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Ontario Hansard - 23-October1986

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

TOBACCO TAX


Mr. Sterling: This afternoon this government will ask this Legislature to pass a piece of legislation that will encourage more young people in our province to become addicts of a harmful substance. The Department of National Health and Welfare has reported a dramatic 20 per cent increase in the daily smoking rate of those between 12 and 29 in Ontario in 1986 over the rate in 1985. In other provinces, the rate has dropped by 13 per cent; in each and every province the rate of smoking has dropped among our young people. This is a crisis since we know that 30 to 40 of these young people in this province will die each year in 20 to 30 years from now.

This is a new problem of this Liberal government. When our party was in power, fewer young people took up the habit of smoking each year, as a result of our persistence in keeping the taxation level at a consistent rate with the rate of inflation. Numerous studies have shown that the use of tobacco falls dramatically among our young people when the price of tobacco goes up. I ask the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) to amend his bill to raise the tax and put that money aside for our tobacco farmers.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY


Mr. Martel: I predict that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) will indicate he gave a cooked page 12 in his ministry report on Domtar because the health and safety committee at Domtar wanted time to review the problems identified in the report prepared by Dr. Chong and Dr. Haines.

It should be noted that the union representative on the health and safety committee was told that the plant could be closed if the matter of cleanup was pushed too hard, and the minister was aware of that threat. The union was prepared to discuss matters, but was unaware that Dr. Muir and Normand Pellerin, a director of Domtar, were holding meetings to have the report rewritten.

I would like to quote from Dr. Muir in yesterday's Toronto Star: "Dr. Muir, a long-time consultant to the Workers' Compensation Board, said his goal is to preserve his program's credibility in the eyes of workers and employers, and that means avoiding advocacy on behalf of patients. `I'm not willing to lose that neutral image for myself or by association.'"

By agreeing to rewrite the report without the involvement and knowledge of the union, Dr. Muir was, according to any objective observer, taking the side of the company in this matter. Dr. Muir accepted the initial report based on the scientific analysis. I am told he asked the authors to moderate the tone of the report, not the conclusions. What promoted rewriting? I suspect two threats: a law suit against the ministry, as I am told in a letter, and the possible closing of the plant. This matter has to be investigated thoroughly.

MINISTRY HIRING


Mr. Haggerty: I would like to update the members of the Legislature on the employment practices of the Ministry of Government Services from January 17, 1986, to May 22, 1986. During that period, no new permanent positions were created at the Ministry of Government Services. In fact, 29 fewer positions were funded in the 1986-87 fiscal year than in the previous fiscal year.

The Ministry of Government Services has a staff of close to 3,000 employees. Of the 194 employees hired between January 17, 1986, and May 22, 1986, 75 were classified employees hired to replace staff that had retired or resigned. This is considered a normal turnover rate in a ministry of this size. One hundred and nineteen were unclassified employees hired on a temporary basis to provide short-term assistance to the ministry to ease heavy work loads.

A significant number of these jobs went to students for the summer period as part of the ministry's support of the Ontario government's student employment program.

NURSING HOMES


Mr. Cousens: A headline in today's Globe and Mail quotes the Premier (Mr. Peterson) as saying, "Old People Need Less Food Than Others." The elderly of Ontario do not deserve this insult. To begin with, the statement is inaccurate. The elderly tend to need fewer calories but have an even greater need for high-quality, nutritious food. The elderly require more nutritious food, not less food.

The Premier's statement can indicate only one thing: a profound ignorance of the needs of the elderly, not to mention a callous insensitivity to their needs. As chairman of the Progressive Conservative task force on the elderly, I have become more aware of seniors' needs. Take Meals on Wheels, for example. Would the Premier want to reduce helpings? Does he want to categorize and stereotype seniors?

It is wrong to show such a shallow, callous disregard for seniors' needs now when the elderly are looking for new leadership and direction. We will remember the Premier shrugging his shoulders and saying, "They do not eat that much anyway." The Premier should beware when commenting on the eating habits of the populace. We all recall the fate of someone who proclaimed, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche. Let them eat cake."

WISHART LIBRARY


Mr. Morin-Strom: I am pleased today to be able to honour a distinguished former member of this Legislature. Today in Sault Ste. Marie, the library of Algoma University College is being officially named the Wishart Library, a fitting tribute to a most distinguished citizen who has served the people of Sault Ste. Marie and the province well for many years.

Born in New Brunswick in 1903, Arthur Wishart got his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1930, practised in Windsor and Blind River, where he became the mayor as well, and then joined a law firm in Sault Ste. Marie in 1939. In 1963, he was elected member of the provincial parliament for Sault Ste. Marie. He entered the cabinet within a year as Attorney General under the John Robarts administration. He served in that senior cabinet portfolio for seven years and is credited with shepherding many important pieces of legislation, including the Legal Aid Act of 1966 and the Law Enforcement Compensation Act of 1967. After retiring from politics in 1971, he also served the province as chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and later of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses.

Arthur Wishart has been a long-time advocate for Algoma University College and has served for many years as a trustee on its governing board. The naming of the Wishart Library today pays fitting tribute to a distinguished citizen of my community and this province.

HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION

14:10


Mr. Morin: On behalf of the Premier, my colleagues and the government of Ontario, I rise for the purpose of recognizing an important event that took place on this date 30 years ago, on October 23, 1956. On this date, 3,000 students of the Technological University in Budapest began a peaceful protest for political reform which ended in an uprising to render Hungary free of the shackles of the Stalinist regime for the first time since 1947. The days of glorious freedom were not to last, however; two weeks later, on November 4, Soviet tanks rumbled into Budapest.

Today we cherish the memory of the valiant bravery of the Hungarian men and women who, against overwhelming odds, fought the occupation forces. On behalf of the Ontario government, I would like to pay tribute to the freedom fighters of 1956 and to Hungarians everywhere who lost a battle but won the admiration and respect of freedom-loving people everywhere.

I would like to recognize in the gallery Judge Steven Walters, vice-president of Hungarian Freedom Fighters and vice-president of the Hungarian-Canadian Federation.


Mr. Shymko: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: In light of the fact that this statement on the anniversary of the Hungarian revolution is not made by a cabinet minister, some of us on this side would like to join in the remarks of the member for Carleton East. I would like to have the leave of the House to allow for that procedure.

Hon. Mr. Nixon: I certainly want to co-operate with the honourable member in marking this important event in every way possible. My colleague undertook to use his one minute and a half available during this procedure to bring that to the attention of the House. It seems to me the member for High Park-Swansea has equal access, but I am sure all of us will agree that this is an occasion when any member who wishes to contribute should have an opportunity to do so.

Mr. McClellan: My concern is that the minister who normally makes the statements marking these kinds of anniversaries appears to have given this statement to a private member for the private member to use the time allocated to members' statements to make the statement. I thought we had worked out some way of marking important anniversaries, first with the minister making a statement and then with an opportunity for each of the opposition parties also to recognize the important day. The deviation in the procedure has made things a little awkward.

Mr. Speaker: It appears we are getting into a bit of debate. However, there has been a request by the member for High-Park Swansea. I will have to ask the House what its decision may be.

Hon. Mr. Nixon: We will support any reasonable statement.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I believe that was a 90-second statement. Does the House wish to allow any reasonable statement?

Agreed to.


Mr. Shymko: I want to join the member for Carleton East in his remarks on this very important day, important not only to the Hungarian community in Canada and the Hungarian people but to all freedom-loving peoples in the world. This marks the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution of 1956.

On that day 30 years ago, thousands of university students in Budapest staged a demonstration of protest against an oppressive Communist regime. What began as a peaceful demonstration turned into a political uprising, leading to a series of political and social reforms moving the country towards democracy. On November 4, 12 days later, the revolution was suppressed when Soviet troops moved into Hungary, foreshadowing what would happen in Czechoslovakia several years later, and a new Communist government was put in place. In the aftermath of the revolution, several political activists were executed, among them, as we all recall, Imre Nagy, the leader of the Hungarian people, and 150,000 refugees fled to the west.

I want to remind the honourable members of the work of all the members of all parties of the Legislature of Ontario in those days when they joined the Honourable John Yaremko and the Honourable Allan Grossman in their efforts to settle these refugees in Canada. The members of this House can therefore all take pride today in the efforts of the then Premier Leslie Frost, who encouraged the federal government to open Canadian borders to 37,000 refugees, and in the work of former members of this Legislature who were involved in this.

Today we all join in remembrance of those who lost their lives as well in the struggle for liberty, human rights and freedom. We also recognize October 23, 1956, as a historic milestone in a fight for the democracy that so many of us have come to take for granted.

Je voudrais conclure mes remarques, en présence des députés de l'Assemblée nationale de la République française, en rappelant, à tous, les principes sur lesquels fut fondée la République française, suivant la Révolution française. Ce sont les principes de liberté, d'égalité et de fraternité, principes de l'esprit humain qui donneront force à l'espoir et à la foi qu'un jour le peuple hongrois, autant que les peuples qui sont soumis à des régimes totalitaires, jouiront de la liberté politique, sociale et économique dont nous jouissons ici, au Canada, et dans le monde libre.


Mr. Laughren: Thirty years ago today, the Hungarian people expressed their profound unhappiness with their totalitarian government, and the Hungarian revolution began.

The Hungarian people were and are a courageous people. They wanted nothing more than the basic rights to which all freedom-loving people aspire. The Hungarian people were crushed and thousands were killed by Soviet forces armed to the teeth. The Soviet Union will, I suspect, never be able to erase from people's minds that picture of massive Russian tanks lumbering through the streets of Hungarian cities.

The revolution failed, but many thousands of Hungarian people left their homeland and emigrated to countries around the world. Canada was fortunate in having many of them choose this country as their new home. They have contributed mightily to Canadian life, and while they and their children are now committed Canadian citizens, the fires of Hungarian nationalism burn fiercely in their hearts.

I and my fellow New Democrats join with others in this assembly in remembering with sadness that day 30 years ago. We also pay tribute to the courage of the Hungarian people and assure them that we shall not forget either their courage or their cause.


Mr. Newman: I would like to read into the record the words of Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty in a statement made on October 23 quite a few years ago:

"There is no country which in the course of its thousands of years of history has suffered more than have the Hungarians. They have had to wage incessant struggles for their independence, mostly in defence of the western countries. These struggles interrupted the continuity of our development, and we have had to rise again by our own efforts.

"In the course of history, this is the first occasion that Hungary has enjoyed the sympathy of all civilized nations. We are deeply moved by this, and every member of our small nation is joyous in his heart that because of our love for liberty, the nations have taken up its cause."

ARTS FUNDING


Ms. Fish: The Minister for Citizenship and Culture (Ms. Munro) will be supporting a deficit write-down to Stratford and other theatres that are running deficits.

The minister's attempt to support the arts is transparent for several reasons. In the course of providing the resources, she completely bypasses the Ontario Arts Council, which clearly should be making the decisions about which organizations should receive what form of funding and when.

It is worthy of note that a few short years ago, when other deficit write-down payments were required for those same theatre groups, the decision on the amount and the timing of any such payments was made entirely by the arts council. It was the arts council that was funded and asked to take those decisions. The council serves at arm's length from the minister and from the ministry and works on behalf of arts groups.

The real question is what resources will be provided for those like Shaw and others that have lived within fiscal restraint and not run deficits.


Mr. Bernier: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I want to bring to your attention the fact that the privileges of all the members of this House were abused today -- in fact, this afternoon -- when the Premier (Mr. Peterson) announced on CBC Radio the sale of the world-class recreational convention centre at Minaki Lodge. Surely he should have had the common decency to make this announcement in this House, because that is the way we do business here. This is the democratic way of doing business. He should be called before the bar of the House to explain.

Mr. Speaker: I listened very carefully, and I believe similar matters have been mentioned and brought up in this legislative chamber. As I recall, they have never been considered a point of privilege. However, I note your point of information.

14:22

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