The House met at 1:30 p.m.
WRIT OF ELECTION
I know the Kingston General Hospital is a fine hospital, but this is truly a most bizarre situation that has arisen. The statements from both the minister and the minister's parliamentary assistant seem confused, to be polite about it. There seems to be no public reason given for this rather bizarre set of circumstances.
One cannot imagine why someone would be turned away from a hospital in Toronto and flown then to Kingston General Hospital. Are there problems in the downtown Toronto hospitals that we are not aware of? Are there problems in all the other fine hospitals in and around Metro, including the Oshawa General Hospital, that they cannot handle this?
It certainly does appear to reflect what the parents are quoted in the story as saying, that the hospital is open from Monday to Friday, but on weekends it is closed and the nearest available one is in Kingston. This is truly one of the most bizarre medical instances that I have seen as a member here. I anticipate we will get a statement today from the Minister of Health (Mrs. Caplan) with a full explanation of the circumstances surrounding this case.
It was right that the government got involved in setting up this innovative form of attraction 15 years ago, but it is also right that the government should be considering selling this losing facility to the private sector so the taxpayers will not have to continue pumping millions of dollars into it annually. I believe public funds were used wisely to establish Ontario Place, which served as a catalyst for waterfront development in Toronto and provided entertainment and recreation opportunities for visitors throughout Ontario and the United States. But attendance has steadily declined and that decline will probably worsen when the Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays move from Exhibition Stadium to the new domed stadium in 1989.
Ontario Place could be sold to the private sector for $100 million or more and the proceeds divided equally among 10 Ontario municipalities that could develop theme parks of their own to attract tourists and boost their local economies. The time is right to consider letting the private sector run Ontario Place. I think the minister should give that serious consideration.
Born in England to parents of Russian background, Mr. Marner emigrated to Canada in 1960. He trained as an architect and worked full-time at that occupation until 10 years ago when he devoted his full time to painting. Mr. Marner possessed the gift of being able to capture the essence of life in his works. As all great artists, he will indeed live on through the art he has left for all Canadians to enjoy, and future generations will come to know of his passion and generous spirit.
The legacy which he leaves for all of us reflects the spirit of this country. His paintings of Scarborough, downtown Toronto, rural Ontario, the east coast and the Arctic are examples of this legacy. He also painted in the West Indies, Mexico, the United States, Europe and China. The Chinese were so impressed with his art that they invited him to return for a three-month teaching term. One of his most celebrated works was a 1986 series on the street people of Toronto. He spent months in the hostels and on park benches to better capture the hopelessness and despair of those living in the streets.
In 1984, Mr. Marner earned the city of Scarborough civic award of merit for his striking style and emotional approach to art. He was a teacher at the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre and artist in residence at two Scarborough secondary schools. It is a privilege and an honour to have known him.
SHELTER FOR THE HOMELESS
What would make it an extremely good start for this new year would be to see the province of Ontario now officially say it will look for initiatives from church groups and service groups across Ontario, some of which may well have land but cannot afford to develop that land to provide housing for low-income groups, for single-parent families, for the homeless. It would be nice now to see the government of Ontario devise new programs which would, in effect, make all of those good intentions become reality as quickly as possible.
We are aware that around Ontario there are a number of church groups which do have facilities that, with some moneys from the government of Ontario, could be converted into providing decent housing. We know they have now clearly stated their public intention to try to do that. The missing link in all of this is to see the province do the role that a government ought to do, provide the financial incentive and the expertise to make this something that is really worth while and to do so on a large scale.
WORLD JUNIOR HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
Again, as I noted in my comments on the Isvestia championship last month, it is a time to consider how we think of ourselves and what other nations think about Canada as a nation. In so many areas, we are clearly the best in the world.
In the hockey tournament, we beat West Germany, we beat the Russians, we beat Czechoslovakia, we beat Sweden. We beat the Americans, and today we beat Poland 9-1 to win the world championship. Today these young Canadians have proven we are the best in the world, and this is only one example.
Many people have commented during the free trade debate about how we as Canadians view ourselves. Those who oppose this deal often portray Canada as an insignificant power. They say we cannot compete. Those who favour this deal, both inside and outside Canada, know we can be the best in the world in so many areas and that, in fact, we are the best in the world. This is how other nations view us in so many ways as well.
The members of my party offer hearty congratulations to our junior Canadians and share the pride that all Canadians feel today.
On a personal note, I want to put it on the record that the people of North Bay already knew our junior team was the best in the world. Coach Bert Templeton proved that last year. This year we brought home the gold.
Futures is a provincial employment subsidy program that helps integrate less-advantaged youth into the workforce. It allows young people with minimal qualifications to build work skills and experience. One assumption behind Futures is that the young in our society are particularly hard hit by the pace of technological and other change. Also, this is a group which can be scarred for life by the ravages of unemployment.
In essence, Futures is designed to permit young people to gain a foothold on the employment playing field, a playing field which, far from being level, is often tilted against them. This is a home-grown response to the problems of youth unemployment in Ontario, something we should be proud of. Far from being an unfair subsidy in some abstract concept of free trade, it is a small but effective move towards social justice, which also has the effect of making Ontario's workforce more competitive.
In the Peterborough area alone, Futures has already given more than 1,000 young people a boost towards productive careers. This is not a nontariff barrier. Better, it is a humane effort to keep Ontario competitive.
WORLD JUNIOR HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
PRA INTERNATIONAL INC.
PRA International Inc. has had an active involvement with the Ontario government dating back to 1979. In 1979, Photochemical Research Associates Inc., a predecessor company of PRA International Inc., was awarded a grant of $300,000 under the then employment development fund, but the company utilized only part of the funds. In 1980, the company was awarded an Ontario Development Corp. export support loan of $250,000. In 1981, Photochemical Research Associates Inc. received a grant of $300,000 under the employment development fund.
In October 1983, the company submitted its first application to IDEA Corp. IDEA rejected the application for commercial reasons. In September 1984, PRA made a new application to IDEA Corp., and IDEA reassessed its view of the company.
I would like to quote from the minutes of IDEA's management committee meeting of December 19 and 20, 1984:
"A senior IDEA official reported that this proposal of PRA International Inc. had been declined by IDEA in the past, but that since that time there had been a significant management turnaround and that the business was also starting to turn around. The management committee agreed to move the proposal of PRA International Inc. to priority review, possible investment."
The key decision that this company be given priority status for investment was made by IDEA in December 1984. IDEA Corp. took this decision in accordance with the mandate established by the previous government. This subsequently led to the actual investment of $1.5 million in October 1985.
In May 1985, the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt), then Minister of Industry and Trade, signed an agreement approving the new corporate structure and permitting the new company, PRA International Inc., to assume the obligations under the employment development fund grant agreement to which I have previously referred. Orville Parkes, president of PRA International Inc., also signed that agreement.
By early fall 1985, the company showed a small profit. In October 1985, IDEA Corp. approved an equity investment of $1.5 million. In December 1985, the Ontario Development Corp. authorized an increase of its export support loan to $500,000 from the previous line of $250,000. The export support loan was fully repaid in August 1987. As of today, the total outstanding debt to the Ontario government under the EDF program of $300,000 remains. The equity investment of $1.5 million is lost.
Members will recall that the Ontario Develop-ment Corp. assumed responsibility for the investment portfolio of IDEA Corp. on July 1, 1986. Since assuming responsibility, ODC has actively supervised the PRA investment. Within two weeks, a senior ODC staff official was nominated to PRA's board of directors. Other departments within ODC associated with the export support loan and EDF programs also tracked the company's progress, and all decisions regarding the government's investments in the company were made at the senior management level of ODC and were solely based on commercial considerations. Unfortunately, the commercial prospects of PRA International changed significantly in early 1986, and at the request of the company's directors, a major chartered bank appointed a receiver in May 1987.
I would like to inform the Legislature that the Premier (Mr. Peterson) received a letter dated April 16, 1987, from Mr. Parkes, who had been president of the reorganized company since October 1983. He requested $500,000 in financial assistance. The Premier routinely acknowledged this letter and referred the matter to the then Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, the member for Quinte (Mr. O'Neil), who referred it to ODC for consideration in view of ODC's responsibility for the IDEA portfolio. ODC declined to provide further assistance.
I will table today key correspondence and other related information on this transaction. I have also asked the Provincial Auditor to conduct a detailed review of the matter. Members will be aware that the auditor has access to all government files. Additionally, staff will be instructed to assist him in every way possible. The auditor will doubtless wish to consult with all officials involved as he conducts his review.
I recognize also the general concern members have about the entire IDEA matter. Accordingly, I am asking the auditor to conduct a complete review of the IDEA Corp. including the work being performed by Mr. Biddell and any relevant police information, to conduct interviews with all relevant officials and to identify any issues he thinks merit the attention of the House or its committees. Again, every single document in the government's possession will be made available to him and all relevant staff will be accessible to him at his convenience.
I have asked the Provincial Auditor to review this on a priority basis and to forward his full report to the Legislature as soon as possible.
PRA INTERNATIONAL INC.
If you look at the announcement made today by the minister, he says that the company has been in fact receiving government funds since 1979. The fact of the matter is that the majority of the funds that have been lost have been lost under this government and have in fact come after the announcement by the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) in October 1985 that IDEA Corp. would be phased down.
The minister later goes on to say that a letter dated April 16, 1987, from Mr. Parkes, who had been the president of the reorganized company, came to the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and that the Premier in turn sent it or referred it to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. Kwinter), who in turn then referred it to IDEA Corp.
One must ask, how incompetent can this government be that it announces very much earlier the doing away of the corporation, a corporation that the Premier himself said was a boondoggle and a loss to the taxpayers, and then refers requests for still more money after these announcements and after these policy decisions to wind down the corporation have been made?
If you look at what has been requested now of the auditor, there is a request that he look into the matter. It is fairly clear that the government has not had the courage to ask for a complete forensic audit by the auditor. If it had wanted to get to the bottom of this, it would have asked for a forensic audit that could have traced exactly where the money was spent, where it went.
Remember that this is the second of the two major companies that have lost money under this administration where there are very strong suspicions that some of the money, some of the assets, some of the software has disappeared outside the country. Surely the minister should have the courage to ask for a complete forensic audit that could be reported back to the Legislature, so that we could get at the bottom of this kind of waste and squandering of the taxpayers' money.
This is not the problem of the previous government, it is the problem of this government, a government that said IDEA Corp. is finished and that did not have the management skills either to convey or to enforce on its crown corporation its intention, which was announced by the Treasurer.
We have had yet another corporation that has gone down the drain-$1.5 million. That amounts to almost $10 million on three corporations alone under this government, three corporations loaned $10 million that has been lost under this government's direction after it announced that it would stop this kind of nonsense. I say disgrace on them.
Specifically relating to the minister's statement, I would like to call the attention of the House to one of the dates, October 1983, when IDEA Corp. rejected the application of the restructured company for further funding from IDEA Corp. It was within a year and a half after this that the additional funds were granted to IDEA Corp. by the new government.
In the minister's chronological order of events as they relate to this company, he slipped in a comment with respect to a former Minister of Industry and Trade -- namely, myself -- and he elicited a fair amount of support and applause from the members opposite as it relates to my involvement with this particular firm. I think I should call the attention of the House to the fact that at that particular time the minister's involvement was simply to approve of the restructuring of the company, not to grant additional money to that particular firm.
It is also interesting to note that virtually every sum of money that was granted to that company from 1979 to 1983, virtually all of those moneys, was recovered. The amount outstanding -- namely, the $1.5 million that we brought to the attention of this House -- took place under the approval of and under the term of the current government and had nothing to do with IDEA Corp. in its previous administration.
What is interesting about the minister's release today is the items that he has left out of the report, which are also relevant to the granting of the $1.5 million. As an example, he has made no mention whatever of the fact that this company, just prior to the granting of this $1.5 million, was fined some $25,000 for having inappropriate business activities with the Soviet Union at that particular time. In addition, he has not mentioned the fact that one of the key scientists, who was literally the pillar upon which this company was being constructed, rather unexpectedly died during that same time frame and that changed the nature and the direction and the strength of that company very significantly, since he was probably the leading edge of the technology that was being developed by that firm at that particular time.
Where the minister indicates that in 1983 there was a somewhat better attitude, if you will, towards IDEA and that the company had restructured and improved itself, it would appear that there were reasons to believe the company had also slipped back considerably.
I will have some additional comments to make with respect to this item in questions that I want to raise directly with the minister and with the Premier a little further on in question period, but I want to say by way of closing that an auditor's report as it relates to IDEA Corp. and this deal specifically, after all the time that has passed now related to Wyda Systems, related to Graham Software and related now to the corporation under question here in the House, is simply not acceptable to the members of the opposition.
We are looking for far more than some auditor's report which will not get into the relevant details as to what went on, how these moneys were in fact forwarded to these respective companies, and how IDEA Corp. got into the mess that it is in today, of some $20 million in moneys unpaid back to the government.
PRA INTERNATIONAL INC.
Today the government announced that it will ask the Provincial Auditor to look into this. Will the Premier do what his government refused to do in the case of Wyda, when the auditor wrote to him and asked for a forensic audit, and use his powers under the Audit Act to request a complete forensic audit under the supervision of the Provincial Auditor so that we can find out where the moneys were spent and, in the case of PRA International, where the money is now and how much may still be left in Canada?
The Provincial Auditor is a servant of this House and will be reporting to the honourable member as well as to me. If my honourable friend has specific things that he thinks the auditor should be looking at, if he wants to write him or convey to him his ideas of things he would like him to look at, I am sure he would take that into account. I think that would be most helpful. I agree with my honourable friend that every single fact should come out through this servant of the Legislature.
I understand that what happened -- and I am not trying to defend this, because I say to my honourable friend in all candour that in retrospect I wish we had chopped it the very first day -- was that there was certain work in process, as I understand it. For example, this particular PRA International situation was work in process, as my colleague the minister has pointed out to the member. There were certain things going on, certain work being done, just as today, for example, we still have certain assets of the IDEA Corp. under administration, trying to salvage those assets. IDEA has been wound up. It is in the hands of the Ontario Development Corp., which has been audited. We are trying to do the best we can with the circumstances, but I think the operating principle at the time was that work in process, those files that had been taken into account and were being worked on, were going to be worked out to their logical conclusion.
The sense was -- again, judgement will be passed on this -- that it would be unfair just to chop it absolutely without winding down the corporation in an orderly way. It was in that period, I think my honourable friend would agree, that some investments were made that obviously, in retrospect, were not wise investments; but as I understand it, no new responsibilities were taken on, no new work was taken on in that period, it was just winding down the portfolio it had at the time.
That would seem to be the most commercially viable and indeed fair way to conduct the affairs of IDEA Corp. while it was undergoing that review. We came to the conclusion at the end of the review that it should be wound up, and that is exactly --
TRADE WITH UNITED STATES
In light of the fact that the signing has now taken place, and in light of the fact that this House has been tied up in debate for some number of weeks now on a resolution which some of us feel was inappropriate in the sense that it was brought forward at the 11th hour and brought forward in a manner we find somewhat out of sorts with the way in which this House conducts its business, would the Premier now withhold this resolution until the standing committee on finance and economic affairs has had an opportunity to discuss the entire free trade agreement and reports back to the House with its findings?
My honourable friend would argue that we brought forward the resolution at the 11th hour. The reality is that the free trade agreement was brought forward at the 11th hour. My friend was quite prepared to stand up and support it even prior to seeing the agreement on December 11, but he was prepared to stand up and extol its virtues and indeed prepared to give it his unequivocal support, even though he did not know what was in it, which is fine.
But then, I say to my honourable friend, as soon as we had that agreement we introduced a resolution in the House and started the debate. I believe it was fair for the Prime Minister and others to know the Ontario government's position on this matter. We have conveyed the government's opinion, but I think it is important as well to convey the Legislature's opinion. There are lots of people who are concerned about this debate who will be reading the contributions of the various members, his party included, and who will want to know how he feels about this situation. I think they have every right to so do.
We have started this debate as we said we would do. We have also allowed the committee to investigate it even further. This is a major issue, as my honourable friend knows, and I think it deserves a lot of attention. We on this side of the House look forward again to the thoughtful contributions made by him and the members of his party, as well as by all members of this Legislature.
Let me just remind the Premier that now we do not have six and three quarter premiers, as he has stated so often in this House, in favour of a free trade agreement. We now in fact have seven tall premiers, all full-size premiers, all elected appropriately in their respective provinces. As a matter of interest to him in his former profession, we also have 70 per cent of the lawyers in this country who have now indicated that they support a free trade agreement --
I say to my honourable friend that I do not think this government can ever want to be guided by lawyers, whether it is a majority or not. I understand that my colleague the Premier of Nova Scotia came the other quarter of the way a couple of days ago and is now fully supportive. There are no surprises in that to me. I guess where I disagree with my honourable friend opposite -- he is now into taking polls on this matter or taking head counts on this matter -- is that I do not believe --
Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, why we on this side of the House have some difficulty in accepting the Premier's position. He has consistently promised us that he will provide us with the government's reports, the data, the information that he has garnered as a result of his studies, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology and other ministries of the government, that are relevant to the free trade deal.
Since he has not provided us with that information, would he in fact table that information as soon as possible -- hopefully, this week? I would imagine he has had an opportunity to peruse it and he has based his decision upon the relevant data that his ministries have been able to provide. Will he make that information available to all members of this House by tabling it so that the standing committee on finance and economic affairs can study the matter in detail and it in turn can refer its decision and its position on this matter to the House, at which time we can then make an intelligent decision and vote on the matter? The next relevant date is June of this year.
The Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) and the minister have shared information. There is all sorts of information that has been shared with the member. I do not think my friend should get the impression that any secret information is being suppressed in this matter. We are sharing these things with him and are happy to do so. If my friend feels intellectually inadequate because he is not privy to certain kinds of things, I will arrange for briefings with him any time he would like from the relevant officials, or I will even give him one myself if he would so like.
I am sure that if the member sat down and studied the information and listened to some people who have been immersed in this deal as I have for the last couple of years, he would stand up and publicly recant and apologize for taking the position that he has.
PRA INTERNATIONAL INC.
In response to my question last week, the Premier indicated that he did not know PRA, nor did he know Mr. Parkes. I accept that as the sort of passing contact we all make in politics, even though Mr. Parkes has subsequently indicated that he was a neighbour of the Premier, that he knew the Premier very well, that he knew the Solicitor General (Mrs. Smith) and that he in fact worked for the husband of the Solicitor General. I accept all that. I am not suggesting to the Premier that there were any improprieties as a result of his having some casual relationship with Mr. Parkes.
However, having said that, I want to ask the Premier why, after some five months in office and after the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) of his government indicated that he was winding down IDEA Corp., his government would proceed with a $1.5-million loan to this particular firm when he had already made it very clear that he was no longer going to keep the operation of IDEA Corp. as a viable entity of the provincial government? Why would he do that?
I say to my friend that the government did not approve of that $1.5-million loan. It came from IDEA Corp., I believe in October 1985. IDEA Corp., as created by that member's government, was independent. My honourable friend, as a former minister of the crown, will understand that it did not require cabinet approval, it did not go through the committees, there was no referral to me or to any other minister that I am aware of, or to any other bureaucrat that I am aware of. It was handled completely by IDEA Corp. -- that member's appointments, not our appointments. So one of the things that the Provincial Auditor will want to do is to find out from Ian Macdonald, Mr. Blakley and other members of the IDEA board who made this decision, on the basis of an updating, I gather, in the quality of their assessment of that situation prior to our taking office, why they made that decision.
Obviously, in retrospect, it was not a very good decision, but we will want to know the answer to this. I can say to my honourable friend that if there is any suggestion he would want to make -- and I am sure it is unwitting if he were doing so -- that anyone was involved in any political way, it is completely, 100 per cent false.
However, what does disturb us, and disturbs us very greatly, is the fact that we have a number of corporations that are already under the review of the government through the Ontario Provincial Police investigations that have gone on for well in excess of a year now. We have Wyda Systems Inc., we have Graham Software and now we have another corporation in London which has a loan that was made that has not been repaid, assets that have been disbursed to various banks and also to the United States. We want to get to the bottom of what this is all about.
Since the Premier indicated some time ago, and I quote him directly, "The important thing is to move expeditiously and immediately," surely well in excess of a year after he made that statement is not moving expeditiously. Will he now move to a judicial inquiry of this entire matter through IDEA Corp. and get to the bottom of what happened with respect to Wyda, Graham Software and now the new corporation in London?
There were mistakes made. I hope we can at least salvage what we possibly can out of them. I tell my honourable friend that a lot of those assets have been turned over to the Ontario Development Corp. As the minister has said, there is a set-aside for bad loans, and I think the member said a few days ago when he originally raised the question that he understands mistakes being made in the high-technology business.
Some of the assets, they believe at the current time, can be salvaged, but there is a reserve for certain bad debts if they cannot be salvaged, according to prudent ways. We have a feeling now that under the Ontario Development Corp., Mr. MacKinnon, it is in competent hands and those investments are being monitored. As a matter of fact, as I understand it the auditor has looked at the administration of the IDEA assets through the ODC and has come to the conclusion that it is doing the best it can possibly do, but we will revisit all of those questions.
I think all aspects should be looked at expeditiously and objectively. If mistakes are made, then prices have to be paid -- there is no question about that -- but let all the facts come out. I think our approach to this is the most prudent one and the most expeditious in the circumstances.
Since most of the deals that have gone sour to this point in time -- Wyda, Graham Software, and now the PRA International in London -- since all of those firms have now gone bankrupt and the assets have been lost to the government of Ontario, the three corporations I have mentioned alone being in excess of $10 million, will the Premier now submit this whole matter to a judicial inquiry, since that is the only way the members of the opposition and others can have some input into the relevant details as to what went wrong with this particular deal?
I say to my honourable friend in all candour, I wish we had axed the thing the day we came in. This has turned out to be a profound embarrassment to all of us in this House, including the people who created the IDEA Corp.
I am sure my honourable friend would want to be helpful, and if he has information in this matter, particularly as a former minister, or leads that the Provincial Auditor should pursue, he would want to refer that.
In response to the question from my friend the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale (Mr. Philip), I think the Provincial Auditor should have whatever advice he needs, independent of government, to get to the bottom of this situation. I think we can do that expeditiously, have all the facts there, and then people can form their judgements on what went wrong.
FIRESTONE CANADA INC.
On December 23, Mr. Lavelle called Charlie Scime, the president of the local, demanding acceptance within half an hour of the company's terms of ignoring seniority and hiring non-Firestone workers. The union, which was never involved in the negotiations, was prepared to make major concessions to allow renegotiation of the contract and to go through the seniority list and decide who could do the jobs. However, the minister's deputy left no time for the company and the union to come to an agreement.
Is it not true that his deputy minister held a smoking gun to the head of the union and that if the union had been involved in these talks from the beginning, there might have been a better chance of reaching an agreement and saving that plant?
I am sure members will know and will want to know that tomorrow morning I am going to Findlay, Ohio, to meet with Cooper to find out what really did happen.
I suggest it is not contributing to the resolution of this problem to be pointing fingers and saying it is their fault or someone else's fault. No one has said whose fault it is, and we are trying to salvage what is a very difficult situation for the people in Hamilton. I can tell the member that the main thrust of this government is to try to protect those jobs.
This government has not got a strategy for economic development in protecting jobs in this province and we have not got legislation that requires plant closure justification information which might have allowed a better opportunity for all parties to take a look at this particular situation, find out whether there were any other options, including entrepreneurs who might be interested or an employee buyout. That was not possible.
Is the minister now prepared to tell this House that he will proceed with plant closure justification legislation that he did make a commitment to during the period of the accord in this House?
I am sure that in the fullness of time the Minister of Labour (Mr. Sorbara) will bring forward his legislation. I again want to reassure the member that we are doing whatever we can to help those workers, particularly in Hamilton, with various programs that they are participating in. It is this government's commitment to do what we can for them.
TRADE WITH UNITED STATES
Last week, in reading Hansard, I see that the minister expressed his concern and acknowledged that there were environmental implications in the deal. This is somewhat at variance with the statement of his federal counterpart, Mr. McMillan, who has said that the pact is simply a trade agreement that does not really concern environmental matters. On the other hand, the federal Minister of Energy has said that in terms of environmental protection, Canada's interests are fully safeguarded.
In the light of these contradictory statements at the federal level and of the concern that the minister has expressed here in Ontario, can the minister tell the House what studies he has initiated on the impact of the Mulroney-Reagan trade deal on Ontario's environmental laws and, if there are such studies being done, when they will be tabled in this House?
I have gathered information over some period of time and I am at present gathering from my ministry officials -- l have not commissioned a consultant's report or anything -- the kind of information that the member, I think appropriately, would like to have available; that is, indicating what the differences are and what kind of pressures we might face.
The member knows that we are implementing a new air pollution regulation, a new water pollution regulation, and that particularly the multinational companies but also other companies are going to want to come to Ontario and to other provinces and the federal government and say: "There are no more tariff barriers left when this free trade agreement is implemented and, therefore, we have to compete head to head with these companies. We do not believe you should move as quickly or as comprehensively."
As soon as I have compiled all this information, I will be happy to share it with the member and with all members of the House through the estimates process and I think, more important, before that.
We have had statements from the government on the implications of free trade on a number of sectors of the economy. Surely the environment warrants a specific study and a specific time frame within which it can be tabled in this House so that we will know, in fact, what the implications of this deal are for such regulations as are being devised under the municipal-industrial strategy for abatement or as are being discussed under the green paper on regulation 308 on air pollution. The minister says quite grandly that we have tougher regulations than anywhere in the United States. We have not, in fact, effective regulations for the control of water or the control of air pollution, and my concern is precisely as the minister has said, that when we do get those regulations they will not be strong enough.
I want to indicate to the member as well -- and she would agree with me on this. I am sure that environmental groups are playing a very important role in this particular debate, because they have provided information to me and to the public at large and, I am sure, to the federal government on what they believe to be the downsides of a free trade agreement which would place our industries in direct competition with United States industries.
In regard to the rules and regulations we have, I find it interesting from time to time that we have in the United States people who will talk about their good rules and regulations, but they always seem to have worse problems than we have in Ontario. I think that is because we, through the efforts of all members of this House, have put in place some good mechanisms for dealing with our environmental problems, and with the resources provided by the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) to the Ministry of the Environment we have been able to implement those.
What the people of this province want to know is, what is the Minister of the Environment going to do to maintain our procedures in this province, to maintain our right to adopt the highest and best environmental standards, regardless of the free trade deal? That is what we want to know, and that is what we are not hearing from the minister.
As for the federal government and its particular concerns, I cannot speak for the federal government and what it might do according to the competition it may get from the United States, but I want to tell the member that as far as I am concerned, the free trade agreement is not going to affect my outlook on the implementation of any of our programs. But when there is a tribunal set up --and this is one of the problems where we did not have the details of this for a number of months --or when the two countries start implementing the free trade agreement, if they start saying, for instance, that the federal-provincial program which assists smelters in meeting their obligations as they relate to acid rain or any other program we might have provincially which could be seen in any indirect way as a subsidy is in fact a subsidy, then that becomes a major incident between the United States and Canada. Those are the kinds of concerns I have had.
I expressed those as early as August of this year at a special meeting of the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers here in Toronto. I made a speech which was not very popular at that time because it was --
Now we have a firm in London turned down by IDEA, then a letter to the Premier in his home town referred to the former Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, then to the IDEA Corp., and then it got the money, the $1.5 million we lost.
I accept what the Premier says --
The Premier can help clear that up by releasing the Biddell report, which he says he virtually finished last February. In June we were told it was only temporary, and on top of all that the appearance is that the government has been covering up this Biddell report for almost a year now. When are we going to see that report that might shed some light on this?
The facts that the member recited are 100 per cent wrong, so let me give him the proper facts. When he understands the reality, then he will have a different perception.
The letter I received from Mr. Parkes was a year or two after he got the money from IDEA Corp. He sent a letter to me asking for another $500,000. In the normal course of events, I referred that to the minister, who did not refer it to IDEA Corp. but to the Ontario Development Corp., in whose hands it then was. The member has been wrong, as he put the question, in about three facts.
As the member can see, when responsible legislators like himself stand not knowing the facts, giving a wrong impression about reality, how can we expect other people, who are not as familiar and do not have the same high standards of integrity and truthfulness expected of them, to form the proper impression? My honourable friend may want to stand up in the House and say that his facts are wrong, and therefore the impression he is trying to thereby create is wrong as well.
I do not understand why the Premier continues to cover up, for over a year, the Biddell report. Surely that will help shed some light on this company. Biddell was commissioned to do a report, after two of these companies with Liberal connections failed and got money when the Premier took over, to look at the rest of the companies. One of them, presumably, was the company we are dealing with today. Surely there must be some information in there that will shed some light on this.
Second, the Premier talks about wanting the Provincial Auditor working on it. The difference between what the Premier wants and what we want is that we want it all out in the public. The Premier says there are some connections back to our party; our party set it up. Fine; let the public have at it. Why will the Premier not release the Biddell report and why will he not have a judicial inquiry?
When he stands up and says "perceived" this and "perceived" that, we have an expectation of a much higher degree of perception from members of this House who promiscuously throw accusations across this floor. I understand opposition as well, and I understand the difference between perception and reality, but I also understand the standards expected of members of this House.
The Biddell report, which is in the process of being done, as my honourable friend knows -- some has been completed, some is still being worked on -- will all be referred to the Provincial Auditor, and he will be in a position to make everything public that is appropriate in the circumstances. Surely at least the member has faith in the Provincial Auditor.
The government leaked its intention to provide some kind of affordable housing for single persons to the Toronto Star in early December. It even went so far as to leak it to the Toronto Sun in mid-December. We have not yet heard what the minister's program will be to provide affordable housing for people who are single. Did this good intention get scuttled in cabinet, or when may we expect an announcement of a new program for affordable housing for persons who are single?
As to the question of low-income singles, I am glad to be able to confirm for the member that our announcement of initiatives for homeless people will in fact benefit low-income singles through matching funds for permanent housing and through various solutions that we expect to be developed by the committees that are going to be working in the various communities and the various community groups that now work with homeless people. Those solutions will be available to low-income singles as well.
Let me just quote to the minister and get her response to this. In the Toronto Sun, the document of record, a story written by Lorrie Goldstein on December 17 says:
"And there's a major change in government policy on the homeless. Low-income single people, the most frequent users of hostels, will become eligible for assisted government housing."
That is pretty straightforward and pretty clear. He must have got the information from somebody in the ministry. When will we see that program?
Last week, I asked the Premier what his government was doing to meet the retraining and relocation needs of Firestone employees. He said at that time, and I quote Hansard: "If he would like me to read the long list of things we have been doing, I would be happy to do that, but it might embarrass my friend to realize that we are way ahead of him in this particular regard."
I checked with his ministries of Labour and Skills Development, and we have determined that the specific programs targeted to help Firestone workers are confined to two: one program is a counselling service to help unemployed workers start a small business, the other is a resumé writing service at Mohawk College. The government's financial contribution is limited to a $1,000 contribution to the federal industrial adjustment service, yet to date the feds have contributed over $500,000.
The Premier was willing to commit $30 million of interest-free loans to an American corporation. He was willing to give this money to them without even sitting at the negotiating table to see where it was going. Will he not use some of this money now to specifically target and help retrain some of the 1,300 unemployed workers at Firestone?
If my friend is asking me to make a connection between the $30 million and the assistance to workers, I am not sure that is appropriate in the circumstances. However, I assure my honourable friend, being given this very troublesome situation, we will do everything we can with the workers using existing programs, and other ones if necessary, to try to retrain them and relocate them as best we possibly can.
To date, according to his own minister's response to an Orders and Notices question, he has spent $62,000 on Transitions programs in all of Ontario. He is training 23 people in the whole province of Ontario and the federal government has 75 Firestone workers alone training at Mohawk College.
The election is over, the member won her seat but the Premier has not kept his promise. When will he start spending the necessary dollars to keep retraining commitments to older, unemployed workers, such as the Firestone workers? He made the election promise to spend the money and now he will not.
When we have a program, a budgetary allocation is made. We are prepared to sign up to the amount of the budgetary allocation, depending on the uptake of the program. It is a program that is relevant in this particular circumstance, and obviously one does not spend it before there is a demonstrated need, but it is there and the uptake is ready for the workers as deemed necessary.
I hope the member would know that we have embarked upon a long-term capital improvement program. The Barrie Jail construction is under way right now, and I hope to be able to announce in about three or four weeks that the initial construction has been completed.
As far as the long term is concerned, I am also making sure that the Barrie facility is high on the priority list of further capital improvements because I do share the concerns of the member.
PRA INTERNATIONAL INC.
My further supplementary to that is: Is it not fair to say that the Biddell report, which Mr. Biddell told the standing committee on public accounts was finished in February, would in fact, under its term of reference, have dealt with the specific matter? If so, why will the Premier not release it to the Legislature so that we can all see exactly what happened to that money?
As far as I know, the details of the specific loan applications were not dealt with by Mr. Kruger. He was doing an overall review of the general policy implications.
If my honourable friend has concerns, and he may well have a legitimate concern, I would recommend that he get in touch with the Provincial Auditor and ask him to investigate that particular aspect of it. I am sure all those facts will be made available to him and to all members of the House.
EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBER
As the member has suggested, we are looking into the possibility of expanding the 911 service; indeed, efforts are already being made to expand it. There is one person on staff who is working particularly on this issue of expanding this service. It is an expensive service. Where it does not exist, the 5500 number does exist.
The important thing is that when you make a call it get to the proper police who are closest at hand at the right time, so this is a very mechanical system. At this time we take advantage of the best machinery available to get the person who calls to the closest police car.
While there may be different emergency service numbers, the whole purpose of 911 is to have one number province-wide to provide emergency response service in the least amount of time possible. In the last few months the lives of several residents in Ontario have been lost, as a result of lack of response time, by using 911 when it was not available in their area of the province.
The Solicitor General could make the commitment here today to the people of Ontario that she will take steps to ensure that the 911 service is made available to every single community and person in Ontario. Would she not agree that a very good place to start would be by implementing it province-wide for the OPP, the police force that comes under her jurisdiction, the provincial police force? Would she make that commitment today?
What will be done is to continue our efforts to make everybody aware of the proper call to make in an emergency and to make sure that the response they get is as immediate as is possible in their particular locality.
SHELTER FOR THE HOMELESS
Many university and community college students, who either by choice or by necessity live off campus, lease accommodations for a 12-month period. Since the school year, university or community college, is roughly about eight months, there are four months left of leasable time throughout this province in the various areas where we have universities and community colleges.
I would ask the minister if any consideration has been given, either by herself or by any of her colleagues, to the use of this leasable space as temporary housing.
Our concern about people who do not have accommodation is providing permanent accommodation, and that is the reason we have made the announcements we have made about providing permanent accommodation for homeless people. It is also the reason we will be announcing later in the month the 6,700 allocations to the nonprofit groups that will be building permanent accommodation.
ANSWER TO QUESTION IN ORDERS AND NOTICES
ORDERS OF THE DAY
TRADE WITH UNITED STATES (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to government motion 8 on the proposed trade agreement between Canada and the United States.
My comments have to do with the cultural implications of the free trade agreement. What I have to say is with particular regard to an old maxim which I have been unable to trace, but it has such distilled wisdom it must be Irish. It says very simply, "Let me write a nation's songs and I care not who writes its laws."
President Reagan stated recently, "The free trade agreement constitutes a new economic constitution for North America." William Randolph Hearst Jr., editor-in-chief of the Hearst newspapers, has written: "The momentous move toward uniting the two countries economically is very gratifying for me. For more than a decade my father urged in his newspapers that Canada become part of the United States."
Premier Peter Lougheed, co-chairman of the Canadian Alliance for Trade and Job Opportunities, stated: "Let's not...talk about culture; we've heard all about that....Let's look at the merits of the deal and what it will do for the economy." When Mr. Lougheed and others on his side deal with the cultural implications of free trade, I would respectfully suggest that they are attempting to deal with something beyond their intellectual depth and are blissfully unaware, ignorant and indifferent to the cultural implications of what he and his colleagues are up to.
In 1983, Brian Mulroney stated: "Free trade affects Canadian sovereignty and we will have none of it, not during leadership campaigns nor at any other time." Perhaps the most telling of all is the recent reaction of Mrs. Pat Carney to the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, who endorse the United Auto Workers' advertisement opposing free trade for its cultural and economic implications. She stated, "There is a lot of danger in a church group lining up with the opposition parties on economic issues." She is reported to have stated that she might even launch an inquiry to determine whether the automobile workers' statement fits into the category of misleading advertising. Actually, she threatened this.
Liberal House leader Herb Gray has commented, "The free trade issue is bigger than the Constitution, bigger than the national energy program, bigger than the National Transportation Act -- even the Confederation debate. For the free trade deal in fact constitutes a large and probably irreversible step into the American embrace."
I do not understand the full scope and implications of the deal, having read it and having focused on article 2005 that has to do with the cultural industries and the qualifying articles 401, 1607, 2006 and 2007. But then I feel that I am in good company with the Canadian people and with other observers more qualified than I.
My contribution to this debate is based upon some studies of the notion of culture over 35 or 40 academic years, with the good guidance of people such as Thomas Carlyle and Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, R. H. Tawney, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, John Courtney Murray, Northrop Frye, L. A. Cormican, Sir Richard Livingston, and the king's treasures they passed on.
These names are not as well known perhaps as the newspaper editors and columnists who were cited by my honourable colleague the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr. Runciman) last year. Proponents of free trade preoccupied exclusively with the economic implications would doubtless look down their noses at such authorities, but I respectfully remind them that their noses have a peculiar 20th-century length.
But of all the influences, I think I am indebted most of all to my parents, people who served this country more effectively than I could and who loved it much more unequivocally, and my children; also to those many people whose love of this country, and sacrifice and service, took the idea of culture out of the abstract and who imparted a sense of pride, a love for Canada, a desire to pass on something of value to our children. They have contributed most of all, ordinary people who served our country well, who loved it, and some of my buddies who died for it. But they were a type of so many ordinary Canadians today who feel deeply about our country, about the cultural effects of the proposed economic union with the United States which free trade will bring about.
Culture is sometimes limited, in error, by its reference to a kind of intellectual elite, the highest level of cultivated intelligence. This presentation will impose no such narrow limit. Canadian culture refers to the whole pattern of life and thought in Canadian society. It is the embodiment and reflection of Canadian cultural identity in social institutions and patterns of life, thought and behaviour.
Our culture is reflected externally in the arts and sciences, religions, systems of technology, political practices, social institutions and programs, and even in the small intimate habits of daily life which reflect, however subtly, distinctive Canadian concepts, attitudes and interests which go to make up our cultural inheritance.
Culture is not only about the arts. It is about the way people live, the atmosphere in which they imagine and express themselves. From this aspect, Canadian culture is something ingrained in the hearts and minds of Canadian people, a product of history, race, environment. It is a matter of the heart rather than the head, of emotion. Love of country is an emotion, and so is greed.
We share a country which has inherited the visionary vision of our forbears, a patrimony passed on by our Fathers of Confederation, who made an act of faith without parallel in modern times and acted heroically to build a nation, to make economically viable a political union with little capital and industry, to link together the people of this country into a nation; and they undertook that project in the face of obstacles which, in retrospect, make their ambitions seem almost an impertinence: men of courage and vision, the courage of farmers and explorers facing a harsh landscape, not the courage of businessmen speaking the language of the American marketplace.
In fact, our Fathers of Confederation gave a good example with regard to free trade. In 1878, Sir John A. Macdonald won an election on the issue of the national tariff policy, and he stated, "You cannot get anything by kissing the feet of the people of the United States." The Conservative Party has reneged upon the visionary zeal of Sir John A.
Then again, in 1911, the Liberal free trade deal with the United States was decided in an election. Sir Wilfrid Laurier put the issue to the Canadian people: "The issue, my fellow countrymen, is in your hands and to your decision His Majesty's government in Canada is well content to leave it." The decision of the voters was against free trade.
Canadian cultural identity is something about which Canadian people continue to have strong feelings and which they have not yet been given the opportunity to express, because they have not really been asked the proper questions.
In keeping with precedent, it would be contrary not only to our constitutional tradition but to the very principles of democracy for any government to change our society so fundamentally without first receiving a clear mandate from the people, an election where all politicians of all parties will put their jobs on the line. Mr. Mulroney has no such mandate.
The Tories have nearly 12 months before the proposed agreement comes into effect in January 1989. Because party policies on free trade are so diametrically opposed, an election would be a good way to gauge public will. Elections on such matters are clearly a part of Canadian history, a kind of constitutional tradition. The free trade issue of this moment must be seen in the light of the past, in the perspective of history past and as it may unfold.
Those who would endorse free trade most vigorously, without reservations, are reminiscent of Thomas Babington Macaulay, who, in the Victorian age, personified the smug, self-satisfied complacency of his time with his trust in the self-sufficiency of material progress alone, his inability to see the developments of the present in the light of the future. Men such as Carlyle and Ruskin, Newman and Arnold were men of vision. They were concerned with progress and reform in terms of other than material things and they reprobated Macaulay's complacency and trust in machinery, mechanical and political.
On Macaulay, Carlyle passed the severest verdict, simply, "He had no vision." And so it might be said of those who would rush into free trade in the light of immediate economic effects alone. In this debate thus far attention has been focused on the ideas of a few and those preoccupied with the economic dimensions of free trade:
A Prime Minister without vision, whose formative years were spent as an American branch plant manager; a negotiator, a man I have known for 30 years, better known for his flamboyance, abrasiveness and financial acumen than for his vision which does not go beyond the economic, a man proud of his humility, who says, "I am proud the Prime Minister reached out and picked the best man for the job"; a Minister of Finance with the kind of cultural insensitivity and vision which Bay Street engenders; a chairman of the royal commission on the economy, Donald Macdonald, who reprimands opponents to free trade in terms that I remember from the Harvard Business School, terms of the American marketplace when he says, "I don't see Canada as a sort of sheltered workshop for the inefficient, the incompetent or the less than capable."
Others are limited to provincial views or reflect as much insensitivity to the issue of Canadian culture as they do for the problem of acid rain. This is to be lamented. Free trade does not deal merely with a tax hike or highways or cheaper American wine or used cars or duty free shopping in the United States.
Free trade is not, all of one piece, economic. In fact, it is entirely a question of culture, a matter of the kind of society we will pass on that is comprehensive, encompassing the ownership of our resources, the right to manage our economy, trade, regional development, social programs and cultural industries, to be master of our own house, a house in which our historical development, east-west, would be diverted.
This has to do with our cultural identity, our control of the areas and issues which go to make up Canada's identity so as to enhance and preserve it, our vision of society and the responsibility and the right to pass on something of value to our children and to theirs, for surely we do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
Those in the foreground of this debate thus far would appear to be oblivious to the cultural implications. This is to be expected, for the creative insights into the heart of this cultural matter are in fact most powerful where they are least recorded and most difficult to observe and most ignored by the media from day to day: in the minds of everyday people and in the traditions of working Canadians. Polls in this regard have been notoriously misleading. The operative word in, "Are you in favour of free trade?" is "free" and responses are predictable, as they would be if the question were with regard to lunch or speech.
It is significant in Maclean's magazine of today, in the Decima Research used by Mr. Mulroney, that if we look back over the last three years, in 1985 when people were asked, "Do you think free trade is a good step?" 75 five per cent said yes; in 1986, 67 per cent; in 1987, 49 per cent. Conversely, when they were asked, "Do you think free trade is a bad step?" in 1985, 22 per cent; in 1986, 30 per cent; in 1987, doubling that of 1985, 44 per cent. In other words, the leadership of this government is not out of directive in response to polls. Our leader is leading the polls.
What if we asked the Canadian people, "Are you in favour of giving up those things which have developed as reflections of Canadian culture and identity?" -- things that enter the daily lives of most Canadians: health insurance, unemployment benefits, regional subsidies, magazines and periodicals, recorded music, subsidies for the arts, autonomy in foreign affairs, our ability to behave independently in the world and visibility in the arts and entertainment. Given to understand what the real issues are, the Canadian people will not be lured by the false profits promised by false prophets.
Canadian culture is reflected in many ways. We have a country bilingual and bicultural, with due respect for the distinctive language and culture of our two founding peoples, a country with a heritage British and French, where the rights of multicultural minorities are denied along with the corresponding duty to recognize these rights. This is contrary to the American melting pot approach: to reduce cultural identities to the lowest common denominator.
We have a country with social programs with respect to medical services, regional subsidies and social assistance, all of which reflect a people humane. These programs will be vulnerable to challenge under the US trade law as unfair subsidies.
We have a country where forces have been set in place to unify: the CBC, the Canada Council, national theatres and countless regional bodies. As a result, Canadian people have a sense of history, tradition and identity and are striving to maintain it. It is paradoxical that, in some ways, those Canadians but lately arrived tend frequently to be more sensitively appreciative of that distinctive character. I have learned so much from my Italian friends in this regard.
We have a country different from the United States, with a quality of life envied around the world. This is not only a descriptive statement; it is a qualitative judgement.
We have a country which, in its present state, is a product of our forbears, men of vision, with a vision of a caring and decent and fair-minded society, and we have practical programs to reflect this: medicare to ensure that all are provided with a basic health and decency standard of medical care and social programs which care for the needs of the elderly, the needy and the homeless.
We have a society caring and compassionate, with feelings of mutual responsibility for one another, with recognition of the fact that the rights of all are diminished if the rights of any one are infringed. Our multicultural environment is flourishing. Our cities are vibrant and healthy and safe. We live in security and we are continuing to build on the visionary foundation of our forbears.
This view of Canada is not mere self-satisfied, complacent chauvinism by a few who would look for the excuses to be negative, who are "dominated by fear and weak of will," as Mr. Wilson alleges, as he speaks at us in terms of the American marketplace. Nor is it based on a conservative, inward-looking, outmoded, status quo vision of the world by some few who would maintain, as Mr. Reisman says, "a small Canada, a protected Canada," for we do not have a perfect society. Too many are poor and homeless and in many other ways the fallout victims of impersonal economic laws beyond our control.
But there are mutual feelings of concern which transcend political differences. No one of our parties can lay exclusive claims to a social conscience. Canadians of all political parties can continue to work together to make Canada a better place, to build on our inheritance and achievements and to look with confidence to a bright future.
Free trade will restrict our ability to solve our problems in our own way. Culture may not be measured with the kind of standards applied to economics, nor can the eroding influence of free trade upon cultural identity be projected in quantitative terms. Culture is a concept somewhat more elusive, intangible and, as such, may be somewhat beyond the comprehension of those who think only in economic terms. It is more a feeling of the heart than of the head.
But then the heart has its reasons, and we have seen it in Canada, in the people that this culture of ours has produced, Marshall McLuhan, Northrop Frye, Ursula Franklin, Davidson Dunton, Lester Pearson, Margaret Lawrence, Margaret Atwood and the Group of Seven. We should ask ourselves, could these people have emerged from the American melting pot?
Ordinary Canadians may be somewhat limited in their capacity for thinking about principles involved, are perhaps unable to defend their convictions or state their fears in sophisticated, philosophical terms. Perhaps they have been sometimes confused and intimidated by issues which have been made to appear complicated. While they might not reflect an intellectual grasp of culture, they share a grasp of fundamental truth, an interest in fundamental things. With their intuitive grasp, they appreciate and share our concern for Canadian cultural identity which has been traditionally a humanistic aspiration, connatural to Canadian hearts.
They are convinced that in Canada there is something distinctive of value, which they would not give up, for their children and theirs. They see around them a culture that nurtures, feeds and protects their children, not one of fear and violence with 20,000 murders a year, where more people are murdered each year in Oakland, California than all the people killed in the bloody years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. That is one of the products of modem American culture.
We know, ordinary Canadians know there is a big difference between our culture and the culture of the United States. We do not want to be a part of the melting pot. I have lived in that culture, in Chicago, in Boston and in Dallas, and Canadians have a right and an obligation in this regard. What we have going for us in Canada is surely something different than things American.
Are there Canadian parallels for the redneck atmosphere of Dallas? The ghettos of New York? The American tendency to measure all things in terms of dollars -- American, that is. Is there any part of Canada where anyone over the age of 21 is permitted to pack a concealed hand-gun, a knife, a club or tear gas, a Florida right mercifully limited to exclude certified lunatics and convicted felons?
Would the Canadian temper give rise to the National Rifle Association, with its distorted interpretation of the constitutional right to bear arms? Do we have a paranoic sensitivity of the kind that would exclude that well-known intemational conspirator Farley Mowat from entry? Do we view our culture as the Amencans view theirs, with the assumption that their culture is culture in the absolute sense, a view reflected in American foreign policies, economic and political?
Culture may be taken also to refer to a particular sense of advancement of a civilization, the characteristic features of such a stage. In this sense, a culture has been described as a community which owes its unity to common beliefs, far more than to any uniformity of physical type. Surely American cultural identity in Canada is at such a stage.
To consider Canadian culture at a particular stage, embryonic, tentative, somewhat unsure, is relevant in the context of considering the cultural implications of free trade, relevant in the sense of being pertinent and timely in a vital sort of way. The present state of Canadian culture is one in which our cultural identity is somewhat formative, fragile, pathetically susceptible to extemal influence, the effect of our vast region, the dispersement of our population, the bilingual, bicultural, multicultural aspects of our character, our regional disparities.
Comparison with the European Community simply does not stand up. If you have visited Europe, you have visited countries, adjoining neighbours, whose respective cultures are rooted for thousands of years in the past, not as ours.
Americans tend to think of their culture as culture in the absolute sense, the culture by which all others are to be measured, with the implicit assumption that everyone everywhere would benefit from and welcome their infusion and domination. This is an effect of American schooling which ingrains this view from infancy, and of a host of other influences, social, political, economic. Their ignorance of Canada and other places, geographical and social, is commonplace, and their attitude towards Canadian culture is at best insensitive and indifferent.
Put that to the acid test. It is a fact of our cultural existence that we have had to strive in years past to resist the almost inexorable dominance by American cultural influences, influences the effective force of which free trade would surely intensify. Canadian content regulations, publication subsidies, the Canada Council, Secretary of State subsidies to the arts have all been set up for this purpose. The school, as an agent of enculturation, works to this end, and the home and the church, safeguards deemed to be necessary. How much more so in the future?
Whether or not Canadian cultural identity is targeted directly with respect to the cultural industries, as they are called, the economic intrusion and dominance into Canada of the kind that free trade will bring about will have spinoff effects, restricting our ability to promote and preserve Canadian cultural identity. This is a predictable fact, and that fact has implications.
To paraphrase and reapply the imagery of Cardinal Newman, quarry the granite rock with razors or moor the vessel with a thread of silk, then may you rely on such precarious safeguards as cable operators' copyright fees, domestic content requirements on Canadian TV productions and book publishing regulations to contend with giants, the forces of economic union, the acceleration of the impersonal economic and social laws which will produce cultural fallout, outsiders who do not understand or appreciate the roots of our Canadian culture.
This has serious implications for our future and for the land that we will pass on to our children. There is need for vision with respect to what may unfold. For what avail would be an increase in our material prosperity if there should be a qualitative decline in the standards of our culture?
What would be the fruit of social and economic changes which will surely follow hard upon economic union if they do not work for the total betterment of Canadians, whose lives they surely will condition? Of what avail will be increased material affluence if purchased at the price of a distinctive Canadian cultural identity, which is reflected in a thousand ways and which makes us distinct?
Will we move in that direction as foreseen 50 years ago by Sir Richard Livingston, "a civilization of means without ends; rich in means beyond any other epoch, and almost beyond human needs, squandering and misusing them because it has no overriding ideal; an ample body and a meagre soul"? Will our children and theirs, who will face the problems of the third millennium, live in that world envisioned by T. S. Eliot, with the mass of men wandering the wasteland of the spirit without clearly defined goals, looking back to our achievement on this continent, our only monument "the asphalt road and 1,000 lost golf balls," depleted oil wells, gutted mines and ravaged forests?
Failure to achieve identity, to lose it, is with all the propriety of theological definition, hell. In diminished forms, it is insanity. It would not fare well for the Canadian giant to go lumbering about the international world in the next century without identity or with a character little more than a limp shadow of its American cousin, or absorbed, having tried to ride the back of the tiger and ending up inside it. For Canada to do so would be to surrender a great vocation, to exert an influence for good, throughout the world, not merely by our material strength but by our civilization.
The built-in safeguards to ensure Canadian cultural sovereignty in the free trade pact would appear to be mainly with respect to the so-called cultural industries: television, book publishing, magazine distribution, recordings and, notwithstanding such cultural safeguards, American dislike of future policies could provoke countervailing penalties.
In fact, the claim that Canada will retain full capacity to support cultural industries in Canada is untrue. The agreement does not state that Canada retains full capacity to support its cultural industries, and they may be threatened, as they have been in the past. Americans would retain the right to redress any future programs supporting cultural industries; in effect, a right to veto future cultural development policies even though Canada in future considers new policies to be necessary in the interests of maintaining Canadian cultural identity.
The deal does, in fact, limit our powers to introduce new initiatives on the cultural front and grants the legitimacy of US retaliation against measures we take to support our culture.
The definition of what is to be a legal subsidy, and which industries are to be affected by their definitions, is to be determined over the next seven years. In future, after Canada has given away its major bargaining chips, we will have little influence on the way the US wishes to define an illegal subsidy, of particular importance to what may happen to cultural issues. Many of Canada's current practices may be considered unfair barriers to trade.
Let me ask members to consider: Even were such safeguards, as stated, to be effectively operative over the cultural industries, would this be sufficient? In fact, the very phrase "cultural industry" is misleading, offensive, itself uncultured. It reflects a superficial insight into the matter at hand, the whole issue of the impact of economics upon culture, one which even baffled the mind of the philosopher Hegel.
The phrase "cultural industry" implies that culture is something produced by magazines, television and radio. These are not agents for production so much as the reflection. Culture is something operative and productive in the minds of people, reflected in attitudes and interests. Culture reflects how a people lives. When people no longer live as Canadians, independent, different, distinctive, in control of their destinies, why would one want to be a writer in Canada, a Canadian writer?
The fact that our Canadian film industry will peter out, that our literary magazines, upon which young writers depend for market entry will disappear will be somewhat academic, for these reflectors of Canadian culture will no longer have much of value, distinctively Canadian, to reflect.
The home, the school and the church are our primary agents for enculturation, means whereby the older generation protects itself from the younger. The cultural industries play their part as reflectors, but it would be naive to rely unduly upon them, even if protected, for they are surely dubious agents on which to rely for something so important; a perilous place to deposit what ought to be kept more safe and transmitted more constantly and more completely.
The cultural industries, like the public mind, which is itself a repository of our cultural heritage, is subject to the corrosive rust of scepticism, the voracious appetite for the sensational, the incessant thieveries of indifference and the intrusive demands of market profit.
I conclude by saying that emphasizing the issue of Canadian cultural identity in the free trade debate has been dealt with in ways at best superficial and inadequate. Some participants thus far have reflected insensitivity, blissful ignorance, an intellectual depth inadequate to come to terms with the issue in substantive ways and, worst of all, without vision.
The Canadian people must be given the opportunity to express their views, for they share an intuitive insight in this regard beyond the understanding of those whose views are exclusively economic. Many Canadians are concerned about the cultural identity effects of the free trade pact, effects which could go far beyond what is surely the intent and is not envisioned.
Unless those who are concerned stand up, in the not-too-distant future, our children will look back and speculate about what might have been but was left undone by those of us who are here to preside over the erosion of our Canadian cultural identity and the days when our time ran out. No one ever made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only little. I hope that others in Ontario and other parts of Canada will stand up and contribute to this debate, those in the arts and humanities as well as the social sciences. The economists have had their say. Everyone has an obligation in this regard.
Universities have an indispensable role, and I ask my colleagues of 35 and 40 years in Ontario universities when they are going to stand up. Universities are the critical, reflective intelligence of our society, with a responsibility to promote the growth of knowledge, understanding and judgement, to increase awareness, perception and enlightenment in society at large. As public institutions open to the public and supported by public funds, they have a responsibility in this regard to serve the public good. One would expect they will have something of value to contribute to this debate.
I am convinced that those who express concern about the impact of free trade upon Canadian cultural identity speak not on behalf of a small, eccentric group of cultural nationalists existing on the periphery of Canadian society, but on behalf of many Canadians who are concerned about the welfare of our country, present and future, people who believe that our future is Canadian -- not continental and not American -- Canadians who want to be who they are and are concerned to strengthen our resolve.
It is in this spirit that we should exercise our right and our duty to join our fellow Canadians from all parts of Canada -- this is not a provincial matter -- as co-operative partners with a common task to ensure that forces at work are consciously controlled, not merely allowed to happen and to do this in debate of the kind which is the mark of the civilized community.
Not with name calling, in heat.
But with light.
And with unfailing courtesy.
Which is much less
Than courage of heart or holiness
For in all my Walks
It seems to me
That the Grace of God
Is in courtesy.
When I went up to Ottawa, I met a man who sang tra-la.
What did you do with the country today?
I gave it away to the USA.
That little jingle by Dennis Lee, probably Canada's most famous children's poet and adult poet of no mean proportions, does not say too strongly what happened on January 2, both in Ottawa and at the holiday hideaway of President Reagan when they signed the so-called trade deal linking our two countries, not in a form of free trade per se, but in a deal which strikes, I think, in the longer run at the very roots not only of our economy in Canada but also of our culture.
I want to say that I was very moved by his address. I wanted, too, to come back to some of the cultural issues the deal raises for all of us, but not before having made some additional and preliminary comments.
l think it is a time when we all might be a little personal about this debate because so much of it so far has been in terms of the economic issues at play, held at arm's length in the press, written about here and there by journalists. But seldom have I heard individuals stand up and say how their lives have been enmeshed with the very fabric of this country and how that has happened and how it relates to their understanding of who they are and how it then relates, finally, in turn, to this kind of economic arrangement which threatens so seriously the very structure and indeed the history of our country.
My family came to the northern half of the North American continent from several routes. They came as prerevolutionary loyalists from Rhode Island into the Maritimes. They came as Yorkshiremen from England to Nova Scotia. Part of that family got itself mixed up in such a way that part of the roots of my family go back to Charles Le Moyne, the famous seaman of New France. Irishmen from Ireland in the 1840s arrived in Upper Canada and are part of my past. All those segments of my past progressively marched westward across this country.
The Maritimers moved to Quebec and then they left for British Columbia. The Upper Canadians moved from Upper Canada to Saskatchewan and thence to British Columbia. In my turn, I have marched backwards, having grown up on the west coast, having worked and lived in Saskatchewan and now in Ontario, having lived at least a year of my life in Quebec, and having married a Ukrainian girl whose parents came in the 1920s and were part of the opening up of northern and northwestern Ontario. People like myself and like those who sit in this chamber have a deep and intimate sense that their roots penetrate every aspect of this country. Our westward march was typical of the way this country was opened.
There has been a long ongoing debate in Canadian history over the issue of whether this country is an artificial construct in defiance of geography, whether it should not have been a part of the north-south grain of the continent because it seems so logical that the parts that lying on either side of the border belong to each other. But when you ask yourself the question, as our principal historians of the 20th century did in the wake of that seductive continentalist theory by Goldwin Smith in the 1890s, you come to one inescapable answer.
The answer is that the logic of the North American continent was that it had to be opened up east to west, that the cultures and the trade patterns that developed there had to run that way by virtue of the staples that were pursued across this continent, whether it was beginning with cod, moving on to timber, into fur, on to wheat, into mineral extracts or what have you. They led us across the nation and those different sections of the nation traded with each other on an east-west basis and then west-eastward across to the European metropolis.
The whole foundation of the nation and the logic upon which it was built was east-west, and properly; this was not an artificial construct as a nation; it is a nation that is properly east-west in its foundation.
The second thing that needs to be said about our history as we confront this debate is that the American Revolution, we must all remember, created two nations on the North American continent with very different traditions, both of them proud traditions but very different traditions. We all know the upshot in our constitutional structures, that on the one hand the fundamental presuppositions of the American republic were individual life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that the fundamental orientation of the Canadian Constitution and the bias of our culture has been peace, order and good government.
There has been a social and cultural dimension, a collective dimension to Canadian life which was not expressed in the fundamental assumptions of the American republic. The elements the previous speaker referred to, for example our different gun laws, reflect in very fundamental ways our different concepts of society and the relationship of each individual to that society, and what one could count on as an individual person in terms of the social supports. It is not that one had a right to wander around with a weapon to defend one's self, but that one could count on the community, that one could count on one's society and on one's government to provide the kind of order and structure of life that made it unnecessary for each individual to have a gun in his bedside-table drawer at night.
That is a very fundamental conception, a very fundamental difference. If you ask yourself further about the culture of this nation that one is attempting to preserve as a Canadian under all circumstances, whether in the context of this debate or any other debate that has far-reaching implications for Canada, one has to recognize also that the roles of government in those two societies have been dramatically different.
As I said in another context to another group, one could almost say in a sense, as far as the Canadian experience is concerned, in the beginning was the crown corporation. Government was that prominent. From the beginning, when our primeval trading arrangements began to exploit this country, they did it through government initiative. When it came to the railway-building era, we had a massive intersupport system between private enterprise and government, such that it was possible to say that the day after the Canadian Pacific Railway goes broke, Canada goes broke.
The interesting thing about that was that it was a very different kind of way of doing things. That mix of private and public enterprise in Canada ushered in the only transcontinental railway in North America that did not go bankrupt. In other words, our way of doing things in terms of that kind of mixed economy, in terms of private-public co-operation, proved itself in one of the very fundamental east-west institutions created to maintain our country. We know that was not the only one but it was the major early example of that. One can cite it again for the canal era. One can cite it again for the modern era of transportation and communications, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Air Canada, and what have you. That is our pattern. We all know it, we recognize it.
What we have confronted with the trade deal is a political alliance between a Prime Minister and business groups that support him and his party and the Reagan administration in the United States that has a political agenda. That political agenda essentially is to undermine that history, that historic mix in Canada between private and public sector initiatives which has underlain so much of the structure of our country.
Even though one can certainly argue that this particular deal is not a free trade arrangement -- and I would not present it as such -- none the less, the assumptions which have underlain the origins of it and which lie at the other end, down the road, are those of the complete free market apologists of North America and elsewhere that are summed up in the politics of the Reagan administration and of Mr. Mulroney, supported by such agencies across the country as the Fraser Institute, which gets its instructions from Margaret Thatcher and her whole privatization crew in London.
It is very interesting to me, at least, that those presuppositions in fact do not correspond to the realities of either of our economies. Because if we ask ourselves whether there does exist under the Reagan administration, for example, a free market, unencumbered by legislation, unencumbered by political arrangements or public consensus about free enterprise or what have you, and its limits, then we would have to say that does not exist. But the interesting thing about the politics that we are into in this debate is that much of the argument on the other side is fuelled by the mythology, not the reality but the mythology of the free market.
It is quite obvious that if one compares, for example, the two economies that we are dealing with, the Canadian and the American, one of the striking differences is not that the American is an unsubsidized, unregulated economy and that the Canadian counterpart is, but that both of them are managed economies. The American happens to be principally managed and subsidized by massive defence spending while the Canadian happens to be subsidized and managed in significant ways through social programs.
If one wants to make one's choices at that level, I think it is obvious which one prefers to choose as a style of management. None the less, it is important to recognize that behind the deal, behind the politics, there is the free market mythology that somehow there is possible, somewhere, some time, a natural economy that will run by itself. As the original Manchester school and French physiocratic proponents put it: "Laissez aller, laissez faire, car le monde va par lui-même. Let it alone, let it go, because the world marches by itself."
We are not in this country schooled to that proposition. Out of our history has emerged not only the private-public major co-operative ventures that I have referred to but also the social support programs, the cultural initiatives that have grown out of our particular experience on the northern half of the American continent. It had something to do with the different isolation of the western frontier as compared with the American, that it was in Canada that one had proposals of government health insurance, hospitalization and medicare arise, for example.
It is out of the vicissitudes of Canadian workers in a much more perilous economy and businesses in a much more perilous state that arose in Canada the concept of unemployment insurance. It has been out of the fact that we had a later stage of immigration as well from (Great Britain and elsewhere that we picked up new social ideas from the labour movement and social welfare theorists on the continent who brought them into Canada and which added on to all that. But in any case, it built a distinctive society and a distinctive culture.
When we ask ourselves about the cultural question, we are not just talking about a few cultural industries that happen to produce magazines, records, books and what have you, or operas, ballet companies and music classes for our kids and things like that. What we talk about as culture, as Rick Salutin said in a very important article in the Globe and Mail, is the very substance of our life that we celebrate when we use those instruments to talk about ourselves and to imagine our lives together through poetry and prose, through our history and what have you.
That culture, in that sense, is the sum total of all of what the cultural anthropologists call the adaptive strategies that we have developed in the northern half of the North American continent to cope with our unique geography, our unique economic problems, unique difficulties that business has in surviving in the northern half of the continent. Out of all that, we have produced our country, which our artists celebrate, reflect about, criticize, etc. So there is no way you can separate, at any point in this debate, the cultural issues from the economic issues, from the political issues, indeed from the moral issues involved.
That brings me, however, to the business issue. Our friends in the Conservative caucus cited in their speeches various studies that have been made of the economics of this deal. The only problem with citing those studies is that none of them is particularly reliable and some of them are in fact downright disreputable as studies.
No one has undertaken a commodity-by-commodity study of the goods and services in exchange between our two countries and tallied up the cost accounting one way or the other. They have looked at some sectors in a broad sense but nothing definitive has been produced.
The studies they cited in fact predate the deal and therefore assume principally two things: first, that we would have complete, unfettered access to the American market -- that was the free trade option that never happened; and second, that we would have access to government procurement in the United States -- that did not happen either. When the Economic Council of Canada talks about 350,000 or 380,000 jobs, it is talking about something that can no longer be talked about in those terms because the assumptions made in the study no longer exist.
If you look at alternative studies that were done, for example, by Professor Whalley at the University of Western Ontario, Harris at Queen's University, Muller at McMaster University and Sonnen at Informetrica, they run through some rather crude measures on economic models of the economy. The very best they come up with, a four per cent possible increase in economic activity, they themselves admit is so insignificant statistically that it really is not worth the effort of the deal, let alone paying the price of the things we gave away in the deal.
Our colleagues in the Conservative caucus pointed to the great gains that were going to be made for consumers. Let us be quite clear that the Consumers' Association of Canada is not all that entranced by the great gains and issued a number of warnings a few weeks ago about how little could really be expected across the board and over the long haul in this deal. Again, the economists trying to measure that in any sense have said that at the very best, over 10 years there would be about a two per cent improvement in the price levels. You will not even notice it, it is so small, especially spread over that period of time, and any number of other elements can intervene in the trade deal to wipe out those advantages, even if they were real. When one comes down to the numbers that are cited to defend this proposal, they just ain't there.
Those who have criticized the government's own studies on the service trades and the jobs that are at risk in various aspects of the Ontario economy have said, "They did not talk about the job gains." True enough, the government did not and in that sense it was not all that balanced an exercise. At the same time, when the Economic Council of Canada proposed the 350,000 to 380,000 gain in jobs that it thought would come out of the proposal, I think it was the next day that Benoît Bouchard, the government's own Minister of Employment and Immigration, happened to drop the word that the government's own sense was that there were 500,000 jobs at risk out there.
The striking fact about this whole exercise surely has to be that the major study of the economy in recent years, the economic prospects of Canada, could not draw a definitive conclusion about the business advantages of going for free trade and said it had to be a leap of faith. The second hard-headed observation one surely has to make is that the federal government itself has not tabled any studies to show where the job gains are going to lie or to what extent they will be. There just are no studies.
In the light of that, surely it is proper for this Legislature and, I think, even for the Conservative caucus to ask for some more fundamental answers. If we did not get unlimited access, what one might call magnificent access or even good access to the American market through this deal and if we did not get a binding dispute settlement mechanism, surely this Legislature should be asking why on earth we ever thought it was incumbent upon us or useful for us to proceed to make the whole range of concessions we did, with respect to investment, with respect to national treatment for American companies and with respect to a major energy concession, giving what the Americans have so long wanted, a continental energy pact which wipes out any use to which we could ever in the future put our own energy resources in order to stimulate and develop Canadian business and to compensate for the problems our businesses have in the northern half of the North American continent, with this geography and this climate and this space and this sparsity of population.
Without special instruments like that, available energy at the lowest possible cost, lower if possible than the Americans can buy it from us, how do we do those things? How do we maintain our own industries? How do we develop new industries? How do we give them the power to get a leg up in the economic world, to get on with the job of becoming corporations which then can compete in the rest of the North American continent and abroad?
It just does not make sense. The whole deal does not make rational sense for any government determined to hang on to policy determination in its own hands, as a government. Here one has to go back to the point about the mythology about free markets, because the whole mythology of the free market is that you do not need policy for the economy.
When Mr. Mulroney walks away from the levers of power, the levers of the economy, the levers of natural resources and the levers of energy that make it possible for us to fashion something of our own economic destiny, he in effect is implicitly subscribing to that natural economy, free market mythology that you do not have to have policy. Surely we all know as legislators that this world is not just divided up into these separate parcels of morality, economics, politics and what have you, and that when we sit down we have to constantly weigh economic factors against political factors, social issues and moral considerations, and that we have to take them all together. That is what policy is all about.
You do not just wipe out the whole foundation for policy in one of those areas and wave it goodbye. You cannot do that and be a responsible politician. Yet that is very much at the heart of this particular deal that Mr. Mulroney and his colleagues have found it to their advantage to promote.
It is said that social programs are specifically excluded from the deal. It is said that regional development programs are specifically excluded from the deal. It is said that cultural industries are specifically excluded from the deal. I want to make a very brief comment about those three things. It is very strange, for example, if social programs are excluded from the deal, that if you look at a particular chapter in that deal you will find listed a whole series of what to me seem to be social programs.
For example, American business management will have access on a national treatment basis to the following hospitals: general hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, extended care hospitals, mental and psychiatric hospitals, addiction hospitals, nursing stations and outpost hospitals, children's paediatric hospitals and other specialty hospitals. They will also have access to these institutional health and social services: homes for personal and nursing care, homes for physically handicapped or disabled, homes for the mentally retarded, homes for mentally handicapped and/or disabled, homes for emotionally disturbed children, homes for alcohol and drug addicts, homes for children in need of protection, homes for single mothers and other institutional health and social services not otherwise stated.
In noninstitutional health services, they will also have access, as businesses, to ambulance services, drug addiction and alcoholism treatment clinics, health rehabilitation clinics, home care services including home nursing, public health clinics, community health centres and other noninstitutional health services.
Under medical and health laboratories, they will have access to medical laboratories, radiological laboratories, combined medical and radiological laboratories, public health laboratories, blood bank laboratories and other health laboratories.
They will have access as well to the post-secondary nonuniversity education sector, to schools of art and performing arts, vocational schools, trade schools and business colleges, and post-secondary nonuniversity educational institutions which means the whole college sector.
Other broad service categories as well are listed by number in this part of the trade deal: agricultural and forestry services, mining services, construction services, distributive trade services, insurance and real estate services, commercial services, computer services, telecommunications services and tourist services.
Nowhere in the whole section is there what we have been told specifically was excluded; namely, child care. We were told by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) that he had been assured, and his ministry was assuming, that the federal government had achieved exclusion of child care services from the deal. It ain't excluded and it is there implicitly in the list I just read.
If you ask yourself about regional development programs, the negotiators could not agree about the whole subsidy issue which underlies the regional development issue. Since they could not agree, therefore the regional development programs remain as vulnerable today as they were yesterday and as they were before this whole deal ever got under way in terms of American protests that certain things governments in Canada do must be considered subsidies and therefore unfair trade. So we have not protected ourselves on the regional development front.
When you come to the cultural issues, it is true that there is a specific exclusion of some cultural industries, though one would have to note in passing that a very thriving record industry -- thriving because we had finally set up some tariff protection for it and got it under way -- now in fact has had the rug pulled out from under it by this deal with the elimination of the tariffs in question.
If you look at the relevant section concerning cultural industries, you see a very interesting "notwithstanding" clause. What the "notwith-standing" article 2005 says is that under the terms of this agreement, the American government may take any punitive commercial action corresponding to any initiative on the part of the Canadian government to protect Canadian culture and programs that might have some impact either on existing American industries in Canada, such as book publishing or film distribution, or any impact upon a business in the United States that aspired to exploit Canadian cultural enterprises commercially for its own profit. What has happened in that article is that the whole cultural issue and debate has been transformed into what the Americans insisted culture was all about in the first place, and that is simply another commercial activity.
Members will remember when American representatives came up here. I think it was Clayton Yeutter who said: "Oh, well, that is fine. You can have access to our cultural industries and we will have access to yours and everybody will be happy." Of course, Mr. Yeutter did not stop to think that the cultural question or the commercial question of the viability of a cultural enterprise in Canada and the impact it could have in the United States was totally different from the impact that large publishing houses or record industries or film distribution networks would have and do have in a small country like Canada, and that you could not just put it in terms of that kind of neat commercial tradeoff. If one looks at the scale of the question, one really has to realize that in some respects there is a lot to protect and there is much that has been sold out already.
To refer again to Rick Salutin's article in the Globe and Mail, November 5, 1987, he says:
"Only three to five per cent of all theatrical screen time in Canada goes to Canadian films; two to four per cent of videocassette sales are Canadian titles; 97 per cent of profits from films shown in Canada go out of the country, 95 per cent to the United States; total prime-time broadcasting in drama and sitcoms is only two to three per cent Canadian; 95 per cent of English-language TV drama is non-Canadian; Canadian-owned publishers have only 20 per cent of the book market; 77 per cent of magazines sold here are foreign; 85 per cent of record and tape sales are non-Canadian; in theatre, Canadian plays are the alternative theatre -- they are equivalent of off-Broadway, or off-off-Broadway. Keep Canadian culture off the table -- who's kidding whom? An end table, maybe."
Obviously, there is a lot of ground to be made up, and where there is a lot of ground to be made up, it is obvious our governments are going to have to undertake ways and means of doing that. What do they do the moment they confront this trade treaty? They confront article 2005, which tells them that every time they do that, they are going to be faced with a charge from an American industry, either present in Canada or aspiring to be here, saying that it is unfair trade and that they are therefore clamping sanctions on us for doing so and attacking our fish industry, our lumber industry or whatever. They cannot go back on our cultural industry but they can go back on anything else as a reprisal.
You have got to conclude that even though we were given assurance after assurance that culture would not be on the table, that cultural industries would not be on the table, of course they were. If they were not, they were immediately under it and they were dragged out at an appropriate time for the appropriate tradeoffs in an innocent sounding but very suspicious looking and indeed rather insidious clause, "notwithstanding" clause 2005 in the agreement.
Saying that makes me wonder a little bit about the comments the Premier (Mr. Peterson) made the other day when he was asked by one of the Conservative questioners whether he agreed with the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms. Munro) with respect to her claim that cultural industries had been protected. That was an astonishing statement on the part of the minister. It certainly does not ring true in terms of what I have just said, in terms of any sensible analysis of what the deal actually says. But the Premier was not only willing to echo that, in a sense, but to go on and say he did not really think large cultural sovereignty questions are really much at issue, that what was really at issue was economic sovereignty or political sovereignty, some other things, but not really cultural sovereignty. He did really think it was an exaggeration to argue that was at risk.
I hope my friend the member for Ottawa South (Mr. McGuinty) will persuade him otherwise and will direct some of his eloquence directly at the Premier, just as he directed it to us this afternoon, because I think that if one follows the logic of the member's remarks, one would have to argue that the Premier should at the very least accept, with respect to the resolution that is before us, the proposition that six words ought to be reduced to three at the end of that resolution; namely, that "will not be bound to implement" should simply be "will not implement."
What puzzles us in this party is the reluctance of the Premier to take that final step. Everything that can be adduced about this treaty appears to persuade him much of the time that he ought to oppose it, and yet every time he stands up to say how he is going to oppose it, he pulls in his horns, he draws himself back.
Last week, the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) went through, step by step by step, each point of the way at which the Premier confronted the trade treaty. At every point there was a pulling in of horns, a drawing back, a reluctance to take the final step.
Even yet, when he talked about the cultural implications of the treaty the other day, he wanted to modify it, much the way in which the member for Wellington (Mr. J. M. Johnson), when he made his comments on this arrangement last week, was obviously significantly ambivalent. He said he hoped that Mr. Mulroney was right. There were in the remarks of the member for Guelph (Mr. Ferraro) a sort of lingering free tradism that, of course, is part of the Liberal tradition and which constantly makes them get a little nervous about total opposition to something like this, even though political instinct really tells them they ought to.
Why cannot they take the final step? That is what puzzles us over here.
We hope, of course, at the end of the day in this debate that the members opposite will come to that conclusion, that they will realize the logic of things they seem to be saying is that they should compress those six words to three. Whether we can persuade our friends to the left in the Conservative caucus to modify anything of their position also remains to be seen.
I see there is an enlightened member, from a constituency not too far from here, about to stand up. We wait for his remarks in the hope that perhaps, after several days of debate, there will begin to be some sense of the reasoning why we think this is a very seriously mistaken deal for Canada, and that they will revert to their true colours.
I have to remind members that we are in a very odd situation in which Liberals, who are historic free traders, are opposing what appears to be some extension of trade arrangements with the United States, in which we are the recipients of the bad part of the deal, and that the Conservative members of this House were long-time protectionists and proponents of the national policy of John A. Macdonald, as was alluded to by the previous speaker.
But I have to say, in conclusion, that if one goes back to the 1870s when this whole issue really got focused in the debate over the national policy and when John A. Macdonald was wondering whether the Liberals were going to come out for free trade or whether they were going for protection and what he would do, he made a very interesting comment to someone at the time. That was that if the Liberals had come out for protection, he would have come out for free trade the day after; which I guess tell us there is a certain degree of political expediency behind some of the positioning going on.
None the less, with that comment --
I simply want to say that I hope we will have an opportunity to come back to this debate again after we have had our committee hearings. This debate in this Legislature, while useful in a certain sense, is premature without the committee's report at hand. It is unfortunate that the House leader of the government party messed this thing up by proposing a resolution he must have known could not have been accepted, particularly by the Progressive Conservative Party in this House, but probably also by this party in terms of the way it was phrased, and that it therefore would precipitate a debate that no one, in all conscience, could confine to the last two days of the session before our normal adjournment prior to the Christmas season.
My hope is that having made our points in the last couple of weeks and in making them again this week, we will be able to conclude this debate reasonably expeditiously and get on with the committee work and the committee hearings that need to be done, and then come back again and say our final thoughts in this Legislature and pass our judgement upon the Mulroney-Reagan trade deal.
For me, it is possible to say that it may not devastate the nation tomorrow or the next day, but there is no question that the restructuring of the whole national proportion of our economy will distort the whole historic thrust of this nation, undermine the social programs we have developed so carefully and lay us open to massive economic restructuring the like of which I think nobody really envisages and can imagine, and for which there are no programs proposed that could nearly cope with the crisis. In short, when we come back to this debate, we will all see that this deal is something this House will have to oppose unanimously and as vigorously as possible.
It is interesting when we talk about free trade and about the number of people: some 260 million in the United States, some 28 million here in Canada and a little over nine million in Ontario. When you stop and analyse the situation and say, "Well, 260 million people; we have an access to their market," I think you have to realize how important it is for us to be able to sit down and talk in a friendly way to our neighbours. I know it is important because when you look at the amount of exporting we do to the United States, it is important that we keep that market.
I believe that what is happening here in this House shows at least two things about the leadership of our province. I think it points up a major flaw in the strategy of the Premier. The Premier has chosen to ram this resolution through the Legislature rather than work out a compromise. There are ways in which this resolution could have been directed to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, but instead the Premier has decided this House is going to resolve this resolution and will do it during last week, during Christmas and during the first week of the new year, or any other way he deems it necessary to have it done.
It could have been studied in committee which it will finally end up going to, and this committee could then have done the rewording or changed it in whatever fashion was necessary, but the choice of the Premier was to make sure that this Legislature dealt with this resolution. He has already sent letters to the United States and to the Prime Minister, so this is really a true example of leadership that is lacking --
First of all, I want to speak with regard to how I believe tourism becomes part of a free trade agreement. What it does is a ground-breaking part of a free trade agreement which deals with trade in services as opposed to trade in goods. Specific components of trade in services as they will apply to tourism have not yet been completed, to my knowledge, and some will be defined in the legal text. There are a couple of points that I would like to make. The overall impact of the free trade agreement will be to increase employment and to improve the quality, and thus our salary levels, especially in southwestern and eastern Ontario manufacturing industries, the Toronto financial and service industries and the northern resource industries.
Canadians with a high level of disposable income will choose to spend a large portion of that income on leisure activities. There will be travel, accommodation, restaurant meals and entertainment. It is likely to assume that many of these Ontarians will choose to visit the county of Simcoe and the Muskoka region as a distinction for their leisure time. It is also likely to assume that open borders will increase the flow of American tourists in general. Our low dollar combined with the new flexibility in taking purchases across the border is likely to encourage Americans to visit Canada and to purchase more while they are here.
Tourism does play a part in this free trade agreement. I think it is important to note that the people in the tourist industry agree that it is important. From Bayview Wildwood Resorts: "Being in the tourist business and, in particular, the resort business in the Muskoka area, I am looking forward to the free trade arrangement to significantly increase the number of American tourists coming to Ontario and to our region." There are other groups that are saying the same things: how important it is.
I would like to speak briefly with regard to agriculture. As you are well aware, Madam Speaker, I have been in the agriculture field for a large portion of my life. I know a fair bit about it and watched it very closely in following the comments that have been made with regard to freer trade. The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) has said that if everything will be on the table we will be sold out. That is not the way I see it. The way I see it is that, from the beginning of the free trade negotiations, the government vowed there would be no deal if a good deal for Canada could not be negotiated.
Our federal Minister of Agriculture said that unless there was a good deal for Canadian agriculture there would be no deal. We have a very good deal for Canadian agriculture, giving Canada improved secure access to our largest trading partner. The agreement provides economic benefits for Canadian agriculture and provides the advantages of a binding dispute settlement mechanism. The commitment is to fulfil what has been initiated by the federal minister. The members are well aware that Mr. Wise stated in the House of Commons and outside the House that he will retain the right to decide in Canada what kinds of marketing systems we should have for our farm products.
The future of supply management in Canada is secure. Producer groups can follow current procedures to develop new agricultural marketing systems, complete with supply management powers. The agreement respects the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade rights. That is what we need. Again, supply management is maintained. The commitment by the government for a long-term dairy policy is kept under the agreement. As well, the government's promise that the necessary underpinnings remain secure is fulfilled. We are committed to transferring products such as yoghurt and ice cream from the tariff list to the import-export list.
Madam Speaker, on livestock, you are well aware that the flow of live cattle between Canada and the US is currently unrestricted. However, there were import restrictions placed on beef. Canadian beef producers will benefit from the agreement because both countries have agreed to exempt each other from these restrictions imposed under their respective meat import laws. The exemptions free up the flow of beef, thus, under the agreement, the North American marketplace is preserved.
The members know what the Canadian Cattle-men's Association said. I am sure the members are aware of it. It said: "We have nothing but praise for the new trade agreement. These are things we have been working towards for a long time."
The wine industry says: "Provincial product pricing and listing practices brought this issue to the attention of the US negotiators. The agreement does not prohibit Canadian and/or provincial governments from participating in the adjustment programs if necessary."
Grain and oil seeds: "The elimination of import licences of wheat, oats and barley: permits for importing wheat, oats and barley will not be required when the support level for the same crop in each country is equal." How important these measures are. Truly, free trade is a tremendous deal for Canadian agriculture.
We kept the commitments we made about maintaining the marketing boards, marketing boards that can be maintained and can be added to. I think that is so important. The horticultural industry has received special attention by being exempted from a general rule of completely phasing out all tariffs over 10 years and has been given an additional 10-year grace period to reimplement seasonal tariffs if market conditions warrant it.
The free trade deal was negotiated in the best interests of our agriculture. Now we have better access than ever to the United States, our largest trading partner, which initially I said was a market of 260 million people, and how we need that badly and we want to keep on top of it.
I want to talk briefly about manufacturing.
I want to speak about the Canadian Steel Producers Association, which is concerned in the Hamilton area. It says, "The trade deal will allow the industry to make nominal gains in its current 4.1 per cent share of the US steel market. I think we have a better chance with something in writing than we do with the way it is operating now. It is now in congressional hands to push the federal government as far as it wants. There are no guarantees that they still will not be able to retaliate but, at least, we will have a better set of negotiating ploys to slow them down. We have kept up in terms of technology here and we feel our plants are quite capable of meeting any type of competition." That is what the manufacturing industry is saying about the free trade agreement.
We talk about technology. "The free trade agreement is practically important to our industry which relies on open trading around the world. Eighty-seven per cent of computer equipment made in Canada is exported, mostly to the United States." It is very important that we maintain and keep that market open. The only way we do it is by talking to them, negotiating with them and making sure that we do keep that market open.
Small business is another concern. The Canadian Organization of Small Business agrees with the free trade agreement. I am sure it will have the opportunity to make its presentations well known when it is before the committee dealing with it. It says:
"On balance, the Canadian Organization of Small Business believes that a trade agreement should be good for Canada and good for most elements of a small business community. The agreement skirts many of the most difficult problems of harmonizing the socio-economic systems of the two countries. This, in itself, undermines most of the nationalist argument that the trade agreement is a betrayal of Canadian sovereignty.
"The sovereignty issue, in our view, is a red herring introduced by political opponents of the trade agreement who, deprived of most of their substantive or nonideological objections to it, are wrapping themselves in the Canadian flag to pursue their partisan political ambitions in a centralist approach to the governing of Canada, which was overwhelmingly rejected by Canadians in the last election, not least of all by the current Leader of the Opposition."
We are getting into what this is all about. It was interesting to listen to my colleague the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) when he talked about the 350,000 jobs. There was nowhere that he said that would happen. There was discussion about the loss of jobs, which I do not believe will happen. What I want to talk about is what impact the Canada-US free trade agreement is going to have to help create jobs. I think it will do it in a positive outlook. There are too many negatives. One has to think positively.
The Economic Council of Canada's research focused on two scenarios to illustrate the effects of free trade between the two countries on the Canadian economy. First, all tariff and nontariff barriers on goods traded between the two countries are removed, excluding agriculture and other subsidies, trade and services. Second, free trade is supplemented by industry-specific productivity improvements in Canadian manufacturing industries. The simulation results show that free trade could create up to 350,000 jobs in Canada by 1995. Employment and output gains would be distributed fairly evenly among all regions.
In both scenarios, bilateral trade would improve real wages, increase output and employment, stimulate business investment and productivity lower prices, reduce government budget deficits and strengthen the Canadian dollar in relation to the US dollar. Free trade would also help facilitate the necessary structural adjustments, a shift away from labour-intensive industries to high-technology ones in order for Canada to compete much more vigorously on world markets in the 1990s and beyond.
While the direct effects of trade liberalization would diversify and affect Canadian industries that are highly protected, chiefly in the manufacturing sector, all industries would benefit indirectly from the overall increase in consumer expenditures and investments.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce also supports the free trade agreement. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, today and previously, has urged the Ontario government to show its confidence in Ontario by endorsing and promoting the positive aspects of a free trade agreement.
"`You are already working with the citizens of our province to seize opportunities and manage change,' chamber president John Sanderson said in a brief to the Ontario cabinet subcommittee studying the issue. `Free trade is another aspect of this strategy.'"
"The Ontario chamber, which represents 60,000 businesses through community chambers of commerce and boards of trade, said:
"`The impact of increased US protectionism on the Canadian economy would be disastrous. If some of the US protectionist bills now on the books were implemented, there would be more retaliation on both sides of the border, leading to double-digit inflation, a reintroduction of FIRA, a dramatic increase in the unemployment rate and a substantial cut in consumer spending; in short, a return to the economy of the early 1980s, if not worse.
"The brief cited widespread support for an agreement among a membership more diverse than any other provincial association. Chamber of commerce members reflect the full spectrum of the business community, cutting across all industry sectors and ranging from owner operations to multinational corporations.
"Chamber members want free trade in the belief they can capitalize on opportunities for expansion, stabilization and new markets. They believe that we have an opportunity which should not be allowed to slip away from us, and the brief to the subcommittee of the cabinet noted that 70 per cent of the membership supported free trade in a Gallup poll commissioned by the chamber last year.
"We still have a strong labour force, an attractive working environment and a well-developed transportation and communications network. Free trade is the next step in our growth."
It is interesting that in the Legislature not too long ago, the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms. Munro) indicated that she thought everything was covered; it sounded good. She was very happy with it; did not seem to have many objections. Maybe she has changed her mind, I do not know, but that seemed to be what I got.
The member for Guelph (Mr. Ferraro) had indicated for some time the objections with regard to the free trade agreement. He said we were in favour of it right from the beginning and indicated that our position had never changed from the time it was initiated until it was approved.
I observed during 1987 that the now Premier of the province was indicating: "This is my bottom line. These are the six things that I want. I won't accept anything less. We will veto the deal. You elect us and we will make sure that everything is right, and if it is not right, we will make sure that it doesn't happen."
I have talked to some of the people since who voted that way because they did not agree with the free trade deal. However, it is important to note that those people have spoken to me since and have said that they were led down the garden path and were not very happy.
The concerns from the area I represent, and the meetings that people have had with the federal member have dealt with the trading rules that are being initiated here, are important and will have a very open and full hearing in committee. I am sure every member here would want to take part in that process. We are taking part in it now on a resolution that is not going to mean a thing, a resolution that is before us that has kept many members here and the public service here over the Christmas holiday. It did not bother me a bit, but I know it did bother a lot of people.
The main part I want to complete my remarks with is that I feel there is a concern that I have relayed with regard to agriculture, with regard to tourism, with regard to manufacturing and with regard to small business. Not only that, it is the jobs that are going to be created that we are all looking forward to.
If the Premier wants to take a positive attitude instead of a negative attitude, I think we can all work together and make sure that it is the best deal that Canada could ever get.
Ever since people started to talk about free trade, I have been quite concerned about it. I wanted to know how it would affect my riding, how it would affect Ontario and how it would affect the Dominion of Canada. One of the largest industries in my riding is the dairy industry, and I was very concerned about supply management and how it would affect the dairy industry.
During the recent election campaign, there is no question about it that the Premier called that election just before the free trade decision was to come down so that his people could go around and talk and scare people in regard to free trade. In fact, one person told a campaign worker of mine that if free trade came in, this country would turn into another Siberia.
At that particular time members know that in small-town Ontario the prices of houses were jumping over a period of time at about $10,000 to $20,000 more than what they were before. Another person said to me: "You know, the Americans are going to get our energy; they are going to get our water. In fact, they will drain Lake Michigan." Let's face it, if they decided to drain Lake Michigan, there would be very little we could do to stop them because it lies within the boundaries of the United States, but on the other hand, there are more people living around Lake Michigan than there are in Ontario. So why would the Americans ever want to drain Lake Michigan?
I am really surprised. They should have never called this a "free trade" deal, because really it is not a free trade deal, it is a trade deal, and there is no question that a lot of things in the deal have been protected. In fact, I have quite a bit of sympathy with trading with the United States.
l might mention that during the late 1930s, the 1940s and the early part of the 1950s, my dad, who was a dairy farmer, sold a lot of cattle to the United States. In fact, he sold those cattle to the state of Pennsylvania, and at that particular point in time, Pennsylvania had fairly strict health regulations. The only way you could sell to Pennsylvania was if you had an accredited or free-listed herd. For the benefit of those people who do not know what a free-listed or accredited herd is, your dairy herd had to stand an annual blood test to see whether it had brucellosis, and it also had to stand a test to see whether it had tuberculosis. The cattle also had to be tested before they actually went into the state. Any farmer who wanted to meet those regulations could ship to Pennsylvania too. Of course there was one great advantage to selling to Pennsylvania: the price was far better. There is no question in my mind that at some point in time, that money was very much needed in the running of our dairy operation.
As I mentioned, I was concerned enough about the free trade decision. I knew what the politicians were saying here in Toronto, what was in the press and what they were saying down in Ottawa. I also wanted to know just what the American politicians were saying. I made a contact down in Washington, and this person told me that if I wanted to talk to some of the American politicians, I should get in touch with a congressman from west Texas by the name of Charlie Stenholm, who was chairman of the agriculture committee, and other contacts were James Jetfords from Vermont and Congressman Gunderson from Wisconsin.
I set up appointments with those people, paid my own way down to Washington and talked to those congressmen. In talking to Charlie Stenholm, he said they had a supply management program in west Texas for the peanut growers as far back as 1937. He also mentioned that they had a co-operative in California which was basically along the same lines as our supply management program right here in Ontario for milk, and he also mentioned that he had been in Ontario and studied our milk marketing board policies here in Ontario.
In talking to James Jeffords from Vermont. he said he did not want to interfere with the policies in another country, and he hoped that country would not interfere with the policies in his country. We both agreed that the present policy we have under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, where we keep our dairy products on our side of the border and they keep their dairy products on their side of the border, had worked extremely well, and we also agreed on the fact that we had all kinds of land here in Ontario and in Canada to produce dairy products, and of course the United States has all kinds of land in which they can produce dairy products.
I might say, after I came back I put out a newsletter stating that I had been down to the United States, had paid my own way down there. and about three weeks later the Minister of Agriculture and Food got up and made a statement of how he was down to the United States and had talked to Charlie Stenholm, the chairman of the agriculture committee, only I think the taxpayers of Ontario paid for his trip down there.
The minister also, in a statement he made a few days ago, mentioned that the marketing boards were opposed to the free trade deal. I have talked to my own board member, Leland Wannamaker, and he said he is fairly well pleased with the free trade deal. He mentioned basically that he hoped they would put yoghurt and ice cream on the import control list.
I also talked to Grant Smith, who is chairman of the Ontario Milk Marketing Board, and this is his statement: He said he was cautiously optimistic about the free trade deal.
I do not question anybody's concern about trade. Let's face it, throughout the history of the world, there have been wars fought over trade. That was one of Napoleon's policies, for instance. His main enemy was actually England, but he knew he did not have the ships to transport his men across the Channel, so he decided to overrun the rest of the continent of Europe in order to prevent those nations from trading with England in the hope that eventually it would bankrupt England and then it would be easy prey for his army.
It has been stated in this House that the churches and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture are opposed to free trade. I was in church one Sunday morning and the minister mentioned the fact that he had listened to a CBC commentary. This commentary was half an hour long; it gave one person who is for free trade 15 minutes, and it gave a person who was opposed to free trade 15 minutes. He said when it was all done he did not know whether free trade was a good deal or not.
As far as the federation of agriculture is concerned, I know that all its members are not totally opposed to the free trade deal.
Those are a few of the things that I wanted to put on the record, and as I say, I am also cautiously optimistic about this free trade deal. I feel that we have to trade with our neighbours. We have always got along and traded with the United States for well over 100 years.
I do not totally disagree with John Turner's statement. John Turner said that if he is elected federally, he will tear up the free trade deal. Basically, that might well be another one of these deals where he tears up the deal and then brings in another deal with a few more i's dotted and a few more t's crossed but it would be basically the same kind of a deal. That is basically what they did when Joe Clark brought in an 18-cent tax on a gallon of gas. Trudeau said no way was he going to put an 18-cent tax on gas, but it was not very long until he had a 37-cent tax on gas.
Those are just a few things I wanted to put on the record.
This government brings in a motion, hopefully for it to have it passed prior to the signing of the agreement, which occurred last Saturday. What-ever their intentions were, I believe it probably has to do with some of their so-called promises prior to September 10. They feel that the motion called resolution 8 which we are debating, and also debating the amendments thereto, would have satisfied the people of Ontario. I cannot believe this. They seem to think that a motion worded in the way it is effectively says what the Premier was saying throughout the campaign: "No deal, no deal, no deal." That simply does not wash.
I know a lot of back-bench Liberal members have to be fairly good business people and have to understand and have to be listening to some of their constituents. However, the way they act in this Legislature makes me wonder. I have a great deal of reservation about some of the statements I hear being made by some of the back-benchers --
I firmly believe that some people have a brass ring in mind in opposing this free trade deal. The brass ring is at the beck and call of the Premier. I have noticed the member for Brampton South reaching for that brass ring in almost every daily question period. He reaches for that brass ring.
By toeing the Premier's line and opposing free trade the way he has, he may have a crack at this brass ring.
On this brass ring are several sets of keys. One of them is to the golden door of the cabinet chamber. That is worth quite a bit because with that goes a pot of gold a chauffeur and a limousine. On these cold winter days, the member for Brampton South would dearly love to walk out with his briefcase and have his limousine and chauffeur idling there.
I am the critic in this party for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food among other things and I want to comment at some length on the implications of the freer trade deal signed last Saturday by Canada and the US.
I respect the member for Hamilton West who mentioned in his presentation a few minutes ago in this chamber that a lot of the statements being made by members in this Legislature were based on studies and knowledge that had been obtained prior to the agreement being made public. I will tell my friend and colleague from Hamilton West that this is a Broadwater newsletter dated December 18, 1987. I will just quote a few short paragraphs from it.
"The final text of the free trade agreement contained several additions aimed at overcoming the opposition of farm groups. Otherwise, the agreement's provisions seemed to be what the government had been saying was there. The new provisions include a statement that article 11 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade will cover marketing boards, the GATT rules will cover any dispute over export subsidies, and that grape growers switching to other commodities won't interfere with seasonal duties on American produce.
"Once the seasonal horticultural tariffs are phased out after 10 years, Canada can still reimpose the tariffs during the next 10 years in the face of depressed US produce prices, as long as Canadian acreage has not increased. Any increase due to switching from grapes will not be counted. The agreement also allows Canada to go ahead with plans to reintroduce its own grades, bulk containers and anticonsignment selling rules. They were suspended earlier this year because they had not been properly passed by Parliament.
"The agreement sets out a 27-page formula to determine government support for wheat, oats and barley growers. Canada has agreed to eliminate import permit requirements for those crops once the government support levels are equal. However, Canada can require end-use certificates to ensure that American grain is used for processing and does not enter Canada's grain export system. The agreement will permit either country to impose import restrictions on grain shipments from the other, if such imports increase significantly as a result of substantial change in either party's support program for that grain."
Instead of standing in this Legislature and bringing in the likes of resolution 8, this government and, in particular, this Premier and the Minister of Agriculture and Food should be negotiating in a positive fashion to improve those areas which may not quite meet what they feel should be the requirements. But no, we have resolution 8, which is at the wrong time, in the wrong room of this Legislature: it should be in committee or whatever. This government tries to tell us it is going to approach the hearings of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs with an open mind. Following a motion such as we are debating here today, that is sheer nonsense, absolute and total nonsense.
What are the facts, what are the dangers and where are the opportunities in the deal that was signed last Saturday? I would like to outline a few in my presentation so people will be aware that, in spite of what this government, this Premier and his cabinet ministers are saying, we have untold opportunities. We have not become the nation we are by running away and hiding or saying "fortress Ontario." We are not a fortress: We are a trading province. We have to trade and we have to trade with the Americans. Let me start by listing 10 reasons why this agreement makes sense for Canada, particularly for Ontario. We are the third-largest entity to deal with the United States of America: we, the province of Ontario.
First, our system of social programs and institutions is costly. I do not think anyone can argue with that. It requires a prosperous and strong economy. How do we have a prosperous and strong economy? By trading. In order to maintain that prosperity, we must trade primarily with our largest trading partner. In Ontario, we know there are rising trade barriers threatening that prosperity, particularly in the United States of America. This agreement turns the tide of protectionism.
Second, whether we like it or not we now live in a world with an interdependent, global economy, and for those Liberals who still listen a little, the status quo is no longer. We must live in 1988, not in 1985 or 1982 or 1975. No two economies are now more interdependent than those of Canada and the US. This agreement does not create that reality; it recognizes that interdependence requires co-operation and not confrontation if we are to avoid some self-inflicted wounds. The Broadwater comments that I read here a few moments ago say exactly that. We still have lots of room to negotiate the deal that was signed last Saturday. Let us be positive. Let us look at it in the way it should be looked at and make it better for Ontario instead of being drug in by the hair, kicking and screaming.
Third, as the smaller partner in the Canada-US relationship, we know we will usually lose in a dispute based on power politics. It is therefore in our interest to ensure that disputes are resolved on the basis of fact and the rule of law. This agreement not only restores the rule of law but will be devising better rules of law to govern cross-border commerce between Ontario and the United States in the future.
Canadians have worried about being drawers of water and hewers of wood. We have heard that many times. Quite obviously my friends in the socialist party believe we should continue to do that; quite obviously our socialist Liberal friends think the same.
One of the major reasons we have exposed our natural resources, not processed goods, is that foreign tariffs are higher on value-added products. By eliminating these tariffs, this agreement is removing the major barrier to manufacturing and processing right here in Ontario.
Free trade will encourage job-creating investments in energy projects across the country and particularly in Ontario, where we do need more energy creation through hydraulics and fuels of all kinds. Greater supply means greater energy security for Ontario in the future.
More secure access to the US market means more job-creating investment in Canada. It will stop the exodus of Canadian firms setting up shop behind US trade barriers. It will allow us to invest in modern, world-scale plants, and this government has been heavy on world-scale this, that and the other thing, particularly in the first speech from the throne. This is the opportunity we have been waiting for and here is the government backing away from it, painting itself into a corner that will be most difficult for it to get out of.
It will make Canada, and Ontario in particular, a more attractive location for foreign firms serving the North American continent. They all mean more and better jobs, higher wages and lower costs. Quite obviously, this government is against that.
By agreeing on new rules for services and procurement, standards of agriculture and auto-motive trade, we can enter these global negotiations from a position of strength. We have to deal in the global economy. The European Community is getting stronger and stronger. I see a number of European countries wishing to join the EC; I have yet to hear of any wanting to withdraw. That strength must be dealt with from a position of strength. With this free trade agreement with the US, we will be able to deal from the North American continent from a position of strength.
The auto pact is not only maintained; it is improved. By becoming part of a broader agreement, its future is now more secure from political attack by disgruntled Americans.
We must always remember that the auto pact could have been dismantled with 12 months' notice from the US. Mr. Peterson did not make that too broadly known during his election campaign, where he had these great red posters a11 over Ontario. But the truth of the matter is that the auto pact can be discontinued unilaterally by either Canada or the US with 12 months' notice. That is a reality of life.
In fact, if anyone believes this agreement is not good news for Ontario, he should please tell the US auto part producers that we will discontinue the auto pact. These people, some 23 years ago when the auto pact was negotiated, fought tooth and nail against the auto pact. Today, they are the greatest defenders of the auto pact. I suggest to members that five years down the road, when this government is then in opposition, we will be fighting to retain the free trade agreement with the United States.
Consumer prices will fall as the tariffs are reduced. Madam Speaker, you are way too young to remember the Depression and I am a little young to remember the Depression, but that was caused in part by protectionist measures by many countries. We must avoid this at all costs and a deal with the United States is the first step in overcoming and avoiding the protectionism that caused the Great Depression of the Dirty Thirties.
For example, it is estimated that a young family will save up to $8,000 --
All of these benefits will flow to Ontario without compromising our ability to maintain our agricultural marketing boards, regional development programs, cultural industry assistance or our wide array of social programs. In fact, increased economic growth will help us maintain all of the institutions and programs which create Canada and Ontario as entities unto themselves.
Those are at least 10 reasons why this is not a bad deal. There may be areas that can be improved and that is where this government should be working, to improve the areas that it feels are not good enough to meet its requirement, instead of screaming in this Legislature on some crazy little motion, like motion 8. Why are we not dealing and negotiating in a positive fashion while the deal is still open?
My reason for opposing it is that this country, Canada, under the terms of that agreement, is being given away to the United States holus-bolus. If the Progressive Conservative Party would understand that instead of just blindly following its leader in Ottawa who negotiated the agreement before the pumpkin turned into the --
The Economic Council of Canada said that of 36 Canadian industrial sectors studied, 28 would benefit clearly under a free trade agreement. Twenty-eight out of 36 would benefit clearly and unequivocally. That marks a large net gain for Canada and, in particular, for this very province, the greatest in this Dominion.
We should also keep the need for change in perspective. With or without this agreement, we know that change is the order of the day. It is unavoidable, but we have demonstrated consistently and confidently that we can make the necessary adjustments. The beginning of that started some 27 months ago when the negotiations with the United States originally began.
We are being accused and the government of Canada is being accused of doing this thing in haste. If 27 months is not long enough, I just wonder what indeed the members opposite had in mind, if they want to take time to ponder, think and reflect. Our choice, therefore, is not of remaining static. As I have told the members before, the status quo is no longer. We must live in 1988 and think the year 2000, the turn of the century. It never has been in Ontario or in Canada a case of living in the past.
I could cite the members some of the towns that I speak for and represent in the riding of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and East Grenville. Many of these towns have celebrated their bicentennial. Some are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, some their centennial. That did not happen by saying "Fortress SD and G" or anything. It happened by negotiating, by dealing and by making things happen as opposed to running away from things.
Let me stress that mere opposition to free trade is not an alternative. It is not enough to be against something. You must bring forth something positive I have yet to hear anything positive from this government since September 10. By the way, its great list of accomplishments for New Year's Day included a whole bunch of blank pages. Not one bill passed, not one. This is the government of action, believe it or not.
They should ask the critics what they propose to take account of the great challenges and opportunities facing Ontario in the decades ahead under a free trade agreement. That is why, with or without freer trade, the government and our party have already asked for and provided massive assistance for Ontarians. This government has not provided one bit of leadership as to how it will, for instance, address the elimination of the two-price wheat system.
What is it doing? What is the Minister of Agriculture and Food doing? He is hooting and hollering. That is all I hear. Lots of noise and no action. Right now is when policies are being put into place. Right now, we have to provide some positive input to producing something that will be acceptable to Ontarians and to our agricultural producers, in particular on the two-price wheat system.
Education, retraining and skills training, programs that fight illiteracy will all be allowed to continue. Of course they will be allowed to continue, and without enhanced trade stimulation of our economic engines, we will not be able to carry some of our great social programs which came about with 42 years of very good management in this province until 1985.
Generous social programs and unemployment insurance are not touched either. We believe the additional changes contemplated by this free trade agreement will not require special adjustment programs in most sectors of Ontario. Ontarians have not only adapted in past periods of comparable trade liberalization -- I emphasize the word "liberalization". Is this a Liberal government or is this a socialist government? I ask the question and I think I know the answer.
Our existing programs, with their emphasis on helping individuals, will therefore remain the core of our adjustment plan. However, the government of Canada will be monitoring exactly how this trade agreement is affecting all sectors of the economy. I say to the Liberal government of this province that it should be listening and monitoring and providing input as well.
In a very few sectors, we have already noticed that the impact of the agreement will be greater. These are those of the 36 areas studied that will be losers. There are 28 winners but there will be a few losers.
We must be able to differentiate the free trade agreement from General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade decisions. This government has a great deal of difficulty because it is to its political advantage to use GATT decisions in trying to shoot down the free trade agreement. GATT decisions are taken totally and unequivocally separately from the free trade agreement.
Over the past months we have heard some people say that because of long-standing problems, the wine and grape industry is finished, and 1987 will be the last year of a crop grown in the Niagara area. I say to those preachers of doom and gloom, "Get out there, roll up your shirtsleeves and assist the transition time." This is a GATT decision that occurred.
Reality is that from 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the grapes grown in Ontario wind up as wine, grapes that are primarily grown in the Niagara peninsula. To those growers we must provide some financial assistance to bridge that gap to when they will become competitive. We do have some excellent Ontario wines. I make it a point to always make sure, whether I am in a restaurant, on a train or in a plane, if I am going to order wine, to order Ontario wine and Ontario's best.
Fact 1: Canadian wines have made tremendous progress in recent years as the quality of grapes has improved tremendously from the Concord to the vinifera.
Fact 2: For years the supply of Concord grapes has exceeded the demand and Canadian taxpayers have subsidized that particular surplus on an annual basis. I think the member for St. Catharines-Brock (Mr. Dietsch) would agree with that.
Fact 3: Our wines have been handicapped by many provincial policies. They must buy Canadian grapes at uncompetitive prices. Their production methods are more tightly controlled than European and US wines, and interprovincial barriers have encouraged inefficient production facilities.
This is the area this government should be addressing, correcting the problem as opposed to hooting and hollering and bringing in motions like motion 8, even before the standing committee on finance and economic affairs has the opportunity of setting up shop.
It is these provincial policies which have caused the need for discriminatory markups by provincial liquor authorities. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario is in there grabbing every dollar available and charging plenty of tax on it. That is where the problem is, if the member really wants to know where the problem is, and with the GATT decision.
History will prove that several years down the road this government will be wishing it could forget about some of the statements that are being made right now. This party will stand straight, true and tall. The honourable government House leader has just resumed his seat to listen to this presentation from his colleague from eastern Ontario. He will be sorry he kept us over this great holiday time to debate something that all Ontarians will fight to maintain five years down the road.
Whether Canadians know it or not, provincial pricing practices have been challenged for years by our trading partners as illegal under international trading rules. The provinces made an undertaking during the last GATT round. They are currently the subject of a GATT panel review. Of course, we all know what the decision handed down in mid-November was. European wineries do not like these practices but they have been able to offset this disadvantage and take the lion's share of our wine market because of their own trade practices, the same kind of subsidies that plague our grain producers.
The major culprits in the current system are not the wineries but the provincial governments whose gains are hundreds of millions of revenue dollars every year from very high markups on Ontario and imported wines. This government is not ready to forsake the best-milked cow it has or even any part of it. Therefore, they are blaming the wine industry and the grape growers and saying, "You were used as a bargaining chip," when, in effect, the markup on wines, Ontario and imported, is the culprit.
These are the facts we must confront, with or without a free trade agreement with the US, and we must always differentiate between what is brought about by free trade and what is brought about by GATT, which we are signatory to, as one of some 90 countries that adhere to GATT rules and regulations. The status quo is no longer. That is something this government must realize.
Going back to the Broadwater December 18 letter -- and it comes from Markham, a great little community represented by my colleague and friend the member for Markham (Mr. Cousens).
Now that the basis of the Canada-US agreement has been drawn up and signed, the details become increasingly important with respect to how judgement is going to be passed on subsidies, their levels and their definition. This is where this government should be working; it is in that area. It should define these things to Ontario's benefit as opposed to screaming in this assembly and bringing forth crazy little motions before this is even heard by the standing committee on finance and economic affairs of this Legislature.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development approach of a producer subsidy equivalent is not used. There is, however, a 38-page text dealing with agriculture, the formula and the rules for computation of US subsidies, the Canadian subsidies and the definitions thereof. Schedules also cover market access for poultry, feeds, fertilizers, seeds, animal health, veterinary drugs, plant health, pesticides, inspection and labelling. Those are the important matters in this free trade agreement, the definition of these particular things both here in Ontario and Canada and in the US.
In determining the level of support, the agreement names the Agricultural Stabilization Act, the Western Grain Stabilization Act, the special Canadian grains program, provincial programs, income foregone adjustments, the Canadian Wheat Board pool deficit, domestic wheat pricing, advance payments, the Farm Credit Corp. and research expenditures. Supply management is not mentioned -- l repeat, supply management is not mentioned --so supply management is here to stay. We live with what we have and we can set up additional marketing boards.
For the US the list is much shorter, with some all-inclusive sections for both federal and state programs. There is, however. no mention of the contribution to freight rate subsidies by US taxpayers, who pay the United States Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the locks and inland waterways of the Mississippi and Missouri barge system. This is where we should be negotiating, not disputing motion 8 in this Legislature. We should have our experts in Ottawa saying, "This is what is good for Ontario under the agreement that has been signed," instead of undermining a standing committee of the Legislature on finance and economic affairs before it has time even to look at the matter. It does not make any sense.
J'aimerais dire quelques mots en français au sujet d'une situation qui me semble très difficile à comprendre. Nous avons en Ontario un gouvernement libéral, nous avons au Québec un gouvernement libéral. Les deux gouvernements se contredisent tous les jours et j'aimerais simplement suggérer certaines choses qui ont été mentionnées que le gouvernement du Québec croit fortement et que le gouvernement de l'Ontario, un autre gouvernement libéral, contredit complètement:
«Les experts du gouvernement québécois, associés aux négociations depuis le tout début, ont signalé que M. Proulx a raison de voir une entrée additionnelle des produits en provenance des États-Unis mais, ont-ils précisé, dans le cas du poulet, l'augmentation est à l'ordre de 0.6 pour cent et, dans le cas du dindon, une augmentation de l'ordre de 1.5 pour cent. Selon eux, l'entente n'affectera ni les producteurs d'oeufs ni les producteurs de volaille et bénéficiera certainement les producteurs de porc. Les spécialistes du gouvernement ont simplement répondu à M. Proulx que le Canada n'est pas plus que le Québec, ou à ajouter l'agriculture.»
Nous n'avons jamais prétendu qu'il n'était pas question d'agriculture dans ces négociations. Ce que nous avons dit, c'est que les programmes de subventions et de stabilisation des prix n'étaient pas sur la table. Ils ne l'étaient pas non plus, Monsieur le Président.
Alors, ce que le gouvernement libéral a essayé de nous dire pendant la campagne électorale, ce sur quoi il misait le 10 septembre dernier, étaient tout simplement des racontars et des peurs.
«Un représentant de l'industrie laitière qui, en réalité, produit 40 pour cent de la production agricole au Québec, M. François Bourgeois, de Lactantia, affirme que le Québec est enfin prêt, en termes de compétence, à compétitionner sur le marché américain, à augmenter considérablement sa production. Selon lui, il n'y a rien à craindre de la présence accrue de produits américains sur nos comptoirs québécois.»
Le monsieur a confiance en ses producteurs, a confiance en ses citoyens. C'est quelque chose. Le gouvernement ici n'a aucune confiance en ses agriculteurs, aucun respect pour eux.
J'aimerais dire aux députés quelque chose qui touche au libre-échange. Nous avons dans la circonscription que je représente, Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry, un résident qui est champion. Il n'est pas champion ontarien, il n'est pas champion canadien, il n'est même pas champion international; il est champion mondial, un fromager. Son nom est Réjean Galipeau et il demeure à Winchester. Il est fromager dans la compagnie Ault et, en 1986, il a été le champion mondial en fabrication de fromage.
Alors, nos collègues libéraux nous disent, «Nous ne pouvons pas leur faire concurrence.» Qu'auraient-ils dit à Réjean Galipeau quand il est parti de Winchester pour se rendre au Wisconsin, où il a gagné le championnat mondial? Ils lui auraient dit, «Reste chez vous, ça ne sert à rien. Les Américains ne te donneront pas de chance.»
Réjean Galipeau est devenu champion mondial. Alors, pourquoi pas y aller de l'avant? C'est simplement un tout petit exemple démontrant que, pour ce qui est du libre-échange, nous n'avons rien à craindre, nous n'avons qu'à guetter et à produire ce que nous croyons acceptable à nos producteurs agricoles, ici en Ontario.
Just in order not to bore members totally and have their ears go numb --
Maintenance of access to the US market provided by the Auto Pact: The auto pact, as I said previously, could have been discontinued with 12 months' notice. Now -- and I see the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) is not here, but he would have to confirm it -- the Canadian president of General Motors has agreed that the auto pact was indeed strengthened through these trade negotiations. A strengthened auto pact, I believe, was not even one of the requirements of the Premier, it was simply a maintenance of the auto pact. It has gone one step beyond what the Premier of Ontario had asked for whenever he was itemizing his six requirements or no deal.
"The establishment, through section 17, chapter 3, of a new rule of origin for all vehicles traded under the free trade act. The current auto pact rule governing exports to the US requires that 50 per cent of the customs invoice price be incurred in Canada or in the United States."
Some will say, "Well, it was 60 per cent." Yes, it was 60 per cent. We now still have 50 per cent. Is that all that bad? They could have terminated it in 12 months; always remember that.
"That price can include overhead and other indirect costs."
However, under the new rule, to qualify for duty-free treatment, 50 per cent of the direct production cost will have to be incurred in Canada and the United States. The new rule is equivalent to a 70 per cent requirement under the current invoice price rule, and that is the area that is most important. Some of my Liberal friends say, "Well, it was 60 per cent." Equivalent-wise, it is now up to 70 per cent. That is where some of the strengthening of this auto pact has occurred.
Incentives to honour auto pact safeguards will be maintained by linking auto pact rights to duty-free offshore imports of vehicles and parts to auto pact production safeguards. Currently, auto makers save $300 million annually in duties on their imports from third countries. It is argued that this incentive is of sufficient value to ensure that production safeguards are respected as tariffs are eliminated and it will become easier to deal across the border with or without this auto pact, and this auto pact has definitely been strengthened.
The October draft regarding agricultural pro-posals and agricultural trade are all found in the final text. Article 701 prohibits export subsidies on bilateral trade, marking the first time any two governments have agreed to such a prohibition. Article 701 deals with agriculture.
Articles 401 and 702 provide for the phased elimination of tariffs over a 10-year period, with the exception of the snapback provision in the fruit and vegetable sector.
Article 704 provides for exemptions from restrictions under meat import laws, thus creating free trade in veal, pork and beef; most important. At present, we have a surtax of $10 per hog on Ontario hogs being exported to the United States. We would hope that this would be eliminated in the not-too-distant future, as has the 15 per cent on softwood lumber been eliminated in some provinces.
The final text contains two modifications or clarifications relative to measures in the October draft.
Under article 710, the parties retain their General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade rights and obligations with respect to all matters of agricultural trade not specifically dealt with in the agreement. This has the effect of protecting federal and provincial supply management and marketing board programs, as they are not affected by the agreement and are consistent with GATT. Again, I emphasize, we must be able to differentiate between free trade and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. This government has sinned a number of times by using GATT decisions to shoot down the free trade deal.
Under article 707, the US has agreed not to introduce or maintain any quantitative import restriction or import fee on any goods originating in Canada containing 10 per cent or less sugar. Page 13 of the October draft dealt with all sweeteners, not just sugar. Here in Ontario and in Canada, we have long looked for a decision on sweeteners.
These are situations that must be addressed. We must live within the GATT and we must also deal with our American friends. The status quo is no longer.
I will just quote a few prominent people involved in agriculture and you will see, Mr. Speaker, that what we have been listening to from this Liberal government in the form of scare tactics is being totally contradicted by a number of our high-profile agriculturalists.
The Canadian Horticultural Council: "We accept that there is recognition of the sensitive market conditions on both sides of the border. We are also somewhat relieved and in fact pleased with many aspects of the deal. The government will have to look at adjustment assistance for the grape and wine industry and we hope the government recognizes the need to work with the industry. On balance, we lend our support to this agreement."
It is signed by Daniel Dempster, executive vice-president of the Canadian Horticultural Council. He agrees that we should not be in this Legislature right now discussing resolution 8, that we should be sitting at a table with our American counterparts and our counterparts in other provinces negotiating what is best for the industry.
From the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Gil Barrows, director of government affairs --
"We have nothing but praise for the new trading agreement. There are things we have been working towards for a long time. The agreement frees up the flow of beef and maintains the free flow of cattle in the North American marketplace." Gil Barrows, director of government affairs, Canadian Cattlemen's Association.
Agriculture cannot complain at all. The supply management sector did not want the deal; however, it was totally untouched and can continue to create additional marketing boards if required. Poultry quotas are no greater than actual shipments.
"It is important for us to have a free trade agreement. I hope agriculture is mature enough to realize it" -- Charlie Gracey, executive vice-president, Canadian Cattlemen's Association.
On motion by Mr. Villeneuve, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.
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