In all, an estimated $344 million will be spent for construction on the King’s highway system in northern and southern Ontario, an increase of approximately $24.8 million over 1981-82. In addition, we will be subsidizing municipal road construction for another $250 million, which generates about $460 million in total expenditures when the municipalities’ shares are included. In total, some $804 million will be spent on projects considered critical, in order to preserve the present quality of the existing highway system, a system that ensures the efficient transport of goods and people in Ontario.
Briefly then, we are proposing new work on a total of 877 kilometres of the provincial highway system in southern Ontario, primarily on two-lane highways, including the scheduled construction of 59 bridges. And, as part of the government’s proposed expansion program under the direction of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development, an additional $25 million is included in the road construction program for work in the Golden Horseshoe.
In northern Ontario, my ministry will continue to carry out the planning, design and construction of some 452 kilometres of provincial highways, a system I am sure all members know is also the responsibility of the Ministry of Northern Affairs, which allocates funds for capital road construction. Again, the majority of the work will be primarily on two-lane highways, although the construction of passing lanes, truck climbing lanes and remote airports also is included.
Details of all of these projects and others are contained in the program I am tabling now, copies of which will go to all members via the legislative post office. I hope the members who wish to pick up those programs will be able to do so. I know they are of great interest to the members, and I hope the copies will be in their mailboxes so they can get them today before they leave. I am tabling six copies of the report with the Clerk of the House at this time.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to the House this morning regarding the withdrawal of Lakespan Marine Inc. services. This operation was a roll-on, roll-off truck ferry service between the ports of Oshawa and Oswego, New York. Lakespan was a joint venture between Marinav Corp., formerly Rideau Shipping of Ottawa, and CN Marine, a division of the Canadian National Railway. Yesterday the partners announced a suspension of the Lakespan service.
The government of Ontario first became involved in the concept of roll-on, roll-off shipping in the early 1970s and continues to support the concept. Major firms in both the United States and Canada continue to express strong interest in a shipping service across Lake Ontario. However, traffic growth was slower than originally anticipated, and this created a major cash-flow problem for the company.
The roll-on, roll-off service not only reduced travel time but also provided a viable means of energy conservation for trucks previously taking the longer route around the Niagara Peninsula. As well, truck volumes on the Queen Elizabeth Way were reduced.
Lakespan provided an alternative to the shipping public. In addition, the Lakespan service proved that Lake Ontario is navigable year-round, which was another shipping concern. The ports also proved their ability to accommodate and efficiently handle this new type of traffic. However, the slow economic times led to an overall decline for transportation services not only worldwide but locally, and this had a major effect on the potential growth of Lakespan.
I recognize that as recently as this week my ministry and I received several letters from Ontario businesses and officials in support of continued Lakespan operations; I also recognize the value of the service and continue to believe there is a role to be played in this aspect of shipping. But the hard fact remains that until economic conditions allow for an upswing in the field of transportation services my ministry regretfully feels obliged to withhold any further financial support for the Lakespan service at this time.
I would like to indicate to the House, as is our practice under standing order 45, the allocation of hours for estimates for this year and the order of the estimates. I will be putting motions later today to refer the five estimates of the justice field to standing committee, the nine estimates of the resources development field to standing committee and the seven estimates of the social development field to standing committee.
We propose to consider all the general government field estimates in the House in committee of supply, except for the Office of the Assembly, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Provincial Auditor, which will be referred to standing committee.
Beginning tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, your daily Order Paper should show the following schedule: In the committee of supply: Northern Affairs, eight hours; Government Services, four hours; Management Board, seven hours; the Lieutenant Governor, Premier and Cabinet, five hours; Treasury and Economics, 11 hours; Revenue, seven and a half hours; Intergovernmental Affairs, five hours.
In the standing committee on administration of justice: Correctional Services, six hours; Justice policy, four hours; Consumer and Commercial Relations, 20 hours; Solicitor General, 10 hours; Attorney General, 15 hours.
In the standing committee on resources development: Environment, 16 hours; Natural Resources, 18 hours; Energy, 10 hours; Resources policy, seven hours; Industry and Trade, 12 hours; Municipal Affairs and Housing, 15 hours; Agriculture and Food, 20 hours; Labour, 22 hours; Transportation and Communications, 15 hours.
In the standing committee on social development: Community and Social Services, 20 hours; Education, 14 hours; Tourism and Recreation, 10 hours; Social policy, five hours; Colleges and Universities, eight hours; Health, 23 hours; Citizenship and Culture, five hours.
Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier on a program that was conspicuously absent from his Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program that seemed to recycle a number of his other programs, and that is the Spadina expressway.
The Premier is aware that several years ago it was proposed that provincially owned lands south of Highway 400 be exchanged for the Spadina lands. The Premier is also aware that in February, the province turned over the Highway 400 lands, but that was not in exchange for any turnover of the Spadina lands. I want to know the Premier’s position with respect to this question at this time.
The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) has said he will move to expropriate after May 2 or 3, if there is no resolution of this problem. What is the Premier’s position on this matter? Will he move to expropriate if that is not the case?
Mr. Peterson: Perhaps the Premier will assist us, because he has been seeking a resolution for the 10 or 12 years he has been Premier and nobody tends to know what he is doing from day to day. Is he going to honour that commitment to go ahead and expropriate after May 3, when he has promised to so do, so he can honour a number of commitments he has made over the past few years? Is he going to do that? Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I really did answer the question and I made no commitment, as I recall, to expropriate per se. The Minister of Transportation and Communications, in an attempt to bring this matter to a conclusion, has suggested this as a possibility. My intent, desire and preference would be to see this resolved on an amicable basis.
I point out to the Leader of the Opposition that, while I know he has trouble with his calendar, actually the solution to Spadina was stated some time I think during the summer of 1971, so in fact it is not 12 years, it is only 10 years and some nine months. I just thought I would give him the factual information.
The most relevant part of the whole discussion is the fact that the decision was taken not to extend the Spadina expressway. That is being maintained by the government of this province, a position supported by some of the honourable member’s colleagues at the time and rejected by others of his colleagues. That is totally consistent with the reformed Liberal Party of Ontario, which on crucial issues is always divided as to what it wants and does not want.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Premier, since the Minister of Transportation and Communications has given a firm, unequivocal commitment that he will move to expropriate if negotiations are not successful by May 1, is the Premier’s unwillingness to repeat that firm, unequivocal commitment this morning an indication that the government is backing off?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not think the honourable member, if he listened very closely to what I said, could gain that interpretation. I think what I said was, because this is always the way I like to do things, my preference is to see this resolved in a very amicable fashion. It is as simple as that.
Let me remind the Premier what the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) said to the Metro Chairman in a letter of March 4, 1982: “If for any reason this agreement is not executed by May 1, 1982, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will invoice Metropolitan Toronto for 50 per cent of the cost of Black Creek Drive. Furthermore, the province will immediately initiate expropriation procedure to acquire the Spadina land.”
The Premier, in a letter of May 19, 1981, to the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) said: “I believe we should continue to conclude this matter through discussion and agreement. If that is not possible, then I believe government legislative action should be the procedure we should follow.”
The Premier has made so many governmental commitments to act on May 1 or 2 or 3, which is the Monday -- I will give him the benefit of the calendar on that one and will give him until May 3 -- so why is he not prepared now to give the House a definite answer and to give assurances to those people who have wanted to believe him in the past on this question but who are ceasingly believing him on this question?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not know how people can be “ceasingly believing.” The member, being a distinguished graduate and apparently a member of the bar, I believe will find that is grammatically impossible to do.
Apart from that he was asking me a question based on a letter from the Minister of Transportation and Communications, until he remembered it was from the minister, and then referred to a letter stating my point of view to the very distinguished member for Wilson Heights. In that letter I suggested to him a year ago that my preference was then -- and it still is -- that it be resolved in a friendly, amicable fashion. Notwithstanding that, the Minister of Transportation and Communications has communicated some of the alternatives to Metropolitan Toronto.
Very recently one or two of the people who have been following this issue for a limited period of time, like 10 years and nine months, have communicated to me their enthusiastic support for the continued policy of this government not to extend the Spadina expressway. I can assure the honourable member that they accept the fact that, after 10 years and nine months, no shovel has gone into the ground, no concrete has been laid and the Spadina expressway has not been extended. That was the fundamental position, and will continue to be the policy of the government of this province.
Mr. Peterson: I would like to ask the Premier a question about the equally clear speech he gave yesterday to the joint meeting of the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts. He discussed some of the macroeconomic problems in this country and the use of public sector restraint as a tool and, of course, came down unequivocally on both sides of that issue, too.
Let me be precise about some of the things he said in his speech yesterday. The Premier said that in talking about pension reform, he believed the governments had to start taking the lead. He said he was aware that British Columbia has now dropped its objection to the child-rearing drop-out provision of the Canada pension plan and that Ontario is the only province still objecting to that. Why does the Premier not drop his veto to that particular clause so that we can get on with at least that area of pension reform, which is important?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) already has this under consideration. Prior to my remarks yesterday to that distinguished group, I was introduced by the chairman, who was enthusiastic about his support for this government in the way it has handled its financial affairs. I sensed that he said that probably as a supporter of the federal Liberal Party of Canada, but I was very doubtful that it was as a supporter of the Liberal Party of Ontario, that great reform party that does not even know how to define the word “reform”.
I then pointed out to the group our concerns which are the general principles enunciated by the Treasurer, who I think has already indicated that he is assessing the particular item that the Leader of the Opposition has raised, and that is about as definitive an answer as I am going to get. I do apologize that the answer to my last question prompted the member to lose the button on his jacket. The people at Vickers and Benson will be very upset.
Mr. Peterson: Let me tell the members that whoever introduced the Premier yesterday was not nearly as enthusiastic as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing who introduced Brian Mulroney last night. The Premier has trouble on his back benches. The Premier has been equivocating on this issue for a long time. He said he was going to wait for the royal commission and the select committee on pensions and he said he was aware of the matter. It is a question with which he is familiar. The Premier knows he is the last holdout. He has been one of the major stumbling blocks in this area.
Why can the Premier not show his good faith at least in the matter of pension reform on this issue by phoning up the federal minister today and saying, “We withdraw our veto”? Why do we not get on with that aspect of pension reform that will, for the entitled people, increase their income by some 22 per cent? Those are some of the people in our society who need that help the most. How can the Premier lecture them about pension reform when he is a major stumbling block in this area?
In answer to the preliminary question asked by the Leader of the Opposition, I am very delighted that my cabinet colleague from Ottawa introduced a very able Progressive Conservative at a gathering last night. I would only say that unlike the Leader of the Opposition, who campaigned against his leader for some four years while sitting right beside him, I am very loyal to our national leader. I have no federal aspirations.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying in answer to the question, and he really did raise it, unlike a number of members opposite, in the last federal campaign I was there with my national leader. They were not there with theirs. In fact, I had our national leader involved in our last provincial campaign, whereas the Liberal Party of Ontario really refused. In fact, they said to the Prime Minister of this great country, “We do not want you here in Metropolitan Toronto for breakfast.” I cannot think of a more ludicrous, ridiculous position but it is so typical and symbolic of the Liberal Party of Ontario. When the polls are going well for their national leader they are all on his coat-tails and when they are not going well they want to disown him.
Mr. Speaker: Just before proceeding, and to enlighten some of the members who have drawn a fact to my attention that the Premier’s answer may not have been specifically to the question asked, I would have to tell all honourable members that I had great difficulty in ascertaining which question he was to respond to. The honourable member for Bellwoods.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, since I interpret from the Premier’s answer that there are some grounds for optimism that the budget will contain an implementation of the select committee on pension’s recommendation with respect to the child care drop-out provision, can I ask the Premier whether we can be optimistic as well that the budget will deal with another equally important recommendation that the guaranteed annual income supplement single rate for pensioners in Ontario will be raised significantly so that tens of thousands of seniors who rely on the Gains program will have an income above the poverty line?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in answering the leader for the day, the member for Bellwoods, I would be very careful in putting any construction on what I said in answer to the question raised by the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson), except that he should always share optimism, as I always do. Certainly he should be optimistic about many things. However, I think the honourable member is well aware of the traditions in this Parliament whereby I would not be in a position to disclose what may or may not be in the budget, and he will have to be patient until eight o’clock on May 13.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, will the Premier tell us what he was talking about in his speech yesterday when he said on page 16, “First, we would ensure that the problems of the existing elderly, particularly single people, can be taken care of by adjusting income guarantees from GIS and through provincial programs such as Gains”? Is the Premier giving us a glimpse of his budget? Is he going to carry through with this program, a program we believe in very strongly on this side of the House?
I think that statement is quite clear. What I was trying to enunciate yesterday is the approach we are taking in the preliminary discussions with the government of Canada and with the other provincial governments. When it comes to the field of pensions, obviously government has a very direct responsibility for the less advantaged in our communities, and the Gains recipients and people of that nature, in my view, are a public responsibility.
If he reads my speech carefully he will see that I then went on to say that the voluntary or the private-sector pension plans should be sorted out, and then governments should determine just what route they should take. I was really just raising a caution flag yesterday which I am sure the honourable member would agree with: that to go the other way around and determine that there will be a very major national program without sorting out those two prerequisites would be the wrong route to go.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour with regard to the action, or lack thereof, by his ministry concerning the visual display terminals at old city hall, a matter which we raised a month or so ago.
Is the minister aware that yesterday the representative of the union refused to sign the inspection report because, after 30 to 100 pages of concerns and difficulties expressed by his ministry, there was no suggestion of any orders being issued to remedy the situation in that work place and there was no suggestion that his ministry should establish by statute a health and safety committee?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the meetings that have been held and the investigations that have been going on and of the fact that there was a meeting yesterday. The results of that meeting have not been brought to my attention as yet. Therefore, I am hearing for the first time of what went on yesterday, from the member.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, is the minister not outraged that his ministry would not even take the positive action of establishing -- and he has the authority to make the recommendation -- a health and safety committee in a work place that obviously needs it? Is he not aware that the immediate action which was promised by the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) has not even been acted on because Dr. John Harkins, the doctor appointed under the Public Health Act, has not yet had any kind of contract arranged with him? Is he not concerned that this very serious matter has not been resolved, that in one month it is not any further along the way to solution either through his ministry or through the Ministry of Health?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, certainly I am very concerned that there has not been a resolution. I also want to say that my ministry is committed, and can substantiate that commitment in many ways, to the establishment of committees. We are doing --
I would also remind the honourable member that there is an advisory committee looking at this matter, including representation from the civil service union, and that we hope to have its report very shortly.
Has the minister not been made aware of the reports from his ministry which would indicate that Dr. Taraschuk, who was supposed to go in and do the ministry’s medical examination, did not talk to one of the women involved -- not one -- and has no inclination to go further?
As our deputy leader has said, the emergency proposal by the Minister of Health to have his doctor go in and report as quickly as possible has been held up in such a way that as of last night the minister had not even signed the contract with that doctor?
Has the minister not been made aware of the fact that ozone levels were found to be as high as can be registered on the machines that we are testing, and yet there has been no order put forward; that carbon dioxide levels were found to be well above the discomfort level and no orders have been taken; and that low frequency radiation was found, which has been discounted totally because there are no international standards?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the statement about a lack of concern. The opposite is true. The meeting was held yesterday. I am scheduled to be briefed either today or Monday on the results of that meeting. I will be happy to get back to the members with a complete report.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Is the minister aware that the Consumers’ Gas Co. has filed for another increase in rates starting October 1, which, if awarded, will give the company another $83 million for its own purposes?
Does he know that, coupled with the agreed pass-through of excise taxes and wholesale gas costs, that increase will raise the average home heating costs in Toronto another $174? That is a total hike of $387 over the last year.
Does the minister not think it is about time he recognized his responsibilities as a consumer advocate in this province and had a representative protecting the interests of the consumers at the Ontario Energy Board hearings?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first part of the question is no, I am not personally aware of the application to the energy board. Let us cut through all that stuff and get down to the real issue here.
The real issue is that this government, through the Ministry of Energy, has set up the Ontario Energy Board, a public body interested only in the public interest and in the legitimate survival of businesses involved in that industry. There is a council there on behalf of the public representing the commission, the Ontario Energy Board. If that does not indicate a legitimate interest in consumers, then I do not know what the member is talking about.
In recognition of the fact that there is this public body to which the public may make representations, the member well knows that section 2 of the Consumer Protection Act places certain restrictions on the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. We have talked about it in this House before.
Mr. Foulds: That does not preclude the minister from sending a representative to appear at these hearings, so let us not muddy the issue. Is the minister going to allow the kind of situation that took place at the last hearings of the OEB for a Consumers’ Gas increase, where 20 witnesses and two lawyers for the gas company appeared and there was not one single representative of consumer interests?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: There may be some muddying of the water going on, but I would suggest it is the deputy leader of the third party who is muddying the water. He knows full well that the responsibility of the government is clearly recognized in the setting up of a public body to review rate increases that may be necessary from time to time.
Those hearings are open to the public. If the member is saying I should go out and round up people, or that the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) should, I am not quite sure what he is talking about. That is why that public body is there. It is open, people can appear before it and I have no problem saying that I am a representative of consumer interests and that consumer interests are being recognized by that public hearing.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, the minister surely must realize that the Ontario Energy Board is not infallible and that its members base their decisions on information which is presented to them by the highly paid staff of the energy corporations who are seeking an increase. The issue here is whether or not the consumers of Ontario can have the same well-qualified people making representations on their behalf and challenging the data that have been put forward to the energy board by the corporations seeking the increase.
The cost of energy today is such that the consumers need all the defence they are able to muster in order for them to make their payments, together with the other costs they are burdened with at this time.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am interested that the member is suggesting not only that we set up a public body which has the capacity to review, digest and assimilate information provided to it and information that it creates itself to analyse material, but that it should go further and start doing other things.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely preposterous that three weeks after Consumers’ Gas Co. made an application for that tremendous increase, the minister who is supposed to protect consumers does not even know about it.
Does he not realize that at the energy board hearings, when no one is representing the consumer, there will be a lawyer cross-examining the 20 witnesses or so from the Consumers’ Gas Co. and none from the other side? The consumer does not get a fair result and it is proved in the decisions.
Does the minister not realize that, apart from banks, public utilities such as Consumers’ Gas Co. posted the highest profits of any group of companies in Canada, and that was before Consumers’ Gas got the $77 million for itself last year and the $83 million it has applied for this year? Is he finally going to get in on this issue and protect the consumers or will natural gas continue to rise as fast as it does from the Premier and the Tory benches?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, through the existing facilities, which I have to say are more than adequate, the government will continue to supervise and evaluate increases as applications are made from time to time.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Provincial Secretary for Justice. Is the report correct in today’s Toronto Star that the secretary will be addressing the Toronto consular corps on Monday on the subject of freedom of information and protection of privacy, and that the meeting will be closed to the press?
Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I was going to speak to that particular group. Unfortunately, that event has been cancelled by the people who were holding it. I am not aware whether it was to be open or closed. As far as I am concerned it can be open.
Mr. Breithaupt: Would the minister not think it appropriate to discuss this most important and particular subject with the members of this House here rather than with some other groups, so that members might know what the policies of this government are to be eventually on this most important subject?
Hon. Mr. Sterling: I think that is a very valid point and I wish I was able to speak more freely about our position because our position has not been reached at this time. It was some time in the past that I promised to speak to that group and had hoped that our position would be solidified at this time. I would hope the cabinet would make a decision on the matter in the near future.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Does the Premier recall a lengthy debate that took place in this House in 1968 with the reorganization of all of the schools, school districts and boards across the province, where it was going to enhance the equality of educational opportunity and provide a focus for all communities in the province because of the restructuring of the educational system?
In the light of those assurances given by himself as the Minister of Education, does the Premier now think it appropriate that the present Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) should sit idly by and watch people who are responsible for the delivery of education in northern Ontario tear the heart out of the community by closing down a high school to save $120,000?
The first was, do I recall, and the answer to that is yes, I recall the rather heated discussions in this House in -- I guess the member is quite right -- 1968, when as Minister of Education I learned that my then leader had determined we would move to the county school board system, a policy advocated by the former leader of the Liberal Party, who is absent this morning, in a lot of his material. This policy changed in 1968 when it became somewhat controversial.
Does the member want me to recall some more of the debate for him? His own party was somewhat ambivalent about supporting it or not supporting it because the NDP could not really decide whether the educational objectives of the reorganization were, shall we say, overwhelming to the extent that they could reconcile themselves to supporting that initiative because of the political downside that might be inherent in so doing.
The member asked me to recall the debate. Is there anything else he wants to know about the debate? I remember it very vividly. I happened to be in London, England, when my then leader made this statement in Paris, Ontario. It was a very heated debate, a very important debate; it really was consistent with the policy of the Liberal Party of Ontario then.
The Minister of Education -- this was another part of the question -- does not sit idly by. I think it is important for the member to understand that under the legislation and the policies of this government, which some of his colleagues bring to our attention with great vigour when it suits them, there is a great deal of responsibility on the part of the duly elected trustees across this province.
That was inherent in the legislation; it happens to be part of the tradition of the educational system of this province going back some 100 years. That, too, was part of the legislation; it is part of the government policy.
In some other parts of the province -- not so much in my own area because we still have tremendous growth pressures -- because of the reduction in the numbers of young people in the school system, some accommodation with respect to the physical location of school plant has to be assessed.
Mr. Stokes: Does the Premier agree with the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) and the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy) that no school in northern Ontario should close for a matter of $120,000?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand that. I have not had a chance to assess it. My recollection is that there was a great deal of public discussion, that the local board -- and the member can correct me if I am wrong -- has followed the guidelines laid down by the ministry, and that the vote was fairly substantial in favour of the route the board is going.
He can correct me if I am wrong, but that is my information. I would be delighted to have his assessment of it, but I think that is the case. He is nodding his head. These are the people; they are his constituents. They are the people that maybe he helped elect, for all I know, who have this very difficult responsibility.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Premier recalls the commitment he made during his own campaign for the leadership of his party in 1971 when he said in Kapuskasing, “If I am elected to the leadership of the party I will see to it that small communities in Ontario are kept small and vital”? Perhaps the Premier will also recall the political consequences of allowing a school to close, thus cutting the heart out of a community.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, not only did I believe that then, I believe it now. The incident the honourable member is referring to happened many years ago. The school that was closed was located in the great community of Norval -- some 200 yards west of the old Hollywood Hotel, where I understand the member does a great deal of his campaigning.
I believe most members would support this action. While it was a very good school and was providing a very good level of service, it was located about a quarter to a half mile from one of the Georgetown elementary schools which I believe is where they go now. This action was determined by the trustees of the then Halton County Board of Education, who were, no doubt, elected with the assistance of the member.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Solicitor General. The April 18 edition of the Toronto Sun newspaper contained advertisements from the following Metropolitan Toronto business concerns that they would be open for business on the following Sunday:
Fantastic Furniture Warehouse Ltd.; Stitches; Aquarium Services warehouse outlet; Hi-Fi Express; Audiotrend electronics centres; Hercules, a furniture and upholstery store; Radiation Engineering of Canada; Saunas Spas and Things; Stereo Village; Robbiren Furniture; Stuart’s Furniture and Appliances; Manufacturers Carpet Outlet; Scandia Furniture; Carpet World; Michaels Furniture; Dave Gulet’s Furniture Warehouse; the Wall Furniture People; Phil Givner Carpet; Medallion; Brothers Bedding; Air-Flex Systems; North York Appliances; Sleep Shoppe; and TV Liquidators.
Under the Retail Business Holidays Act it is unlawful to carry on business on Sunday, with very few and specific exceptions. Can the minister tell me what efforts are being made by the ministry to determine whether these business establishments have been operating within or outside the law?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, the member for Oriole has brought this to the attention of the Legislature, as has the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Robinson), who filed a petition, signed by a number of individuals in support of the relevant legislation, asking that these retail businesses remain closed.
There have been numerous advertisements in the newspapers and they have come to the attention of the individual local police forces in places where they are in contravention of the present legislation.
There is provision in the legislation whereby local municipalities can exempt certain areas of businesses which fall within certain guidelines with regard to tourism. However, lately there has been a rash of businesses which seem to be overstepping the present legislation. I have had discussions with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who has instructed the crown attorneys to ask for the maximum fine in cases where these establishments have opened in contravention of the legislation.
At the time the legislation was passed it was with a view to show respect for certain religions and to provide people with a break in their regular work days. That legislation still stands and is still good legislation. The police forces have been instructed to lay charges where the legislation is contravened.
The maximum fine under that legislation, as set by previous legislators in this House, is $10,000. I hope the crown attorneys will press for that maximum amount so that the smaller fines that have been levied to date will not become a licence for those establishments to open illegally.
Mr. Williams: Last year, 43 Metro businesses were fined, with first offenders usually paying $50 and second offenders something between $200 and $300, and one Metro business concern pleaded guilty to one charge in consideration of having 299 other charges withdrawn.
What effort is the minister making in conjunction with the Attorney General to discourage the flouting of the laws by businesses who treat fines as a licence to do business in violation of the law, over and above requesting that the maximum fine be levied? If that is the sole initiative that is being taken, when is it going to be implemented?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Instructions have already gone out to crown attorneys on these situations. They have been requested to ask for the higher fines to prevent, just as the member for Oriole has said, the fines becoming a licence, although it is up to the individual judicial individual hearing the case to set the fine after the crown attorney requests the fine he or she thinks should follow the event.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, does the Solicitor General agree with his colleague, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), who has stated publicly that he will not enact any changes in the Retail Business Holidays Act at the provincial level unless he has the unanimous consent of all members of all three parties?
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Tourism and Recreation. Given the minister’s response earlier this week regarding the sensitivity he shared with the province’s tourism sector over the reimposition of the sales tax on accommodation, I would like to hear his views on the taxing of so-called luxury meals at a higher rate than normal provincial sales tax, namely, at 10 per cent.
Does the minister see any justification for taxing meals at 10 per cent when other items, such as a fur coat for instance, are taxed at only seven per cent, and if he does not see any justification for this, will he be making representations to the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) to deal with this inequity in his upcoming budget?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the honourable member opposite on the matter of the reimposition of the seven per cent room tax, I have also discussed this matter of taxation on meals with the Treasurer.
I would simply like to reiterate, as I said before in connection with the seven per cent tax, that the Treasurer is fully aware of the feelings of the tourism industry, and I am confident he will deal with the question in a very equitable and fair manner, as our Treasurer always does in everything else.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I am sure the minister is aware that thousands of people have lost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars last month when Vic Tanny’s abruptly closed in Hamilton, Kitchener, Oakville and St. Catharines, and scores of people were thrown out of work.
Is he also aware that Vic Tanny’s closed this month in London and Sarnia? In view of the fact that members were being solicited for Vic Tanny’s right up to the time of closure, is the minister doing a thorough investigation of the questionable circumstances surrounding these closures, and what is he doing to ensure that the victims are going to get their money back?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, we are thoroughly investigating all aspects of the closures through the business practices division. I am sure the member can appreciate it is not a matter I would like to discuss in the House at this time. Those investigations are going on. As to the fate of any refund of fees paid for use of those establishments, I am afraid that matter will have to be considered as our investigation proceeds. I cannot give him a definitive answer on that.
Mr. Swart: I guess the minister also knows that Vic Tanny’s is a franchise operation and that it gets tremendous revenue from the franchisees. For instance, the owner of Vic Tanny’s Super Fitness here in Toronto told us that he paid over $1 million for the franchise. I want to send the minister a copy of the membership agreement between Vic Tanny’s and the individual members who enrol. Will he note that there is no mention of the local Vic Tanny’s being a franchise operation in this agreement?
Because of the huge revenue received by Vic Tanny’s and because there is no indication that Vic Tanny’s Inc., or for that matter Vic Tanny’s Holdings, are not parties to the agreement, and because Vic Tanny’s is now proposing to pull its operation out of Ontario and go back to the United States, will the minister take immediate steps to hold Vic Tanny’s Inc. responsible for compensating the victims?
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact there has been a cloud over Vic Tanny’s for some time in Hamilton, St. Catharines and other areas, probably for over a year; there have been a lot of questions asked and people have expressed concerns, is the minister satisfied that the business practices division of his own ministry has monitored that situation to his satisfaction? Could this situation have been avoided if this ministry had taken some action earlier, perhaps when he was not the minister?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I would prefer not to get into any discussions about the operations of the Vic Tanny’s franchises in this province. I am completely satisfied with the operations of our business practices division in that area.
Mr. Cureatz: Has the Lakespan corporation that operates the ferry service out of Oshawa to Rochester and Oswego approached the minister for any further assistance in regard to its operation this spring and summer?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I guess my honourable colleague was not here when I made my statement at the opening of the House today. I know the member is very interested and concerned with regard to this operation.
The company did make approaches to the government for additional financial assistance, which was not forthcoming, and CN Marine and Lakespan announced the discontinuance of the service yesterday afternoon.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. The minister is aware that children’s mental health is often shuffled between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. In recent weeks, cases of children who have been inappropriately placed or not placed at all have come to the attention of the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Last week in Windsor, the director of the only community residence equipped to deal with emotionally disturbed female adolescents told the Liberal health committee that he turns away 15 to 20 girls a year who are “...at risk of imminent danger, suicidal, capable of uncontrollable violence and dangerous to themselves or others.” He also estimated that 20 girls ran away last year from his facility because it is not able to provide the supervision they need.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I have to inform the honourable member that the person who gave her that information admits to us that he was factually incorrect and that he regrets giving her the information. His name is Vossen. He says the numbers he gave the member -- and this is not the first time she has raised it --
Hon. Mr. Drea: It is not. He admits that the numbers he gave the member reflected”. . . his recollection of three or four years ago.” They are not the current figures and he has not rejected 20 females of that description in the last year. Also, the number of runaways is not the number he gave the member. It is an open setting; eight were absent without leave last year.
If that person were a government employee, I can assure the honourable member he would be disciplined for misleading her as nobody has ever been disciplined before. That person is not a government employee; so it is with regret that I cannot do anything about the fact that the member was monumentally misled.
Ms. Copps: I can point out to the minister that not only did Mr. Vossen make these comments but also we received presentations from parents of children in that situation. Whether there are eight AWOL or whether there are 10, 15 or 20 young girls who have not received the kind of care they should have received --
Ms. Copps: Eight AWOL is too much. The minister knows there is a problem, not only in Windsor but also across Ontario, of young people whose mental health needs are not being met. What is he going to do about it?
Hon. Mr. Drea: That’s right: no more Mr. Nice Guy. One whole week it is just too much. If she wants no one to be AWOL from that type of setting, we are going to have to introduce security, which is inappropriate. That is an open setting and one can wander away.
The member should not try to repeat that there were five, 10, 20 or any number of emotionally disturbed young females who were high-risk, both to themselves and to the community, who were turned away from that facility. If the member wants to get on the telephone and phone that gentleman, I will give her my credit card, because he really should apologize.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of personal privilege. I am reminded that the Minister of Community and Social Services said on April 16 he would report back to the House on Monday on a case of an appeal the ministry had done against a decision of the Social Assistance Review Board. Since that appeal subsequently has been withdrawn, will you advise whether the minister wants to report to the House now, two weeks later?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it is not two weeks later. If the honourable member were around, it would be easy to give him a simple answer. I have looked diligently, and I cannot find any appeal that meets the description of the case he asks about. If he wants to provide additional details, I will seek out even further information. As of now, there is none. The member is wrong, just as he was wrong last week.
Now that the good weather is upon us, and at least a million people every year in this city like to enjoy baseball at Prohibition Park, can the minister advise the House why he continues the stupid and partial tradition of his predecessors, and rejects the advice of Eber Rice, the former chairman of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, who said: “Ontario is too modern to not permit beer in the ball park at some point”?
Why does he reject this advice? Why does he continue this farce? Why is Ontario the only city in North America that does not allow this? Even the city of Vancouver, which has a minor baseball franchise, allows it. Why is Toronto kept in the middle ages, the dark ages, by his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, as is usual in this government, we are always open to new views, new thoughts and new representations from thoughtful, moderate people like the member for Cornwall. Let me assure him that his views and his representations on behalf of his community -- I assume that is what they are -- will be given very careful consideration by this government.
Mr. Samis: Since the minister thinks he is open to new ideas and new suggestions, will he get modern and new? Will he give some consideration to the idea of doing what they did in Winnipeg at their arena, namely, allowing the sale of lighter beer on an experimental basis, to see whether he can trust the good citizens of Ontario to act like adults at a professional baseball game, as they do in every other major league ball park in North America?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, it will come as no surprise to the Leader of the Opposition that the community he lives in will, I am sure, have a variety of views on it. I trust and presume he has sampled all of them, particularly when the university is not open.
He knows the government has always had concerns about that fact. Are we really talking about the principle of extending alcoholic beverages at all professional sporting events, morning, noon, night, day, whatever it is? Are we concerned about the presence or absence of children at these events? Are we concerned that other communities that have introduced alcoholic beverages are now having second thoughts about it? I do not say that we are closed to further consideration of the issue. I am just saying that communities that have introduced it are having some second thoughts.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has a rather important statement that he can make just now, if the permission of the House could be gained. Then, if there are any questions, there would still be a few minutes of question period left.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I know the Leader of the Opposition will particularly welcome this statement, as will the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham). I know the Leader of the Opposition will convey this information to his colleague immediately after the statement has been made, knowing of his long-term, enthusiastic interest in this subject.
I am very pleased to announce that, as of about seven minutes ago this morning in Detroit, Michigan, the Urban Transportation Development Corp. signed a contract with the Southeastern Michigan Transit Authority to supply a 4.6-kilometre intermediate capacity transit system for the city of Detroit.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I must say I am encouraged that the one member of the Liberal Party who applauded -- lightly, with some lack of enthusiasm but none the less applauded, -- was the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney). It is a little bit disappointing. The other members of the Liberal Party are sitting there very glumly assessing this very important piece of information.
The value of this contract is approximately $110 million. It is expected that Detroit will direct the UTDC to begin work on the project in approximately three months. UTDC has full responsibility for all aspects of the design, management and construction of this project and for the supply and installation of all equipment, including 13 ICTS vehicles.
This agreement is an excellent example of the continuing co-operation between Ontario and our friends in the state of Michigan. I wish to interject and pay tribute to the governor of Michigan, who has been very supportive of this. I was a guest of his two months ago; it just happened to coincide with the playing of the Super Bowl in Pontiac, Michigan, and we had an opportunity to discuss this in some detail. I know that the governor of the state of Michigan assisted in the representations to Washington, because Washington had terminated all financial support for these projects throughout the United States but did make an exception for the city of Detroit, and that is one of the reasons the project is proceeding.
I also wish to pay tribute to the Minister of Transportation and Communications, (Mr. Snow) who has suffered some modest criticisms from across the House with respect to the activities of this very important Canadian corporation.
As a member of this government, I am proud to note that Detroit has contracted with UTDC for the ICTS, which has been developed and proven in this province as a result of the initiative of this government, without any support from that particular party.
As a Canadian, I am proud that this is yet another instance of the successful export of high-technology Canadian products to the international marketplace. I know the Leader of the Opposition will immediately phone the member for Wentworth North to convey this very good news to him, which member during the negotiations in Vancouver did his very best to see that it did not happen.
Mr. Bradley: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: We have had an announcement that has been greeted with a good deal of enthusiasm in this House today. May I ask that you intervene with the Premier to ensure, when he wants to purchase another jet for himself and the cabinet, that he makes a similar announcement in the House with this good deal of fanfare?
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Given that the banks are less than enthusiastic about the new Ontario farm adjustment assistance program, to say the least, and that it takes the local banks a day to process each application, will the minister consider dropping the existing regulations to qualify for the program and leaving it open to every farmer who has borrowed money thereby to use the ministry’s short form application, which takes about five minutes to fill out?
Mr. McKessock: In view of the fact that the tie-ups in the bank and the time spent by the farmer and his accountant to fill out these applications make the benefits of the program questionable, has the minister any other ideas that are better than mine to speed up the program to allow the farmers to get this money immediately?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I do not know to whom the member is speaking, but he is not talking to the farmers I have been talking to and hearing from in my correspondence. One of the most significant benefits of the program we have put into place, and some of his own members have told me this, is the detailed examination that is required to be made of each existing operation, looking at its 1981 actual results and then, based on an evaluation of those 1981 results, evaluating its 1982 plans.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is not too slow. It is going as quickly as it can while still doing a proper job. The member would not do individual farmers a favour with what he is proposing to do. If lenders in the past five to 10 years had been giving individual farm loan applications the kind of detailed examination that we are ensuring they are getting, a lot of farmers would not be in the bind they are in today.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege to correct the record. I believe the Premier has, perhaps unfortunately, not fully represented his position with respect to the Spadina question.
Mr. Peterson: I referred in my question to a letter of March 4 from the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) to Mr. Godfrey. He said in that letter that he wanted to exchange the Highway 400 lands for the Spadina lands to prevent the expressway from going ahead. He said in his letter, “The province will immediately initiate expropriation procedures to acquire the Spadina lands,” failing a resolution of the question by way of negotiation.
The Premier in a letter to the mayor of Toronto on March 8 said this, “I understand that the Minister of Transportation and Communications has written to the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto reaffirming the province’s understanding and commitment to the linkage referred to above.” This presumably is a commitment to the course of action laid out by the Minister of Transportation and Communications. “This correspondence also sets in place an appropriate course of action to resolve and conclude the Spadina issue.”
I respectfully submit that is a clear resolution of the question at hand on which the Premier has equivocated today. He may want to take this opportunity to make a clear statement on what he meant either 10 years and nine months ago, seven years ago or in the March 4 letter where he lays forth a position supporting that of the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, I will not labour this any further. I was in my own way very clear. I know what the Minister of Transportation and Communications has written. I know what I have communicated to the mayor of the city of Toronto. The member asked me what was going to happen, and I made it very clear that my preference was, still is and will continue to be, until we reach that point in the calendar, very simply to have an amicable settlement. The member must agree with that.
The time for oral questions has expired. I sincerely hope the member for Downsview will be recognized the next time. However, I want to advise all honourable members that the time for question period had expired when the Leader of the Opposition stood on his point of privilege.
Mr. Sweeney: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: On March 16, I raised a question with the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker). His answer at that time was, “I will be pleased to get them” -- that is, the information -- ”and report to the honourable member.” It is now five weeks, and I still do not have an answer. May I have any direction from you as to how to deal with this situation?
Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding, I ask all members of the Legislature to join me in welcoming and recognizing in the west side of the Speaker’s gallery a delegation from Egypt whose members are visiting Montreal, Kingston and Toronto to see at first hand Canadian products, expertise and transit systems.
I want to take the time to recognize these visitors individually: Mr. Korayem, senior undersecretary, Ministry of Economic Co-operation, who is leading the mission; Mr. El-Gohary, deputy governor of Cairo; General Gaber, Ministry of Interior Affairs; Mr. Helmy, Ministry of Economic Co-operation; Mr. Khamis, Transportation Planning Authority; and Mr. El-Menchawi, counsellor, Egyptian embassy, Washington.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, we certainly welcome the Egyptian delegation that is here today. I also wish to introduce to the House and ask members to join me in greeting a very important group of people who have arrived today from the People’s Republic of China and who are in the east end of the Speaker’s Gallery. We are honoured by the visit of these six top-level economists on a very important trade mission from the People’s Republic of China.
They arrived on April 17. It is their intention to conduct seminars in Toronto, Ottawa and other parts of Canada. These seminars will provide participants with a much clearer understanding of the intricacies of trading with the People’s Republic of China and should encourage Canadian businessmen to be more venturesome in pursuing Canada-China trade.
The leader of the delegation is Mr. Xu Dixin, member of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, vice-president of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and president of Swatow University.
I will introduce the other members of the delegation. It may be that they cannot understand my pronunciation. Mr. Wu Baosan, member of the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; Mr. Tao Dayong, member of the national committee and dean and professor of economics at Peking Normal University; Mr. Liu Guoguang, deputy director of the Institute of Economics and professor of economics at Peking University; Mr. Gu Nianliang, director of the Centre for Hong Kong and Macau Economic Studies at the Institute of Economics; Mr. Wu Jiaying, who is a research fellow, Research Institute of International Trade, Ministry of Foreign Trade, People’s Republic of China.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, perhaps it should also be recorded, although it will not be possible for them to visit the House of course, that another very important group will be visiting this province today, including the Premier of France, the Honourable Pierre Mauroy. Quite a large delegation will be arriving here at 5 o’clock, and there will be a state dinner for him tonight. He will be staying until tomorrow, visiting the Ontario Science Centre, talking with businessmen and leaving around noon tomorrow.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that, notwithstanding any previous orders of the House, the estimates as they are tabled be referred to the standing committees as indicated in the estimates statement made earlier today.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, notwithstanding any standing orders of the House, that the ballot item of the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton) be deferred for consideration until next Thursday, April 29, and that the scheduling according to the order of precedence be revised accordingly.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I recognize that it is unusual for a private member to introduce a bill as comprehensive and as extensive as this; however, since the Grange report was introduced more than 10 years ago and this government has taken no action, it is quite appropriate, particularly in the light of some of the revelations by my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) in the House today.
Mr. Newman: Just out of curiosity, why do we have to use numbers for corporations? Why do we not have names in there so the individual reading the bill would understand who was involved, instead of having to research a number?
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted you are pleased to recognize me. When we adjourned the debate yesterday, I was explaining further the reasons the New Democratic Party opposes Bill 36, An Act to establish the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture.
I was mentioning the report of the task force on equal opportunity that was commissioned by the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship in February 1982. The results are known and are rather shocking. Of the 877 positions to which appointments had been made by the Ontario government for 84 boards, councils and commissions, 77.2 per cent were held by people of British origin, 5.1 per cent by people of French background and 17.7 per cent by people who fell under the “others” category.
As I said yesterday, there were interesting remarks by many parties on the fact that the task force, made up of members of the council on multiculturalism, which is a tame organization, totally subservient to the Tory government in Ontario, made use of the term “others”; we usually use the expression “ethnic.” I must say the percentage of 17.7 per cent is very low in relation to the percentage of the ethnic population within the province and particularly in the city of Toronto.
Yesterday, I said in a jocular way that we did not know if the 155 appointed under the category of “others” included the members of the council on multiculturalism because, in that case, the percentage goes even lower, from 17.7 to 10.3 per cent. However, I did some research and I now know the members of the council on multiculturalism have not been counted among the 155 members appointed.
This brings me to the point: If this ministry is to have any value at all, will the minister be able to change this regrettable situation? Will the Minister of Citizenship and Culture be able to persuade the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the cabinet to include one of the “others” among the eight members of the board of directors of that mighty bastion of the Tory establishment, the board of directors of Ontario Hydro.
I know the minister is open-minded and is open to suggestions, but will he ever be able to convince the Premier that in this province the policy of multiculturalism should not be a type of tokenism as it is now. We should be able to accommodate people in all walks of life, from every ethnic background, in positions where they can both represent their groups and “participate fully” -- as the bill says under section 4 -- in the life of Ontario.
Yesterday I documented the failure of the previous ministers in this area. I have been and still am insistent that TVOntario become a true instrument for the promotion of multiculturalism in Ontario. If we look at what it has done vis-à-vis the question of multiculturalism, we see regrettable results.
I asked, in question number 375 on the Order Paper of November 27, 1980, if the minister could tell us how many programs had been devoted to “multiculturalism” and what were the future program plans of the government. Since 1975, only 124 out of all the programs of TVOntario dealt with multiculturalism and then only in a cursory way. They totalled 69 hours of production programming plus three hours of acquired programs. That is pretty dismal. The multicultural programs produced and acquired since April 1979 amount to only 49. I do not think anyone can convince me that this is a serious approach towards a problem we think is very important in the life of the citizens of the province.
I asked a further question of the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Mr. McCaffrey) and I do not blame him for the answer he gave. I realize he has been in office for only a short time and I am hopeful that he will be able to change the situation. I asked him whether he could tell us if they contemplate any new programs to be devoted to multiculturalism, and if any other languages can be used in TVOntario apart from English and French, the latter being limited mostly to Sunday programming.
The minister told me that it was too early to tell, because “TVOntario is an agency of the government. They have not set up their schedule yet. We do not know.” The excuse the former minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) used to give us was, “We cannot force TVOntario to do things they do not want to do.”
I now urge the minister to give policy directions for TVOntario to improve their programming. I would like to see a station that would serve the interests of all the citizens of Ontario. I feel the minister will take note of my words because he is a sensible and open-minded man. I hope he will be able to do what is required to change the course of action of the government; until now this has been a disappointing failure.
Just a very brief note on the use of other languages: As I said yesterday, there is now an uproar among the most reactionary elements in our society over the introduction of third language programs in the Toronto Board of Education, a fact that will not change by one iota the instruction situation in our schools.
As I said yesterday, programs of third languages have already been introduced by the separate school board but there is an approach now being made which is helped by the most reactionary elements in our society, in the media, the newspapers, radio and television.
I think it is very important that the government give consideration to the use of other languages. There is nothing wrong with TVOntario giving some hours to programs in other languages to communities that are part of this province. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission already recognizes that and there are several stations broadcasting programs in other languages.
That is not a subversion of the present order. It is not an attempt to destroy the structure of our society, it is only an attempt to accommodate groups which otherwise cannot be accommodated because they have some particular requirement and some shortcomings in terms of language, culture and understanding this society. By giving them those instruments, we provide them with the means of better understanding our society and becoming better citizens, which is the purpose of the bill we are discussing.
I would invite the minister to go back to the report of which my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) is very proud. On many occasions in this House, he has mentioned the report of the select committee on economic and cultural nationalism, a committee on which members on the other side of the House also sat as well as some cabinet ministers.
“The committee accordingly recommends that at an early date” -- this was in 1974 -- ”a select committee on cultural affairs be struck to review and propose law and policy respecting cultural development and distinctiveness in Ontario and Canada having special regard to:
I would like to conclude my remarks with that recommendation of the report of the select committee on economic and cultural nationalism. If the minister accepts that recommendation, I think he will have in front of him a very meaningful agenda for the next few years, which will make him the most successful Minister of Citizenship and Culture in Ontario.
Mr. Bradley: I would like to make a brief contribution to this debate establishing this ministry, with the thrust on the direction of funding of certain programs that could take place, now that this ministry is in place and there is an emphasis on the cultural end of things in Ontario.
The minister is aware that the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) has removed or drastically reduced funding for noncredit courses in continuing education at the secondary school level. The minister would know through representations he has received from people across the province that this has adversely affected, and might result in the complete removal of, certain popular and useful programs that have been started by various folk art councils across the province.
I think this ministry, and the emphasis on the cultural aspect of Ontario, will allow the minister the opportunity to provide the kind of funding that will be absent as a result of the action taken by the Minister of Education. I recognize that he has been in conversation with the Minister of Education on this matter and is aware of the problem, and I hope that through the establishment of this ministry he will recognize the importance of these programs; we are talking about the dance programs, the band programs, the choir programs of the various ethnic groups in some communities in this province. I hope he will provide this funding which will now be absent.
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that you have allowed me to deal with what is a side issue to this ministry, and I do not intend to take up the time of the House; but I would ask for a commitment from the minister that he give serious consideration to accepting the responsibility which was recently abdicated by the Minister of Education in funding of these programs.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my remarks are going to be very brief, but as the critic for the former Ministry of Culture and Recreation, somewhere between 1979 and 1981, I feel I should stand up at this time and put some ideas forward to the new Minister of Citizenship and Culture.
I will not repeat the reasons that have been put forward by the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) as to why this party is going to oppose this bill, but the fact is -- and it has to be put on the record many times -- that the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, ever since 1974 when it was established, did not do the job it ought to have done, given the expectations it created in 1974 and those the Premier of this province created, for all the people of this province, for the cultures of all the people of this province.
My understanding -- and I guess the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko) is also schooled in this particular area -- is that the former Ministry of Culture and Recreation was basically a response to federal initiatives that had taken place before that. I am not going to go into any history, but it is understandable why that ministry was established in Ontario in 1974.
However, that ministry did not accomplish those things it was established to do, and now we find there is a further breaking up, a further disintegration if you like, of those particular goals, of those particular objectives of the former Ministry of Culture and Recreation.
Perhaps one may bring forth the argument, which I would understand, that since the Ministry of Culture and Citizenship is a more specific ministry, we will be able to do a lot more in those areas that deal with culture in its many aspects, and with citizenship. I read the objectives, or the functions, of the ministry as set Out in Bill 36. Who could question that those four platitudes, motherhood issues, are very good principles upon which the ministry should be established?
However, I recall as well that the Ministry of Culture and Recreation had pretty much those same principles, and very few of them were accomplished. Very little was accomplished. So in what kind of basic good faith -- maybe those are not the right words -- can the new minister say to me today, at the end of this debate or at any other time, that we will proceed with some of those things we said, back in 1974, we were going to do and have not done? Let me name some of those things.
In 1974, 1975 and 1976, one of the things being discussed in estimates for ever and a day was the establishment of a cultural policy. Where is it? Every time I asked the then Minister of Culture and Recreation, who is here right now, he said, “We are in the process of getting a cultural policy together.” I hear and read of the advances that have been made in Quebec, which at least produced a task force report on what the elements of a cultural policy ought to be. At least there was public debate on what a cultural policy ought to be.
As far as Ontario is concerned, we are in the process of putting together a cultural policy. When does the process end? Will the government ever come forward with proposals for a cultural policy? I do not mean a specific cultural policy, such as a policy for museums or for the visual arts. I am talking about a comprehensive cultural policy with some vision of the culture this particular government would like to develop or encourage in Ontario.
For a long time, we have been talking about the book publishing industry. When I raised this question in the estimates the biggest program this government could come forward with was the Half-Back program to help sell books by Canadian authors. That particular program is not worth even an ounce in terms of the kind of work that needs to be done, and the kind of thinking that needs to be done to develop the book publishing industry in Canada, in Ontario specifically, so that advertising for our books and the penetration of the market by our books will take place, and Canadian authors are encouraged and known so their books will sell.
This particular ministry is content to have 95 per cent penetration into Canada by the American market, so most of our libraries in Ontario, whether school libraries or public libraries, are stocked with books produced in the United States for an American clientele. In other words, in very few books do we see actual Canadian content. The ministry ought to give some kind of direction to the book publishing industry and, at the same time, make sure the book publishing industry is given financial encouragement to grow.
I do not want to isolate the book publishing industry. We can also talk about the film industry and, thank you very much, it is doing well right now, no thanks to this particular government but thanks to some of the programs the federal government has involved itself in.
I will not talk about the visual and performing arts in this province. The support for these institutions has been less than one would have thought back in 1974 when the Ministry of Culture and Recreation was established.
I take a somewhat personal view of this. Not to toot my own horn, but I have done some work in this area. To think that this government can say we have a multiculturalism policy in place and yet at the same time, when questions are raised about the principles on which a multicultural society is built, those principles now being debated at the Toronto Board of Education, the Minister of Education can take the view -- at least I hope she was quoted correctly in the Toronto Sun when she said:
Either we believe in a multicultural society or we do not. It is not a matter of saying that we believe in a multicultural society provided we keep it out of our way, provided it does not in any way, shape or form affect our institutions in this province, because as soon as our institutions are affected that is going too far.
If the new minister begins where the former Minister of Culture and Recreation left off in his ideas about a multicultural society, or if he begins where the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), who is also in her seat, left off with respect to the principle of a multicultural society, I am afraid he is going to be swimming into an area from which he will not find a way out.
Basically what he has to do is take that area, begin with some principles and develop some programs that are meaningful to Ontario today. As far as the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) and the Provincial Secretary for Social Development are concerned, they pretty well have to change their way of thinking, or the lack of it.
This is not a new area any more; we have been at it now for the past 10 to 12 years. Those in Ontario to whom some people may refer as the 35 to 40 per cent of the people who are here in Ontario because they want to become good citizens of Ontario -- I mean that in the broadest possible terms -- want to feel that their feelings and their contributions are observed and taken into account; and up to this time I am afraid the government has not done that.
Section 4 says, “It is the function of the ministry to encourage full, equal and responsible citizenship among residents of Ontario” and “to stress the full participation of all Ontarians as equal members of the community.” The only way this can be encouraged is when the government recognizes the needs of immigrants when they enter this province, and provides the funding for the classes in English as a second language which they require in order to learn how to participate fully in Canadian society.
The fact remains that the Minister of Education, with the help of federal friends, has been cutting into the program for English as a second language. Such programs are pretty well nonexistent in the community colleges now because the Ministry of Colleges and Universities has cut the funding.
The Deputy Speaker: I would like to bring to the honourable member’s attention that I have given him great latitude. I hope he will be brief, as he indicated at the opening of his remarks some 15 minutes ago.
I will say to the minister, we are voting against this bill basically because we do not think a new ministry would be required if the Ministry of Culture and Recreation had done the job for which it was structured. We do not need a change of ministries; we need action. That is what this province needs right now.
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. I am here to support the minister in Bill 41, An Act to establish the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, which has a very close involvement with one sector of the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture and that is with regard to Wintario projects.
I am subject to correction but I understand that although the minister will be responsible for the lotteries under the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, the projects which will be funded will come under the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. I am one of the strongest supporters in this House of the Wintario projects undertaken in many of the smaller communities of this province.
We often hear criticism of the way Wintario grants operate but I want to ask the minister to make sure he lends strong support to the form many of the projects have taken, particularly in the smaller communities where, without Wintario support, such focal points as community centres or refurbished halls or buildings would not exist.
I feel one of the minister’s priorities under this new ministry should be to make sure that Wintario support is not just something that is easily available in the larger urban areas where funding is more easily obtainable. We are now beginning to see cultural facilities in the smaller communities, many of which have little community centres because of the encouragement they have received through Wintario funding.
This means they are not using taxpayers’ dollars but lottery funds to which the citizens contribute of their own free will. I hope it will be one of the ministry’s priorities to make sure that all sectors of this province, the small ones in particular, receive their fair share of support.
When one divides that among 18 jurisdictions, one arrives at about $1.5 million. Some of the jurisdictions are large and therefore it is not helping as many projects as it might have done. I hope the ministry will review the capital funding for these projects to make sure there is sufficient funding to do the job across this province.
Many small communities in the counties of Victoria and Haliburton now have their own little focal points through Ontario’s support, such as the dressing up of an Orange Hall that has been there for years, or perhaps another small hall. It might be the building of a new community centre. Even a few thousand dollars has been a great help in providing a focal point so they do not have to drive to the next town or city to enjoy those facilities. It has meant a great deal to them and I hope they will continue to receive their fair share.
I hope everything possible will be done to ensure that all parts of Ontario have equal opportunity in regard to TVOntario, which I believe comes under this ministry. The county of Haliburton wants this facility very much and I am sure the minister is going to be hearing about it in the future. Now that TVOntario is in Muskoka, Haliburton is right next door and wants it just as much. We do not have the funding in Haliburton that they have in Muskoka but we are going to be coming to see the minister to make sure we get TVOntario in Haliburton county.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly in support of my colleague the member for Downsview in urging opposition to the bill as it stands at present. There are sufficient defects in the bill to have prevented us from putting a specific, reasoned amendment in regard to one objection to the bill, because there are many objections to the bill.
I do not understand what the process is within the government as to how it reallocates responsibilities among different ministries and decides to create new ministries or ministries with different names and functions, often coupled with a cabinet shuffle.
This bill has every earmark of a lack of thorough understanding as to what the government was doing in the creation of this ministry. Had there been any thoughtful presentation of the reasons for this reallocation of responsibilities, it might well have been justified. The absence of that kind of consideration and public information about the reasons for the reallocation among these three ministries causes me sufficient concern to want to speak briefly about two or three matters.
The first matter I want to deal with is what my colleagues the members for Downsview and Oakwood have spoken about. Why is it the government always and forever shies away from any statutory reference to multiculturalism? In the maze of words it uses to try to describe its policies, I do not understand why it will not now use the word which discloses in a synoptic way what we have been trying to say about the nature of Ontario society.
I do not need to elaborate on it. My colleagues have dealt with it at some length. My only comment is I find it passing strange and a serious omission. There is a very real question as to the commitment of the government to multiculturalism when one reads these words as one of the objectives of the ministry:
“Recognizing the pluralistic nature of Ontario society to stress the full participation of all Ontarians as equal members of the community, encouraging the sharing of cultural heritage while affirming those elements held in common by all residents.”
Why the government would not have been prepared to say in the bill that the society we have is a multicultural society, I will never understand. It will lead to endless debate and discussion. It is because the government has never had a clearly defined and understandable content for its claim that it supports a multicultural society. Indeed, they equivocate -- if I can use that dreadful term -- from time to time about what it means.
There is no consensus in the government. There has never been any consensus in the existing Ministry of Culture and Recreation, which this one will replace. There has never been any clear indication among the government members as to exactly what they mean when they speak about a multicultural society.
I think the omission from the bill of the term, which has a significant meaning to the very people in the community that it is attempting to address in this bill, leads me to believe that the government has less than the kind of commitment which is required to make this society in Ontario flourish and develop in the most profound and basic ways that we all, on this side of the House at least, wish would take place.
The second matter that leads me to have a serious reservation about the thought which went into the consideration of the establishment of this ministry is when I read the first two objectives of the ministry. It states, “It is the function of the ministry to encourage full, equal and responsible citizenship among the residents of Ontario,” and I read the further objective a few moments ago, about the full participation of all Ontarians as equal members of the community.
I cannot understand why in those circumstances I do not find at the very outset of the creation of this ministry, listed in the schedule of statutes for which this minister will be responsible, the Human Rights Code which we passed quite recently. I cannot conceive of a government that creates a Ministry of Citizenship and Culture and that has passed after long debate and long discussion by this assembly a new Human Rights Code, not automatically thinking of it as being a bill which should go to the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture and be removed from the traditional role it has played in the Ministry of Labour.
That may have had some historic reasons in the beginning but no longer has any historic reasons, bearing in mind the creation of this ministry, with its emphasis on equality in the objectives which it states in the bill. I emphasize that very briefly by simply referring to the second recital in the preamble to the Ontario Human Rights Code:
“Whereas it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination that is contrary to law and having as its aim the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and wellbeing of the community and the province.”
I can think of no words which do not say in a different way exactly what the major objectives of this ministry are stated by the ministry to be. I cannot believe for one single moment that the government or those who make these kinds of decisions have thought with any care and attention about the importance of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
If ever there was a statute which deserved to be administered by a new ministry which is put before us as a Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, it is the statute that we recently spent all of the time on and all of the lengthy discussions on, and with which we had all of the difficulties that we encountered dealing with human rights in Ontario. That is a second reason why I support my colleague the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) in urging opposition to the bill, because it has not been thought through.
The third reason, of course, is the matter to which my friend the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) has just referred, and that is the inadequacy of the consideration given to the questions with respect to the Wintario operations in the province.
Let me say to the minister that my comments about the Wintario grants have nothing to do with those people who try, day in and day out, to make the system work; they try their very best. But we all know that under the previous minister, under the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, we went for a long period of time when nobody knew what the guidelines were. If one did hear of a guideline and immediately filed an application, one found that the particular guideline was under consideration or that it had stopped the day before yesterday and was being reconsidered in a different framework. That was an immense problem.
Some days after the ministry was established -- and I am going to read this into the record, because it must be read into the record -- there was the disastrous memorandum by which the two ministers, in their particular phraseology, jointly tried to assure me that between the two ministries the system was going to work even better than it had worked in the past.
I think we all received this memorandum. It is addressed to all of the members of the 32nd Parliament of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It is from the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Mr. McCaffrey) and the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz). The subject is the administration of the Wintario grants programs. It says:
“Recent changes in ministerial responsibility have stimulated questions about the operation of Wintario grants programs. We would like to assure the honourable members that municipalities, community groups and provincial organizations will continue to be served as they have been in the past. It is business as usual.”
“The proceeds of the Wintario lottery are dedicated to the support of activities and facilities involving physical fitness, sports, recreation and culture in its broadest sense. Municipalities and community groups applying for Wintario grants will continue to be served by a so-called one-window system” -- and the term “so-called” is in the memorandum; I did not insert it -- “through the community program offices in the province.
“These offices, operated by the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, will be staffed by MTR consultants involved with sports, fitness and recreation and MCC consultants involved in citizenship and culture. These consultants have a single mandate: to serve the clients in the communities of the province.
“The responsibility in the fiscal year 1982-83 for financial control and administration of lottery proceeds allocated by this assembly for all capital projects has been assigned to the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. It will also deal with proposals or questions regarding projects involving multiculturalism and citizenship, native communities, community information, arts, libraries, museums and heritage conservation.
On receipt of that, I was prompted to write a letter to the ministers jointly which expressed my view about this strange relationship between these two ministries with respect to Wintario. My letter was dated March 30 and was addressed to the Minister of Citizenship and Culture and the Minister of Tourism and Recreation.
“Thank you very much for the administration of the Wintario grants program memorandum. You have certainly understated the problem when you refer to the questions stimulated by the changes in ministerial responsibilities. Your memorandum should add to, if not create, a new branch of bureaucratic confusion.
“It has been extremely difficult up to now to deal with Wintario applications because of the constant change in guidelines. Now, of course, it would be an understatement as well to say that the problems will be twice compounded.
“Nevertheless, with unemployment at the level it is, I am sure you will be doing your best through this process of administration to increase employment opportunities. It will be similar to my problem in solving Rubik’s cubes.
That expresses the view I have and the view many people have about the lack of detailed consideration that was given to the establishment of this ministry and its counterpart. For those three reasons I rise to support the position of my colleague the member for Downsview with respect to this bill. The bill should not be passed at this time.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain bills in his chambers.
The first speaker, who unfortunately could not be here today, was the official Liberal critic for the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, the member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil). In the few minutes that were available to him the other night, he made one point I wanted to speak to, because in the last few days other members have made reference to it, most recently the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston), in the form of a note to me and a suggestion by him.
It deals with the fact that the bill before us does not say there would be an annual report. I want members to know that we would be happy to accept an amendment to that effect. I do not know the mechanics of how it works, but we did decide we would be having an annual report, notwithstanding the fact that it is not in the bill. We can work out the mechanics of how such an amendment is put forward. That recommendation was first touched on publicly in here by the member for Quinte.
The next speaker, happily, was my official critic for the New Democratic Party, the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo), who spoke at some length yesterday and today and made a number of points I would like to talk to.
He started out by reading a statement by the Premier (Mr. Davis), dated 1974, when the Ministry of Culture and Recreation was established, and went on to elaborate his own thinking on that, that the concept behind a Ministry of Culture and Recreation was an intelligent concept, and that it was a good fit. I do not disagree with any of those observations. It was a good fit.
I do think, however, that the new Ministry of Citizenship and Culture we are talking about now is an excellent fit itself. Since we have seen, over the last number of years, how the cultural and the recreational communities, at the municipal level for sure, have worked well together, I have every reason to think we can now, with this new bill, this new ministry, and this new name, give some new focus to what the ministry, going right back to 1974, is all about.
It is a renewed chance to go back to some very basic principles, obviously not on the recreational side, but to the extent that I had always believed there was a closer fit possible between the arts and the citizenship, or cultural and multicultural, side.
It strikes me as a layman that if we accept the fact that the arts is one medium for people from a variety of backgrounds to share equally -- to some extent sports may be too, but the arts certainly is; I have been taught that, and I believe it to be the case -- this gives us an opportunity to get those two halves of the ministry, with our support, working more closely together.
More can be done in that area. I do not quarrel with the original bill, the original ministry; far from it. It was an excellent idea, but this citizenship and culture fit provides us all with some new and important opportunities.
If I may, I want to say a word or two about the ministry staff. Any time a new minister goes into a new assignment, he immediately has the opportunity to learn as much as he can as quickly as he can from the really good and devoted people who run the ministry all the time. As members know, they work very hard. This was particularly true in this instance because of the split.
There is no question that there were three ministries involved and, most particularly, the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation and my own Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. There was a very strong desire to see that split brought about as quickly and as equitably and as effectively as possible. To that extent, people were really doing double duty as well as trying to bring the new guy up to date and teach him about some of the things that happen within the ministry.
I have been told by people who have been around government circles for a long time that we would have difficulty finding a better example of where ministries were realigned with so few problems. There was very little fuss. Things worked extraordinarily well.
I do not want to break my order of comments here, but the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), in closing, read our memo and his response to the memo; I enjoyed it when I first heard it and I enjoyed it again today. I do think that our desire from day one was to make it clear that it was business as usual. We were really speaking there not only to members of the Legislature but also, more particularly, to the client groups in the real world who had some concerns about the fact of what two ministries means now. They wondered how to go about applying for a Wintario grant. We assured them they would carry on just as they had done the week before.
I myself am not knowledgeable enough about the field operation yet to say that I am totally on top of it, but I am confident that the people in the ministry are. I am not, but I am very conscious that there are people out in the province today, employed by either my ministry or the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, who could still use some guidance, direction and clarification as to what is happening back in head office, so to speak. I am very aware of that. That is a priority concern of ours.
I had my first opportunity, along with the deputy -- although he had met them before -- to meet with our field people two or three Fridays ago. We have had ongoing conversations since and will continue them. So we are conscious of the confusion to the extent it still exists. But I must say that when one considers we have undertaken a major reshuffling in responsibilities, with major divisions of ministries relocating, I think this has been done extraordinarily well.
I will speak to the matter of multiculturalism as first addressed by the member for Downsview and make reference to an observation of the member for Riverdale about the word “multiculturalism” not appearing in the bill at all. I do not know that I got all of the details correctly, but I think the member for Downsview said that multiculturalism was announced to the world by way of government policy about 10 years ago.
I assume the member is talking about the federal government’s multiculturalism thrust of a decade or more ago when that program was announced. That program stated we can all be good Canadians while preserving our heritage and that we, as Canadians, were asked to share the richness of our different cultures. We come, as he said, nearly 10 years later to the failure of multiculturalism. He went on to say that until minorities are in decision-making positions, we have achieved nothing.
That leads me into some comments on the advisory committee. Let me go back to the word “multiculturalism” itself. It was announced as a government policy by the federal government 10 years ago or so, and our government responded to that, I guess, a few years later. I am on the horns of a bit of a dilemma here, because in the seven or eight weeks that I have been the Minister of Citizenship and Culture I have detected that the very word “multiculturalism” evokes some strong feelings in people.
I think where I have a philosophical problem is that governments may have created the notion of an approach to multiculturalism 10 or 11 years ago, but multiculturalism is part of this country, it is a reality.
I am a little disturbed when I hear the member for Downsview say that 10 years after the fact, multiculturalism has failed. Various governments’ approaches to it may have been less than successful, but I think we have to accept that multiculturalism is the way it is. We can talk about words all day and night, and we have done this within the ministry, but it is pretty difficult when we get down to it to come up with a word that better expresses the facts of life in this country and this province than multiculturalism. I know that and I have no difficulty with it.
I know it is not in the bill, and I suspect the reason is that there have been people in our communities who for a variety of reasons have been given a negative feeling about what government people mean when they talk about multiculturalism. The concept is as much central to Canada as the fact that in spring it is pleasant here and in February it is cold.
This is a multicultural community; that is the way it is. How governments and people like me use the word, how they treat the challenge, is probably what has given this real word some less than positive reception in the community.
I hear what the member for Downsview is saying, I am conscious of it, but I just want to make sure he is being critical of government’s approach to the facts of life and is not in any way, shape or form saying that we should ignore these facts of life.
The last comment, that until minorities are in decision-making positions we have achieved nothing, is absolutely correct. I think that quite succinctly says what the task force of the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship said. I received its first report in February, and I think most members have looked at it. It is not that long, and everybody should have a peek at it. The statistics are there, and nobody can quarrel with them.
In my judgement, we have not reflected the community as fairly, as adequately or as quickly as we should have. That is a priority area. I must candidly tell the House about the three steps I have initiated so far. I am going to need some guidance, advice, help or criticism in this area.
If one reads carefully the recommendations of this advisory committee, they make it quite clear that they do not want us or anybody to accept a quota system. They think the criteria for appointments now, which are largely regional and based on excellence, should stay intact. I agree with that. I hope they make a task force report like this every year. However, it is how one measures progress in this area that gets a little tricky, and I am not sure I know the exact answers.
I will tell members what we are going to do with the four or five recommendations. They will be discussed in the cabinet committee on social development a week from Thursday. Second in the sequence will be a fuller discussion in cabinet. The House should not hold me to this, but that would be very shortly afterwards. I hope all this takes place in the spring.
Also, I have asked for an opportunity in May to meet the committee that makes the actual appointments to the various boards, agencies and commissions. I do not know whether I will be in a position to make a report on how each of those three meetings went, but I see no reason why I could not.
I will frankly share the recommendations with my colleagues. We are going to speak to the fact that it has not been adequate, but how we improve it is a little bit tricky. We will quite properly have to be constantly measuring that.
There is no mystery to how we improve it. It gets tricky because, as it is now, quite rightly and properly -- and I just saw these about 10 days ago -- there is a large inventory of names of people who are being considered for various appointments now. It is referred to as the inventory.
I saw these sheets. There is a name, an address, a postal code, the phone number and the name of the person who recommended the candidate. That is all there is. Quite properly, there is nothing on the sheet that says anything about the person’s race or religion and so forth. I do not know of any reasonable person who thinks that should be altered.
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: The members over there spend too much time trying to figure out how sinister we are. We occasionally might make a little mistake or two, but sinister we ain’t. I look for it. I have been here four and a half years. I have been looking for something sinister, and I have been looking for a good secret. If this government were any more open, it would be arrested for indecent exposure.
The member for Downsview also made some comments under the broad category of multiculturalism about TVOntario’s response to it and the number of programs. When I get the transcript, I will be interested to look at those numbers again. The member measured how many programs TVO had done which spoke to multiculturalism and he clearly implied more could be done in that area.
I had my first meeting with the TVOntario board about 10 days ago. It took about 60 minutes, and we must have spent 50 minutes discussing just that. I did not have those statistics. It was much more informal. The people on the board did not have an agenda. It was a loose meeting, just a luncheon meeting, and was the first opportunity I had to meet with them.
I raised that question, and the response was absolutely terrific. I know there is enthusiasm to do more in that area. I do not know whether we are going to measure that by the number of programs, but there is enthusiasm to do a great deal more in that area.
It really goes back to a view that is clearly at the heart of this ministry’s mandate and is shared by the agencies of the ministry; that is, cultural sharing. What more intelligent vehicle is there to speak to this business of cultural sharing than TVO?
As an aside, I have been overwhelmed by the number of letters that come in praising the programming and the work generally at TVO and, related to that, the number that come in requesting expansion of that service into their own communities. This is not the time to go into the details of that. Obviously it is a priority, and the pressures are a good indication of the support the people in our province have for this agency which has a world-class reputation for educational programming.
The member for Downsview went from there to talk at some length about English and the heritage language programs, which made a point related back to TVO about our language programming. I want to make it as clear as I can that I see these as two quite important but distinct matters.
Should TVO accelerate the quantity of its multiculturalism programming? I think clearly the answer is yes. It does not logically follow that this means there should be programming in languages other than English and French. That is a fundamental point.
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Because if we believe in cultural sharing, if we believe in reaching as many people as we can, the markets in this real province that we serve are going to be reached at a bigger level through programming in English and French than in any other language. Our responsibilities are to reach those markets and to share that message. There is no sense doing multiculturalism in education, to use that expression, to a narrow group when we can do it to a wider group.
There is no question that there is a market out there for programming in languages other than English and French, and MTV is testimony to that. But I think there is a fundamental difference between improving the number of programs devoted to multiculturalism and tying the language issue to that. I see these as distinct questions; each is important but distinct.
The member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) asked about the continuing education cutbacks. In fact, as he pointed out, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) and I have had some discussions about it. I read with care her statement made in the assembly 10 days ago.
Just to go back prior to the statement: We were immediately and primarily concerned in our ministry, after her program was announced, with activities that logically would fit with us but that might no longer be able to be held because there would be no money. Frankly, we were on standby, trying to measure the number of activities and trying to find how much money therefore would be required. Then we were going to worry about whether it was going to come from us or whether it was going to come from Education.
I think I am pretty current on this; we have worked hard to stay on top of this issue. The minister’s statement, which I do not have in front of me, made it pretty clear that the ministry will continue to provide the funds to cover the cost of those programs organized in conjunction with folk arts councils. Her statement made that fairly clear, I think. But we are constantly looking at it; if we find that a program falls down between two ministries, it is our intention to pick it up.
Would we provide the funding if the program otherwise would die? We are convinced that no programs yet look as if they are going to be terminated. If they are, we will identify them throughout the province, and it would be a priority item for us to see that they carry on.
He asks, what faith can we have in the preamble to a bill which is all airy-fairy, motherhood kind of stuff? Fine. I accept that. He goes right on, though, to talk about the need for some airy-fairy, motherhood statements in the form of a cultural policy. He feels very comfortable that the government of Quebec has a cultural policy, which I guess one can read. I do not know whether we have a paragraph that speaks to our cultural policy, but since he and I do not find that much comfort in those things, I do not know that it would matter.
Let me tell the member something about the real world outside the academic, philosophical, legalistic approach to cultural policies. I am talking about the 8.5 million people in Ontario. Does he know how to find out whether we have a good cultural policy in Ontario? He should just travel around a little bit. He should go into some of the local theatre groups. He should listen to some of the local musical groups. He should look at the classy, Ontario, home-grown talent that is out there, the number of art galleries, the growing number of theatres. He should look at the local museums, the number of heritage buildings and the kinds of letters I get from members all the time who find a bridge, a building or an old farm that they think qualifies for support. All of that is cultural. It is there. It is so real that we can hardly write the cheques to keep up with them.
Let me tell him one little thing. He might think that this is an unusual example for me to use. Let him think about this for half a second when we talk about the cultural muscle in Ontario. Does he remember the McMichael concerns of three or four months ago? Did the people care? Is there a member in this place who has not, at one time or another, for whatever reason, said publicly that he never got more phone calls in his life? That is the measure of the cultural policy in this province. People care about art, people care about dance, people care about theatre. Maybe some time when we find we have an hour off we might write up a cultural policy, and I will send it over to the member when we do.
The Half-Back program was mentioned in passing. I think it is probably the greatest single marketing concept I have ever heard of in my life. In the latter part of this year, we will announce a major new program. I would like to change the word: Full-Back is what I would like to call it, but that gets kind of complicated; and I am just an amateur advertising guy, as a lot of politicians are.
I think it is the single greatest marketing concept. It brings together what I was just talking about, the Canadian talent that is there in the fields of music, writing and dance, with a recognition that there are all kinds of small businesses out there -- indeed, large firms too -- that can give new focus to Canadian talent by doing that.
So there will be a program. I consider each of the three -- was it 1978, 1979 and 1981? -- where a total of six different products were marketed, to have been prudent experimentation. The numbers are all in, I think; it works. We will announce such a program later in the year, but I think it might take until the fall.
The member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) asked about the Ontario Lottery Corp. Yes, it is with the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz); Wintario and the other lotteries are with me. The Ministry of Tourism and Recreation raises the funds through the Ontario Lottery Corp., and we spend it; but, believe me, he gets a ton back. That is basically how it works. The rationale for this is that we had the Ontario grants administration people within the ministry, the good people whom the member for Riverdale had referred to; they were intact, and it stays there.
I have heard the member for Victoria-Haliburton speak in the past, and I noticed in the transcripts of the estimates of this ministry in other years that he has probably been the single biggest fan of the Wintario program, the way it is working and the good work it does in the smaller communities. I appreciate his support. He has spoken to me a number of times about it already. His recommendation that we take a look at the dollar allocation in each of the regions to make sure that the larger are not gaining from the smaller is a good recommendation, and we will take a look at it.
My last comment, if I may: The member for Riverdale said that the Human Rights Code, and I guess he means further the Ontario Human Rights Commission, might logically fit under the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture; he also said there were some historical reasons why it had been with the Ministry of Labour. I think he is disappointed that it was not stated in the bill, or certainly that it has not been announced, that the human rights commission would be under my ministry. This has been discussed at some length, and the discussions are still going on.
As I hear it, a very reasonable argument is being put forward by people that perhaps the human rights commission and the race relations commission might be with the Ministry of the Attorney General. This is being discussed now. The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and I have talked about it a number of times since the ministry change. The truth is that we have not yet had a chance to talk about it with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), but it is being considered.
I do not take anything away from the member for Riverdale’s observations as to where it might fit, but we are getting representations from people outside the government that it might fit most effectively into the Ministry of the Attorney General.
I have no further comments. I had said at the outset that we would entertain a motion to include an annual report, and if the member for Downsview is prepared to make that, we would be happy to oblige.
“(2) The minister after the close of each year shall submit to the Lieutenant Governor in Council an annual report upon the affairs of the ministry and shall then lay the report before the assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next ensuing session.”
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, there has been a slight change in the order for Monday. On Monday afternoon, we will be considering legislation but, rather than proceeding with Bill 41, An Act to establish the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, it has been agreed to start with Bill 38, An Act to establish the Ministry of Industry and Trade. When that bill is completed, we will carry on with Bill 41.