10 JUIN 1992 ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L'ONTARIO

The House met at 1330.

Prayers.

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

LONG-TERM CARE

Mr Charles Beer (York North): I want to bring to the attention of members an excellent new book prepared by the Reverend Albert Revell of Newmarket, entitled Caring For Seniors -- A Model of Pastoral Care for the Elderly in Long-term Care Facilities.

Reverend Revell is currently the pastoral care director for the York-Simcoe ministries, an eight-year-old interdenominational caring program for seniors. He is also the chaplain to the Newmarket Veterans Association, the Royal Canadian Legion's Branch 426 and the York Regional Police.

In the foreword to his book Reverend Revell states:

"The intent of this book is to create an awareness of the awesome need for laypersons to be involved in ministry to seniors who reside in long-term care facilities or who are shut away in their homes and apartments. Its focus is to help clergy, their churches and the laypeople to understand what ecumenical as well as denominational care giving is all about."

Of particular interest is the chapter on the multifaith needs of our seniors. How can laypeople of one particular faith minister to those of another? The book gives useful and pertinent suggestions to those involved in working with seniors of various cultural and religious backgrounds.

Seniors, like everyone else, have a variety of needs. Reverend Revell reminds us that there is a key need for pastoral care. I would ask all members to join with me in welcoming Reverend Revell to this Legislature and recognizing his important work in pastoral care.

LEGAL FEES

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I would like to bring forward a concern that many members of the Upper Canada Law Society and the constituents within my riding of Dufferin-Peel have shared with me.

The Attorney General has introduced yet another form of taxation in the province of Ontario. This will allow the NDP government to tax the dead. Perhaps the worst hypocrisy of this situation is that the Attorney General felt that an increase that amounts to three times the previous rate was not worth a statement in the Legislature, let alone a debate on his edict. How can this government pass along transfer payments of 1%, 2% and 2% -- "Be creative" -- and then increase some taxes by three times?

What the honourable member fails to realize is that these increases are yet another tax that the consumer will have to pay in the course of doing business. We continue to be the highest-taxed jurisdiction in North America.

The average person's access to the courts will be restricted because of an increase in court fees. In an attempt to encourage new home buyers, the federal government has recently decreased from 10% to 5% the down payment required for the purchase of a new home. This NDP government chooses to increase the administrative cost of purchasing a home to three times the previous rate.

The federal government giveth and the provincial government taketh away. The great keepers of the little guy are continuing to hit the consumer with taxes, taxes and more taxes.

BIKE AWARENESS WEEK

Ms Jenny Carter (Peterborough): I'm very pleased to rise in the House today to bring to your attention Bike Awareness Week in Peterborough. Bike Awareness Week is aimed at promoting pollution-free, non-motorized transport in and around Peterborough.

Today the Peterborough Bikeways Committee will distribute a map of recreational cycling routes in the county and city through the Peterborough Examiner. Tonight at 7 o'clock there will be a slide presentation on children's bike safety at the firehall on Sherbrooke Street. This Sunday at 1 o'clock, all in Peterborough with access to a bike -- moms, dads, the kids and grandparents -- are encouraged to tie a coloured ribbon or streamer to their bikes and pedal to demonstrate their support for better cycling in Peterborough.

Bicycling is the cleanest, healthiest and most energy-efficient mode of transport. In a 10-mile commute a cyclist requires only 360 calories of renewable energy; a car driver uses up 18,600 calories of non-renewable energy.

Choosing bike travel over car travel means substantially less pollution. Cars produce 2.6 pounds of hydrocarbons and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile travelled, in contrast to the emission-free bicycle.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Peterborough Cycling Club and Peterborough Bikeways for their hard work in promoting better cycling. We hope to see everybody on their bikes this week.

HOSPITAL BEDS

Mr Robert Chiarelli (Ottawa West): On Monday morning Dr Kathy Kovacs, a psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, told a radio interviewer that cutbacks in psychiatric beds in Ottawa-Carleton have created a serious problem.

The interviewer said: "We've been hearing it for a long time now. There just aren't enough hospital beds to take care of the psychiatrically ill, and last week both the Queensway Carleton and Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario chopped a few more. Now, how do you decide which patients will be treated in an emergency ward, and what do you do with those who can't be?"

Dr Kovacs responded: "With great difficulty. It's become an increasing problem. It's really gotten to the point that unless somebody is extremely ill, acutely suicidal or homicidal we just can't take them in. There just aren't any beds."

Later the interviewer asked: "Where are we going here? These are probably not the last beds [cut]. It probably will continue. Does that mean at some point the system starts to tear?" Dr Kovacs responded: "Oh, I think it will and I think it's getting close to that. Families are often the ones that [take] the brunt of the problem and they just can't manage any more, and we frequently have them just give up. And you know, it's having a great effect on everyone, and I think we are close to the point of the whole system tearing."

How can the Treasurer increase the Ministry of Labour budget by $100 million and shut out the mentally ill?

SCHOOL BREAKFAST PROGRAM

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey): Last week I was able to see at first hand the success of a breakfast program at Hillcrest Public School in Owen Sound.

As members will know, our caucus has long been in favour of this government acting as a facilitator between private industry, community groups and boards of education to ensure that our school children start the day with a nutritious meal.

Realizing that studies have shown that malnourished or hungry young people do not perform well academically, the Owen Sound-Grey-Bruce branch of the Red Cross has taken action. In conjunction with other community agencies they've designed a pilot project breakfast program for students in kindergarten to grade 6 at Hillcrest and Alexandra schools. The program, which began in March, will run until the end of the school year and then be assessed. It is funded by donations, not tax dollars. It is open to all children with no means test and is operated by volunteers.

I am delighted to see that Grey is taking an important leadership role in the development of breakfast programs. This is exactly the sort of fiscally responsible initiative my caucus colleagues and I have been advocating for some time. I would like to take this opportunity to urge the government to follow the example set by the Red Cross in my area and encourage ventures of this sort everywhere in Ontario. Our young people deserve this start in life.

1340

FURANO THEATRE COMPANY

Mr Paul Klopp (Huron): This past weekend Huron county's Blyth Festival Theatre became an international culture centre. The Furano Theatre Company of Hokkaido, Japan, presented three performances of its play Kanashibetsu to three packed houses and received three prolonged standing ovations.

The people of Huron county understood and responded emotionally to the story of a Japanese town's disintegration after its only industry shut down. Kanashibetsu is an inspirational play that breaks through all cultural barriers. It is a powerful and moving story of unemployed youth, abandoned by a greedy, uncaring world, who ultimately realize their only hope for themselves and for us all must be discovered within the human community.

Blyth was the first stop of the Furano Theatre Company's tour to New York. Toronto audiences had the opportunity to see this marvellous play last night and will have the opportunity this evening at 8 pm at Young People's Theatre. I urge you all to attend.

I'd also like to thank the Ministry of Culture and Communications, which helped put on this play, and all the staff and residents of the Blyth area who treated their guests with the Huron hospitality we're all noted for. I would also like to thank the artistic director, Peter Smith, who took the time to read this play and realized we need to be told this in Canada. Of course, in Huron county we're the leaders, as has happened so many times. I would especially like to thank all those in the area who supported these people and have supported the Blyth Festival for many years. It's proving we need culture and it's very important for all of us.

MENINGITIS

Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): This past winter parents in eastern Ontario listened carefully to the reports of an outbreak of meningitis in the Ottawa-Carleton region. After monitoring the situation the Ministry of Health ordered a massive immunization campaign for all school-aged children.

At that time I joined the school board directors, the mayor of Cornwall and the representatives from surrounding counties in calling on the Minister of Health to consider such an effort for our area. Members should know that there were three cases of meningitis detected in the Cornwall area, and it was with deep sadness that I learned a boy in Espanola died from meningitis yesterday.

Because of the complexities of meningitis many parents all over Ontario are very anxious to be informed on local cases. Many public offices were flooded with inquiries from concerned parents. I believe the public awareness campaign on meningitis served to address the fears of parents and students. Unfortunately the health unit was not immediately prepared for the onslaught of questions and near-panic.

I hope the Ministry of Health is now working closely with the eastern Ontario health unit and all health units to review procedures on how to deal with this future public health crisis.

LEGAL FEES

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): On May 29 the NDP arbitrarily imposed a series of sizeable increases to registry fees affecting real estate transactions. These new charges are part of an overall fee increase announced, but buried, in the NDP budget to the tune of over $40 million.

For example, the fee for settling an estate of over $50,000 has tripled from 0.5% to 1.5%. When doing a search on a specific property it used to cost $4 for the name of each previous owner. This fee has also tripled, to $11. When it is considered that a property search can go as far back in time as 40 years or more and can involve 16 to 30 previous owners, the final sum for a sheriff's certificate could be as high as $300. Costs of registering real estate documents may likewise rise over 400%.

It was six years ago that the Liberals began these fee increases as a hidden source of extra tax revenue. The NDP are bringing in unprecedented fee increases to gouge consumers at this critical time of recession in Ontario, all the time without any prior public consultation or notice.

The NDP Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations should be ashamed of herself, just sitting idly by as these fee increases are imposed, increases she knows will only hurt those attempting to buy affordable housing.

I call on the NDP government to stop these hidden tax grabs which punish consumers and hurt investment and commerce potential in our province. It is time for NDP rhetoric on economic recovery to stop and time for the practical measures that will help consumers be part of the strategy of economic recovery in Ontario.

LUSOFEST '92

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): It is with great enthusiasm that I rise in the House today to join with all members in celebrating Portugal Day and in particular the Lusofest '92 cultural festival in Hamilton. This past Saturday I attended the kickoff ceremonies for Lusofest '92 at city hall in my riding of Hamilton Centre and am proud to wear this colourful T-shirt, the symbol for this week-long celebration in Hamilton.

The significance behind this important date is the anniversary of the death of Luiz de Camões, a great Portuguese epic poet who wrote about Portuguese discoveries in the late 15th to early 16th centuries.

Festivals such as Lusofest '92, organized by the Luso-Canadian Cultural Council of Canada, give us an opportunity to express our commitment to the diverse communities which make Ontario and Canada what it is today. June 10 marks a time to appreciate and acknowledge the Portuguese culture and its contribution to our nation.

I would like to introduce to all members the following special guests who are present in the House today: His Excellency Dr Pedro Alves Machado, the ambassador from Portugal to Canada; Mr Marcilino Moniz, vice-consul general, and Ms Ida de Jesus, who along with Ms Anabella Almeida co-chairs Hamilton Lusofest '92.

The Luso-Canadian Council of Hamilton has my wholehearted support and I'm sure the members of this House will join me in commending its efforts and wishing it every success.

ORAL QUESTIONS

ROUGE VALLEY

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My question is to the Minister of the Environment. Last Thursday the government added yet another link to a long chain of broken promises when it was revealed that the Rouge River Valley, an area in Metropolitan Toronto which the minister knows is of great environmental significance, was under consideration as a landfill site for Metro's garbage. I would ask the minister why she and her government have retreated so completely from the promises it clearly made to prohibit the dumping of Metro's garbage in the Rouge Valley.

Hon Ruth A. Grier (Minister of the Environment and Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto Area): I think it would really assist in the debate of what is a very difficult issue if the premises upon which the Leader of the Opposition based her question bore some resemblance to the facts of the situation. As I said last week in response to a similar question, or maybe it was earlier this week, at the time of the establishment of the Interim Waste Authority and the giving to it of a mandate to seek landfill sites within the greater Toronto area, the issue of the Rouge was of course of great concern to everyone, so in the initial criteria the Interim Waste Authority published last August, one of the criteria it was to use in screening out areas where a landfill site could not be established was the following: Screen out the portion of the Rouge River Valley where the provincial cabinet has declared a provincial intent to establish a park.

As a result of the public consultation around those criteria, the public raised the issue of buffer zones with respect to that, so added to the screening criteria was to include buffers in the Rouge River Valley. None of the sites that have been identified by the Interim Waste Authority deviate from those criteria.

1350

Mrs McLeod: This is an issue I have cause to know very well indeed, and I would understand that the citizens of this area who gave support in part to this government because of the promises it made, without any qualifications at all, feel that all this government is doing in trying to give responsibility to the Interim Waste Authority is simply copping out and avoiding recognizing a full retreat from promises it made.

In case the minister has forgotten the promises made by her Premier, let me quote directly. On December 11, 1990, in response to a question asked by the leader of the third party, the Premier stated:

"I do not know how I can be any clearer.... I was asked specifically...whether I abided by the statements that I had made in the past with respect to there not being a dump in the Rouge Valley. That is the statement that I am making today: No dump in the Rouge."

Now I read in the Toronto Sun of June 7 that the Premier has scaled down that promise to say, "We're determined to see there will be no dump in the park," a quite different and more qualified promise than was made throughout 1990.

I ask the minister how she can possibly try to pretend that this is now some kind of independent decision and that she and her government have absolutely no responsibility for it. Does she not realize that she cannot wash her hands, that the decision about this waste management, if it's a decision to put this dump in the Rouge, will be this government's decision and a full retreat from the promises made in the past?

Hon Mrs Grier: Nothing could be further from the truth. The Interim Waste Authority has been established to apply environmental criteria to the establishment of landfill sites. It has screened out a variety of areas. They have now identified areas where landfills could in fact be located according to those screening criteria. Those sites are now going to be the subject of further extensive consultation and testing until we get down to one particular site.

When the member talks about a park in the Rouge, the member is quite wrong. The lands that were previously identified as having potential for a park, and which an advisory committee was established to examine and make recommendations on -- by the previous government, not by this government -- are all south of Steeles Avenue. That is the area that was initially screened out in response to the consultation and the request for buffer areas. The buffer areas are 400 metres on either side of any tributary of the Rouge. If that isn't the Rouge or the Rouge Valley, I don't know what is.

Mrs McLeod: The memories ring in my head of this minister at an earlier day, as an opposition critic, failing to make that kind of fine distinction in expressing her concerns about the environmental implications of a waste site anywhere in the vicinity of the Rouge Valley.

I think this minister is in some difficulty after Bill 143 in talking about independent processes. I remind her that the environmental assessment process, as set out under the Environmental Assessment Act of this province, provides that all alternative methods of carrying out the undertaking must be considered. I suggest that in this particular situation of dealing with the waste management problems facing the greater Toronto area, this minister has already ruled out at least one of the alternatives which would be considered in a truly independent process, that of course being the alternative presented to the city of Toronto by Kirkland Lake.

I simply ask the minister how her government can claim to be setting up an independent environmental assessment process that's consistent with the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act when the independent assessment of all the alternatives to this undertaking has never been carried out.

Hon Mrs Grier: Now we're down, I guess, to what is the bottom line for the Leader of the Opposition, which is that the GTA waste should be sent to northern Ontario. That is not acceptable to this government; that was ruled out by legislation adopted by this Legislature, and that is not a quick, easy, fair or environmental solution to the problems of the greater Toronto area.

LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): I now know why they replaced that rickety old roof up there. All of us would be through the top of it if we had known about these rule changes before the construction started.

I looked at the material sent out by the House leader of the government party. They say they want to introduce 121 bills in this House. I've been spending a whole lot of time looking in various places in this document, this book that tells us about the procedure of the Legislative Assembly, and others. Can the government House leader tell us where he has been prevented from introducing those bills and will he table today the list of all 121 pieces of legislation he says he cannot introduce in this House?

Hon David S. Cooke (Government House Leader): I understand very clearly that we can introduce legislation into the House, but the difficulty has been that the opposition doesn't want to deal with legislation in the House. I go back to the example that I think is absolutely the best example of them all, and that is the fact that for the first time I can ever recall since I've been in the Legislature, it took over a year to get budget bills from the 1991 budget through this Legislature.

The opposition parties simply don't want to have this place work smoothly. The rules that we're proposing are not unusual at all. They're completely in line with rules that are in place in legislatures across the country, and at the national level they've been brought in by parties of all political stripes.

Mr Elston: Not here.

Hon Mr Cooke: No, not here. You're right. But it's about time the Ontario Legislature became as efficient and effective and used taxpayers' money as wisely as some other institutions in this country do.

Mr Elston: The honourable member for Windsor-Riverside, the government House leader, has been reading his briefing note on the Ontario Labour Relations Act. That is the exact same explanation they give for that change in the rules unilaterally at this time as well. Without consensus, the members cannot perform their tasks. Without consensus, this House does not operate.

To the government House leader: Can he tell us why he refused to introduce any of the legislation, in fact introduced fully 14 of 17 government bills since, I think it was, May 26 in this House? If we were to be given the opportunity internally to debate these bills in a reasonable fashion, how was it that you expected us to do our work if you won't bring any of that legislation to the House in a first reading form so that we can debate it? Was it your plan to leave us without anything to say so that we would be at risk of not being able to do our job for the public?

Hon Mr Cooke: I'm not quite sure I understand the point of the House leader's question. What I do understand is that what happened is that we came into the Legislature last fall and for the first six months the Legislature was in session, we didn't deal with any legislation at all. The opposition parties wouldn't allow us to pass anything. We came back this spring and we're still having to deal with legislation that was introduced last year because the opposition parties wouldn't deal with the legislation.

This government respects the role and the need for the opposition parties to present their points of view and to put forward opposing points of view, but I think the people of this province expect the government to make decisions, and the ability of this Legislature to vote on issues before it. The opposition parties simply don't want us to even be able to vote on issues before the Legislature.

Mr Elston: The business of this House is ordered by the government. It is the business of this government to move the bills into first reading so that not only the members of this Legislative Assembly but the members of the public at large can see the legislative agenda.

It is no coincidence that the development of the labour legislation took until Thursday of last week to come forward in first reading fashion and that it was followed quickly by the most repressive steps taken in this Legislature by any government at any time. I want this member to tell the public the truth, and I want him to tell us the truth today. Wouldn't he agree, I should say, that the truth is that he brought the labour legislation here on Thursday, followed by unilateral rule changes, following the Sunday shopping bill, following his desire to stampede legislation through this Parliament without the people's opposition being able to speak clearly and carefully about that agenda?

Hon Mr Cooke: Nothing could be further from the truth. The Ontario Labour Relations Act amendments were introduced last week. It's always been the intention of this government and of the minister to have a full debate at second reading, and I read in the paper --

Interjections.

Mr Elston: That's not true. He wouldn't even listen to the people who came to his forums.

The Speaker: Order, the member for Bruce.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Minister.

1400

Hon Mr Cooke: It has always been the intention of this government to have a full debate of the Ontario Labour Relations Act amendments at second reading and to have public hearings. But I read in the paper and hear on radio from the Labour critic from the Liberal Party and the critics from the Conservative Party that they don't even want to allow us to have second reading on the bill.

They don't want to have public hearings and hear from the people of the province about the Ontario Labour Relations Act amendments. We want to go out. We want the legislation passed here and then we want to go discuss it again, through a legislative committee, with the people of the province. That's the appropriate process to go through.

I hear about some of the tactics the opposition parties say are being used. I just invite the members of the public and all the members of the opposition to look at the speech that was made in the House the other day by the member for Renfrew North. Is that the kind of party Lyn McLeod wants to lead in Ontario and the kind of speech we are to hear from one of her members of the Legislature? That's why we need changes to the rules in this place.

The Speaker: New question. The leader of the third party.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Just a moment. I ask the House to come to order.

VISITORS

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Before proceeding, I invite all members to welcome to our chamber this afternoon a very special group of people, legislative interns from the province of British Columbia who are seated in the Speaker's gallery. Welcome to our assembly.

Start the clock, please.

PARLIAMENTARY LANGUAGE

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Yesterday I rose and spoke to you about the language being used by the Minister of Labour in referring to a member and what she intended or did not intend, which in my opinion amounts to imputing motives. The member for Windsor-Riverside has done so again. More than that, Mr Speaker, he has used language which is designed to create discontent in this chamber and in fact cause grave disorder. Mr Speaker, you know what that is designed to do and you have not asked him to consider his words carefully.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): To the member for Bruce, indeed I'm aware that often there is language which, while it cannot be described as unparliamentary in nature, is accusatory. Accusatory language which is inflammatory does lead to disorder in the House. I have asked all members in the chamber to please try to use temperate language so that we can have an orderly debate in the House. I understand full well what the member for Bruce has brought before me. I can only urge members to try to use language which is temperate in nature.

Mr Steven Offer (Mississauga North): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: You will be aware, Mr Speaker --

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Mississauga North.

MINISTER'S COMMENTS

Mr Offer: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I rise on a point of privilege. It has to do with the last response given by the government House leader. The government House leader responded to a question by a member of our party, our House leader, that one of the reasons these rule changes were put forward was because -- and I think Hansard will be clear -- of some statement that I made as the Labour critic for our party dealing with second reading.

Mr Speaker, I believe this to be a matter of privilege of a personal nature to myself. The point the House leader is alluding to is a statement I made on Friday that was broadcast on Monday which indicated that as a result of a committee set up by the Premier dealing with labour and management we felt it would be best that this bill be sent to that committee prior to the government bringing forward the bill for second reading. At no time did we talk about the process dealing with how we would debate the bill on second reading.

The point of privilege I bring forward is this: The government House leader just two minutes ago made that statement, which is erroneous, about a statement I made and has stated that the reason they introduced the rule changes was as a result of that statement. I would invite that member of the Legislature to stand and correct because of the fact that statement dealing with where the bill should be taken was made by me on Friday, it was broadcast on Monday and the House leader filed those rules the Thursday before. In other words, he is alleging that the reason he introduced those rule changes was as a result of a statement made by me which, first, wasn't, and, second, had not yet even been made by me.

My privileges as a member have been prejudiced. The minister has in fact misstated everything that has been stated. I invite him to stand in his place and tell every member in this House that you are in fact incorrect.

The Speaker: Would the member take his seat, please. The member will know that the Speaker is not in a position to assess the veracity of statements which are made in the chamber. There is clearly a difference of opinion between the views expressed by the government House leader and the member for Mississauga North.

I would also ask members to please seriously consider raising points of order and privilege outside of our question period time, if at all possible.

The member for Parry Sound.

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): Would you as the Speaker please consider restoring approximately five or six minutes to the clock, because you're taking away from every member in this Legislature --

Interjections.

Mr Eves: Shut your yaps over there and listen; you might learn something. What a classless bunch of buffoons. Would you please restore the six minutes?

Interjections.

The Speaker: The member for Parry Sound.

Interjections.

The Speaker: To the member for Parry Sound: First, his choice of vocabulary --

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. This House stands recessed for 10 minutes.

The House recessed at 1408.

1418

Mr Eves: I withdraw the comment I made earlier.

The Speaker: To the member for Parry Sound: I sincerely appreciate his withdrawal of the comment. Also to the member for Parry Sound with respect to his point of order: I understand fully that in the last two days the third party has been placed at a disadvantage which is not of its creation.

I am reluctant to add time to the clock for the reason that I had, just prior to the member rising, asked members to try not to raise points of order or privilege during our question period. I guess I'm a bit reluctant because, by adding time to the clock, perhaps what I am inadvertently doing is encouraging members to raise points of order and privilege while the clock is running.

However, since I am sympathetic to the point that the member raises, what I will do is to monitor the time very closely and as we approach the end of the hour, if there is an opportunity to be flexible with respect to questions placed, then I indeed will do so.

Start the clock. The leader of the third party.

LANDFILL SITES

Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): My question is to the minister responsible for the GTA. The minister knows that absolutely no one is happy with the Interim Waste Authority list of 57 potential landfill sites, particularly those near the Rouge where the Premier stood two years ago and swore there would be no dump.

Minister, yesterday you assured us that these sites will undergo a full environmental assessment. If this is true, then the Kirkland Lake proposal would be considered as an alternative.

So I would ask you this, Minister: Were you telling the truth yesterday when you said it would be a full environmental assessment? Will the Kirkland Lake option be considered? Or in fact will the 57 sites undergo a Ruth Grier selective environmental assessment?

Hon Ruth A. Grier (Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto Area): The 57 sites will undergo an environmental assessment just like many others. In fact, three of the 57 -- not 57, let me correct that very precisely -- the three sites that are identified as a result of the Interim Waste Authority's process will undergo an environmental assessment.

Let me remind the member, the leader of the third party, that there are environmental assessments of landfill sites going on at the present time that have gone on in the past, and in each of those applications an area has been identified within which a landfill site will be selected and then submitted to an environmental assessment. Only Metropolitan Toronto had the right to seek a site anywhere across the province. Under Bill 143, Metropolitan Toronto and any other municipality that is part of the greater Toronto area will be finding sites through the auspices of the Interim Waste Authority within the GTA.

Mr Harris: So what you have described to me is the abbreviated, selective Ruth Grier, not a full environmental assessment as you said yesterday.

I have received a letter from the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees. Once again, the brothers and the sisters of the unions have come to me to speak on their behalf because they have no voice in this Legislature.

Mr Speaker, through you to the minister, the union has asked me to support the proposal of Rail Cycle North, which the minister will know is the Kirkland Lake site. The union estimates that nearly 300 jobs and $13.3 million would be generated for the local economy.

Minister, if your government is so committed to creating jobs in this province, why have you singlehandedly wiped out the option of creating 300 jobs in northern Ontario? Why have you given the back of your hand to the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, the brothers and the sisters that now must turn to me for help, and why have you turned your back on an option that may very well be -- and we'll never know under your selective environmental assessment -- the best site for the sake of the environment? Why have you done all these things?

Hon Mrs Grier: The leader of the third party has got to recognize the inconsistency in the questions he's posing. On the one hand, he is saying a full environmental assessment requires examination of all possible sites anywhere within the province of Ontario. On the other hand, he says, "Just look at Kirkland Lake."

What he doesn't recognize is that if a municipality or an agency is to select a site anywhere in the province of Ontario, then all sites in the province are back on the list for evaluation, and that means not just Kirkland Lake, it means Marmora, it means Plympton, it means sites in Nottawasaga, it means sites in Orillia, it means any potential landfill site throughout the province.

That is not an acceptable way to deal with the waste of the greater Toronto area. The acceptable way is what this government has done, which is to get serious about waste reduction and then find a landfill site as close as possible to the source of the generation of the waste. That's what the Interim Waste Authority is doing. That's the environmental approach to waste management.

Mr Harris: But it is acceptable, Minister, to ship a million tonnes of waste south of the border to the United States to have it incinerated and blown back on Ontario? That's acceptable under the Ruth Grier environment program for Ontario?

We have community after community telling us that they don't want a landfill site. The minister named a whole host of them. On the other hand, we have a community in northern Ontario crying out to be considered. We also have Metropolitan Toronto asking that it be allowed to be considered. Seventy per cent of Kirkland Lake voted in favour of having an environmental assessment. We know it will create jobs that cannot possibly otherwise be created without that proposal going forward.

I ask you again, why do you refuse to consider a solution to the garbage crisis that has the full support of the community, that will create jobs in northern Ontario, that Metro wishes to have as one of the sites to be considered and that may in fact be the best environmental option? Why do you refuse to even consider that?

Hon Mrs Grier: Let me just draw attention to yet another inconsistency in the questions posed by the member. The site that Metro had identified and wanted to use was not in Kirkland Lake. It's in Boston township. That's 15 kilometres from Kirkland Lake, in somebody else's backyard. It was not in Kirkland Lake. That has never been part of the consideration.

But let me again say to the member that under the Environmental Assessment Act you don't take a site that happens to be available, or where a commercial arrangement happens to have been made, and then do an environmental assessment of that site. The basic of the Environmental Assessment Act is to compare alternatives. If you're looking at a comparison with Kirkland Lake, you have to search everywhere else, not just in northern Ontario but right across the province. That is not acceptable to those other communities, to this government or to anyone who wants there to be an environmental solution to waste.

Mr Harris: I thought the purpose of an environmental assessment was to pick the best site for the environment. In not considering Kirkland Lake, you're eliminating that as a possibility in favour of the Rouge.

The Speaker: Is this the leader's second question?

INVESTMENT FUNDS

Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): Mr Speaker, I thank you because my second question is not to the same minister. In fact, in the absence of the Treasurer, my second question is to the Chairman of Management Board.

Mr Minister, I have in front of me a copy of a leaked cabinet document dated September 23, 1991. It outlines the NDP government's plan for the Ontario investment fund. It says that money for this fund will come from a list of public sector pension plans. Minister, two of those funds, OMERS and HOOPP, have already said they will not let the NDP government get its hands on their pension funds.

Minister, as Chairman of Management Board and a member of the policy and priorities board of cabinet, how does your government plan to proceed with this voluntary fund if there are no volunteers?

Hon Tony Silipo (Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet): I would be happy to try to answer the question, except that I understand that my colleague the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, who is involved directly in this issue, can give a more direct response to the question asked.

Hon Ed Philip (Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology): I can inform the member that at this stage the Ontario investment fund project is undertaking consultations with private enterprise, the banking community, the business community, the trade union movement and those people who are most likely to wish to have access to the kinds of funds that are needed for long-term investment in value added products. I can tell you that several meetings have been held, they've been very successful, and the Treasurer has assured that anyone who will participate in this will do so on a voluntary level.

1430

Mr Harris: I think a more accurate answer to my question can be found in the NDP's own leaked cabinet document. Page 5 states, under "Labour Relations": "Access to public sector pension funds may require policy and financial tradeoffs in terms of the government's labour relations and compensation strategies."

Minister, this cabinet document of 1991 clearly states that your labour reforms are part of a tradeoff for public sector union support of your investment fund. How do you explain that?

Hon Mr Philip: From initial meetings with both the labour movement and with the trust companies and other members of the financial community, we don't need any tradeoffs. People are approving of this program. They think it's a good idea, and indeed many of them say they can't understand why the Conservatives, when they were in power, didn't do anything to create this kind of investment fund.

Mr Harris: A reason, I suggest, that you appear to believe that the public sector pension funds will come forward is that you know you've bought them off. You increased pension funds, as the document said you were going to do -- for example, OMERS last year; you've brought in the Labour Relations Act, as it says you probably would have to do to get their cooperation and get their funds, and then -- and I'm glad it's this minister, because on page 4 of the leaked document it says, on access to funds, that "a pension-based financial institution may require guarantees or subsidy by the government."

It further says that "treasury board should review expenditures on technology and industrial development" -- try to find the money there within existing funding -- "to guarantee a rate of return to those public sector pension funds."

Can the minister confirm to me that in addition to the tradeoff of the labour legislation changes, in addition to enriching the pension funds to get their cooperation, you also plan to use taxpayer dollars to guarantee a rate of return to force these pension funds to give the money to you to develop them as you see fit?

Hon Mr Philip: Our discussions with the business community and indeed with the trade union movement and others who are on our advisory committee suggest that there is a need for this fund, that it will be a good investment on a long-term basis, and I can tell you something else: that it says we have said --

Mr Harris: This says you are going to give them a guaranteed return. That's the question.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Order, the leader of the third party.

Hon Mr Philip: The guarantee will be that the trade union movement and others recognize that the real guarantee is investing in this province, and that's what we're giving them an opportunity for. Unlike the Conservative governments, we will not use public pension funds to subsidize the public treasury. That's what we won't do to their pension funds.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): For the past few weeks the standing committee on finance and economic affairs has been examining Bill 150. Last week I addressed a question to the Premier on it and I think he was confused. I think he thought I was asking him about this Ontario investment fund rather than the aspects of Bill 150.

I know you want to know to whom this question is being addressed, Mr Speaker. I'm getting to that. I was hoping to be able to go back to the Premier and ask him about it. He, unfortunately, is not here. I thought maybe I would go to the Treasurer and ask him about it. He, unfortunately, is not here. I thought I would go to the Minister of Revenue and ask her about it, but she, unfortunately, is not here. So I thought I would then have no recourse but to go to the Minister of Labour.

This bill has two aspects. One of them is the creation of a venture capital fund and the other is the provision for tax breaks for employees who get involved in worker buyouts. The very nature of the bill -- and its title is Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations Act, 1992 -- "labour sponsored" -- would suggest that this is an initiative sponsored by labour for labour, but it appears that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact labour is not at all supportive.

For example, here's what the Ontario Federation of Labour told us: "Why should union members and other employees be the central focus of raising the necessary moneys, rather than those individuals and institutions with capital who are in the business of providing it for a fee?" They went on to say, "We remain unconvinced that there is any advantage for our members" -- we're talking about members of the Ontario Federation of Labour -- "to use their hard-earned moneys for purposes of bailing out small companies."

The question is: If the Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations Act is indeed a bill by labour for labour, don't you think you should be spending some time getting labour on side supporting it?

Hon Bob Mackenzie (Minister of Labour): I think the member should recognize that it's a government bill, not a labour bill, and that the initiatives, in terms of workers' involvement and workers' investment, have been well established at both Kapuskasing and Algoma Steel, and I think those are success stories.

Mr Kwinter: Minister, I lived through some of the history of this. This was a labour initiative. Back in 1988 they came to us and said they wanted this. This was a labour initiative.

If it isn't enough that the 800,000 members of the Ontario Federation of Labour are not going to support it, perhaps the minister will be interested in the Canadian Federation of Labour. Tomorrow Bob White will be crowned head of the Canadian Federation of Labour, but Bob White is clearly --

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order.

Mr Kwinter: You may call it elected; I say it's a coronation.

Hon David S. Cooke (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Government House Leader): You're talking about the wrong labour organization.

Mr Kwinter: I'm not talking about the wrong labour organization. I'm talking about the fact that he is clearly against both aspects of the legislation. That's both of them, both the venture capital fund and the worker buyout provisions. Mr White's lieutenants, James O'Neil and Sam Gindin, met with our committee, and here's what they had to say.

Mr Gindin told us: "We think that's the wrong direction to go," and "To lure workers with major tax breaks which may not be in their long-term interest is also a dangerous thing to do." Mr O'Neil, the secretary-treasurer, summed it up by stating, "If the government is serious in its attempt to increase workers' participation in the economy, it hardly makes sense to begin by introducing a proposal the labour movement itself, in convention, has rejected."

The Speaker: Would the member place his supplementary.

Mr Kwinter: I'm going to get to the question. Are the minister and his government prepared to thumb their noses at labour, including its largest voice, and ram a piece of legislation through the House that is not supported by the people who are supposed to be the proponents and by the people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries? Are you prepared to ram this through notwithstanding that they're not supporting it?

Hon Mr Mackenzie: I'm sure the member recognizes that you don't ram it through. It's a voluntary program and the workers have to want to be involved in it before they are.

I think also the member should clearly understand that there are differences in the labour movement, as there are differences, I think, in his party or in our caucus. There are those who support it and those who don't, and I'm not sure how you make the argument that we have to listen to what one or two say or not listen to them. We will take a look at the benefits of the legislation in terms of workers' involvement, and let me tell you, there is a real need for it in Ontario.

1440

LOTTERY TICKETS

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): My question is for the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, responsible for the Ontario Lottery Corp. A recent article in the Windsor Star stated that the Ontario Lottery Corp is testing coin-operated ticket vending machines in Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham and London.

Minister, one month ago you stood in this House and announced you had no intention of going ahead with introducing video lottery terminals. You also claimed you had consulted with many interested parties on the future of gambling and gaming in this province.

I'm certain that if you had consulted with the coin operators' lottery association it would have expressed grave concerns over the unfair competition your new machines place on its traditional amusement games. Minister, is the introduction of these new lottery ticket vending machines the thin edge of the wedge for the introduction of slot machines in Ontario?

Hon Peter North (Minister of Tourism and Recreation): First of all, I'd like to address one of the issues the honourable member mentioned. These are not video lottery terminals, nor are they associated with or like video lottery terminals.

The second point is that this is something that has been suggested by the Ontario Lottery Corp. It is within their purview to deal with matters that are of an operational nature, and this is one of those cases.

I would say to the honourable member that there has been some discussion at the lottery corporation pertaining to this particular issue. There has been some suggestion that they would try some trial basis or temporary measures to see how the machines would work and how the people in the province would respond to those particular machines. At this point I'm not aware that they are actually in the locations that have been mentioned.

Mr Arnott: The minister is overlooking the fact that video lottery terminals, which he has stated he will not introduce, and coin-operated ticket vending machines are essentially the same thing. In effect, there is no difference whatsoever.

It appears the Ontario Lottery Corp is on the offensive. In the past three months we have all been mailed flyers that entitle us to free lottery tickets: "Millions to be won in Ontario"; "See inside for valuable lottery coupons"; "Buy two Lottario tickets and get one Lottario ticket free."

Even more alarming, Minister, is the revelation that your machines will be placed in supermarkets, doughnut shops and bowling alleys, where they will be easily accessible by children. It's very ironic that at a time when your government expresses concern about children accessing cigarettes from vending machines you have no concern about them accessing lottery tickets.

Earlier this year, Minister, you assured us that video lottery terminals would be placed in licensed establishments where they would not be accessible to minors. Why, then, are you now putting your new machines in areas where no restrictions will be placed on access?

Hon Mr North: I will try to reiterate to the member across the floor that there is a tremendous difference between video lottery terminals and the machines he's describing. The lottery corporation investigates options it has in terms of raising revenue at different points throughout the province and at different points throughout the evolution of lotteries in this province. I would say to the honourable member that a number of different ideas have been looked at and a number of different options have been considered. This is one of the options that's being considered.

ENERGY CONSERVATION

Ms Christel Haeck (St Catharines-Brock): My question is to the Minister of Energy. I think a number of us, particularly in the Niagara Peninsula -- Mr Bradley included, undoubtedly -- would have received a press release from Brock University outlining its new thermal heating and cooling system. The university remarks very proudly that this new system will save it $300,000 a year in electricity costs. So my question to the minister is, what other kinds of energy efficiency programs are available from the Ministry of Energy to help industries and institutions with their energy bills?

Hon Brian A. Charlton (Acting Minister of Energy): It would be inappropriate for me to try to list all the specific programs here this afternoon. Suffice it to say that Ontario Hydro has a number of programs that focus on electrical energy. The Ministry of Energy also has a number of programs that focus on all of the range of energy fuels used in industry. I think the best approach the member can take, because all the programs are targeted at efficiency and therefore, in the industry's perspective, at saving money as well as energy consumption, is that industries that have specific concerns or questions should probably contact my office or the ministry directly so we can direct them to the appropriate program section.

Ms Haeck: I appreciate that response, because I know there are people in my riding who are very interested in saving money on their electricity costs. I hope you think about it too.

A number of my constituents work at Ontario Hydro at Queenston, at Sir Adam Beck, and I know they will be interested in learning how these conservation programs instituted by the ministry will affect plans to expand that facility.

Hon Mr Charlton: The energy programs being pursued by Hydro and the ministry have a number of benefits. I guess the most important one from the individual's or the company's perspective is the money they will save. But those programs will have no impact on the redevelopment of the Beck hydro-electric site. In spite of the need to pursue, as quickly as we can, energy efficiency initiatives in this province, we will have a continuing need to pursue other forms of energy, most specifically the ones represented by Beck, which are environmentally sound and renewable in nature. That project will proceed fairly quickly.

ONTARIO ROUND TABLE ON ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY

Mr Carman McClelland (Brampton North): Last week the Minister of the Environment stood in the House and commended the former government for its efforts in establishing the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy. Members of this House will know that the round table was set up in 1988 under the leadership of the member for St Catharines to bring together government, business, labour, agriculture, environment and community groups under the chairmanship of our now House leader to create a provincial strategy for sustainable economic development.

Minister, since taking office you have almost always been the sole representative of your government at round table meetings. Your cabinet colleagues for the most part have refused to take part in round table discussions and have offered little or no substantive contribution to the round table. In the absence of any significant support from your cabinet colleagues, do you think you can keep the round table alive?

Hon Ruth A. Grier (Minister of the Environment): I have to differ with the question from the member. Certainly there has not been full attendance at all meetings by all the members of cabinet on the round table, as there has not been by all the representatives of the private sector or all the environmentalists. In fact, we've a meeting tomorrow and there'll be a number of people in Brazil who won't be at the round table.

The fact that not everybody goes to every meeting of the round table has not in any way negated the efforts, the work and the very real contribution that the members of the round table have made under that government and this government to the development of policies, concepts and strategies for sustainable development in the province of Ontario.

I think the round table was a very good initiative. I've said that from the beginning of its incarnation. I think the contribution of the current report that is almost completed and will be presented to the Premier, a strategy for sustainable development, will do a great deal to advance the dialogue and the debate around how we can match and mesh the environment and economic decisions that have to be taken as we restructure the economy of this province.

Mr McClelland: Madam Minister, it seems that in many respects -- and we all know this -- you have abandoned many of your principles and stated causes of the environment prior to your swearing in as Minister of the Environment. You're certainly at odds with your cabinet colleagues, many of them, with respect to the Ontario water and sewer main corporation, you were abandoned yesterday by the Ontario Global Warming Coalition and it seems very evident that you are about to abandon the Ontario round table.

Minister, we understand that the round table that you've just praised and talked about is effectively starting to wind down as of this Friday. Frankly, given the statements you have made in this place, your stated support and the fact that you said, even last week, that having developed and arrived at a strategy there remained considerably much more to do, I find it somewhere between difficult and impossible to believe what's happening with the round table.

I'd like you to respond directly, Minister, to the rumours that the round table is being wound down, that you are shutting it down. If that's happening, why are you allowing that to happen, Madam Minister?

Hon Mrs Grier: Nothing could be further from the truth. Under the previous government the round table was given a secretariat with a mandate of three years to prepare a strategy on sustainable development and present it to the Premier of the day. Premier Rae will be receiving that strategy from the round table, I hope, some time within the next month or so, later than we would've liked, because the target had been that the strategy would have been available by the end of March.

The mandate of the secretariat was extended until June. We have run over and so there has been a time collapse between the production of the strategy and the end of the mandate of the secretariat. That work is being done and is being bridged from within the Ministry of the Environment, but we've made it very clear that there will be a round table in the future. I have asked and the members of the current round table have agreed to have their terms of office extended until September so that we can complete the work within the current mandate.

The round table, as a multisectoral, consensus-building operation, has proved invaluable and has been a model that has been copied in other jurisdictions in parts of the United States and in lots of local communities across this province. It is something that is here to stay.

1450

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): I'd like to ask a question on the multisectoral, consensus-building table. That's a good one.

To the minister, is it true you've commissioned a study to study the effectiveness and the need to continue the round table discussions, a study held by a private citizen that was financed by this government? The question categorically is, have you in fact commissioned a study to determine whether or not you should even bother with the round tables any more? I ask you directly, did you in fact commission a study and what did that study say?

Hon Mrs Grier: I did not commission a study as to whether or not there ought to be round tables. I asked Dale Martin to examine the work of the round table and to recommend to me the form in which the round table should continue, what improvements should be made in its operation and how best the round table could be structured to continue as a multistakeholder, consensus-building operation to carry through on the strategy for sustainable development that it was recommending to the government.

Mr Noble Villeneuve (S-D-G & East Grenville): Bring out the snorkel equipment.

Mr Stockwell: We now discover that yes, they've commissioned a study by Mr Dale Martin, the professional snorkeller from the city of Toronto.

My question to the minister of the Environment and the GTA is, how much did you pay Dale Martin to do this study, when did he do this study, was he double-dipping, in fact collecting from the Ontario Municipal Board while doing this study, what was the study, what did it say and finally, why was this study not tendered publicly? Why was it given directly to Mr Martin and obviously the associated payments given to Mr Martin?

Hon Mrs Grier: It was not a very extensive study. It was not a very wide-ranging study. I don't honestly know at this point what it cost. I will get that information and make it available to the member. It was advice to me as to how we might best continue the valuable work the round table has done and what form that work should take in the future.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Order.

Hon Mrs Grier: I think the member and the other members are doing a very real disservice to the efforts that have been put into the round table by the previous government and by this government.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Has the minister concluded her response?

Hon Mrs Grier: I've concluded.

WATER CONSERVATION

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): My question is to the Minister of Housing. Last fall I introduced a private member's bill that would amend the Ontario Water Resources Act and require that all new water fixtures such as toilets, faucets and shower heads meet certain efficiency standards. Recently your ministry changed the regulations under the Ontario Water Resources Act and will phase in mandatory use of efficient units. Can the minister please tell me what these new requirements will be?

Hon Evelyn Gigantes (Minister of Housing): I'd be glad to do that. In the Ontario Gazette of March you will find new regulations that will become effective on January 1, 1993, which will require the installation of energy-efficient shower heads, water-efficient shower heads and water-efficient faucets in all new buildings and major renovations as of that time. The requirement for the efficiency of toilets will be that no more than a maximum of 13.5 litres be used per flush.

I might add that this has been a very slow process, from the point of view of this minister, because my concerns are very much weighted with energy efficiency and with water efficiency. I am particularly concerned to see if we can't move ahead a bit faster with improvements to the standards which have already been announced.

Mr Hansen: I'm very happy to hear about these changes, Madam Minister, as they fulfil the intentions of my bill. My supplementary question deals with how the manufacturers of fixtures and toilets are going to cope with these changes. Did your ministry consult with and seek recommendations from the manufacturer of toilets and fixtures before making these changes?

Interjections.

Hon Ms Gigantes: I know the opposition finds this very funny, but it is in fact a very important matter. It has to do with the way we're going to conserve water use in this province over the next while. This has enormous implications for our ability to constrain costs in terms of the cost of new sewers and new waterworks. If we are able to reduce the amount of water we're using in our buildings by the amounts that are technically possible now, we're going to make enormous gains both economically and in terms of protection of our precious resources. We are continuously consulting, and if I may say so, pushing manufacturers in this province to be able to meet standards which are now technologically available.

CAPITAL FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS

Mr Charles Beer (York North): My question is to the Minister of Education. Minister, you will be aware that one of the most important changes in terms of the funding for school boards was the innovation brought in by our government to look, instead of in terms of capital at one year, to extending that over a three-year period to give school boards that sense of stability so they would know what they were going to have to do and what moneys they would have in terms of building.

There is a rumour that is going on throughout many school boards right now, and that I've had phone calls about, that as there has not been any announcement as yet regarding school capital, the ministry has decided there will not be an announcement this year. I would like to ask you to say to the House very clearly that before we rise on the 25th of this month, you will make a very specific and definite commitment of school capital financing.

Hon Tony Silipo (Minister of Education): I thank the member for the question, because that issue is one we are looking at very vigorously now within the ministry. I understand and have agreed very much with the approach taken by the previous government to announce the capital projects three years ahead for exactly the reasons the member has indicated. The member will recall, I'm sure, that there was an indication in the budget that we were looking at different ways of spending capital dollars and that within that we would be talking to people in the communities and in the affected stakeholder groups about that. Clearly the education capital is one of those areas we're interested in talking to people about.

However, I would still like -- and we are working this through -- to be able to look at announcing the projects we'll be funding before the House rises. My hope is that we can still do that. If we are not able to do that, I will certainly give an indication to the House and to school boards as to how early we ought to be able to do that, but my hope at this point is that we can still do it before the end of June.

1500

Mr Beer: I have concerns about the nature and the form of the minister's answer, because what I clearly hear is that if there is to be any kind of announcement, it's going to be based on a very different set of guidelines and proposals. I think what school boards need least at this point in time is yet another indication of instability in the way in which they are funded.

I would ask the minister again, are you saying to the House and to school boards that if you come before the House to make an announcement, you are going to be announcing capital again in the range of some $300 million, which has been the amount over the last number of years? Will that be applicable to all school boards, that they are all going to be able to participate in going after those funds, or are you saying you're changing the system completely so that only certain boards -- can you be clear? This is causing a great deal of instability in the system and I think the boards need to know clearly what the intention of the government is.

Hon Mr Silipo: Let me tell the member that we are talking to school boards about some of the things we are considering, so they do in fact know what we are contemplating. Let me also say very clearly that nothing we are contemplating changes in any way the range of the funding that will be provided. That will clearly still be in the $300 million to $330 million area that we have been providing.

What we are looking at is whether we ought to be changing the way in which those funds are provided, the issue of debenturing being one of the issues that's being considered. Also what we are obviously looking at is how we mesh that with some of the other announcements that were in the budget with respect to some additional capital dollars that I've again been indicating to school boards, some of which will be available to us, as well as what we can be doing with respect to the multi-use facilities and some of the funds that my predecessor announced would be available for that.

We're trying to bring all of those pieces together. As I say, I hope to be able to have some announcements here in the House and for school boards before the end of June.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): We have time for a question with no supplementary.

COMMODITY LOAN PROGRAM

Mr Noble Villeneuve (S-D-G & East Grenville): I will have to stretch my initial question then, if I have no supplementary, and I appreciate your warning me.

To the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Mr Minister, on March 25 of this year you announced the commodity loan guarantee program, and I and most farmers thought that because of the early announcement in March, it would be available to farmers for the costs of their planting time. Well, planting time has come and gone and commensurate costs with those have also come and gone. Farmers are waiting.

Mr Minister, when will you have the commodity loan program up and going? There are no application forms. When will farmers be able to apply, and what interest rate will they be paying on money that you've borrowed from the Bank of Montreal?

Hon Elmer Buchanan (Minister of Agriculture and Food): I share some of the member's concern about not having this loan program available for farmers before planting. That was my plan originally. We ran into some problems in negotiating with the financial institutions.

The Bank of Montreal was the institution selected to work out an arrangement between the corporation and the bank. Papers have been signed and the application forms, which I had hoped were going to be available last week -- I'm told they should be available this week or next week.

I recognize the member's concern. This was a program that we wanted to get out, but it's a new program, it's a new type of program, and I think it's worth doing well. The corporation we've set up wanted to make sure the program runs well.

The member asks a question about the interest rate. It's my understanding that farmers are going to have an opportunity under this program to borrow money at prime.

PETITIONS

LABOUR LEGISLATION

Mr Steven Offer (Mississauga North): I have a petition which reads as follows. It's to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas investment and job creation are essential for Ontario's economic recovery,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"To instruct the Minister of Labour to table the results of independent empirical studies of the impact that amendments to the Labour Relations Act will have on investment and jobs before proceeding with those amendments."

That is a petition which has been signed by a number of individuals with National Steel Car Ltd of Hamilton, and I have affixed my signature.

REVENUE FROM GAMING

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I have a petition of 176 names from members of my riding of Dufferin-Peel. It's addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the NDP government is considering legalizing casinos and video lottery terminals in the province of Ontario; and

"Whereas there is great public concern about the negative impact that will result from the abovementioned implementations;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the government stop looking to casinos and video lottery terminals as a quick-fix solution to its fiscal problems and concentrate instead on eliminating wasteful government spending."

I have affixed my name to that petition.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): The member for York-Durham.

LAND-LEASED COMMUNITIES

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): Thank you, Mr Speaker. It's Durham-York. My petition reads:

"We, the residents of land-leased communities, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the residents of Sutton-By-The-Lake felt the previous government set up a committee to report on land-leased communities but took no specific action to protect these communities; and

"Whereas the residents of Sutton-By-The-Lake feel it should be a priority of this government to release the report and to take action to bring forward legislation on the following issues surrounding land-leased communities; and

"Whereas the residents feel the government of Ontario should examine the problem of no protection against conversion to other uses which would result in the loss of home owners' equity; and

"Whereas the residents of these communities do not receive concise and clear information on their property tax bills; and

"Whereas there are often arbitrary rules set by landlords and owners of land-leased communities which place unfair restrictions and collect commissions on resales of residents' homes; and

"Whereas there has been confusion resulting in the status of residents in long-term leased communities and where they fall under the rent review legislation;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to follow through and to release the committee report on land-leased communities and to propose legislation to give adequate protection to individuals who live in land-leased communities."

I see I've got a page here from Prescott-Russell waiting for me to sign this.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I thank the member for Durham-York and recognize the member for Scarborough-Agincourt.

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): Scarborough North, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: Scarborough North.

MUNICIPAL ZONING BYLAWS

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I have a petition to table which calls for the government of Ontario to immediately end exclusionary zoning in the province by amending the Planning Act so as to require all municipalities to permit the creation of additional rental units that meet health and safety standards in neighbourhoods zoned for single-family housing.

YOUTH MINIMUM WAGE

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): I have one more directed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the government of Ontario has stated its objective to eliminate the youth minimum wage differential by 1992; and

"Whereas such action will seriously reduce available job opportunities for Ontario students;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"Until the Minister of Labour can assure the Ontario student population that no student jobs will be lost by the elimination of the youth minimum wage differential, we urge the government to maintain the current differential."

I have not affixed my name to the petition.

LABOUR LEGISLATION

Mr Steven Offer (Mississauga North): I have a petition which reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas independent and non-partisan economic studies have concluded that the proposed changes to Ontario labour legislation will increase job losses; and

"Whereas they will cause a decline in investment in Ontario; and

"Whereas they will seriously undermine the recovery and the maintenance of a sound economic environment in the province;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Ontario government declare a moratorium on any proposed changes to the labour legislation in the best interests of the people of Ontario."

Mr Speaker, that petition --

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Order. There's too much noise in the House. For those who want to conduct conversations, I would invite you to go to the lobbies. Thank you. The member for Mississauga North.

Mr Offer: Do you want me to read the whole petition again, Mr Speaker?

Mr Noble Villeneuve (S-D-G & East Grenville): No, no, never mind.

Mr Offer: Okay. That petition has been signed by members of North Park Electronics Ltd of Rexdale, Ontario, and I have signed my name to that petition.

1510

REAL ESTATE GAINS

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the government of Ontario has promised to introduce a new tax on real estate gains; and

"Whereas there is simply no evidence to suggest that real estate gains taxes either contribute to lower land and housing prices or raise significant revenue for the government; and

"Whereas in some cases a new tax on real estate gains may even raise prices by reducing supply; and

"Whereas the tax as proposed in the NDP's Agenda for People will adversely affect the entire real estate market in our community; and

"Whereas real estate gains are already subject to heavy taxation from federal and provincial governments;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to urge the Honourable Floyd Laughren, Treasurer of Ontario, not to proceed with an additional tax on real estate gains."

There is a large number of signatures on this petition, which I am happy to sign also.

LABOUR LEGISLATION

Mr Brad Ward (Brantford): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario signed by 186 hardworking members of Local 3767 of the United Steelworkers. These workers from Brantford have asked me to present this petition and it reads:

"We, the undersigned, support your government's amendments to the Ontario Labour Relations Act. It's about time."

I've signed my name to the petition as well.

Mr Noble Villeneuve (S-D-G & East Grenville): I too have a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It's signed by 172 people from the areas in and around Cornwall, Prescott, Sarnia, Bradford and Sudbury, and it reads as follows:

"Whereas independent and non-partisan economic studies have concluded that the proposed changes to Ontario labour legislation will unquestionably increase job losses; and

"Whereas they will cause a decline in investment in Ontario; and

"Whereas they will seriously undermine the recovery and the maintenance of a sound economic environment in the province;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Ontario government declare a moratorium on any proposed changes to the labour legislation in the best interests of the people of Ontario."

I have signed and fully endorsed this petition.

MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): I have a petition here from 72 constituents of the county of Middlesex, in particular the townships of North Dorchester, London, Westminster, Delaware and West Nissouri, and they ask the Legislature of Ontario to set aside the Brant report and to reduce the size of the annexation so that valuable farm land can be protected in the county of Middlesex.

I have signed my name to this petition.

LABOUR LEGISLATION

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey): I have a petition of 566 names of people from Thornbury, Kanata, Burford, Brantford, Ashton, Kingston, Wainfleet, Guelph and Fonthill, and it's a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas independent and non-partisan economic studies have concluded that the proposed changes to the Ontario labour legislation will increase job losses; and

"Whereas they will cause a decline in investment in Ontario; and

"Whereas they will seriously undermine the recovery and the maintenance of a sound economic environment in the province;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Ontario government declare a moratorium on any proposed changes to the labour legislation in the best interests of the people of Ontario."

MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): I have a petition here that the member for Middlesex asked me if I'd present for her:

"Whereas the report of John Brant, arbitrator for the greater London area, has recommended massive, unwarranted, unprecedented annexation by the city of London;

"Whereas the arbitration process was a patently undemocratic process resulting in recommendations which blatantly disregarded the public input expressed during the public hearings;

"Whereas the implementation of the arbitrator's report will lead to the destruction of the way of life enjoyed by the current residents of the county of Middlesex and will result in the remnant portions of Middlesex potentially not being economically viable;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Legislative Assembly of Ontario reject the arbitrator's report for the greater London area in its entirety, condemn the arbitration process to resolve the municipal boundary issues as being patently an undemocratic process and reject the recommendation of a massive annexation of land by the city of London."

I know the member for Middlesex would wholeheartedly support this and I affix my name.

LABOUR LEGISLATION

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario containing 149 signatures from all across this province:

"Whereas independent and non-partisan economic studies have concluded that the proposed changes to the Ontario labour legislation will increase job losses; and

"Whereas they will cause a decline in investment in Ontario; and

"Whereas they will seriously undermine the recovery and maintenance of a sound economic environment in the province;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Ontario government declare a moratorium on any proposed changes to the labour relation legislation in the best interests of the people of Ontario."

I have affixed my name to that petition.

LAND-LEASED COMMUNITIES

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): I have a petition here signed by a number of residents from the Sutton-By-The-Lake community:

"We, the residents of land-leased communities, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the residents of Sutton-By-The-Lake felt the previous government set up a committee to report on land-leased communities but took no specific action to protect these communities; and

"Whereas the residents of Sutton-By-The-Lake feel it should be a priority of this government to release the report and to take action to bring forward legislation on the following issues that surround land-leased communities; and

"Whereas the residents feel the government of Ontario should examine the problem of no protection against conversion to other uses which would result in the loss of home owners' equity; and

"Whereas the residents of these communities do not receive concise and clear information on their property tax bills; and

"Whereas there are often arbitrary rules set by landlords and owners of land-leased communities which place unfair restrictions or collect commissions on resales of residents' homes; and

"Whereas there has been confusion resulting in the status of residents of long-term leases and where they fall under the rent review legislation,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to follow through and to release the committee report on land-leased communities and to propose legislation to give adequate protection to individuals who live in land-leased communities."

It's been signed by people like the Barrows and the Dixons and the Gouthros, and I affix my name.

REVENUE FROM GAMING

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey): I have a petition that's been signed by residents all over my riding. It's to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas it is against United Church of Canada policy to indulge in any type of gambling -- gambling casinos bring crime to a community, not everyone has the self-control to limit their betting, low-income people will suffer from unwise use of their resources,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"Be it resolved that the Toronto Conference United Church Women do strongly object to the Ontario government's proposed legislation to promote offtrack betting, sports lotteries and gambling casinos."

LABOUR LEGISLATION

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I have a petition and it reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas independent and non-partisan economic studies have concluded that the proposed changes to Ontario labour legislation will increase job losses; and

"Whereas they will cause a decline in investment in Ontario; and

"Whereas they will seriously undermine the recovery and the maintenance of a sound economic environment in the province;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Ontario government declare a moratorium on any proposed changes to the labour legislation in the best interests of the people of Ontario."

It's signed by 415 people from places like Timmins, South Porcupine, Sault Ste Marie and Ancaster. I have affixed my signature to this petition.

LAND-LEASED COMMUNITIES

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): I have a petition here:

"We, the residents of land-leased communities, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the residents of Sutton-By-The-Lake felt the previous government set up a committee to report on land-leased communities but took no specific action to protect these communities; and

"Whereas the residents of Sutton-By-The-Lake feel it should be a priority of this government to release the report and to take action to bring forward legislation on the following issues surrounding land-leased communities; and

"Whereas the residents feel the government of Ontario should examine the problem of no protection against conversion to other uses which would result in the loss of home owners' equity; and

"Whereas the residents of these communities do not receive concise and clear information on their property tax bills; and

"Whereas there are often arbitrary rules set by landlords and owners of land-leased communities which place an unfair restriction and collect commissions on resales of residents' homes; and

"Whereas there has been confusion resulting in the status of residents with long-term leases and where they fall under the rent review legislation;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to follow through and release the committee report on land-leased communities and proposed legislation to give adequate protection to individuals who live on land-leased communities."

I affix my name to it.

1520

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS

Mr White from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the following report and moved its adoption.

Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:

Bill Pr10, An Act respecting the City of London;

Bill Pr24, An Act respecting the Pembroke and Area Airport Commission;

Bill Pr27, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa;

Bill Pr33, An Act to revive Cinquemani Holdings Limited;

Bill Pr42, An Act to revive Tri-Delta of Toronto;

Bill Pr94, An Act to revive the Rideau Trail Association;

Your committee begs to report the following bills as amended:

Bill Pr18, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa;

Bill Pr22, An Act respecting the Ontario Association of Property Standards Officers;

Bill Pr86, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

Motion agreed to.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

TORONTO ISLANDS RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY STEWARDSHIP ACT, 1992 / LOI DE 1992 SUR L'ADMINISTRATION DE LA ZONE RÉSIDENTIELLE DES ÎLES DE TORONTO

Mr Cooke moved first reading of Bill 61, An Act respecting Algonquin and Ward's Islands and respecting the Stewardship of the Residential Community on the Toronto Islands / Loi concernant les îles de Algonquin et Ward's et concernant l'administration de la zone résidentielle des îles de Toronto.

Motion agreed to.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT (NIAGARA ESCARPMENT), 1992 / LOI DE 1992 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR LA PROTECTION DE L'ENVIRONNEMENT (ESCARPEMENT DU NIAGARA)

Mr Duignan moved first reading of Bill 62, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act in respect of the Niagara Escarpment / Loi modifiant la Loi sur la protection de l'environnement à l'égard de l'escarpement du Niagara.

Motion agreed to.

Mr Noel Duignan (Halton North): The bill amends the Environmental Protection Act to prohibit all further waste management systems and waste disposals in the Niagara Escarpment plan area set out in the Niagara Escarpment plan.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

WANT OF CONFIDENCE MOTION / MOTION DE CENSURE

Mr Charles Beer (York North): On behalf of Mr Conway, I move want of confidence motion 1.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Would you please read it.

Mr Beer: Yes. I also understand, before I read it, that there has been agreement the time will be split equally among the three parties.

The Deputy Speaker: There is agreement the time would be split. Is it agreed? Agreed.

Mr Beer, on behalf of Mr Conway, moved want of confidence motion 1:

Whereas the number of unemployed students between the ages of 15 and 24 has gone from 11.1% in September 1990 to 18% in April 1992;

And whereas the government has not provided additional job opportunities for students;

And whereas the private sector has also had to reduce the number of opportunities offered to summer students due to an inability to compete in the current economic climate of the province of Ontario;

And whereas the Ontario student assistance program was recently reduced by $10 million;

And whereas the number of students applying for student venture capital has declined significantly demonstrating the students' lack of faith in the province's economic performance;

And whereas the youth of this province are seeing no investment in their future by this government;

And whereas this government has managed to increase spending in other sectors which are not in crisis, thus calling into question its spending priorities in this time of recession;

Therefore, pursuant to the provisions of standing order 42(a), the House no longer has confidence in the government.

Mr Beer: I rise to begin the debate on this particularly important issue because I think all members must have an increasing sense that there is a crisis out there in terms of youth unemployment.

I want to begin by reading a quote from some eight years ago that was made by the now Premier of this province who said, "I suggest to you that the fight against youth unemployment is one part, a crucial part, of the fight for full employment in our society."

It is our contention that the actions of this government since its election have done nothing to raise the issue of youth employment to the level where, quite frankly, it needs to be because of the problems we're facing in our society today.

If you go back and look at the throne speeches, at the budget, at the announcements by ministers, particularly in those areas responsible for youth, you will see very, very little, if anything, until most recently that is focused on this problem. I believe we can quote a great number of statistics. We can go through all kinds of alphabet soup of programs that are supposed to help young people.

But the first thing we have to do and what I want to put before the House at this point is to recognize that when we talk about our young people being the future of this province and of this country, if that is to have any reality, to have any meaning, then we have to ensure that in the area of employment we are bringing forward programs, we are working with the private sector and we are working with the educational sector to make sure that in fact that happens.

When we look at the current situation, as was stated in the motion, we see that there's been a dramatic increase in youth unemployment. How do we go about trying to deal with that? How do we find the kinds of jobs that are necessary? I think here it is critical that government take the lead.

In 1985, when we first became the government, one of the most innovative programs we brought in was the Futures program. I would say to the government today that what you need to do is go back and find, in 1992, the emotional, financial commitment to that kind of program but dedicate it to young people and dedicate it to the 1990s because, if members will take their minds back and remember what was at the core of the Futures program, it was to be focused to ensure that for those young people who were at risk, who needed training, who needed certain kinds of education, those programs would be available and they would be guaranteed two years of employment.

It was a remarkable initiative for its time. It was vital to giving young people a sense of faith, a sense of hope in the society and that they would have a place in it. It was a remarkably successful program.

What is missing at this point is that this government has tried to approach the question of youth unemployment in bits and pieces. What we've got to do is bring it all together, to say that this is a crisis and that the government will have the role of leading the way to a solution.

I think one of the things that has surprised a number of us on this side of the House has been the way in which it appears that the government is slowly whittling away at the role of the Ministry of Skills Development. That ministry was created very specifically so that there could be again a focused attempt to look at the young people who were going to need help, to find the kinds of skills programs that would meet that need and then to put those in place. But what we have seen since this government came into power is not a focus, is not one minister being able to take hold and to say to this House: "These are the kinds of programs that we need. This is what I'm going to do."

1530

The first thing this government needs to do at this point is say, "We have a crisis in terms of youth unemployment." The statistics I read out in the motion, the number of unemployed students aged 15 to 24 going from 11.1% to 18% in 18 months -- anyone going anecdotally and talking to his sons, his daughters, the friends of his sons and daughters, will recognize that there is either very little employment opportunity out there, that kids who had reasonable jobs last summer are now having to take ones in which there is much less money available, or there simply is no work.

One of the things that struck me during the short time I served as Minister of Community and Social Services was when young people in the age group of 15 to 24 drop out of high school -- and we know that number is in the range of up to 30% -- and they don't have the skills, they don't have the training, they don't have the education, they face a future that is really without hope, and we simply cannot allow that to happen. We cannot allow the number of young people, again between 15 and 24, who month after month are increasing the ranks of those who are on social assistance. When we then look at some of the social turmoil we have had in the city of Toronto and other parts of the province, that is but the tip of the iceberg of telling us there is a crisis out there. One of the key ways of ensuring that we don't have that crisis and that we're able to resolve those issues is precisely to see that there's a government that's going to move forward and take some very concrete steps to bring about youth employment.

Si nous pouvons souligner la crise qui existe actuellement dans la société ontarienne, il faut aussi dire que s'il y a un manque de programmes pour la population globalement il y a, même plus important, un manque de programmation pour la communauté francophone en ce qui concerne l'emploi des jeunes.

Donc, dire qu'on peut simplement mettre le point sur peut-être un groupe ici ou une région de la province là, ce n'est pas suffisant pour résoudre ce problème. Donc, je dis au gouvernement qu'il est très important de dire au ministre de la Formation professionnelle que c'est à lui de nous dire : «Voici les programmes que nous, comme gouvernement, allons mettre en place. Voici les actions que je vais prendre pour travailler avec l'industrie, avec les commerces et avec les institutions éducatives pour assurer en effet qu'il y aura des programmes de formation pour les jeunes qui vont en avoir besoin.»

Without that, we are simply not going to be able to lower the rate of unemployment that we currently find among young people.

I was given a number of speeches that have been given over the years by the Premier, by the Treasurer, by a variety of members in this House on all sides, in all three parties, and it is probably fair to say that we have come close to developing a full program around youth employment. But we have always pulled back from really making sure that what we have is something that is going to work. That's going to have to be one in which this government says, first of all, that it recognizes that, broadly speaking, there is a crisis facing our youth with respect to employment; that we have to go into our schools and look at the kinds of programs that are there. What is it that young people are learning? What are the kinds of apprenticeship programs, the various job programs, the cooperative education programs that are going to enable those young people to find work? What are we doing at the community college level? What are we doing in terms of universities to ensure that those who graduate are going to have jobs?

The area that gets left out so often when we're doing all of this is for the young people who don't fall into those different categories and who are simply out there, often on social assistance. They get lost and that number keeps growing, and it grows at our peril if we are trying to develop some sort of truly just society, a society in which young people will have work.

If we're to deal with this we need to redirect some funds. Again, the motion has said very clearly that "the government has managed to increase spending in other sectors which are not in crisis." This is a sector which is in crisis. There are programs within the Ministry of Community and Social Services, for example, to deal with employment. There are some $50 million there. Some of those funds could be immediately and specifically directed to this question. Those funds could be used to develop a coordinated program where we set out those young people who are most at risk, the kinds of skills and training they are going to need, and put that money there. Those dollars could be directed to ensuring, even in the short term, employment opportunities for young people. We have to recognize that if people are unemployed, if they don't have jobs, we are going to be paying a whole series of other costs.

Yesterday we had the report that came out from the social assistance task force looking at bringing about new legislation to ensure that people on social assistance are going to be able to get the kind of training they require for jobs. Clearly what that report said, and the importance of it in terms of improving programs like supports to employment and developing other employment transitional programs for young people, was that if we don't do that we're going to be paying through charges against our correctional system, we're going to be paying because more money will have to go out on our welfare system and we're going to be paying because those young people are not going to be able to add to the economic value of our society.

But we pay in the worst way because we lose those young people. They don't get the opportunity to contribute to society. They don't have the opportunity to find jobs. They then become disillusioned, they're without hope, and it's at that point that the kinds of events we have seen over the last few weeks can happen. We have to recognize that within that is simply a question of those young people seeking to have a sense that they belong in this society and that we believe it's important they have those opportunities.

As we begin this debate and listen to both my colleagues and others who will be speaking in this debate, we as members of this Assembly have to say that we are committed to seeing that this is a number one, front-burner issue, that government has a clear and direct responsibility to act, to lead, to bring the players together and to come up with specific programs which can take advantage of dollars that are already there in the budget and that can be redirected to ensure we help young people.

We do that in two parts, both in the short run and by setting out very clearly in direction to the Minister of Skills Development that we're going to have to have brought into this House a program directed, in my view, to young people, to youth, and to see that that has multi-year funding and will involve all of those other sectors, so that young people, whether they are in college, whether they are in high school, whether they have had to drop out of school, will have training opportunities and jobs that they're going to be able to take advantage of.

I ask that all of us, as we look at the problem facing us, recognize that this is the first requirement: that we make that commitment to our young people and then make the commitment to make the changes we're going to have to to ensure we can provide the employment our young people need, require and deserve.

1540

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): This is quite the opportunity this afternoon to speak to Mr Conway's want of confidence motion. I'd like to speak to it as it appears on Orders and Notices.

The first statement Mr Conway makes is that "the number of unemployed students between the ages of 15 and 24 has gone from 11.1% in September 1990 to 18% in April 1992." One has to wonder about the reasons our young people in Ontario are unemployed during these times. I'd like to begin by taking us back a few years.

We know it's always been a challenge for young people to get summer jobs, and young people have always had to take challenging jobs, some of which they wouldn't choose if they had a choice. But I think their families and their schools and the employers of this province have always tried to give them just that: a beginning in different kinds of summer work so that we could, of course, establish a value system and give them an opportunity to earn some dollars to put towards their education.

I don't think young people have changed. I still think they're looking for those opportunities, and I believe most of them would do almost anything to work. But the people I'd like to talk about today are the young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who aren't looking for summer jobs: those young people who have either dropped out of school or who have finished their education by age 24 who are looking for permanent jobs.

Why is this issue on the agenda today? I think it is for a couple of reasons. I think one of the reasons we have unemployed students is the state of the economy in Ontario today and probably for the last two or three years. When we look to the private sector, the business community, to give our young people opportunities, it is looking at laying off its most important workers. They're looking at reducing the number of days people work, they're looking at changing full-time employees to part-time employees and they're looking at phasing out work in Ontario altogether.

I think that debate is probably for another time, but it's an extremely important one in these times. If we don't have industry and business investing in Ontario -- Canadian industry, North American industry or industry from other parts of the world -- if we're not the kind of province people are excited about that they can invest in and know that we'll make it work on their behalf through confidence, hard work and our ability to be competitive, our young people will have fewer and fewer jobs. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to talk about that today.

When we talk about the Ontario student assistance program, many of our young people who will not have the opportunity to go to university or to the colleges of their choice this fall for a number of reasons are very concerned, as is pointed out in the motion this afternoon by the member for Renfrew North, that the OSAP program was reduced by $10 million.

I'd like to begin my comments on colleges and universities by saying that if Ontario wants to be a player on the global stage something must be done to our deteriorating university system. It's hard for me to stand here as a graduate of the secondary school system in the late 1950s, someone who looked forward to going to university along with my friends -- and I have to say that at that time there weren't very many of us who had the opportunity. I grew up in this great city and graduated from Oakwood Collegiate. Many of us wanted to go on, but the universities didn't have the spaces or the college system didn't exist or many of us couldn't afford to go, but more important, you had to be an excellent student to go.

In today's world I think we've given many things to our young people. Their expectations are much higher because I think the opportunities have been there for them, and all of a sudden we see what was a growth in accessibility being turned around just in these past few months, so as many students who want to go and should go and who are qualified for and deserving of a higher education will not be able to be there.

At the same time, we take a look at what the students who are in our universities tell us with regard to their buildings. Their physical facilities are deteriorating. They're subjected to classes bigger than any of us could ever imagine. Students aren't receiving, in their view, the quality of education they deserve. Their complaints are very specific. They wish they had more time with their professors or their instructors. They would expect that if they were able to contribute in any way to their own tuition they would get the quality and the time they deserve. At the same time as the need increases for post-secondary education, there is going to be a severe lack of faculty to teach these students.

Today this gives me an opportunity to talk about vision and planning. Between now and the year 2000 -- and I think this would be interesting for any member of the House to know about -- 50% of all new jobs will require a university degree. These are the projections we hear and read about in the research that's being done, not only in our province and in Canada but across North America; 50 % of all new jobs will require a university degree. This is a reality that we have to face and it is being reflected now in the number of mature students we see returning to university.

Many say they're going back because they can't get a job. One has to wonder why they're not getting jobs. Is it because there aren't the jobs available? I think for many there aren't, especially for the traditional summer-type jobs we know about. The kinds of jobs being offered to our students, our young people, require tremendous amounts of training and technology. We know and Ontario knows that would be the specific area we are failing in.

Older people are returning to university because they too, in today's workplace, find it's much more complicated, technology-driven and information-sensitive. They're going back either while they're working, or taking leave of absence or their employers are providing the opportunity for them to return to university because although they've been in the workforce, they too need to be upgraded.

All available predictions about the next 10 years suggest this trend will increase. I've already stated that OSAP will be reduced by $10 million. Cutting $10 million will reduce the amount of assistance available at a time when the recession has seriously affected the incomes and opportunities of students. At the same time, universities have stated that there will be more than 2,000 first-year places in universities and applications to colleges will be up some 24%.

I've been participating in the social development committee in the last few weeks, which has been reviewing the Ontario student assistance program. We've heard from a number of organizations and university presidents who are very concerned that the quality of education is rapidly deteriorating. I'm looking forward to being part of the information-provider responsibility that I have in speaking with that committee as it tries to develop some recommendations for this government. Given that we have had some very interesting and responsible suggestions I hope, as an all-party committee, we can embark upon some new approaches in the whole area of OSAP funding that perhaps none of us would have agreed with at other times if they hadn't been such desperate ones. But we know we have to inject more dollars into the system for the students.

There is another issue I'd like to take the opportunity to talk about, the issue of crown foundations. This was a recommendation during those hearings that was supported by many of the presenters. It's one this government is very much aware of. The establishment of crown foundations in Ontario would certainly put us on a level playing field with other provinces.

It's my understanding that the government is about ready to bring forth this bill. I strongly encourage that because as an individual and certainly in my capacity as the Progressive Conservative critic for Colleges and Universities, it is my responsibility to speak as much as I can to the private sector about getting more money into the university system. If this is a vehicle by which they can do that I think, like the province of British Columbia, we should be taking advantage of it. If we don't do that, many of us will be faced with watching money leave this province, not only to other Canadian provinces, but to American universities where people have obtained their graduate degrees, and even more importantly outside this country.

I see the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is here today. I hope he would support and bring forth that bill as best he can, which will help us with the crown foundations because we need that money in our universities. We need it especially in the area of industry, trade and technology training. I would be most grateful if that could happen.

1550

I would like to say also that in the area of the debate today, where we're talking about a non-confidence motion in the government because of the lack of support for young people, the lack of support for education and training and the lack of support, I would say, with regard to the management of our education systems, I have to talk a little bit, too, specifically -- I think today is an opportunity to tell the government about something it can do now. The crown foundation one is something that should definitely come forward before this session adjourns, because all of us are facing our universities and our colleges on a day-to-day basis and we know the challenges they are facing and the resources they're losing. In fact, even if they were to become more efficient, which I think they can do, and even if we were to give them more money, it wouldn't be enough to help the problems in the short term.

Here's another specific one for the government: With regard to skills training, we know right now we have a wonderful opportunity in Ontario to work with the Canadian government in establishing skills training programs through the OTAB vehicle, the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board vehicle. The government announced that it would be supporting this restructuring to the province's training system.

I would say that there wouldn't be a member in this House who doesn't know that this issue has been out for public consultation. We all agree that the responsibility for workplace training, labour force adjustment measures, apprenticeship reform and re-entry training will be transferred to the new agency, which will be run by business, labour, education and the social-labour market partners.

It's a tremendous responsibility. It's an opportunity we shouldn't miss. But there are some concerns and if the government doesn't listen carefully to the concerns as they are being presented to it, either by members of the opposition or members of its own government, I think in the long term, if anybody is visionary, we're going to lose some of the partners we need. It's not too late.

I'd like to list the concerns as we see them and as we have presented them in the House in the past. Perhaps some of them will be new.

First of all, the public that has been involved in making presentations before the committee tells us that the government, believe it or not, on this issue is moving too quickly, that adequate time must be allocated to debate the proposals and to locate the best people to serve on the OTAB and the local boards. I have raised the tremendous concern about the makeup of the board itself in the past. I'm not going to dwell on it today; the minister knows about it.

With regard to the local boards, I've raised the issue that we have a great deal of expertise in the province that was established -- or at least the vehicle was established -- some eight years ago. Many of these local training boards as they exist right now have, I think, some of the best resources this province has ever known, and some of them are working very well with their local communities. I would hope that where they're working -- not where they're not working but where we have good people and where they are working -- we ought to keep the best people who have established the links with the business community, with the education community and with the labour community. We shouldn't lose the wonderful links we've established. Those people should be a priority for this government when appointments are made on local boards.

I think one of the issues that has raised the concern of people who have taken the time to go before the committee to advise the committee -- I shouldn't say committee; I mean the panel -- has been the process itself. I raised it and I talked to the deputy and I can't believe it hasn't been changed. I think our province has lost a great deal of credibility in supporting the five-minute presentation. Can you imagine asking people to communicate with the people they represent, whether they be a training body themselves, whether they be representation from industry, whether they be a representative from labour, going through all the loopholes it takes to get the support in order to go before a panel of this government, only to be told that you've got five minutes?

Mr Speaker, I should tell you that I brought this to the attention of the minister on day two of these panel discussions and that process did not change. I think we lost a lot of credibility by supporting it.

The business community is particularly alarmed by the prospect of an additional payroll tax for training. If we could get this model up and running as they have in Europe, in West Germany, in Brussels and in the United Kingdom -- and we know these models and we know they're working; we know it took a long time to get them going -- if we could work with the communities, we would get that kind of support.

But if we're not going to work with all the different partners and if we're going to slap them with another tax before they've ever been asked for specific contributions -- I'm now talking about large corporations that have not been asked, that now have sent some of their training people over. When I was in Brussels in January, that's what I saw, an American motor company training people who could have been trained in Ontario. I see again the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology watching me as I speak. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to him about these kinds of things and after today I will phone his office and try to arrange some time.

There are no unorganized labour representatives on the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board. Unorganized labour makes up 70% of the labour force. This particular concern has been raised on a daily basis through my office and certainly to the panel members. There has to be an answer to it. One has to take a look at how one gets unorganized labour represented. I think this government in particular should be the government that speaks up and says there is a way, even if all you do is go to the local chambers of commerce and say, "Give us a couple of people." If you want it to happen, it will happen.

Since youths are the major consumers of education and training, my question is, will the minister consider giving them a seat on the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board? Today especially, I have to say, as we talk about unemployed students, about student assistance and accessibility to our universities, and about students not applying for student venture capital because their confidence is not there -- they don't even think it exists -- where they in fact, and I hope this isn't true, are seeing no investment in their future by this government, if we're talking about those kinds of things, surely we should be talking about giving them a representative on this OTAB board or at least on the local boards. I think young people are the ones with the enthusiasm and the excitement and the ideas and we should be supporting them and we should be listening to them.

The community industrial training committees are already effectively networking with their labour and business partners. They have identified the training needs of the community. The question is, why are we dismantling something that is already working and starting from scratch?

I see that my time is coming to a close and I'd just like to finish by saying this: I don't think rewriting curriculum or putting vast amounts of money into our education system or even testing students or even talking about year-round schooling are the simple answers to what I see as being a very big challenge for this government and the education systems in Ontario.

I would sum up by saying I don't think we put our resources into the front lines the way we should. We have administrative-heavy school boards, administrative-heavy colleges and administrative-heavy universities. We have classes that are too large at all three levels. We need a major redevelopment of the administrations of all of our education and training sectors in this province, and the money must go into the front lines, meaning with the educator and with the student.

The other issue I need to say something about today is that the curriculum in our elementary and secondary schools is long overdue for a major injection of training skills at a very early age. We wouldn't be talking about youth unemployment today to the extent we are if these young people were to stay in school and the school systems were to provide the ongoing training throughout the summer, just like they do in other parts of the world. Ontario and Canada are falling further and further behind. This government will not change this overnight, but what we need from it -- with our help, I would expect -- would be a long-term plan. We don't have it. We don't have the political will and we didn't have it with the Liberals.

I have to say at this point, and I'll take the opportunity, that I'm surprised to see this kind of motion coming from the Liberals, because they had five years. I'm looking at the former Minister of Skills Development and I know how often he and I talked and I know that he was frustrated because he couldn't get the job done. Why? Because we need the political will and we need a plan and we all have to buy into it and just get on with it. Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.

1600

The Acting Speaker (Mr Dennis Drainville): Further debate? The honourable member for Etobicoke-Rexdale.

Hon Ed Philip (Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology): I must congratulate the member for London North on what I think is a set of fairly reasonable comments in this debate, comments that I certainly can identify with. She talked about the OTAB program, and what we have tried to do with the OTAB program is recognize that bureaucracies and very large institutions are often insensitive to the needs of business, to the needs of working people and to the training. When we look at the European models, when we look at the Japanese models and some of the models in the Far East of societies that are so much more competitive than we are and that have developed industrial strategies that work, we recognize that training has to be much more at an industry level than it is at the present time. That is the purpose of the OTAB consultations, and I can tell you that in my riding the OTAB consultation gave fairly widespread openings for people to discuss and have considerable input at great length.

I agree with the member for London North with the need to get entrepreneurship or skills at the very grass-roots elementary school level. Indeed, that's what my ministry is doing, and I am consulting with school boards on the entrepreneurship program. As the member for London North well knows, I've been involved with the Creative Education Foundation for a number of years, and indeed that's the only cross-border reason I go to Buffalo at any time, because I think they've set up some very interesting research there in teaching entrepreneur and creativity skills. We're actively pursuing our entrepreneurship program and I am quite prepared to discuss it with any school board and we are happy to send speakers and facilitators in.

I'm also concerned, quite frankly, when I look at the past record of governments here: that they have really done very little to remedy what I consider to be a very serious problem in making us competitive. If we look at the number of engineers who graduate in Ontario, while it may be better than other provinces, it is still very small in comparison to Japan -- indeed about half the rate per capita of the Japanese. When I look at who are involving themselves in the high-tech and science and engineering programs, we are still missing a great amount of talent, namely the female candidates in those programs. We have to do more in that area.

I want to say, though, that if you look at what we are doing in the creation of jobs and opportunities for youth you see that small and medium-sized businesses are the prime source of employment in Ontario. Our government supports Ontario businesses -- small, medium and large. In fact, if you look at the budget for my ministry you find that my budget, namely the financial support for businesses, be it in research, in loan guarantees, in the various ways in which we are working with business, in a year in which we have had, because of budgetary constraints, to cut the budgets of some 20 ministries, we have a budget 96% higher than the last year of the Liberal government of 1989. That is money that is going into business in the form of loan guarantees and paying salaries of skilled people to work for a period of three years with small companies and in the way of providing new jobs and new opportunities in those industries that are creating value added products.

Just an example of that kind of thing is that this week a Windsor firm received financial assistance from the Ontario Development Corp. I have a whole list that goes on page after page that can tell you how many jobs were created in various companies. I'd be happy to mail it out to any of the viewers who would like to see where our investments are going. It's very large indeed. The Windsor firm received financial assistance from ODC, and due to an anticipated increase in orders the company expects that it will grow by some 50 employees as a result of that.

So it isn't just the de Havillands -- which the Conservative Party wanted to write off in the aerospace industry and do nothing for; there are small companies across this province that we are working with.

If you look at specific programs for our clients of between 18 and 25 years, you see that in my ministry the loans approved since September 1990 in the new ventures program were some 447 and the capital advanced was some $6.1 million.

If you look at the university small business consulting service, some 230 students took advantage through the 15 units operating throughout our province.

If you look at the small business self-help publications -- that is, publications that will assist people in starting up businesses or improving their small businesses in such areas as marketing, business planning and recordkeeping -- you find that a great number of young people have taken advantage of them.

The Starting a Small Business in Ontario publication: Many of the people who are in that age group are making use of that guide, and copies are available to many of them.

Our business self-help offices: We're in the process now of expanding them. We're going into the Niagara-St Catharines area and I've been meeting with municipal officials there. Twenty-six offices now are located and we're looking forward to the 27th one in the Niagara Peninsula, in partnership with the local municipalities. Since September 1990, 5,054 young people under the age of 30 have registered as clients of the business self-help offices.

We've been conducting small business seminars. Since September 1990 around this province, 1,260 young people -- that is, people under the age of 30 -- have registered for our seminar programs, and our evaluations have certainly shown that they have been very successful.

In addition to the programs we have for creating youth employment, the Ontario government is already supporting some 14,500 summer jobs throughout the province. I was pleased that the Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Bob Rae, came to my riding to announce an additional $20 million for the Jobs Ontario Youth program. That will create 8,500 new summer jobs.

Interjection: They're not all in your riding.

Hon Mr Philip: They're not all in my riding. But some of them are in my riding, and I was pleased that the Premier came to my riding to announce it.

A total of $13.7 million will create 5,000 jobs in the greater Metropolitan Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Windsor areas, and the remaining $6.3 million will go into the existing provincial summer employment programs and create 3,500 jobs.

So what I'm saying is that we are creating new jobs for young people through some very specific initiatives, but we are also working on the training front to improve the chances of those who are in the schools now of finding satisfactory entrepreneurial, high-tech, high value added, high-paying jobs when they graduate.

If you look at the budget you see that we have a number of programs that will help industries to create even more jobs for young people. The $150-million sector partnership fund, which I had been talking about only yesterday with the auto parts industry and have been very actively working with the plastics industry on, will create some tremendous opportunities in the way of research and development and the creation of new jobs in that area.

We have the $1.1-billion Jobs Ontario training fund, which will create 100,000 jobs. That's an excellent program that will create many jobs for young people.

We have the Ontario investment fund, which we had questions on today by the Conservatives. They may not like it, but I can tell you that those people who are in the investment community and in the high-tech industries really wonder why the Conservatives as a government sat back for so many years when the Europeans were developing the type of fund that will create the high value added jobs we should be developing in this province.

Mr Speaker, I've been told by colleagues that many members of our cabinet and of our caucus wish to speak. I'd just like to say that we are working, both as my ministry and indeed as a government, on creating new opportunities.

We have a strategy, which is more than previous governments have had. I'm very proud of that strategy and I have confidence in the work of this government. The young people of this province tell me, as I go around the province, that they have confidence in this. We're doing a lot better than any previous government has ever done for young people and for employment.

1610

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): Mr Speaker, I want to thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to make my few comments in regard to this excellent motion. I see this motion as a desperate appeal by concerned legislators in this House in regard to our young people, who are in desperate need at a time when the economy and many things are not working in their favour.

I thought about this motion and I thought how I would best approach this, and I came across a rather excellent comment made by the now Premier in 1987. It says it all. It says:

"The quality of education you are fighting for will come when governments are prepared to recognize education as the crucial investment in the future that it is. Governments which fail to invest in education, as had been so clearly the case in this province in the past decade, are not simply shortchanging a generation of students. They are literally shortchanging the country. As information and knowledge become more and more crucial to our collective future, a failure to invest undercuts the very basis of economic growth and economic prosperity."

Within that comment, it is well said. As an individual who had spent 14 years as an administrator in the college system, I have seen many of our young people come to realize their dreams and aspirations and go out into the world to show that they can contribute.

We've often heard that the most valuable resource we have in our country is our people. But it is very sad to see that our young people are being more or less neglected. As the member for London North has indicated, as previous Minister of Skills Development I made many appeals to put some money towards that kind of initiative so that we could invest properly in our people.

I just want to highlight some of the things facing our young people, those who want to go on for education, those who have some hope in this government too that their OSAP would be supplemented adequately so they could advance their knowledge and training, only to be told that $10 million was cut from their OSAP. They are seeing that dream fade as that happens.

We also saw an economy that has really devastated some of the dreams of getting jobs to supplement their income. That has also gone.

We saw also the government -- and I'm not here to blame, just to say what the reality is all about. The government levied some taxes, more on some of the parents who would have liked to assist those students into school, and now they are being taxed more. What they have done is move the threshold, call them middle class and give them more taxes.

We have also seen the matter of the literacy level of some of our young people as something that we should not be very proud of. The functional illiteracy rate in this country of about 25% of our adults is an indication that our resources are not being used properly. This is a very serious matter. We hope the government will not continue to wait for a demonstration by young people on the streets showing their frustration, saying, "We need to be better utilized, given opportunities in order that we can contribute to this country, contribute to this province."

They are crying out. They are crying out desperately. My constituency of Scarborough North is a very young constituency in the sense that there is a very large group of young people, and the dropout rate in the schools is alarming. It is telling us that we are spending a considerable amount of money in the system but not getting the results. As legislators, we appeal to the minister and the Premier, who seem to have commitment to this kind of cause, that not only money should be put there but also political will.

A very important area of the education system is counselling. We have seen that the area of counselling for young people is quite inadequate. Young people are not given the opportunity to sit down and discuss the directions in which they would like to go. It's unfortunate that we as a country, while considering ourselves a First World nation, are unable to bring out the qualities in our children and young people that we would have, with the lack of jobs and the lack of proper training. We hope that this government, in this today, which is so important, will address the issue adequately.

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr Curling: Although the hecklers on the other side may not understand the issue because they may feel somehow that it's a partisan issue, it's an issue of concern for the best resource we have in our country. We hope that we can work cooperatively. I think the motion is a very constructive motion that should be addressed and should be listened to. I think we should put sufficient funds and adequate resources into this issue in order that we can have the type of individuals to make sure we can produce and compete in this global economy.

Of course, we blame it on recession and blame it on former governments and other governments, but this is not the time to do that. While parents are bickering about whose responsibility it is, the children are starving for education and are unable to produce in the way they should.

Mr Speaker, in summary, in the short time I have I want to thank you very much. I hope that all the members here will support this motion and that the government will address it accordingly.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): It's a pleasure to participate in this debate on a subject that I think all members of this House are concerned with, and that is the employment of the young people in this province.

I must say that I certainly will be supporting the resolution, but at first glance I look at the resolution in the opening proviso, where they talk about how the employment rate of the unemployed students started in September 1990 at 11.1%. What in the world was this government doing when it was in power? I am referring to the Liberal government when it was in power. Why has no long-term strategy been developed by the Liberal government? Why have they waited until now to raise their concerns? I say that they're a little late in raising their concerns as to what this present government is doing with respect to youth employment in this province.

I will digress somewhat, and that is to the education of our youth in this province. I expressed some concern when I looked at the news stories this morning, particularly the report of Mr Lewis in this morning's Toronto Star when he delivered his report to the Premier. I'm very concerned if what I interpret Mr Lewis is suggesting is that the quota system be implemented in our educational system in this province. I have grave concerns about that.

1620

To quote the Toronto Star, he said, "The Minister of Education, through his new assistant deputy minister, establish a strong monitoring mechanism to follow up the implementation of multicultural and anti-racism policies in the schools boards of Ontario." That seems relatively harmless enough.

But the article then proceeds and says: "The parliamentary assistant to the Premier, Zanana Akande, continues to pursue the revision of curriculum at every level of education, so it fully reflects the profound multicultural changes in Ontario society. She might also pursue, as a logical accompanying reform vital to minority students, the elimination of streaming in" the Ontario system.

Finally, it's suggested that "The Minister of Education, in conjunction with the Minister of Colleges and Universities, review admission requirement to the faculties of education in Ontario, in order to ensure that the faculties make every effort to attract and enrol qualified visible minority candidates."

I have a great deal of concern with that. I thought education in this province was for all of us, for everyone. The colour of your skin or your race or your religion doesn't matter when qualifying to get into university. What is important are your qualifications. Qualifications appear to be nothing to this government with regard to how you're going to be educated. What is important is the colour of your skin.

I hope I'm reading this report wrong. I hope the quota system isn't being suggested to be implemented into our system, because the problem of youth that's being suggested by this resolution is nothing if this is how we're going to educate the young people of this province -- that it's going to be dependent on the colour of your skin. I do hope this government will not follow that recommendation and the quota system will not be implemented.

One of the major concerns we have in this province is that we're now competing in a global community. More and more of us must be more and more highly qualified to compete in a global community. Every nation is becoming better and better educated. But what is the emphasis of education in this province? We look at the emphasis of the Minister of Education and the amount of funding he's providing to our secondary schools and our post-secondary schools. Clearly the emphasis is not on education; the emphasis is not to keep up. If you don't keep up, how in the world are individuals and companies going to compete in the global community? I think that is one of the first concerns we must look at: getting back into educating not only our young people but all the people in this province, and certainly do not implement the quota system.

Certainly the suggestion that has been made by the Premier, the announcement that there would be a $20-million summer job creation program geared towards black youth -- and it talks about 8,500 jobs of two months' duration paying the minimum wage of $6 an hour for workers between the ages of 15 and 24. I must say I have a lot of trouble with the mathematics in what is being calculated.

The Jobs Ontario fund has increased its commitment to the jobs of the Ontario fund that have been announced by $20 million, saying it will provide 8,500 new jobs at minimum wage, $6, for 15- to 24-year-olds. The minimum wage for under 18 years of age is $5.55. The minimum wage for over 18 years of age is $6. When you apply the mathematics of this to what is being implemented, you come up with some interesting information: $20 million divided by the promised 8,500 jobs at eight weeks -- because that's what they would be employed for, the summer months -- works out to a minimum wage of $8.17 per hour. I can't believe that is the intent, that they're going to be paying the students of this province $8.17 per hour. I can't believe that is their intent.

Divided by the real minimum wage of $6 times the eight weeks of those jobs, the $20 million is supposed to actually work out to a larger amount of jobs, not the 8,500 jobs. So which is it? Where is the extra $3.68 million going? If you follow these calculations through, something doesn't match. Is this the new NDP math? It is a lot of money, $3.68 million, particularly with the vast number of students unemployed in this province. Where is this $3.68 million going? Is it going for the administration? Is it going for bureaucrats to pay for all this? It gives me great concern.

Again, with regard to the emphasis on the colour of your skin as to whether you're going to get these jobs, why are we not providing assistance to all the young people of this province? It's almost racist in its suggestion. I hope this government will reconsider its position and look at all the students of this province, all the young people of this province who are indeed looking for assistance to survive.

I have made some inquiries as to the seriousness of unemployment in my own riding of Dufferin-Peel. From May to April 1991 -- and this was provided to me by the director of the Canada student employment office in my riding -- there was a total of 360 vacancies available. The total placements made during that same period of time were 131. From April to May of this year the total vacancies were 139 and the total placements were 54.

That means there have been 53% fewer vacancies, fewer jobs available in my riding to this particular point in time. There's been 59% fewer placements this year to this particular point in time. Why is it always the urban communities? Why not all the province of Ontario? There are students all over this province of all colours, all races, all religions --

Mr Steven W. Mahoney (Mississauga West): And all ages.

Mr Tilson: -- and all ages who desperately need employment. Why are we concentrating on the city of Toronto? Why are we concentrating on one particular colour?

Specifically, I am concerned that there's no assistance to my riding. I'm sure that any rural representatives or people who represent people in the rural communities are feeling the same way. The employment situation in my riding -- and my riding is typical, like any other non-urban riding -- has certainly become stagnant currently. No long-range policies have been put forward by this government.

Most of the work that comes through now in my riding is farm or menial type of work. There is very little full-time work of any kind. There are a couple of days here or a couple of hours there. That's really all that's available. They try to put more people into student venture loans, but there's a limited amount of funds for this across the province. There are people with physical education degrees who are cutting grass or working as caddies at golf courses in my riding. It's a very serious concern in my riding and certainly we will be supporting the resolution that's being put forward by Mr Conway.

I emphasize again that when I look at this announcement made by the Premier it appears to be as the result of the rampage on Yonge Street. What about the violence that occurred on the Toronto Islands? When you're unemployed, when you need food, when you need to be educated, there's social unrest and it has nothing to do with your race or colour. It has nothing to do with that. That's the real problem in the summer of 1992. It's a problem of lack of jobs. There is no long-range strategy.

I have just a couple of quotes that were made. Mayor Rowlands of Toronto has said, "What will happen eight weeks from now when the jobs end?" Black Action Defence Committee cofounder Dudley Laws echoed the comments of Mrs Rowlands. "I feel this is good to some extent, but I would like to see a long-term employment strategy developed."

I will be supporting the resolution because I don't think the government has come near to solving the employment problem of our young people in this province.

1630

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Ms Zanana L. Akande (St Andrew-St Patrick): I rise to address the motion, to speak against it, to speak about the moves of this government, to speak about the actions of this government in response to the needs of youth in relation to employment.

I want to be certain that I set in context an entire picture of what this government has done and continues to do in order to employ youth, in order to respond to the needs of students, in order to make certain that they have their place or an opportunity to take their place within the employment world.

I have to paint a picture. I have to tell you that the Futures program, which was initiated previously, has been maintained by this government. As a matter of fact, it has been maintained to the point of having 28,500 employment spaces for youth. This is not all. The summer Experience program has been continued. The northern training opportunities program has provided 1,600 jobs. Youth Start-Up has provided 4,050 jobs. Summer programs such as these have created 14,500 jobs in addition to the 28,500 I've referred to before.

There have been jobs out there and they have been maintained. Ministries have continued to try to employ youth in as many different positions as possible.

It is not a new response. It is not enough. It is never enough and it will never be enough until every youth is employed, until every student has a job, every student has a chance. But let me define for you who every student is to me. Every student in this province includes white students. They include Chinese students, they include East Indian students, and yes, they include black students.

The youth employment services centres' workers tell me an interesting fact. In Metro Toronto, though black youth participation in their employment programs is 33%, when we in fact checked the percentage of black youth actually employed through those centres, the percentage drops to 6%. I asked them why. I wanted to be sure that I heard and that my impression reflected their story, not my assumptions, so I asked them why. They're in the field. They're working with youth. They're in the field of working with all youth and they have employment centres which are accessible and which serve all youth.

I said, "Why, then, please explain to me, does the percentage drop considerably when black youth approach the employment situation?" They told me, "The job disappears." I said, "Oh, really?" They said, "Yes, and when we send another youth, a white youth, to the same job immediately afterwards, it reappears again."

It's a phenomenon. The employers aren't Mandrake. The employers are people we know. They are people from whom we buy. They are people who employ others within this province, but the job disappears and miraculously reappears when another youth is sent.

They have told me that the average application, or the number of times a black youth must apply for a job through them before they are connected with work is 23 times -- 23 times. Can you imagine the frustration? Can you imagine the feeling of worthlessness? These are not uneducated youth. These are not people who create disturbances on Yonge Street. These are not all people who have not ascribed to and put forth the effort within schools and within our centres of education and within our universities to prepare themselves for this. These are those people and yet they cannot achieve that link, at least not easily. Yet they persist.

It's interesting that when we designed a part of this new youth employment project, we focused 5,000 jobs in a program where we would reach out to black youth, open the doors wider -- not to exclude anyone else, but to include everyone -- but reach out, open the doors wider and say yes to those employers. When you sign on as an employer in this particular program you will agree to hire youth -- all youth, not excluding black youth.

It was interesting for me to do that. As I've said before in this House, I was born in this province, in this city, not far from here. It was interesting to do that because I never would have guessed that in 1992 I would have been a part of the program to open the doors wider to include people who look like my children, and yet I am. It's surprising to me because, you see, it should have been done. All employers in this province should open their doors wide. All employers in this province who seek excellence should want the widest possible accessibility so they can select the very best. Opening the doors wider does not mean you lessen your standards; it means you emphasize them, insist upon them and it is more likely that you will achieve them. That is what we have done.

I must say to you that I am somewhat saddened in that it was necessary for me to do it. I have to say to you too that it is late in coming. I pay taxes to this province; so did my parents. I had always grown to expect that the things I was designing were a reality. Yet I was told -- and I have known and there are hundreds of studies which identify that -- that in fact it was necessary for me to very deliberately and determinedly, with the assistance of many others, design a program to open the doors wider.

I tell you, Mr Speaker, I am not the only one to find this. I have quoted from the youth employment service workers. Let me tell you what Matt Barrett from the Bank of Montreal, the CEO of the Bank of Montreal, says. He says, "I am particularly happy to be a part of this kind of initiative," the same kind of initiative he has encouraged his company to invest in because he realizes that when you open the doors wider, you invite excellence and you're most likely to achieve it. It has heartened me and encouraged me that many of the CEOs from many different companies across this province have said to us they want to be involved in something of a longer term which in fact draws education together, draws skills together, draws our training groups together and looks at the design of programs that will lead to an experience, lead to longer-term employment and then to permanent employment for our youth.

1640

We recognize and we know -- I speak now as an educator -- that education is an evolving thing, that it should move with its people, that it should respond to the needs of society and that it is different today from what it was yesterday. When it is not, there is something wrong with it. We do not suggest that you throw out all the tenets of education; we only suggest that it evolve enough to recognize that there are people in this society today who maybe were not as dominant years ago. We only insist that it recognize and emphasize that we are part of the society, that we have been for a very long time and that we wish to and can contribute and that we have been doing so sometimes in a very aggressive way because the door is not opened wide enough.

There is so much more that I could say. There is so much more that I could point out in order to speak to the youth and to the education system and to speak for all the people in this province, because by their having an opportunity to work with us all together, live with us, be educated by us and with us and about us, they too gain. Yes, I do indeed stand today to speak in opposition to this motion.

Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I'm pleased to rise in today's debate and I want to thank my colleagues for allowing me the few minutes I have to participate. Very many members of our caucus wanted the opportunity to speak and they knew how important this was to me.

In my riding of Oriole 18.7% of the population is between the ages of 15 and 24. So I think today's debate of lack of confidence in the government and in its strategy for assisting youth is extremely pertinent to my riding and particularly to youth in my riding.

I'm very concerned, because our youth are our future. We've heard some wonderful words from Bob Rae over the years when he was Leader of the Opposition and from Floyd Laughren when he was on the opposition benches. My concern is that I believe they do know what needs to be done, but because of the misguided priorities which perhaps began as inexperience but today really suggest a lack of political will and a lack of the understanding of the need to commit resources appropriately to deal with the issues of youth unemployment, this government has disappointed the youth in the riding of Oriole and, I believe, has placed in jeopardy the future of many of our young people in this province.

When I talk about priorities I want to point out that the government has accepted that we have 18% youth unemployment in Ontario, that 18% of our youth is unemployed. That translates into a number in excess of 195,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who have no hope for employment at this time in this province because of the lack of action of this government.

What we have just heard from apologists from the government benches is that job creation in the area of approximately 20,000 to 25,000 jobs is the best they could do to respond to the needs of almost 200,000 students. Not only is that not enough, I say to the member for St Andrew-St Patrick, it is so woefully inadequate that the youth of this province have a right to deserve and expect more and better priorities from this NDP government.

Let me tell you where the NDP government put its resources so that they are not available for youth employment opportunities in this province. They had money for civil servants, increases in wages to the civil service not only here in the province of Ontario but right across the broader public sector in the first year of their mandate. Those increases in wages and salaries, which equalled some 14% on the base budget of the province of Ontario, meant that they did not have the money to put into youth employment opportunities during this very serious recession.

We've heard that they have replaced the dollars. They announced $40 million for youth employment opportunities this summer and we said, "Isn't that terrific." I say that's not terrific because $474 million was added to the base of dollars for doctors, the highest-paid professionals in this province. I know many of those doctors realize that the health of young people is directly related to their ability to work, to their opportunities to get that first job. I know many of the doctors in this province would have been happy to see those dollars allocated and reallocated to youth employment programs.

We saw huge resources being allocated in areas that were highly questionable. We've seen a lot of government waste. I say to you that in his budget the Treasurer did not even acknowledge the needs of youth in our society. We know education is a keystone to fighting the poverty cycle and ensuring a brighter future for our youth, yet we have seen historically low transfer payments from this NDP government.

On behalf of my constituents in the riding of Oriole, on behalf of the 18% of my constituents between the ages of 15 and 24, I say to the government that it has failed to address their needs, failed dismally in responding to the problems of youth in our society and failed to recognize that the youth are our future. I will be supporting this amendment.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): It's very difficult to debate a motion about unemployment excluding any section within the population. The argument could be, why is youth unemployment so high? Because general unemployment is high. Why is general unemployment so high? It always comes back to the economy, whether you're talking about youth unemployment or just unemployment in general, within regions and so on and so forth.

I came across an interesting book a few months back. The name escapes me, but it was written by Domingo Cavallo, who is now the finance minister for Argentina. The English translation of the title is What Argentina Could Have Become. I mention this book at this time because its findings are really quite intriguing. As recently as 40 years ago, Canada and Argentina were economic equals. If compared today, Canada has prospered while Argentina has experienced a long, steady decline.

You talk about it through employment or economics. In trying to determine why, the book reveals a number of issues as current today in the crisis we're in as they were through the past four years. Its author believes that Argentina's decline began as a result of the protectionist, inward-looking policy adopted by its leaders following the Depression of the 1930s. It was a bid to stimulate their local economy. We see it here today.

Under the populist leader Juan Peron, Argentina severely regulated its economy, nationalized private industry and adopted protective tariffs to nurture a local industrial base and expand social welfare programs. The exclusion of outside competition ultimately made local industry inefficient while a bloated bureaucracy, created to administer programs, added to the escalating deficit, high inflation and recession. A populist leader, high deficits, expanding welfare programs, protectionism: It's exactly the recipe we have today.

1650

Mr Cavallo stresses that while Argentina was declining, Canada encouraged foreign investment and open competition, and in the end Canada ended up with a stronger industrial base and a better level of social services to boot, as well as a stronger employment roll: youth, non-youth, all colours.

As is the case on countless occasions, it takes a foreigner to make Canadians see when they are doing something right. It's hard to push forward without having to convince some people they are moving backwards, becoming the Argentina of the north. A country, I might add, that devalues its dollar every time it wants to stimulate exports is not what I call moving forward.

If there is one province this country depends upon, it's the province of Ontario. We talk about unemployment. Last year's budget delivered us a $10-billion, now an $11-billion deficit. This year we're going to see a $14-billion deficit. The NDP says that in order to keep the deficit down it has to increase some taxes. What they don't tell you is that they've already increased the taxes by $1.1 billion this year based on last year's budget.

All this is coming from that rebel group, when we talk about unemployment, which last year said it was going to beat the recession its way. What a difference a year makes. Now they're looking for another quick fix, and we heard the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology explain the quick fix.

What I'm trying to say is that structural change and improvement does not come from job creation programs the government thinks it has created. It doesn't come from building a new bridge, a road, a dam or a public monument. Structural change can only be achieved through cooperation with business, labour and government. Creating an attractive climate for investment is the best thing a government can do to reduce its unemployment rolls. It can only do that, and that's only what it can hope to achieve, and one of the best ways to chase away employment or investment is to tax and regulate companies to death.

Government-sponsored capital spending is not a quick fix to prosperity. This was proven in the 1930s, but unfortunately some people have forgotten this lesson. The reason it doesn't work is that government has no idea where to productively spend its money. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is a perfect example. He doesn't know where to productively spend his money. So they spend it on bridges and roads and roads and bridges and fantasies called job creation programs. It's just a fancy name. They call it infrastructures job creation, which means bridges and roads and roads and bridges.

This is a common theme to many government schemes. These government schemes simply don't work. They spend thousands of dollars to study government-run auto insurance and then they tell everyone they were just kidding; no job creation. They talk about Sunday shopping. Was there any job creation in the first six months of that? No, sir. There wasn't any job creation in Sunday shopping.

Hon Mr Philip: Which one of the three positions of your party do you take on that?

Mr Stockwell: I'm trying to get through this, Mr Philip. I allowed you to finish your comments. I would ask if you would do the same. And I listened very intently, sir.

Let's take a look at the labour reforms. You want job creation over there? Examine the labour reforms, for youth or anyone, if you want job creation.

Let's look at the three US states where the majority of automobile production takes place, namely, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. First, the right to use replacement workers during a strike: in the US, yes; Ontario, no. Certification with a vote, secret ballot: Ontario, no secret ballot; the US, yes. Unionization of managerial staff: in the US, no; in Canada, Ontario, yes. Statutory termination pay, laid off or plant closures: zero, compared to eight weeks. Finally, workers' compensation premium paid by employer per $100 of payroll: in the US, $1.80 to $2.24; in Ontario, $3.41.

Someone please tell me why any potential investor would favour Ontario as a result of these reforms?

Hon Mr Philip: Ford just put in $2.4 billion; it favours Ontario.

The Acting Chair: Order.

Mr Stockwell: Mr Speaker, I'm doing my best. If you could bring the minister to order, I'd appreciate it.

Hon Mr Philip: It's $2.4 billion; your government never got that.

Mr Stockwell: Would you stop the clock then, please?

The Acting Speaker: I would ask the honourable member for Etobicoke-Rexdale to please keep order. The honourable member for Etobicoke West has the floor.

Mr Stockwell: The problem is when we talk about unemployment and the crisis and recession we're in today, one discovers this: The conversation quickly deteriorates into us versus them. The lack of cooperation between labour and management in this province has become mythical in its proportions. I believe the important issue to remember is that the problem with organized labour in this province is not the level of wages it is paid. That's not the issue. Anyone who believes that is dead wrong. Blaming our decline in competitiveness on escalating wages alone is quite simply a copout, a convenient excuse used by business.

Consider the three countries we compete with in most areas of manufactured goods, manufactured goods that create jobs for everyone: Japan, Germany and the United States. Canadian industrial workers earn on average less than their counterparts in those three countries. In fact, they earn a full 30% less than in Germany. Why are these countries able to compete and we're not? Why do they get jobs and we can't? Where the labour force differs is in terms of flexibility. Canada remains a world leader in the number of days lost to strikes. Unions continue to show little flexibility when they deal in multitudes of narrow and non-interactive job classifications, restrictions on shift scheduling, grievance filing as opposed to discussion, restriction on temporary or part-time labour, and the list goes on.

We talk about unemployment. Before you can employ the people you have to have jobs. Why don't we have jobs? I'll continue. The results: Companies can't retrain or retool quickly enough to adapt to the fast-changing global markets. Student employment -- you haven't got employment for anybody. The proposed labour laws do nothing to improve the general welfare of the average worker, but go a long way to further restrict flexibility in managing Ontario's workforce. All this has to do with student employment. Employment is employment. Why is youth unemployment so high? Unemployment in general is high. It's simple. Whether they are youth or middle-aged men or women, they're all out of work. So who gains here? Union leaders, who can perpetuate their existence through legislation, and the NDP, which secures a continued source of financial support through its union dues.

However, as I mentioned before, labour should not bear the brunt of blame for the province's economic woes. Business and government are also to blame. Business and government must share the blame. Generations, generally representative of the age of most CEOs and senior business people in this province, grew up with the belief that proximity to resources and the commercial extraction of resources were the keys to economic prosperity. That's what they believed and that's still what they believe.

The unfortunate truth of today is that this is no longer the case and perhaps has not been for the past 15 years. While we in Canada were taking an easy ride on the back of our natural endowments, countries like Japan were concentrating on the true key to prosperity, namely, productivity improvement. That creates jobs. Productivity over the last 10 years in Canada experienced the lowest growth of any G-7 industrialized country. We were in last place. That's why we lost jobs. Between 1985 and 1991 the entire industrial production of Canada increased at a meagre 3.5%. Japan increased 28.4%. That's why we're losing jobs.

As the manufacturing heartland of Canada, we here in Ontario should be concerned. We must recognize where business and government have failed in our economic framework. The ride on the natural endowment train is over and it's no political party's fault. It's not a union fault; it's not a business fault. We're all to blame.

1700

Our industries have fallen far behind the world leaders in capital investment. In the mid-1980s producers relying on the low dollar didn't bother to reinvest in new equipment and machinery and we as government did little to encourage them -- nothing. The high level of interest rates over the last 10 years forced producers to put off borrowing for new equipment and it was less costly in the short run to simply add another shift. The public sector, with its unquenchable need for money to finance its deficit, squeezed out producers from the capital markets. Dividend payouts in Canada as a percentage of profits were among the highest in the industrialized world. They took their money and ran, that's what happened.

Unfortunately, business has also fallen behind in investment in human stock and employment. Again, we as government did little to change this trend. Canada ranks near the bottom in the amount of funds invested in jobs and skills training as a percentage of sales. Private sector investment creates jobs, retrains people, creates employment.

Investment into research and development is also near the bottom of the pack. Do you want to hear about technology, Mr Speaker? Over 60% of the province's newsprint machines were installed before the Great Depression, and we ask why we have unemployment. We're antiquated. We're out of touch. We don't have any degree of confidence in the unions, the business or the government today. They don't work together.

I don't believe that every Conservative government that came down the pike these past few years was right. I think they made mistakes, as I think this government is making mistakes. Be forewarned. Let me tell you, youth or any other unemployment, government never created a job in its life -- never. They created a new tax. It's our job to create the climate for new jobs. Government doesn't create work.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): It's a pleasure to be able to respond to this motion by the member for Renfrew North this afternoon here in the House. I'd like to take you, Mr Speaker, and some of the members back to a press release that was issued on June 5, 1992. It says, "$20 million through Jobs Ontario Youth will create 8,500 summer jobs" throughout the province of Ontario. We know that is not a vast number of jobs in a time when we are still locked into a recession, and we hope things will get a little bit better, but 8,500 should be a good start.

Along with the members from the Windsor area, the member for Windsor-Walkerville and the member for Windsor-Riverside, we're proud of this announcement. I want to quote from this press release:

"'As we said in the April budget, jobs are a top priority for the government and the people of Ontario,' said Premier Rae. The Premier was speaking at Thistletown Multi Service Centre in Rexdale. 'Employment is a key issue. This announcement is about working through a partnership of government, community and business to help more young people, particularly in the black community, get the experience of a summer job.'"

I'd like to take a few minutes to make some observations. After listening to the debate, I think one observation needs to be made. The member for Renfrew North should know better than to lay total blame on this government for all the problems we face in this problem with youth. If the previous Liberal government, of which the member was a prominent minister, had spent more time dealing with the crux of the problems of the young people and less time wheeling and dealing with developers, we might not find ourselves in the mess we are.

I think we would all be better off if the member for Renfrew North did not play political games with such important issues. Instead of laying criticism, he could have devoted some more time to offering some solid types of solutions to this issue we all face in this Legislature. Indeed, I say it is a quandary that we find ourselves in, but the member for Renfrew North has not expounded and has not spent enough time to find some solutions.

No one will disagree that this problem is crucial, but I ask members to be fair in examining what our government is doing to be heard. The federal government, for all its rhetoric about prosperity and job creation, has done little or next to nothing in the area of job creation for the young people in Ontario. The province, as usual, is left standing alone waiting for Ottawa to respond.

Let's look for just a few minutes at what the federal government has done in the area of job creation for young people. In 1990 the Mulroney government cut $40 million from the summer employment experience portion of the Challenge program. The result of this was to pit student against student for some very scarce government training and employment opportunity dollars. There was no commitment from Ottawa in this area.

Can you imagine that at a time when we need job creation the most, the federal government, for all its rhetoric about the importance of youth and progress and investment, is cutting funding for job creation for youth? What a shameful and cowardly act. We are again being let down by the federal government in Ottawa.

I want to mention too that there are some individuals and organizations in Ontario which will be joining a list of sponsors as additional jobs are created in the province. Organizations like the Bank of Montreal, Canadian Tire, Eaton's, IBM Canada Ltd, Ontario Hydro and also the University of Toronto will be working alongside with us.

Today the federal government has closed many Canada employment centres for students and the result has been that fewer and fewer young people have the opportunity to be placed in existing jobs.

I'd like to spend some time talking about our government and what we are doing to try to solve this problem. First I'd like to talk about what is happening in my own riding of Windsor-Sandwich. It was announced this month that a couple of centres will coordinate interviewing, screening and hiring for the young people of Windsor -- these are two centres: the Black Canadian Ethnic Club and St Clair College -- and will create an estimated 750 jobs in the city of Windsor. This is proof positive that this government is diligently working to clear up this problem and we are already seeing some results.

Our government acted quickly and decisively in order to deal with the problem as best we could. The Premier appointed the member for St Andrew-St Patrick as his parliamentary assistant in order to deal specifically with the problems of youth unemployment.

On June 5, as I've mentioned, the Premier announced that through Jobs Ontario Youth our government will spend $20 million and create 8,500 new summer jobs -- this is in addition to the 14,500 summer jobs the government already supports throughout Ontario -- programs like summer Experience, which received a $2-million increase, and the Environmental Youth Corps, which received a $1-million increase.

Interjections.

Mr Dadamo: I'd like to continue. The Ontario Rangers program received a $1-million increase and the northern training opportunities program received an additional $2.3 million.

The new funding will bring the total provincial contribution to $45.7 million, and this represents a 73% increase over last year. When you compare this to the federal government's 2% increase for the Challenge program, it shows how substantial our commitment -- this government's -- is in dealing with this problem.

We have said consistently that we have voiced that jobs are a top priority of our government. What we are trying to do is to create partnerships forged between this government and the business community in order to get the young people of this province working. I believe the member for St Andrew-St Patrick deserves much credit for burning candles at both ends on this project. It is obvious that she cares deeply about youth employment and the direction we'd like to take with this government.

Work experience is a necessity for the youth of Ontario. It is the way to demonstrate to them that there are opportunities for them when they graduate and it shows that all of them should work hard. In order to ensure this job experience we have consulted with all sectors of Ontario's economy, from the private sector to the Ontario Federation of Labour and to the community agencies and all interested parties, in order to develop a program that would be widely supported and relevant to the young people of this province.

A key component of our initiatives is a new $13.7-million program that will create 5,000 jobs in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Windsor and will cover all sectors of the Ontario economy.

In closing, these initiatives are not Band-Aid solutions; they are something that the young people of Ontario can count on to help get jobs. The Premier has already indicated that this program will be evaluated in order to develop a long-range strategy to deal with youth employment. By doing this, we ensure that mechanisms are in place for job training and creation in the future.

Looking at what our government is doing to create employment opportunities for young people, I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that I will not be supporting the Liberal Party's purely partisan motion.

1710

The Acting Speaker (Mr Noble Villeneuve): Further debate on the want of confidence motion by Mr Conway?

Mr Remo Mancini (Essex South): In the limited time available to me I wish at the outset to announce -- and I know the government members will be surprised -- that I intend to vote for the non-confidence motion put forward by my colleague, because if there is a government in Canada, in any province or in any of our territories or at the national level that deserves no confidence, it's the NDP socialist government of Ontario.

The previous spokesman for the NDP socialist government did a good job in reading the speech prepared for him by the NDP research office. He is a good, loyal trouper of the NDP socialist government. But I say to you, Mr Speaker, in these times of crisis, being a good, loyal trouper for your party may not be enough.

I want to bring to the members' attention -- and to the attention of the other members from Windsor and Essex county, who may wish to participate here this afternoon -- that there's another side of the story that you're not telling the Legislature and the people of this province, and with the little time that I have, I want to tell the members of the Legislature what's happening in Windsor and Essex county.

Let me start off with an industry in the private sector. H.J. Heinz, one of the largest employers in all of southwestern Ontario, has in the past hired students for summer employment. As a matter of fact, last year it hired 28. This year, due to the economic downturn that has covered our province for the last two years, they will hire no students whatsoever -- not a one.

In the public sector, last year Windsor Western Hospital Centre had 21 students; this year it will have 13. Grace Hospital in Windsor had jobs for 24 students last year; this year it will have none. Leamington District Memorial Hospital had positions for six students last year; this year it will have none.

The city of Windsor had applications last year totalling 2,380, and it was able to give 272 young people jobs. This year it has nearly 4,000 applications, almost double the total of last year, and still it will only be able to offer jobs to approximately 277 students.

So we can see by the actual numbers given to us by real institutions in our own community that students this year will have probably the most difficult time they've had in the last 10 or 12 years in obtaining summer employment. And what do we hear from the government? We hear from them that it's basically not their fault and it's another government's fault; and if it's not the other government's fault, well, then, it's the economy. The economy is not working well. Of course they take no responsibility for the length of this recession. No one has ever blamed the NDP for causing the recession, but it deserves a lot of the blame for the length of this recession, because it has damaged more so than probably any government in this century the confidence of the business community, here in Ontario and in Canada and internationally.

No matter how many trips Bob Rae makes to Japan, they will not only listen to his words while he's there but they will look to the actual actions and facts and what is happening here in this province before they and other international investors pour hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars into this province as they once did to allow our economy to grow and expand, to give jobs to people from all across this great province and especially to young people.

Oh, how the NDP members were concerned about youth unemployment when they were in opposition. Oh, how they professed to care about unemployed youth. Let me remind the House -- since none of the NDP members wishes to remind the House what they stood for -- of what they stood for a number of years ago.

I remember the present Treasurer, the finance minister of Ontario, saying when he was a member of the opposition:

"I find it ironic. We are debating something referred to as youth employment. One would think we would never need to debate unemployment among our young people in this country. If any group of people should be automatically taken into the workforce, it should be the young people."

I want to say to the members of the NDP socialist government: Whatever happened to the words of your present finance minister? Why were his words important then and have no significance now? Can anyone over there answer that question? Is there any reason why his words were important then and they have no significance now?

Bob Rae said, "I suggest to you that the fight against youth unemployment is one part, a crucial part, a fight for full employment in our society."

When one looks at what's happening to our province today and with the way the NDP socialist government is managing our economic affairs, one would think that those words make a part of a sad joke. That's why we are voting non-confidence in the government today. That's why we are upset that members like the member for Windsor-Sandwich is not telling the whole story to this chamber, and that's why, more than ever, the NDP had better reassess the job that it's done, its present priorities and its way of handling the economic affairs of this government.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr David Winninger (London South): It certainly gives me great pleasure to rise and participate in the debate on the non-confidence motion of the member for Renfrew North.

The people in my riding, the youth in my riding don't blame our government for this recession, and they know it's the worst recession since the 1930s. What they do expect and what they are receiving is positive action on the part of this government to address their particular needs arising out of the slowdown in this economy.

I was pleased that my colleague the member for St Andrew-St Patrick referred to it with the metaphor of "opening doors." It's very important that we continue to maintain open doors for our young people, because they're looking to us today. They're looking to us today for a vision of what the future will hold for them, and jobs certainly are a key ingredient to that future, because jobs are a measure of their success in this community.

The summer employment strategy, put together under severe time constraints by the member for St Andrew-St Patrick, speaks to the strong commitment this government holds to the future of our young people and, more specifically, to ensuring access to training and jobs for minority groups.

1720

My colleague the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale has spoken of our industrial strategy: the emphasis on jobs, on training, on investment in Ontario to strengthen our competitiveness and to promote investment in Ontario. I note with some satisfaction that Ontario continues to hold the majority of foreign investment in Canada compared to any other province. Certainly, in response to the comments made -- the criticism of the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale -- this government has spent 96% more than the Liberal government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology. I think it's important to note that.

This industrial strategy is designed to promote the kind of well-paid, highly skilled jobs that our young people in Ontario are looking to this government to promote and to provide. Certainly our training strategy is second to none. Stephen Lewis, in his report tabled yesterday, underscored the importance of access to training and access to trades for members of our minorities. Certainly the member for St Andrew-St Patrick has opened the doors to that access to trades for our young people here in Ontario.

The Conference Board of Canada has noted that British Columbia will be the only province with a boom this year and that the average growth in the rest of Canada, including Ontario, will be approximately 1%, but it's a modest growth potential we can look forward to over the next six months. A stronger economy certainly bodes well for that vision I referred to earlier that our young people are looking to this government to provide.

We can't let our young people give up or turn their backs on the employment market, because experience has shown that the longer people are unemployed and out of the labour market, the more likely they are to remain unemployed. We need a broad social consensus of government, of labour and of business to bargain wages, to train workers including our young people, and to manage the economy to keep inflation and unemployment low.

As my colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich has observed, our government has taken some very strong initiatives to create no less than 8,500 new summer jobs and to beef up our existing summer employment in the area of the summer Experience program and the Environmental Youth Corps.

I note, again with some satisfaction, that in 1991 Ontario's gross domestic product was higher than any other province and second highest of the G-7 nations, so we have the potential to say to our young people in Ontario that we have a strong potential to create jobs, to promote investment here in Ontario and to ensure that we can deliver on that vision that we're holding out to our young people.

I know I have other colleagues who are anxious to participate in this debate as well, so I would conclude by saying that I strongly oppose the contents of the want-of-confidence motion put forward by Mr Conway. Even though he's not here in body today, I hope he's having an opportunity to view these proceedings and to know the strong, positive initiatives this government has taken to address the concerns expressed in his want-of-confidence motion.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): It is a shame that the member for Renfrew North is not here. I personally look up to the member for Renfrew North and I was hoping he would be here because I'd like to share my thoughts with him. I'm sure he's listening or I'm sure he'll hear exactly what I have to say. I hold the ultimate respect for the member and I listen to everything he says. I want to let him know what this motion does to Yorkview.

I think the people in Yorkview are looking at this government for leadership, there's no question about it, especially in and around youth employment. I think they're actually saying to themselves: "What is this member talking about? What is the member for Renfrew North talking about with this motion?"

Finally we see a government that is slowly moving towards rectifying a lot of the problems that exist in Yorkview, and frankly I'm proud of that. Previous governments have neglected Yorkview. Previous governments have totally ignored the situation in Yorkview and frankly did not cater to any of the problems that existed in Yorkview. Finally we do have a government that is slowly moving in the directions we'd like to see it. Personally I'd like to see them move a little faster, no question about it, but in this area I cannot, for the life of me, talk negatively about the government and what it is doing in terms of youth employment.

I'd like to say to the member for Renfrew North that I would like him to come up to Yorkview and talk to the Marias and the Lucys and the Salvatores and the Carlos and the Franks and the Victors and all of the youth who live on Fennimore Crescent and Davelayne Road and Fountainhead Road, all of the youth who have come to my office and asked to be put on a list to take advantage of the Jobs Ontario program we have going. I'd like the people who are opposed to what we're doing and to all the jobs we are creating out of this to come up to Yorkview and talk to all of the people who live on the Sheppards and the Oakwoods and the San Romano Ways, the people who are going to be taking advantage of those programs. I'd like for that to happen, but I don't think it will; I really don't.

Jobs Ontario provides 5,000 jobs. In Metro, I am proud to be a part of this program. I'm proud to be a member who is going to try and get the youth in my riding active and try to get the youth in my riding to be a part of this program. There's no question about it; $13.7 million the government has chosen to spend on this program and I'm proud of it; again, no question about it.

We can talk about other programs. There's no question. We can talk about summer Experience, the Environmental Youth Corps and northern Ontario training opportunities and how much money we've allocated for those programs as well. I can't understand why the opposition parties are being negative around this and I really can't understand why this motion exists, even though I'm glad it does because it gives us a chance to talk about it and it gives me a chance, as the member for Yorkview, to tell the people of Ontario and tell even my community that I'm proud of what we're doing and how many jobs we are creating and how much money we are spending as a government to create those jobs, the very crucial jobs that are needed in Yorkview.

I think it's important for me to talk a little about my history. I know the importance, there's no question about it, in terms of jobs when you are a youth. When I was going through school, I certainly worked my little behind off in the summer. I worked at places like Shopsy's and Holiday Inn and Darrigo supermarket. I worked there for a number of reasons. I worked because I had a car that I loved and I wanted to pay off, and I worked there because I helped out the family.

I can tell you that Yorkview is unique. Yorkview needs the jobs. The students need the jobs in Yorkview, because the students in Yorkview are somewhat different.

Mrs Caplan: The point is that other kids want those jobs.

Mr Mammoliti: We're not as well off as the member for Oriole's constituents might be. We're not as well off as the member for Etobicoke West's constituents might be. We need the youth jobs to help out our families. I really believe that the things we are doing are helping out the youth in Yorkview, something that other governments have not done. Your track records have been terrible in my riding. Finally we have a government that's doing something.

In closing, I'd like to talk again a little bit about Jobs Ontario and the companies sharing in that partnership. I'd like to congratulate the University of Toronto, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Royal Trust. I'd like to even thank the Toronto Star. I'd like to thank Eaton's and Xerox and Sun Life, York University, Hudson's Bay.

1730

But let me tell you something: As much as I sit here and say to those companies, "Thank you very much for the efforts and everything you're putting in for Yorkview," I will say to the hundreds of thousands of other companies out there that aren't pulling their fair weight and their share in this province, "Help out the youth." That's something we have to recognize.

In closing again, at the same time I wish to say that I don't see the unions here. Unions are employers. Frankly, I'd like to have a discussion with some of the unions out there because I'd like to see them more active in this sort of thing as well. On one hand we talk about the companies; on the other hand we talk about the unions. I'll be the first one to say that I should have a talk with them.

I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today. I think this was very important for Yorkview. I hope and I wish that the oppositions, both of them, will realize what Yorkview is actually going through.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): I'm pleased to get a chance to say something in this debate, partly because in reading the first part of the confidence motion I find that Mr Conway speaks about the student unemployment rate. "The number of unemployed students between the ages of 15 and 24" he says, "has gone from 11.1% in September 1990 to 18% in April 1992."

He doesn't say, which is usual, where he gets that figure. If you look at the Statistics Canada figures for April 1992, which is the same month he's using, we find for Ontario a combined rate of 14.5% unemployed for full-time students between the ages of 15 and 24, the exact same category Mr Conway appears to be referring to. No one would argue that 14.5% is not a rate to be concerned about -- certainly our government is concerned about it -- but to call it 18% I think is a very unfair way of going about it.

As the speakers before me have suggested we have done a lot about, or are taking very serious steps about addressing, this problem of student unemployment rates. The member for St Andrew-St Patrick has very graphically and movingly said why these things have to be done.

If you look at the students who are cut out of the labour market, I think you will find that they are from certain segments of the community. I think this speaks very clearly to why we have to make changes to the Labour Relations Act to make sure working people in particular have the voice to say what we should be doing with our resources in our communities.

Again I want to say I think the non-confidence motion got off to a bad start by using a figure that is inaccurate. If we look at the figures we well recognize what the rate is, that it's too high, but we are taking very serious steps by putting in a total of $45.7 million, which is an increase of 73.4% over last year's amount, and the Ontario's 1992 summer employment programs are providing almost 50% more jobs than last year. As I say, if you look at the figures, they are serious, but not as serious as the opposition member suggests they are, and our government is taking steps to make sure that the unemployment rate is brought down.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I'm pleased to join the debate and I would say to the government that you should be ashamed of your record on youth unemployment. If you look at the speech from the throne and the budget, there is not one single mention of youth unemployment in either the speech from the throne, when you purport to be so concerned about youth unemployment, or the budget. It took that event on May 4 to finally get you to do something.

I have been begging the government to get on with youth unemployment and many of the members might recall some of the statements I've been making in the Legislature, and I'm not alone in this. I go back to April 11, 1991, more than a year ago. I'm begging the government to get on and do something about youth unemployment. I said there, "A particular aspect that worries me...is youth unemployment" -- I talked about these -- "there are some extremely troublesome numbers around youth unemployment...if we look at the young people, I am particularly troubled...and I would say to all of us that if the number is bad now, as the summer comes to us I think we are going to see very significant" increases in those numbers.

I hope the government comes forward with programs for these young people. As we all wrestle with this issue, let's look behind some of these numbers and appreciate that we cannot let a generation of young people be lost during these challenging times. I couldn't get the government to do a thing about it. It wasn't in the speech from the throne and it wasn't in the budget.

I made another statement in the House, and I'm not alone in this. I said, "I rise to remind the House" -- this was on April 29, 1991 -- "of an issue which impacts each of us." I went on to say that the unemployment rate now among young people is over 25%. "Our young people are not a well-organized political force." I said that in the Legislature and I believe that.

They're "not a well-organized political force" -- and they're not going to -- "arrive on our front doorstep quickly, but none the less, they are an extremely important group. Our challenge, and I might say particularly the government's challenge, is to ensure that this generation of young people will not be forced to pay an unfair price for the mistakes of our older generations." That was a year ago.

Then another statement of many of these statements in the Legislature, and this is an ironic date. This was on May 4, 1992 when again I went through the budget and the speech from the throne. I was begging the government to get on and do something about youth unemployment. There wasn't a thing in the budget; there wasn't a thing in the speech from the throne. That was May 4 and all of us will remember what happened the night of May 4 on Yonge Street.

What I said that afternoon in the Legislature -- I was talking to the Treasurer about jobs and saying I'm very disappointed in the budget that we once again ignored the young people. I said: "The unemployment rate among young people, our 15- to 24-year age group, is closer to 25%; extremely serious numbers. Certainly as we head into the summer, the time when an awful lot of young people are leaving school, graduating from university, graduating from colleges, that number is going to rise."

I've spoken in this House many times and it is a primary concern of mine. I urged the government to get on with the youth unemployment, so I object strongly to government members saying it was part of their plan. It wasn't. We in the opposition begged you for a year and a half to get on and do something about youth unemployment and you did nothing.

Interjections.

Mr Phillips: Several of the members are objecting. What happened under previous governments? I will tell you that. Where do the numbers come from? They come from the Ministry of Labour report. Where does the 18% unemployment come from? It comes from the Ministry of Labour quarterly report. Where does it come from? It comes from a special study on summer unemployment. And what does it say in there? It says that youth this year will have fewer job opportunities and can expect to face intense competition during this summer.

It goes on to point out that the youth unemployment rate during the previous years, 7%, 8%, 9%, is substantially lower. So what was happening during the previous government? The unemployment rate was very low during the summer for unemployed youth. Why was that? It was because the economy was substantially stronger. What was happening before? The government was looking after the youth unemployed. What's happening now? You're not looking after them, and it took that event on May 4, though the opposition had been begging for action, to finally force some action out of the government.

1740

I will say that Jobs Ontario, which flowed from the action on May 4, creates 8,500 summer jobs. We recognize that. What is that? What will that mean for the young people of the province? It will mean that 1% more youth will be working this summer. That's important. It will mean the unemployment rate will drop by 1% for the young people of this province, but it will mean that we will still see a record number of unemployed young people in this province this summer. We will see 17% unemployment and we will continue to see the problems.

I will digress slightly to say that the one aspect that I personally recognize is that our black youth do face a unique and, I think, significant problem. I would just say the test often is that unfortunately -- but it's reality -- our young black people have a tougher row to hoe than our young white people. There is no doubt about that. It's just reality. Whether it be in the job market, in the education market or in dealing with the justice system, they do have a tougher row to hoe. We need to make sure that we put in place a special effort to reach out to them.

Having said that, I will go back to my theme, and that is that this is a government that talks a lot and does very little. Frankly, it's a government that talks about doing something for the unemployed youth. In the two documents the speech from the throne and the budget, there wasn't one single mention of it. It took that event on May 4 to finally get them in action. As I said before, you can go through the Hansards. We have been begging the government to get on with youth unemployment and to deal with this most significant issue.

What's required is a comprehensive plan. The Treasurer and others have acknowledged that the government cannot create all the jobs. We must create an atmosphere where jobs are created in the private sector. I say to the government that in that area your plans are falling apart. I say that with all sincerity. It is true of the plans you have in place, the plans the Premier announced. There were five parts to them. There was the Ontario investment fund, the worker ownership bill, the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board, the Ontario Labour Relations Act amendment and the industrial strategy. All five of those things are collapsing.

The minister promised us that we would have legislation on OTAB. He promised that we would have legislation this spring. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow, because tomorrow is the last day. Where is that all-important legislation for getting on with OTAB?

What's happened with the worker ownership bill that was designed by the Premier to get the economy rolling? The unions, which are the only group in the bill that can run the venture capital funds, have said they don't want to participate in it. That one is falling apart on you.

The Ontario investment fund, which is the use of public sector pensions, is falling apart on the government.

We have three of the cornerstones of their industrial plans falling apart on them.

The industrial strategy that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has been promising us is nowhere to be seen.

We're left with one element of the whole economic recovery plan that the Premier announced -- that is, the Ontario Labour Relations Act amendments. That's the only part of the economic recovery plan we still have before us. What's happening with that? It is turning into one of the most divisive fights imaginable between the two workplace parties.

As we look at dealing with youth unemployment, I will say this to the government: You didn't have in your speech from the throne, you didn't have in your budget any plans for dealing with youth unemployment. I think the people of the province are beginning to see this as a government of all talk and no action. The opposition has been arguing and begging the government to get on with youth employment. As I said before, it was only after we saw a significant event that we finally got some action out of the government.

The Minister of Transportation would say, "We're in the works anyway." I don't believe so. It was the Premier himself who went the next day and appointed the member for St Andrew-St Patrick to get on with the job. On May 4 we said to the Treasurer in the Legislature that afternoon, "Where are the job creation programs for the youth?" We asked that question that afternoon, May 4, in the Legislature, and there was no answer. There was nothing in the budget. It was only as a result of that action that we finally saw something happen from this government. So I resent their getting up and talking about their caring about youth employment, their caring about all the young people in this province, and their actions belying it. There is nothing in their budget, in their speech from the throne, that deals with it.

In terms of our young people and how they are going to be able to look forward to the future, I will say this: The economic recovery plan that the Premier promised is in tatters. We won't see some of the major elements of it until the fall now, I gather; some we won't debate until the fall now, I gather.

If you take the worker ownership, the venture capital part of it, the OFL, the organization that is designed to run it -- the unions are the only ones that can run the venture capital programs; they've said they don't want to participate in it. It's in tatters.

The Ontario investment fund, the use of the public sector pensions: As I said before, we are now hearing that it isn't going to work.

So we find that the Jobs Ontario -- there are 8,500 jobs in there; we accept that. We accept that now what that will mean is, instead of perhaps 18% unemployment with the young people, it will be 17%, well above what we've seen for a decade. We accept the 8,500 jobs, although it took an incident, the opposition -- I think sometimes the people at home wonder why the opposition gets angry. The opposition gets angry because we try to be helpful. We make speeches in the Legislature. We ask the government to get on with something, and it doesn't. It takes an outside piece of action to finally force the government to act.

This is a matter of urgency for us. The step that has been taken is not insignificant. It's 1%, but it's not getting at the root cause, the root challenges. Every second day in this province a plant closes. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology comes into the House and he heckles, but every second day somewhere in this province a plant is closing, so it is time the government took some real action on youth unemployment.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): The time allotted for debate on this motion has expired.

Mr Beer, in the absence of Mr Conway, moves want of confidence motion 1. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will be please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Call in the members. There's a five-minute bell.

1755

The House divided on Mr Conway's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes -- 34

Arnott, Beer, Bradley, Brown, Caplan, Chiarelli, Cleary, Eddy, Elston, Eves, Grandmaître, Jackson, Kwinter, Mahoney, Mancini, McClelland, McGuinty, McLeod, Morin, Murdoch (Grey), Offer, Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt), Poirier, Poole, Ramsay, Runciman, Ruprecht, Scott, Sorbara, Stockwell, Sullivan, Tilson, Turnbull, Villeneuve.

Nays -- 59

Akande, Allen, Bisson, Boyd, Buchanan, Carter, Charlton, Christopherson, Churley, Cooke, Cooper, Coppen, Dadamo, Drainville, Duignan, Ferguson, Fletcher, Frankford, Gigantes, Grier, Haeck, Hansen, Harrington, Haslam, Hayes, Hope, Huget, Johnson, Klopp, Kormos, Lessard, Mackenzie, Malkowski, Mammoliti, Martin, Mathyssen, Mills, Morrow, Murdock (Sudbury);

North, O'Connor, Owens, Perruzza, Philip (Etobicoke-Rexdale), Pilkey, Pouliot, Rizzo, Silipo, Sutherland, Ward (Brantford), Waters, Wessenger, White, Wilson (Frontenac-Addington), Wilson (Kingston and The Islands), Winninger, Wiseman, Wood, Ziemba.

The Speaker: The ayes being 34 and the nays 59, I declare the motion lost. That, coupled with it being 6 of the clock, means that we meet tomorrow morning at 10 of the clock. This House stands adjourned until that time.

The House adjourned at 1800.

top | new search