The House met at 1:30 p.m.
LIQUOR BOARD AGENCY STORES
In 1985, for example, the agency store in White River sold over $500,000 in liquor, and this is a store that coexists with an LCBO outlet. Existing policies state that agency stores must be a minimum of 25 miles or, in some cases, 35 miles from the nearest outlet. This criterion, however, has been constantly ignored and in several towns there are coexisting government stores and agency stores.
Several questions arise: (1) What guarantee is there that the LCBO will not issue agency licences without discretion in the future? (2) Will the spread of agency stores force the closure of government-operated, low-volume D stores? (3) Will for-profit owners demonstrate the same degree of vigilance in turning away customers who are unfit to purchase alcohol? (4) Will agency stores be established in areas which have supported or could support a government store?
The employees at LCBO outlets have some very justifiable concerns and the minister must ensure that agency stores remain what they were intended to be. Their growth should not be at the expense of current LCBO outlets.
This was a particularly sweet victory for the Howard team, because three out of the four members had to play through a variety of ailments ranging from lost voices to bouts with the flu bug. However, they overcame their ailments to score an eight-to-five victory over the Ed Werenich team and win the 1989 Blue Light Tankard at Community Gardens in Trenton, Ontario.
While I am extremely pleased with the success of the Howard team, I should note that I am not so pleased with Canada's two national television networks, the CBC and the CTV, which failed to devote any live coverage to this tankard. You could watch golf or skiing from the United States or figure-skating from Chicoutimi, Quebec, but nowhere could you find any coverage of the 1989 Blue Light Tankard. To me, this is a slap in the face to all curlers in Ontario and their fans.
At any rate, I would like to extend sincere congratulations on behalf of all of us to the Russ Howard team and wish it continued success when it represents Ontario in the Brier from March 5 to 12 in Saskatoon.
ANNIVERSARY OF STRATHROY MIDDLESEX GENERAL HOSPITAL
The history of this hospital represents an interesting metamorphosis. The original hospital was a renovated residence donated to the town. It opened with 20 beds and a staff of five. The present hospital was constructed in two stages, in 1962 and 1975, and today it operates as a 121-bed facility offering a wide range of services. The metamorphosis is not yet complete. A $3-million project, for which this government has committed $2 million, to improve ambulatory and outpatient areas is in the planning stage.
Having just had an opportunity to be a patient in Strathroy Middlesex General for a week, I can personally attest to the splendid care its staff provides to the people of Middlesex.
As they get ready to eat the birthday cake in the auditorium this afternoon, I want to add my congratulations and best wishes to the chairperson, Joan Gentleman, and the other members of the board of governors, to executive director Tom Enright, and to the more than 300 members of the administration and staff.
GRAY COACH LINES LTD.
For many years, Gray Coach Lines has provided quality service for the travel requirements of residents in many towns and villages in Ontario. Gray Coach currently services many Ontario communities. There is a very real fear that the abandonment of these two routes is only the beginning of an end to many of the less-profitable routes. The quality of service and the scheduling and connections that will be provided by smaller local bus lines will not necessarily benefit the residents.
A large number of well-trained and decently paid drivers and other employees will be replaced by much-lower-paid employees. The ability of profitable routes to subsidize less-profitable routes to provide good service will be lost. There is a serious question here as to whether such rationalization, such contracting out in the sole name of increased profits is in the public interest.
The mandate of Gray Coach Lines, conferred upon it many years ago, was to create order out of the chaos which was once the interurban transit scene in Ontario. They got exclusive rights over profitable routes with an obligation to provide quality service to less-profitable or even money-losing routes. Why should they now be allowed to walk away from this obligation? Is this really in the public interest in Ontario?
INTERVAL AND TRANSITION HOUSES
Security at centres for young offenders is being reviewed only because of the Sepp murder, this tragic, needless death. It is unfortunate that the government has not responded in the same manner to senseless attacks on women at shelters for abused women.
The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses wants the government to ensure that there are always two staff members at shelters for victims of spouse abuse. Already two transition home workers have been savagely attacked by violent men who came looking for their spouses. In one incident in eastern Ontario a shelter worker was sexually assaulted.
This is over and above the number of clients who are assaulted, sometimes killed, after seeking refuge in a transition home, simply because the staff there cannot provide the necessary protection. We all remember the tragic case of the Kenora woman murdered when her husband, armed with a gun, entered the shelter where she was staying.
Double-staffing is essential, but some regions cry out for special assistance. In parts of northern Ontario, there is no Ontario Provincial Police officer on duty from midnight until morning. It is frightening enough for a shelter staff person to work the night shift while her police protectors are home in bed; the least this government can allow her is the support and assistance of a second staff member.
I say to the minister that he should, by all means, inquire into security of facilities for young offenders, but he should not forget the real and serious problems faced by interval and transition homes across this province.
Today, when people and lands are closer together than ever before, when events at one location impact rapidly on the rest of the world, when it is vitally important that the peoples of the world should know each other and should know about their planet, this ignorance of basic geography is inexcusable and dangerous.
We must emphasize geography at all levels in our education system. In 1987, Louis Branscombe said "that it will be recognized that modern geography is an integrated view of humans on this planet, the bringing together of ecology, the study of human habitats, geomorphology, social anthropology and economics; in short, all the tools necessary to understand how human beings should view their fragile planetary home."
Let's prepare our young people properly by giving them a fairer measure of real geography in their education.
Jack Lyndon, of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said companies will raise rates 17 per cent. The chief executive officer of Wellington Insurance said, "I think most companies will have to go to the top," a 17 per cent increase. When we read the fine print, we see that young female drivers, male drivers in the age-30 category and older drivers will all face increases in excess of 20 per cent.
So this is what the Liberal government meant when it said it had a plan to reduce auto insurance rates. Let us see another plan.
I am sure the Minister of Financial Institutions will recall the statement that was made by his leader in the last election campaign in which he said that he had a very specific plan to lower insurance rates. This is a squib from the Toronto Star of September 8, 1987. I know the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) would like to be able to read that clearly as well.
Now that many spokesmen for the insurance industry have made it clear that they are going to be looking at rate increases of the upper limit, which I would remind the minister is 17.3 per cent, the rate increase that has been allowed by the board without any applications to the board at all, I wonder if the minister can tell us how a 17.3 per cent increase from an individual company and from countless companies across the board in Ontario in any way, shape, manner or form complies with the promise that the Premier (Mr. Peterson) made in September 1987 that the Liberals had a very specific plan to lower insurance rates.
We have done that under the auspices of the board, and it has quite clearly set out the elements which go into the restructuring of the industry so that we can get rid of the discrimination which has occurred to this point. It has talked to us about what changes have to be made in the classification plans to accomplish that, plus it has indicated quite clearly what has to be done in order to come up with a reasonable but not inappropriate increase, which was indicated at 7.6 per cent as a benchmark.
We will be looking over the next 30 days at what in fact the insurance industry does when it files for its rates with the board. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. B. Rae) is quite clearly correct when he says they may go up that nine per cent. They may also go down by 20 per cent from the benchmark, so I can tell the honourable gentleman that there are opportunities for --
The minister himself said he was going to cap rates. He allowed a nine per cent increase. He said he was going to lower rates, and now he says he has got a benchmark figure. That is good for benches and good for nobody else, because it does not apply to anybody else. It might apply to park benches, but it does not apply to drivers.
As we analyse what is happening with respect to this rate announcement yesterday by the board, we will find out that in areas like Ottawa and Windsor there will be some decreases and that in the rural areas there will be decreases for people. We will find in areas of Metropolitan Toronto there will be decreases for the young driver.
We know that the fairness inherent in the announcement that was made yesterday was that those people who have convictions for speeding, either major or otherwise, and those people who have made claims on their insurance coverage will be required to pay. There is a fairness and a rational sense that has been introduced into this industry in terms of setting the rates that we have to this point not had the opportunity to find.
I can tell the honourable gentleman that there will be decreases in the system, as he suggests.
He also neglected to mention that even his auto insurance board noted, and I am quoting from its fourth report, "It is important to note that insurers still have the right to decline...a risk." His board similarly noted, "Insurers have become more selective about the persons they insure." He talked about the reduction in rates and failed to mention that there was still in excess of $2,000. He failed to mention --
I can tell the honourable gentleman that in fact there is still a high premium to be paid. What he has done with respect to the high premiums being paid by young people is to underscore what is in fact taking place. People who have heretofore paid very low rates will get some increases. People with large payments, for example, on table 15 I guess it is -- I am not exactly sure of the number -- the 17-year-old driver from Timmins who has been paying $4,000, will decline with their premiums on an average basis to just over $2,000. That is a considerable decrease for that person.
In telling the full story, likewise there are situations where there is limited experience of driving and situations where there are convictions where people will be paying more. Under this system of rate-setting people will be able to earn lower premiums as they have more experience. We can see that the cutoff here is established at about the sixth year.
I wonder if the minister can tell us, has the cabinet considered this document and has the cabinet reached any conclusion on the question of the export of tritium?
I wish to further emphasize that this matter has not been discussed by cabinet yet. I want to reassure the House that if we were to consider providing small amounts of tritium for medical research on cancer, or research on acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or for safety reasons, for the production of signs, we would want to have assurances, not only at the federal level but also at our level, that stringent, proper, adequate safeguards were in place.
I wonder if the minister can tell us, just how is it that Ontario Hydro is (a) going to ensure what its exports are used for; and (b) how can Ontario Hydro, once something has gone into the market, possibly control whether or not that substance is being used as a displacement for military tritium being developed in the United States? Can the minister enlighten the House at all on both these basic questions?
Let me follow through with the logic of the honourable leader's question. With respect to safeguards, we will be giving consideration to the fact that any commercial agreement -- not looking at federal agreements country to country, but at any commercial agreement -- would have to contain provisions for onsite inspection so that we could check the inventories. If Ontario Hydro sold some -- to the honourable member' s company, if he had a company that was making signs, just as an example -- I would want to have the right to go to see his operation three months from now to see if he actually did produce the number of signs he said he was going to produce.
I might further say that if the member wants to use the United States as an example, the first priority in that country is that tritium produced there is used by the military. If there is any extra, it goes to the civilian sector, not vice versa.
Will the minister tell us what consideration the board gave to seniors' concerns in its deliberations, especially concerns dealing with affordability, and will he also advise us why the board failed to give even one example of how its decisions impact on seniors?
As a result of the elimination of that age discrimination factor, there is an adjustment required throughout the marketplace. I have seen some indications that show that the adjustments in the seniors' area, on a company basis, will not be as major as those given earlier by the honourable gentleman with respect to the 30-year-old driver with two years' experience in Scarborough, for instance, which was a favourite example used by a number of people to illustrate the possible size of increases.
We will have to wait for the next 30 days to see exactly what rates are filed by the insurance industry and what steps are taken to deal with a very competitive market for the placement of insurance in Ontario.
For the answer to the question why the example was not given about seniors, the honourable gentleman will have to speak with the board.
One category where the board did give at least a few indications of the pain to come was for young female drivers. The report details increases of 82 per cent, 42 per cent, 48 per cent and so on. The chairman of the board, Mr. Kruger, says these kinds of increases are "just and reasonable and not excessive."
Does the minister agree with Mr. Kruger that 42 per cent to 82 per cent increases covering just a nine-month period are just and reasonable?
That being the case, then at the benchmark rate the increase is only 12 per cent. It is substantially higher, of course, if they go to the 17 per cent increase rate, or the top rate as set out in that table. We must explain to the people of the province, I think, that in fact the elimination of that discrimination plays a substantial role in showing an increase in that particular example.
The other thing the honourable member for Leeds-Grenville will want to indicate, as he supports private enterprise, is that the marketplace will have a lot to say over the next 30 days about the exact placement of the rate in the context of that Scarborough example. He will also want to say that the Timmins example shows --
Last year, while the government was snuggling up to the New Democratic Party, this party was the only party opposed to the risk classification changes, primarily because of our concern over its impact on seniors in this province, many of whom are on fixed incomes and heavily reliant on their vehicles. But this arrogant government and its NDP friends refused to listen. Now seniors in this province are going to be hit with a double whammy because of the government and its socialist friends.
I want to indicate that it is quite clear this government stands for the end of the discrimination that has affected all parts of our society in the province. We have a goal to see there is equal treatment for all people who attend here in Ontario, not just with respect to auto insurance but also with respect to coverage for health, access to jobs, access to opportunities to be full and free participants in a democratic society we have come to love and honour as the best anywhere, right around the world.
We want to be sure we end discrimination. The member stands for discrimination. That is fair enough by me. Under this class plan, we have a real indication that there should be elimination of discrimination on the basis of age, sex, marital status, family status or handicap, and we are proceeding to do that. There will be adjustments required and there will be increases, that is true; as a result of the end of this discrimination there are also some decreases.
The nurses of the cardiovascular unit at Toronto Western Hospital took it upon themselves to deliver this package to the minister's office on Friday, February 3, and asked her receptionist specifically to bring it to the minister's attention no later than Monday, February 6. It is now February 14, Valentine's Day for the minister's information. Has she looked into this proposal or not? Does she agree with it or not? What are her comments? Is she or is she not in favour of reducing the number of cardiovascular surgeries able to be performed in Metropolitan Toronto in one year by this proposed merger?
For the minister's information, the Value Improvement Program, VIP, was a recent study completed by the Baxter company. They compared the cardiovascular divisions of six North American hospitals. Toronto Western Hospital was ranked first in the following areas: shorter intensive care unit stay, shorter in-hospital stay, cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
The nurses in the cardiovascular unit at Toronto Western are very seriously concerned about this proposed merger. They are concerned about it because it is going to reduce the number of procedures able to be performed in Metropolitan Toronto per year, a reduction of some 400 according to one of the cardiovascular surgeons there.
They go on to say in their letter they delivered to the minister's office many days ago: "The proposed move will have very serious implications for the nursing staff who in our view represent the single most important resource of any hospital. It is vital that the concerns of the nurses are considered in decisions made by Toronto Hospital."
I certainly appreciate the question the honourable member has put forward, which is about the ninth time he has put it forward. The arguments for the land speculation tax remain just as they are described in the Globe and Mail this morning.
I was interested to see in the Globe and Mail this morning that in tomorrow's article the columnist is going to describe why the government does not go forward with a land speculation tax and perhaps we should leave the answer until then. Otherwise, we are very much aware, as the Minister of Housing (Ms. Ho_ek) has said on many occasions, that the costs of accommodation in this rapidly growing, world-class city are going up very quickly. As a matter of fact, they are going up in much the same proportion as most other cities in the world that are experiencing the economic growth that we are fortunate enough to experience here.
We are monitoring the matter very carefully. So far, I believe as Treasurer that a land speculation tax would be unproductive, but that does not mean that consideration of the matter should not continue. I can assure the honourable member that I have a high regard for his views on public matters and the fact that he has raised it again means that I will read the briefing note again.
Does the Treasurer consider this to be appropriate in the middle of a housing crisis: This is a 12-unit building at 85 Beech Avenue in the city of Toronto. Its price went from $660,000 in November 1986 to just a little over $1 million in October 1987, which is a 47 per cent increase in the price of that particular building. Does he not understand the ripple effect of that kind of speculation on the whole housing market? Does he not understand that basically all that the Minister of Housing is trying to do is going down the drain because of this continued speculation?
I do not discount the utilization of the thing in the future, but just like other honourable members, I lived through the last land speculation tax. I found that it was dislocating. It ended in a royal commission, at which I was a witness. I thought the whole thing was rather a bollocks of administrative responsibility from start to finish, and I am not anxious to repeat it. It could be that under the guidance of an enlightened administration it would work better, but the example we have to follow, in spite of recent newspaper reports, is anything but one that I would want to duplicate.
In addition to the safety and the assurances, there are also the economic aspects that perhaps I have not talked about. The tritium that will come from our reactors is being removed from the tritiated water so that it is safer for the workers at our nuclear plants. This tritium between now and the year 2000 would have a value of perhaps a few hundred million dollars. If we only sold a fraction of that, is that something this government and the people of the province should be considering in developing competitive global strategies?
Would the minister confirm to the House that this is so, that Hydro will be closing the plant? Does he know why it is closing the plant? Does he not think it is important to first be producing the tritium in a safe manner before he even thinks of selling it?
What Hydro has decided is that while the plant and facility is working, it is not working to its standards, so what it has decided is that it should repair and bring the equipment, including heat exchangers, compressors and turbines, up to the level and the standards at which it wishes to operate. For that reason it will be in temporary shutdown until these repairs are made.
PUBLIC SECTOR PENSION PLANS
The teachers of Ontario are quite confused as to the state of the Treasurer's negotiations with the leadership of the Ontario Teachers' Federation. They fear their pensions are in jeopardy and that he is unwilling to discuss the legislation he proposed to ensure their pensions are not at risk. Are the teachers' pensions at risk and why have negotiations broken off?
However, the actuarial deficit of the indexing aspect of that pension cannot be funded fully at the contribution rate presently in existence. As Treasurer, I believe this has to be set right, by either reducing the benefits, particularly the indexing benefits, or increasing the contributions from both the employer and the employees.
The teachers, through their representatives, have clearly indicated they want the full indexing to continue. Therefore, it is my judgement -- and the arithmetic is quite plain, ordinary and clear -- that the contributions must go up by approximately one per cent on each side.
I have indicated to the teachers -- we have met with them over a period of three to four months -- that I cannot wait for any significant period of time longer, since the actuarial deficit is accruing at a rather frightening rate. This is based on legislation, passed by this House in 1975, which gave the indexing aspects to the pension fund that make it so generous, and frankly attractive for the teachers.
Both the teachers and the OPSEU members indicated that they wanted other aspects of the pension plan settled by compulsory binding arbitration. As Treasurer, I have to represent the taxpayers -- the employers -- on both of these funds, which have assets amounting to $20 billion. It is my view that handing over to a third party the responsibility for compulsory binding arbitration is not appropriate and that this is a responsibility that the government, as the primary employer, must continue to maintain.
Our employees do not agree with that, but I guess that is something we will both have to live with. This does not mean for a moment that the Treasurer and other members of the government -- the Premier (Mr. Peterson) himself, he tells me, is meeting from time to time with representatives -- are not prepared to listen to other alternatives. In my view, I cannot put myself in a position to recommend compulsory binding arbitration to my colleagues.
I certainly would not agree with the honourable member's comment that the Treasurer, the Premier and this minister have done nothing for the last six months. The member is well aware of the fact that I have been meeting on a regular basis with a large number of provincial groups and am continuing to do so even today. We are in the process of negotiating the budget at the present time. That is going on, and I have indicated that when the speech from the throne and the budget speech come out, the member will know as much about it as I do.
Will the minister reassure us that Mr. Black, and the East Mall-West Mall group that came this morning, will hear the government, at the very latest in the throne speech, announce the full implementation of the first stage of the Social Assistance Review Committee's proposals?
I remind the member that when I went to him to ask for additional money to assist parents to buy winter clothing for their children, the Treasurer was very supportive. When I went to him to ask for additional money to put an additional $50 a month in for disabled people in the province, he was very supportive. When I went to him to ask for a significant $25-million increase in shelter subsidy support, and more recently for utility cost support, the Treasurer was very supportive. I have to suggest to the honourable member that based on that track record, the Treasurer is going to continue to be very supportive.
ASSISTANCE FOR THE DISABLED
Can the minister explain why his government has cut off Wally Elgersma's VON services because he has moved to another school only two miles down the road and is now enrolled in a Christian school?
My supplementary question is, will any minister of this House who chooses to discuss the matters of the disabled please respond as to why it is the position of the government that Wally Elgersma should be discriminated against and denied these medical services basically because of his religious convictions?
The police tell me that a $15 speeding ticket can cost in the neighbourhood of $50 to process. They suggest that if we raise the fines, it would not only meet the costs of processing but it would also serve as a deterrent to bad driving. What sort of response would the minister have to this recommendation of the police?
We are looking for ways to increase fines to act as more of a deterrent. In line with that, we are looking at revising the demerit point system, which we hope would also create a safer climate within the roads and highways in Ontario.
It has been suggested to me that we should be improving driver education requirements for beginning drivers and repeat traffic offenders and that possibly this might reduce accidents and be a factor in our ongoing debate about insurance premiums. What is the minister's response to that proposal?
What we are looking at is perhaps making the driver testing procedures somewhat more difficult. We are really looking with a bottom-line objective of making it more difficult and tougher and to get on the roads of Ontario and more difficult and tougher to stay on the roads of Ontario.
WORKPLACE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION SYSTEM
The steelworkers carried out a survey of more than 150 companies; 50 had complied, 50 were in the process of doing something about it and 51 had not done a single thing about the legislation.
Can the minister tell us what we have to do to get enforcement of this legislation?
I think that letter is now about three or four weeks old. I want to remind my friend the member for Hamilton East that the period for implementing the training aspects of WHMIS expired only a few days ago, on January 31, 1989, so that when the United Steelworkers of America and Mr. Carriere were undertaking their investigation, many companies were in the process of complying, at least with the training aspects of the WHMIS program.
I would not want him to send the signal out through his question that there is not general compliance with the WHMIS project. In fact, everything we have seen indicates that there has been broad, general and comprehensive compliance with the legislation. It is a tribute, by the way, to trade unions, to employers, to workers and to the government, all of whom work co-operatively in implementing WHMIS.
I want to congratulate the member on Valentine's Day, because I know his party and his friends in the trade union movement did a very good job implementing WHMIS.
What is the minister doing about 51 companies under contract who have not done a single thing? The legislation was passed a year and a half ago and was supposed to be enforced as of last October.
I want to tell him again that every indication we have is that employers and workers and their representatives are complying with WHMIS. It is a tribute to everyone in Ontario that this is taking place. I do not think he should send out a misimpression to anyone that there is not compliance. Where there is not compliance, we have mechanisms to enforce the law.
USE OF LOT LEVIES
EDUCATION OF HEARING-IMPAIRED
Beginning in May, the second phase of that review process will begin. It will be an independent external review phase with a panel of external deaf education experts coming to Ontario to help us evaluate and improve on our delivery. The external team will be visiting all of the provincial schools as well as many other board jurisdictions to look at deaf education programs. I expect they will be holding open houses throughout the province.
In terms of the good people of Wentworth East, I should advise the member that I would expect the provincial school in Milton will be holding an open forum. I also understand that some interest has been expressed by the Hamilton-Wentworth Roman Catholic Separate School Board in participating in that review, so those opportunities may be available to her constituents.
Could the minister please tell this House how he has responded to these suggestions?
I, for one, believe it is fundamentally important that we do our utmost to bring everyone throughout this community together to approach the very difficult issues that have to be resolved. That is the approach we have chosen, albeit there are some suggestions that we divert from this approach.
When will the minister exercise his responsibility to protect the consumers and broaden the legislation so that clubs already in existence will be covered by the legislation and their members protected, and when will the minister establish an insurance fund similar to that existing within the travel industry? Consumers are being ripped off --
I can say to the honourable member, on the second part of his question, that the area of establishing a compensation fund or some kind of insurance fund, as he quite correctly suggests we now have in the travel industry, was carefully looked at and canvassed. At this time, the government believes that the fitness industry is too diverse and does not have the kind of maturity that the travel industry has to allow a compensation fund to go forward carefully. But that is a worthwhile suggestion and we are continuing to monitor that situation very closely.
The members may be interested to know that today we had a first: a member asked a question, there was a response, there was a supplementary question, another response and it took one minute.
RAPE CRISIS CENTRES
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"We ask the government to take into account the views expressed by 13 members of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, led by Peg Doty of Longbow Lake, Ontario, who have said:
"`The failure of the provincial government to recognize the importance of funding to provide comprehensive care to sexual assault survivors has already resulted in the closure of one centre. Other centres are faced with closure, and still more have been forced to cut back on services. We request the ministry to take the necessary action to ensure ongoing funding.'"
That petition has been signed and has my support.
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas the crown in the province of Ontario continues a lengthy, futile and expensive prosecution against the Church of Scientology; and
"Whereas at no time in recorded history has an entire church been charged with a criminal offence for the actions of individuals, and freedom of religion in the province is at risk; and
"Whereas the alleged offences occurred over a decade ago and those responsible have been expelled from the church or rehabilitated,
"We petition the Attorney General and the government of Ontario to withdraw the charges against the church and end this prosecution."
I have affixed my signature thereto.
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"To amend the Teachers' Superannuation Act, 1983, in order that all teachers who retired prior to May 31, 1982, have their pensions recalculated on the best five years rather than at the present seven or 10 years.
"This proposed amendment would make the five-year criteria applicable to all retired teachers and would eliminate the present inequitable treatment."
The petition bears the signatures of 297 teachers residing in North York and surrounding municipalities; 141 of the signatories are active teachers and 156 are retired teachers.
I have affixed my signature to the petition.
"The proposals of Bill 162 will effectively abolish pensions, reduce temporary benefits, severely restrict supplements, deny rights and avenues of appeal, and minimize effective rehabilitation. This petition from the USWA Local 7480 will show how firmly we oppose Bill 162."
I have a second petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:
"We care about injured workers. We protest the Minister of Labour's proposal to change the law; that would take away injured workers' rights to permanent disability pensions when they are permanently disabled, that would do almost nothing about the miserable compensation of existing injured workers and their widows, and that would leave the injured workers of the future worse off. Workers who are killed or injured in their work deserve much better treatment than this."
I have signed both petitions and I agree entirely.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
POLICE AND SHERIFFS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 187, An Act to amend certain Acts as they relate to Police and Sheriffs.
This caucus is opposed to this piece of legislation. We are opposed to it because we know it is another attempt by this government to put a heavier burden on the property taxpayers at the local level. It is not enough that they have frozen the unconditional grants; they are now saying, "Here's something else the municipalities must absorb." The long-suffering property taxpayer once again picks up the tab because this government does not have the courage to pay for what it has traditionally paid for. That is a sad commentary indeed.
There have been representations made to the government and to the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) by a significant number of municipalities and their police forces. I know Chief Zanibbi of the Sudbury Regional Police Force made a very strong presentation to the Attorney General in which he claimed that the total cost to the regional municipality of Sudbury will be about $300,000. That is $300,000 which the regional municipality of Sudbury is going to have to pick up which it was not previously paying for.
It seems to me that court security should continue to be a provincial responsibility, not a local responsibility. There is no question that the intention of the act is to transfer that responsibility to the local police forces.
We know for a fact that many police forces in the province do not have a sufficient number of police officers to staff courthouses with adequate security. A rough estimate has been done that by the time the costs of fringe benefits, salaries and so forth are added up, it is about $50,000 for each police officer. In Sudbury, for example, with an estimated additional six police officers, the local municipality and its long-suffering property taxpayers will have to pick up the tab of about $300,000 if this bill passes.
There is no additional revenue from the province to pay for this. I saw correspondence from the Attorney General in which he indicated that the $3 per capita grant was supposed to look after that. That is ridiculous. That is long gone. For the government to argue that is going to look after this is a ridiculous assertion on the part of the Attorney General. In the case of the regional municipality of Sudbury, the province is plainly and simply transferring the cost of at least $300,000, with no revenue to compensate for it.
I would have hoped that the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Eakins) would have seen himself as a defender of the municipalities in this case and would have stood up to the Attorney General and said, "No, you're not going to do that to my people." That is what the minister should have said. Maybe he did say it and maybe he lost the battle. I do not know. Certainly he should not have sat back and allowed this to happen.
The bill does not reflect any kind of comprehensive approach to court security; it is simply deciding: "Here's where we can find some money to save. We'll dump this cost on the local municipality." It is not as though the province had decided it was time to put in an entirely new system of court security all across the province. It had nothing to do with that, nothing at all.
If it were part of an overall package to improve security all across the province with sophisticated methods of security, transferring of prisoners and so forth, then perhaps the province could argue, "This is what we're trying to do and here's how we are going to help the municipalities to do it." Fine, they could make an argument.
There is nothing honourable about this. It is simply dumping more costs on the local municipality. It seems to me that something like the cost of security for our court system should be absorbed at the provincial level and not at the local level.
I thought it would be appropriate to read to the Attorney General's parliamentary assistant exactly what the Sudbury regional police chief had to say. This is a fax copy to me dated January 9, 1989, from Chief Zanibbi. He said:
"I wish to solicit your assistance with regard to a bill which will be tabled in the Legislature on Tuesday, January 10. The bill I am referring to is number 187 and it deals with police officers replacing sheriffs in the district courts of Ontario. This is being proposed by the Attorney General. However, the police chiefs' association of Ontario and the municipal police authorities of Ontario are in opposition to this proposed legislation.
"The primary reason for this opposition is the cost that is going to be transferred from the province to the individual municipalities where district courts are located. In so far as Sudbury is concerned, the impact on our local municipal police budget will be in the order of $300,000 if this legislation is proclaimed.
"I would ask that you vote against the bill in order that we may be able to have the opportunity of putting forward our arguments as to why we do not feel municipalities should be charged with this responsibility.
"The Attorney General has argued that an additional $3 in unconditional grants were made in 1985 to offset any costs related to police providing security within the courts. Although this in fact was the case in 1985, those dollars are more than absorbed by our responsibilities in the provincial courts alone and do not at all provide any funds for what is proposed in this new legislation.
"Your support in defeating this would be much appreciated as it would be of benefit to our constituents in so far as having an impact on their taxes both this year and in the future."
Obviously, Chief Zanibbi is not simply making a plea to protect his own personal property taxes. He is doing it because he understands it is unfair. As police chief, he has an obligation to speak out when he sees something being done that is wrongheaded, and certainly it is wrongheaded.
I am glad to see that the member for Sudbury (Mr. Campbell) has just strolled into the chamber. I would be very much interested in knowing whether he is going to be with us in opposing this bill that is going to stick it to the local property taxpayers in Sudbury to the tune of $300,000.
It makes no sense whatsoever for the member for Sudbury to argue that the municipalities have the money to do this. That is ridiculous. They do not have the money to do this. Perhaps the member for Sudbury thinks that property taxes are not high enough in the municipality of Sudbury, but I can tell him that most of his constituents feel that they are.
I can tell members that we in this caucus are very much opposed to this piece of legislation. I should tell them as well that the Windsor Police Force is very unhappy, and the Windsor municipal officers are very unhappy as well. Chief James Adkin of the Windsor Police Force noted that the cost to the municipality for providing this service would range from $530,000 to $795,000 per year. This is what the Windsor people say, that while the province has increased police grants to municipalities specifically to assist with the cost of court security, the grant to the city of Windsor was only $230,874.
Here we have the province giving a grant to the city of Windsor to the tune of $230,874 and saying: "There, look after court security." But when the people in Windsor look at the total cost of providing that court security, it is anywhere from $530,000 to $795,000, more than twice as much as the grant the province is giving them.
I can only assume that the same applies for the regional municipality of Sudbury. The grant the province has given them for this is not going to meet the cost of providing the service. If the member for Sudbury thinks it is, I would like to hear him stand in his place and make the argument that this grant of $3 per capita going to the regional municipality is going to pay for the cost of providing court security. It is simply not going to do it, and why he does not understand that is beyond my comprehension.
I was reading through the previous debates on this particular legislation, particularly the contribution by my colleague the member for Rainy River (Mr. Hampton). I thought he made an excellent presentation and that I should support him in his efforts to have this legislation defeated.
I know this government assumes that when it introduces a piece of legislation, given the fact it has a huge majority, that it is just a given; it then becomes the law of the land. I see at least one cabinet minister nodding his head and saying: "Yes, that's true." I want to say it is that kind of attitude which will get this government in trouble. Just because it has the numbers to make this legislation the law of the land does not mean it is the right kind of legislation.
My goodness, I do not know how in the world this government that came to power with 95 members -- 94 now -- has managed in a little over a year to alienate such a significant proportion of the Ontario electorate. It is truly amazing. The fact that they have done it without any leadership from the Premier (Mr. Peterson) is doubly astounding. I can see it if he were a real mover and shaker and introducing really substantive legislation that would offend, but oh no, he is doing it while the government wanders around completely lost. That really takes a particular skill, to alienate the population while you are not doing anything. It is truly remarkable.
I forgot to mention the drivers of Ontario. The automobile drivers of Ontario are furious with this government, because they heard the Premier promise that there would be lower rates, and since he made that promise rates have gone up about 26 per cent.
Back to the bill, Mr. Speaker -- and I know that, as the member for Windsor-Walkerville, you are particularly interested in this bill. Without drawing you into the debate, I have a funny feeling that if you were not in that chair and you were back in your place, you would be making a speech very similar to the one I am making.
I do think it is important that the government understands that this is unfair legislation, unfair to the municipalities, and it is going to put a burden on them they should not have to accept. It is absolute nonsense for the government to argue that the unconditional grants are paying for the cost of transferring court security to the local municipalities. That is simply not the case and the government should know that. If the government really wants to check it out, the members should go and talk to the people in Windsor about how the grants are not going to pay even a half of what the new costs will be.
The municipalities in this province do not have access to the kind of tax base that the province does. There are some very legitimate progressive kinds of taxation that should be looking after these kinds of needs and it should not be coming from the long-suffering property taxpayers across this province.
It is very clear to those in our community that this bill is going to have the simple result of placing an additional financial burden on our municipality because we now become responsible for providing Ontario Provincial Police officers or members of our local police force to provide courtroom security.
This will be particularly difficult in Halton region because, like all other municipalities in this province, we have most recently learned that the government has arbitrarily frozen unconditional grants to the municipalities. By that action of this government it is clear why they did not wish to consult; they did not consult the municipalities, and they did not consult the police forces regarding this bill. To our best knowledge, we doubt that they have even consulted with the OPP in this regard.
We are concerned that the government is shifting more and more of its financial burden on to municipalities and municipal taxpayers, but this is a particularly inappropriate and offensive dumping of responsibilities on to municipalities, because in a sense the government is saying: "We're not terribly concerned about security and standards and commitments. We'll let you work that out on your own."
It is abundantly clear, having discussed this with the local police force, that this decision is being made in a void; this government action is being promoted in a void. Like many other government programs, it has not been adequately costed. The government certainly has not looked at the impact this is going to have on basic security, not only for those persons participating in our judicial system in the arena of a courtroom but also in more general terms the public at large, for the facts are well documented of people breaking incarceration, those people who are threatening not only life and property in our courtrooms but also in public if they break custody.
I had occasion to discuss this bill with our chief of police in Halton, Chief James Harding, whom all members of this House will recognize with interest and respect since the Premier has appointed him to the recent race relations inquiry going on in the city of Toronto and at large in Ontario. We all express our appreciation for the expertise and the sensitivity which Police Chief Harding will be bringing to that set of hearings.
Is it not somewhat ironic that the government can turn to an outstanding police chief like Chief Harding and look to him for that kind of wisdom, that sensitivity and understanding of the workings of our police forces and the security they provide our communities and our province, and yet when the chief articulates concerns on behalf of all municipalities and all courts in this province, the government suggests that he is not speaking from a series of foundations or from a series of facts?
The fact is that this bill should not be passed and that is why we will vote against it. We strongly urge that it be sent to committee so that the public will be able to unfold all the elements of this arbitrary intrusion into municipal governance.
The government has failed to examine clearly the impact that this is going to have on police forces because it has failed to consult with them, but if this government would take the time to listen, it could hear from police forces and it would be clear that besides the cost of training, for example, there are additional fixed costs which will be required to implement Bill 187. These would include additional salaries, additional weapons, additional communications equipment such as portable radios, access to telephones, and additional cruisers which would or would not be available for transportation. Variable costs that would be associated include the additional cost of fuel, uniforms and supplies.
What we do know for a fact is that this will require additional officers to be hired at municipal expense all across this province, so one asks the question: If the government is not going to expand their budgets and if they are limited in terms of what they can obtain from municipal taxpayers, what services that the police forces supply in this province are going to be adversely affected?
Are our police forces going to be told that they should give up on some of their outstanding community programs that are operating, such as school safety, the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere program and the alcohol and drug prevention programs that our police are actively involved in? Are those the kinds of programs where the decision will be made that they should be cut or severely reduced in order that the police can participate in a manner in which this government is arbitrarily forcing them?
All these considerations have not been fully discussed or fully consulted, nor has the debate in this House fully exposed them on the part of the government.
I regret that my colleagues from the opposite side of the House, the Liberal members from Halton, have not seen fit to participate in this public debate from the point of view of discussing openly the implications of this bill. I, for one, take the issues of courtroom security and general public safety and security very, very seriously.
I would like to close my comments by suggesting that we will be voting against this bill, we would ask that it go to committee for full public consultation and we would hope that this government would start listening before it reacts without any plan, before it reacts without any sense of what priorities there are for Ontario citizens; in this instance, its lack of priority for courtroom security for our judges, for our crown attorneys and, quite frankly, for victims who attend courts, who are quite frequently threatened as a result of the intimidation process that can precede a court hearing.
All those persons require not the support services, the security services that can be supplied by the lay security the member for Sudbury keeps thinking we will be able to fill our courtrooms with. We do not ensure public safety on the cheap; we do not ensure public safety with unqualified persons. That is why this bill is wrong and it is faulty and should be voted down. However, we look forward to meaningful participation in the debate in the months to come.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. M. C. Ray) ordered the bells rung.
Now and then there are niggling little bills that come along that are there to annoy certain parts of the constituency, that are put out, I guess, just to test how unpopular a government can really make itself, how many bases it can touch in terms of turning off parts of the province which it might normally have considered to be the government's or the administration's friends. This is one of them.
I find incredible this mean-spirited little Bill 187 that is being brought forward by the Attorney General. It is mean-spirited in a Scrooge-like quality. I am not talking about a sort of nasty, overbearingly punitive-style bill. It is a nickel-and-dime, nasty little bill by the Attorney General to somehow shift on to municipalities the cost for security in courthouses.
I have been surprised that as yet there has not been more of a hue and cry in the papers. Perhaps it is because in a place like Metropolitan Toronto, which has already had to deal with security problems in the courthouses through some major crises here, the issue is seen to be dealt with and is not one that affects us as much as it does smaller towns and cities. But I know when I was in Peterborough just prior to Christmas and saw the coverage there and the anger by local politicians and police people about this kind of action, that it is really regarded as an unnecessarily aggravating piece of legislation for the Attorney General to bring forward. He will learn this to the full when this goes out to committee.
It will be one of the great joys to watch the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Offer) replacing the Attorney General, who will never be present. We know that. He will never attend any of the hearings, but there will be the poor member for Mississauga North and he will be there to hear just how people have felt that this is nasty. This has taken a few extra little pennies out of our pockets. This is saying to us that in our case security should be handled by volunteers if there is going to be a money problem.
It is a kind of "Sterling Pound" Campbell notion of security in our courts. This is a government which is saying, "Here we are, responsible for the administration of justice, appointing the judges, setting up the rules for justice in these courts, yet it's the municipalities that are going to have to pick up the buck for this."
I just wanted to say, as a bit of a précis today, that it may be that the bigger ones, like the failure of what they are doing in the health system, the problems that are going to be out there in auto insurance and the big things may be getting in the headlines, but it is the little ones like this that aggravate constituencies around Ontario that are going to bring these guys down if they do not sharpen up before the next election.
We have seen the overall direction and game plan of this government and of this Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) over the past few years. The first game plan was to substantially increase spending. Last time we saw that was when Pierre Trudeau first came to power in Ottawa. He started spending at double the rate of inflation when times were relatively good. He was able to get away with it for a period of time.
Then the federal government started substantially increasing taxes to be able to pay for it. Then, when the first downturn came, that was when it really caught up. The tax base had been increased so substantially and the base of spending had been increased so substantially that when the downturn came it was like the old double whammy. That is when the federal government lost total control of fiscal responsibility.
Concerning a massive deficit like the United States has, we have to put it into perspective and realize how scared we should be. Our debt is three times per capita that of the American debt, so it is three times worse from that perspective. Our levels of taxation are substantially higher. We are faced with a double disadvantage there vis-à-vis the United States economy. It shows what a shaky, precarious position we are in.
I say this because it is important to understand why this bill is being brought in. It has nothing to do with policing or courtroom security. It has to do with who is going to pay for it. We see that same thing happening in Ontario. We see a substantial increase in spending: double the rate of inflation each year. We see a substantial increase in taxation to help pay for it. We see the use of the extra dollars that come in by the increased economic activity, the booming economy if you like, all coming in and being spent.
We are approaching that crisis point in Ontario. It is not apparent yet to the average member of the public, as Mr. Trudeau's was not apparent. Everybody thought this guy was wonderful. He must be a magician to be able to deliver us all these programs. Where does he find the money? How can he do it?
Of course, it caught up to the federal government. People realized that indeed serious mistakes and errors were made in the early years. These very serious mistakes and errors that were made in fiscal management and responsibility have been repeated almost identically here in Ontario in 1985-86-87-88 and now as we head into 1989.
Does he want to speak? Go ahead.
Clearly, this government has embarked on that course. It is a planned, organized strategy which is coming out of the Treasury department. We saw it with lot levies. "How can we cut our share of capital funding for schools? Right now we're paying 75 per cent. Maybe we could cut it to 60 per cent if we give the municipalities the obligation to raise that money under lot levies," which we know will substantially increase the cost of housing. We saw it in a number of other areas. They are exploring every option to shift more costs to the municipalities.
That is what Bill 187 is all about. It is to shift the responsibility and the onus to the municipalities for policing courtrooms and providing courtroom security and security from jail to the courtroom in the community. What is the net impact of that? Since this is really a financial bill, we must look at what is the financial impact.
The municipalities have begun to study it, and I might say they were slow off the mark. When this bill was first introduced they were caught up with all the other things that were being sloughed off on them, like Sunday shopping, like the freezing of unconditional grants, like the Planning Act, some of the areas where the Minister of Municipal Affairs was saying to municipalities, "Look, guys, quite frankly we either can't handle this or don't have the political will to do it, so will you take it off our hands and take the political heat?" When they said no, the government said, "Then we'll legislate it on you and you must do it."
So they were tied up with all of these areas this government was foisting on them and, quite frankly, when it became apparent that the government actually planned to proceed with this bill -- it is one thing to introduce these silly things; it is another to proceed with them.
We saw that with the water bill, this great anti-free-trade water bill the Minister of Natural Resources brought in. It was one thing to be silly enough to bring in the bill; it was another to be silly enough to think anybody would buy it. Of course they hurried it up before the federal election and it was so poorly drafted that it became a bill to facilitate the sale of water as opposed to restricting it.
It is another thing after the federal election was over, after the silliness has been pointed out, after it has been acknowledged that it was a silly political ploy that did not work because of sloppy draftsmanship and a minister who did not take time to read it before he brought it into the House; after all of that the government decided to proceed with it, which nobody could believe. Anybody who sat here in the House and watched the minister embarrass himself and his party earlier this week while they actually proceeded with it, is really shaking his head saying, "What are people doing, sitting here with this silly nonsense?"
Municipalities thought: "They're not silly enough to proceed with this. They're not that stupid." So they did not get ready and they were slow getting off the mark. Now the municipalities realize that the government is that stupid, that it does think it can continue to slough things off on to the municipal taxpayer and really does not seem to care about our ability to fight crime in the streets, about our ability to attack the drug problem, which is of epidemic proportions in this country.
Yes, they are that silly. They are now going to ask us to pick up the cost of policing provincial prisoners and provide security for provincial courthouses.
What is that cost? The estimates from the police chiefs across this province and for the municipalities that are responsible for collecting the taxes and approving their budgets are about $10 a person. In the city of North Bay of some 50,000 people, that is $500,000. independently, the city of Sarnia came up with $500,000, approximately $10 a person. Nobody knows for sure. It might be $9; it might be $15.
Independently, they have tried to analyse what indeed it will cost and they have arrived at somewhere around this $10 figure. I understand in Metropolitan Toronto it is somewhere in around $14 million to $17 million, which would fit roughly into that category.
Where are they going to get the money from? Where is the city of North Bay going to get the extra $500,000?
We asked that of the minister, the Attorney General and some others. We thought if we exposed the silliness that the government would say, "Yes, that is just one of that list of silly things and it will go away and die on the order paper." When we asked those questions to expose this, we got one answer back: "The former Conservative government gave $3 a head to municipalities to cover all this some four years ago. That is how we are going to cover it."
If the former Conservative government gave $3 a head and expected that this is what the municipalities and the local police forces were going to provide, surely one would have expected us to ask them to do it. If, on the other hand, there was a sense that $3 a head would dramatically assist with the extra cost of the Young Offenders Act, with some of the transportation of prisoners that takes place now -- and I will tell you that in the city of North Bay two officers go back and forth to Sudbury virtually every day -- that $3 a head probably is not enough even to cover those costs.
But I applaud the former government for recognizing that the Young Offenders Act placed an extra burden on local police forces. We did not want that to impact on their ability to carry out their other police duties.
I use the city of North Bay as an example. Those who live in a city of a different size should just remember the figure of $10 a head and recognize what that does to their police force.
That is the only answer we have had from the government. It has said, "Somehow or other we think the former government intended this $3 to cover the extra costs associated with the Young Offenders Act and everything else that we dream up in the future."
We were removed from government as we started to get an experience background, and I think the former government was pretty good at saying: "We are going to have to estimate. Nobody knows for sure. We will provide $3 a head. Let's see what happens. You can trust us. If it costs more, we are prepared to talk with you. If it is less, we know you will talk with us."
Clearly the municipalities accepted that in the spirit that, historically, the provincial government has always dealt fairly with them. Why are they upset now? Because that is not what is happening.
Since 1985 something dramatically different took place in this province in relationships between the government of Ontario and the municipalities. It took place with hospitals with doctors, with virtually every professional group; with school boards. It is not sitting down and working out solutions. It is a confrontation.
It is the attitude, "We have 94 seats and I am Premier; I can do what the hell I want." It can get away with it for a while; Mr. Trudeau got away with it for a while. But it catches up, and it is beginning to catch up to this government right now. This bill is a bill that is very symbolic of this government's attitude and how, in fact, this government plans to proceed in a confrontational way, not in a co-operative way.
Many of the services we provide, whether it be education, health care, policing, the attack on our severe drug problem or our crime rate, require co-operation. They require the crown, the police, the municipalities, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the local police to co-operate. They require a great deal of co-operation.
When you hit people over the head, when you punch them in the mouth, normally the immediate reaction to that is not: "Oh, palsy-walsy, you just punched me in the mouth. Let's you and I co-operatively go out and solve some problem." It does not work that way in life.
Good government is about treating people fairly. It is about working co-operatively. It is about how we get the best out of every individual, how we make that individual feel comfortable, wanting to do his very best. Companies operate that way. A good company treats its employees fairly, and those employees want to do the best they can for that company. They get more productivity out of it. It pays dividends and it pays results.
So this confrontational approach is wrong. It clearly, cumulatively, is going to grind this province to a halt. It is going to put this province into a very severe economic problem. It is going to place this province in a position of far less competitiveness. This bill is one of those examples.
What does $500,000 mean to the city of North Bay? How many police officers is $500,000? I suggest that probably with infrastructure and whatnot, the cost of maintaining an officer must be closer to $50,000. So that is 10 officers, 10 people required to replace what was a provincial responsibility, to police provincial buildings, to look after provincial prisoners. That is $500,000 to the city of North Bay, 10 officers removed from the street.
We had a question from one of the Liberal backbenchers today. Speeding seems to be a problem. There seems to a laxity in enforcement. Maybe we should have more fines. If you cannot catch them, what difference does it make what the fines are? There will be 10 fewer officers to be involved in traffic, 10 fewer officers to be involved in the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere program.
There is a problem of drinking and driving on which, quite frankly, this House and all three parties have worked in a very nonpartisan way. In my experience, in my eight years here when we were in government and in opposition, I do not think I have seen an issue where all parties encouraged the government to do more and applauded any government initiative more so than to fight impaired driving.
Ten fewer officers. This is just in the city of North Bay. The city of North Bay is 50,000. The province, I guess, is about 10 million. We can multiply that across this province. I have not done that yet. If somebody does that for me, I will tell the House how many officers are going to be removed. How many is that? To divide 50,000 into 10 million; that is 20 per each million, so that would be 200 times 10.
That would be 2,000 officers, roughly, across this province who will not be fighting crime, who will not be fighting rape, who will not be fighting murder, who will not be fighting the drug problem across this province. Those are the dollars. That is the impact that the municipalities talk about. Some may dispute those figures.
So do not look at me and say this is a Conservative partisan speech. I am speaking on behalf of the municipalities. Quite frankly, as an MPP, I am embarrassed that some other MPPs, regardless of their political stripe, are not speaking on behalf of their police forces, are not standing up and speaking on behalf of their municipalities, regardless of which party they are in. Surely they would want to put on the record today their concerns for the additional costs that are going to be placed on their municipalities across this province.
Here is something. Barrie estimates $306,000. That probably only works out to about an additional $8 or $9 a person. For Cobourg it is $250,000; Collingwood $133,000; Durham $2 million; Lindsay $40,000; Metropolitan Toronto $16.8 million; Orillia $70,000; Peel region $572,000; Peterborough $204,000; Port Hope $12,000, and York region $1.1 million. I guess it depends on how many courthouses they have in their area.
Let me talk specifically about one aspect of this bill. I am assuming, the way the government has operated in the past, that the Premier and the minister are going to go to their caucus when members raise questions next Tuesday and ask: "Was Harris right? Is my police chief right? Are all my councils right? Is every member of my council right? Is every member of my police commission right? Should I be asking some questions ?"
They are going to tell the caucus: "Look, we have 94 seats. Trust us. We're going to dump on them one more time. It's important for the Treasurer to have more flexibility. It's important that he have this extra money, this cost-saving money, and that we shove that on to the municipality. Trust us. It's two years from now. I know what your first priority is. It's not your council or your police primarily. It's getting re-elected. Trust us. Two years from now we'll come out with some new programs. The people of Ontario will buy it again and we will get you re-elected."
That will be the answer in caucus. I am assuming that will be the answer and I am assuming that Liberal members will buy it one more time and that this probably at some point will become law.
I want to point out to the minister specifically one thing that does not make any sense to the city of North Bay, and I am sure to other municipalities. In the city of North Bay there is the district courthouse. There is a Nipissing district courthouse. It serves the whole district of Nipissing. It serves countless municipalities and unorganized territories. There is also a jail in the city of North Bay. It serves a far-reaching area.
The taxpayers in North Bay do not understand why they are going to be asked to pick up the total cost for policing a provincial building used to serve clients from the whole district. They do not understand -- even if the government goes ahead with this and gets away with the principle of shifting the cost to municipalities why one municipality, because the courthouse happens to be in their municipality, is being asked to pick up the total cost.
That is why provincial buildings should be provincial responsibilities. For a city of North Bay building, North Bay should pay. Sturgeon Falls has a building and they should pay. If a region has a building, the region should pay. If the region decides to have a very elaborate building, those taxpayers in that region will pay. The rest of the taxpayers should not pay. But when the province has a building the province should pay.
Courthouse security clearly is a provincial responsibility. I say to the government that if it wants the local municipalities, the local police forces, to help the province in providing courtroom security, then the government owes them the courtesy of sitting down and negotiating with them and arriving at something that both sides will be agreeable to.
They are willing to go the extra mile. They would be willing to sit down with this province and say: "Yes, we always try to help out people who cannot seem to do things on their own. If you can't run this provincially, if your provincial budget for police cannot get through the Treasurer and the Management Board, if you want to pull officers off of this and put them somewhere else because you cannot commit the dollars yourself, we will try and help you."
But the government must negotiate with them. It cannot hit them over the head and, with a fell swoop, pass a piece of legislation that says: "Yes, it's a provincial building. Yes, the court system is a provincial responsibility. Yes, jails are a provincial responsibility. Yes, moving prisoners back and forth to these is a provincial responsibility. But we want you to pay for it." The government cannot do that. That is not fair, that is not right, and even though the government has got away with doing it time and time again, cumulatively, it is going to catch up to the government.
I ask government members now to reconsider this scheme to reduce the cost to the Treasury and shift it to the municipalities. I ask them to reconsider that. If there is some sense that there can be some cost savings by having somebody else do this job for them, then they should sit down and negotiate with the municipal police forces and with the municipalities that are responsible for their budgets and see if they can arrive at a solution. But they do not have the right, in my view, to take that responsibility and shift it to the municipalities holus-bolus, with no negotiation, without any consideration.
We are totally opposed to this bill. We will be voting against this bill. I call on those members who have police forces in their areas to show the police chiefs, the police commissions, the mayors and reeves, the municipal people the respect that I believe they deserve; to meet with them, hear their views, hear what they have to say and have the courage to bring that forward. If members think it will hurt their political careers and they are embarrassed to do it publicly, they should have the courage to at least do it in caucus. I do not have any sense that is taking place right now.
In addition to being opposed to this bill, since this government will not have the courtesy and the courage to go and meet with municipalities, my party and the New Democratic Party have insisted that this piece of legislation go to a standing committee. We have insisted that the standing committee hold hearings so that through the legislative process -- because the minister will not do it -- we can hear directly from the municipalities and the police chiefs the dramatic effect this bill will have on their budgets and on their ability to carry out their functions of police work at a time when crime, the drug problem, is getting increasingly worse at a time when they are fighting soft judges. I say that without remorse and I say that openly and publicly.
The judicial system in this province is deteriorating. When we see somebody charged with selling and dealing in crack getting a matter of days in jail, the police are being hampered. It is a difficult time for them as it is.
So we will insist, since the government will not do it on its own, since the minister will not allow the input and will not sit down and negotiate, we will at least provide the opportunity for the police chiefs and the municipalities to come before a legislative committee to tell the government first hand what it will mean in North Bay, Barrie, Orillia, Sarnia, Mississauga, Ottawa and -- where am I going this week? -- Kingston. Clearly, it will be important for us to provide that opportunity, because the government will not do it.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, or Mr. Deputy Deputy Deputy Speaker -- I see that even the Speakers do not want to sit around here long enough, we have to find someone else to fill the chair. I understand, though, and I am sympathetic to their problem. I say to you, Mr. Acting Speaker, that the other severe problem we have is that, with the apparent course and direction that this Legislature is proceeding in, the fact of the matter is it appears as though these hearings will now not be able to take place until the summer.
The government may want that; that may be its way of saying: "We've got some dogs of legislation sitting around on the books. Even though we look like fumbling idiots and don't know how to run the House, let's do this for a while and maybe we can get rid of some of these dog bills." Maybe that is the strategy, I do not know. I cannot think of any other reason for the way the government House leader, the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway), and the Premier are attempting to run this House.
On this bill, I say that we are totally opposed. We will force the government to hear from the public, since it will not do it on its own. I hope through that process the government will realize this is not the way to deal with municipalities. This is not the way to deal with police forces across this province.
The first item or issue I want to address is with respect to committee. Let me make no mistake about it: We are looking forward to the committee hearings. We understand that this legislation is going to be referred to a standing committee of the Legislature, so that we can afford those who wish to have input into this legislation the opportunity to do so, and we look forward and have looked forward to that for some time.
I address my comments in large part to numerous members of the third party who have spoken on this matter, because this legislation does conform to the policy announced in 1985 by the then Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Dennis Timbrell, under which municipalities responsible for policing have been receiving an additional $3 per household in provincial grants to recognize the municipality's role in providing protective services at court facilities.
I find it strange indeed that so many --
"I am pleased at this time to provide the details of the program for 1985, particularly a $3 per household increase in the police per household grant. This means that the grant rate for those municipalities providing their own policing in 1985 will be $50 per household.
"The increased police grant rate will assist municipalities with some of the more recent additional costs that they have experienced in fulfilling their responsibilities for the provision of protective services."
It goes on to say:
"In the past few years, in response to specific problems, court security payments have been made on an ad hoc basis by the Ministry of the Attorney General to a few municipalities, and with increased financial pressures at the municipal level we have been receiving many requests from mayors and chiefs of police to extend funding to provide uniformed police in the courts and to assist in the transfer and supervision of prisoners.
"As many of you know, court security has become a special issue in major urban centres. In 1984, the Attorney General received requests for funding from many municipalities. Because of the growing number of requests, our ministry will incorporate funds for these purposes into the police per household grant. This is a permanent solution to what has been an increasing problem and will replace the special payments which have been made to a limited number of municipalities."
This bill before the House specifically removes a confusion which has existed since 1985 and clarifies that, in line with the statement in 1985, court security rests with the municipal police forces. It is interesting that even in the news release of March 7, 1985, it goes on to state, "In the past few years, in response to specific problems, court security payments have been made on an ad hoc basis." It states that because of the growing number of requests, the then Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will incorporate funds for these purposes into the police per household grant as a permanent solution to what has been an increasing problem.
The statements made by the Conservative members are surprising to me, because it was they who initiated this matter in 1985 and we have clarified the matter so that there will be no confusion with respect to the whole issue of court security in this province.
I would like to go on to the issue that was brought forward on a number of occasions by speakers dealing with this legislation and its impact in forcing municipal police forces to reduce other services they provide to their communities. I specifically bring forward this issue because this is not the bill before the House. I must say that even the member for Wentworth East (Ms. Collins) has brought this matter to my attention.
This legislation makes it clear that police forces have the responsibility for court security. This bill does not seek to direct the police on how that responsibility will be met. Like other policing functions, the police can decide, in the context of all their responsibilities, the number and type of personnel that will be used to meet a specific responsibility.
This legislation does not say that police must have a first-class constable in every courtroom in every courthouse throughout the province. It does say that the decision on how any particular courthouse is to be secured remains within the discretion of the municipal police force. It is their decision and it is their particular expertise that will finally make that decision.
I should also like to discuss a further point, again dealing specifically with the bill -- and I would like to deal specifically with the bill, not like so many of the prior statements -- and that is why do we not provide court security. Why is court security not the responsibility of a provincial police force operating, for instance, under the Ministry of the Attorney General?
I think that is an important issue. I would like to address that issue by stating that the creation of a separate police force to look after court security would be a very inefficient way of providing the service. It would necessitate the creation of an entirely new administrative structure to perform one function, when existing police forces currently have that necessary administrative structure and in fact have been providing the service in most locations where court proceedings are conducted now.
In addition, and I think this is extremely crucial, a separate police force would not be able to provide an efficient court security service in many smaller communities. In many locations, court proceedings are not conducted every day of the week. In these communities, it would be difficult to justify the posting of staff from a separate specialized court security police force.
It does make much more sense for the local police force to provide the court security as part of its general duty. It is the local police force that has a particular understanding of the type of cases that are coming before the court in terms of how they must react to make certain the courthouse is secure. It is only the municipal police forces that do have that particular degree of knowledge.
Some comment has been made with respect to the $3 per household grant. Suffice it to say that these grants have been paid to the municipalities on the number of households in that municipality and that they have been paid each year since 1985 and have formed part of the unconditional grant since 1985. It was not a one-time payment. It is incorporated into those grants and has been incorporated since 1985, and those payments have been made since 1985.
In closing, the principle of this bill is that the security of the court remains with the municipal police forces. They are better able and better equipped to maintain that type of adequate level of security, to the person and to the property, in a courthouse in this province.
I believe this legislation will promote effective security for Ontario residents involved in court proceedings and I hope it receives the support of this House.
Mr. Scott has moved second reading of Bill 187. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
LAW SOCIETY AMENDMENT ACT
Mr offer moved, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Scott, second reading of Bill 203, An Act to amend certain Acts as they relate to the Law Society.
At the present time, the Law Society Act provides that only Canadian citizens or British subjects may practise law in Ontario. However, as of July 1, 1989, as a result of the proclamation of an amendment to the Law Society Act under the Equality Rights Statute Law Amendment Act of 1986, only Canadian citizens will be entitled to practise law in Ontario. The provisions granting a special privilege to British subjects to practise law will be repealed as of that date.
As a result of this bill, lawyers who are not British subjects will not have to become Canadian citizens in order to continue practising law; they need only be permanent residents. Furthermore, all persons who become permanent residents of Canada, regardless of their country of origin, will be equally entitled to qualify as lawyers in our province.
Enactment of this legislation is now even more important in light of the February 2 decision in the Supreme Court of Canada in the Andrews case. That is a case against the Law Society of British Columbia, and a majority of the court held that the citizenship requirement for lawyers under British Columbia law violated the equality rights provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and was unconstitutional. The court stated that a law that bars an entire class of people from employment solely on the ground of lack of citizenship is clearly an infringement of their rights and must be struck down.
In light of this decision and its direct application to Ontario's Law Society Act, I trust that the House will proceed without delay to enact this legislation.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
TRESPASS TO PROPERTY AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Offer moved, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Scott, second reading of Bill 149, An Act to amend the Trespass to Property Act.
It is also done to prevent the Trespass to Property Act from being used to prohibit the reasonable distribution, in inoffensive ways, of information related to, for instance, a labour dispute between an employer whose premises are located in a mall and its employees.
The bill recognizes that while all forms of public and private property deserve protection by trespass legislation, the absolute discretion to exclude anyone from a home or a farm should not apply to places the public is invited to use.
For many communities throughout Ontario, shopping centres have become the community meeting place. Libraries, employment offices, health and social services have joined restaurants and other commercial operations as tenants of shopping malls. The shopping mall has in many ways become a village square. This bill will remove the absolute discretion to exclude, but will still allow property owners of premises used by the public to protect themselves, their tenants and their customers against inappropriate behaviour.
Its requirements are not severe. It requires the operator to give a valid reason for asking someone to leave the premises or not to return to the premises. That reason can be conduct that is not compatible with the public's use of the premises or the reason may be that the person has breached one of the occupier's rules.
In addition, the bill limits to 30 days the period an occupier of publicly used property can exclude an entrant who has behaved improperly. Thus the bill would put to an end the situation where, and this is the case, people have been banned for life from a facility. By retaining the occupier's right to bar a person, but limiting it to 30 days, the interests of the occupiers and entrants will be served without overuse of the criminal justice system.
Since the introduction of the bill in June 1988, the ministry has consulted with many individuals and groups of persons who would be affected by the legislation. The responsible attitude taken by everyone consulted is, to my mind, heartening. We believe this better balance between the rights and interests of owners and entrants can be achieved without creating enforcement problems for those who are now managing in a responsible way.
One point to be made is that the bill states it will come into force January 1, 1989. Before enactment it will be necessary to amend that date and provide another that will give occupiers of publicly used premises an opportunity to prepare for the change.
I read from this that it would cover any retail store in Ontario because they invite the public in. Therefore, this law would not only apply to large shopping centres but would also apply to mom-and-pop grocery stores at the corner in a community neighbourhood and would apply to every other small business in Ontario. I would just like him to confirm that is a correct interpretation.
One is, how does it relate to school property, for example, suspicious looking characters hanging around school yards? Is there any protection for the children? Give an answer on that.
On rules of conduct, the owners of public premises can post rules of conduct for the premises. Any behaviour that is not posted will automatically be assumed permissible. Does that mean that if an owner forgets to put on a notice that you cannot take money out of the till, then it is permissible? What type of conduct are we talking about?
The government is putting the reverse onus. It is saying the owner of a premises or the owner of a small store has to tell individuals what they can or cannot do in that store. I think the government is creating a major problem. Surely, common sense would indicate that if a person did not act properly in a store, for example, the owner could ask him to leave without contravening any provincial legislation.
I am not sure what the government means, that owners have to post rules of conduct for the premises. Maybe the parliamentary assistant could explain that.
The question I have for the parliamentary assistant is, how does this apply in terms of a union organizing a store in a public mall, for example, and leafletting for purposes of organizing in that mall? The parliamentary assistant will understand that a 30-day removal can certainly put the boots to an organizing effort.
What happens in terms of citizens who want to demonstrate on the basis of their opposition to apartheid? What happens to citizens who may want to raise in a public mall an issue like cruise missile testing in Canada? How does this bill affect these categories of events? Does it really open it up, as I think I heard the Minister of Labour (Mr. Sorbara) say when I asked him the same thing in the Ministry of Labour estimates just recently, and make the centre of that mall the same as any downtown street in a small Ontario town? Or would those matters I raised be subject to removal or action by the owners, being reasons that are not compatible with his lease?
To the member for Wellington (Mr. J. M. Johnson), it is my impression it would not apply to the school situation.
To the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), it was in my opening statement that the amendments to this legislation would indeed allow reasonable distribution in inoffensive ways of, for instance, information related to a labour dispute between an employer, whose premises happened to be located in a mall, and his employees. This would take away the absolute discretion of the owner, as it is currently, to say to somebody that he must leave on the basis of the private property aspect. This would allow --
I want to get on the record the fact that our party will be supporting this legislation because we think it is long overdue. However, in saying that we are going to support it, I also want to take the time to delineate the number of ways it needs to be amended and the number of possible problems that can arise with this legislation.
I hope the government will listen and accept some of the amendments we would like to place, because we think it can become a better piece of legislation. I am going to quote back some of the things the Attorney General's own task force said to the government, some of which I do not find in the bill.
The first comment we would like to make is that perhaps the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General should go back and look at the recommendations made by his own task force in order to make this bill a better bill.
When the government appointed the Task Force on the Law concerning Trespass to Publicly Used Property as it Affects Youth and Minorities, Raj Anand, who was the principal member of the task force at that time, talked to a number of user groups. The user groups pointed out at length the problems they were encountering in terms of utilizing or using shopping malls in terms, first of all, of security guards, and second, of the police.
We think there is a serious issue here because one of the things that many user groups, particularly minority groups and young people, pointed out was that very often there were confrontations with the police, because as the parliamentary assistant knows, the police are often called in to assist the property owner in his or her assertion of property rights.
What often happened was that there was immediately the identification that the police were on the side of the property owner, no matter how unreasonable the property owner's rules or the property owner's behaviour might have been towards young people or towards minority groups. The need for legislation is certainly there.
In speaking of some of the groups that found problems with the Trespass to Property Act as it applied to shopping malls and other publicly used private property, there are some very telling examples that were provided. The Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto, for instance, brought forward a number of young people. I will just use one example. The society found that black West Indian youths and punk rock or street kids seemed to experience more harassment, regardless of their behaviour, than did other groups.
The survey concluded: "Discrimination...can be observed in a variety of ways: singling out particular minority individuals or groups while ignoring dominant culture members; focusing on youths disproportionately over other age groups; choosing adolescents sporting counter-culture fashions while overlooking more conservatively dressed youths; identifying economically disadvantaged persons for restriction before addressing more prosperous individuals; administering different enforcement penalties to separate violators for similar infractions of the law."
The examples provided were pretty telling examples. One of the things that was brought out was that the way the legislation inevitably brought the police into the matter and too often the police were identified as being solely and strictly on the side of the property owner, and as being against minority groups or young people in some of these circumstances.
The government may feel it has gone some way with this bill in addressing those kinds of problems. I merely want to point out that the way the bill is written, I think will not solve the problem. It will probably lead to a never-ending chain of court cases to decide what some of the vague language means. I want to refer to the bill because I think it is quite useful to look at some of the wording in the bill.
For example, section 1b, "Members of the public are entitled to enter and remain on premises used by the public, subject to subsection 1c(1) (conduct incompatible with the public's use, contravention of rules)...(refusal to leave)...(re-entry after notice)...."
What is meant by "conduct incompatible with the public's use." Who is going to define that? One of the things that comes out of Mr. Anand's report is that minority groups and different social groups, whether they be peace activists, consumer activists, trade union groups or identifiable minorities have a very different definition of what is compatible with public use than the owners of shopping malls often have. That was the key problem. By simply using the words "conduct...not compatible with the public's use," it seems to me that the government is throwing this problem up in the air again and basically throwing it into the hands of the court. The words "incompatible with public use" seem to me to be far too wide open.
If I can, at this time I would like to suggest language that might be a little more appropriate in this case. The language I would suggest would be getting rid of the words "not compatible" and considering something like "conflicts with" or "directly conflicts with the public's use." The mall owner may say, "The primary use of this property is for citizens to come here and shop" or "to take part in the economic marketplace." If that is the mall owner's definition of the primary public use of the property and you have a peace group which wants to demonstrate against the cruise missile testing, or a group which may want to demonstrate against apartheid or another group which may want to demonstrate against a particular social cause, they may from time to time get in the way of shoppers or create a crowded situation in the shopping mall, right away you have a possible argument that their conduct is incompatible with the primary use of the property, for shopping. Right away you are into that when you use the simple words "not compatible."
We would urge the government to get rid of the words "not compatible" and to put in language which suggests that the other use of the property has to directly conflict with public use in order to be outside of the owner's rules or to warrant some sort of exclusion from the property.
I can only emphasize that point, that simply in using the language "not compatible with," the government is asking for a fight on almost every other kind of use, whether it be leafletting for political purposes or whether it be a consumer group perhaps demonstrating in the mall against the behaviour or the public conduct or private conduct of one of the stores, or a group, as I say, demonstrating or picketing regarding some other public issue. We think that the government is into a conflict and right away it is going to invite court analysis and court scrutiny of what the act means. In that sense, we do not think they are solving a problem; they are probably enlarging the problem.
Occupiers' rules: There is a section that deals with occupiers' rules and the need for reasonable occupiers' rules. Once again, if the occupier posts a set of rules saying, "These are the rules, our interpretation of the reasonable rules for the use of this public property," or this quasi-public property, or publicly used private property, again you are going to run into a situation, as Mr. Anand pointed out when he went to speak, first of all, to the owner groups and then to the user groups in terms of shopping malls. He said they had a very different definition of what was reasonable use and what were reasonable rules.
Again, we think that by putting in this section on reasonable use and leaving it as wide open as it has, the government is inviting a conflict to occur. They are not going to get much agreement from user groups and owner groups on what are reasonable rules, and if they are going to leave it up to the court in every case to decide what reasonable rules of use are, again I can only suggest that they are going to create more of a problem than already exists.
My colleague the member for Hamilton East will make some comments later regarding the way in which this bill may affect the legitimate undertakings of trade unions. Despite the answer given by the parliamentary assistant, we are not at all confident that this bill will not infringe on the legitimate rights of trade unions to conduct organizing campaigns, to conduct a picketing campaign, to conduct a public information campaign, such as an attempt to get shoppers to avoid shopping at a given store which may have particular antilabour habits or particular conduct which the labour union might find reprehensible. That conduct might be, for example, the fact that the store may have investments in South Africa through subsidiaries or through a sister or brother corporation, or may be conducting itself somewhere else in Ontario and in Canada in an inappropriate way.
Based on our reading of the bill, we feel that those kinds of activities on the part of trade unions would be somewhat restricted by the language that is given in this bill, and the member for Hamilton East will want to say something more about that.
In that vein, I want to refer again briefly to comments made by Raj Anand in his task force report. One that I think is very telling in this regard is the comment that, generally in the past, the owners of shopping malls and also the security arrangements -- whoever the security personnel may be -- have exhibited a tendency to insist that only narrow shopping activities are the legitimate activities in shopping malls. If one's behaviour is in any way outside of that narrow definition, in the way that one either looks or conducts oneself, it is outside the rules. That has been the prevalent attitude on the part of owners, as Mr. Anand points out, and on the part of security agencies, which very often supervise the shopping malls.
If that is the case, I can only say that someone who is in a shopping mall and who is demonstrating on a given social issue, whether it be the peace movement or a given poverty question, or some other social activity question, will definitely appear to be different from and out of sorts with anybody who is coming into the mall to do shopping. That is apparent from what Mr. Anand had to say.
If the government is still leaving this open to the simple words "not compatible with the usual use of the property," or if it is leaving it open to the owners of the property to develop rules, I say again we are into a conflict situation and this bill will have done nothing.
I want to deal briefly with the 30-day limit, because again one of the sections in the act states that you can impose a 30-day ban on someone. Let's go back to the example with Radio Shack stores in the late 1970s and early 1980s when a number of trade unions were attempting to organize the Radio Shack operations in Ontario. Radio Shack simply decided, at the behest, I understand, of the corporate head offices in Texas, that they were going to defy the legitimate interests of their employees to organize into a trade union.
Let's assume we have that situation. One of the things the trade unions involved tried to do -- and I understand there were other organizations involved as well, women's groups and so on -- was to organize a boycott of Radio Shack stores. Just assume you have a situation with a Radio Shack store in a shopping mall and you have members of the trade union and former employees or current employees who are on strike who are attempting to leaflet to convince people not to shop at the Radio Shack store.
Here you have a Radio Shack outlet and presumably all the other stores operating in the mall saying: "The primary use of this mall is as a shopping place, a marketplace. Anybody who wants to interrupt that is interfering with the usual use of the property, the primary use of the property, the proper use of the property, and therefore we want them out."
Let's assume you get down to the 30-day ban situation. I do not think the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General has to use a lot of imagination to understand that if a 30-day ban can be imposed on those groups under this act, within that 30-day period you can wreck any prospect of carrying on a successful boycott. I think he has to look again at the 30-day limit.
I think the same thing can apply, for example, if you have an enterprise in a shopping mall which has an employment policy which is, let us say, particularly hard on women; they insist on employing women only on a part-time basis and only for the most minimum of wages and no benefits. So you have a group of women that wants to demonstrate. The easy availability of the 30-day ban can obviously destroy the impact of any sort of demonstration.
These demonstrations need only be the peaceful and otherwise organized effort to impart information to shoppers. When I say a demonstration, I do not mean you are going to barricade the doors of the shop. It could simply mean walking back and forth in front of the door in an effort to slow people down before they enter and handing them a leaflet saying, "Please don't shop at Radio Shack," for example, or "Please don't shop at Store X" because of their employment policies or because of the fact that they have investments in South Africa or because of a number of reasons.
I would suggest again that the easy availability of the 30-day limit, coupled with the "not compatible" language and the owner's capacity to make rules of use, means that many of these legitimate undertakings, legitimate behaviour, legitimate activities on the part of these kinds of groups can and will be frustrated. So, for our part, we would urge that the government take a look at some of the specific language I have referred to.
As I said earlier, it is very clear that the old Trespass to Property Act is inappropriate for what has now become known as quasi-public property or property that is privately owned but otherwise publicly used. It is very clear that the old act just does not fit any more.
However, as I say, some of the language in the new act creates such uncertainties and can be construed to be so restrictive that I really do not think it will do much. In fact, I think it may make the matter worse in the sense that if you are a socially active organization, a trade union, you may find yourself having to go to court numerous times to decide exactly what this act means. And after having gone to court numerous times, you may wind up with decisions that are very unfavourable even if you wind up with some decisions that are favourable to your cause in the end. As favourable as the parliamentary assistant says they are in terms of his interpretation of the act, by the time you get to that point, your strike or demonstration or boycott will be down the drain.
Our argument is that the government should tighten up some of the language to make a little clearer what is permissible. I would get rid of the words "not compatible" and use a term such as "directly conflicts with." Similarly, I think the 30-day ban is something that should go.
I have the sense, that members of the third party will want to address the need to put language into the bill so that one can discriminate between privately owned property that is customarily publicly used, such as a shopping mall and, for example, an individual store that is located on a street. The government may want to tighten up that language, but in any case I think what it has created here is not nearly sufficient. It has not been carefully thought out, and I think it is going to invite problems that the government thinks it may solve.
A couple of my colleagues have comments they want to make on other particular sections and aspects of the bill, so I will defer to them at this point. In conclusion, I can only say to the parliamentary assistant that it is obvious we already have some specific amendments that we intend to bring forward at the committee stage. Again, in the interest of having a better bill, I hope he will consider them.
As my colleague said, we think it may be an improvement, but we would like specific answers to some of the questions that are being raised. There is not only the question of organizing and whether that is made easier or more difficult by this legislation, there is the question that my colleague has raised of legitimate interest groups.
One of the things that disturbs a number of us these days is the activity of some of the California growers and the use of some of the pesticides on grapes. What if we have a demonstration that is urging people not to purchase California grapes in a store that is in a mall? There is the whole question of apartheid and demonstrations that may be taking place to try to dissuade people from dealing with South Africa because of this. These are all legitimate questions.
The event of a strike in a shop or an operation of whatever kind that may be in a mall is another point that certainly raises questions. One that I mentioned in the questions is the whole question of cruise missile testing and people's reaction to it. Are these going to be seen as compatible with the rules of the owners of the mall or the tenants in the mall? We have some reason for feeling concerned.
I might point out that this now deals with the old legislation, but the analysis done by George Adams, former chairman of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, is very clear. This is on the present law of trespass, mind you, but he says:
"Picketing is, of course, subject to the law of trespass. Practically, most picketing will occur in public places, sidewalks or roads adjacent to the employer's premises. It would appear that this form of picketing is subject only to the condition that public thoroughfares are not obstructed. Picketing on private property, however, may result in civil or quasi-criminal liability.
"This problem has surfaced most dramatically where picketing takes place in a shopping centre. If pickets choose to set up lines on the perimeter of the centre, the landlord or tenants not involved in the dispute may seek to enjoin such `secondary picketing'. Where pickets choose to set up lines in the shopping centre, even if those lines are limited to the immediate premises of the employer involved in the dispute, other problems arise.
"While earlier cases expressed some doubt as to whether the employer could maintain an action in nuisance or whether the shopping centre owner could maintain an action in trespass, it is now settled that a shopping centre owner may bring an action in trespass whether the picketing is secondary or primary and peaceful. The net effect of these decisions is to empower shopping centre owners to prevent all forms of picketing. In this regard, it would seem that in Toronto, the Trespass to Property Act gives both the shopping centre owner and the employer-tenant a right to prosecute peaceful pickets involved in a legal strike and to be awarded damages."
That is the way it stood. That has been a bone of contention for a long time with workers or other protest groups that may want to operate within a shopping mall. Therein, I guess, lies the question that we have in our mind as to how the word "compatible" is going to be interpreted. We are not sure that we want to see it end up in lengthy litigation in solving these problems. I say that really because of a comment that was made by the Minister of Labour.
I raised in the Labour estimates just finished this question of whether the minister had been following the progress of this particular bill, whether the Minister of Labour has made any representations in terms of this legislation and whether the ministry would allow the freedom to operate of workers attempting to organize or various community groups that might have a wish to demonstrate on an issue.
If I can give a couple of his answers back in the dialogue -- and I will not give it all, just the two or three pertinent points -- I said, "As I take it, you are aware of the concern I raised and whether this ministry has made any representations to the ministry handling that bill. I guess we were in committee with it or something."
The minister said: "I should probably respond to that. I have followed the progress of the bill from the conceptual stage in terms of cabinet submissions right through to the presentation of the bill. I have been satisfied at every stage that it would be responsive and appropriate and be able to deal with the kinds of ejection notices that someone might otherwise get.
"As I understand it, Bill 149 preserves the exemption from prosecution of persons acting under a right or authority conferred by law, which would include, of course, union organizers or representatives."
I might say here that I am not as sure as the minister of that, and I am not sure what it would do in terms of some of the other protest actions that I was talking about, whether it is against California grapes, apartheid, the cruise missile testing or what have you.
The minister goes on to say, "Yes, and the Trespass to Property Act simply acknowledges that for some purposes the pathway down the centre of a mall is analogous to the main street in a bygone era. I think that is probably the right thing to do." I would like to know if that is correct and if that could be carried a step further to cover the other forms of protest, not just union organizing or a union strike situation.
I might tell members the reason I am a little bit concerned about this. As I went on to say after the minister had made this comment in the Labour estimates: "I trust that you are right, Minister, and we may have to wait for our first experiences in this particular case, but I acknowledge your comments that you, in following it through cabinet and what not, have no fears that it will have the effect that some union people are concerned with...." The minister replied, "There probably will be some litigation arising and the courts will better interpret the appropriate sections for us."
We go from a position that it is the same thing as the centre of the street downtown in a small town in bygone eras to one that says, "Well, since you have raised it in effect, it may very well be that the courts are going to have to decide." I think it does raise the questions that my colleague raised as to whether we need a little clarification in this particular piece of legislation.
My concern is not that the bill is not a step in the right direction, but that it may not be good enough. It may not resolve the problems that are there and that have clearly been there in the past. I think it is useful to have answers to the questions that I have raised with the parliamentary assistant. The answers to those questions may very well decide just how firm we have to be in trying to achieve the two or three amendments which I believe my colleague wishes to move to this particular piece of legislation.
The government has introduced a bill to prevent discrimination against people who congregate in public places such as retail stores, shopping malls, sports arenas, camping grounds, outdoor parks and the like. If enacted, this bill will prevent owners, managers or security guards from excluding people from private and public premises such as shopping centres and libraries. I do not believe the parliamentary assistant is correct in excluding schools. I believe it does include schools, hotels, restaurants, playgrounds, sports arenas, concerts and outdoor parks, and there are many other areas to which this bill will apply.
This bill dramatically changes enforcement of the Trespass to Property Act from the current situation in which it is assumed that there is no discrimination and victims must first protest and prove they are being discriminated against. It changes the system to one in which it is assumed that discrimination has occurred and laws must protect and prohibit that practice.
I would like to take a moment to review the Trespass to Property Act prior to this amendment and subsequently look at Bill 149, this particular bill that we are dealing with today, to determine its impact on the act. The Trespass to Property Act, which came into effect in 1980, made no distinction between different types of property and their public use. All property in Ontario was treated the same.
Under the Trespass to Property Act, the shopping mall was no different from a residence or a small store or any other kinds of premises. The owner, under our present law today, can exclude a person or a visitor for any reason. This right is based on the belief that an owner has the right to control his own property. Under the present Trespass to Property Act, an owner, a manager or security guard of a property could require any member of the public to leave the premises at any time and for any reason, provided he gave him either a verbal or a written notice that he was no longer wanted on that property.
The property owner had the ability and the responsibility of maintaining an environment conducive to the nature of the activities of that property, be it a home, be it a business or be it a public building like a library. Bill 149 came into existence as a result of a 1987 task force which looked at the Trespass to Property Act and its effect on youth and minorities. This was referred to in the debate before I had a chance to address this Legislature.
It was determined in this report that the Trespass to Property Act was being used to discriminate against youth, and particularly minority youth, and it recommended the changes that are contained in this Bill 149.
I fully understand the intent of this legislation, namely, to address the issue of discrimination with respect to youth and minority groups. The intent is laudable, for no one in this chamber would oppose any attempt to prohibit discrimination against any group in society.
But in attempting to protect those who are unlawfully discriminated against, with this bill we have inadvertently opened the floodgates to those who are exhibiting unsuitable or unacceptable behaviour in public and private places, which often are places of business with very little recourse for owners, managers or security people to take care of their business place or these public places where this is taking place.
The question must be asked, whom does this bill serve and will it resolve the present situation? The author of the 1987 task force states: "There is a widely held perception among minority groups and young people that the Trespass to Property Act is enforced in a discriminatory way against them.... This perception leads to confrontation between visitors and security guards, often resulting in escalating tensions."
Will this bill relieve those tensions? I say that it will not. I say that it will heighten tensions. Bill 149 will complicate the Trespass to Property Act so significantly that it will be difficult for the small business person to know his rights. I have established today that this not only takes into account the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto but also takes in every mom-and-pop store across Ontario.
How do we expect those people to know the contents of this bill and what they must do in order to ask somebody to leave their premises? This bill makes it very difficult and very bureaucratic for a proprietor to remove a trespasser who is trying to create problems, and in so doing, it puts tools in the hands of those who might want to make trouble. In attempting to protect the innocent from harassment, it provides a carte blanche for those intent on causing trouble.
In Bill 149, owners of public and private premises will have to state or post rules of conduct for their premises. Any behaviour that is not posted will automatically be assumed permissible. I say "posted" because I assume that rules will have to be posted, for it would be unreasonable to expect that owners could verbally state rules of conduct to each and every individual who might frequent their premises.
This is just one more inconsistency in the bill. One cannot contravene the rules unless one knows what the rules are. That is stated in the bill. Hence, I believe, they must be posted.
If someone violates the posted rules of conduct, the owner may ask that individual to leave immediately. However, if the individual's activity does not violate any of the posted specific rules of conduct, the owner will not be legally able to evict that person, regardless of the activity which was not foreseen but is now being performed.
Can we expect an owner to foresee all the types of activities which will be contrary to the interests of the proprietor? I would say that this is impossible and would draw in particular from the concerns of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. They say that Bill 149 would be very alarming for art galleries, as they have certain unwritten rules that would be difficult to articulate. If galleries were expected to post all their expected rules of behaviour, the rules would take up all the exhibit space.
In an art gallery, I am led to believe, there are certain environmental conditions that must be met to properly preserve artefacts. Often when a number of people come in, the staff must ask them, for instance, to remove moisture from their clothing in order to maintain the proper level of moisture in an art gallery. Are they expected to write a rule that you have to brush off the snow before you come into the art gallery? It is important that the proper level of lighting is maintained in an art gallery. Does this mean they have to post on each light switch, "Please do not turn off this light switch"?
There are many other kinds of rules that you cannot anticipate. What happens to the small store owner, a one-man-operated store, when he knows that in the back of the store there are several people gathering in a particular area, and the operator of the store is busy at the cash counter and he expects they are taking goods and are going to leave the store without paying for them? Can he ask those particular individuals, at his own peril in terms of that small business, to leave the store when in fact it is only a suspicion that shoplifting is taking place?
I do not think that is a situation we should take out of the hands of a small store owner. I think we should allow that small store owner to weigh the fact that he may be alienating some customers or clients from his product against his suspicion that they are taking merchandise without paying for it.
Section 1h of the bill gives the expelled person the power to defend himself by giving the owner a written statement of defence that denies any misconduct or indicates that the conduct was compatible with the public's use of the premises or that the owner's rule of conduct was unreasonable. As a result of section 1h, a trespasser may decide to challenge the owner, giving him written notice, and re-enter the premises until the matter is resolved in court.
How does the Attorney General presume that regulations and restrictions like these will lessen conflict between the groups in question? I suggest that, for those groups in shopping centres who wish to use shopping centres for purposes of trading drugs -- which happens quite often in our shopping centres, unfortunately, I am told -- those groups will learn what these rules are. Those groups will enter into a mini-court confrontation on the floors and in the hallways of our shopping centres, and it will pit our security officers against individuals like those.
Ontario is a multicultural province. Many of our business people do not have French or English as their mother tongue. There is no provision in the bill to provide whether or not these notices should be in English only, in French and English or in any other particular language.
Should the proprietors post signs in languages common to the area of their business, their town, their city or their province, in order that they may be able to warn customers of activities which are not permitted in their place of business? Are proprietors to give written statements of their prohibitive activity in English, French or in the language of the trespasser? If "questionable activity" is not posted, where is the recourse for the store owner? Can he add it to the list as the offence is occurring? The restrictions begin to border on the ridiculous.
Bill 149 outlines the responsibility of the owner or the manager of a business, but where does it state his or her rights? The bill makes it particularly difficult to remove a trespasser from a public place or a public "private place", and virtually impossible to keep that person out for any period of time.
I have read carefully the task force report that prompted Bill 149. I appreciate that the author is an author of some stature and was trying to eliminate harassment of youth and minorities in public places. On a number of occasions, the author points to the fact that today's youth has no hangouts, no social centres, no recreation centres, and they often seek out malls as a social meeting place. I completely agree that in some areas of our province we are lacking in resources and facilities for our youth, but because we lack these facilities -- that is a fault of this government, in a way -- is that sufficient justification to make commercial properties hangouts? Do these properties become hangouts by default, by this government's not providing adequate recreational services for young people?
The report suggests that shopping centres are in fact social centres, that these centres should provide for nonproductive uses and not be solely concentrated on making profit. Perhaps I agree, but do we give others all the rights to determine what is a fair use of another person's property?
The report stated that the submissions for this report were taken from two diverse groups, categorized as the "user groups" and the "owner groups." On the one hand, property owners and police "reported that they had no knowledge of arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement of the Trespass to Property Act against youth and minorities, and maintained that in total, the number of persons excluded from publicly used property" -- I am talking about shopping centres and any other private property -- "using the mechanisms of the act represented a minute proportion of the total traffic in such properties."
Indeed, the argument could be made that it is in the best interests of the property owners to have traffic in their mall or stores. They want the traffic here. They are in business to have people see and buy at their particular establishments.
On the other hand, the groups representing youth, visible minorities and other members of the public, which includes youth organizations and community legal clinics, were positioned at the other end of the spectrum. They submitted that it was incompatible with the important social and economic role that publicly used properties play, in contemporary Ontario society, to permit the occupiers of such properties to extend an apparent general invitation to the public, yet be permitted to withdraw that invitation in individual cases in the absence of misbehaviour by such individuals. In short, there was a common perception of arbitrary treatment and discrimination against youth and visible minorities on that end of the spectrum.
When a minister or a government is faced with two very diverse points of view, it would appear reasonable to me to try to mediate the differences to strike a balance between the opposing parties, but the conclusions of this report do not propose a delicate balance of rights and responsibilities that is necessitated in this instance. Instead, the conclusions, for the most part based on anecdotal evidence and not statistical data as the evidence of statistical data is very sparse, are very much biased in favour of the individual's right to enter and remain on a private property and very much against the owner's right to control that property.
I believe the important aspect of this entire legislation is being lost as put forward in Bill 149. The question of trespass and the enforcement of trespass laws is one that goes far beyond the issue of race, age or ethnic origin. If a store owner is compromised by the presence of individuals in his establishment or if a customer, in attempting to receive a service, is compromised in a similar fashion, it is not unreasonable to expect the owner or that customer to want the individual in question excluded from that establishment.
At no time during the discussion of this bill was there mention of the existing appeal mechanisms for any type of discriminatory action, namely, the Ontario Human Rights Commission. If one feels one has been discriminated against by a shopkeeper or by a mall owner or for any reason listed in this bill, one can seek a remedy from the Ontario Human Rights Commission. It is not as though there is no avenue of appeal in this type of situation. There is one already embodied in our Human Rights Code.
The argument made in this report against the use of this body is that the average individual will not go to this length or does not have the sophistication required to launch an appeal with this body. Yet this legislation requires a high degree of sophistication for the mom-and-pop stores across Ontario. Where is the fairness and equity in this situation?
It is the nature of commercial enterprises to serve the public. If the public is pre-empted from entering a place of business due to the congregation of a group of individuals or is intimidated by their presence inside a place of business or near that business, and the presence of these individuals interferes with the operation of that business, then proprietors should have the right to object to this infringement.
Bill 149 negates this objection and I consider it to be an intrusion on the rights of property owners. Antidiscriminatory legislation can be achieved through constructive legislative measures, but I fail to see the merit of this bill in its present form with respect to the relieving of discriminatory attitudes. Having removed the right of property owners to control their respective environments, I see little opportunity for the situation to improve.
In summary, we oppose the legislation on these following grounds:
First, there is no significant documented statistical proof that there is a significant problem. I believe even Mr. Anand has said the problem is minuscule.
Second, the bill is much too wide in scope in that it is designed for shopping centres like the Eaton Centre with a sophisticated security staff, but also applies to each and every small retail store across our province.
Third, the bill complicates our existing laws and introduces a new level of bureaucracy to business in that it requires every shopkeeper in Ontario to post rules, to keep written notices of ejection on hand and to have a knowledge of the law so that he or she can advise the trespasser of his or her rights so that the trespasser can defend himself or herself.
Fourth, the bill attempts to lessen tensions between proprietors and minority groups. We feel this bill will achieve exactly the opposite result. We believe this bill will lead to confrontation we have never seen before.
Finally, this bill represents a deficient law that will be almost impossible, if not impossible, to implement.
The intentional tort book was by the late Cecil Augustus Wright, who was the dean of the law school I attended. We called him Caesar Augustus, of course, because we had a bit of a sense of humour, New Democrats or not. He, of course, was the great exponent of no-fault insurance, which this government has belatedly begun to entertain, because if there is one thing this government is, it is belated. Some people think it is frozen in the ice, but it is not; it is just belated.
I rise on this matter partly because of my dear colleague Councillor Layton. I think there may be some who would call this the Layton bill, because of course it was Councillor Layton who was arrested in the very same Eaton Centre for behaving in a way that my colleague the member for Carleton could not possibly countenance. I think he was probably pointing out at the time that Eaton's workers should be unionized or some such folly. Right?
I listened to the concluding remarks of the member for Carleton, who in other respects I find absolutely adorable. He talks about documented statistical proof. I will give this man documented statistical proof, if he wants some. He talks about the sophisticated security staff at the Eaton Centre. If he thinks those goons are sophisticated, I hate to think what happens in the great riding of Carleton. In fact, I am terrified to visit the riding of Carleton if the people at the Eaton Centre who are putting people out on their rear ends are somehow sophisticated.
I may even know where Carleton is. I think it is up near Ottawa. I always thought that was a fairly sophisticated, if somewhat cold part of the province of Ontario. I do know that people wait for the light to turn green before they walk.
As one of the urban and sophisticated downtown members of this Legislature, of which there are not clearly enough --
I share with my colleague the member for Rainy River (Mr. Hampton), another urbane and sophisticated part of the province, concerns about Bill 149. If one wanted to revisit the fairly boring discussion of property that is familiar in law schools, one would be able to understand the history of land law and the lengths to which owners might go to prevent people they do not like from being on their land, notwithstanding the fact that some of us socialists believe property is theft. Others of us are more practical and realize that people will indeed own property, and that if they own property they will seek means to control access to their property.
Usually, the way they do that is they decide who they want to be there and who they do not. Then one gets into all sorts of stuff about invitees, licensees and bailees. I just hope some of the lawyers are paying attention because they will be familiar with these terms that are absolutely meaningless in real life, but provide lawyers with a great living in Ontario and elsewhere. Who would I be to deny lawyers a great living or even a less great living?
It strikes me that what this law is intended to deal with is the owners of property which, for some purposes, is intended to be absolutely public, and for other purposes is intended to be private. Of course, we are talking about the great malls. This is the Ghermezian effect, where what one wants to do is entice people into one's private property so that they will buy many of one's private goods and rush off cackling cheerfully to themselves that they have left all their money with the owner of the mall and they have this shoddy stuff in exchange.
Of course, the owners of these malls want all of us to come in as long as we are prepared to buy. But if we are a bit odd looking, they do not want us in there, because of course we might confuse all the buyers who might stop and look at those of us who are odd and forget to buy. I do not believe the state should be very interested in protecting the owners of all this schlock from selling all this schlock to people who do not need it.
I will not go on at length about the Councillor Layton case because Councillor Layton will go on at length about that himself. In fact, he will go on at such length that many of us will sort of drop off and wake up again several hours later and find that he is still going on about it.
There are others in our society who are attracted to these quasi-public/quasi-private spaces who are not dealt with in a way that admits of as easy redress as Councillor Layton wants. Councillor Layton, of course, was able to hire a lawyer and go on to the courts and say blah, blah, blah, and the courts said blah, blah, blah, and everything was fine.
I am talking about people who do not have as ready access to the courts. I am talking about people who are considered to be among the less powerful of our society. I refer my good friend the member for Carleton, whose initiatives in respect of smoking in some places I totally support, notwithstanding the fact that I am a sinner myself.
I think he is quite right. I think on this score, however, he is consulting with the right wing of his soul just too much. If he would look on page 91 of sessional paper 54, Third Session, 33rd Parliament, tabled Wednesday, May 13, 1987, by Smirle Forsyth, it appears, from the signature; it is, of course, the Task Force on the Law concerning Trespass to Publicly Used Property as it Affects Youth and Minorities. If he turned to page 91, he would learn a few of the facts with regard to SEED, which is an alternative high school of the Toronto Board of Education. Many of the students who are attracted to such a high school are perforce somewhat unusual in appearance. Some of them may still wear a Mohawk, which is a kind of hair design not favoured in the Legislature but which, notwithstanding, I find quite attractive. You kind of get your hair to stand up and use a lot of industrial grease on it; it will stand right up and you will look almost as though you were a member of the Six Nations confederacy which was, of course, the original owner of the land which we now occupy, notwithstanding that we did not buy it from them.
A number of young people who go to such a school look like that and, if you ask me, that is their business; not yours and not mine, but theirs. But the allegedly sophisticated security staff at the Eaton Centre think it is their business; they kind of hurry them on out the door and tell them to get on Highway 505 and go east or west, as long as it is far away from the Eaton Centre.
They do that at College Park shopping centre as well. Of course, SEED School just happened to have been across the street from College Park, so the kids went across the street to get their lunch. One of those kids was my son. He had a brilliant Mohawk, and that was his business. It offended me, but that was because I was his father. He was told to kind of move off and he is not used to taking a lot of crap from people so he said, "Put it in your nose," or some such response, which I thought was probably appropriate; because what did this sophisticated security guard know about the law of trespass? Well, hardly anything.
We are confronted with this law, Bill 149. The member for Mississauga North thinks this is a heck of a law. It is a bit of an improvement on the common law. The common law obviously had nothing to do with being common, because it was designed by people who owned a bunch of property and that was not a very common thing. Most of us common people did not have any property. We had a few goats and some sheep. We had to kill a lot of them over the winter because we did not have enough fodder to feed them.
A lot of the members of the Legislature will not understand this stuff. This is a kind of social history, and they probably do not have that where they come from; but in fact it is true that mostly powerful people had land: kings, nobles, appointees of the Liberal government; people like that had some land and everybody else had nothing. They had to kind of beg to walk around non-stop; they had some common property until they fenced it in, and that related to the sheep. That was the enclosure laws. They caused a lot of trouble and a lot of immigration.
The section of the bill in question, of course, is section 1c:
"(1) Every person who, on premises used by the public,
"(a) engages in conduct that is not compatible with the public's use of the premises..."
What on earth could that mean?
Those of us who are somewhat sceptical about this government's intentions worry that behaviour which some might think is totally compatible with use "by the public" will, in fact, be viewed by those who own everything as being incompatible, that it will be used to restrict the behaviour and in fact the presence of certain categories of folk in these public spaces to which we are all invited: "Our City -- Our Centre."
Does anybody watch that schlock on television?: "Our City -- Our Centre." What could that mean? Has that got anything to do with anything? No. What it means is that you come down and you can buy all this stuff and run up a big bill on your Chargex account and they will be really happy to have you do that until you do not pay it. Then they will call you up and tell you what a worm you are because you did not pay. Until that point, of course, they say, "Buy, buy, buy."
There are those of us who have been around a bit. We obviously do not travel in the great riding of Carleton, but we travel in other parts of Ontario where we know that if you are young and a bit odd-looking, and if you do not have on -- I should not use this jacket; my colleague the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) has a Samuelsohn suit on -- a Samuelsohn suit, they want you to move along, unless of course it looks as though you are about to buy a Samuelsohn suit. Harry Rosen Gentlemen's Apparel is right there in the Eaton Centre. You can go on in and lay down about $800 -- Well, no, that is just for the socks. You can lay down a lot of your dough, earned or not, and get one of these suits and then they will be glad to have you in there, because of course you probably would want another one soon, because the seat ripped out of the one you bought.
I had that very experience. I bought this Harry Rosen suit. I was plunging my drain out in the front and the whole seam tore -- actually, it was not the seam, it was beside the seam, so the invisible mend was about $180. I was just a poor city councillor at the time. We did not have that kind of money, so I had to do this on the instalment plan. They did about an inch and I would come back and they would do another inch. I had to keep tugging the back of my jacket down, because I had not been able to afford all the inches up beside the seam. This was an expensive glen check suit I bought. The tailor at Harry Rosen said, "No one could have ripped a garment in that way."
They probably would have thrown me out of there. They still would under this bill, even though at that time I still had an American Express card that was current. As a result of the delay in paying the bills, I no longer have an American Express card. I do not dare leave home. I have a note from my daughter that says who I am and that I am going back there.
I would like to support the amendments as announced by my colleague the member for Rainy River who, while really a northwestern Ontarian, actually spent some time articling right here in an urbane, sophisticated security system. The member for Rainy River did his articles with the solicitor' s department of Metro council, if you can imagine such a thing.
The members probably do not know this, but I would like to share this with them. The computer system at Metro council has some governors on it so that it does not print out inappropriate words. This is not well known; it is time that this was revealed. They were dealing with adult entertainment parlours and what various dancers should wear. The computer kept printing out that an opaque strip must be worn across the "public" area, because the computer was designed not to print the word with fewer letters than public. Anyone who does not get this can speak to me after the show.
It has been a pleasure to participate in the debate. Do not stand up. I have a peroration. One of the things we learned at my trade school was Socratic debate and there is a peroration that goes on for days, actually.
I thank the Speaker for his attention and I hope that I provided some enlightenment to members of the Legislature and a little bit of entertainment because, if there is one thing this Legislature is going to need over the next days and weeks and months, it is a little bit of entertainment as this government continues to be locked in the ice without direction and hopelessly enmeshed in what we call "cognitive dissonance." It is sometimes called "thought disorder," another way of describing "cognitive dissonance," though some people in the media would call it "drift." Drift on. We will be here to watch.
As indicated by the member for Carleton, we are opposed to this particular piece of legislation. We are not totally unsympathetic and unaware of some of the problems that the legislation attempts to address, but this bill, in attempting to address what we think, admittedly, is the problem -- we think a very small problem -- goes a long way to violating property rights, goes a long way to causing substantial problems, particularly for the small owner.
In an attempt to draft legislation to deal with large corporations, shopping malls where there is a degree of sophistication and lawyers available, security staff available, what the government has done, in essence, is suggest that common sense can no longer prevail, whereas I suggest that common sense solves 99 per cent of these problems, if not 99.9 per cent, and felt the necessity to bring in a very complex piece of legislation that I think will exacerbate the problems of the store owner and trespasser, those who may be causing problems, that really 99 per cent of the time are mutually solved in a very logical, straightforward and sensible way.
The bill is far too wide in scope, as I said, designed for a shopping centre, but it applies to every retail store. It complicates our existing laws and introduces a new level of bureaucracy to business. It requires every shopkeeper in Ontario to post rules, to keep written notices of ejection on hand and have a knowledge of the law so that he or she can advise the trespasser of his or her rights.
If we look at page 3 of the bill, subsection 1g(3), this is what the owner of the mom-and-pop corner store has to do. He has to have a notice prohibiting re-entry on premises which "shall be in the form prescribed by the regulations and shall,
"(a) state that the person has engaged in conduct that constitutes an offence under subsection 1c(1) and describe the conduct." Are they not going to have to hire a lawyer to do that so it conforms with everything that is there?
Then they must inform the person of the defence that is available under section 1h, so they are going to have to read this bill, understand the bill, understand the legislation, talk to their lawyer, post a notice, talk to the person that they are concerned about, who may have been shoplifting in there the day before, explain all the legal rights and all the rights under this legislation to that person and identify the premises or the part of the premises to which the notice applies. Then section 1h --
This whole section outlines what mom and dad and the young sister or the daughter who comes home from school and works in the store after school have to do. This is what is being expected of them, to remove or keep an undesirable from their store.
Subsection 1g(2) states, "The occupier or person authorized by the occupier may prohibit a person from entering on premises or a part of the premises, for a specified period not exceeding 30 days from the date of conduct complained of, by giving the person a notice prohibiting re-entry on premises."
Can members imagine somebody, particularly a young kid, coming in and stealing a pomegranate -- as I confess I did at a certain age from a certain store in North Bay -- and that storekeeper cannot resolve that situation in a commonsense, logical way? Now the storekeeper has to read this act, know the act, get the lawyer, post the notices, do this and presumably notify that kid's parents' lawyer as to what the conditions are under which that kid can come back and help the mom get the groceries next day.
Does that sound extreme? That is exactly what this particular piece of legislation does. That is what it does for every small, one-person or two-person store across this province. It is a ridiculous invasion on private property rights to solve what I think could be solved much more simply in another way. So we will oppose this particular bill.
The member for Wellington, in his opening comments, asked a question which I did not have sufficient time allotted to me to respond to, the question of the notice being posted. I have given him that information, but under the legislation notice need not be posted, the rules of conduct of any one particular premise need not be posted in all of their complexity and exhaustiveness. I think that is extremely important to realize under this legislation.
One very important aspect is, what does this bill do? This bill states that for someone who finds himself in publicly used private property, if the occupiers or owners of that property are asking him to leave because his conduct is not, in their opinion, compatible with the use of that premise, they have to give that person a reason in writing as to why he must leave.
If they are doing that, they cannot bar him from such a place in perpetuity; there is going to be a time limit of 30 days. I think that is an important amendment, I think that is an important right given to the users of these publicly used places, these malls.
I believe this particular legislation meets a very necessary social problem. I look forward to debating this matter in committee and to its eventual passage when we report back to the House.
TRESPASS TO PROPERTY AMENDMENT ACT
The House divided on Mr. Offer's motion for second reading of Bill 149, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Allen, Black, Breaugh, Bryden, Callahan, Campbell, Caplan, Carrothers, Charlton, Cleary, Collins, Cooke, D. S., Daigeler, Eakins, Elliot, Epp, Farnan, Faubert, Fawcett, Ferraro, Fleet, Fontaine, Fulton, Grandmaître, Haggerty, Hampton, Henderson, Ho_ek, Kanter, Kerrio, Kormos, Kozyra, Laughren, Lipsett, Lupusella;
MacDonald, Mackenzie, Mahoney, Mancini, Martel, McClelland, McGuinty, Miclash, Miller, Morin-Strom, Neumann, Nicholas, Nixon, J. B., Oddie Munro, Offer, O'Neil, H., O'Neill, Y., Owen, Pelissero, Philip, E., Polsinelli, Poole, Reville, Reycraft, Roberts, Ruprecht, Smith, D. W., Sola, South, Stoner, Sullivan, Tatham, Velshi, Ward, Wong, Wrye.
Harris, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., McCague, McLean, Pollock, Pope, Sterling, Wiseman.
Ayes 71; nays 9.
Bill ordered for standing committee on administration of justice.
POLICE AND SHERIFFS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT
The House divided on Hon. Mr. Scott's motion for second reading of Bill 187, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Black, Callahan, Campbell, Caplan, Carrothers, Cleary, Collins, Daigeler, Eakins, Elliot, Epp, Faubert, Fawcett, Ferraro, Fleet, Fontaine, Fulton, Grandmaître, Haggerty, Henderson, Ho_ek, Kanter, Kerrio, Kozyra, Lipsett, Lupusella, MacDonald, Mahoney, Mancini, McClelland, McGuinty, Miclash, Miller;
Neumann, Nicholas, Nixon, J. B., Oddie Munro, Offer, O'Neil, H., O'Neill, Y., Owen, Pelissero, Polsinelli, Poole, Reycraft, Roberts, Ruprecht, Smith, D. W., Sola, South, Stoner, Sullivan, Tatham, Velshi, Ward, Wong, Wrye.
Allen, Breaugh, Bryden, Chariton, Cooke, D.S., Farnan, Hampton, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Kormos, Laughren, Mackenzie, Martel, McCague, McLean, Morin-Strom, Philip, Pollock, Pope, Reville, Sterling, Wiseman.
Ayes 57; nays 23.
Bill ordered for standing committee on administration of justice.
The House adjourned at 6:09 p.m.
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