Ontarians second. We know it is not going to be easy. We know we are going to have to make concessions to help those people who could be hurt by the free trade agreement.” If that kind of intention came forward from this government, I would have great feelings that this country could come together and enjoy more prosperity than it has ever had before.
I think it is absolutely wrong for this resolution to be placed in this House now. The timing of the signing of the agreement for the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States is January 2. That we are debating this resolution now is not going to impact the signing of that agreement one whit. The fact that this resolution has been tabled before public hearings and discussion by the standing committee on finance and economic affairs have been held also prejudges what the committee members of this House could do and might want to do.
I also think it is wrong for us to be in the middle of this debate, which I believe to be the most important single debate of this parliament, while the Premier has already tabled a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada and others outlining his disagreement with the free trade agreement. Because he did not get the resolution passed, he has gone ahead and sent his own letter anyway. That is his prerogative as Premier, but the reason he wanted this resolution to be approved quickly before Christmas was so he could send the resolution itself. Now that he has sent the letter, why does he continue to make it necessary for us to debate this?
I believe this is a most important debate. As we lead into it even further, I hope the people of Ontario and of Canada will see there are many benefits to be had. I do not think there is any doubt in the minds of all of us that it is not perfect, but it is certainly better than if we did not have a free trade agreement.
Why is it that the Premier, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. Kwinter) and others have not answered the next question: what would we do if we did not have a free trade agreement? What is the answer to that question? The answer is that we would continue to have the obstacles that are building between our country and the United States. We would continue to have tariffs. We would continue to have problems in our trading patterns. With this agreement, we are breaking down those walls, we are breaking down those barriers. Why not answer that question? If we did not have a free trade agreement, what would the Premier do? What would this government do? What would this country do?
We need this agreement. We know we need it. The evidence has come into the Premier’s office and through the public hearings that were held on free trade. The evidence has piled up in support of free trade. Why have all those reports not been tabled in this House? That is another reason this debate should be delayed, until all that data is made public.
Ninety per cent of Ontario’s exports go to the United States. That is over $56 billion a year or $6,000 per capita. The United States is our most significant trading partner. They are friends of ours. They are people with whom we have had a close relationship for many years. Let us build on that relationship yet maintain our sovereignty, our independence, our freedoms and the distinct independence we have in Ontario and as a country. We can do that. The free trade agreement between Canada and the United States makes that a possibility.
I believe there are significant benefits from the free trade agreement. I have tried to touch on a number of the aspects over the last several parts of my speech that dealt with the process, that dealt with a number of the things that are included in it that affect different areas of life. I would like to move to my summary.
First of all, the auto pact is not only maintained, it is improved and made more secure from political attack. There is not any doubt in the mind of any reasonable person that if we were to renegotiate the auto pact by itself, we would not end up with a good agreement. There are so many things that are flawed in our relationship now with the United States that if we took that one agreement and tried to work out a deal with the United States on the auto pact, it could not be done. To have it as part of an overall, comprehensive understanding of a bilateral trade agreement, as it is now prepared before us in the free trade agreement, becomes a way of satisfying the needs of our industry and our manufacturing and of maintaining the benefits of the auto pact.
I do not think there is any doubt that financial institutions can look forward to greater access to the United States market. We have a number of very excellent entrepreneurs who have found success in the United States; and vice versa, a number of American entrepreneurs have found great success in Canada. Through the free trade agreement, we will see new levels of investment back and forth across the border, yet at the same time maintain our independence, maintain our ability to restrict and control the investment of those moneys we do not want to have.
I do not think there is any doubt that manufacturers, both large and small, will have greater access to the US market and can now compete for more US government contracts. Indeed, there is a $4-billion market in Washington. The federal government of the United States, throughout the whole of that great country, has opportunities for Canadian business people to penetrate and take advantage of.
Some people are concerned that the marketing boards that have been an excellent way of bringing our agricultural industry together be preserved; their powers are preserved. The horticultural industry has received special protection and our meat and pork producers will benefit. Ontario exports to the United States amount to $4 billion a year. Let us hope we continue to increase that and to make it an even bigger and better market.
Our world-class services industries and professionals can service a larger customer base and gain easier access to the United States for temporary business purposes. One reads Toffler and understands how the service industry is expanding. Indeed it is. In fact, we will probably see far more manufacturing done in Third World countries and places where it is cheaper to produce, but the one thing that will continue to be available in this country is going to be the service industry. That will have a chance to prosper through this agreement.
The steel industry will benefit from the energy that is going to be available to it. We have to see our steel industry continue to develop. We all know what is happening in Hamilton right now; we know Algoma Steel, Stelco and Dofasco. We have magnificent companies that are efficient and able to do things with raw materials, to churn them out into finished goods. We know we can continue to prosper with them being successful.
I do not think there is any doubt consumer prices will fall as tariffs decline. That is going to lead to a higher economic growth and allow governments to exercise their continuing ability to promote social, cultural and regional development. It makes one wonder about the six Ontario concerns that the Premier and this government have been concerned about.
They are saying they do not want to have any unfettered right of investment; there is not. They are saying they do not want to see the auto pact gutted; it is not. They say they want the marketing boards to stay; they are staying. They have said they want to see regional development powers remain intact; they are intact. They wanted to see a binding dispute settlement mechanism; it is there, it is within the agreement. I will touch upon that in a moment. They have also said we want to maintain our cultural sovereignty; we have done that as well.
I wish the people of Ontario could understand that we are opening the road to a whole new opportunity for Canada and Ontario. It should not be a road that has blocks on it. It should not have holes. It should not have restrictions put in there. We need to have help to make it work, and if this province gets behind the free trade agreement, I am confident we can continue to see successes that this province has never had in the past.
I just want to touch on two or three minor points, but they are important. Fasken and Calvin did a study paper for the Business Council on National Issues, and in their report they came through with an analysis of the dispute settlement mechanism. I would like to read their conclusion, because their point is that the dispute settlement mechanism represents a major improvement over existing Canada-US bilateral agreements, arrangements and understandings in the trade area.
Some people say it is not enough. It probably is not, but there are enough things that are inherent in this new agreement that can help us resolve and satisfy any of the concerns that we have in the future, and over a period of time we will undoubtedly work out better agreements.
“The dispute settlement mechanisms are not only consistent with but represent significant improvements on existing dispute settlement provisions of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, arrangements and understandings among other sovereign states.”
I think we have to look at the Business Council on National Issues as a group of business people genuinely concerned with the wellbeing of our country; and in fact they have gone outside of themselves, solicited and obtained advice on the effect of different parts of this agreement. This indeed is indicative of the kind of thing that is coming through in-depth analysis and study, that in fact the dispute settlement provisions of the free trade agreement are better than what we had before and will help to make this a far stronger relationship between our country and the United States.
I would like to touch on one other point that I came across on the weekend which I would like to table for our benefit. All the energy considerations of the free trade agreement are absolutely important to the future trading benefits that it provides for Ontario, but also for what it does over the long term.
I know the federal government had a number of flip-flops in the past. We have seen what Herb Gray did to our energy policy in this country, but I would have to refer to the conclusion on trade and investment in energy, as presented by Alan Rugman and Mark Warner, who are part of the faculty of management of the University of Toronto. They presented this paper on energy on November 3 in Halifax to the International Perspective. It is a special study group that did an in-depth analysis of the effect of the free trade agreement on energy in Canada.
“The bilateral free trade pact guarantees the future of the continental energy policy which exists today. It will minimize future uncertainties about Canadian energy policy and thereby improve the investment climate, leading to prosperity for Canadian energy producers. The free trade agreement will save Canadians from repeating such misconceived policies as the national energy program, which led to a $15-billion outflow from the oil and gas sector. The present practice of 50 per cent ownership is grandfathered in the trade agreement, but significant further reductions in foreign ownership and control ratios probably will not occur. The 50 per cent ownership target will continue to be a contentious policy. It is one which, in the interests of efficiency, should be forgotten as soon as possible.”
The point is that our government has determined what our energy policy is going to be. They did this before the free trade agreement was struck. They have maintained the intent and the letter of the law as they had decreed it prior to the free trade agreement. Trade and investment in energy is going to be a significant growth factor for Ontario in the future, and through this agreement we are going to be able to see it continue to grow.
I would also like to table this from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. They said in the headline in their mandate which was released in November, “Overall, the Free Trade Deal is a Plus for Small Business.” I would like to just put on the record a quotation from them.
“There is no doubt about it,” says John Bulloch, “Canada will be in serious trouble down the road if this deal falls apart in the home stretch.” Bulloch says, “The majority of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business members have been in support of lowering trade barriers with the United States for years. In a 1985 mandate survey, 66 per cent of respondents voted in favour of a Canada-United States bilateral free trade arrangement. As well, results from the CFIB’s 1986 national survey interviews found that for every business person worried about the effects of free trade, five more were confident that the deal would be either positive or have no impact on his or her operation.”
I would like to close by just referring briefly to some of the thinking that is going on within in the high-technology industry. For some time now, I have been very closely involved with the York Technology Association which is now the largest high-technology association in this country. It is an organization based in northeast Metro and south York region. It has well over 150 member companies and the York Technology Association has been working closely with other high-technology associations to make sure that our interests are being considered, observed and understood by the government as the free trade agreement was being negotiated. In fact, during the past number of years, George Hopkin who is now one of the co-chairmen of the York Technology Association has been on the sectoral advisory group on international trade for software and computer technology and communications.
I would like to quote from CATA, which is the Canadian Advanced Technology Association. They had a forum recently to develop a position on trade strategy and they did it in co-operation with the Ministry of State for Science and Technology and also with the Electronics Industry Association of Manitoba. There are a number of quotes, but I would like to just take one.
The bottom line for the high-technology industry is that there is more reason to believe the future will be good than would be otherwise if we did not have this agreement. It will allow for easier investment by Americans and Canadians in each other’s countries to continue the expansion of the high-technology area.
We are talking about an area that the Premier has given some importance to by establishing a technology council. We know how unsuccessful it was last year. The Premier was not able to spend anything close to the $100 million that he planned to spend. The fact is for Canada to develop the position we are capable of we are going to have to invest far more in the high-technology industry. If we are going to maintain the leadership that we have developed in such companies as Northern Telecom, and we see the kind of software that is coming out of this country, then our government must make a much bigger investment so that we can compete in the world marketplace.
As we open up the markets between Canada and the United States -- which in fact are already almost open, there is in fact an almost free trade that exists between Canada and the United States in high-technology products; but what has to happen is that Canada has to become far more of an investor in the future by putting money into the development of more high-technology products, more high-technology people, so that we can drive the market, so that we can become strong participants in the whole market that is centred around high-technology areas.
Scientific and technological strength is increasingly the source of our national competitive advantage. May our hope be that in the future, as we continue to take this forward, we will be in a position not only to take full advantage of the United States market but also to be leaders on the world market.
One of the points that came out of one of the papers by the Canadian Advanced Technology Association is that, “it is absolutely critical that decision-makers in Canada understand that it is not possible to build internationally competitive, advanced technology capability behind tariffs or other forms of protectionism.”
Get rid of the tariffs, get rid of the protectionism. Allow mankind, womankind, people in Ontario to develop their skills and develop their talents to the best of their ability and we will then take on the world. We will take on the United States, we will take on Europe, we will take on Third World countries. We are not afraid when we put ourselves up against any other competitor. We have what it takes. We have got the educational background of our students coming through. We have got the strength of good investors who have developed strong, viable Canadian companies. We know we have it. Now what we have got to do is have the confidence to believe in ourselves, that we can go out into the world and sell and that there is something good about making money.
I believe that the free trade agreement as it has been presented to us now gives that opportunity to Canadians. I also believe that, over the years, it will gradually change, that there will be improvements to the free trade agreement and that Canadians will find new ways of working out some of the problems that might exist right now or some of the problems that we do not even foresee at the present time; that in the years ahead we will have one of the best trading relationships between our country and the United States that exists in the world.
We already have the United States as our best friend. It is our best friend. You know, we can share so much of their culture: their lifestyle, their theatre and just themselves; our tourist industry whereby they come and invest so much in our province and in our country, and our tourism into the United States. There is a sense of family. We are on one continent.
We have so much that we have built on in the past: what we have done through the free trade agreement here. As provincial legislators, we have a chance to help make it work by coming forward and saying: “You know, we know it is not perfect, but we know that it opens the door to better possibilities. It reduces tariffs, it reduces protectionism and it will give Canadians a far better opportunity to trade and do business with our neighbours to the south.”
I believe in that and I believe it is the time now for our Premier to give the leadership he is capable of giving, where he will stand up and, instead of being one who tries to block free trade he will help make it work. Instead of being one who is trying to put the blocks to it, he will be one who tries to be a conciliator. Instead of being one who wants to ram something through this Legislature, he will truly open up the debate so that people in Ontario can understand just what is going on with the subject. Instead of presenting facts that are not fully laid out and balanced, he will present a story to Canadians and Ontarians and say: “It is not just perfect, but I am going to make it work. I am going to help the wine industry. I am going to help those people who are going to be hurt by it.”
Indeed, that is the message I want to see come from this province and from the federal government so that somehow we are working together to make this country and this province united. I do not think we ever stand alone. We stand as Canadians. We are Canadians first and we are Ontarians second. The free trade agreement gives us a chance to lead into the 21st century in a way that says we are prepared for anything, we are ready for anything, we are confident in ourselves, we have a dream for the future, we know that we can be a force in the world and we will be that force, especially when we have got the framework for working together and understanding in a context that says, “Yes, we have what it takes and we have got a relationship that allows that to happen.”
I sincerely hope this Legislature will reconsider its position as it has been defined in the resolution that has been presented by the Premier and as it has been presented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. I would be most grateful if the Premier and members of that committee and members of this House stop one more time and say: “Look, we can make it work. We are going to try to make it work. We believe in ourselves and we believe in Canada. We believe in Ontario.”
In fact, this resolution is not worth passing. I would rather see the Premier save face, get rid of the resolution and come forward with another one that says, “Let’s refer it to a committee and allow some more dialogue to take place,” and then allow the House to come back and maybe consider what he has told it to consider. At least we will have a chance to have fully aired all the considerations that are possible under this agreement.
It is a tragic mistake that here we are at this point, debating this resolution, when in fact the Premier has not even tabled the information he said he would table. I wish he would do that. He said he would do so in the Ontario public hearings on free trade. He still has not done it. There is still time for the Premier to be the leader we want him to be, a leader of Canada, someone who is capable of truly expressing the will of the people.
Mr. Ferraro: It is my pleasure to rise and contribute to this very emotional debate. I want to thank my colleagues, who do not normally sit where they are sitting, for coming around and offering me their support.
I rise for a number of reasons to contribute to this debate. The first reason, of course, is that I have been actively involved as a member of a committee dealing with free trade for the last several years -- and I will elaborate a little bit -- but I suspect, more on compassionate reasons, that I wanted to give my friends in the loyal opposition a chance to catch their breath.
We have a situation where we have three parties with different points of view, with different things to prove. It has been alluded to in some of the previous discussion that, really, the people of Ontario know where the Liberal Party and the Premier stand. People in Ontario know where the New Democratic Party stands. People in Ontario know where the Conservative Party stands. “So what is the point of the resolution?” they say.
I suspect that it was a signal on behalf of the Premier and the government, who are, whether we like it or not -- and we happen to like it -- the majority of the representatives of this province, to put forth a resolution, to get it passed eventually. I might interject my own personal point of view that I do not think the Premier will get it passed before January 2, which of course is the magic day that Brian Mulroney, the Prime Minister, will sign the deal on behalf of Canada.
I do not have any personal doubts that the opposition is going to be successful in stalling that. They have a point to prove, and I respect that. Conversely, as I said, I do not think it is wrong for the Premier to try to put this important resolution on the books. Eventually it will be put -- I suspect after January 2 -- but if not sooner, then later.
I want to commend my friends in the opposition, particularly the third party, for their ability. Notwithstanding some of the pertinent points they have made, they have, without question, ragged the puck with such an efficiency that even Gordie Howe would be proud. It is out of this feeling of compassion and admiration that we want to give them a little rest, so I am pleased to join in the debate.
I could not help but think that when the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) and the member for Markham (Mr. Cousens) were speaking -- and it is a difficult job to talk at length, especially without some substance for the most part; to do so is an ability -- I could not help but think that if I were ever standing in front of the executioner and the executioner asked me if I wanted to say something, I would not hesitate in asking the member for Markham to speak on my behalf, for surely I would prolong my life, inevitably.
The debate that we are talking about, the free trade debate, is probably one of the most emotional debates that the people of Ontario have been subjected to in a long time, and it is certainly one of the most written about debates or topics in the media, and certainly one of the most studied topics. In that regard, for the last two and a half years I have had the pleasure and honour of being vice-chairman of the select committee on economic affairs established by the Premier back in about July 1985, which of course, as we all know, now is the standing committee on finance and economic affairs.
In any event, for roughly the last two and a half years we have been dealing with the free trade issue. Some of the other members -- the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) -- have already spoken on the issue and did so admirably in the committee. I might interject as well that my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. D. R. Cooke), in my view, has done an admirable job in chairing the committee and doing so in a dignified and unbiased manner. I think most members of the committee will agree with that to some extent.
During the mandate of the committee -- which continues, I might want to interject here -- the third party has said, “Well, we are going to stop this resolution from going through, because basically what it does is take away any need for any further discussion on the standing committee on finance and economic affairs.” As vice-chairman of that committee, I disagree with that statement. When we filed the report -- two reports, in fact -- we were convinced and committed, I believe, to the fact that we were going to have to deal with the free trade agreement when and if we got it, which we eventually did on December 11.
So I do not think the resolution, quite frankly, has any bearing on the mandate of the committee. Quite frankly, I view them as different. Members of the third party see an association there, but I do not view it in that context.
I might interject as well that, in fact, the committee has already had several authoritative speakers at a meeting, and they informed the committee members -- significantly, in my view -- about the legal ramifications vis-à-vis constitutional court challenges and so forth; and we will continue to have other top-notch delegations and presentations on the free trade agreement as we now know it.
The committee met with, I think it is safe to say, over 100 delegations. We had presentations of all sorts from every association and lobby group. The committee went three times to Washington -- I had the privilege of going down only twice. By and large, they were beneficial, and certainly the last one in particular, in my view, was tremendously beneficial. I thought the tone was set -- and I have said this before -- by a very powerful senator, Senator Dingell, whom we met as a committee in Washington just last summer.
I am mindful of the luncheon we had -- in camera, of course; there were no media around. Senator Dingell, who is a very happy-go-lucky, powerful sort of man in Washington and the United States, put his arm around the chairman of our committee, the member for Kitchener, and said with a jocular mode about him, “There is nothing more that we Americans want than a fair advantage.” I think that says it all, as my friend the member for Brampton South (Mr. Callahan) had indicated. There is a lot of truth in that statement.
Having said all that, I might point out to the House and to the people of Ontario that the committee came out with 40 recommendations. It is an all-party committee report that was unanimous by the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, I might add. I would say with great respect that my friends in the opposition, the New Democratic Party, had a dissenting viewpoint, which I respect, and that, indeed, is included in the report. But of the 40 recommendations, I could not help but go over in my perusal a number of the unanimous clauses that I believe are seriously questioned in this free trade agreement.
I point out that obviously we put forth these 40 recommendations not knowing what was going to be in the free trade agreement. We had an idea, but I do not think anybody knew this was the deal we were going to inherit.
Having said that, I want to point out to the House recommendation 19. Recommendation 19 says, “Any agreement that arises from these bilateral trade negotiations should only be approved with the substantial agreement of the provinces of Canada in matters of provincial concern.”
Albeit that is something of a motherhood statement, I have some doubts as to whether the three provinces that are concerned and, indeed, do not like this deal could be included in what one would determine as substantial agreement. I suggest not.
Recommendation 20 says, “A clear process for the ratification of a bilateral trade agreement should be established so as to avoid the possibility of constitutional difficulties by ensuring full and open discussion, and national provincial consensus, on the terms of any bilateral trade agreement.”
I say with the greatest respect to my friends in the third party who concurred with the Liberal members of that committee that that cannot be. Surely they would have to agree that that consensus and that type of agreement is not prevalent, as of today’s date.
Recommendation 23 says: “Existing trade arrangements previously agreed to between Canada and the United States, such as the automotive products agreement (the auto pact) and the defence production sharing agreement, should not be prejudiced by any future bilateral trade arrangements. The auto pact should not be prejudiced in any fashion as a result of the reduction or elimination of tariffs and nontariff barriers in general or in ancillary industries.”
While my friend the member for Markham takes the exact opposite point of view I do and says that the auto pact is as strong as ever, I totally disagree and will elaborate on that a little later. I would have to say without hesitation that the point in question at this juncture is that another recommendation, again unanimously agreed to by both parties, in my view is not being kept.
The final recommendation I want to refer to is recommendation 26, again referring to the auto pact: “Companies not presently part of the auto pact should be permitted a defined period of time in which to comply with its terms. Compliance with the auto pact should supersede any other existing automobile agreements between the government of Canada and automobile companies not presently a part of the auto pact.”
While this agreement is being studied and will be studied over the next few years and weeks and months and hours, I would have to say without hesitation that my knowledge and that of my ministry is that this particular recommendation has not been adhered to in the least.
So, quite frankly, we have a situation where members of the third party, the Conservative Party, have really contributed, in my view, to a fine report with 40 good recommendations. In my view again, many of those recommendations have not been adhered to; but no mention, and understandably so, has been made of the fact that the Mulroney government, their partner in Ottawa, has let them down vis-à-vis the recommendations in the report at the very least. The whole debate about free trade --
Mr. Ferraro: The member said it has been a waste of time. Perhaps there is some truth to that, but I would have to say that some debate is better than no debate. One can subjectively decide as to the content of that debate, but some is better than none.
I believe with my heart that Prime Minister Mulroney, Mr. Broadbent, Mr. Turner, all those in this House, as alluded to by the member for Markham, are first and foremost good Canadians. I believe they are doing what they are doing because they firmly believe it is good for Canada. Only time, I suspect, will be the judge of their decisions. But it is interesting to note that, just as all politicians will on occasion be subjected to the reality of history, politicians can change their points of view very, very quickly. Indeed, I have been subjected, as have been the people in Ontario and my colleagues in the House, to a number of quotes from opposition members vis-à-vis things that were said that people wished they had not said. I want to remind the House by quoting from a book by Claire Hoy. He says:
“During the 1983 Conservative leadership race, Newfoundland’s John Crosbie came out strongly in favour of free trade with the Americans, but Mulroney ridiculed him and the idea. ‘It would be,’ he pointed out, ‘like sleeping next to an elephant. It’s terrific until the elephant twitches, and if it ever rolls over, you are a dead man.’” That is one of the Prime Minister’s most notable, and I am sure at this point in time, from his standpoint, regrettable quotes that he unfortunately said.
“In June of ‘83, Mulroney was asked about the issue by John Gray of the Globe and Mail. ‘This country could not survive with a policy of unfettered free trade. I am all in favour of eliminating unfair protectionism where it exists. This is a separate country. We would be swamped. We have in many ways a branch-plant economy.’” A branch-plant economy is something my colleague the member for Brantford (Mr. Neumann) is extremely concerned about, as are other members of this House. “‘ In many ways, all that would happen with that kind of concept would be the boys cranking up their plants throughout the United States in bad times and shutting their entire branch plants in Canada. It is bad enough as it is.’”
Mr. Ferraro: I suspect he has changed his mind considerably. “In late 1983, during the leadership campaign, Mulroney repeated his opposition to free trade, saying, ‘It affects Canadian sovereignty and we will have none of it, not during leadership campaigns or at any other time.’”
This from the leader of our country who I believe is still a very strong Canadian, albeit with lack of conviction to say the least, and that is obvious by the fact that he changed his tune as late as 1984. In Mr. Wilson’s speech, there was allusion to a bilateral free trade agreement. So less than a year later, here we go: “What I said we are not going to hold true with.”
Whether one is for this trade deal or not, it is confusing to the people. What did the Gallup poll say? Something like 71 per cent of Canadians do not feel comfortable in making a decision on the free trade agreement.
Mr. Ferraro: No, that is not true. My friend the member for Algoma interjects that the provincial government is in the same boat. I say with great respect that the position of the Premier is one I support, not because I am a member of this party but because I think it is logical.
The members of the opposition have said from the start: “Let’s not talk about a free trade agreement. Let us deal with it on a sectoral basis. When there is a problem, we are going to deal with it.” Quite frankly, I think the position that was taken by the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party is the correct one. We have 90 per cent -- we have heard that magic figure all over the place -- of everything we export from Ontario being traded with the United States, and 78 per cent nationally we trade with the United States.
The members of the opposition say: “Let us not talk to them. If there is a problem, we will deal with it when it arises.” That is crazy. They are our best friends. I am not sure what they are going to be a few years from now but, for all intents and purposes, right now they are our best friends, best allies and best trading partners. If we cannot talk to them, then there is something wrong. So in that context we set out, with the co-operation of the federal government -- all the provincial governments were involved, at least at that early stage -- in trying to get an agreement that was going to protect and secure our access to the United States and those valuable markets, protect the jobs and protect the revenues that support our social programs. But we did not get anything out of it, in my view.
Our decision to participate in trying to get an agreement was the right one, but our position now is that this agreement is bad. Now we are being accused by members of the opposition who are saying, “You were for it in the first place and now you are against it.” What we were for was trying to get a good, sound, logical, mutual agreement with our best trading partner. I still think that was a logical and justifiable approach, but what we got was a bad deal.
Are we now to say that because we said we were going to go into the trade deal, we must support it to the nth degree? That would be the easy way out. We could say, “Well, Mulroney and Reisman, you made a heck of a good deal here, and in order for us to save face, we’re going to say we support it.” We cannot.
I think our position is justifiable; and if I might say, with great respect to my friends in the third party, I commend members of the opposition. They were right down the line all the way. They did not want to talk. They did not think we would get anywhere and would deal with the problem when we get to it.
But members of the third party now are saying, “This is hunky-dory and this is wonderful.” With great respect, I do not know how they could say they support this deal during the election campaign leading up to September 10, when they did not even know what the deal was. Is that blind faith or is that blind faith? Mulroney could sell these guys snow in December. How? I do not understand the logic. The Conservative Party, the bastion of business, free enterprise and negotiation said: “We’re going to accept the deal and we haven’t seen it yet. It’s great for Canada it’s great for Ontario; we have to go with this deal.” This was all during September, we all heard it; and we had not seen it.
At least the Liberal Party had the good common sense, in my view, to say, “Yes, we’re in favour of an agreement, but wait until we see the agreement and we’re going to decide whether we’re going to buy this thing;” at the very least.
We made a lot of assumptions. We made the assumption, first that in the spirit of Meech Lake, where Prime Minister Mulroney -- and I commend him -- and all the premiers got together and got into nation-building, with the exception possibly of Premier McKenna at this juncture, there would be a consensus of interaction and co-operation; as the Prime Minister said a thousand times if he said it once, there was a sense of consensus. What happened to the consensus -- this interaction, this camaraderie, this nation-building attitude -- when it came to the free trade deal? It went down the toilet.
On October 4, a magical and infamous day in the history of this country, the elements of the free trade deal were introduced to the general public. The elements as we now know them have been changed to some degree, with the final trade agreement coming out on December 11. But the point is, on October 4, we came out with the elements, if you will, the outline of the free trade deal; although at that point in time I do not think anybody thought they were going to do the significant degree of changes, that in my view, have not improved it that much as we know it in the December 11 agreement. We were told on October 4 that indeed they were going to do some typographical changes, cross the t’s and dot the i’s, but, “By and large, this is the agreement, folks, and let’s go with it.”
I want to put on the record that on the night of October 2 -- I believe my dates are correct -- the Premier was briefed on what they call the elements of the free trade agreement. One of the most significant clauses in that agreement that upset me, and I will elaborate a little bit on it, the energy agreement, was not mentioned to the Premier of Ontario a day and one night before the elements of the agreement were released. This is consensus building? This is co-operation? This is the idea that says, “OK, rally around the flag, boys, we are all part of the same team and we are all going to get together”? You do not tell the Premier of Ontario about an energy deal the night before the day before you release the elements of the trade agreement? That is not my idea of a team.
What happened on October 4? Again Mr. Reisman has said that the provinces had been kept up to par, up to snuff. Someone once said, and I think it is right, that if you want to kill this deal in Canada, send Simon Reisman out as a salesman. Unfortunately, I do not know who the gentleman was, but he said, “If you really want to sell this deal in Canada, then knock Ontario.” That type of regionalism, that type of envy, that type of destabilization, if you will, that type of taking away from our country is totally uncalled for and unfortunate. Nevertheless, we had the deal on October 4.
A week or so ago I posed a question to the Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology in a committee where we dealt with the free trade deal: “Mr. Lavelle, could you tell me please how much discussion, how much interaction, how much camaraderie, how much information has been provided to you by the federal government since the October 4 agreement?” Remember, this is the agreement on which we were told originally we were going to dot the i’s, cross the t’s and basically no big changes were going to be made; which we found to be totally untrue. Mr. Lavelle’s response to me was “None.”
We are one of the major players in this agreement, one of the major players in this country, in one of the most major pieces of legislation that without question is going to affect this country in years to come and the future of our children and grandchildren; and we are not even consulted. It is a sad case for Confederation and totally, diametrically contrasted to the idea of Meech Lake, I might add. It is somewhat ironic, to say the least.
What is it that I do not like about this deal? A lot of people have alluded to it, but let me get my viewpoint on the record. I say with great respect, notwithstanding the fact that I have had free trade coming out of my ears for the last two and a half years and I am still learning, that I think the Premier is absolutely right when he says that the number one and most critical point in any free trade agreement was to get secure access to those markets. No one is going to disagree with that. We agreed with that as committee members in the Liberal Party when we sat on the committee dealing with the report from day one. Let us get a deal where we have secure access. That is paramount.
Of all the experts in my ministry, of all the legal opinions we have read -- the member for Markham quotes one, Calvin and Baskin, and I could quote one, Blake, Cassels and Graydon which takes a diametrical point of view -- no one says we have secure access. The Premier has alluded to the fact that the existing United States trade legislation, the clauses that can really sock it to Ontario and Canada if we are being subjected to the assertion that we are unfair trading partners, clauses 201, 301 and 337, would still apply. All these 300 trade bills -- or 600; I have heard up to 800 protectionist trade bills -- can still be applied against Canada. So where is the secure access? It is just not there. There is no secure access. This is the big fear.
The biggest and most ominous threat to this country, certainly to Ontario at the moment, is the US omnibus trade bill. There is no exclusion in the December 11 version of the free trade pact, none whatsoever. I give the all-party committee from the federal government credit. In its recommendations, it suggested that we need an exemption to the omnibus trade bill. So have the Premier and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology in our government; they indicated the same thing. Notwithstanding my opposition to this deal, I believe it will be signed January 2, and I am hopeful that they will be able to exclude Canada and Ontario, indirectly, from the omnibus trade bill. But the 600 or 800 or 300 protectionist bills on the books in Congress are still there; they can still be applied.
The secure access is not there. So the most blatant failure of Simon Reisman and his merry band of free traders to secure the cardinal rule of law in international trading -- as far as Canada is concerned, anyway -- secure access to those markets which we so desperately need, has turned out to be nothing but smoke.
The automotive pact: I want to allude to the fact that other premiers, notably Mr. Devine, have said to the Premier: “We do not want anything more or less than what you have in Oshawa or southern Ontario. We want the same opportunity that you have in southern Ontario.’’ Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you, to him and to everyone, with the greatest respect, that the auto pact of 1968 was a federal agreement. They had the same opportunity. Are we to feel guilty because the automotive industry decided it wanted to come to southern Ontario? Was there some magic reason it came here? Were they forced at gunpoint to come here by Premier Davis, previous premiers and Premier Peterson? Did they not want to go to Saskatchewan because we are nicer people in Ontario? Did they not want to go to Manitoba because we are nicer people in Ontario? I suggest those provinces had the same opportunity, so that argument is totally nonsensical.
The auto pact, which we have had since 1968, has served the province well. In fact, my understanding is that with the exception of one year, 1975 -- in other words, we were on the positive side of the ledger from 1968 to 1975. Until that time, however, we were always in a deficit position with the United States; they always got the better side of the deal. By 1975, we were up by $700 million. From 1976 to 1982, Ontario and Canada got the short end of the stick, again vis-à-vis the bilateral trade in the auto parts business. From 1982 to 1987 we did, without question, come up with a positive balance sheet. So it served us well, quite frankly, in the last few years, with the one exception of 1975. All the rest of the time the United States got the better of the deal. Did we complain? Did we say we wanted to change the auto pact? No. But that is not what we heard when we went to Washington. That is not what we heard from Senator John Heinz in Pennsylvania.
The part that really perturbed me was that not only did Senator Heinz not know that for every dollar of steel we sell in Pennsylvania, we buy $1.30 of his coal; not only did he not know that indeed Pennsylvania trading with Ontario, for example, had a $600-million surplus; but also, some of the major congressional leaders in the United States did not know -- again, we have heard this many times -- that Ontario was their second-largest trading partner or that we had a $2-billion deficit in trade with the United States. Maybe that suggests we are doing a lousy job of selling ourselves. Not maybe; it does. One of the recommendations in the report was that we do a better job, and I say that with respect to Mr. Gotlieb and members of our Ottawa embassy. That is something this government, I am sure, will have to address.
The strength of the auto pact was the umbrella, if you will, of being able to provide tariffs. Basically, what it said was that if you did not have 60 per cent Canadian content, you could not transport your vehicle into the United States and if you did not measure up, we could hit you with a tariff, a fine, a levy. We never had to impose that threat, that umbrella, but it was there.
What happened? Mr. Mulroney and the member for Markham say: “Well, Mr. Reisman assures we have not touched the auto pact. The auto pact is there.” The member for Markham says: “Well, we could never have negotiated it on an individual basis. It is much better being mixed in with all that stuff that half the people in this country do not understand in this free trade agreement.”
I think he is wrong, because as of January 1, 1998, we are no longer allowed to have our duty remission programs, which have served this country and this province extremely well, and we are no longer allowed to have any threat of tariffs. What we have now, according to Mr. Reisman and the proponents of the free trade deal, and the fact that the auto pact is wonderful and has not been touched, is a car with no engine.
We have an auto pact with no teeth. We have an agreement with no substance. One of the recommendations in here was that all countries inevitably should have to abide by the auto pact. What did they come out with? They came out with the fact that General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Volvo and the GM-Suzuki deal in Ingersoll will be included in the auto pact. What about Toyota? What about Hyundai? What about some of the auto parts manufacturers that cannot be included in it in an indirect way? They are exempt.
Oh, we have made it better. Now, instead of the 60 per cent Canadian content, we are going to have 50 per cent North American content. That is wonderful. That is just great for Canada and Ontario. Instead of 60 per cent, we get a reduced amount of 50 per cent. What motivation is there to come to Canada, never mind going to Mr. Devine’s province? What motivation is there to come to southern Ontario, aside from the fact that we are a wonderful place to be and I hope will always remain that way? I say to members, not much. We are going to see them going to Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, where the degree of state incentive far outweighs that of any provincial or federal incentive, at least in my mind.
The idea of the free trade proponents that we are going to be a much better place to invest is baloney. During this whole debate, one factor that has been overlooked by and large by most people, vis-à-vis the opportunities the Tories and the free traders are saying now rest with Canada because of this deal, all that rests first on one fact. Why does the United States want to have this agreement? Why are all these protectionist bills there? Why is Canada concerned about them? They are concerned because the United States has a roughly $180-billion deficit. If we were legislators in Congress in the United States, we would be extremely concerned as well. It does not matter that $80 million of it is with Japan; we are going to get hit by it. But during all this debate, notwithstanding the fact that that deficit exists, we are going to have all this investment come to the United States to soften the blow, if you will, of that deficit, and it is inevitably going to come to Canada.
The point that has been overlooked, and I alluded to it in some degree, was what happens if these protectionist bills do not work and if the deficit is not reduced to the degree that many of the financial wizards, congressmen and legislators in the United States say will happen? In my view, there is only one alternative -- we have seen it in the last seven days -- and that is a devaluation of the American dollar.
Instead of having a 25-cent edge which I admit is an incentive -- if you are a car maker in Germany and you are going to invest in North America before January 2, 1988, you would be nuts not to come to Canada and invest. Not only do you have unfettered access to the North American markets, but you also have 25 cents more on your buck. Even if there is some distinction between labour costs or transportation costs, 25 cents more than made up the difference so that it made sense from an economic and business standpoint to come to southern Ontario or indeed to come to Canada, as they have in Quebec and to some degree in British Columbia -- even though Mr. Devine cannot understand why they will not come to his province; maybe he is the reason.
My point is that if all of a sudden -- hypothetically, I grant; this whole deal is hypothetical and only time will prove it -- the US devalues its buck, if it is only 10 cents’ difference, where is all that investment? I am doubtful and the Premier is doubtful and this government is doubtful it will be the same.
We talk about another part of it, to which I have alluded, foreign investment. In the days of the previous Liberal federal government, there was the Foreign Investment Review Agency, FIRA. “It was a bad thing,” the Conservatives said. Mulroney said, “It’s lousy; it’s not good for Canada,” and maybe it was. Never mind that 90 per cent of all applications before that agency were approved, that is irrelevant; the three per cent that were rejected really made this thing a terrible deal.
“We will come out with a new idea,” said Mr. Mulroney, Mr. Wilson and others. “We are going to come out with Investment Canada.” It sounds great. I like that name. We have a great individual there who comes up with these buzzwords that really captivate one’s imagination. What has Investment Canada done? Before the free trade deal came out, I had the pleasure, when representing the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, of meeting Michel Côté at a meeting. He said to me that since they started Investment Canada, they have had 2,200 applications for foreign takeovers of one form or another. How many do the members think were rejected? None; not one, which is good.
The foreign investment regulations being perpetrated, if you will, being presented in this free trade agreement state now that we cannot have anything to say about US direct takeover of any corporation with net assets of $150 million and indirect takeover of any corporation in Canada with less than $500 million. For all intents and purposes, for any corporation with assets of $150 million, the US can come in and buy that corporation with all those jobs and Canada cannot do a damned thing about it. Maybe we would not want to under certain circumstances, but the point is we cannot.
Mr. Ferraro: With great respect to my friend opposite, I notice that he must have lost the flip: he is the only one here from his party to have to, I guess, endure the pain. I can only say with great respect that if I am boring, then members of his party were absolutely nauseating.
Now we have a situation where any corporation with under $150 million in assets can automatically be taken over. I am told that accounts for roughly 90 per cent of all corporations in Canada. Let us just hypothesize again for a minute. Let us assume that 80 per cent are taken over by the United States: we still have our sovereignty, we still have our Canadian aspect to it? I say, with great respect, if you lose economic control -- and you would -- you lose your sovereign control. That cannot be healthy.
Now maybe the member opposite, the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz), wants to be, I do not know, a Yankee supporter or whatever it is, a Dallas Cowboy fan. Maybe he wants to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. Certainly he is well suited to that. But I kind of like being a Canadian, and if I lose economic control of my country, I lose all control of my country. So as much as the gentleman from Durham East wants that situation, I do not.
The energy program, the big deal the Prime Minister and Mr. Reisman did not have the decency to tell the Premier about the day before the pact was released -- I think the energy thing stinks, to be quite blunt.
Sure, it was changed from the October 4 elements of the free trade agreement to the December 11 text. Now it says Canada “may be allowed to maintain an independent oil policy.” What is says is, “As long as you’ve got this free trade with the United States, ladies and gentlemen in Canada, even though it is your oil, you have to charge your American customers the same rate you charge your Canadian brothers and sisters.”
I am as much of a free enterpriser as anybody in this House, if not more. I am as much of a businessman, I like to think, as most members in this House in any event; but it bothers me for some country to say all of a sudden to Canada, my country, “You can’t charge what you want for your resources.” That is exactly what this agreement says. No matter how much the member for Durham East says to the contrary, it is not true.
That is like growing tomatoes or pumpkins in your own backyard and having somebody saying to you: “You can’t give that to the members of your family. You have to charge them this.” I say it is none of their damned business. I say it is probably one of the most serious anti-Canadian elements of the whole trade agreement and I resent it. That is why the Premier has alluded to the fact that we have lost control over our own destiny, as far as our resources are concerned.
One of the most notable comments I have entertained, in my discussions with both supporters of free trade and those who are against it in my constituency, and indeed throughout the province when we have talked about the idea of free trade, about whether there are arguments for it -- and there are; for every argument for there is usually one against; for every association for there is usually one against. It is no wonder the people in Ontario and indeed in Canada are confused. It is a significantly difficult deal to understand, especially when they are changing it so often.
But no one to whom I have spoken -- indeed I do not think anybody in this House or in the chamber in Ottawa -- would disagree with the fact, and I alluded to it at the start, that it is probably one of the most comprehensive and important deals this country will sign, certainly in my lifetime. I do not think anybody disputes that.
Having said all that, you have this important a document that is going to affect -- the Premier believes this and certainly everybody in my party believes this -- our children and our grandchildren for generations to come. You have this deal that is going to have such an impact on our social policies, on our cultural industries, on our very fabric as a nation.
We get the deal on December 11 and it has to be signed on January 2. We have three weeks to look at, to analyse, to decide and to say we are for or against -- three weeks. The point that no one disagrees with, whether they are for or against, at least among the people I have talked to, is that it is ridiculous for us to have to make a decision in that short a time period.
I would say it is absolutely an unconscionable act by the Prime Minister of this country to subject the people of this country to make a decision of such magnitude in less than two weeks. It is ridiculous. But it is: “We got such a good deal. This is a mutual deal. This is a deal of give and take.” The leader of the third party has alluded to that, “Yes, you have to give up some things in order to attain some things;” and I agree. I have been known to play a little poker myself. Some of the guys who always win my money would probably say I am not playing poker but, having said that, I understand the idea of giving and taking.
Mr. Ferraro: We do, do we? They have implementing legislation where they can possibly change the deal. Can the member opposite tell me we have that opportunity? We do not even know if there is going to be implementing legislation.
This is fair. The United States can look at it, but we cannot. The United States can have 90 days to look at this deal and say whether it likes it or not. We have less than two weeks. What a wonderful situation. What a wonderful idea the Prime Minister has of creating nationalism, of having consensus-building, of nation-building. I think it is absolutely ridiculous.
I say with respect to members of the third party who accepted this deal before they even saw it, who trust Prime Minister Mulroney implicitly -- and by and large, I think he is a good Canadian and can be trusted most of the time but he has let us down on this deal -- even though he changed his mind in June 1983 and again in the fall of 1983, said it was a lousy deal then but now all of a sudden it is the be-all and saviour of our country; and they can accept that. I do not know whether they are looking for an appointment to the Senate or what it is but, quite frankly, we do not believe it is good for Canada. It certainly is not good for Ontario.
I want to conclude by alluding to the fact that the Premier of this province has been criticized, and will continue to be, as is the habit in politics, for not being decisive. I do not think he has been anything less than a good Canadian, sincere and concerned about our country.
The point I am trying to make is, the easy way out for the Premier would have been to say, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, I looked at the deal even though I had all these concerns, and it’s a good deal and let’s go with it.” It was the easy way out for the man who did so much, in my view -- and I think most of Ontario is proud of the fact of his accomplishments with Meech Lake to date -- who is concerned about building this country into the nation we all want it to be, not only for our generation but also for future generations; but he did not take it.
He took the hard way out. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this deal is not good for Ontario but, more important, not good for Canada.” No matter what the members of the third party or the opposition say about the Premier, I can say without hesitation I do not think he has wavered one bit. I do not think he has taken the easy way out.
Mr. Ferraro: Let the member eat his heart out. He could have done a lot worse. Going from where his party was to where it is does not say a heck of a lot about his leader, but I am very proud of mine.
I want to say that notwithstanding all the rhetoric and the emotional aspects of this debate, I sincerely hope that my leader is wrong. I sincerely hope that members of the third party are right. I sincerely hope that Prime Minister Mulroney, notwithstanding his opinion a couple of years ago when he was against the idea of free trade, who all of a sudden is converted to the idea of free trade, is right. I truthfully and honestly do.
Maybe it is a bad thing to say, but for the good of our country I hope the Premier is wrong. I hope his concerns about our country, about our sovereignty, about our ability to compete, about our ability to trade and our ability to get investment in this country, are wrong. I hope he is wrong, but in my heart I do not believe he is.
Mr. Wildman: I have listened to this debate over the last number of days and I have tried to put it into context. We are debating here a resolution put forward by the government, as amended by the official opposition. The amendment put forward by my party would commit the government to state clearly, as the government of this provincial jurisdiction, that it will not implement any aspects of the Mulroney-Reagan deal that impinge in any way on provincial jurisdiction.
Yet we are informed by a political party, which is the government of this province and which states that it does not like the deal and that it is a bad deal, that it does not want to pass that amendment. They simply want a statement passed by the assembly which says that it does not think this a good deal for Canada or Ontario.
The government has decided that it is so important to have this expression of opinion that because this agreement is to be signed on January 2, the House should sit in an unprecedented period between Christmas and New Year’s. The government has set aside all the other business in Orders and Notices to deal with this matter that is so important that it must be dealt with before the other matters in Orders and Notices, before the new year. They want to express an opinion -- an opinion, interestingly enough, that the Premier has already expressed in writing to both the government of Canada and the government of the United States.
Let us talk for a moment about leadership. I am looking at the Orders and Notices of December 17. I note that in that Orders and Notices, besides the resolution that is before us and the amendment that is before us, there is also a resolution standing in the name of the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon), “That the Treasurer of Ontario be authorized to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing January 1, 1988, and ending April 15, 1988, such payment to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply.”
“Following the voting of supply.” So we sit here talking about an opinion on free trade, an opinion which will make no difference whatsoever with regard to the signing on January 2, a signing which I oppose, when we have before us in Orders and Notices a matter which, if it is not passed before January 1, will mean we cannot pay the civil servants. That is the context that we are debating this in between Christmas and New Year’s.
I ask members: what is more important, an expression of opinion that is not going to affect the signing one way or the other, or whether or not the government has enough money to pay its employees by the new year? It does not seem to me to make a lot of sense. It seems to me that the government has lost control of the Orders and Notices paper. It cannot order its own business in a way that means it can administer the affairs of the province properly.
Also on the Orders and Notices paper we had listed that day a number of matters which the government said were necessary to be passed before the end of the session, which at that time we anticipated would be some time prior to December 23. Those things included Bill 29, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act; Bill 61, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act again; another bill to deal with conflict of interest; and a bill which was of interest to me and certainly to rural Ontario, Bill 65, An Act to amend certain Acts administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. That is a matter which has to be dealt with before the spring if the vegetable growers of this province are to be properly protected.
So what do we do? We come back here, all right, between Christmas and New Year’s, but we sit and listen to a lot of guff from both sides of this House and we do not deal with matters which are of substance and importance.
Who is it that orders the business of the House? It is the government House leader in agreement and discussion with the other two House leaders. I will make quite clear that from our point of view, and we have made it clear on a number of occasions, it would make a lot more sense to deal with these urgent matters before the new year and then return to this debate, because the debate that is holding forth now will not make any difference one way or the other, mainly because this government is unwilling to take a position of substance. Rather, they simply want to express an opinion.
The question of free trade that is before us is one I find, as a member of the opposition representing Algoma, very frustrating. I have sat as a member of this House through the whole process. I was a member of the House before the current Prime Minister of this country was elected to the leadership of his political party, and I recall, as has been mentioned through the debate, his position on free trade. He said at the time, and he quoted the former leader of the national Liberal Party, Mr. Trudeau, that it would be like sleeping with an elephant and all the connotations that brings in. Then we find that after he won the leadership of his party and eventually became Prime Minister of Canada, his position changed completely.
But interestingly enough, he said he wanted to involve the provinces, and that is what I want to talk about: the provincial involvement. The Prime Minister of this country brought together all of the provincial leaders, the premiers of the provinces of this country, and they talked about his initiative, his proposal for a free trade agreement with the United States. He made clear his reasons; I will deal with those in a moment. The interesting thing about that initial contact and initial consultation was that the Premier of this province returned to this assembly and announced to all of us that it was his understanding that he, as the leader of the government of Ontario, had a veto over the negotiations, not just over the final agreement but over the continuation of negotiations. While he said he had a veto, he said he did not want to exercise it. He said it would be premature to exercise it before he saw the terms of the agreement, and so for two years we sat here and listened to the Premier express concern about what was going on and the effects it might have for Ontario. But then we also had him say: “But we do not want to be premature about vetoing it. Yes, we do believe we have a veto, but we do not want to veto something that just might be good for Ontario.”
Our position has been clear throughout. While we value our relationship with our neighbour to the south; we recognize the importance of the economic relationships that we have developed over the years with the United States and with the US market; we understand the problems that are facing some portions of our economy in relation to those trading relationships and we want to deal with those problems, we did not believe that this government, in co-operation with the federal government and the other provinces, would be able to arrive at an agreement with the United States that would benefit us and would do what the Prime Minister of Canada said it would do. And we understood the Premier to say that he had a veto.
Then we had the calling of the election this year, in the summer, and we had all the election campaign rhetoric. The leader of the New Democratic Party in Ontario made it quite clear that we believed the Premier should in fact be saying quite clearly to the federal government that the government of Ontario would not support a deal at all; that in fact we wanted to emphasize our trading relationships not only with the United States but internationally through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other trading mechanisms; that we wanted to deal with specific irritants with the United States and other countries but we would not accept a deal as proposed by Mr. Mulroney. That was our position and it remains our position.
The Conservative Party, under the leadership of the then member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick, made clear what its position was as well. Mr. Grossman at that time used the analogy of a train station. He said there were two trains: One train was free trade and the other train was protectionism. He said that Ontario was on the platform and, from his point of view, Ontario had to take one train or the other. His choice, as a Conservative, was free trade. He defended Mr. Mulroney’s initiative before the electorate. He was not successful, but I do respect the fact that he put forward a position and defended it.
Throughout the election campaign, little by little, the leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario put forward or adapted his position until the famous time when he actually made a speech setting out six conditions. After that speech, there was the advertisement and the commercial, which I think was a very good political advertisement. I say that somewhat cynically, because I do not think it was an honest political advertisement or commercial; but it certainly achieved what it was intended to achieve.
No matter what your position on free trade, when you listened to that commercial, you could agree with it. If you were in favour of free trade, the commercial said to you, “This province, this government, the Liberal Party, will accept an agreement that is good for Ontario.” If you opposed free trade, the commercial and the Premier said to you that his bottom line was that there would be no agreement. If you were unsure about your own position, then the commercial said to you that the Premier and the Liberal Party were considering all options and they had some conditions which, if met, would mean they would accept free trade, and if not, they would reject it.
When I heard that speech, when I read the press accounts of it and when I heard the commercials, I must admit I was surprised that the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson), the Leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario, took what appeared to be such a definitive position when he said at the end of that commercial that his bottom line was that if those conditions were not met, there would be no deal. He did not say, as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology tried to indicate during the debate on his estimates, that maybe there would be a deal. He said there would be no deal. Clearly, that meant -- at least, it appeared to mean -- that if those conditions were not met, this government would stop the deal.
Let us look at what has happened since to determine whether or not that was an honest political statement, keeping in mind that the Premier had previously indicated that, in his view, he and his government had a veto in these negotiations.
He set out six conditions. If they were not met, he said, there would be no deal. When the House came back in session, we asked a number of questions in the Legislature about what would happen if these conditions he set out were not met. What was he going to do? The Premier’s response invariably was: “Let us not prejudge it. We have not seen the agreement. We have not seen the wording yet, so let us not prejudge it.”
In October we did see the draft terms of the agreement, the elements of the agreement, and at that time the Premier and everyone else had the opportunity to judge the draft of the agreement in relation to the six conditions set out by the Premier during the election campaign. The Premier himself agreed with many whose analysis was that the conditions had not been met. He said, “Yes, those conditions have not been met.” But did he then say there would be no deal, as his commercial had said and as his election rhetoric said? No, he did not say that. What he said was: “But this is only a draft. We had better wait until we see the final text. There may be changes in the final text which will deal with the concerns of Ontario and will therefore be acceptable to the government of Ontario.”
In the meantime, the official opposition in the name of my friend the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Morin-Strom) moved a private member’s resolution in the House which would have set out specific steps this government could take to oppose the agreement since it did not meet the conditions set out by the government. That resolution was debated the very same week of the first ministers’ conference in Toronto. While the Premier was downtown with his colleagues discussing with the other first ministers the elements of the deal, the Liberal back-benchers in this House voted against the resolution put forward by my friend from Sault Ste. Marie.
I ask, how much sincerity is there in the Liberal Party of Ontario when it says it is opposed to this deal, not just to free trade in general but to this deal, and it rejects a resolution put forward that says, “All right, if you are against it, these are the things you can do to stop it”? They voted against it, so it was voted down.
Although we have had a long period of the Premier saying that he did not like the deal, that he had a veto, that if it was not good for Ontario we would not have a deal, when we saw the draft, he said, “We had better wait for the final text.” We now have the final text, and although there have been some changes, the six conditions put forward by the Premier still have not been met.
So what does this government do? It does not say, “All right, this is what we are going to do to stop the deal,” as it said back before September 10. Instead, it introduces a namby-pamby resolution which basically says: “This is a bad deal. We do not like it.” Then on top of it, it says, “We have got to pass this silly little resolution before January 2, when the deal will be signed by Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Reagan,” and it sets aside all the other important business of the House to have a sort of esoteric discussion of whether or not this is a good deal or a bad deal but without any plan of action for responding to it.
Mr. Wildman: Yes, and we have been told quite clearly that the government is going to vote down the amendment. The amendment gives the government the opportunity to put its money where its mouth is, and obviously it does not have the guts to do it.
Mr. Wildman: It became obvious that we were running into a serious situation in that -- I am sincere when I say this -- the important voting of supply to the government was not going to be carried out.
Mr. Wildman: I do not notice the presence of the Premier or any members of the Treasury bench here right now. How important is this to the government? There is not one member of the government present. If they are so damned sure about how important this is --
What has the government said since it saw the final text? First, they said they had a veto, but they did not want to do anything until they saw the terms of the agreement. Then, when they saw the draft of the agreement, they said they did not want to do anything until they saw the final text. So what happens when they see the final text? They have said that they believe it to be unconstitutional, since it threatens provincial rights; but when asked, “OK, if you believe it to be unconstitutional, are you going to take it to the courts to have it tested in the courts?” the government says: “No, no, we do not want to do that. We might lose.” Well, that always happens when you go to court: You either win or lose.
So what is the government now saying? Well, the government says: “First, we said we wanted to see the draft. Then when we saw the draft, we said we wanted to see the final text. Now we have got the final text. Well, we had better now wait until we see some legislation to implement it.” This government is going to wait so long that it is going to be passed and upon us and it will not have done a damned thing about it. Passing this expression of opinion by January 2 is not going to stop it, and the members here who support the government know darned well that is the case.
Now, I am sure that when and if we do get federal legislation that implements this deal, then this government is going to get up and say: “Well, we cannot do anything now. It has already happened. Maybe we should wait until we see the impacts of this legislation, and then we will see if there is anything we can do to protect the people of Ontario, the industry in Ontario and the jobs in Ontario.”
What does it all mean? What it basically means is that this government made a tactical political decision that it had to talk against free trade, to express concerns about the free trade agreement, when it really was taking a hands-off position. It was not interested in fighting free trade; it had no interest in stopping free trade. It expected it to happen, it is going to acquiesce and it intended to do that all along.
It has been said, and I agree, that this agreement does not secure access to the American market. It does not, even from Mr. Mulroney’s point of view. That was the only selling point of significance, that he and his negotiators were going to secure access to the American market, that it would protect us from the protectionist measures before the US Congress, that it would protect us from the omnibus trade bill that is before the US Congress and that there would be a dispute settlement mechanism that would ensure that when there were trade disputes and threats of protectionism against Canadian products, we would be protected.
Well, it does not protect us from the protectionist measures in the US Congress. It does not come into effect until 1989, by which time the omnibus trade bill will probably be passed and will take effect, and that will then make it possible for us to be protected only if Canada is specifically exempted in the legislation. If you think that is going to be easy to get passed in Congress, then you are dreaming in Technicolor.
The dispute settlement mechanism is a joke. Instead of having to go to court, we will now have an international panel that will review any countervail or antidumping legislation that is imposed, but it will review it only in relation to the law of the country that has imposed that measure. That means that the kinds of countervail actions that were taken that led to the 15 per cent export tax on softwood lumber could still be taken in the United States and all the panel would be able to do would be to review such a decision to determine whether it had been made in accordance with the United States law. We are not exempted from those provisions of US law.
Some people in this House have said that we were pessimists, that we did not anticipate that we could negotiate. The reason we did not believe we could negotiate an acceptable agreement is simply because none of us in this party ever believed the Americans would give up that part of their sovereignty which would say that yes, Canada can be exempt from United States trade law. None of us believe that, and it did not happen.
I have a good relationship with my counterpart across the river in northern Michigan, Bob Davis, the congressman. We have dealt with each other from time to time on matters of mutual interest, and I never for a minute expected that even a congressman like Davis, who has an understanding of Canada and the relationship between Ontario and the United States, would ever agree to exempting us from sovereign US legislation and the rights of Congress to pass that kind of legislation, even though he is a very good friend of Canada’s. Frankly, he would not expect us to give up those kinds of rights in relation to US products or US industries either.
So, what have we got? We have a lousy deal, a deal that threatens the sovereignty of this country and the economic future of this country, that has been negotiated by a federal government led by an individual whose only experience outside of politics has been working as the manager of a US branch plant and who seems determined to turn the whole country into a branch plant, and we have a provincial government in Ontario that has been talking a good game but does not intend to do anything to protect the interests of this province or the people of this province and never has intended to.
I will say this. I think it is most inappropriate that we have spent this time when we should be dealing with other matters of urgency, whether it be for the general administration of the government of this province; the payment of the employees of his province over the new year; the passage of legislation, whether it be for farmers, such as the vegetable growers or other groups in this province, that must be passed before the new year or at least before spring. Instead we discuss and discuss and discuss.
Madam Speaker, Mr. Speaker -- you have changed your gender -- there was an attempt at a compromise put forward before this House last week that was rejected by the government. I hope the government and all parties can co-operate this week to deal with the matters of substance, the business of the House, and that the government can regain control of the order of business in this place; or, if it cannot at least do that, that it can compromise and allow us to help it order the business if it cannot do it itself so that we get something done that is of importance, rather than just continuing this debate on free trade when we have a government that intends to do absolutely nothing to protect the interests of the people of this province.
Mr. Cureatz: It is with great humility that once again I have this wonderful opportunity to rise in my seat and represent all the fine constituents of Durham East, who very graciously allowed me the opportunity to once again serve them. Might I congratulate my colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) who brought forward some very interesting aspects of the debate that is taking place this afternoon. I am sorry he is leaving, but I know he will be monitoring my comments on the television monitor and if he by chance is unable to tune me in, he will gladly refresh his memory by reviewing Hansard later tonight or possibly tomorrow morning so that he will have the appreciation of some of my thoughts and concerns of the resolution that is before us this afternoon.
It has been brought to my attention from time to time that, albeit we are now televised -- something that the new members present cannot appreciate -- as good as the television broadcasts are, and especially with regard to the resolution that is taking place because it affects so many of us across Ontario; and as good as the translators are who are hiding in the booth in the corner; and the people up on the third floor, the people who are monitoring with the television cameras, so that we might be able to participate in debates like this, so that people across Ontario will have the opportunity of tuning in and finding out what is going on here; as good as it all is, and we have noticed they put in the member’s name and constituency, it has been brought to my attention that strangely enough when people do tune in -- for instance today, Tuesday, the middle of the week between Christmas and New Year’s, there might be one or two people at home at exactly five o’clock.
Suddenly they may have the urge, maybe while they are having a little cocktail before dinner, an early celebration of New Year’s, to tune us in on the cable that is appropriately found about where the Legislative Assembly is broadcast. Suddenly they are listening to all the fine debates that are taking place in these hallowed chambers.
But if they just tune in, they will not really have an appreciation of the resolution before us because, of course, they will just tune in and will be listening to a particular individual, myself as a case in point, who is bringing forward particular comments on the resolution before us. Those individuals who were tuning in the television would not have an appreciation of what the resolution was all about. I have brought this forward before and this is an exact case in point, that we should be considering --
Mr. D. R. Cooke: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would like to draw the attention of the House and the Speaker to rule 19(d)(2), indicating that the speaker should be putting his mind to the resolution before the House. He is not here today to discuss television in the House. He is here to discuss a very important resolution. I would like to hear his views on it.
Mr. Cureatz: Mr. Speaker, as you well know, I have a great admiration for your capabilities over the number of years you have served in the capacity of Speaker. Of course, you had the opportunity of being elected, I guess, one little short term before I was, if memory serves me correctly. I of course have had the opportunity of participating in a humble position such as you are encountering at the moment and have therefore some working knowledge in terms of what is required or not required of the debate that is before us in these chambers.
As you so well put forward, indeed I had the opportunity of bringing forward to members’ attention the resolution before us in regard to the free trade aspects. Because, after all, this might be the only opportunity or chance we members have in these chambers to discuss this resolution, I was making the point in terms of the television broadcast. Obviously, the member is not concerned about the people of Ontario having an appreciation of what is being debated here in this resolution. He stood up on a point of order and he demanded that I bring into context my comments on the free trade resolution. I was just doing that, Mr. Speaker.
I want to point out to the honourable member that our broadcasts here from the Legislative Assembly to people across Ontario may from time to time appear out of context, because they will suddenly turn on the television and there will be the member for Kitchener suddenly standing up on a point of order and it will not make any sense. Naturally, from time to time, people would say that he does not make any sense anyway. I am concerned about the people of Ontario understanding what is going on in here.
Mr. Cureatz: Now I know that is a little difficult with the present Liberal administration, especially for the Minister of Education (Mr. Ward) who has a lot of problems out in his own riding anyway, but that is a speech for another time.
I am bringing up the point that through our televised medium here in the Legislative Assembly, we can indeed bring the debates closer to the people at home, debates such as are taking place in regard to the free trade resolution. How can we do that? I think we should do something more than the little blurb at the bottom that says the name and riding of the speaker who is being televised or the little blurb “Free Trade Resolution,” because that is what we are debating, the free trade resolution.
What would be really helpful would be a colour commentator -- I have mentioned this before -- possibly Rosemary Speirs, Robert Fisher, Lorrie Goldstein or Orland French. They could be sitting in the translator’s booth and periodically, every five or 10 minutes, override the speeches that are taking place, the speeches about the free trade resolution --
Mr. Speaker: Being somewhat familiar with the standing orders, I am not certain you have the correct number. However, I know the honourable member wants to continue to discuss the amended resolution that is before the House.
Mr. Cureatz: It amuses me to no great end that, heaven forbid, we have been accused of possibly extending our speeches unnecessarily in these chambers. I can assure the members here that from the bottom of my heart of hearts, as a particular individual used to say from time to time here, the more I am interrupted, the more it urges me on to participate in a meaningful way about the free trade debate here in front of us this afternoon.
That being said, my concern is in trying to assist the television people at home who are just tuning in at 5:06 p.m. and preparing dinner, having their fillets frying in the frying pan. The children are at home driving mum and dad bananas, I am sure, and they are saying, “Boys and girls, let us watch the free trade debate at Queen’s Park.” They are going to say, “What does a free trade debate at Queen’s Park mean for me?” It is going to be a little difficult to explain that to them if they do not have the opportunity of finding out what the free trade debate is all about, and more particularly the resolution and the amendment to the resolution.
Mr. Cureatz: The future hopeful Minister of Agriculture and Food, Harry over here, the member for Lincoln (Mr. Pelissero), has urged me to read the resolution. Of course, he is anxious to be in cabinet. We all remember the little note from the present Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) about how happy he was supporting the present member for Lincoln during the last election and running around with him in his riding to get re-elected against free trade. Embarrassing enough to the present Minister of Agriculture and Food, the member for Lincoln was elected and now he has to contend with him and look over his shoulder.
Mr. Cureatz: The member has asked me to read the resolution. I think that is a good thing to do again to refresh all our memories here and, more important, the people at home across Ontario because we could all agree with the fact that it is important for these chambers to get across to the people of Ontario what the debate is all about. We are all in favour of that. Hands up. Look at all the hands. I can say to the people at home that many of the Liberal back-benchers had put their hands up because they are in favour of the aspect of reading the resolution that has been brought forward by the government.
I am so disappointed that the government House leader is not here because I think it would be important for him to have his memory refreshed in the way that the member for Algoma indicated about all the other important issues that should be taking place in these chambers. But no, we are carrying on with the resolution. What does the resolution say? I think this is important. I hope the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is listening closely. It goes like this:
“That in the opinion of the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario the proposed trade agreement between Canada and the United States fails to address Canada’s needs and goals, while making significant concessions which could prove costly to Canadians. Specifically:” --
Mr. Cureatz: I appreciate that. I am encouraged by the member for Brantford. He defeated Phil Gillies, that notorious Tory on the front bench. The former mayor of Brantford; the member’s fame has come before him. The member had a great sign campaign, too. It surprises me to no end that if he acted this way in the riding of Brantford, trying to stymie debate, trying to listen to the concerns of free trade -- I will tell him, I will bet him there are not too many people on the streets of Brantford whom he could approach and say to them, “Do you know what the resolution on free trade in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario says?” How many people could he say that to in Brantford who would actually know? One? Two?
He is obviously not doing his job as a constituency member. He might have been a great mayor, but I think he is falling far short in terms of his representation here, because it behooves me to explain to the people of Ontario the resolution that is before us. Obviously, he does not want the resolution to be read, because he wants debate to be stymied. He does not want his constituents in Brantford to have an appreciation of what is going on here. I am going to speak up for all those constituents in the riding he represents, and I am going to refresh their memories about the resolution, as I was before I was so rudely interrupted.
The resolution continues on. People at home can see it is printed up on a nice piece of paper here. It says, “Votes and Proceedings.” It continues on, all nicely typed up, with little bullets. I do not remember having bullets; we used to have little dashes but now we have gone to bullets. It must be something new with the large Liberal government because it thinks it is going to shoot us all down. Their time will come in the next election. The first bullet, for everybody at home:
“The proposed agreement fails to secure access to the US market for Canadian goods and services and provides no assurance of fairer treatment for Canadian exporters. It provides Canadians with virtually no relief from the US trade laws and regulations that are being used to harass them.”
Pretty strong fighting words. But it continues on with the next bullet. For the benefit of the viewers at home, we are debating the free trade motion brought forward by the government of Ontario so that we would have the opportunity of discussing the motion over the holiday season. Next bullet:
“Under the proposed agreement, Canadian exporters could still be penalized in the United States as a result of Canadian policies and programs to promote industrial development, reduce regional disparities and manage our natural resources.”
That strikes me to the quick because, for those members who missed my particular debate on the speech from the throne, I brought forward a particular concern of mine, the Darlington generating station, which is presently being built in my riding -- some $11 billion to $12 billion of investment, four nuclear units, two of which will be fired up within the next year or two, the additional two in 1991 and 1992.
It grieves me to no end that the government suggests there could be the possibility of severe limitation of our control over energy in Canada and, more particularly, in Ontario. I can say truthfully that yes indeed, I too would be concerned about the possibility of that taking place. Indeed, I am sure the member for Durham West (Mrs. Stoner), who is absent at the moment, who has Pickering in her particular riding, with eight units participating in the Ontario Hydro grid, would be as concerned as I am about the impact the resolution might have on our energy control in Ontario. We will take a further look at energy and the impact free trade has, if time permits me.
How about the next bullet? I think it is important to relate to the people at home that we are discussing the free trade resolution brought forward by the Liberal Party of Ontario, presently forming the government. They continue to say:
I say to the member for Brantford, if he wandered up to one of his constituents and grabbed him by the shoulders or sat him down for a coffee and said, “Did you know that the free trade agreement would undercut safeguards which have ensured the existence of a dynamic Canadian auto industry and reduce Canada’s ability to attract offshore auto industry investment?” the fellow sitting across from him would scratch his head and wonder why he ever voted for the member for Brantford. He would think he was out of his mind, spewing forth this stuff. And what is this stuff ? It is the resolution that is being brought forward by the government.
Indeed, as I continue on in regard to the amendment to the resolution, it grieves me to no end and frightens me to think of some of the things that are being said by the newly elected back-benchers of the Liberal Party in their particular constituencies about the Premier’s opposition to the free trade agreement and the Premier’s agreement and the House leaders’ agreement on what should take place in the assembly of the province, and suddenly we have this resolution in front of us. The member for Brantford and all members who are so attentively listening should trust me. There is indeed a particular platform that I am laying out.
I know the member for Durham Centre (Mr. Furlong), well-learned scholar in law that he is, would appreciate the case I am building. I am building my case and my argument so that I might convince one or two people here in terms of what is really taking place, of the procedural method of the Liberal Party in regard to this resolution. I say to the member for Durham Centre and the member for Northumberland (Mrs. Fawcett) they should abide by me. They will see that it will all be clear as day, clear as the sun shining forth in terms of my concerns about this resolution and the way it has been brought forward.
There is another aspect of the resolution. This agreement would eliminate tariffs simultaneously in both countries despite the fact that Canadian tariffs start at a higher level. This agreement would threaten the existence of significant sectors of the agriculture and food processing industries, actually a big concern of mine.
I can see that I am boring the member for Kitchener at great length here. I want to tell members I was extremely bored on his particular points of order, but I did not insult him as he just has me with a great big yawn of indifference. I would say to him that when he stood up on his point of order in regard to my comments on free trade, I particularly made some very clear notes about his thoughts and concerns and evaluated them in my own mind as to whether they were relevant or not, and of course, Mr. Speaker, you so rightly ruled that his point of order was totally irrelevant. As a result, I need not have participated further in the debate when he stood up on his point of order.
The resolution continues, “This agreement would require the federal government to take” -- in quotes, and I do not know whose idea were the quotes. Were they Hershell Ezrin’s quotes? I do not know. Of course, many of the Liberals over there do not even know who Hershell is, I am sure. Who knows who Hershell Ezrin is? Hands up over there. Very few hands up. They are not doing their job over there. They should get the Minister of Mines (Mr. Conway) to introduce them to Hershell one of these days. It will be a worthwhile introduction. The member for Brampton South has never been introduced to him, but we are so pleased because I know he is anxious to hear my concerns about the resolution on the free trade debate:
“This agreement would require the federal government to take ‘all necessary measures’” -- that is the quote, and we still have not determined who put it in quotes -- “to implement its provisions, including infringement on the provincial capacity to respond to the needs of Ontario citizens.
I say to the viewers at home, we are again reviewing the free trade resolution brought forward by the Liberal government of Ontario so that we could all come back from our constituencies and continue the debate on it. There are two reasons we are going through this resolution: first, to explain to the people at home what the debate is all about, and second, to work into the procedural matter of why I am a little disappointed in the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse over there and the manner in which this resolution was brought forward.
“For these reasons, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario opposes this agreement as detrimental to Canada’s sovereignty and economic interests, and will not be bound to implement those aspects which fall under provincial jurisdiction. We urge the Parliament of Canada to” -- now, listen, where are the Liberal back-benchers? This is where they should be banging their desks. I have to instruct them again. If they had been present when I gave my great speech on the speech from the throne, they would have understood at this point that this is what their government is saying and they should actually be banging the desks now because they are supposed to be supportive of it.
It is obvious what has happened at caucus. The Four Horsepeople have come in just as they did on any of the other pieces of legislation, such as conflict of interest, like shopping days, such as the increase in commissioners to the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission, and they just told the members opposite what to do. They did not have any backbone to stand up.
Now they finally have the opportunity of supporting the government, of supporting the Four Horsepeople over there, and they do not even react. Let us try it one more time. We will give them a second chance at this.
Mr. Cureatz: He is too early. The member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. South) is too early. That is good. I will give him the cue in a moment. Here it goes, “We urge the Parliament of Canada to reject the agreement.” Now they are supposed to bang the desks. Scattered banging of desks.
I say to the people of Ontario that it is evident the Liberal back-benchers here are not supportive of this resolution. I do not understand, then, why we are here debating it. I just read the resolution brought forward by the Liberal government of Ontario: not a peep. They are all frightened. They have been told by the Four Horsepeople over there that they have to support it.
Mr. Cureatz: It could be, but we remain in terms of names in the front of these chambers. I am sorry, I say to the former Minister of Health and the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. Elston). Maybe it will be the Four and a Half Horsepersons of the government.
In any event, it brings me to my point about the resolution on free trade that has been brought forward. I just read the Liberal government resolution. I did not have one bit of reaction from the Liberal back-benchers. Do you know why, Mr. Speaker? It goes back to my speech again. They all want to be in cabinet. They all think, all 48 of them, that they are going to be in cabinet in the next shuffle. Can you imagine? There are only 30 positions in cabinet and they all think they are going to be there in the next cabinet shuffle. They are afraid to bang their desks.
I am waiting for him to ask a question about his concerns about the amendment to the resolution by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. B. Rae). I think it is only fair to the people of Ontario, because I know all the members here would appreciate me explaining to the people the resolution first, which I have just read, of which the Liberal back-benchers have not been very supportive. Not supportive at all, I might add, except for the member for Frontenac-Addington. He at least banged the desk. He was not quite on cue, but he got the idea. The rest of them do not even get a gold star. They are supposed to bang the desk when I read their government’s resolution. They are supposed to be supportive. They all want to be home, maybe, like the rest of us, but they have been told to be here because the Four Horsepeople said: “We are debating this important resolution. It has to be passed before January 2.”
I enjoyed the comment by the member for York South (Mr. B. Rae) -- I have to admit, he is amusing sometimes -- on a particular day when he stood up and said, “I refer to the third party, the Conservative Party.” Then he hesitated and looked over at us and said, “I say to the third party, the Conservative Party,” and he looked at us all and said, “Oh, that feels so good.” No doubt, he indicated that after all those years of serving in the third party, both federally and provincially, it felt good to be over in opposition for a change. I was mightily amused at how great he felt in terms of giving us the little twist. Of course, there is always time for another election and we will see how events unfold at that time.
I will let him enjoy his position and indeed the concern he has shown with regard to the free trade debate, none of which I see taking place here with all the Liberal back-benchers. Look at them all. I cannot believe it. There are hordes of them. I told them what they should do before. They could actually make a significant contribution here in this free trade debate. What do I hear? An extremely boring speech from the member for Guelph. I will get to him shortly.
Now, this gets extremely wordy and I ask all the people at home to bear with me. I know this is tedious. I do not know why we politicians always have to get so involved with this verbiage in terms of the resolution. It took me about 15 minutes to get through the resolution on free trade. Now we have to go through another 10 minutes of the amendment. To the people at home, I say the Leader of the Opposition does not particularly like the resolution so he has put forward an amendment.
Here is the amendment: “sovereignty, and economic and cultural independence, and therefore, this Legislature agrees that the termination of this agreement is dependent on the government of Ontario fulfilling its pledge to block it, in concert with other opposing provinces; and therefore this Legislature calls on the government of Ontario to take the following immediate steps:....”
Here is what the New Democratic Party is proposing through the amendment of the leader of the New Democratic Party, an amendment to the free trade motion brought forth by the Liberal government, which I just read. Here are the bullets -- we have more bullets here -- five:
Actually, that is a good point. I say to the leader of the New Democratic Party, when he has asked that of the Premier and all the other front-benchers who have been with the Premier for all those years over here in opposition, that is a very good point.
What do we hear from the front bench? What do we hear from the Premier and the Attorney General? Liberal members, what do we hear? They have not been listening. I do not have a response. They have not been making notes when their leaders have been answering these questions.
Do you know what we hear about a constitutional challenge? We hear “maybe,” “some time,” “in the fullness of time,” “possibly,” “refer back to the election and the six points that we will not guarantee the deal.” That is what we hear in regard to that specific suggested amendment by the Leader of the Opposition to the resolution on free trade.
No wonder one or two of us get a little upset, I say to the member for Lincoln, a little frustrated when we hear that kind of 1984 doubletalk. It is unbelievable. It sounds like some time back in a time long ago when I was over on that side and I listened to one or two people on the front bench. The Liberal Party over here was always extremely critical about being vague. When they took office they were going to be substantive, they were going to make definite decisions, they were going to indeed bring forth policies that would be directed to the people of Ontario and they would show their colours.
What do we get? We get the free trade resolution, a wishy-washy response about taking it to court. We get Sunday opening. I was most disappointed. Finally we had a government that was going to at least attack the Sunday opening problem, and what does it do? It passes the dollar on to the municipalities.
I am surprised that the Four Horsepeople of the front bench have not brought this forward to caucus about passing on the free trade resolution to the municipalities. Have they tried that? Hands up. Have they tried to say, “Pass the resolution to the municipalities”? That will be the next one.
The member for Durham Centre is smiling. I can see the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Ramsay) smiling through his mustache. I bet they have thought about that and they have tried it, but maybe one or two, like Dr. Henderson, has probably said, “Ah, come on, fellows, enough is enough; you can’t carry that one off.”
I can see this government trying to pass on this resolution to the municipalities. No wonder the member for Algoma is getting so irate. Usually, at the best of times, he is an extreme gentleman, very mild-mannered, very humble and quiet-spoken, but I have never seen him so irate as I saw him this afternoon about his disgust with this resolution, the disgust of the Liberals not supporting the amendment, and more important and well put, the disgust of not going forward with all the other important pieces of legislation that we should be debating.
As the leader of the third party has pointed out, a newspaper headline read, “Rae Off to Florida After Protesting Free Trade Debate.” He said “Mr. Premier, who do you think you are bringing us all back here? We should be with our families.” And here we are discussing the free trade debate, discussing the amendment to the free trade debate by the third party and -- do not worry, I say to the member for Durham Centre, I am building my case, we are almost there -- “A message to the administration and Congress of the United States expressing our opposition to the free trade agreement.”
“The debate continued, and after some time, it was,” on motion by an interesting person whom I have great respect for, the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt), adjourned to be debated another day, which we now are debating.
I say to the people of Ontario, since the Liberal members here do not seem to be too concerned about or responsive to their own resolution brought forward by their cabinet, that we have just gone through the resolution with regard to the free trade agreement; we have gone through the amendment by the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the New Democratic Party, to the resolution, and now we are participating in the debate.
The strange thing about all this, the very strange thing, is that the real nuts and bolts of the free trade debate should be taking place in Ottawa, wherever Ottawa is. What direction it is from here? Are they sitting in Ottawa now discussing free trade? I will try this on the Liberal back-benchers. Are the federal members of Parliament sitting in Parliament now?
Mr. Cureatz: No. Good. Someone is awake. I cannot believe it; they are actually listening sometimes. Some of them have responded no, that the members of Parliament are not sitting in Ottawa, and that is right; they are not sitting, oddly enough.
Mr. Cureatz: Well, it means that John Turner and Ed Broadbent are not concerned but, strangely enough, the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Sarnia are concerned, because we are sitting here, and I guess the Premier is concerned, because we are sitting. It strikes me as passing strange that the free trade agreement is being negotiated in Ottawa and they are not even sitting, and here we are in Ontario, having a very small effect on an international treaty but debating it. It is the strangest of events.
I once had hope for the Liberal back bench. When I spoke on the speech from the throne, I hoped there would be signs of intelligence over there but, as time progresses, there is not even a glimmer of hope. They are in the dark. It is disgusting. It just grieves me no end that they cannot understand that the federal government is entering into a treaty, negotiated internationally. They are not even sitting and here we are sitting debating the resolution that has been brought forward by the government with an amendment from the New Democratic Party.
What does this prove? I say to the people of Ontario, those who are just munching on their French fries, maybe at McDonald’s or Burger King, what does this prove? This proves there is -- now let me see -- something rotten in Denmark. Who is the English scholar here? Hamlet. This proves that there is something very, very fishy taking place over there.
It strikes me as very strange indeed that the government of Ontario has brought forward a resolution which, as the rumour mill has it, was not even planned on. The House leaders who really run this show are the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) -- who is our fellow? -- the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) and whoever it is for the New Democratic Party, right? They get together --
Mr. Cureatz: We are all laughing. Let me tell the members that they are pulling the wool over our eyes. They get together three or four times a week, have a nice lunch, have a nice dinner at somebody else’s expense, and say, “What are we going to do today in the House?” They make the deal and we all come in and then we try to find out what is happening. Well, they had made the deal, as we all understood.
Mr. Cureatz: Should I continue? Now that the hubbub has died down, the truth of the matter is that the wool has been pulled over the eyes of the Liberal back-benchers, because they were told that an agreement was reached in regard to a possible resolution on free trade.
Now they are all quiet, because it is striking them deep in their hearts. This is what they were told in caucus. They were told there would be the possibility of our leaving for Christmas, to go home to be with our families, to be in our constituencies to do what is actually the more important work, that is, looking after our constituents. That goes back to my speech from the throne debate, but there will be another time for that on the budget debate. I know members will all be present when I go through that.
In any event, the Liberal back-benchers were told not to worry. “We are running the show,” said the House leader for the Liberal Party. “We have a huge majority. We are going to run this thing the way we want and we are going to bring forward this resolution on free trade. We made a deal with the other two House leaders, the member for Nipissing and” -- we still have to find out the House leader for the New Democratic Party.
In any event, the interesting thing is that everybody is listening because they want to find out what happened. They were told one thing in caucus; suddenly they came into parliament and they found out something else happened. Do members know what else happened? The member for Durham Centre he should listen to this. The member for Brampton South, as a lawyer, should know better. I am building my case. He should listen closely.
The Acting Speaker: I remind the member for Durham East to make his comments directly through the chair as I hope the rest of the members will make their comments when they have a chance to speak. Go ahead, please.
Mr. Cureatz: I say to the acting Speaker that indeed she is absolutely correct. I will do my best to address my comments through you, Madam Speaker, to all the Liberal back-benchers and all the other people who have been interjecting and whom you have been so reluctant to call to order. Of course, at the next opportunity when a member interferes with my learned comments, I will bring to your attention that you should be calling him to order.
Mr. Cureatz: I think you should call the member for Brampton South to order. Are you going to call the member for Brampton South to order? It goes to the fact of what my colleague the member for Markham (Mr. Cousens) said about his concerns about the Speaker’s role. I told the Speaker this when I got up and asked my first question and congratulated the Speaker. Everybody had a little chuckle about that.
I said to the Speaker then, and I am darned serious about it, that the chair should not be overwhelmed by all the Liberals here, because every one of us has been elected from his constituency. This is the only place that we in opposition now have the opportunity of criticizing the government, and the Speaker’s job is to be impartial, unbiased and to make sure we are all heard.
If my colleague who is extremely diligent in terms of his procedure -- because he served with me as Deputy Speaker back three or four years -- was concerned about the treatment he got, it goes to the fact of my comment when I first stood in my place and asked my first question, that the Speaker has to be very careful. So do not be too sluggish, as much as I admire you, Madam Speaker, in terms of your position, about ensuring that all of us have the opportunity to have our say in these chambers.
Before I was rudely interrupted on the resolution, what happened was that the House leaders had an understanding about the manner in which the process would take place so that all of us would adjourn and be back home for Christmas and New Year’s, spend them in our constituencies and with our families, and indeed come back to work on committees. That is what the deal was, exactly.
That is how parliament should work. We cannot sit around a big table, all 130 of us, and make the deals. Someone has to do it, so the House leaders take part in that activity and relate to us all that is taking place, just as all the Liberal back-benchers appreciated what was taking place. They are all anxious, being frisky from their first term of office after the election of September 10, and all excited about sitting here and, then, like the member for Lincoln, getting a little discouraged because he was not made Minister of Agriculture and Food.
In any event, do members know what happened? The House leader and his other three colleagues on the front bench pulled a fast one. They changed the terms of the agreement. There was an understanding among the House leaders about the process that should take place, about the parliamentary procedure, about how the House would be adjourned and we would come back in April. The committees would sit -- the standing committee on administration of justice, the free trade committee -- and then carry on.
Suddenly, what do we have? We have this resolution, of which most of the Liberal back-benchers were not very supportive when I read it. I had to coax them twice, and only the member for Frontenac-Addington had the nerve to bang the desk in support. What happened?
Mr. Cureatz: Reread it. Well, do not tempt me. It is only because I have one or two other points of interest that I want to bring forward for the remaining 25 minutes that I will not reread it. But if by chance the spirit moves me, I might reread it to refresh everybody’s memory at home that we are debating the free trade resolution brought forward by the Liberal government, with an amendment by the member for York South, the leader of the third party. The point is, they changed the free trade --
In any event, suddenly we have a change in resolution, and do members know what the change is? The change is dictatorial, a specific statement about the free trade agreement and what the parliament of Ontario thinks about it. Why did they change that? That is the point of the case being made. We do not know, in terms of our position in opposition, why the Four Horsepeople in the front bench changed it, and I bet none of those people over there know why, either.
Has any of them asked the member for Renfrew North why they changed the resolution? Has anyone on the Liberal back bench ever asked him: “How come you did that to annoy the opposition parties?” -- the official opposition and us in the third party. Who has had the nerve to ask him that? You know, he is not sacrosanct. Come on, Liberal back-benchers. Who over there has asked him? Any hands up? One, maybe? Here he is. He has returned from the road to Damascus. Finally he has come. Maybe he will have the opportunity of standing in his place and explaining to us why he broke the deal.
I do not know if I should say this. I will try it anyway. Sometimes there is honour among politicians. As much as we represent different parties, we have to make the process continue on. There has to be an understanding. An understanding was reached, and suddenly, where are we? We are with a totally changed resolution with a dictatorial condemnation of the free trade agreement.
Since the Liberal back bench do not want to encourage me as to how they understand what took place in regard to the change in faith by the Liberal front bench, let me speculate on one or two possibilities.
The possibility is that the Premier, the House leader, the Treasurer and the Attorney General wanted to send a message quickly to the Parliament of Canada and to the United States Congress that the Ontario parliament was definitely against the deal. But that is so strange because under our parliamentary process -- now I know many of the Liberal back-benchers do not appreciate this, because they are all newly elected, but it is the old cart-before-the-horse routine.
We do have a committee structure here in the parliament of Ontario, although the opposition will be sorely outnumbered because, of course, a committee structure is in proportion to the numbers in the House, and there are a heck of a lot of Liberals and few Conservatives and New Democratic Party members, so the committee structure would be the same way. But that does not mean they can circumvent the committee structure. There are parliamentary procedures, I say to the House leader, and it grieves me that, of all people, the House leader, who has such a learned depth in the history of Canada, in Ontario -- I say to the newly elected Liberal back-benchers, they should have heard him pontificate in the old days when he was over here in opposition about the tradition of the government of Ontario and our parliamentary heritage from Canada and England.
Of course, I think I know what happened. He took a trip to China for about six months and he has never been the same since he got back. I just wonder if that is what affected him and the change in this nasty resolution, which is dictatorial, which circumvents the whole parliamentary process here in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
How does it circumvent it? Let me give a little lesson to all the newly elected back-benchers. I say to the member for Lincoln, who obviously does not appreciate his colleague the member for Eglinton (Ms. Poole), because he is not even sitting in his chair, that the process is that he would take the particular concern to the committee, as was agreed upon, and the parliamentary committee would, in this case, travel the province and have the opportunity of listening to concerns from various groups, be they industry, education -- all the other fields that would be directly affected. Goodness knows, the agricultural field is a big one. I know only too well, having canvassed in the last election, as many of the members know, that all those interested fields would have the opportunity of coming forward --
I say to the viewers at home that they just moved the clock 15 minutes ahead, and I feel I just spoke for five. In any event, maybe they will pull the hand down again as I really get into some of my concerns about this resolution.
I am blessed with the opportunity of having the government House leader, one of the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse. He is here and he is going to try to worm his way out of the fact of why this resolution was changed. He did not even tell his own colleagues, the Liberal back-benchers, and I am only speculating.
It grieves me, after having heard for hours and hours when I was Deputy Speaker the member for Renfrew North going on about the parliamentary history of Ontario and Canada at great length. Goodness knows it was tedious, worse than I ever am, I will tell members. They should trust me. If they do not believe me, they can go back and read some of his speeches in Hansard. They were deadly.
In any event, he has the gall, the nerve, to circumvent the parliamentary process and suddenly, through the power of the 95 Liberals, to ram through this resolution without going through the parliamentary process of having hearings across Ontario to have those interested groups come forward.
I will give credit where credit is due and I say to the opposition: “You are the official opposition. You won it, rightly so, in the last election. I give you credit. We were blown out of the water. There are 16 of us.” The member cannot even take a compliment, goodness knows. Maybe when I criticize him he will be happy again. I do not know.
If there is one thing I have learned from the New Democratic Party, it is that it is very sticky about following parliamentary procedure. If anyone knows the rules, it is the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), whom I thought I saw earlier. He is always jumping up and down about parliamentary procedure and lambasting the Speaker about what should or should not have been done.
The point is that I know how much the opposition respects my point of view that the large Liberal majority government has circumvented the parliamentary process, has reneged on the understanding of the House leaders and has brought forward this dictatorial resolution condemning the free trade agreement, even before the committee goes on tour.
I say to the Liberal back-benchers, do they want to make a name for themselves? Do they want suddenly to get put in cabinet fast, get rid of the Minister of Education? They should just stand up in caucus and start asking some of these embarrassing questions. The Premier is going to have to sit down with Hershell Ezrin and say: “Holy smokes, we have to put them out of place. I know, put them in the cabinet. They will not be so embarrassing.” But no: They are all shy. They are all quaking in their boots. I told them before they should gather together five, 10 or 15 of them; there is safety in numbers. I confess that I should have done the same thing in the old days of the god emperor. A few of us should have done that.
They would have made a valuable contribution in the chamber for the people of Ontario instead of sitting back like seals, as the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) used to criticize us. It is my turn now. I say to the seals that they should gather together and ask why the government House leader is circumventing the parliamentary procedure in Ontario.
Do the members know what? I had the opportunity of taking a look at the Canadian Parliamentary Guide 1987. There are some interesting aspects in here. One of the first I stumbled across is the member for Kitchener, born August 4, 1937, at Oshawa, Ontario, my home area. How could he turn on us that way, coming from Oshawa? I do not understand that. He was educated at Victoria Public School, Kingston, and Queen’s University. So was I. A man of great intelligence, one would gather from the Canadian Parliamentary Guide. I do not understand this.
Perhaps I could continue just for a moment, because if members remember, he stood in his place and made a point about my comments on the resolution before the House on free trade. Of course, he was out of order. I am just bringing forward the point and continuing about the stature of this fine individual, the member for Kitchener, who indicated among other things the number of clubs he belongs to. A lawyer? Goodness’ sakes. No wonder he is in trouble. A Big Brother; belongs to a number of groups; first elected in 1985. It does not list his political association. No, it does: way at the bottom. It says Liberal, way at the bottom. I could hardly see it. It was just in fine print. Because he is a lawyer, we would understand that.
I do not understand how the member for Kitchener, who has been so well educated, so well learned, who has contributed as much to his community as he has in the past, who ever so hesitantly indicates he is a member of the Liberal Party -- it grieves me to no end how he could allow the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse over there to come forward with this resolution circumventing the parliamentary procedure. I do not understand it. It is all here in the book, his background. He is well educated. He has had political experience. He should know better, that this resolution should have gone through the parliamentary process, gone through the committee structure so that people across Ontario would have the opportunity -- is that clock not moving again?
Mr. D. R. Cooke: On a point of order, Madam Speaker: A simple point, a point of clarification, perhaps, or point of information: The member should be aware that the standing committee on finance and economic affairs is already discussing this matter. We have a very clear mandate to do that and we are doing that, regardless of the outcome of this resolution.
I brought forward to the members’ attention the member for Kitchener and his reluctance to intervene for the parliamentary process that should be taking place. I said, with grave sadness at reviewing some aspects of his background in the Canadian Parliamentary Guide, that I do not understand how he could be hoodwinked by those people on the front bench with this resolution. Oddly enough, I can see way over there in the back benches --
Mr. Cureatz: I see with great interest that the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Offer) is here. I have great respect for the member for Mississauga North because, of course, he represents part of the area I originally come from. The member for Mississauga North -- I want to make a comparison. I have gone from one end of the Liberal back bench way over there, and I am now going to go way to the other end of the Liberal back bench. I am going to come way over here to the rump, too. Do not worry. We will cover this problem about my concerns of the Liberal back-benchers’ lack of initiative in pointing out to the front bench the circumventing of parliamentary procedure on this resolution.
I say to the member for Mississauga North, “Holy smokes. Incredible.” Born in 1949 in Toronto, Ontario, and educated at York University and Osgoode Hall Law School. Another lawyer. Why am I always picking out lawyers? Has he complained to the Premier about our losing our QCs? Has anyone done that lately? Or to the Attorney General? He is the one who is really mad about that. That will be a debate for another day.
I am pointing out that I have nothing but the highest respect for the member for Mississauga North, who among other things belongs to the County Law Association, the Canadian Bar Association and the Peel Multicultural Council. He was first elected in 1985, was appointed parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in June 1985 and his party politics is?
Now, when I look over that résumé, I say to all the Liberals, I say to all the members here, that it astounds me in terms of the learnedness that the member for Mississauga North has -- part of my old home town, where I went to Thomas L. Kennedy Secondary School -- that he has not been able to see through the smoke and mirrors that is taking place with this resolution. He was a chairman of a committee -- a task force, I think -- under the old days of minority government, was he not? Yes? No? Maybe? He forgets. How soon he forgets.
He should know better than to carry on with this kind of nastiness, circumventing the parliamentary process of allowing the committees to go forward across Ontario to have input about free trade. Listen, believe it or not, I am no fool. I know what will happen on the committee.
I want to say to the member for Mississauga North and the member for Kitchener, both learned in the law, that it grieves me no end that they have not had -- how did the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms. Munro) put it? I just forget how she said it. “You just don’t have” -- I just forget how she put it, but in any event, it grieves me no end that they have not stood up in caucus and said: “Mr. Premier, Hershell, do you think this is right? Do you think we should circumvent the parliamentary process? After all, the opposition parties should have the opportunity of having their say. Shouldn’t we allow the committee to travel across Ontario to allow input from all the various groups on this resolution on free trade? This free trade resolution should have the opportunity of being debated across Ontario.’’
Mr. Chiarelli: On a point of order, Madam Speaker: With the greatest respect, I would like to draw to your attention standing order 19(d): “In debate, a member shall be called to order by the Speaker if he:... “3. Persists in needless repetition.” I do believe that the member who has the floor at present is abusing the process of this House with needless repetition, and I bring to your attention the fact that if he continues to do so, I will ask you to call him to order.
Mr. Harris: On the point of order, Madam Speaker: On the point that was raised by the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Chiarelli), I want to tell you that we have great confidence in you, in your office and in your ability to call members to order when it is appropriate, and we would rest our case with you as opposed to the silly interjection from the member for Ottawa West.
Mr. Wildman: On the point of order, Madam Speaker: I want to point out to the member for Ottawa West that he is quite right on the point of order that he brings to your attention. However, I do also want to point out that the member for Durham East always speaks this way.