18 MAI 1993 ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L'ONTARIO

The House met at 1333.

Prayers.

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

COURT REPORTERS

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): Mr Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the Attorney General a very serious problem. It's reported in today's Globe and Mail and I'm advised personally by court reporters, some 700 or more who have served this province well over the years, that their jobs may very well be in jeopardy.

The Attorney General has announced a plan to replace court reporters with microphones and computers. I suggest that if this were the loss of union jobs of people in factories due to automation, the NDP would be shouting. Instead, what they do is simply remain silent and allow this ill-conceived plan to take shape.

There are judges and lawyers throughout this province who are terribly concerned about this. The transcription of the words that are spoken, particularly in a criminal court, are especially essential in terms of determining justice for an accused and, in civil matters, for the working out of disputes in civil litigation. I suggest that if you have microphones taking the place of human beings, you're going to have every cough, sputter and everything else on it, but you will be hardly getting what is truly just for the people who are the litigants.

I suggest that the Attorney General perhaps should find out who the light-brained person in her department was who thought up this scheme, because in fact it's not a saving of money to the province. They talk about $20 million being saved. I can tell you, reporters have served this province well for probably minimum wage or a little bit better. They make their money on printing transcripts that are paid for by the lawyers themselves. The justices and lawyers and judges of this province wish the reporters to remain.

MUNICIPAL PLANNING

Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): My statement's for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. It concerns the Commission on Planning and Development Reform in Ontario, more commonly known as the Sewell commission, which is scheduled to complete its final report some time this month.

Minister, the Sewell commission's draft report contains a number of policy proposals that could very well bring any form of development in rural Ontario to a grinding halt. For example, the Sewell commission suggests that private septics should be inspected every three years and pumped out regularly, with all costs charged to the owner. This is nothing but a blatant tax grab and will make developers think twice before they consider investing in rural Ontario.

I have always had concerns that members of the Sewell commission failed to recognize that rural regions of Ontario have concerns that are distinct from those of the urban regions. It is important for the final report of the Sewell commission to include recommendations that take these differences into account. These recommendations must deal with the economic and social problems of rural Ontario, especially the issues of planning, resource development and the environment. It is extremely important that rural regions be given representation at every level of decision-making, and that includes disentanglement and the downloading on municipalities across this province.

EVENTS IN MIDDLESEX

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): As always, it was a busy weekend in Middlesex. On Saturday, May 15, I had the opportunity to participate in two special events. The first, with invited guests the Honourable Marion Boyd, MPP London Centre, and David Winninger, London South, was a special presentation by Labatt's of London to Fanshawe Pioneer Village in my riding. Labatt's has donated the original and historic John Labatt Brewery to the pioneer village. In addition, Labatt's is providing funding towards the cost of the move from west London to the Fanshawe Park location northeast of the city.

Over the winter, the dedicated staff of Fanshawe will prepare the brewery for visitors and history buffs fortunate enough to visit Fanshawe Pioneer Village and share in the rich history of the London and Middlesex area. It is also a fitting way for Labatt's to say thank you to a community that has contributed significantly to the success of John Labatt Ltd.

The second event was the first annual inspection for 201 Dorchester Royal Canadian Air Cadets. The members of Dorchester 201 Squadron, sponsored by Branch 513 of the Donnybrook Royal Canadian Legion, had a great deal to celebrate on Saturday. In addition to this first inspection, the cadets were honoured by the presence of members of the original 201 Toronto Squadron, which began in 1942. Dorchester 201 unveiled its new crest and was honoured with many presentations by the community.

OXFORD REGIONAL CENTRE

Mrs Yvonne O'Neill (Ottawa-Rideau): My statement is on the closure of the Oxford Regional Centre. As many expected, and from confirmation through an internal document of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, it has now been confirmed that the Oxford Regional Centre will close in 1996.

We all know that there are thousands of developmentally disabled people in this province who are on waiting lists. Yet the same internal ministry document I mentioned earlier states that there will be no increase in transfer payments to social service agencies, these same agencies which will be expected now to meet the needs of the residents of the Oxford centre.

At present, there are 522 staff working at the centre. The ministry is projecting a more than 60% staff decrease in this first year, 1993-94, as it phases out this program. The ministry must assure the families and the present residents of the Oxford Regional Centre that quality care and meaningful programs will be maintained in this important time of transition.

The minister knows and I know that the residents mandated for transition to the community are multiply handicapped individuals with intellectual impairments and often with behavioural problems. As new community settings are developed, parents who have mounting anxieties and concerns must be guaranteed a prominent place at the table.

1340

LOU PARSONS

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Lou Parsons, the chairman of GO Transit, has been named Ontario's 1993 Transportation Person of the Year. This award goes to the individual whose leadership throughout his career has improved and advanced the transportation industry. No one is more deserving of this tribute than Lou Parsons.

Lou has dedicated his life to improving transportation and enhancing Ontario's national and international reputation in the ground transportation field. A founding member of the GO Transit board when it became a crown agency in September 1974, Lou Parsons has been a driving force at GO ever since. He served as a vice-chair of GO from 1974 to 1979 and has been the chair since 1980.

Under Lou Parsons's direction, GO has grown from a fledgling interregional transit service to an internationally recognized, state-of-the-art, integrated system which has received numerous awards. On the safety front, GO has been recognized as the safest transportation system in North America.

This award is a demonstration of the respect that Lou's local and national peers have always had and continue to have for his abilities, but his leadership and prowess have also been recognized on the international scene: Lou Parsons is the only Canadian ever to have chaired the American Public Transit Association. His election to that post in 1991 saw his talents being put to use leading an organization which includes over 1,000 members.

SENECA COLLEGE CAMPUS

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Mr Speaker, I was almost late today. I rushed over here from a rally that took place at Jane and Finch in my riding of Yorkview.

Right at the corner of York Gate Boulevard and Finch Avenue is this big, huge, open piece of land, a perfect spot for a Seneca College campus. Last week I asked the Minister of Education and Training a question. That question was: What are you going to do about a Seneca College campus? What are you going to do when the consultants come to you and say that a campus should be placed somewhere west of Yonge Street, and when they recommend that perhaps that campus should be placed at Jane and Finch, what are you going to do?

I'm hoping he's going to say yes, we are going to invest in the future of the people in my community. I hope we're going to invest in the people right now who currently need the education. We are sick and tired of travelling 20 miles to the closest college. We want a college in our community. The Jane and Finch community has been asking four years. I hope the minister is listening, because I know that recommendation is going to come down.

I want to thank all of those students from the YESS committee: Yorkview Educates Students for Seneca. This is an important issue. I hope the minister puts a college campus at Jane and Finch.

CAPITAL INVESTMENT

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I think yesterday we saw another sign of the way the Rae government chooses to operate. Yesterday the government quietly introduced a bill that is going to set up four new capital corporations that will bring in new debt, off the government books, probably $5 billion.

We pleaded with the Premier in December to bring the legislation forward well before the budget so we could look at it and see whether it had any sense to it at all. What did we see yesterday? No ministerial statement. It was not announced in the House when we in the opposition would have had an opportunity to comment on it. It was introduced quietly under a procedure that you're aware of, Mr Speaker, where the minister introduced it under the introduction of bills. It should have been a ministerial statement, without question.

We pleaded with the Premier in December. I had an undertaking by the Premier. I thought he appreciated the importance of this and that we would have a chance to debate it.

This bill will no doubt run up enormous debts. All the school boards in this province will now borrow, with a commitment by the province to repay it. It will be a way of hiding, we think, at least $5 billion worth of new debt.

Rather than bringing it forward and giving the opposition a chance to comment on it, it was introduced quietly. I think, unfortunately, this is typical of how Rae is now choosing to operate, rather than giving the opposition a chance to comment on important bills.

ROYAL WEEK

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): I wish to inform the House that this is Royal Week 1993 and has been declared so by many municipalities across Ontario, including the city of Burlington.

Royal Week celebrates Canada's heritage as a community living under the crown and the many benefits we share as a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as our head of state. Royal Week culminates in the celebration of Victoria Day on May 24, which honours the 174th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, the reigning monarch at Canadian Confederation, and the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Her Majesty's coronation on June 2, 1953, and of the royal title Queen of Canada.

The Queen's birthday parade will be the focus of the celebrations on Victoria Day as it makes its way up University Avenue to Queen's Park. Colourful militia and historical units, bands, multicultural and heritage groups will be reviewed by His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and by you, Mr Speaker.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the organizers of the parade, Garry Toffoli, the Ontario chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, and Arthur Bousfield, the Dominion vice-chairman, for all the hard work that they put into organizing this truly beautiful parade each and every year.

As an honorary life member of the Monarchist League of Canada and on behalf of my colleagues in the Conservative caucus, I reaffirm my allegiance to the Queen of Canada and invite all members of the Legislature to join me in that commitment, especially during Royal Week. God save the Queen.

CHANGE OF HEART PROGRAM

Mr Gary Malkowski (York East): Now that spring is here and the weather has turned warm and inviting, I would like to welcome all members of the House to come to a walk in my riding of York East by participating in the Change of Heart program.

This program, sponsored by the East York Health Unit, promotes health and wellbeing by getting involved in any of four signature walks featured in my riding. The walks are combined with an historical tour and they take place in the Crescent Town, Leaside, Pape and Thorncliffe areas. All the walks have access points to the Don Valley.

I will help to launch the historical and architectural walk A Touch of History in Leaside on the evening of Thursday, May 27. I am very proud of the beauty and the history found here in Toronto, in my own riding of York East, and I would be delighted to have you join me in the festivities planned on the 27th. Of course, you are welcome to come any time and take part in any of the series of walks.

RETAIL STORE LEGISLATION

Mr Tim Murphy (St George-St David): Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege with respect to the treatment of Bill 38, Sunday shopping legislation, by the government. This issue involves a violation of not only my privileges but the privileges of all members of the House. At this time, Mr Speaker, I would like you to consider this breach of privilege in greater detail and report back to the House.

On November 25, 1991, a law which received royal assent prohibited the opening of stores on Sunday throughout the province. The government then introduced Bill 38 on June 4, 1992, which proposed an amendment to the Retail Business Holidays Act allowing for Sunday shopping. This bill, which has yet to reach second reading, has no guarantee of passage because the Premier insisted that it would be a free vote when he introduced it to the House on June 3, 1992.

None the less, this government has indicated to police forces and crown attorneys across the province that they are not to enforce the law of this province. In effect, the government has acted as if the bill has received royal assent, even though it has not received the approval and due consideration of the members of this House.

By acting in this way, this government has brought into question the most fundamental tenet of responsible government fought for in this province since 1837, the right of the elected members to vote on legislation and hold the government accountable. By instructing the police forces of this province to not uphold a duly considered law, this government has displayed a reckless disregard, indeed an arrogance, against democratic government and the rights of all members of this Legislature.

Mr Speaker, should you find that the privileges of the members of the Legislature have been violated through the government's actions, I will introduce a motion asking you to instruct the government to enforce the law until the amendments are passed.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): To the honourable member for St George-St David, may I say first that I appreciate the way in which he has brought this matter to my attention. He raises a serious point, and it's one which I wish to have some time to reflect on. After so doing, I will report back to the member and to the House, but I thank you for drawing a serious concern to the attention of the House.

1350

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY MAILING

Mr Gregory S. Sorbara (York Centre): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: My point of privilege is somewhat less serious than the one raised by the member for St George-St David, but nevertheless I think it's worthy of your consideration.

Sir, last week I received a piece of mail in my mailbox at home, one typically like the type of junk mail that people get now and again at their homes. This one, like those Publishers Clearing House advertisements, offers me an opportunity to win a free trip to British Columbia. All I have to do is place one of these stamps that you see here on this entry form and I'm eligible for a free trip. It also invites me to send a little bit of money along should I so choose.

When I open the letter I find that it's signed by none other than the famous Jill Marzetti, who is the executive director of the Ontario NDP, inviting me to participate in this year's New Democratic Party sweepstakes.

The thing that I find most offensive about this is that the letter says, "Dear Fellow New Democrat." Now the last time I checked I was the Liberal representative for the riding of York Centre. As a matter of privilege, I would simply ask you to ask the Premier and Jill Marzetti to stop buying lists to try and raise money and, if my name is included on their list, to please expunge my name. There is no greater insult than to be included in that band of rogues.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): To the member, it seems that the message has already been delivered. While the member doesn't have a point of order, I trust that if he wins a free trip he'll let us know.

Are there statements by ministers? It is time for oral questions.

ATTENDANCE OF MINISTERS

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I recognize that a number of ministers have begun to drift in as our members have raised points of privilege. I understand that the Premier is to be late in arriving for question period today. I knew that the Treasurer was not to be present the day before the budget. The Minister of Health, I understand, is to be here but is not present in the House as we begin question period. I want to express my complete frustration at the inability to begin question period in the absence of the individuals to whom we have to direct our questions.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): While I appreciate the concern expressed, the member will know that I have no control over attendance in the House of any member. Admittedly, question period is a time for the opposition in particular to raise questions of policy and issues of concern to members of the cabinet, and it's a little difficult to do if the members of cabinet are not here. There are individual members of cabinet here. I have no control over suspending. It would not be proper for me to suspend the sitting right now.

I see the member for Bruce is anxious to raise a point of order.

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): Mr Speaker, I would ask unanimous consent of the House that we recess for a period of 15 minutes and allow the ministers to come here so that we can engage in the business of the day. Failing that, I suggest that we move on to delivering petitions and other routine proceedings until the ministers actually can come here.

As you know, to allow us to put the business of the day in order, we were advised by the government House leader of those ministers who are to attend and who are going to be absent and those people who are going to be late. That way we can prepare our day's work in an orderly fashion. In fact we then are able to proceed in a reasonable way with getting the work of the House done.

With those people not now in the House who have been committed to be here, it seems to me that we have not been given correct information. That, as a result, allows us to have prepared questions which are not now to be addressed to the ministers who are supposed to be here. I ask again, may we have unanimous consent to recess for 15 minutes?

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): On the same point, Mr Speaker: It is becoming extremely frustrating, not only for opposition members but I'm sure for government backbench members as well, to not have cabinet ministers here. We received a note just now that the Premier is running late. We've had some difficulty getting a list in the last couple of days as to which cabinet ministers would in fact be in the House for question period and which ministers would not be in the House.

I would think that the government would want to give unanimous consent either to stand down question period for a few minutes until a suitable number of cabinet colleagues can arrive or to proceed with motions and petitions and some other of the routine proceedings and we can revert back to question period.

Hon Brian A. Charlton (Government House Leader): The opposition has taken the position that they want the Premier here in the House, and we have made every effort to ensure that happens. He will be here today, albeit a little bit late, but he will be here today to answer questions. The members of the opposition have every opportunity to stand down their questions until he does arrive.

The Speaker: The first question is, is there unanimous consent to have the House adjourn for 15 minutes? No.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. On the second point raised by the honourable member for Bruce, the list which he refers to, as he will know of course, is an informal document. It is not something to which the Chair is privy, nor does it have any status with respect to the standing orders. It is an arrangement made by the three parties, and I can offer no other information about that.

It would not be appropriate for me to rearrange the order in which we will conduct routine proceedings. We are at a point where we should begin oral questions, and I will recognize the Leader of the Opposition.

Mrs McLeod: Mr Speaker, you will recognize that I do not rise to raise frivolous points of order. We take the order of this House very seriously and we prepare for question period with a great deal of attention. I did not raise the issue of the Premier's lateness. I understood that was to be the case. We were given due notice of that and we have adjusted our order of business accordingly.

We were told the Minister of Health would be here. I served notice that my second question is to the Minister of Health. We have no indication of when she is going to arrive. I suggest, as a serious order of business in this House, that the government is simply not taking the place of question period as an order of business seriously enough, and that's why I express my frustration.

Mr Eves: Mr Speaker, could we have unanimous consent to proceed with motions, petitions, reports by committee and introduction of bills until there are a sufficient number of cabinet ministers here to proceed? We have six away today, nine away yesterday, seven away last Thursday, and seven of them can't do anything except ride around in their cars and call themselves junior ministers.

The Speaker: Unanimous consent to move to motions? Agreed? No.

The member for St Catharines.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, on a point of privilege: I think the one factor the House has to take into consideration when dealing with this matter is that the House did not sit from December 10 till the second week of April, April 13, of this year. All of that time the government did not have to face the opposition or its own members on any questioning.

Now that the House is sitting for such a short period of time, surely we have the right of having the courtesy of having ministers here, the senior ministers who are going to be the subject of questions during a day, instead of being off on hotline shows and 5,000 other places.

The Speaker: Briefly, I understand the concerns raised by the member for St Catharines, the member for Parry Sound and the Leader of the Opposition. It perhaps is a subject which the three House leaders in their regular weekly meeting may wish to address since it obviously has caused some upset here in the chamber.

It is time for oral questions.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): On a belated point, if I might, Mr Speaker?

The Speaker: No, I've dealt with this at some length. There is nothing out of order. I realize the member is an experienced member of the House. If he has something additional to offer, briefly, I will entertain it. Otherwise, we move on.

Mr Conway: You're in a very difficult position, Mr Speaker, and I appreciate that. I have a question to the Minister of Health. She was supposed to be here. She's not here.

I would ask, through you, the government House leader to indicate whether or not the people he said would be here today will in fact be true to their word, because if they're not going to be here, then quite frankly, there's no point in my being here, because I'm here to ask a question to the Minister of Health in good faith because I was told by the government House leader that she would be here. She's not here. I'd like some direction, through you, from the government House leader as to what is going to happen with the people we were told would be here to answer questions today.

Hon Mr Charlton: I have no indication that the specific member whom the member is referring to, or any other member who was on the list, is not going to be here.

1400

ORAL QUESTIONS

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): It is time for oral questions. Start the clock. I recognize --

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): The Minister of Health is lost.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Brampton South, please come to order. I recognize the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): That's not what we were looking for.

The Speaker: Order. Members will note that the clock has started. I would ask members to come to order so that we can begin question period.

Interjections.

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, you will recognize that in a parliamentary democracy, the role of question period and my role as Leader of the Opposition is to use this time to hold the government accountable. I cannot do that if the government members will not be here to be held accountable. I have no choice but to stand down my questions until they arrive.

Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): Mr Speaker, in the absence of the Premier, the Deputy Premier and the Treasurer, in the absence of anybody capable of answering my questions, I would ask if I could stand down my two questions.

Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): My question is to the Chairman of Management Board --

Mrs McLeod: Point of order: Stand down the third question in the order.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. We have stood down both leaders' questions, so we will have a single question here as soon as they come to order.

Interjections.

The Speaker: When the House has come to order, then we can continue. For the information of members, we have stood down two questions for the Leader of the Opposition and two questions for the leader of the third party. Therefore, we are back to the Liberal Party, the official opposition, for a single question, and we begin the rotation.

Mrs McLeod: If you had our order paper, Mr Speaker, you would know that our third question was to the Premier. We will also have to stand our third question down.

The Speaker: That isn't allowable. If you wish to relinquish your position -- you can only stand down the two opening questions for both parties.

SOCIAL CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): In light of your ruling, Mr Speaker, we place our first question to the Chairman of Management Board.

Minister, we know that over the past two months your government has been holding so-called social contract negotiations in the five-star Royal York Hotel. We know that to date you've spent in excess of $100,000 of taxpayers' money, which has included over $70,000 on the rental of rooms and suites, on food and courier services. We know that, at the same time, you were offered free space at Metro Hall, and you have available your own government buildings at the Macdonald Block and other such locations.

My question to you, sir, is: Why are you spending thousands of dollars on hotel facilities when you could be conducting these negotiations and these talks in the free space that is available to you?

Hon Brian A. Charlton (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I would suggest to the member opposite that there are probably 100 good answers to the question, but I think there are two primary ones.

The member made reference, for example, to the rooms in the Macdonald Block. I would think, although perhaps memories can be very short, that the member opposite would remember that the rooms in the Macdonald Block are very extensively utilized on a regular basis. In fact, very rarely do they sit empty for any considerable period of time. So it becomes a question of who meets elsewhere, not just the fact that there are rooms available in the Macdonald Block, because they are utilized on a regular basis for ongoing government functions and others.

Secondly, the social contract negotiations which have been going on are an extremely important process, a new process albeit, and a process that has been feeling its way, with fairly regular contact between a large number of parties which in fact need room in order to consult and go forward and so on and so forth. To the best of my knowledge, the government simply sought out the best facility it could find to have that kind of process occur in.

Mrs Caplan: Of all of the answers that I expected from the Chairman of Management Board, that one is one which I think the taxpayers of this province will find completely and absolutely unacceptable.

I would remind you, sir, that just a month ago you began those discussions in your own Macdonald Block. You were offered, free of charge, Metro Hall; you turned it down. This is an issue of government waste, of government saying one thing, getting together to talk about cost cutting and profligate spending at the taxpayers' expense.

I would ask you: How can you possibly justify over $100,000? Your talks are in chaos and you are spending taxpayers' dollars needlessly. Will you today commit to moving those talks to the free spaces that are available to you?

Hon Mr Charlton: First of all, we don't agree that the talks are in chaos.

Secondly, I repeat that the kinds of facilities that are required for the kinds of discussions with the large number of groups needing facilities in which they can consult with themselves, facilities where they can consult with each other and the facilities where they can come to the table with the negotiators are extremely important to the sensitivities around this kind of process, and we don't agree that there's a significant waste of taxpayers' money.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): New question, third party.

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): May I place the first leader's question now that the Minister of Health has arrived, Mr Speaker?

The Speaker: Leader's question.

1410

HEALTH CARE

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): Obviously, my first question is to the Minister of Health.

Minister, I listened very carefully yesterday to the responses that you gave to the questions that were asked by the member for Renfrew North. He asked, as you will recall, what plans you have to provide for the health care services that will be lost if your ministry acts on the proposals that have been made to the Ontario Medical Association. There were no answers, because there are no plans; because I didn't have any sense that you have really looked at what the impact of those proposals might be.

Minister, I am particularly concerned about the way in which your government has targeted medical students in this province by telling them that there are only certain places in which they are going to be able to practise. What became absolutely clear to me, Minister, in your answers yesterday was that you are simply using these students as bargaining chips in your negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association.

Minister, while you talk about negotiations, the lives of these students are on hold. They're calling our offices, they're calling your offices, they're asking where can they go, what can they do, where will they be able to practise, where will they get jobs, and there are no answers because there are no plans.

Minister, I ask you, how can you use these young people as pawns in your very poorly thought-out game? What are you telling them about where they should be going -- on to the unemployment lines in five weeks' time or straight out of this province?

Hon Ruth Grier (Minister of Health): Let me apologize to the Leader of the Opposition for being late, but let me say in response to her question that I think it would be most unfortunate if anybody used newly graduating physicians as pawns. That is certainly not what this government is doing, I'm sure it's not what the opposition is doing and I hope it's not what the Ontario Medical Association is doing.

We tabled with the Ontario Medical Association on April 23 a long list of proposals that would better allow us to manage the resources in the health care system, particularly doctors. The idea, of course, is not to prevent new and talented doctors from serving this province but to make sure that qualified physicians do not graduate simply to serve in areas where there is already an oversupply of doctors, and that we have the best qualified people in all the parts of the province and for all the populations of the province who need them.

We had anticipated that we would quickly be able to discuss that with the Ontario Medical Association. A regularly scheduled meeting for tomorrow has now been cancelled by the OMA, maybe because it's budget day, but we certainly hope that it is not because they do not wish to sit down and discuss management practice suggestions that are not new to them --

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Could the minister conclude her response, please.

Hon Mrs Grier: -- that are in place in other provinces and that have been under discussion with the OMA for quite some time.

Mrs Barbara Sullivan (Halton Centre): If the meeting for tomorrow has been cancelled, it's because the options which the government has put on the table are arbitrary, they're unplanned and they're simply stupid.

Three graduates in this year's class intended to provide primary care for HIV patients in Toronto. One graduate of this year's medical school intended to work with people who are addicted at the Queen-Dufferin centre. All of those graduates have been locked out -- locked out, I say to you, Minister, because that's precisely what you've done with this policy. What about the paediatrician who intended to work in cancer care in Toronto with paediatric patients? That person has been locked out.

What account did you take of the health care needs of the people? You are number-crunching and you weren't paying any attention to what people needed in terms of treatment. What analysis did you do? What planning did you do? This is stupid and everybody knows it's stupid.

Hon Mrs Grier: I participated in a number of negotiations, our government has participated in a number of negotiations, and to justify the refusal to negotiate on the basis that they don't like some of the proposals that have been made is frankly not the kind of negotiation that I expect from the Ontario Medical Association or that I believe is in fact its intention.

I'm very pleased that we have a framework agreement with the OMA, an agreement that provides for a joint management committee to meet and to discuss issues of concern, both about the quality of health care, which is the objective we both share, and the cost of health care.

The proposals we have tabled with the OMA are proposals that will lead us to both protect and preserve medicare, which we believe cannot happen if we allow the costs to go simply out of control. It is certainly my hope that the Ontario Medical Association will sit at the table with us and will address precisely the kind of concerns the member has raised.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): Since our discussion yesterday afternoon, Madam Minister, I have spoken to hospital and other health care providers in the communities of Pembroke, Renfrew, Deep River and Barry's Bay and, to a person, in those small cities and rural communities in my part of eastern Ontario they are very, very worried about this package of proposals which you have offered under the rubric of an expenditure control plan for physicians' services, which you and your government have already decided will this year strip out $275 million worth of public moneys for health programs in this province. That has been decided. In my rural communities these people have said that this package of proposals, taken as a whole, will seriously impair the level of services, most especially in the area of emergency services at these small rural hospitals.

My question, on behalf of the thousands of rural people I represent in places like Barry's Bay and Pembroke and Deep River is, what are your alternatives to ensure that there is going to be a reasonable level of health care to people being served in rural, small-town and small-city Ontario?

Hon Mrs Grier: As I said to the member yesterday, the opportunity and the location for the discussion about how to best manage resources in health care are provided through our discussions with the Ontario Medical Association. We want to see those proceed as quickly as possible. It has now been three weeks since we laid some proposals before the Ontario Medical Association, and we are ready, waiting and anxious to have the discussions that will serve, I believe, to alleviate the very real concern that he is expressing on behalf of his constituents.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): My question is for the Minister of Labour and it concerns the Workplace Health and Safety Agency. All in this House support the concept of making workplaces safe. It's not a partisan issue. But it's essential that safety training programs are realistic, reasonable and affordable and that training resources are allocated appropriately so that the safety of all workers is ensured.

In Wellington county there is a firm called L&M Food Markets, which is a chain of supermarkets owned by Merlen Kropf. Minister, your agency is asking this chain of supermarkets, for each store, to send two employees for two full weeks of safety training at a cost of at least $6,900 per store. My question is this: Does the Minister really believe that a grocery store is so dangerous that workers and management require two full weeks of safety training?

Hon Bob Mackenzie (Minister of Labour): The health and safety agency has set up a certification program for various types of hazardous workplaces, whether they're factories, whether they're food shops, whether they're office operations, and they have set in place a training system for those workplaces. I'm not going to second-judge the decisions that were made by a joint labour-management group that decided on the process for health and safety.

Mr Arnott: That agency is not working properly. I'll tell you it is totally unreasonable for grocery store workers to have two full weeks of safety training. This is a grocery store, not a mine, not a construction site, not a nuclear generating facility, not even a factory. The inappropriate use of these training resources may actually endanger the workers in the most hazardous of workplaces.

I know Merlen Kropf; I worked for him when I was in high school. He's concerned about workplace safety because he's concerned about his employees and the safety of his customers. He's a job creator, and your agency is rewarding him by sending him letters threatening a $500,000 fine or even imprisonment.

How can the minister justify this agency threatening the job creators of this province and its refusal to use its training resources sensibly on the most hazardous workplaces first so that all workers are protected in the province?

Hon Mr Mackenzie: Under the new health and safety legislation in the province of Ontario, I am sure the member knows that there are almost 100,000 workers who will now be going through the certification process. I certainly believe that workers in all different operations and different classifications need the health and safety training program. I don't think two weeks is too long a period of time whatsoever. I know that a number of the unions in the field he's talking about say that's the only way you're going to begin to cover adequately the workers in those operations.

1420

HEALTH CARE

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): My question is to the Minister of Health. Mrs Minister, there has been quite a bit of discussion around the Legislature and other venues with regard to the proposal the government has put forward to the OMA about fee differentials in terms of doctors' billings. I have a community in my riding, the community of Matheson, which, as of about a month ago, had to shut down its emergency department in evenings and on weekends because it hasn't been able to attract doctors into that community. They've been short a number of doctors for almost six or seven months now.

The question I have to you, Mrs Minister, is very clear: Under the proposal made to the Ontario Medical Association, if agreed to, first of all, would the community of Matheson be designated as an underserviced community so that it would be able to benefit in regard to this particular proposal?

Hon Ruth Grier (Minister of Health): It's certainly my expectation that the proposal we have made to the Ontario Medical Association with respect to differential fees will contribute greatly to finally providing physicians for areas of northern Ontario where I know a number of my colleagues and colleagues on all sides of the House have been concerned because the existing underserviced areas program, which has been in place for 22 years, has not in fact met the need.

There is no doubt that the definition of "underserviced areas" is probably not, at this point, appropriate to identifying where the needs are, and I hope as part of our discussions with the OMA that we can come to a better definition so that we can make sure that communities such as Matheson, where I know the member is very concerned, can in fact have the kind of health care that they need and that their residents deserve.

Mr Bisson: In my travels around the riding this weekend at a number of public functions, one of the discussions we got into was around the fee differential. If I'm reading the constituents right, once they understand the proposal, they're very much in favour of what the minister is proposing in regard to being able to have an actual tool that would help us attract doctors into communities that are underserviced.

The question I have to you is, what can we do, as members of our communities, to assist the Minister of Health and the government to try to get the OMA to the table to discuss this issue that, to me, in the long run would address a long-standing issue in underserviced areas in terms of the ability to attract doctors?

Hon Mrs Grier: I agree that many communities in northern Ontario continue to be underserviced and that there are some very special needs and demands for medical practitioners for practising in the north. I certainly think this is an issue that can be resolved, and we want to work with health care providers, with the district health councils and with other interested groups to develop a list of areas and patient populations that do have special needs. It's in the course of our discussions with the Ontario Medical Association that we are hoping to better define those areas.

CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Just so that I can be clear, in the absence of the Premier, to whom my leader wants to ask a question, we're starting the second round?

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): That's correct.

Mr Brown: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources, and it concerns the commitment this government has to protecting ecologically important areas of this province.

As part of the expenditure control plan, the Minister of Finance has announced that the conservation authorities that carry out very important management functions in our watersheds would incur a significant cut to their expenditures this year. At the same time, the conservation lands tax rebate program, which is vital to a number of these authorities, will not be paying the property tax on environmentally important lands. It is our information that as many as nine or 10 of these conservation authorities are considering selling environmentally and ecologically important lands in order to pay the bills.

Mr Minister, do you condone the sale of these lands by authorities in order to balance their budgets this year and, if not, what are you going to tell them?

Hon Howard Hampton (Minister of Natural Resources): In fact, the issue the member raises has been one that we've already discussed with individual conservation authorities and the Association of Conservation Authorities of Ontario. I think it needs to be recognized that some conservation authorities indeed possess land which is not integral to their conservation activities. We are willing to discuss with those conservation authorities the possibility that they may sell some of that land which is not part of their conservation mandate. We do not think the situation is so serious that any conservation authority will need to entertain the idea of selling actual conservation land.

Mr Brown: As the minister would know, many of the lands owned by conservation authorities have been paid for by volunteer groups in this country and province. We find it very strange that he would give such an answer.

The conservation authorities are fiscally responsible. They have presented a program to the minister which would save the ministry $25 million to $100 million in the administration of permitting etc in those areas. I would like a commitment from the minister that he will look at that plan seriously and convene representatives of all the ministries that are involved in that permitting-regulation plan in order that he can effect that $25 million to $100 million in savings.

Minister, will you commit that your ministry will convene the meeting that gets all these people together so that the province can save the money that it needs in order to pay your property taxes?

Hon Mr Hampton: When we met a week and a half ago with the Association of Conservation Authorities of Ontario, we indicated to it that we wanted to meet again in one month's time. At that time we would hope that they would bring forward proposals that could do away with the duplication of some of the services that exist, that could provide for greater integration between the work that conservation authorities do and that some ministries do.

We continue to encourage the Association of Conservation Authorities to do that. We think that is an excellent way of saving taxpayers' money, and I hope the member opposite will support us as we work through this very important process.

ATTENDANCE OF PREMIER

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It's almost an hour since proceedings started today. In fact, it is an hour since proceedings started. Is the Premier going to be here or is he not going to be here, so we can proceed with our lead questions? This is a little ridiculous, to say the least.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Can the government House leader be of any assistance?

Hon Brian A. Charlton (Government House Leader): My information is that he's on his way.

The Speaker: I recognize the member for DufferinPeel with a question.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Dufferin-Peel has the floor.

TIRE RECYCLING

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): My question is to the Minister of Environment and Energy.

Some time ago, Mr Minister, you expressed some concern about the export of millions of tires to Connecticut, where they would be burned for a $93-million hydro plant for the production of electricity. At that time you said, "The federal government has approved the export, and I hope they would reconsider that."

Currently your government's policy is that you won't allow tires to be put in landfill sites. You won't allow them to be burned for the purposes of producing energy. Now it's being suggested that you're going to prohibit people from shipping tires outside of our jurisdiction for whatever purpose they see fit, whether it be the United States or other provinces.

More recently, officials from the waste reduction office for the Ministry of Environment and Energy have said that there would be no further assistance for operators who wish to crumb tires. That is the statement that had been made.

Interjection.

Mr Tilson: Well, I'm telling you they have, that a number of officials have made these statements to people who are applying for crumbing tires.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Does the member have a question?

Mr Tilson: My question to the minister is, having made all of these policies, what do you intend to do with the 10 million used tires that are being stockpiled in Ontario each year?

Hon Bud Wildman (Minister of Environment and Energy): The member is quite correct in one aspect of his comments; that is, that I wrote to the federal Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Jean Charest, who has been busy doing some other things recently, to ask him to reconsider very seriously the opening of the border to the transport of waste to the United States, and as yet I have not received a response to that letter. I look forward to receiving it very soon.

1430

In regard to the other comments the member has made, we are indeed maintaining our policy of prohibiting the dumping of tires in landfill sites and also the incineration of tires. But we are moving very expeditiously to invest moneys that have accrued to the province from the tire tax, among other revenues, to the consolidated revenue fund to ensure that we can in fact develop new technologies for the use of tires.

Recently I announced moneys to --

The Speaker: Would the minister conclude his response, please.

Hon Mr Wildman: -- Recovery Technologies in Cambridge, to Domal Envirotec Inc of Scarborough and others to do work with regard to new technologies in the use of rubber. As the member knows, we have developed a collar for sewer covers that will be using a great number of tires. We are indeed not opposed to the --

The Speaker: Would the minister please conclude his response.

Hon Mr Wildman: -- use of tires for rubberized asphalt. I know the member will have other comments he would like to make in his supplementary.

Mr Tilson: I understand that since this tire tax -- which you spoke out against when the Liberals introduced it, you spoke out very vigorously, you simply said it was a tax grab -- over $200 million has been collected by the combination of your government and the Liberal government for the purposes of the $5 tax on used tires.

You and the Liberals have put only a very small portion of that -- you've listed off a few minute examples where you have been spreading it around for the purposes of recycling tires. But the fact of the matter is, there's $10 million collected each year for the purposes of the $5 tax which you spoke out so strongly against when it was introduced by the Liberals. Just to remind you --

Mr Gregory S. Sorbara (York Centre): Come on, put the question.

Mr Tilson: I'm trying to remind the minister what he said at that time. He said: "This tax is an attempt to raise more money from the public. The excuse that we're going to use the money to clean up the environment is just that, an excuse." You're no better than the Liberals. You're doing the very same thing the Liberals did.

The Speaker: And now the interrogative part.

Mr Tilson: My question to you is, when is the Minister of Environment going to start putting all of that $5 tax that you charge the people of this province, resulting in $10 million each year, into actual programs that will see this tire accumulation and fire problem decrease?

Hon Mr Wildman: I'm tempted to refer the question to my colleague in the gallery, the former member from Brant whatever, whom I'm sure we all welcome to the assembly.

However, I would say to the member seriously that in 1989 only 34% of the scrap tires in the province were being resold, retreaded or recycled. That increased to 40% in 1992, and we expect it will increase to 50% by 1994. That is because of the efforts that have been made by municipalities, by the private sector and by this government in investing moneys that have accrued from the tire tax to investment that will mean that we will lower the number of tires going to landfill and will be using more and more rubberized asphalt and others; for instance, the $9 million we've invested in Grey and Lambton counties to experiment with asphalt from rubber.

The Speaker: Would the member take his seat, please.

VISITOR

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I would invite all members to welcome to our midst this afternoon a very distinguished former member of the assembly, serving for some three decades for Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk, Mr Bob Nixon. Welcome.

[Applause]

The Speaker: Start the clock, please.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: We have now stood down one of the leader's questions for the Liberal Party. We've stood down two leader's questions, and it's perfect timing. I would ask, considering the fact, regardless of the time left on the clock, that you allow at least those three questions, supplementaries and responses to be put.

The Speaker: We will follow the normal procedure, and I will recognize the Leader of the Opposition for her question.

JOB CREATION

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): Thank you, Mr Speaker, although I am going to preface my question with very real regret that the day before the budget neither the Premier nor the Treasurer was here to answer what we consider to be critical questions about tomorrow's budget presentation.

The fact that we will not have time to place our questions in the order that we deem to be important before budget presentation tomorrow means that we will not have an opportunity to ask important questions about a bill that this government brought in yesterday which quietly brings about a revolution in financing capital grants in this province.

I will ask the Premier my first question. Premier, we would hope that the budget you will present tomorrow would give Ontario a very badly needed message of hope in economic renewal, but we are tremendously concerned, from everything we've heard, that instead of providing positive signals it will simply hurt our fragile economy and cost more people their jobs.

The Finance minister has clearly said it's his intention to bring in a budget with hundreds of millions of dollars of new taxes. The Canadian Manufacturers' Association says that for every $40,000 in new taxes it will kill one job. We can assume that your budget, with its new taxes, will therefore kill thousands of jobs. Premier, the question is a simple one: How many jobs will your budget tomorrow cost Ontarians?

Hon Bob Rae (Premier): I hesitate to refer to the distinguished visitor in the gallery, but if we follow the logic of the honourable Leader of the Opposition, the Minister of Finance's predecessor, in raising taxes when he did for reasons that he felt were compelling, would have destroyed tens of thousands of jobs, whereas we all know in fact the period prior to the recession was one in which jobs were created.

We're now into a period again where we see some substantial signs of recovery in the economy. Over 100,000 jobs have been created in the last eight months in this province. This province has led the way in terms of economic recovery in the country in the last year.

So I can say to the honourable member that while there may be differences of opinion about the budget that will be brought down tomorrow, the thrust and theme of the budget tomorrow is jobs, the creation of jobs, the creation of opportunity and the creation of chances for all the people of the province, based on a sense of fiscal reality and, if I can quote from the words of the accord which I signed with Mr Peterson in 1985, based on the needs of fiscal responsibility, which we agreed on, largely at the urging of the former Minister of Finance and Treasurer of the province.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Could the Premier conclude his response, please.

Hon Mr Rae: So I would say to the honourable member, fiscal reality, fiscal responsibility, job creation going hand in hand, we think it's the way to go.

Mrs McLeod: Premier, this is a new day. This is no longer the era of unprecedented economic growth. This is no longer the era of record levels of employment. This is the era of record levels of unemployment: 575,000 people in this province without work, looking for jobs, hoping that your budget will give them some hope tomorrow.

Premier, the question was simple, and the math is simple: New taxes equal lost jobs. We can't afford any more lost jobs. We're asking you, how many?

According to the CMA, $1 billion in new taxes will eliminate 25,000 jobs. That would push the unemployment rate up to 11.2%. The Conference Board of Canada says it has reduced its growth forecast for Ontario by one percentage point. According to one bank, that means another 33,000 people will lose their jobs, and that pushes unemployment up to 11.8%.

1440

Surely, Premier, you and the Treasurer have worked out the impact of your budget decisions on the economy and on the people who will be affected by those decisions. If you don't agree with the CMA, if you don't agree with the conference board, will you tell us what studies you have done on the impact of the budget you will present, what those studies show? Will you simply tell us how many more people in this province your budget will put out of work tomorrow?

Hon Mr Rae: I can only tell the honourable member, perhaps that's a debate we should have starting tomorrow and Thursday. But I would also say to her that those same economists are saying to us that higher debt interest payments equal more unemployment, that higher debt interest equals more unemployment. The Leader of the Opposition should know that.

Let me remind her that as of April 30, last week, the week before, participants registered in the Jobs Ontario Training: 64,000; the next week, 67,000. Employers registered: 10,700 one week; the next week, 11,384. Positions registered by local brokers: 17,500 one week; 18,200 the next week. This is the program the Liberal Party wants to cancel. This is the program the Leader of the Opposition says she wants to do away with. This is the program that's creating jobs in the province.

We are out in the world. We are creating jobs. We're also dealing with the world of fiscal reality, which is more than we say for the Liberal Party of Ontario, which has been living in cloud-cuckoo-land for some years now, precisely since 1987.

Mrs McLeod: Back to basics, Premier, and the basics are: This province needs an economic recovery, your government needs to provide support to that recovery, and your new taxes will kill it as it begins.

There is no question that you have to deal with the deficit problem that you have allowed to build to crisis proportions. We agree with that. Yes, we have proposed some alternatives, a number of ways in which you could reduce your deficit and get to your budget target without increasing new taxes; and yes, we do say, review the Jobs Ontario Training program, which is not creating new jobs. It is providing employers with dollars, with important, valuable dollars to train people for jobs that need new training.

We've said, Stop the Interim Waste Authority and stop building up the kind of bureaucracy that you're going to put in place with the advocacy legislation." Look at the programs that aren't working and make your cuts there. Don't bring in new taxes that will hurt the economy and that will put even more people out of work.

Premier, why will you not at least look at the alternatives that we've been presenting with an eye to cutting spending in those areas rather than bringing in the new taxes that will put more people out of work and kill this economic recovery?

Hon Mr Rae: I'd say very bluntly to the Leader of the Opposition, I don't think she's begun to address the fiscal realities of the province. I don't think that her proposals even begin to cut the top of the ice. I don't think the proposals she's been putting forward can be taken seriously as any kind of deficit reduction strategy.

If you were to refer them to any group of senior officials in the government and say, "How much is this going to deal with? How much is this going to save?" it would be merely a tip of the problem that this government has to face due to the seriousness of the structural deficit.

You're playing the old game with respect to opposition politics. We have to deal with a serious fiscal situation. Your party is not prepared to deal with it. It wasn't prepared to deal with it before; you're not prepared to deal with it now. Those facts are entirely clear for all the public to see.

[Applause]

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

ECONOMIC POLICY

Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): My question is to the Premier. I understand, Premier, that you had lunch today, a rather long lunch today, with Matthew Barrett of the Bank of Montreal, according to your itinerary.

On January 18 of this year, Mr Barrett offered a strategy to eliminate government deficits and achieve high employment, a goal which I would hope that the Premier shares. Included in Mr Barrett's plan, which I'm sure the Premier read and perhaps was discussed today over lunch, was this: no increase in the tax burden for five years, no increase in government spending for five years.

Premier, after your lengthy lunch, can you come back to this Legislature today and tell us now that even though you and your Treasurer seemed to have rejected our advice and that of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and all the business associations, you're going to accept Matthew Barrett's advice? If you can do that, I'll pay for lunch today.

Hon Bob Rae (Premier): That will be the first contribution the Tory party has made to the Bank of Montreal in quite some time, I'm sure, or so I've been led to believe. I don't know; I only hear about these things.

Let me say that Mr Barrett's leadership in the province, in the country, is a leadership that I respect. I think he is somebody who cares a lot about this country and who has a sense of imagination about what needs to be done.

I will say to you, sir, what I said to him, not today, because the immediate subject of his proposal didn't come up, but at a previous chance I had to speak with him. I said to him, if we were to do what he suggested, it would not deal adequately with the deficit problem which this province faces; it's as simple as that. In order to deal with a deficit problem which is as serious as the one this province faces, we have not only to deal with expenditure controls; we have to deal with expenditure reductions. If we were to simply freeze revenues where they have been for the last few years, we would end up with a continuing deficit problem that would be at levels which Mr Barrett himself, I'm sure, would find unacceptable.

Therefore, when it comes to this province -- I can't speak for the national plan which he put forward, because he put his numbers through some other computer -- when it comes to our situation here, I'm afraid we have to take measures which are even tougher than those proposed by president Barrett.

Mr Harris: I suggest to you that the chairman and chief executive officer of the Bank of Montreal might have just a tad more credibility than the NDP has and you have right now on economic issues. Matthew Barrett said this: "A further increase in our tax burden could make our problem of competitiveness more severe, which in turn would mean that higher taxes would not help us to reduce our deficits. There is no sense trying to tackle one problem while making the other worse." That's Matthew Barrett on January 18 in his plan, Recovery With Jobs. You see, his plan doesn't just deal with the deficit; it's recovery with jobs.

Premier, 55 Liberal and NDP tax increases in the last eight years have already taken eight billion job-creating dollars out of the hands of taxpayers and given them to Liberal and NDP governments which, essentially, they frittered away.

Given what you heard from Mr Barrett, given what Mr Barrett has said here, given what I'm sure Mr Barrett repeated to you at lunch -- that tax hikes will in fact not help you deal with the deficit because they will not help with job creation -- are you now finally willing to scrap your plans tomorrow for even more tax increases?

Hon Mr Rae: Unlike the honourable member, my memory extends beyond 1985. I don't think the tax increases brought in by treasurers started in 1985. I don't think they stopped in 1985 either. I'm surprised that he would refer to the 55 measures brought forward since 1985 and wouldn't talk about the measures brought forward since 1975 or since 1971 or since 1967, 1963, 1959, 1955, 1951, 1948, 1945 and 1943. Let's go back to those realities.

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): A more simple question: Are you better off today than you were in 1985? I don't think you are. I think I know what the answer is. Are you better off today?

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Order.

Hon Mr Rae: The member for Parry Sound is getting agitated because he has a sense --

Mr Harris: Why don't you take that to the people and find out what they think?

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Rae: He's there trying to rewrite history, and I'm telling him that if you go back to the period between 1981 and 1985, indeed the government of which the member for Nipissing was such an enthusiastic supporter of the Suncor decision, enthusiastic supporter of the various tax increases brought in, enthusiastic supporter of the Frank Miller budget, which extended the sales tax, raised the sales tax, raised taxes on a whole bunch of areas -- he was an enthusiastic supporter of those.

I will say to him, we have a reality to face, and I found in the discussions today with the business leaders whom I spoke to at lunch today, I wouldn't say that there was anybody taking out a party card or that indeed such were offered at the door, but I would say to him that there was a grudging recognition of the fact that this government is dealing with problems that have been some 25 years in the making and that we are now trying to deal with those problems. That's a precise quotation from some of the people who were there.

1450

Mr Harris: If the Premier wishes to go back to Leslie Frost, that's fine. The fundamental point is, the cumulative effect of all the tax increases has led us to the situation we are in today. You seem to have missed the fundamental principle that I believe Matthew Barrett believes, that I believe, that CFIB believes, every economist, and every business person I've talked to believes, and that is that the key to reducing your deficit is to advance a prosperity agenda to help the private sector expand.

Premier, the best way to get more revenue from corporate taxes is to have more corporations and to have them making more money. The best way to get more money from sales taxes is to have consumers with enough money in their pockets that they can spend it so that the total sales tax revenue will come up. And you can get more money from income taxes if in fact more people are working and earning money.

So that is why they are all telling you, including Matthew Barrett, the same thing that I've been trying to explain to you: Hiking taxes will kill jobs, it will kill investment and it kills our economic recovery.

So, Premier, given all of this advice from all of the people who have been out there creating jobs or trying to create jobs, how is that you listen to a few union leaders or some in your own party who think the evidence otherwise from all the experts, from all of the businesses? And given, Premier, that you look at the last --

The Speaker: Will the leader please place a question.

Mr Harris: -- 55 tax hikes in eight years, would you not finally agree that over the last 50 years, if you want to take that, taxpayers have done their share --

The Speaker: Would the leader please place a question.

Mr Harris: -- and that it's now time for government to do its share, and will you reflect that in the budget tomorrow?

Hon Mr Rae: I guess the first three quarters of the preamble, which I found quite compelling -- I think the member is quite correct. We all understand that. The economy is improving, and as the economy improves, it will produce more revenues, it will produce a stronger economy, and all of us have an obligation to do everything we can to sustain the recovery.

I would just say to the member, as non-rhetorically as I can, we've reached a conclusion that there are major expenditure reductions that have to be effected, which will be more substantial than those effected by any government in living memory, which are being carried out by this government.

Second of all, in addition to that, in order to get a sense of momentum towards deficit reduction and in order to create a stronger climate for investment in the medium to long term and in order to create a stronger climate for the private sector, we think we have to show convincingly and compellingly that this is an issue that we're prepared to deal with and deal with in a very straightforward way.

We happen to believe that the approach we're taking is balanced, that it's reasonable, that with the continuing recovery in the United States and with the continuing recovery nationally, it will help to sustain the recovery, and that a more responsible approach than the one that's being advocated is the most effective approach.

CAPITAL INVESTMENT

Mr W. Donald Cousens (Markham): This question is for the Premier.

Yesterday in this House, your Minister of Finance tabled very far-reaching legislation that has major implications to the future dealings of this government. It's the Capital Investment Plan Act, which has now been given the title of Bill 17. It's the creation of three crown corporations, one of which is the Ontario Financing Authority, which is charged with facilitating innovative financial arrangements for the province of Ontario.

This particular authority is designed to move substantial spending, taxing and borrowing off the books of the province into a separate agency. In other words, they're transferring capital expenditures to crown corporations.

Another way of looking at it, when you start reading what this is all about, is that it's a shell game, a shell game in which you're moving the shell around but the nut ends up out there somewhere else so it's off the books of the province of Ontario. It's another way of saying you're cooking the books, if you really want to get down to what this government is doing.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Does the member have a question?

Mr Cousens: I have a question, Mr Speaker. My question is, what merit is there in this government forming such a corporation except to cook the books?

Hon Bob Rae (Premier): Well, this is a subject the member says -- I must say it's something I have been interested in since my days in --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): You were opposed to it when you were in opposition.

Hon Mr Rae: No, I wasn't. Since my days in opposition --

Interjection.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Rae: The member for St Catharines normally ascribes all kinds of views to me. Perhaps I could just tell him that I have been supportive of the notion of a clearer delineation between investment decisions and spending decisions by governments since 1978.

Mr Bradley: You were against crown corporations. I remember that.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Rae: If you want to go back and get truly bored, you'll read some of the speeches I gave in the House of Commons on this subject in 1980, and it will help with any insomnia problems the honourable member for St Catharines has.

Let me say to the honourable member for Markham that there are a number of national and subnational financing authorities, including those in a number of states, in a number of jurisdictions and in a number of countries around the world. We think it's an effective way for us to manage the capital investment decisions of the province. We think it will produce a more effective, businesslike approach in separating out longer-term investment decisions. It will all be completely transparent. It will all be seen very clearly by everyone, including the rating agencies. In the world today, there's no way that anybody can do any of these things in a way that isn't seen as being entirely transparent.

The Speaker: Would the Premier conclude his response, please.

Hon Mr Rae: It's quite simply a means for us to, we think, run the affairs of the province more efficiently than we have in the past.

Mr Cousens: The province of Ontario is doing something that no business can do and no individual can ever do, and that is to move a responsibility from themselves to a separate agency and still say it's not theirs. It's debt. It's transferring debt and responsibility to another agency. It's now giving this new crown corporation the right to beg, borrow or steal, under the authority of the province of Ontario, to finance any capital expenditure, to adjust its budget accordingly.

Knowing that, let's deal with the specific and get away from all the generalities which cause the Premier to escape a classic example, and that has to do with capital grants to school boards which were promised by the then Liberal government. They promised school boards some $300 million for the years 1993-94; $300 million would go in grants from the province to school boards. This grant under this new legislation now becomes a loan, not a grant. How will the schools pay for these supposed grants that are now loans?

Hon Mr Rae: I really think the member is asking questions that I'm sure the Treasurer would be happy to answer when he's here again on Thursday. But I would say to him that again, if you look at other examples in other jurisdictions, there are issues I think here that have to do with sharing, in a sense, the realities of the world. It allows capital expenditures to be amortized over time, which reduces the distortionary impact on the province's expenditures, and the approval system is not being changed in any way.

Mr Cousens: It's downloading at its worst. It's a transferring of responsibility from the province to the school boards. They will end up having to pay the bill in the local tax bill. That's where it's going to have to be. So we can have all the nice words in the Legislature; the bottom line is that the taxpayer in Ontario, the local ratepayer, will pay more.

You know, the record by this government in setting up crown corporations isn't the best. You have Ontario Hydro with its $34-billion debt. You've got the Workers' Compensation Board with its $11-billion debt, and that's increasing at $100 million a month.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order.

Mr Cousens: Give him a fish or something, Mr Speaker. It's feeding time for the Minister of Environment and Energy.

What assurance can you give as Premier that the Ontario Financing Authority and the three other crown corporations are not just a new bureaucracy that will add to the debt and cost taxpayers?

Hon Mr Rae: For a member of the Conservative caucus to rise in his place and somehow talk --

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): Don't lecture anybody.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Rae: -- about Ontario Hydro somehow, an issue which we inherited -- and not only did we inherit the mess from that administration. When you look at Ontario Hydro, when you look at the structure of the decisions that were taken, when you look at the level of debt which was allowed to grow up in that organization, when you look at the top-heavy bureaucratic structure which was implicit in the Big Blue Machine attitude towards the creation of public power in this province in the last 20 years, when you look at the Darlington project, which was supposed to come in at $4 billion and came in at $14 billion, there you have a party that, when it talks about Ontario Hydro, should simply hold its head in shame and embarrassment and admit that the New Democratic Party has finally got Ontario Hydro on the road to financial stability and economic prosperity in this province. I rest my case.

1500

The Speaker: New question, the member for Niagara Falls.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. No, I will recognize the member for Niagara Falls for her question. We had left off in the rotation in order to accommodate the leader's question and then the two leader's questions for the third party. We rejoin the rotation over here. I will recognize the member for Niagara Falls.

TOURISM

Ms Margaret H. Harrington (Niagara Falls): My question is to the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation. Each year in Canada, we get 500,000 visitors from Japan. Niagara Falls is a very special destination for most of these visitors. In fact, they spend $25 million in Niagara Falls each year. I don't think they would mind spending a little bit more to help this government at a casino.

The Japanese market is expected to expand greatly in the near future, following the opening of the new Osaka International Airport next summer. As to our major hotels in Niagara Falls, 50% of their business is estimated to be from Japan. This morning, I spoke to Mr Tony Zappitelli, who owns the Sheraton Fallsview. He and other tourism operators have been to Japan this year; in fact, have been to the Tourism Ontario Tokyo office and conducted meetings there.

This office is scheduled to close on July 30. Madam Minister, this closure could be interpreted in Japanese culture as a sign that we are no longer interested in their business. What are you doing to make sure our presence is not diminished but in fact enhanced in Tokyo?

Hon Anne Swarbrick (Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation): I'd like to begin my response by expressing a very sincere thanks to the staff of the Tokyo office for the fine work they've done on behalf of Ontario while they've been there.

I'd like to point out, however, that times change. Of course, fiscal times change, and so do many other things. I believe that we've now, thanks in part to the work of the staff of the Tokyo office, achieved mature relationships with the people of Japan, with the businesses, the governments of Japan. I believe we've now also achieved a very sophisticated level of technology to continue business relationships with countries like Japan.

I believe we also have developed now a tremendous base of experience as a government of the province of Ontario in dealing with that country. I think we are now clearly in a position of being able to consolidate not only the expenditure of taxpayers' funds in promoting tourism to a country like Japan and to its wonderful people, but also to be able to consolidate marketing functions much better from the city of Toronto, to be able to establish the strong partnerships with governments, the federal government through Tourism Canada, with the private sector, with airlines, with travel companies, as well as to be able to better focus on the kind of marketing plans we can make through targeting sales calls and participating in marketplaces all around in the places they exist.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): The time for oral questions has expired.

Pursuant to standing order 34(a), the member for Renfrew North has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of Health concerning an expenditure control plan on health services in Ontario. This matter will be debated today at 6 pm.

MOTIONS

COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTIONS

Hon Brian A. Charlton (Government House Leader): I move that the following substitutions be made to the membership of the following standing committees:

On the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, Mr Lessard for Mr Ferguson; on the standing committee on general government, Mr Grandmaître for Mr Sola; on the standing committee on government agencies, Mr Curling for Mr Grandmaître; and on the standing committee on regulations and private bills, Mr O'Neil (Quinte) for Mr Sola.

REFERRAL OF BILL 7

Hon Brian A. Charlton (Government House Leader): I seek consent to move a motion that would change an order of the House referring Bill 7 to the standing committee on resources development, changing that to the standing committee on general government.

The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Do we have unanimous agreement? Agreed.

Hon Mr Charlton: I move that the order of the House dated May 12, 1993, referring Bill 7, An Act to amend certain Acts related to Municipalities concerning Waste Management to the standing committee on resources development be rescinded and that Bill 7 be ordered referred to the standing committee on general government.

The Speaker: Shall the motion carry? Carried.

PETITIONS

RETAIL STORE HOURS

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I have a petition to the members of the provincial Parliament re Bill 38, an amendment to the Retail Business Holidays Act to permit wide-open Sunday shopping and eliminate Sunday as a legal holiday.

"We, the undersigned, hereby request you to vote against the passing of Bill 38. We believe that this bill defies God's laws, violates the principle of religious freedom, reduces the quality of life, removes all legal protection to workers regarding when they must work, and will reduce rather than improve the prosperity of our province.

"The observance of Sunday as an a non-working day was not invented by man but dates from God's creation, and is an absolute necessity for the wellbeing of all people, both physically and spiritually. We beg you to defeat the passing of Bill 38."

I've affixed my signature.

TRANSIT SERVICES

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): I have a petition to the Parliament of Ontario:

"Whereas the NDP government has proposed, without consultation with the municipalities to be affected, conditions to reduce the provision of GO Transit services to Halton-area municipalities; and

"Whereas these service reductions have been proposed arbitrarily without further considering their impact on off-peak employment and the social, education and recreational travel needs of Halton residents, especially the unemployed, seniors, the physically challenged and those on fixed incomes; and

"Whereas these service reductions will have profound, far-reaching negative impacts on current, set-in-place municipal budgets and subsequently catch-up budgeting,

"We, the following undersigned, petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:

"That Premier Bob Rae and his Transportation minister undertake to immediately review their decision of April 23 with respect to full GO Transit services to Burlington and Halton regions."

There are about 2,000 signatures, and I have affixed my signature in support as well.

VEHICLE LICENSING OFFICE

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas we, the residents of the Jane and Finch community, in accordance with the tenants in Norfinch Plaza, located in the riding of Yorkview, agree that a motor vehicle licensing office would benefit our community;

"We, the undersigned, request that the Ministry of Transportation grant permission to establish a new motor vehicle licensing office in the Norfinch Plaza."

I sign the petition, Mr Speaker, and I thank you very much.

VIOLENCE

Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): I have a petition signed by 37 residents of eastern Ontario:

"The undersigned humbly pray and call upon Parliament to accept legislation designed to eliminate violence against women and children; encourage and support women to report incidents of assault or abuse; provide assistance and support for women reporting assault and abuse; provide relief and support to women and mothers to protect their children; emphasize the need for abusers' rehabilitation; concentrate special efforts on the training of police, lawyers, court workers and judges to become knowledgeable about women and child abuse, and to focus public attention on the very importance of the long-ignored problem."

I have also signed this petition.

1510

GAMBLING

Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the New Democratic Party government has not consulted the citizens of the province regarding the expansion of gambling; and

"Whereas families are made more emotionally and economically vulnerable by the operation of various gaming and gambling ventures; and

"Whereas creditable academic studies have shown that state-operated gambling is nothing more than a regressive tax on the poor; and

"Whereas the New Democratic Party has in the past vociferously opposed the raising of moneys for the state through gambling; and

"Whereas the government has not attempted to address the very serious concerns that have been raised by groups and individuals regarding the potential growth of crime;

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

"That the government immediately cease all moves to establish gambling casinos and refrain from introducing video lottery terminals in the province of Ontario."

That's signed by 44 signatures, and I'll affix my name to it.

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly:

"Whereas the people of Ontario are undergoing economic hardship, high unemployment and are faced with the prospect of imminent tax increases; and

"Whereas the Ontario motorist protection plan currently delivers cost-effective insurance benefits to Ontario drivers, and since the passing of Bill 164 into law will result in higher automobile insurance premiums for Ontario drivers;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that Bill 164 be withdrawn."

I do not affix my name to this petition.

HEALTH EDUCATION

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): I have a petition in hand today signed by over 70 constituents of mine from the Kincardine area who are expressing concerns about the type of material which has been generated from the Toronto board of education with respect to the teaching of homosexuality and any homosexual counselling, and I am pleased to present this to the Legislative Assembly today.

I affix, as is required by standing orders, my name to the petition.

PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES

Mr Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): I have a petition signed by, I believe, virtually all the unionized employees of the Ministry of Natural Resources in my area:

"To the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the following undersigned citizens of Leeds and Grenville, members of OPSEU Local 441, employed with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Brockville, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:

"The Ontario government must immediately reset its course to build an Ontario society which is fair and just, protecting those who are most vulnerable within it, and not scapegoat public sector workers in times of economic difficulty.

"Further, the government must respect these fundamental principles: free collective bargaining, a strong public sector and the strengthening of public services."

I have affixed my name in support of the petition.

GAMBLING

Mr Dennis Drainville (Victoria-Haliburton): I add this petition to the thousands of people who say no to casino gambling in the province:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Christian is called to love of neighbour, which includes a concern for the general wellbeing of society; and

"Whereas there is a direct link between the higher availability of legalized gambling and the incidence of addictive gambling; and

"Whereas the damage of addiction to gambling in individuals is compounded by the damage done to families, both emotionally and economically; and

"Whereas the gambling market is already saturated with various kinds of government-operated lotteries; and

"Whereas large-scale gambling activities invariably attract criminal activity; and

"Whereas the citizens of Detroit have since 1976 on three occasions voted down the introduction of casinos into that city, each time with a larger majority than the time before;

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

"That the government of Ontario cease all moves to establish gambling casinos."

I'm very proud to affix my signature to this, and I enjoin this upon every member in the House: Say no to casino gambling.

ANIMALS FOR RESEARCH

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the NDP, when in opposition, introduced a private member's bill which would ban the use of lost, stray and abandoned animals from Ontario's municipal pounds for the purpose of experimentation; and

"Whereas a number of Ontario municipalities have banned the sale of pound animals for research and have requested that the government amend the Animals for Research Act to end this practice; and

"Whereas the 1,800 cats and dogs from Ontario pounds annually used in research represent less than one tenth of 1% of the total number of all animals used in research,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to declare an immediate moratorium on the sale and use of municipal pound animals for the purposes of research and, further, that the Minister of Agriculture and Food be directed to prepare amendments to the Animals for Research Act to permanently prohibit the sale and use of pound animals for research."

I affix my name.

CLOSURE OF AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE

Mrs Joan M. Fawcett (Northumberland): I have a petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly from the municipal council of the corporation of the township of Stephen.

"Whereas on Friday, April 23, 1993, the government of Ontario presented Ontario's expenditure control plan, which included plans to close Centralia College of Agricultural Technology; and

"Whereas such plans were made impulsively without local consultation and with unfair disregard to the impact on the local community and the broader agricultural sector,

"The council of the corporation of the township of Stephen hereby petition the government of Ontario to reverse their decision to close Centralia College and associated facilities and to conduct a comprehensive public review to determine what expenditure controls are necessary and appropriate for agriculture."

GAMBLING

Mr Jim Wilson (Simcoe West): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Christian is called to love of neighbour, which includes a concern for the general wellbeing of society; and

"Whereas there is a direct link between the higher availability of legalized gambling and the incidence of addictive gambling...; and

"Whereas the damage of addiction to gambling in individuals is compounded by the damage done to families both emotionally and economically; and

"Whereas the gambling market is already saturated with various kinds of government-operated lotteries; and

"Whereas large-scale gambling activity invariably attracts criminal activity; and

"Whereas the citizens of Detroit have since 1976 on three occasions voted down the introduction of casinos into that city, each time with a larger majority than the time before,

"Therefore, we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly as follows:

"That the government of Ontario cease all moves to establish gambling casinos."

I have affixed my name to this petition, which is signed by a number of constituents from Rosemont, Alliston, Loretto, Mansfield, Everett, Baxter and RR 1, Orangeville.

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

Mr Daniel Waters (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I have a petition asking for the withdrawal of Bill 164, the Insurance Act, from a number of residents in the Midland-Penetang area.

BRUCE GENERATING STATION

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): "We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"When discussing the future of Bruce A, to consider that the undersigned are in full support of the continued operation of all of the units at Bruce A. Furthermore, we support the expenditure of the required money to rehabilitate the Bruce A units for the following reasons:

"In comparison to other forms of generation, nuclear energy is environmentally safe and cost-effective. Rehabilitating Bruce A units is expected to achieve $2 billion in savings to the corporation over the station's lifetime. This power is needed for the province's future prosperity.

"A partial or complete closure of Bruce A will have severe negative impacts on the affected workers and will seriously undermine the economy of the surrounding communities and the province."

This is a group of signatures from Scarborough, Ajax, Toronto and other places which join some 15,000 others and members of labour groups, business groups and others in supporting Bruce A.

GAMBLING

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas the Christian is called to love of neighbour, which includes a concern for the general wellbeing of society; and

"Whereas there is a direct link between the higher availability of legalized gambling and the incidence of addictive gambling; and

"Whereas the damage of addiction to gambling in individuals is compounded by the damage done to families both emotionally and economically; and

"Whereas the gambling market is already saturated with various kinds of government-operated lotteries; and

"Whereas large-scale gambling activity invariably attracts criminal activity; and

"Whereas the citizens of Detroit have since 1976 on three occasions voted down the introduction of casinos into that city, each time with a larger majority than the time before,

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

"That the government of Ontario cease all moves to establish gambling casinos."

I support this petition and will sign it.

1520

GRAVENHURST OPERA HOUSE

Mr Daniel Waters (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I have another petition today from the people of the Gravenhurst area requesting that the government provide full funding for the restoration of the opera house that was closed earlier this year by the Ministry of Labour.

GAMBLING

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas there is a direct link between the higher availability of legalized gambling and the incidence of addictive gambling (Macdonald and Macdonald, Pathological Gambling: The Problem, Treatment and Outcome. Canadian Foundation of Compulsive Gambling); and

"Whereas the damage of addiction to gambling in individuals is compounded by the damage done to families, both emotionally and economically; and

"Whereas the gambling market is already saturated with various kinds of government-operated lotteries; and

"Whereas large-scale gambling activity invariably attracts criminal activity; and

"Whereas the citizens of Detroit have since 1976 on three occasions voted down the introduction of casinos into that city, each time with a larger majority than the time before;

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

"That the government of Ontario cease all moves to establish gambling casinos."

I affix my signature.

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I have another petition with respect to casino gambling and it reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the New Democratic Party government has not consulted the citizens of the province regarding expansion of gambling; and

"Whereas families are made more emotionally and economically vulnerable by the operation of various gaming and gambling ventures; and

"Whereas credible academic studies have shown that state-operated gambling is nothing more than a regressive tax on the poor; and

"Whereas the New Democratic Party has in the past vociferously opposed the raising of moneys for the state through gambling; and

"Whereas the government has not attempted to address the very serious concerns that have been raised by groups and individuals regarding the potential growth in crime;

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

"That the government immediately cease all moves to establish gambling casinos and refrain from introducing video lottery terminals in the province of Ontario."

I support this petition as well and have affixed my signature to it.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

TENANTS AND LANDLORDS PROTECTION ACT, 1993 / LOI DE 1993 SUR LA PROTECTION DES LOCATAIRES ET DES LOCATEURS

On motion by Mr Runciman, the following bill was given first reading:

Bill 20, An Act to protect the Persons, Property and Rights of Tenants and Landlords / Loi visant à protéger la personne, les biens et les droits des locataires et des locateurs.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Introduction of bills.

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: There ought to be a chance for a brief explanation, sir.

The Deputy Speaker: Please go ahead.

Mr Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): I thank the House leader in the official opposition for his timely intervention.

The bill provides a mechanism for the speedy eviction of tenants who have been convicted of certain narcotics offences committed in connection with the rented premises.

TOWN OF GRAVENHURST ACT, 1993

On motion by Mr Waters, the following bill was given first reading:

Bill Pr19, An Act respecting the Town of Gravenhurst.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Do you wish to make any comments?

Mr Daniel Waters (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): No, thank you, Mr Speaker.

CRUICKSHANK ELDERLY PERSONS CENTRE ACT, 1993

On a motion by Mrs MacKinnon, the following bill was given first reading:

Bill Pr88, An Act respecting the Cruickshank Elderly Persons Centre.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

RYERSON POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 1993 / LOI DE 1993 MODIFIANT DES LOIS EN CE QUI CONCERNE LA RYERSON POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

Mr Gary Wilson moved third reading of Bill 1, An Act to amend The Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Act, 1977 and the University Foundations Act, 1992 \ Loi modifiant la loi intitulée The Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Act, 1977 et la Loi de 1992 sur les fondations universitaires.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Do you have any comments? Do you want to debate?

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Just a brief comment and that's to say I pored over the record of yesterday's debate in the House and I think it's fair to say that there was a wide-ranging discussion of the change in name from the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute to Ryerson Polytechnic University. I think it's also fair to say that it's considered to be something all members in the House support and I look forward to hearing the debate on the third reading.

The Deputy Speaker: Are there any questions or comments on Mr Wilson's debate? Is there any further debate?

Mr Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South): My sweatshirt may give you some indication as to whether I stand in support of this bill. It's with great pride that I'm wearing a sweatshirt hot off the press. It reads, "Ryerson Polytechnic University," and obviously I lend my wholehearted support to this bill.

I presented the reasons for that yesterday but, very briefly, this is but a step in the natural evolution of Ryerson. It began some 45 years ago and has culminated today in this House, and then ultimately with royal assent, by the passage of this bill which will enable Ryerson to grant university degrees. It will enable it to provide education towards post-graduate degrees and enable it to conduct further research.

The only real difference, as I outlined yesterday, between Ryerson and other universities in this province is found within an inequity in fact, and that is the funding which it receives. Ryerson students are at present effectively penalized to the tune of 10% vis-à-vis their other university counterparts.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate President Grier, members of the administration, faculty and the students at Ryerson. I hope they will spend some time luxuriating in this moment and in the realization that they will be recognized, as they should have been for quite some time, as a full-fledged university with all the inherent rights in that capacity.

The Deputy Speaker: Are there any questions or comments? Further debate.

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): It gives me a great deal of pleasure and in fact it's an honour to be speaking today in support of Bill 1, An Act to amend The Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Act, 1977 and the University Foundations Act, 1992.

I'm going to begin on a personal note, and that is that Ryerson has been a very important academic institution in this province. Its graduates have gone on from being educated in the city of Toronto in the province of Ontario to make tremendous contributions not only in our own province and in our country but around the world.

It's become one of the most renowned institutions, I think, and it goes back to its very humble beginning. Its very humble beginning, for those of us who grew up in this city, began in 1948, certainly before the time I went on to university, but at a time when our parents were extremely proud that in fact we were going to have an institute that recognized the importance of the trades, people who worked with their hands, people who had to go on in technical education to, I think, achieve in the eyes of the public of the day -- certainly my father was very much involved -- recognition of the contribution that they make and the kind of education that they needed, many of them going to school in the daytime and in the evening and working in what we would call placements in industry and in the business community in order to achieve the practical work; in fact, to receive their university degree. At that time it wasn't referred to as a university degree, but it was clearly an institute of higher learning meeting the practical demands of the time.

Mr Speaker, if I can talk about today's world and the young people and their hopes and their dreams, we need many more institutions like Ryerson, which never forgets its roots, and that is that our young people need that practical training to meet the requirements for the jobs of tomorrow. In fact, at this time in the history of our country, in the history of North America, as we take a look at the need of Canada to be internationally competitive, we know that the engines that we've relied on in the past, the engines that drove this economy, that refer to the need to promote and mine our natural resources -- I suppose the resources beneath our feet would be a good way of establishing a recognition of those resources, whether it be mining or fishing or agriculture. The resources of tomorrow will in fact rely on the resources between our ears and the practical application of those resources.

Therefore, it's with pride today that we note and acknowledge and support the natural evolution of Ryerson: the institute of technology, as it was established in 1948, to its degree-promoting or recognition of university degrees in 1971, which of course now we know they've been doing for some 22 years, looking at some 28 designations, I think, and moving forward just last year when they were given, according to the University Foundation Act, the right to raise funds for their university, as is every other university, including the one in the middle of my riding, the University of Western Ontario.

In fact, this is an evolution, and now the students, upon the completion of the debate of this bill and the royal assent of this particular piece of legislation, will in another week or so be able to graduate from Ryerson University. That's extremely important to them, I think; in fact, it's something that's important probably in three respects. First of all, they've been doing the work anyway. Secondly, the institute right now receives less funding than the other universities, and in fact they are doing the same kinds of work. Many other universities have moved towards the direction of Ryerson, in fact, in promoting hands-on training not only in institutions in cooperation with the private industry in this country and this province but in institutions around the world.

So I can say now that they will achieve, over a period of time, which I think is extremely responsible on their part -- I think it's about 10% less funding they get per student at this point in time. They'll phase that in over the next few years. I think that's extremely practical and responsible.

So all I can say is that it's an exciting time. It will be a historic day for Ryerson, and many of us are there to congratulate President Grier. I've had the opportunity and the privilege of visiting the institution in the last five years more often than before, and I can say that the students are receiving a wonderful education with a tremendous staff and support group and that they are probably on the leading edge in some technology.

I was at the Rogers-supported telecommunications and journalism department. I probably haven't said the name right and I apologize for that, but it was a very exciting addition to the college, supported with private funds. I should tell you the letters that we have received from the private sector and report, because many of these persons are involved because they have been friends of Ryerson over the years.

My staff tell me that the chief executive officer of Maclean Hunter is a member of the Ryerson board, the chairman of the Eaton Foundation, vice-president of Bell and the Live Entertainment Corp of Canada, just to name a few. All of these people who have taken the time to write to us to tell us about their support, to encourage us as we move in a direction that could have been criticized, which is always easier to do, through misunderstanding, have come forward and given us all kinds of reasons to support the university and I think at the same time have pledged their ongoing support, which I think is extremely important.

So Ontario's first polytechnic university will be in need of the same kind of support of the other institutions. I just want to take a couple of minutes to talk about that. We know more recently that the universities have not, in my view, been given the priority that they ought to be given and the resources that we establish here in the province of Ontario and support through taxpayers' money in that the young people that are attending our universities are not getting the same quality of education as the young people even a decade ago in that we have very large classes, we have too many tutorials, we don't have the kind of equipment that we need.

We know that our young people right now are asking themselves whether or not they're going to be able to support the universities in the same way that they have in the past as graduates as we ask them, through voluntary contributions, to support what they were privileged to get.

I never, in all the years that I've worked in education, have had a more disillusioned group of young people. Part of it has to do with the lack of support for our colleges and universities at a time when we're asking them to do more in helping us become even more competitive in the future because of the demands as we look at this global economy.

So I can say right now that the government of the day should take a look at its priorities. As we take a look at the department of colleges and universities in the more recent document, Ontario's Expenditure Control Plan, April 1993, we take a look at a restructuring allocation being reduced from $56 million to $25 million, a saving of some $31 million, at this point in time, Mr Speaker, we are looking for savings, but I have to tell you that this is the kind of thing that should have been looked at over a long period of time. Just like the restructuring of this university with regard to giving it more money per student is going to be phased in, this is the kind of thing that should have been phased in.

There are in fact other departments of government that are less important than this particular department of government, meaning the Ministry of Education and Training, where there could have been savings that would not have affected the lives of young people and the future of this country. There is all kinds of bureaucracy in government that has nothing to do with front-line students and front-line teachers that could have been slashed, but instead we're looking at the very core of our colleges and universities: restructuring allocation and the other one, base operating grant adjustments, some $22 million.

There isn't a soul in this House that believes that those are the kinds of cuts that we should be looking at in our colleges and universities rather than looking at the ultimate in waste that this government could have found instead. I'm not saying that we don't have to take a look at our budgets, that we have to get rid of our deficits, get rid of our debt; I agree with that. But to ask our colleges and our universities and our education training institutions to take these kinds of reductions in the next few weeks and months is absolutely irresponsible. They could definitely be looking elsewhere, and we have given them many other alternatives. So I'm going to put that on the record because I believe strongly in it.

Just to let you know how the young people are feeling, the colleges around Ontario right now are sending out a letter. They're talking about, "You have been accepted after your hard work." Our young people have done what we told them to do: stay in school, get a good education, work hard. Many of them have stayed in their secondary schools longer, have taken more courses than ever before, to get the kind of requirements to get into our colleges and our universities. Ryerson is no exception to this; there's a tremendous competition to get in there. Then they get a letter saying, "Yes, you finally have been accepted, on a conditional basis, pending clarification of the college's financial circumstances by the Ministry of Education and Training for the province of Ontario."

All I can say is I'm reading a letter that will be sent, if it hasn't already been sent, to the students who have been accepted at Fanshawe College in London. I think for the first time they're not only disillusioned now about getting jobs; they're disillusioned about even being accepted into our colleges and universities after they have met the toughest requirements. Mr Speaker, this is the kind of atmosphere in which our colleges and universities are working, and I know and you know and so do the members of this government know that there are other places that we could be looking for cuts, not in the front lines when it comes to the education of our young people.

1540

My best advice to this government is to phase these kinds of cuts in over a period of time. We'll find out what happens tomorrow with regard to the budget. It's not new information. They certainly have had it. The colleges and universities have said it themselves. If we're looking at some kind of a social plan to take a look at cuts, I can tell you right now, you're cutting in the wrong place.

I'd like to end on another piece of advice to the government, because I'm sure they read the Hansards every day. This is with regard to the funding of our students, as we take a look at the tuition fees and as we take a look at moving from the grants program to a program that doesn't recognize the importance of grants but only recognizes the importance of loans. I think there should have been a better balance. Something also --

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): This speech was given by Mr Tilson yesterday.

Mrs Cunningham: Mr Tilson has learned, and so have some of the Liberals learned, that you don't just cut something in the month of April. That's what happened. You don't change the name of the game in March and April when young people are making their plans now for a year from now. We've taught them to plan and to set their goals and to make sure that they work over a number of years so they'll have the proper kind of finances to support themselves, and then we come out with this kind of stuff in the month of March -- total disillusionment and bad management, I must say.

In fact, if you're going to ask them to pay more, you should be introducing some kind of an income-contingent loan repayment plan, because young people do want to pay back for what they have achieved and what they've gained as a result of the tremendous support system in this province.

I'm here to speak on the Ryerson legislation and to say that Ontario's first polytechnic university, I believe, will go on in the history of this province to support the kind of training for our young people that is necessary, certainly in the past, and in the future. I hope they never forget their roots, because the kind of thing they did in 19 -- I've got the year wrong here; anyway --

Mr Gregory S. Sorbara (York Centre): It was 1948.

Mrs Cunningham: Was it 1948? I hate to say that, because I remember my father telling me about this at the dinner table. But the kind of things they did in 1948, I think, were just as important to the success of this province as what they'll be expected to do in the future.

It's been a privilege for me to have this portfolio and to be invited to that outstanding educational institution from time to time. I look forward to working with them in the future, and I wish them the absolute best of luck on graduation day when that first class of graduates from Ryerson University graduate. Thank you for this opportunity.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions or comments? Any further debate? If not, the parliamentary assistant.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'm pleased that we have continued in the general support for the change that Bill 1 represents.

I do want to say that in looking over the remarks of the members, including my own, the impression could be that this is simply a change in name, but in fact Bill 1, when it is passed, represents a change in status for Ryerson, that it will now be a degree-granting institution. With that, I close the debate.

The Deputy Speaker: Mr Wilson moves third reading of Bill 1, An Act to amend The Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Act, 1977 and the University Foundations Act, 1992. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

RETAIL BUSINESS HOLIDAYS AMENDMENT ACT (SUNDAY SHOPPING), 1993 / LOI DE 1993 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR LES JOURS FÉRIÉS DANS LE COMMERCE DE DÉTAIL (OUVERTURE DES COMMERCES LE DIMANCHE)

Mr Christopherson moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 38, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act in respect of Sunday Shopping / Loi modifiant la Loi sur les jours fériés dans le commerce de détail en ce qui concerne l'ouverture des commerces le dimanche.

Hon David Christopherson (Solicitor General): This legislation amends the act by allowing stores to open on Sundays, with the exception of Easter Sunday, which has been added to the list of existing enumerated holidays.

Bill 38 simplifies the Retail Business Holidays Act. We've eliminated uncertainties by making it abundantly clear that all retailers, without exception, have the right to choose whether or not they wish to open or not open for business on Sundays.

Retail lessees and franchisees are ensured that the protection against having to open on Sundays currently afforded them under the act will be extended to Sundays, even though Sunday will no longer be a holiday under the act. In turn, retail workers are guaranteed the nine holidays specified under the Retail Business Holidays Act, and they are protected under the Employment Standards Act from being forced to work on Sundays.

By making Sunday retail business openings possible across the board, we've provided the most equitable treatment for all retail businesses. This legislation creates a level playing field while ensuring retail workers' rights.

We've also made explicit the nine holidays on which most retail businesses must be closed. These are January 1, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and December 26. On those days, no members of the public may be admitted to a retail business, nor may goods and services be sold or offered for sale by retailers.

The Retail Business Holidays Act sets out certain limited exemptions to this requirement. In addition, the government is also ensuring that the amendments preserve the right of municipalities to pass tourism bylaws permitting retail activity on those holidays during which most retailers would otherwise be required to close.

We believe that while it is important that these days be preserved as pause days, the legitimate interests of tourism must be addressed, and municipalities following provincial criteria are in the best position to do this.

During the last 10 months, we have had the opportunity to test public and business response. The results have been mostly positive. Once Bill 38 becomes law, it will be retroactive to its date of introduction, that is, June 3, 1992.

The principles behind Bill 38 are already at work. The bill meets the needs of consumers, the needs of business and, together with the Employment Standards Act, meets the needs of retail workers. It is working because Ontarians have wanted to simplify the law to eliminate uncertainties.

Ever since the Retail Business Holidays Act was proclaimed in January 1976, previous governments have proposed, debated and passed numerous amendments to the act. Cabinet committees agonized during each set of public hearings, and the Legislature debated the interests of the public and business. In each case, each successive change fell short of the equitable legislation that was needed.

To address the issue of retail businesses that was not dealt with in the Lord's Day Act (Canada), 1906 or the Lord's Day (Ontario) Act, 1943, the Retail Business Holidays Act, 1976, established a province-wide regime. The act required most stores to close on Sundays and other enumerated holidays unless specifically exempt from the closing provisions of the legislation and unless a municipal bylaw, essential for the maintenance or development of a tourist industry, had been passed permitting stores to open.

In February 1987, after several court challenges to the Retail Business Holidays Act, an all-party select committee on retail stores hours was formed and held 23 days of public hearings. In June 1987, the Ontario Legislature unanimously amended the Retail Business Holidays Act to allow the opening of book stores and art galleries, with restrictions on their size and number of employees.

In February 1989, the legislation was extensively amended to give municipalities broad powers to regulate retail shopping on holidays. Municipalities could pass bylaws either exempting stores from closing provisions of the legislation or requiring stores to close in circumstances where the legislation would have permitted them to open. To encourage public consultation, the legislation prescribed a scheme of notice to the public and the holding of a public meeting prior to the passage of any such bylaw.

1550

A provision was included in the amended legislation permitting retailers who practise their religion on a day other than Sunday to close their stores on that day and to open on Sunday. This replaced the provision in the original legislation which permitted retailers to close their stores on Saturday and to open on Sunday, subject to certain limitations as to store size and the number of employees working on Sunday. Drugstores were limited to size, and the custom of roping off floor areas in stores on Sunday in order to comply with statutory requirements was prohibited.

The amendments also provided for increased maximum fines and prompted an amendment to the Employment Standards Act which permitted retail workers to refuse unreasonable Sunday work and which imposed an arbitral process upon employers and employees who could not agree on the matter.

In June 1991, Bill 115, the Retail Business Establishments Statute Law Amendment Act, was brought forward for first reading and in December of that year it was proclaimed. It allows Sunday retailing in December before Christmas, protects the rights of retail workers and creates the tourism exemption.

The discretion of municipalities to regulate in the area of retail holiday closing was replaced with an authority still vested in the municipality to exempt retail businesses from the Sunday and holiday closing requirements for the purpose of maintaining or developing tourism. Municipalities may pass such bylaws only where tourism criteria, established in regulations made under the legislation, are met. Such bylaws may be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. The amendments also set out minimum fines for contraventions of the legislation.

The Employment Standards Act was amended at the same time to provide most retail workers with an absolute right to refuse Sunday or holiday work and by providing most retail workers with 36 consecutive hours of rest in every seven-day period.

Experience and a recent change in public attitudes have combined to persuade the government that many people want the opportunity to shop on Sunday and are increasingly impatient of rules and regulations that prevent them from doing so.

It's been a slow and arduous journey. Ontarians wanted a clear direction, and this government has crafted the most equitable resolution to the issue. In June of last year, Bill 38, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act in respect of Sunday Shopping, was moved first reading in the Legislature. Today, we move second reading. The final step will be a free vote in this Legislature to determine final passage of Bill 38.

I want to remind the members of a number of factors that played a significant part in the development and introduction of Bill 38.

First, it is clear that people in Ontario want the right to shop on Sundays. The government has carefully monitored public sentiment in this regard, and it is obvious that public opinion is in favour of Sunday retailing over the past months. This bill reflects the wishes of a clear majority of the residents of Ontario.

Second, this decision is assisting in Ontario's economic renewal. The government recognizes that, by itself, Sunday shopping is not a solution to economic problems. However, such retailing will go some way to countering the onerous effect of the goods and services tax and federal policies affecting the value of the Canadian dollar. The government's decision has been of particular assistance in addressing the economic impact on Ontario's border communities of cross-border shopping.

Third, there are substantial protections in the Employment Standards Act for retail workers who choose not to work on Sundays. That legislation guarantees most retail workers the absolute right to refuse Sunday work. The law also guarantees that most retail workers will receive 36 consecutive hours of rest in every seven-day period. The Ministry of Labour has programs in effect to enforce these provisions.

This government has always maintained its commitment to protect the rights of retail employees who work on Sunday. Two years ago, we improved the Employment Standards Act to give retail workers the absolute right to refuse work on Sundays and holidays and to 36 hours weekly rest.

We also established a committee to advise on the impact of Sunday shopping, which reported back to my colleague, the Honourable Bob Mackenzie, Minister of Labour, in February of this year. This committee, made up of representatives from large employers in the retail sector, unions, municipalities and small business, worked diligently to create a document containing a number of recommendations.

In order to further protect the rights of these employees, the Ministry of Labour is looking at steps to ensure that the existing Employment Standards Act provisions are respected by retailers.

The government will also ensure that employers found in violation of these provisions are required to post a notice in the workplace advising all employees that the act has been violated. This measure is consistent with provisions in other labour statutes. In addition, there will be posting of the rights of workers in the language of the workplace.

Finally, the government will initiate a committee whose purpose will be to further explore the impact of Sunday shopping, to forward suggestions on common closings on statutory holidays, to continue to monitor the Employment Standards Act and make further recommendations as necessary.

At all times, and in especially these times of economic renewal, we have to govern with the public interest in mind and our policies must be responsive to changing attitudes. We have carefully monitored public and business reaction to Bill 38. We are confident that this amendment to the Retail Business Holidays Act does respond effectively to changing public attitudes and meets the needs of consumers and the needs of business in our province.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Questions or comments? The member for Etobicoke West, if you'd take your seat.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): I was interested in hearing a couple of items. Firstly, it took nearly 25 minutes to say, "I'm sorry." That was the length of that particular dissertation from the minister.

The other interesting point is, they're going to form a committee to measure the impact of Sunday shopping. That's much like forming a committee to close the barn door after the horse is gone. What's the point? Sunday shopping is in place. It's going to be in place. It's been in place. Forming a committee is nothing but a small, little -- it's hard to even imagine what you could say would be significant to the people who are opposed to Sunday shopping after --

Hon Bud Wildman (Minister of Environment and Energy): "Sop," I think, is the word.

Mr Stockwell: A sop for the public who oppose Sunday shopping, particularly since you were the government, you were the party that was in favour of the common pause day. When I go on to speak, I will go through the list of promises, policy decisions and processes that were put in place to ensure a common pause day.

You're talking about worker protection for not working on Sunday. When you were in opposition, your party was very clear: There was no legislation that could be instituted that could protect people from working on Sunday. Your party said very clearly during the election, "There isn't any possible legislation that could be drafted that could protect people from working on Sunday." Now you're telling me you're going to draft legislation to protect people who don't want to work on Sunday from working on Sunday. Tell me exactly what has changed your mind, that now you can draft legislation that was virtually impossible to draft three or four short years ago.

This is the most obvious about-face this government has taken. In a lot of respects, I feel sorry for the ex-minister, the Solicitor General. He got hung out to dry on this. He looked like a sap who was put up and melted down in public on this issue, because the Premier backed down and broke one of the most fundamental promises you people have ever made.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): I too am looking forward to debating this particular issue. Those who have followed my views on this will know that I have been opposed to Sunday shopping, and there are a number of reasons why I'm opposed to Sunday shopping. Those views still stand, and I think all of the constituents who have visited my office and perhaps have phoned me to clarify and verify their opinions on Sunday shopping will substantiate my decision to stand opposed to this.

I think family is a very important aspect in society. I think family values play a large role in how our communities act and behave, and I don't think Sunday shopping and this particular bill will help matters in terms of communities and where families go from there.

Families have met on a regular basis -- I know in my community, the Italian community, families have met on a regular basis every Sunday for lunch. They meet with their sons and their daughters and they have a chance to talk. Now, ever since we have allowed Sunday shopping to take place, I've had a number of calls. Those calls are very adamant. They claim that they're no longer able to meet with their families, their sons, their daughters, because they are being forced to work. I thought this bill would protect the workers. I'd like to ask this question at this particular time: Will this bill help workers and help those families and let them meet on a regular basis on Sundays? I don't know whether it will.

1600

Mr Gregory S. Sorbara (York Centre): I, like a number of members of our caucus, am going to have a few things to say on this bill. I suspect that most of us are going to be supportive of the legislation. I think our primary desire is to get this bill over with, but the reason I think it's such an important debate and why so many members are going to be participating in it is not the fact that we're going to see some NDP members voting against it -- and I commend my friend the member for Yorkview for continuing to have the convictions that his party had -- but the fact that this debate on Sunday shopping and this marvellous 180-degree turn of the socialist party of Ontario, the New Democrats of Ontario, really is something to behold.

It goes beyond Sunday shopping. It goes into the elimination of collective bargaining in the public sector, it goes into the cutbacks and it goes into virtually everything that Bob Rae has done, including the garbage mess that he's created in the greater Toronto area.

When you really think about it, Bob Rae is the Premier whom Bob Rae used to warn us about. He sat in a chair over here and he stood in a place over here and warned us about so many things that government was doing that had to be opposed and had to be resisted and had to be fought. Now Bob Rae in power simply chooses a principle that is in no way consistent with the principles that he used to preach as a political leader and not a government leader.

It's with a little bit of sadness, at least in that regard, that we undertake this debate. Having heard for years and years that the policy on Sunday shopping had to change, he resisted in opposition and then tried to resist in government. I say, thank God he saw the light. Let's get the bill passed, but let's review the government's record as we do that.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): In these very brief two minutes that I have to voice some views on this particular subject, the issue of Sunday shopping, while I understand what is happening here today, while I understand the pressures that we face in permitting Sunday shopping, while I understand the campaigns that were launched on all sides of this issue, predominantly and primarily the campaigns were launched in favour of Sunday shopping, in favour of opening the doors on Sunday, in favour of essentially asking people to work on a day when they could be sharing some time with their families and friends.

I guess the campaign that strikes at the heart of this issue more than anything else is the campaign that was essentially undertaken by the Toronto Sun, with the assistance, I may add, of both our opposition parties here today, the Liberal and the Conservative parties.

I can remember the constant bombardment of the debate and the pages within those media being filled with the pro-let's-work-on-Sunday, the pro-let's-do-some-shopping-on-Sunday. I can remember the incredible pressures that the campaign that came from those sources have had on this particular issue and the manipulation that has happened as a result of all of that. In that way, I can understand the public mood and where the public has moved on this.

However, I regret to say here today that despite all of that I am not going to be supporting this bill, because I don't believe it's the right way to go.

The Deputy Speaker: Minister, you have two minutes.

Hon Mr Christopherson: I want to thank the members for Downsview, Yorkview, York Centre and Etobicoke West, who took a moment to respond to my comments.

Let me first say to all members in the House that I think we all appreciate the history of this particular issue and the fact that every party that's been in government in this province has struggled with this particular issue, trying to find exactly the right formula that would balance the needs and rights of everyone.

Quite frankly, it's been an evolution of public opinion that leads us to the point where today we have the kind of legislation we have in front of us. I dare say to you, Mr Speaker, that regardless of who the party was that's in power, this is where the public is on this issue and this is where any government of the day would have to be.

Let me just point out also the comments from my colleague the member for Etobicoke West, from the Tory party of course, who has all the simplistic answers to everything -- this is the party that would deal with the social contract negotiations through bang, bang, bang -- and who was proceeding to heckle during the comments of the committee that's being struck to continue to monitor this.

This government continues to and will always place great emphasis and priority on the rights of workers. We will continue to monitor this legislation with a view to improving it in any way we can to ensure that the rights of workers are being met as outlined in the legislation.

Let me also say, while I'm on my feet, that I think it says a lot about this government and about this Premier, recognizing the morality of this issue and how tough it is, that he offered up to this caucus, to this government, the free vote that will happen on this particular bill and that was a recognition of the importance.

Lastly, let me just quote in part from the Employment Standards Act:

"No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall dismiss, threaten to dismiss, discipline, suspend, lay off, intimidate, coerce or impose a penalty on an employee because the employee has refused or attempted to refuse an assignment of work on Sunday."

The Deputy Speaker: Your time has expired, Minister. Any further debate?

Mr Robert Chiarelli (Ottawa West): I'm not sure I'm pleased to enter into this debate, a debate that probably should have taken place quite some time ago. Bill 38 was introduced for first reading on June 3, 1992, and is only now coming forward for second reading debate.

Let's be perfectly clear. Bill 38 doesn't create wide-open Sunday shopping. Bill 38 creates wide-wide-wide-open Sunday shopping, so wide that you could drive a truck through it, literally. At 6 o'clock on a Sunday morning, a tractor-trailer from President's Choice can roll into a Loblaws superstore, unload its produce and merchandise, and that Loblaws superstore can remain open on that Sunday from 8 am until 8 pm. Some people in this House support that type of legislation, some people are opposed to it, but let's be perfectly clear what the legislation in fact does.

The debate, as I said, is long overdue. We should put this issue to rest that has bedevilled legislatures and the courts for the whole history of the province. In fact, I will be referring to a document later, Current Issue Paper 119, prepared by the legislative researcher Susan Swift, who is a lawyer with that particular department. It basically reviews the whole history of this issue and indicates how back in the beginning, in 1845, this legislation started as legislation with a religious intent. Over the years, the Legislature and the courts have developed a law and a legislation so that it has a secular intent. That's really where we're ending up with Bill 38, which was introduced last June.

I do want to make a comment on the issue of this being a free vote. As we know, this is the first time the government introduced any matter for a free vote. It did not consult with the opposition that it was going to do it. It did not indicate or give any previous warning or notice to the opposition that it would be introducing this type of legislation. So I can say, knowing our opposition caucus here as I do, that we certainly cannot guarantee the passage or the failure of this legislation on behalf of the government, and it is going to have to accept the responsibility for this legislation.

1610

There are significant issues of substance and there are also significant issues of process and procedure, and I'm going to deal with both of these issues intermittently, because sometimes they merge -- the process becomes substance -- and I think they're very important process issues.

It was good to see, I feel, a very competent Solicitor General debating this issue and introducing it for second reading here today, but we have to keep in mind that this is the third Solicitor General dealing with this legislation in two and a half years.

In that short two and a half years, we had the NDP visit the issue with Mr Farnan as Solicitor General, who introduced Bill 115, which created a common pause day with a tourism exemption. That was given third reading in November 1991.

A mere 180 days later, Bill 38 was introduced by the Honourable A. Pilkey for first reading. It was actually announced by the Premier in a statement in the Legislature. That bill from a second Solicitor General represented a total, complete flip-flop in legislation in a mere 180 days.

As I said, today we have the third Solicitor General introducing this for second reading, and that's Mr Christopherson. It has lain fallow in the Legislature for close to a year, almost exactly a year.

We still have no indication from the House leader or from the Solicitor General where this legislation will be going after second reading, assuming that the vote carries. We don't know whether it's going to committee of the whole House, we don't know whether it's going to a legislative committee. There has been absolutely no leadership given whatsoever in this place on this issue.

I guess there's one way to describe a lot of things that the NDP does and that is dysfunctional. The DP in the NDP stands for "dysfunctional party." This place has become flip-flop follies on a whole range of issues. I think their secret agenda is to give Ontario chiropractors a lot of business, because every second day the people of Ontario, through statements and actions of this government, are shaking their heads in total disbelief so vigorously that I'm sure the chiropractors are very busy.

The flip-flop mentality of this government as indicated by this legislation is a very serious flaw in this government. Even if we look at the first budget that was introduced, a $10-billion deficit expressly stated to increase spending in order to fight the recession, it was a budget that created a 14% increase for public servants' wages and benefits. Now the total flip-flop again, which indicates a scorch-and-burn policy of restraint.

What they do is make a mistake, and in order to rectify the mistake, they make another mistake, and that's exactly what they're doing in some aspects of the Sunday shopping legislation.

If we look at another major flip-flop, just by way of an example for about 10 seconds, we had the strongest possible opposition from the Premier, calling the whole issue of gambling and casinos a tax on the poor, and now Ontario is being called the lotto and casino capital of the world.

It wouldn't be so bad if they merely flip-flopped, but when they flip-flop, what they do is make additional mistakes, and the Sunday shopping legislation is one of those examples.

When we look at the Liberal legislation, Bill 113 and Bill 114, that created the municipal local option. I can recall when we went out with the justice committee across the province -- very, very extensive, something like 400 submissions -- and we went to eight or nine cities across the province. I can recall one opposition member at that time by the name of Mike Farnan. He had this little yellow chicken. He put it on his desk and he would say, "The government is taking the chicken way out," and he said that day after day after day.

I see some grins on the opposition benches, because they remember Mr Farnan when he was in opposition, who then became the Solicitor General to introduce Bill 115, and he is the one who said the Liberal government was taking the chicken way out. Well, we then see the Agenda for People.

Mr Stockwell: The what?

Mr Chiarelli: The litany of broken promises.

But in any case, we again see on Sunday shopping that this government, this party, supports a common pause day, and once again, the first speech from the throne that this government introduced, read from where you're sitting right now, indicated that they will introduce legislation to support a common pause day.

Well, they did. It was Solicitor General Mike Farnan who introduced Bill 115. That bill was passed November 1991, a common pause day with a local tourism exemption. When you remember that this bill after second reading went out for committee hearings across the province, something in the order of 500 submissions, 8 or 10 cities -- I've got a list of them here somewhere, which I will refer to in a minute -- 180 days after Bill 115 was passed, the Premier stands in this Legislature and makes a statement. I'm going to quote the statement from the Premier. This, as I said, was the 3rd of June 1992, 180 days after he supported the enactment of a common pause day with a tourism exemption.

"I have a statement to make about Sunday shopping.

"The cabinet has decided to recommend to the House that we pass legislation to permit retail stores to open for business on Sundays.

"This has not been an easy decision. As this House well knows, I have often stood in my place on both sides of the House to argue in defence of a common pause day on Sunday and restricted access to Sunday store openings.

"Experience, which is always a good teacher, and a change in public attitudes in recent years have combined to persuade me that such legislation, however well intended, is extremely difficult to enforce fairly and runs up against a growing sense that many people want to shop on Sunday and are increasingly impatient of rules and regulations that prevent them from doing so.

"I am not convinced that Sunday shopping on its own will lead to a dramatic increase in jobs or single-handedly stop cross-border shopping. But it is clear that we cannot put a wall up around Ontario and that changing social patterns here and in neighbouring jurisdictions are having a clear impact on the choices and attitudes of Ontarians.

"I want to make it clear that the vote on the legislation, while it has the full support of the cabinet, will be a free vote in the Legislature for my own caucus, of course."

I want to refer to one little phrase in the Premier's statement. He said, "Experience, which is always a good teacher, and a change in public attitudes in recent years, have combined to persuade me..." If he's saying, as the Premier, that a recent change in public attitudes in recent years has persuaded him, why, a mere 180 days earlier, did he sit here supporting his caucus and his Solicitor General on a bill which created a common pause day?

It is because the Premier is incompetent. He permitted the justice committee to criss-cross this province a mere three or four months earlier, listening to submissions basically which disagreed with his legislation, and he has the gall to walk in here and suggest that it's changing attitudes over the last number of years. It was nothing but political expediency, it was political dishonesty, it was ad hoc planning, it was ad hoc policy from a government that does this on virtually every issue that it's involved in, from the environment to fiscal policy to casinos. The government is dysfunctional at every single level, and it starts at the top with Premier Bob.

1620

Bill 115 toured the province the summer of 1991 and the legislation was given third reading, as I indicated, in November of 1991. That's the common pause day bill that this government supported and enacted.

In the summer of 1991 the justice committee visited Collingwood, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, North Bay, Ottawa, Kingston, Peterborough, Windsor, London and Hamilton. Sixteen days of public hearings at great expense to the taxpayer, 448 written submissions, and what did they hear? They heard about cross-border shopping, they heard from municipalities, they heard from students on student employment, they heard on the devastation of the recession.

There was a message that was given in the summer of 1991. The message that was given that summer is the message the Premier got in June of 1992 after, through his incompetence, he let his caucus and his cabinet pass Bill 115, which created a common pause day. Nothing could be more dysfunctional and more irresponsible on the part of a government than what Bob Rae did under those circumstances.

I want to refer to a letter to the editor which appeared in the Brantford Expositor. It talks about Mr Rae's campaign promises. I am going to quote exactly from the letter. It contains language which, if I were saying it, would be unparliamentary, but I believe I have the right to quote a letter to the editor which appears in a public newspaper, the Brantford Expositor, which was published on April 28, 1993. It has to do with the irresponsible flip-flopping of Premier Bob Rae and it's written by a former member of the New Democratic Party, and it says:

"For as long as I can remember I have supported the New Democratic Party. I have voted for it and promoted its policies. However, after hearing about Bob Rae's social contract I have decided to terminate my support for the NDP. I feel, as many other Ontarians do, that Bob Rae has lied to us and has failed to keep even one of his campaign promises. To put it bluntly, Rae is a charlatan -- "

The Deputy Speaker: Order. Premier Rae is the Premier of this province. He deserves respect like all members of this House. I know that you are reading from a text. I know that you'll understand also that you cannot use it to insult somebody else and I would ask you to refrain from doing so.

Mr Chiarelli: Mr Speaker, I will insert the word "blank" wherever that particular word is recited in this particular letter, because I think that a citizen of the province of Ontario, a newspaper is entitled to be quoted in this Legislature. But, Mr Speaker, I will defer to your comment and wherever that four-letter word is in the text I'll use a blank.

"To put it bluntly, Rae is a charlatan. Rae is acting more like a Tory than a New Democrat. I do not feel that Rae, with his conservative, pro-corporate mentality, can even relate to the working man/woman. He is not supportive of the working class. This is shown by his attack upon the middle and lower income classes in the form of higher sales taxes, cutbacks in proactive programs and lack of attempts to tax the corporations and upper class. Rae promised to tax corporations. He [blank]. Rae promised to improve our education system. He [blank]. Rae promised to support proactive social programs. He [blank]. Rae promised to maintain and improve our health care services. He [blank]. Rae promised to build the Ministry of Government Services' new computer centre in Brantford. He [blank].

"Contrary to what many politicians think, voters will no longer support those who trample on their trust. Bob Rae and the NDP are living on borrowed time, for the landslide that put them in power will remove them from power with swift, blinding velocity. I will not support the NDP provincially in the future. Hopefully, all my fellow citizens will do the same. Rae [blank], he [blank], he [blank]."

Those are the words used by Michael Girdlestone, Mr Speaker, which you're saying are unparliamentary.

The government is dysfunctional. Even when it has a good idea or a good policy, it screws it up in implementation or execution, because of either incompetence or ideological fixations.

I want to read some additional Hansard from the second Solicitor General to deal with this issue in less than two and a half years, and that is the Honourable Allan Pilkey. When this Bill 38 was introduced last June, the Premier made the initial statement and then afterwards the Honourable Allan Pilkey made some comments. I'll just read very briefly: "When the bill is passed, these measures will come into effect retroactive to today. I have also asked officials of my ministry to inform police services across the province of the introduction of these amendments."

We have to understand exactly what that retroactivity does to undermine the credibility of the Legislature, the legislative process. I have here the Orders and Notices, which is a publication of this House indicating the bills which are before it. It indicates that a number of bills are coming up for second reading; for example, second reading on Bill 80, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act, which was introduced by the Honourable Bob Mackenzie. Or we have another bill, second reading of Bill 90, An Act to amend the Planning Act and the Municipal Act with respect to Residential Units and Garden Suites. That Bill 90 is the bill which would basically abolish single-family units so that every single-family unit in the province can be created into a duplex.

The point I'm making in how this government is dysfunctional is that if we took Bill 38 as a precedent, and when a bill is introduced for first reading the minister could merely stand up and say, "Okay, this is going to be retroactive and it's effective as of today," even though we haven't even had second reading debate on it, could you imagine what that would do, what would happen if that were a precedent for Bill 90? Today, every single-family unit in the province of Ontario could be duplexed without any reference to legislation, without any reference to enforcement.

Mr W. Donald Cousens (Markham): What bill are you on anyway? You're supposed to be talking about Sunday shopping.

Mr Chiarelli: Mr Cousens says I'm supposed to be talking about Sunday shopping. I am talking about Sunday shopping. I'm talking about the fact it was introduced for first reading last June and it's effective on the ground today without any debate or vote by you, sir. I'm talking about defending your rights as a member of this Legislature, which Bill 38 abrogates. That's what I'm talking about, sir.

Mr Cousens: That's a good point, then. Keep it up. Go after them.

Mr Chiarelli: Thank you. Mr Cousens says, "Keep it up."

A point of privilege was raised today in this Legislature by a colleague of mine, the member for St George-St David, on this very issue of Bill 38 and how it undermines the legislative process. We look at the Orders and Notices paper and we know that what was done to Bill 38 was a very extraordinary process.

You know, Mr Speaker, in your other reality as the member for Victoria-Haliburton, how this type of thing creates cynicism in our community, how it creates the impression that the whole governmental system, the whole political system is dysfunctional and doesn't work. People are out there and they believe that a bill is introduced, it has second reading, it has some kind of committee process, is reintroduced here for third reading and receives royal assent.

That is not what happened to Bill 38. Bill 38 really is disruptive of the parliamentary principles that you and I know should exist, particularly some reasonable committee process. We know that members in the back benches feel very strongly about that dysfunctional aspect of the New Democratic Party.

1630

If I may, there's another aspect of this Bill 38 which I would describe as dysfunctional, and that has to do with the fact that the Premier stood in this House on June 3, 1992, without any notice, and said that Bill 38, the bill that creates wide-, wide-, wide-open Sunday shopping, will be subject to a free vote. Why this bill? There are people, for example, Mr Speaker, in your other reality as the member for Victoria-Haliburton, who say: Why not a free vote on casinos? Why not a free vote on the advocacy legislation? Why not a free vote on the social contract?

What are the rules in this place that govern how we operate? What are the rules that set principles that mean something to people? The idea of presenting this bill as a free vote, to use Mr Farnan's expression, is the chicken way out. Mr Rae could not convince his caucus. Mr Rae, on Bill 115, did not introduce a free vote. Why not? I think you know as well as anybody: because Bill 115 had significant support in the community, significant support in your caucus and it sounded good -- common pause day with a tourism exemption.

Your Premier did not introduce a free vote for Bill 115. He introduced it for Bill 38. Why? Where are the rules? Mr Rae, when he was in opposition, talked about making this place work better. He talked about upgrading the principles upon which we operate, giving more power to backbenchers, more power to committees, getting rid of the cynicism. So we have, on June 3, 1992, the Premier standing up and saying, "Bill 38 will be a free vote." Why? What are the principles upon which that decision was made?

There are all kinds of backbenchers on the government side who know why, because they're going to vote against this legislation and Mr Rae is banking on having enough people from the opposition benches to carry the vote. You and I know that he does not have that guarantee, he does not have that assurance. We've taken the votes in our caucus, and it's a very, very volatile thing. People are softening on this legislation in a number of ways.

This bill may not carry, and yet we have such a dysfunctional government that the Solicitor General in effect has ordered the police departments to enforce legislation or to cease enforcing Bill 115, which is the legislation of the land at this point in time. So we've had wide-open Sunday shopping for the last year, and we have no legislation to back it up, and the Premier doesn't even have an assurance of a majority government that this bill will pass.

This Premier is a purveyor of chaos and of dysfunction and that's why people are beginning to call it the dysfunctional party. Bill 38 is a primary example. We see no parliamentary reform. We see a cynical use of the free vote without any framework or guidelines for this Legislature on any other issue.

Later on in my debate I want to make some observations on some of the impacts of Bill 38. I particularly want to make some observations about the impact this legislation will have on 6,000 neighbourhood stores across the province. I also want to make some observations on the impact this legislation is going to have on those people in the province who still support a common pause day. I think there are a number of things this government could have done in connection with Bill 38 that took into account some of those impacts. As I said, I'm going to go into those in a bit more detail in a couple of minutes.

I did want to do a short survey of the history of the legislation. As I mentioned earlier, this legislation has moved from being one of religious observance and religious intent to one with a secular intent and secular purposes.

Hon Mr Wildman: I still don't know whether you're in favour of this bill or not. How long have you been speaking? How can you speak this long without saying whether you're in favour of the bill?

Mr Chiarelli: I won't go all the way back, as the Minister of Environment and Energy is suggesting. The Minister of Environment is suggesting that I go all the way back to 1763, the Treaty of Paris, by which France ceded to Britain the land which today comprises the province of Ontario, but I won't go back that far. As far back as I'm going to go is 1845. I'm going to go through this rather quickly, because I think it is very instructive when we look at the dynamics affecting this type of legislation in 1845 versus the dynamics that are affecting this legislation in 1993.

In 1845, An Act to prevent the Profanation of the Lord's Day -- commonly called Sunday -- in Upper Canada prohibited virtually all activity on Sunday except churchgoing and certain works of necessity and charity. As usual, there were offences. This goes through and lists the whole range of offences.

Bill 38, or the Retail Business Holidays Act, as we will have it after Bill 38 amendments are passed, will still have offences. So in 1845 we had the prohibition; we had the offences. The offences included brawling or using profane language in the streets and other such things. In 1845, this Act to prevent the Profanation of the Lord's Day also had exceptions. What do we have in the Retail Business Holidays Act today? We have exceptions still. We still have the tourism exemption.

Then in 1845, as usual, we had violations that resulted in the imposition of fines. So the basic structure of the legislation in 1845 was exactly the same as the Retail Business Holidays Act that we will have after Bill 38 is passed, if in fact it's going to be passed.

What we see between 1845 and 1993 is the Legislature of Ontario, the Parliament of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada and the courts of Ontario playing political and legislative football with this issue. All the way through you have that same framework simply shifting. It's moving in one main direction, towards one main thrust. The direction that it is moving in within that framework is one of moving from what is called the religious intent or religious observance to one of secular intent and secular purpose.

As I said, I'm going to go through some of the process because I'm going to use some of the things that happened historically and relate them very specifically to Bill 115 and Bill 38 as we have it before us today.

What we had after 1845, in 1885, were some amendments that basically tinkered with that particular bill. But in 1900 the law basically was called upon to interpret that particular legislation, An Act to prevent the Profanation of the Lord's Day. In 1903, it went not only to the Supreme Court of Canada but at that time constitutional issues went to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom for the ultimate appeal. In fact, this Lord's Day case went to the Privy Council in 1903, and it was declared to be unconstitutional. We had Bill 114 in 1990 that went to the courts in Ontario and, like this bill, was declared to be unconstitutional.

1640

So what happened? The legislators went around, they shuffled, they researched and they found ways to deal with it legislatively. Back in 1903 it was turfed right out by the Privy Council, the highest court basically in the Commonwealth. In 1990 we had the highest court in Ontario turf out Bill 114 for a short period of time.

At that time the federal government moved in, resulting in the passage or enactment of the Lord's Day Act in 1906. That basically filled the void, and it in effect gave a type of local option to the provinces, so that the provinces could get back into the field. In fact that's exactly what happened.

So when you think in terms of local option that we talked about, whether it's a local municipal option or whether it's a local option for the tourism exemption, in 1906 the federal Parliament of Canada was creating a local option for the provinces to be able to deal with this issue, because the Privy Council had determined in effect that only the federal government could operate within that particular area.

Moving quickly along to 1922, we had enacted legislation in 1922 called One Day's Rest in Seven Act. Mr Speaker, you're probably aware of the fact that this legislation still exists today. Ontario enacted the One Day's Rest in Seven Act to deal with the issue of Sunday work for employees of hotels, restaurants or cafés. It provided for at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every seven days and, whenever possible, on a Sunday. The legislation continues in force today.

Of course, we had the warriors intervening, 1939 to 1945, and Sunday work in industry became very commonplace. It became part of our economy and part of our provincial infrastructure. Then there were a series of minor refinements, if I can put it that way. In 1943 Toronto movie theatres opened on Sunday but only to members of the armed services. This privilege was withdrawn in 1945 after the war.

In 1950 Toronto and Windsor, having each conducted a referendum on the issue and having received a positive response, asked the provincial government to allow all types of sports on Sundays. In response to the request by Toronto and Windsor and in recognition of changing attitudes in society, the Legislature exercised the authority given to it under the federal Lord's Day Act, under the local option, so to speak, to opt out of the prohibition against commercial sports activities, so then it was therefore permitted.

The Legislature amended the Lord's Day Act, Ontario, in 1960 to permit any Sunday concert, recital or other musical performance of an artistic and cultural nature at which an admission fee is charged between the hours of 1:30 and 6 pm, and it had to be produced by a non-profit organization.

There were a number of further amendments and refinements, including getting rid of the Lord Day's Act itself. I'm going quickly through the research paper here and I just want to highlight the major change and the major thrust, which brings me to the point in 1969 where we have a very, very significant historical event in the development of Sunday openings or Sunday observance legislation, and of course that is the law reform commission set up by the Conservative government in 1969.

The Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the province requested the Ontario Law Reform Commission to undertake a study and review of the Sunday observance legislation in effect in Ontario in all its aspects. The extensive study was to investigate the historical, religious, economic, sociological, legal and comparative background of the law relating to Sunday observance.

It was that commission that was the basis of the Retail Business Holidays Act as we know it today. There were several significant recommendations that this commission made to the Conservative government of the day.

Probably the most significant recommendation is that "The Ontario legislation providing support for a Sunday pause day should be secular and not religious in both purpose and effect." That was recommendation 3. So we see in 1969 a very significant and clear statement that the province and provincial public opinion were moving away from religious intent, religious observance purposes, to those of secular intent and purposes.

Very briefly, this commission recommended that "Ontario should provide legislative support for a uniform weekly pause day for as many persons as possible." That was recommendation 1. "The uniform weekly pause day should be Sunday." That was recommendation 2. As I mentioned, the purpose and intent should be secular and not religious. That was recommendation 3.

"The legislation should have the dual secular purpose of (a) preserving a quality environment for the pursuit of leisure activities among family and friends; and (b) ensuring that as many persons as possible will be protected from being required to work on Sundays against their will." That was recommendation 4.

There is a whole series of other recommendations which I won't go into but, as I mentioned, that commission was the basis for the Retail Business Holidays Act, which was introduced in 1975 and became law on January 1, 1976. The drafting of that legislation was basically to try to create a secular rather than a religious purpose.

The act was passed by the Legislature and was proclaimed in force on January 1, 1976. It prohibited the carrying on of a retail business on holidays, including Sundays. This general prohibition was subject to several exceptions. We know what they are generally in terms of the sale of drugs, the size of the retail establishment -- 2,400 square feet -- nursery stock, flowers, gardening supplies etc.

But one of the most significant exceptions -- and as I mentioned, the initial legislation in 1845 had a general prohibition and it had exceptions, and the Retail Business Holidays Act that was enacted in 1976 was like all the others. It had exceptions. Of course, if a municipality, for tourism purposes, wanted to pass a bylaw permitting Sunday openings, it could do that. What happened between 1976 and 1988, when the government of David Peterson introduced Bill 114, is that we had the so-called tourism exemption under the Retail Business Holidays Act become a de facto local option.

You know that under the Conservative legislation, before the Liberal government came to power, before the NDP government came to power, there was a tourism exemption that enabled over 100 municipalities to pass bylaws permitting Sunday openings. We know that there were bylaws to permit openings in Ottawa, for example. The Byward Market for a number of years in the early 1980s could open on Sundays. We know that there are other areas -- Niagara Falls, Chinatown -- and we know that other parts of communities were opened under what was a de facto municipal option.

It was very controversial legislation, and what happened with the Retail Business Holidays Act -- even though having what amounted to a de facto municipal local option because there were no guidelines, there were no teeth in the exception that permitted the tourism exemption -- people started to assault the legislation legally. As in 1845 and 1903, there were challenges that went to the highest court of the land and the challenges basically hinged around the issue that this type of legislation had to do with religion; it didn't have to do with Sunday openings or closings or commercial trade, and it was challenged in that general policy area. So it did prove to be very controversial legislation.

1650

In the years that followed there were several court challenges, and I'd like to refer to probably one that was most significant. It was most significant because it dealt with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This was a case that was initiated, I think, around 1982-83, after the charter came into force, and it wasn't decided by the Supreme Court of Canada until 1985. It dealt with the Lord's Day Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it had a very serious impact on the whole legislative direction and on subsequent court challenges.

I want to refer to just a very brief passage from Mr Justice Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada. He was speaking for the court when he said this:

"In my view, the guarantee of freedom of conscience and religion prevents the government from compelling individuals to perform or abstain from performing otherwise harmless acts because of the religious significance of those acts to others. As I read the charter, it mandates that legislative preservation for Sunday day of rest should be secular. The diversity of belief or non-belief, the diverse sociocultural backgrounds of Canadians, make it constitutionally incompetent for the federal Parliament," and, by implication, for the legislatures, "to provide legislative preference for any one religion at the expense of those of another religious persuasion."

The court further concluded that the infringement of freedom of religion was not reasonable and demonstrably justified under section 1 of the charter. The legislation was declared to be wholly inoperative and of no force and effect. The result of the decision was to remove the criminal law underpinnings of Sunday retail closing laws in the province.

At this point in time, 1985 -- coincidentally around the time that the David Peterson Liberal government came to power with the assistance of the NDP through the accord -- we had up to that point the Ontario Law Reform Commission saying that this type of legislation must be secular, not religious in nature, we have the Retail Business Holidays Act, which endeavours to create secular purposes and intent but fails to do so, and we have the Supreme Court of Canada saying that if this type of legislation in any way affects religious observance, religious freedom, of any range of religions or beliefs, then it is not appropriate legislation.

So we then have a government of the day that is required to deal with these judicial interpretations, that has to deal with the interpretation of the charter on the Retail Business Holidays Act. We then have the Liberal government coming in with Bill 113. Bill 113 was introduced April 1988 and it also had, I guess, the sister or brother bill, Bill 114, to try to protect workers.

I agree with the member for Etobicoke West when he says that when we introduced that Bill 114 to protect workers, everybody on the NDP side said: "You can't legislate this protection through the Employment Standards Act, through employment standards legislation. It's impossible to do." And the Solicitor General stands in his place today and says: "We're going to rely on this legislation. It will protect workers."

Mr Speaker, I leave it up to you, in your other reality as a voting member of this Legislature, to determine whether it does or doesn't happen. But certainly, when you read the words of the NDP when they were in opposition and you listen to what the Solicitor General is saying today, they're totally at odds with each other. Where does the public cynicism come from? Where does the total falling apart of the New Democratic Party come from if it doesn't come from that? You've got no credibility left on a whole range of issues, including Sunday shopping, because you flip-flop all over the place on every single, solitary issue that you deal with.

Bill 114 was introduced by the Liberal government, as I said, in April 1988, and Bill 113 went out and received 465 oral and written submissions. It went to 13 centres other than Toronto. I was on the justice committee in August 1988 when they started this trooping around the city to consult with the people of Ontario. There were a lot of people coming before the committee who did not want wide-open Sunday shopping and they made that loud and clear.

What is very, very significant is that I also sat in on some of the hearings for Bill 115 which created a common pause day and a tourism exemption. What is absolutely amazing is that a lot of the retailers in August 1988 who went nose to nose, toe to toe, with me as a government member on the justice committee, saying that the local municipal option wouldn't work and they didn't want wide-open Sunday shopping, came in the summer of 1991 before Mike Farnan's committee, as Solicitor General, and said they wanted to open it up because circumstances had changed.

A lot of circumstances did change. We had cross-border shopping. We were in the throes of the recession. We had retailers who were really suffering. We had students who were crying for work on Sundays, part-time, whenever and wherever they could get it. There were certain realities that existed in the summer of 1991 which didn't exist in the fall of 1988.

But I want to come back to one point that I mentioned before. Those committee hearings in the summer of 1991, Mike Farnan's bill -- they heard these 488 submissions come in and they were saying: "Open it up. Open it up. Open it up." Mike Farnan, the guy who walked around in 1988 with the little yellow chicken saying, "You're taking the chicken way out," everywhere he went, what did he do? He took the chicken way out. He passed a bill, Bill 115, which purported to create a common pause day and then he turned around and created a municipal tourism exemption which in many respects was unenforceable and unworkable. The guy who symbolized the issue of taking the chicken way out took the biggest chicken way out possible.

But 180 days after this bill -- Bill 115, the current legislation which is not being enforced, the common pause day legislation -- became law in November 1991, the Premier stood up here and said, "Public attitudes have changed over recent years." Where was he the summer of 1991? Where was he in November 1991 when his government, his cabinet, enacted the common pause day legislation called Bill 115? Where were they? What happened between November and June 3 when the Premier announced that he was going to create instantly wide, wide, wide, wide-open Sunday shopping? As I mentioned, it's so wide you can drive a truck through it. A President's Choice truck can drive into a Loblaws superstore at 6 am Sunday morning, unload the produce, and that superstore is going to be open from 8 am Sunday until 8 pm Sunday night.

1700

Why did the Premier permit Bill 115 to be passed 180 days earlier? Mr Speaker, you know more than anyone else the reason why. The reason is that the Premier of this province is dysfunctional and he has caused his cabinet and his government to be dysfunctional.

Going back very briefly to the history of the legislation, again, if the Premier wanted some indication of which way he should be going on it, he had the opportunity between June 22, 1990, and March 20, 1991. There were some eight and a half months within that time frame when, as in 1903, the legislation was declared to be unconstitutional and of no force and effect. We had eight and a half months in 1990 when Bill 114 was as though it didn't exist. It was under appeal and we had wide-open Sunday shopping in the province of Ontario. So we had not only the experience of the justice committee hearings in the summer of 1991, we had the de facto experience for the benefit of the Premier throughout the latter part of 1990 and up to March 1991 when in fact we had wide-open Sunday shopping.

So I ask you again, why did this Premier lead this cabinet into Bill 115, common pause day? I think I know why. I think the Premier thought that he was being true to his New Democratic Party agenda. Mr Speaker, we know what the Agenda for People said; you know what it said. We know what the first throne speech said. The first throne speech said, "We're going to create a common pause day," and the Premier introduced legislation to create a common pause day. Not only that, he passed the legislation. Some 180 days later, a full 180-degree turnaround and he reverses himself.

So the issue is a dysfunctional government at a time when Ontario needs leadership, when Ontario needs consistency, when Ontario needs predictability for the people of this province and for the businesses of this province.

To show how dysfunctional the government really is and was, Bill 115, which is still on the books -- Mr Speaker, you know that bill is still there, but the Solicitor General has indicated to the police departments, "Don't enforce it." It had a totally unworkable, if I may use the term again, dysfunctional municipal tourism exemption, so much so that the municipal bylaws that would have been passed under that legislation could be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. Not only could it be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, but a municipal bylaw for a tourism exemption enacted in Hawkesbury, Ontario, could be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by a resident of Sarnia or a resident of Windsor. Talk about dysfunctional local tourism option. You're going to give somebody in Windsor the right to appeal a bylaw in Hawkesbury.

Talk about being dysfunctional. Bill 38, this legislation which creates wide-open Sunday shopping, still retains that tourism exemption for the other statutory holidays. It is possible for a municipality to pass a bylaw to create the exemptions for the statutory holidays, including Easter Sunday. So the tourism exemption bylaw provision and the Retail Business Holidays Act, which has been enacted by reason of Bill 115, will continue to exist after Bill 38 is enacted, if in fact it's going to be enacted.

That brings me to Bill 38. Bill 38 is the bill which was introduced June 3, 1992. We've waited a year for this legislation to come forward. Bill 38 makes three simple amendments to Ontario's Sunday shopping law.

The first amendment changes the present definition of holiday, replacing "Sunday" with "Easter Sunday." This change means that Sundays are no longer designated as holidays and are therefore not restricted by the Retail Business Holidays Act. Essentially, retail stores of all kinds will be permitted to open on Sundays.

There's a significant omission. Whether it's conscious or not, I don't know. But I have a legal opinion which I asked legislative research, and through lawyer Susan Swift from that office, at my request -- I won't go through the whole thing, but I'm sure the gist of it will not be lost on many members who are still concerned about family day on Sunday: Based on the wording of section 214 of the Municipal Act and a brief review of the cases, there is currently no power in the municipalities to restrict Sunday store hours to between, say, 12 noon or 1 pm and 5 pm.

When I introduced my debate I said, make no mistake about it, Bill 38 doesn't create wide-open Sunday shopping; it creates wide, wide, wide, wide-open Sunday shopping, so that it goes from 8 am until 8 pm on Sunday. For all those people who believe in a common pause day, this government couldn't even restrict the hours of opening on Sunday, couldn't restrict it from noon till 6. Start at 6 am Sunday and finish at 8 pm Sunday night. What about the impact for all these people who came to your committee? What about the workers?

As I said, you flip-flop, and when you come back and flip-flop, you make a bigger mistake than you made in the first place. You're dysfunctional. You don't listen. You're not qualified to govern any more. This bloody government does not consider the impact of its decisions on people. It does not consider reasonable transition --

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Are my ears failing me or did I not hear the member for Ottawa West refer to the government as "the bloody government"? If he did, I would ask you to rule on that that's it's unparliamentary and he should withdraw that comment.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Dennis Drainville): I would say to the honourable member it would be best if he wasn't quite as inflammatory as he is occasionally. But by all means, the honourable member does have the floor and I ask the honourable member to continue.

Mr Chiarelli: I not only have the floor, I think I have the point, and the point is that the government is really dysfunctional, the government has not been sensitive to so many people in this province on so many issues.

Why did you have to go so far in the other direction? Why did you not at least consider looking at some restriction on the hours of wide-open Sunday shopping? We didn't hear any debate on that. As I mentioned, we don't even know where this bill is going after second reading. We don't know if it's going to committee so that type of thing can be discussed. I'm not even talking about public hearings. I'm talking about you and I as members to be able to sit and say, "Well, maybe you've gone too far with the bill and maybe Sunday openings, retail openings, should be restricted some way between noon and 6 o'clock on Sundays." You'd still have Sunday openings. That type of thing would accommodate so many people.

1710

Again, the government is dysfunctional. We don't even know if they're going to discuss it in committee of the whole, whether they're going to a legislative committee for half a day or a day to review some of the comments of the members, so that we can give some impact matters of this legislation some sober second thought, sober second thought on those provisions of the tourism exemption that will continue after Bill 38 is enacted.

The second change to Bill 38 updates a section originally contained in the Liberal legislation basically:

"A provision in a lease or other agreement that has the effect of requiring a retail business establishment to remain open on a holiday or on a Sunday, whether or not the Sunday is a holiday, is of no effect...."

That is trying to protect the small retailer and it does address an impact issue, but it's an impact issue that was in the original legislation that was enacted by the Liberals.

The third change to the legislation is a provision which makes these amendments retroactive.

Hon Mr Wildman: He's been talking for an hour and he still hasn't said whether he's in favour of the bill.

Mr Chiarelli: I want to say that the Minister of Environment and Energy thinks that a lot of the things I'm touching on in this debate are inappropriate. He is a member of cabinet and he is a member of the government which held off debate on this legislation.

I wish he'd stay here for a minute, because I was just getting to the point at which this government amended the legislation to make it retroactive, which means that the Premier in his wisdom stood up and was hit by a bolt of lightning, as he was with his fiscal policy of restraint, stood up here on June 3 and said, "Oh, yes, as of today it's all changed," signed Bob Rae.

His Solicitor General stood up and told the police departments not to enforce the existing law. I'm the first opposition member to debate Bill 38 in this Legislature, one year after the Solicitor General told the police departments not to enforce existing legislation. That is such an undermining of the principles of good government and of the legislative process. It totally underlies the pathological dysfunctioning of this government.

The government, as I mentioned, did not consider the impact of its legislation in any significant way. I talked about at least considering the impact of the hours of operation, which it did not do.

There's another impact issue which I think needs addressing in a significant way and that has to do with the impact on 6,000 small businessmen in the province of Ontario. These are the 6,000 convenience stores in Ontario employing over 52,000 people full- and part-time. The sector used to have a total sales volume of over $3.8 billion. About 4,600 stores are individually owned small businesses, owner-operated.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association members buy over $500 million worth of products from Ontario wholesalers and distributors, pay approximately $32 million in retail sales tax to the Ontario government and pay $12 million in municipal taxes. They are being impacted very negatively by this legislation, and I want to address and make some observations on their concerns.

But, more particularly, I want to address this theme of mine of a government which is dysfunctional. I have here an extract from a brief presented to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs; this was during pre-budget consultations, presented March 8, 1993. I'm going to quote about five paragraphs which indicate how dysfunctional this NDP government really is.

This is a section, section IV, called "Government Reaction," and while I read this I want the people at home and I want the 6,000 people who are convenience store managers or owners to realize that the Minister of Environment and Energy is sitting there laughing and joking at the fact that I'm raising their concerns.

Hon Mr Wildman: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member knows full well that the reason I am laughing is that I am amazed and find it quite amusing that he could speak for the length of time he's spoken and not take a position either in favour or in opposition to a bill.

The Acting Speaker: That's not a point of order, but I will say it is improper to impute motives in the House. So I'd ask the honourable member to be a little careful.

Mr Chiarelli: It's a well-taken comment, Mr Speaker, and I retract the comment I made about the Minister of Environment, but now that I have his attention for and on behalf of those 6,000 small businessmen and women in the province of Ontario, I want to read what they say about government reaction:

"While our latest report, The Impact of Sunday Shopping on Ontario's Convenience Stores, has not been shared with government officials -- it is due to be released this week -- we have been receiving reactions to our plight that we can only characterize as frustrating. We have been granted meetings with the Treasurer's staff and with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Those meetings have been cordial.

"We have also felt that the meetings were conducted within an atmosphere of disbelief. In other conversations with officials we have heard comments like 'the convenience store owners are whiners,'; 'convenience stores will always survive,' and 'convenience stores made the adjustment in other jurisdictions.' There have been rumours about an internal report, prepared by the federal government -- perhaps from Statscan -- that shows no damage to the industry when Sunday shopping was introduced in BC.

"The OCSA finds this situation difficult to deal with. Nothing has been said up front, no one has confronted us with contrary figures or evidence that we can deal with.

"Our problem then is getting the government to deal with us directly and openly." If I can repeat that, there are 6,000 small business people in the province saying: "Our problem then is getting the government to deal with us directly and openly."

"We believe that government officials are not being completely candid with us by not commenting directly to us about any reservations they may have or by revealing any information that might contradict our claims. We believe that there is an internal bias within government staff against our case and that until it is brought forward and the evidence upon which it is based is shared, the plight of 11 companies who have all been good corporate citizens, the employment of 13,000 people and the investment of thousands of small business people in this province will be at risk because of some gigantic misunderstanding.

"In an effort to overcome this governmental attitude, the OCSA has commissioned a completely open, wide-ranging review of our sales records. We have held meetings with provincial officials and we have reviewed the impact of the introduction of Sunday shopping in other jurisdictions. Neither in our own case or in the case of the independent stores is there any justification for the attitude that the convenience store sector will easily survive."

1720

What I'm saying to the Minister of Environment and the government is that you have an obligation to consider the impact of your legislation. The convenience store owners association has accepted, reluctantly, the reality of wide-open Sunday shopping. They're concerned about the hours. I commented on the hours a few minutes ago. The livelihood of 50,000 Ontario people depends on the financial viability of that particular sector.

We've had no consideration for the hours, as I said. The President's Choice tractor-trailer drives up at 6 am Sunday morning, empties its produce, and it goes till 8 o'clock Sunday night, 8 am to 8 pm. Has the government considered the economic impact on the 50,000 people who depend on corner convenience stores?

I just want to relate to the people of the province an executive summary of the brief of the convenience store owners association. It's very short, very succinct, four or five very simple lines, but it speaks a lot. It says:

"Executive Summary: Last Year: From June 7, 1992, when the Ontario government first allowed Sunday shopping, to September 30, 1992, the members of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association have lost $59 million in total sales. Our convenience stores have lost $12,000 each in sales for the months of June, July, August and September. Close to 2,000 of our convenience store employees have lost their jobs" -- this government purports to create jobs -- "and 200 of our convenience stores have closed."

This government purports to encourage the creation of small business. The executive summary goes on:

"This year, from June 7, 1992, to June 6, 1993, the members of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association will lose $179 million in total sales. Convenience stores will lose $38,500 each in total sales and an additional 1,000 of our convenience store employees will lose their jobs."

They're not asking for the abolition of Bill 38. I've spoken to some of the leaders of the association. They're not even asking for us to vote against Bill 38; they're simply saying the government has a responsibility to consider the impact. It has the responsibility to consider the impact of wide-open morning Sunday shopping on the people who support a common pause day, which it hasn't done, and it has the obligation to consider the impact of wide-open Sunday morning shopping on convenience stores and late evening, wide-open Sunday shopping on convenience stores. It hasn't done that, by not providing any consideration of the hours.

I want to refer to a letter dated March 17, 1993, from the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. I won't go through all of it because I've already made some comments on it. But they're acting very responsibly, the convenience stores association executive and members, because they've made a number of suggestions, and I just want to indicate the suggestions. In addition to the fact that some dealing with the hours can assist in the impact, they've also made the following suggestions:

"The commission for collecting the retail sales tax should be increased to 10% and the cap removed to enable these small business men and women to survive.

"The government consider imposing commercial rent control." That's a very complicated issue. I'm not sure I agree with it, but the government has not seriously looked at it.

"The provincial government restrict municipalities' rights to impose licensing and other burdens on convenience stores." They're looking for some provincial legislative assistance, because right now there's no control over store hours, there's no control over the impact of the large retail chains on small corner stores. So they're asking for some legislative assistance from the province so that their government burden expenses will be reduced. They're asking that the Treasurer grant a provincial income tax credit to convenience stores. It may or may not be reasonable, but the government has not even given it serious consideration.

"The Ontario government consider the right to sell beer and wine in convenience stores" -- that is another item which the convenience stores want to put on the table to assist in the impact of wide, wide, wide-open Sunday shopping. They go on to indicate here, because they're very realistic: "We realize that some of these suggestions will be difficult and other suggestions are new ideas for us. However, our situation has become so drastic that we are willing to review all options as a means of compensating for our lost jobs and revenue. We are asking you to contact the Treasurer, the Premier or the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations on our behalf. Ask them to support us in finding a remedy."

That's what I'm doing here now, this minute. I am reading, for the people of Ontario and for the cabinet and for the Premier, some reasonable requests which are being made by the 50,000 people who work in this industry and by the 6,000 store owners or managers of the chains of convenience stores.

I do have other matters which I'm not going to go through because my time is quickly running out, but I did want to refer very briefly to the fact that Bill 38 required the Minister of Labour to set up a committee to study the impact of Bill 38, wide-open Sunday shopping, on various sectors of the Ontario economy and Ontario society. Those recommendations were tabled in the Legislature last week.

They amount to absolutely nothing in the sense that they're basically saying, "Please try to protect our interests." There are a couple of specific recommendations, but what is most troubling -- and it goes to the fact again that it's a totally dysfunctional government and that this committee report was tabled last week by the Minister of Labour, on which there was no comment, no response. No forum was created to deal with the issue.

The committee just reported last week and the Solicitor General announced today he's setting up another committee to look at the impacts of Bill 38. That's what the committee report is that was filed last week. The committee reported on Bill 38 and now the Solicitor General, the third Solicitor General in two and a half years, stands in his place today and says he's setting up another committee to look at the impact.

This government is totally, absolutely not only dysfunctional; it is disrespectful to the people in this Legislature. It is disrespectful to the people of the province of Ontario. For reasons that I've enunciated, I can understand why many people will vote in favour of this legislation, but this government has not considered even a modest consideration for the impact, namely Sunday mornings, when we have wide-open retail shopping possible and starting to exist in the province.

We have significant impact that this government has not considered for 50,000 people who are employed in the small convenience, corner grocery store operations. So it is for those reasons that I will be voting against this legislation, because the government has been insensitive to the impact.

1730

Even accepting legislation that would create so-called wide-open Sunday shopping, when Bob Rae stood up in the Legislature on June 3, 1992, to announce Bill 38, to announce wide-open shopping, I don't think the people in this province understood that you're going to get superstores and wholesaling operations opening at 8 am Sunday morning. That was not contemplated, and I think people are finally starting to see that. The impact, at that time, has to be dealt with, and I do believe this government has to give some serious consideration to the plight of the small business people involved in convenience stores and corner grocery stores.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the time, and my debate has ended.

Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): It certainly was a very interesting hour and 25 minutes as we went through a very strong history lesson on the issue of Sunday shopping. Obviously, the presentation could have been done in about 30 minutes. I just wanted to pop up, though, and make a few comments in terms of supporting what the member was saying about the convenience store associations, because as we remember, one of the discussions about the Sunday shopping issue, of course, was that it was going to create new employment and new jobs.

Some of those who opposed Sunday shopping said that this wouldn't be the case, that it would only shift the jobs from convenience stores, from those stores that are already open on Sunday, to other places. Certainly, from some of the information the member presented -- and the people from local convenience stores in my area who have been in to see me clearly support that evidence as well, that their sales on Sunday, which was traditionally their strongest day, are down very substantially. So I think bringing that point out in the debate is very good and shows some of the difficulties in dealing with this issue.

We all understand the difficulties and how times have changed. I guess some of us still feel, though, that we wish somehow there could be one day where commerce and the activities of commerce could maybe not totally stop but be done in a much slower manner. We all live in a very busy world, a very busy time, and I think many of us would like to see that there be at least one day of a week where, for lack of a better term, there would be somewhat of a common pause or a chance for us to slow down from our busy pace of life. I think that's why some of us still continue to believe that Sunday shopping is not in the best interests of the folks.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I found the speech of the member for Ottawa West to be an excellent speech because what it did was go through history. It's important in this Legislature that we have some history of what the stands used to be in this Legislature. I well recall, as the member pointed out, that the Premier of this province, as one of his primary issues in the last election campaign, talked about Sunday shopping and how this government that is in power now would never allow Sunday shopping. I think he was saying that at the same time that he was saying there would be no casino gambling in the province of Ontario and was opposing that with the same degree of strength as he did in this case.

So I think the member for Ottawa West has done a service. I know he feels confined by the amount of time he was allowed under Bob Rae's new rules to express himself in this Legislature, and I certainly will be asking for unanimous consent, when I get to speak, to be allowed to speak for the same amount of time on an issue that I consider to be exceedingly important.

But if I looked at the issues, as the member did, that I thought were important to the NDP, if I were an objective observer who was going to vote one way or the other, one of the things that would have attracted me to the New Democratic Party would have been its stand on casino gambling -- against -- and its stand on Sunday shopping, a stand which was based on a common pause day, on the need to protect individuals who work in these various businesses and occupations across the province from being forced -- and no matter what way you put it, they're going to be forced -- to work on Sundays, the common pause day.

For this reason, I'm exceedingly pleased that the member for Ottawa West has taken it upon himself to speak for the length of time he has to outline the history of this government's stand and this issue as it relates to this House.

Mr Mills: I've been called, in my time on earth, a lot of things, but I've never been called a dysfunctional person. I think that anybody who knows me will say the last thing I should be called would be dysfunctional. Now, I saw the member for Ottawa West throw up his papers and tear them up and throw them on the floor like a kid throwing a temper tantrum, and that is being dysfunctional.

I just want to talk about this legislation. You people over there failed to come to grips with it. This government has got the courage and the fortitude at last to come to grips with Sunday shopping. All of you failed to do that.

We had the run-through and the history lesson from the member for Ottawa West that we could very well have done without.

I just want to refer to Hansard, May 26. Your leader, the leader of the third party, was talking about the debate you folks had on bringing back the municipal option, and he said: "I tell you, I finish as I started. I am absolutely amazed that the Liberal Party brought this resolution forward today, that it wants to remind Ontarians of how ineffectual it was and what lack of leadership it had on this issue." I echo the sentiments of the leader of the third party. He goes on to say, "Our main criticism of" this party "now is: Get on with it." Today we are getting on with that to get this thing resolved.

I'm sure the people of Ontario are fed up to here and beyond with this issue of Sunday shopping. Let's get it out of the way, let's vote on it and let's get back to debating and coming to grips with the things the people of Ontario want: jobs and the economy. That's what the people want to listen to. The Gallup poll says 72% of Ontarians want Sunday shopping.

Mr Tim Murphy (St George-St David): I heard with interest the comments of the member for Durham East. I think it's probably quite correct that the people are fed up with it.

The thing that bothers me most about the way this issue has been dealt with is the fact that it wasn't dealt with last summer, it wasn't dealt with at the time the bill was first introduced, and it's the odd circumstance -- frankly, it's an insult to the members of this House that the bill was introduced on a free-vote basis, and then the law, as it stood on the books, was not applied. I think that's an insult to all the members.

I just want the members to be clear up front: My vote will be for the legislation; however, I have some concerns.

Mr Bob Huget (Sarnia): Except if the wind blows the other way.

Mr Murphy: I find it interesting, the interjections of the member for Sarnia about which way the wind blows. I think he should pay some attention to his Premier. I remember when he was in another capacity, standing in this House, railing away against Sunday shopping and about the protection of workers, and now he's stood up in the House and he's in favour of it. So I think you should look at your own mirror, sir, and then you'll find out. I'm concerned about the degree of the righteous indignation with which the Premier stood up in this House and said there was something reprehensible about Sunday shopping, and now the tune is different.

But I think the people of this province are ready for it, subject to some concerns. I think it's probably inappropriate that we do not have some kind of at least pause for part of Sunday. I think some kind of condition that would allow stores to open after 12 o'clock might be something this House and the members in committee should look forward to. I look forward to speaking more thoroughly on this issue when my turn in the debate comes up.

The Acting Speaker: The honourable member for Ottawa West has two minutes to make a response.

1740

Mr Chiarelli: I did want to make a couple of comments with respect to, first of all, the member for Oxford. I appreciate his intervention. It dealt with the substantive element of my debate and that's the impact on 50,000 employees who are working in small convenience stores across the province. It is significant that we deal with impact and substance.

With respect to the member for Durham East, he says: "Let's get on with it. Let's get the vote. Let's put this issue to bed." That's the problem with the New Democratic Party and this government. Basically it's like a bull in a china shop. It makes a mistake and then, when it does a flip-flop, it makes a bigger mistake.

I wish the member for Durham East would simply have said, using his words, that he wasn't concerned about people on Sunday mornings, that he wasn't concerned that all the retail operations are going to be open. Loblaws superstores are going to be open from 8 am to 8 pm --

Mr Mills: Read what I say in Hansard. Read it. I've said it before.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr Chiarelli: He didn't address that. He didn't address my comments. All he addressed was the fact that he didn't like the amount of time I was taking to put my case forward.

I would invite him to talk to the substance. I would invite him to talk to the impact of this legislation, the impact on 50,000 employees in this province, the impact on those people who support a common pause day who now, with Bill 38, do not even have Sunday mornings, the workers who don't even have Sunday mornings. Even if you support wide-open Sunday shopping, why couldn't you draft a bill that would start at noon and open up at noon instead of open up from the early hours of Sunday morning?

The member for Durham East is part of a dysfunctional government.

Mr Mills: See what I said in there.

The Acting Speaker: Order. I recognize the honourable member for Etobicoke West.

Mr Stockwell: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

[Applause]

Mr Stockwell: I thought it was the member from Durham.

Mr Jim Wiseman (Durham West): The day I applaud you is the day I've really forgotten who I am.

Mr Stockwell: This debate, I think, will become more and more rowdy as we move on, because it's one of those particular issues --

Interjections.

Mr Stockwell: Here they go. All I said was it's going to be rowdy. I've woken them up. I can tell they're awake. The inaudible grunts are coming forward.

Interjection.

Mr Stockwell: Okay, I'll do my best. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think he's finished.

Interjection.

Mr Stockwell: No, he's not finished. When one stops, the other begins.

What I'd like to do, first off, is --

Mr Perruzza: Tell us whether you're for or against right away.

Mr Stockwell: Mr Speaker, right off the top -- it may silence the Downsview-Yorkview twins there -- I'm in favour of the legislation.

Mr Perruzza: All right, there we go. Now we can listen to you.

Mr Stockwell: I have from the beginning supported Sunday shopping in my municipal career as an elected official. From 1985 on, I've been in favour of Sunday shopping. It's not a huge secret. I voted in favour of it at Metro council. I chaired a committee on Sunday shopping.

When I ran for this office, I said to the constituents of my riding, some of whom were opposed to me and I'm certain didn't vote for me because of the position I took on Sunday shopping -- there is a large segment of my community that didn't want wide-open Sunday shopping.

Let's be very clear in the beginning: When I went out and sought election for this office, the question came up about Sunday shopping and I was very clear, if it came to a free vote in the House, I would vote in favour, which is exactly opposite to what all those people on the other side said. I would just like to be very clear, it's been a consistent message, I've been in favour.

I think what this Legislature needs to do at this time is not necessarily go back through the history of 1845, when a streetcar was introduced on Sunday, or Sunday sports and so on and so forth. The history of it all, the chronology of holiday shopping in Ontario, can be summarized from 1845 onwards. It can be a list that's quite long and gets you right up until 1993.

But, for our own purposes, I think it's important that we go back to when the leaders of our respective parties took positions on this issue and filled in the population of this province on what their position would be on Sunday shopping in this domain that we stand in today.

What was the position of the then Leader of the Opposition, now Premier, Mr Bob Rae? I took the time to go back through the Hansard recordings of previous administrations and I came up with the second and third readings of the Liberal motion of the day, which was for municipal option, ideally known locally as the domino option, and what the Premier of this day, the then Leader of the Opposition, had to say.

I read his comments and that was a tremendous speech -- two very good speeches that Mr Rae made on those days. I think it's very important that the people of this province recall or be reminded of exactly what it is the member said in those days and I think it would be important for the members who weren't here then, on the government side, to hear exactly what Mr Rae had to say as Leader of the Opposition. I will say, quite often you had members opposite standing up and chastising both the Liberals and the Conservatives for offering what they consider to be irresponsible critics' positions on some issues we face today.

We also must bear in mind for history that the Premier of the day is the same man who campaigned against Sunday shopping. Yes, he's flip-flopped on casino gambling; yes, he's flip-flopped on government-run auto insurance; yes, he's flip-flopped on practically everything.

But what I thought the NDP held dear to their hearts, one issue that I didn't think you'd sell out on, one issue I thought on September 6, 1990, was over for at least five years, was the issue of Sunday shopping. I couldn't have been any more wrong or surprised that the socialists, the labour-leaning, left-wing cause célèbres, the 74 of you, could actually be convinced that what you had said, the rhetoric you had spouted for all those many decades about Sunday shopping, was just plain and simple socialist pap, bottom line.

They sold everybody out that you spoke for on that campaign: the workers, the churches and all the people who believed in you. So when I see the member for Durham East, Mr Mills, getting up and chanting and raving and ranting on that side of the House, I think he'd be better off to simply do what I think all members should do on this particular issue, sit in your seats like church mice, because you have no room at all to debate this issue, period, case closed.

Again they don't take my advice. I told them that $10 billion was too much; they didn't take my advice. I told them five dumps in Durham is too many; they still didn't take my advice, and even at this point they're not taking it.

Let me start. Mr Bob Rae: He starts off by speaking to that domino piece of legislation the Liberals introduced. "I am referring now to the 1988 version of the views of the Solicitor General." This is Bob Rae speaking so this is interesting stuff.

Mr Perruzza: How long are you going to go for?

Mr Stockwell: I'm going to go for quite a while -- "because frankly one would need" --

Mr Mammoliti: I'm going to leave again.

Mr Stockwell: I'll do my best. The members for Yorkview and Downsview are starting to complete sentences for each other.

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Which is just as well because they can't do it for themselves.

Mr Stockwell: "I am referring now" -- this is Bob Rae speaking -- "to the 1988 version of the views of the Solicitor General because frankly one would need to have a complete case of amnesia not to recognize that the views of the Solicitor General have changed rather dramatically as her rise to power in the Liberal Party has evolved."

Here's Bob Rae saying that a member of the Liberal government's views have changed rather dramatically with her rise in ranking within the Liberal Party. "There was a time when the Solicitor General had a very different view from the one she is expressing today."

"We all respect the right of members to change their minds. This is a long-honoured right among members of the Legislature, as it is among individuals. I think we are also allowed to point out precisely when these changes occur in the life of an honourable member."

That was Mr Rae and I think I'm going to take my time today to point out exactly when this life change took place for Mr Rae.

He goes on to say: "In 1988, it is the modern and contemporary thing to do to have stores open on Sunday. It is what the modern yuppie family wants. It is what the trendy way of the world should be. This is what should transpire and this is what should happen." The immortal words of Robert K. Rae, QC.

1750

"If the government of the day had the courage to say that, I would say, fine, let's have a debate on the question of whether Sunday should be a day which is a commercial day like any other day or whether we should recognize that one day of the week should be a day of common rest and common pause as much as is humanly...possible" and practical.

"I want to say very clearly that I will speak personally and also on behalf of my caucus because we are more or less of the same view on this question with some varieties of opinion, as they are expressed from time to time within a caucus. I can say" -- now, this is their Premier, the socialist Premier in opposition -- "quite honestly I am not an ideologue on this issue, nor do I come to it from a sense that Sunday is a common day of religious expression and that is the reason it should be preserved.

"I have a much more practical sense as to why this is important and why it has assumed the importance that it has. It is simply this." He went on to say, "We live in a world where more and more people are having to work longer and longer hours in order to make ends meet. Many of my constituents who 10 or 15 years ago would not have had to work are working now. Many of them are working longer hours than they were working 10 or 15 years ago. For that reason, the pressure to work on Sunday and the pressure to be away from the family is growing all the time."

Mr Bradley: Who said that?

Mr Stockwell: Robert K. Rae, QC.

"There is much sentimentality expressed in our culture about the family. I do not intend to engage in any more of that than I absolutely have to. But I do think that if any of us were to ask ourselves what is the one institution in our society that we would want to try to sustain, as well as the rights of individuals, it would be the family."

Mr Bradley: Who said this? Paul Magder?

Mr Stockwell: Robert K. Rae, QC.

"It would be our right and our chance or opportunity to be together" -- and it's certainly gotten quite quiet here -- "to spend time together and to spend time free from pressures of the marketplace and free from pressures of the commercial world, a time when we can be together."

Mr Bradley: Tell me that's not Bob Rae.

Mr Stockwell: That's Robert K. Rae, QC.

"It is...a value in our culture as Canadians. It is a value in the cultures from which many of us come. It is a value which has profound importance in a great many communities which make up the Canadian community." Words by Robert K. Rae, QC.

Sir, you could have put this to music, entered it into a tape and CITY-TV, Radio Free Noon at CBC and Metro NDP Morning would have been playing this non-stop for hours on end.

Here he goes again, speaking personally: "If I could speak personally again, on a Sunday afternoon I can go and visit my constituents whose homes may have been in Italy or Portugal or in many, many other parts of the world, but I will mention these two cultures particularly, and I know well that if I go there on Sunday at 12 o'clock the whole family will be there."

No longer, because the NDP is introducing Sunday shopping legislation. No longer will he be able to go to his constituents' homes who happen to be from Italy and Portugal, at noon, and have a drink of wine, as he says, and chat about family concerns, because they'll all be out shopping.

To continue: "I believe" --

Mr Bradley: Is it still Bob Rae?

Mr Stockwell: Robert K. Rae, QC, goes on: "I believe that is a fact of contemporary life. The first argument I hear is made in defence not of some monstrosity or some joke called a local option, because it is a joke -- I am going to come to that in terms of my second argument -- but simply that...it is modern, that it is contemporary, that it is commercially successful, that it is the way to go and that it is the way the world is working seven days a week, 24 hours a day. 'Let's keep the stores going. Let's keep them open. Let's keep all those options available. Let's give that right to the individual to shop whenever he or she wants."' He was warming up, that Robert K. Rae, QC.

He goes on. "I must confess I do not regard that as a contemporary or a particularly modern notion. There is nothing contemporary or modern about it. It is, if I may say so, a very old-fashioned, commercial Victorian idea that people should be working 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It is not a modern doctrine at all. It is a very old-fashioned doctrine and it is a very vicious doctrine," said Robert K. Rae, QC.

Mr Bradley: Is this still his stand? Because I voted for him.

Mr Stockwell: Apparently he's changed, but I think he was an honourable sort.

Now here's a really good part. The guy was warming up, he was in full swing, sucking those votes up all over the province: "I'm opposed to Sunday shopping. Vote for me. Read Agenda for People. Everybody's lying but me. Gosh, I'll be the greatest Premier in the world."

He goes on, "Surely" -- and apparently, he was talking to Shirley -- "if one genuinely wanted to be modern or contemporary, one would be talking about ways we can ensure that people should be working less." Well, he succeeded at something. He's Premier and people are certainly working less.

"I believe profoundly that people should not be working for as long, for as many hours as they are being required to work today." It worked again; people aren't working as long or for as many hours a day as they used to be. "I believe profoundly that we should not only be talking about making Sunday a day of rest; we should be talking about making Saturday a day of rest." He didn't even go far enough; he's now made a day of rest in this province for 300,000 people of Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and he's succeeded in Friday as well. The man is incredible, brilliant. He fulfilled one promise at least.

He goes on -- and this is in opposition. This is Robert K. Rae, QC.

Mr Bradley: Is this the man who was against casinos?

Mr Stockwell: He's against casinos; he's opposed to Sunday shopping. "We should be talking about reducing the number of people who have to work at night" -- there, he's going to stop people from working at night -- "the number of people who have to work shifts" -- we won't have to work shifts. It's Shangri-La -- "the number of people who have to work shifts, the number of people who have to work difficult hours, the number of people who have to work 50 and 55 hours in order to make ends meet. As a modern industrial society, we should be addressing the fact that if we are serious about maintaining a sense of freedom and decency we have to deal with this question of working time and working hours." He's dealt with that question better than any Premier in the past number of years.

Again, he was just warming up. This is a speech from Robert K. Rae, QC. This was before he called Mr Peterson a liar for not putting beer in corner stores. This is the Premier then: "One of the first questions I asked in this House six years ago" from this date in 1988, so now he's going to history. He actually felt the same way six years previous to the 1988 debate -- "dealt with this question of working time, the fact that families are being forced to work longer and harder hours in order to make ends meet in our society. More and more people are working overtime. More and more people are working part-time, because that is the only kind of work they can get. They add on, they work and they work and they moonlight. They do work here and they do work there. Why? Because they do not get paid enough." He fixed that again. They're not getting paid at all any more.

"It is not because of some Calvinist urge, that they think it is good for their souls, that they have to go out there and sweat 12 hours a day. It is because they have to, because they have no bloody choice, because they make $4.50 or $5 an hour, because they have a family, because they have to pay the rent that is going up faster than they can keep up with and, if they have a house, so that they can keep up with the mortgage. It is impossible.

"The first thing I want to say is when members of the Liberal Party talk about modernity" --

Mr Steven W. Mahoney (Mississauga West): What?

Mr Stockwell: I don't know. -- "all I can say is if that is their version of the noble city, they can have it" -- talking about Sunday shopping -- "it is theirs. They can flog that commercial doctrine, that it is somehow trendy and contemporary to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I will say quite frankly I do not regard it as restful to go shopping with my family." Robert K. Rae, QC.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): He was right.

Mr Bradley: Here's a letter to the editor.

Mr Stockwell: He was right, apparently, in opposition, and Robert K. Rae, QC, like a fish on the beach, is flipping and flopping around, unrecognizable.

I've got my letter that I want to read, thanks to the member for St Catharines who nobly gave it to me, but I'm out of time, so I want to leave those members from the government side --

Mr Bradley: What does the headline say, though?

Mr Stockwell: "Rae No Longer Has My Support." That was an NDP riding.

I will adjourn the debate and hope that we can all come back tomorrow. Maybe Robert K. can come as well, and hear the immortal words of himself a few short years ago.

1800

HEALTH CARE

The Acting Speaker (Mr Dennis Drainville): Pursuant to standing order 34, the question that this House do now adjourn is deemed to have been made. The member for Renfrew North has given notice of dissatisfaction with the answer to a question given yesterday by the Honourable Minister of Health. The member has up to five minutes to debate the matter and the minister or parliamentary assistant may reply for up to five minutes.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): Let me say at the outset that I appreciate that the Minister of Health has other obligations. She kindly indicated earlier today that she could not be here. I understand that entirely and I'm happy to see the parliamentary assistant, the member for Simcoe Centre, here.

Having said that, I want to take a few moments this evening to address a concern that I have over the expenditure control program that the Ministry of Health tabled at the social contract talks as of last week. I want to say to the members in this Legislature of all sides that this is an issue that is going to be very much before the community as we head into the spring. I feel very, very strongly that the package of proposals that the government tabled last week, expecting to save this year $226 million -- as I read the document, and I might be misreading it, I think it's pretty clear this particular set of proposals that was tabled last week is going to affect everyone in the province.

In my view, and one of the reasons I'm on my feet tonight, I'm deeply concerned that the package has a bias against rural Ontario. It is perhaps an unintended bias, but in the last number of days, in speaking to health care professionals and others in my county of Renfrew, both in the city of Pembroke and in rural communities like Barry's Bay and Deep River, everyone I have spoken to is very concerned about the practical effect of what has been proposed.

Now, let me say as well that the minister's answers have been very confusing because the Minister of Health has been saying to myself and to others, including the Tory Health critic, the member for Simcoe West, that these are essentially proposals. "Not to worry. We're going to negotiate these with the medical association."

Let there be no confusion. On April 23, almost a month ago, the Minister of Finance for Ontario stood in this place and said, "We have an expenditure control program that is going to eliminate or reduce $2.4 billion worth of expenditures on the program side this year in Ontario," and that as part of that determined $2.4 billion expenditure program reduction, $275 million of that will come in payment to physicians. That has been decided.

I understand why the government feels it has to do that. I'm not even going to quarrel with the need for expenditure reductions. We all know why we're at this point. But the government has said, 'We have fixed this figure and it is non-negotiable" -- the figure.

Now we have last week, at the table, a set of specific proposals that the Ministry of Health has tabled but that I gather were prepared by treasury that contain a number of very significant proposals that are intended to reduce by $226 million these payments to physicians.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): The most vulnerable physicians.

Mr Conway: Let me say to the House and to the province beyond, doctors are going to have to do their share in this. I am very concerned that the government has inadvertently or otherwise chosen the most vulnerable of the doctors, the young doctors, to carry a lot of the burden.

But in my remaining time, let me say that the government's proposals, as a package, are clearly going to have an impact on the provision of health services in rural Ontario and I believe elsewhere, in talking to doctors and hospital administrators and others in communities like Barry's Bay and Renfrew and Deep River and Pembroke. I say to my friend from Woodstock, the member for Oxford, that the London Free Press of Saturday, May 15, observes that at Four Counties General Hospital in Newbury they are reporting the very same things that I'm hearing in my county.

My concern is this: The government's plan has been outlined.

Hon Howard Hampton (Minister of Natural Resources): Is this a doctors' strike, Sean?

Mr Conway: It has nothing to do with the doctors' strike. It has everything to do with service reduction to rural constituents. That's my worry. My point and my concern, on behalf of my constituents, is, what alternate plan does the government of Ontario have, does the Ministry of Health have to ensure that in rural communities like Barry's Bay and Newbury and Deep River and Bancroft and Seaforth and Exeter and a whole bunch of other ones, Minden and Haliburton, what plan does the government have in place to ensure a reasonable level of care, particularly in the area of emergency services where doctors now are indicating, from Sudbury to Renfrew, that they are planning to withdraw from the provision of those services? What plan does the ministry have to ensure in rural communities that a reasonable level of emergency and other health services can be continued as this plan or a version of it is imposed on the doctors and the patients all across Ontario?

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): If I might just clarify with respect to some of the comments made by the minister with respect to the honourable member's question, first of all, it must be noted that effective July 1, 1993, under the new regulations of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, new entrants to post-graduate medical training will not be able to bill OHIP until they have completed training. It is essential therefore to develop alternatives.

Currently, medical residents may be employed by hospitals in small rural communities such as Barry's Bay and Manitouwadge to provide emergency room coverage during off hours -- that is, evenings and weekends. The ministry is aware of the emergency room situation and we will be looking at alternative plans to ensure essential services are covered. The proposal from the ministry does include $5 million to be assigned to meet these services.

It must be noted also that medical residents receive salaries and benefits from the ministry ranging from $41,000 to $64,000 per year, and may work up to 60 hours per week. In the interests of public safety, the ministry recognizes that it may be inappropriate for residents to provide medical services outside their regular work week.

The Acting Speaker: There being no further matter to debate, I deem the motion to adjourn to be carried. This House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1807.

Top Of Page

top | new search