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Ontario Hansard - 24-November1986

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

ARTS FUNDING


Mrs. Marland: The persistence of the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) in proceeding, against the advice of the Bovey commission, with an amendment to the Retail Sales Act that he quite mistakenly believes will affect only international performers and commercial ventures represents nothing more than this Liberal government's continued determination to destroy the foundation, profitability and financial integrity of our arts organizations. It is an effort to ensure that our important theatre industry is more dependent on the whim of this Liberal government, the most offensive kind of patronage imaginable.

Bill 26 has serious and long-ranging consequences for every sector of our arts community. Currently, because of their charitable organization tax status, community-based and nonprofit theatres can support local volunteer concert organizations, can aid the careers of Canadian performers and can provide first-class entertainment on a regional basis across Ontario. Their contribution to the quality of life in this province is recognized by the sizeable contribution to their operating budgets provided by every municipal taxpayer in this province annually.

Now, because the Treasurer misunderstands the operation of theatres such as the O'Keefe Centre, Roy Thomson Hall, the arts centre in Ottawa, the Centre in the Square in Kitchener and the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, the profitability and financial integrity of these important institutions are jeopardized.

TARIFFS ON SOFTWOOD LUMBER


Mr. Wildman: I rise to bring to the House's attention another deadline I hope this government will not miss, as it did the November 3 deadline, for filing an intervention with regard to the softwood lumber countervail tariff. This government missed the deadline on November 3 and, as a result, cannot make an intervention in the appeal process; at least it cannot speak before the commission. However, there is another deadline, this Friday, that will make it possible for this government to file at least a written intervention.

There are large numbers of layoffs occurring throughout northern Ontario as a result of the imposition of the 15 per cent countervail tariff. It is imperative, particularly now that the Premier (Mr. Peterson) has failed in his attempt to win over the other Premiers and the Prime Minister of this country to the position that we should be fighting the countervail, for this province to make a presentation on behalf of the producers and the workers of this province separately from whatever action the federal government takes on behalf of this country.

If we do not make a presentation indicating that we are not prepared to have our stumpage fees decided in Washington, DC, then we are opening the way for this country to move to a situation where the Americans will decide all our ways of dealing with private industry in this province. It is imperative that this government make the deadline.

READING MACHINES FOR THE BLIND


Mr. Newman: I had the opportunity earlier this year of attending the convention of the National Council of State Legislatures in New Orleans, where I noticed the use of reading machines to assist blind and visually impaired individuals. In 1985, the Texas legislature enacted legislation to place 70 reading machines in public and college libraries serving blind and visually-impaired patrons. In 1979 and 1981, New York and New Jersey did similar things.

The advantages of placing reading machines in libraries are many. It provides the cornerstone for a resource room serving the blind. It allows instant access to books, periodicals and reference materials. It enables blind patrons to convert print to Braille and encourages blind schoolchildren, employed adults and retirees to use public libraries independently. It enhances career training and independent research among the blind. It provides access to information for the learning-disabled. It enables adults in literacy programs to keep up with printed information.

I suggest that Ontario look very closely at the possibility of introducing reading machines in public libraries and college and university libraries for the service of the visually impaired.

TARIFFS ON SOFTWOOD LUMBER


Mr. Pierce: I want to address the House again today concerning the mismanagement of the softwood lumber tariff by the Liberal government. The Premier and his government failed to take action months ago before the tariff issue blew up and left northern Ontario in the fallout. It was not until the Progressive Conservative Party began raising the issue in the Legislature and called an emergency debate that the Liberal government started to notice there was a problem.

This government should have been in Washington months ago pointing out the differences in Ontario's lumber industry compared to the major provincial lumber producers. Ontario's uniqueness should have been made known. The responsibility for making the Americans aware of Ontario's uniqueness does not fall on the shoulders of the federal government. The responsibility of providing the Americans with information on Ontario's lumber industry is totally the responsibility of the provincial government.

It has become more and more apparent that this part-time Minister of Northern Development and Mines (Mr. Peterson) is not addressing the needs of the northern industries and, in particular, those that relate to the softwood lumber industry.

The Premier's words in Vancouver this past weekend will not bring back the 900 jobs already lost in northern Ontario, nor will they save the jobs that were lost and will be lost in the future. The first ministers were not prepared to accept Ontario's proposal to go the full legal route in protecting our lumber industry. What is the Premier now going to do to protect the lumber industry in Ontario?

SOCIAL ASSISTANCE


Mr. R. F. Johnston: I rise to inform the House today that the social assistance review committee that has been going around the province is this week holding its important meetings here in Toronto. It will be receiving here, as it has elsewhere, poignant testimony from recipients of our social assistance system and a lot of solid analysis of what is wrong, reconfirming the alarming poverty in which many people live, the glaring inequities between classes of recipients, the social stigmatization that our present system has placed on them and the future of hopelessness for those children of the poor that we have left them, as well as an appeal system which is totally inadequate for the purposes.

We held workshops in my riding on October 18, and a number of participants will be making presentations to the commission at the end of this week. I hope other members will assist the poor in their areas to get their views before the committee as well.

Although Mr. Thomson has been called visionary in a recent article, I am a little concerned that many members of the committee are now talking about having to be very practical and consider the realities that a government's expectations may place on them. I hope this government will follow our lead and say it is a time for vision, a time for a total overhaul of the system, and that soon the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) will make some announcements in this House to change some of the inequities in this system, giving a sign to Mr. Thomson's committee that all is possible in Ontario for change. They do not have to be restrictive at all.

GRANTS TO WELLINGTON SOUTH


Mr. Ferraro: I rise to thank two ministers on behalf of my constituency, specifically the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Ms. Munro) for recently announcing $96,000 for a library in the township of Puslinch and the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Eakins) for the Wintario grant of $100,000 that will assist in the building of a community gymnastic facility.

I was inundated by comments from my constituents. In many cases, we have not had anything like these two announcements in Wellington South in well over 30 years, possibly 42 years. Therefore, I am grateful to both ministers.

ORGAN DONATIONS


Mr. Andrewes: Melissa Mendoza died at the age of 17 months suffering from biliary atresia, a condition that causes bile to build up in the blood, a condition that could have been treated if a satisfactory human liver could have been located for transplantation.

Melissa had been on a waiting list for more than four months. Her doctor suggested that too often physicians fail to ask for organ donations or are too busy in the hustle and bustle of providing excellent treatment to pose these questions. However, grieving relatives are often unaware that organ donations are needed and that the tragedy of the moment might be lessened in some positive way.

As community leaders, we should seize on the example that Melissa's death has provided to develop through our education system and other forums a social conscience in support of organ donations. As there is dignity and purpose in life, so too is there in death, where life can be offered to another human, thus creating an opportunity for that person to complete his own commitment.


Mr. Grossman: Mr Speaker, perhaps with your indulgence and that of the government House leader, I might ask that we be given an opportunity to comment upon the passing of the former Attorney General, Arthur Wishart. Would this be an appropriate time?

Mr. Speaker: It certainly would be the appropriate time.

DEATH OF A FORMER MEMBER


Mr. Grossman: The province learned with some sadness this morning of the passing of someone who was, I believe, among the too few people who really leave behind a large reputation and a mark on this assembly, in this case the Honourable Arthur Wishart, former Attorney General, former Minister of Financial and Commercial Affairs and former government House leader.

Mr Wishart was suddenly and unexpectedly taken from the back benches and put on the front benches, as the government House leader will remember, and was suddenly appointed Attorney General when many people were expecting someone else to get that appointment. He surprised most members of the assembly, and the public perhaps, with some major achievements and by bringing an important degree of humility, common sense and real decency to the job.

He was one of those people who have enormous numbers of friends throughout the assembly from all three parties. He could note among his achievements the passing of the first Legal Aid Act, the Law Enforcement Compensation Act. He served later as chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and was the first chairman of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses.

After leaving political life, he served as a trustee of Algoma University College and remained throughout all that time someone who was looked to by many members of the House as a great symbol of a bit of the transition that this Legislature went through from the early 1960s into the 1970s, as he retained very strong roots in his community and a very appropriate view on life in Ontario, while also proving to be quite a progressive and reform-minded Attorney General.

In closing, I thought it would be interesting to reflect back on the fact that, among the responsibilities that fell to him, he found occasion to release Morton Shulman from the post of chief Metro coroner. At that time, Dr. Shulman said, "If you want to dislike Arthur Wishart, you have to keep away from him." That says a great deal about the former Attorney General.

On this day, I would ask all members of the House to join with us in expressing our condolences to Mr Wishart's family and to all of the people of Sault Ste. Marie, who had a very special attachment to someone they considered far more than their member and their MPP; someone they considered a genuine friend and a real believer in what their own community was all about; someone who served above and beyond their own community in a very special way; in my view, in many ways unmatched in terms of his breadth of understanding, decency, common sense, sense of humour and likeability, an unusual and unique combination of assets that served the people of Sault Ste. Marie and Ontario and the people of this Legislature extremely well.

We extend our condolences to his family.


Hon. Mr. Scott: It falls to me on behalf of the government to signify that our party joins with the Leader of the Opposition in the remarks he has made today about the death of Arthur Wishart. He was a member of this House for almost 10 years, where he served with distinction, representing his friends and neighbours in Sault Ste. Marie.

Beyond that, he was a minister of the crown and a particularly distinguished Attorney General of the province. Taking office at a time of some difficulty, he ensured the office maintained the lustre it had before him. He left it a more important place than it was when he entered it. Even today, there are senior members of the staff of the Ministry of the Attorney General who are shocked and saddened by the knowledge of his death, but who are warmed by the recollection of his presence and the very real contribution he made to the administration of justice in the province.

As the Leader of the Opposition has said, to those who knew him Arthur Wishart was above all a decent and thoroughly honourable man. He could be an active and aggressive politician in the best tradition of this assembly, but at base, his honour, his integrity and his respect to his colleagues inside and outside the House were profound and important to him.

If I may add a personal note, when I was called to the bar in 1959 I went to practise law with Andrew Brewin, QC, a distinguished member of the New Democratic Party. One of my first assignments was to take cases that Arthur Wishart sent down from Sault Ste. Marie. I never quite figured out why he sent them to Andrew Brewin, but I think he did because he saw in Andrew Brewin those qualities he sought for himself, qualities of honour and decency, and which he so markedly achieved.

He was a taskmaster of very modest proportions. All the mistakes I made in the first few years of practice, which perhaps his office or clients were required to pay for, were always noted but very quickly forgiven. For my own part and my party, we regret the death of a distinguished and honourable Ontario citizen, but are cheered and strengthened by the example of his life.


Mr. Martel: I want to join with my colleagues who have already spoken. I guess I am the last in this caucus to have served directly with Arthur Wishart. He was a man before his time. I realized a few years ago that Arthur was one of a rare breed of cabinet ministers who would accept an amendment even in a majority government. I think it floored most of his colleagues in his own cabinet that he would accept an amendment from an opposition member of this Legislature. Those of us who witnessed that got beyond knowing Wishart as an individual sitting across the way but as a human being.

We had an opportunity to speak with him on many occasions. He enjoyed what he was doing. One could go over to see him in his office. He always had a sense of humour. He was always willing to help. He never lost his love of the north. I remember Arthur Wishart chairing the committee that helped us save our suds in the north. Arthur was the individual who studied that and made recommendations which the government adhered to; otherwise, our suds industry in the north would have been wiped out.

He had a uniqueness about him of being able to get quickly to a problem with a very sensible and sensitive recommendation. I do not think I can ever recall Arthur Wishart trying to belittle or put anyone down. He did it in a political way. That is fair game in here, but he never resorted to anything of a personal nature. That is why so many of us were so fond of him.

My colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) tells me Mr. Wishart had suffered an accident a couple of years ago and had never recovered from the seriousness of that accident. I want to say that those of us who were indeed fortunate enough to know him will miss him. On behalf of our party, I would like to extend condolences to the Wishart family.

13:50


Mr. Morin-Strom: I would appreciate saying a few remarks as well on behalf of the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie.

It is a sad day for our community, but it is a day on which we can remember the many years of dedicated service that Mr. Wishart provided to this province and to the city of Sault Ste. Marie. We are much richer for those memories and for the actions he took on behalf of our community, as a member of the government of Ontario and as a member of the cabinet in the 1960s and into the early 1970s. His years of dedicated service as a lawyer in the community preceding that were of great significance to Sault Ste. Marie.

Although he was not a Sault native, he spent the vast majority of his years in the Sault. He was born in New Brunswick but came to the Sault relatively early in his legal career. After having been the mayor of Blind River for a short period during the Depression and after about 25 years of legal service, he was elected as the representative for Sault Ste. Marie and served a term of nearly 10 years. Particularly noteworthy is the work he did on behalf of Algoma University College in Sault Ste. Marie. It was pleasing that he was remembered very recently with a tribute to him in the renaming of the library of that college as the Arthur Wishart Library.

One story that comes to mind regarding Mr. Wishart goes back to his years as the mayor of Blind River during the Depression. He was asked about a contract for highway construction in the community of Blind River. He was concerned because they were going to use machines for the building of the road instead of using more intensive manpower. The contractor from southern Ontario said: "What do you expect? Do you think we should use shovels instead of machines?" Mr. Wishart's reply was: "No. I would hope you would use spoons."

Mr. Wishart provided a tremendous service to our community. On behalf of the residents of Sault Ste. Marie, I want to express our appreciation for those years of service. We very much appreciate the fine comments made on his behalf today in the Legislature.


Mr. Speaker: I will make certain a copy of today's Hansard is received by the Wishart family so they are fully aware of the words of sympathy spoken here today.

MEMBER'S COMMENTS


Hon. Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: You will recall that on Thursday afternoon you had reason to dismiss the member for Ottawa Centre (Ms. Gigantes) from the House for calling another member a liar. The honourable member who was the recipient of the insult was not present at the time. I want to point out that the member for Ottawa Centre has taken her seat without making any attempt to withdraw the comment.

We have had this discussion before. It is quite easy for people to say it is a matter of little or no importance and the fact she was suspended from the House for the rest of that sitting was sufficient. However, I bring to your attention, sir, that the fact there has been no withdrawal means she is continuing to do the business of the House as a member in the presence of another member whom she said is a liar.

It is strange; that is a particularly unacceptable insult in this House. In my view, it is impossible for a member who has been designated as a liar by another member to continue in any sensible and reasonable way to go forward with the business.

I am not speaking for either of the members, obviously. I am simply speaking as a member of this House, and I say to you again, sir, and to all members that there is good reason for the requirement that this epithet not be used; that is, it is impossible to continue the business of the House following its use with the expectation that the statement is going to be acceptable and that it is going to form a part of the record of this Legislature.

There is not much I can do about it singlehandedly, other than to continue to raise it when it happens. That the honourable member was dismissed from the House for a few hours following her use of the epithet has little or nothing to do with the case. My own view is that an honourable member, on reviewing the whole situation, should simply come into the House and withdraw the statement; then we could go on with the business. If it is not withdrawn, the implication is that the person believes another member to be a liar, and that is unacceptable in this chamber.


Mr. McClellan: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) is well known for the views he holds on this matter, and he has raised the point he raises this afternoon a number of times in the past, certainly since I was elected to this House. Regardless of the general interest with which we all hold his views, they have little to do with the standing orders or the practices and traditions of this House.

I understand the member was found to be in violation of standing order 19(10). The provisions of the standing orders as set out in standing order 21(b) are very clear:

"When a member is named by the Speaker, if the offence is a minor one, the Speaker may order the member to withdraw for the balance of the day's sittings; but if the matter appears to the Speaker to be of a more serious nature, he shall put the question on motion being made, no amendment, adjournment or debate being allowed, `that such member be suspended from the service of the House,' such suspension being for any time stated in the motion not exceeding two weeks."

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, you ruled at our last sitting that the offence was a minor one and that the member was suspended for the balance of the day's sitting. That is exactly what happened. In the past, when the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has raised this point, he has not been upheld; he should not be upheld this afternoon.


Mr. Speaker: I have listened very carefully to the two members who have spoken. As in the past, this matter has been brought to the attention of the House very firmly. I believe it has previously gone to the standing committee on procedural affairs. To my knowledge, there has been no recommendation for any particular change in the standing orders. If it is the wish of the House that this matter be reviewed by the standing committee on the legislative assembly, that certainly is in order. However, according to the present standing orders, I have no choice other than to name a member for the balance of the sitting on that particular day.

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