The House met at 10 am.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS
Mr. Adams moved resolution 55:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government of Ontario be commended for such actions as establishing the Premier's Council and the environment council which demonstrate an awareness of the importance of strategic, long-term planning; and that, in keeping with this commitment, and recognizing southern Ontario is experiencing growth as rapid as any in the world, the Premier should establish, at the earliest possible date, a high-profile inquiry similar to the Premier's Council which will provide an overall co-ordinated strategy for growth for the whole province, and that this inquiry should
(a) advise the government of the likely magnitude, alternative forms of, and means of accommodating future growth in the province;
(b) examine the impact of the greater Toronto area's unparalleled urban growth on outlying rural communities in the province;
(c) consider the planning implications of this growth for rapidly growing smaller communities within a 300-kilometre radius of Metro;
(d) recommend appropriate actions to ensure that development is sustainable, environmentally sound, and does not jeopardize the long-term interests of Ontarians; and
That adequate resources be allocated for such an inquiry.
We are in the midst of some of the most dramatic economic and urban growth we have seen. The population of the greater Toronto area has exploded to 3.7 million people and is growing at a rate of 50,000 people per year. We are talking about a new city almost the size of Peterborough every year. The stresses of such rapid growth are becoming more apparent daily. Stories about these stresses are appearing more often in the media.
But it is clear that growth on this scale is more than a Toronto issue. This growth is having an impact on communities which lie beyond the Metropolitan Toronto area. It affects the entire province. Many counties can expect to grow by up to 20 per cent in the next decade, and those closer to Toronto can expect growth of more than 50 per cent. Cities like Ottawa-Carleton are expanding rapidly. The growth of the greater Toronto area and other urban areas across the province is tremendous.
This burgeoning growth creates economic opportunity, but it places demands on the entire system. Growth creates jobs, but it also requires schools, housing, transportation, health care, social services and waste management facilities. Neither the public nor private sectors can keep pace.
I was pleased by the recent appointment of a deputy minister for the greater Toronto area. The GTA co-ordinating committee is working to maximize the benefits of growth in Metro. But these responses look at only one half of the growth picture. Unless action is taken now to prevent it, there is a danger of creating two Ontarios: Metro and the rest. This is an option that few would support. It would help neither residents of Metro nor those who live elsewhere.
Growth is not simply a Metro issue. Cities like Peterborough, London, Kingston, Windsor and Sudbury stand at crossroads of development. Choices these cities make in their development strategies affect the whole province, including Toronto.
For example, if a community like Peterborough adopts a strategy to become simply a bedroom community, who will benefit? Peterborough? Personally, I do not think so. Metro? I doubt that Metro could handle an additional 25,000 commuters daily, nor should it. Would the places between Peterborough and Toronto benefit? I doubt it. It would not take long for the remaining agricultural and environmentally significant lands and communities between Peterborough and Toronto to be swallowed up.
Cities like Peterborough could decide to take on other specialized roles. They could become resorts serving exhausted Torontonians or havens for senior citizens. I doubt that either of these specialities would benefit Peterborough, Toronto, tourists or seniors. These are the kinds of choices communities, large and small, are facing. Planning in isolation is a very questionable enterprise. Alternative means of accommodating growth need to be examined from a provincial perspective.
Peterborough's development assets are considerable. The city's good transportation links, its stable and skilled labour supply, its growing cultural community, its post-secondary institutions and its health care and tourist sectors should make it sufficiently resilient to adapt to the sweeping forces of growth and change. Surely we should nurture independent, diverse communities like this.
Rural areas and smaller communities are also facing development options which will significantly shape the future of Ontario. Villages like Millbrook and Cavan and townships like Ennismore and Smith, with their strong agricultural heritage, are changing. At a recent farm auction, I heard one farmer commenting on the teacher who had just bought the property. He said, "Pretty soon, all we'll have out here are PhDs and weeds," and there is a great deal of truth in that.
The proposed inquiry will assist in equipping farmers with information they need to stay in business. It will ensure that our agricultural heritage is not lost in the rush to become what some people think of as world-class. Could there be an enduring world-class community in Canada without a sound agricultural base?
Ontario is changing and it is changing quickly. The daily challenges created by frenetic growth absorb the energies of this House, other levels of government, the private sector and others, to the point where we have no time for planning ahead, for developing a clearer vision for our future.
Yet decisions of today define policy options for tomorrow. All individuals and organizations interested in the future of Ontario need to step back and together develop a broad strategy for real growth that can be sustainable, environmentally sound and promote the long-term interests of all Ontarians.
It is time to ask, as a province, "What kind of Ontario do we want?" Critics of this resolution might well ask, "What will an inquiry accomplish?" Inquiries need not and should not be passive exercises. Indeed, good inquiries can create significant change by their very process. Inquiries have several phases, each of which creates ripples. There are ripples created by initiating the inquiry as now. There are ripples created as the inquiry conducts investigations, when it seeks public comment, when it reports and when the implementation of its recommendations occurs.
By the time any good inquiry is completed, the creativity of thousands has been involved. A good inquiry can stimulate interest and action across society. I cite as an example the Brundtland World Commission on Environment and Development. Within a very short period, it has brought environmental issues to the forefront around the world. People from all walks of life are considering environmental issues for the first time.
Ideas from that report are percolating among major decision-makers. Its key themes and concepts are entering everyday conversation. Indeed, this resolution is one small ripple of that commission. People from across the province must have the opportunity to shape the Ontario of the future. Without province-wide input, we will get only an incomplete vision of that future.
An example of this is Toronto's current craving for world-class status. Toronto does indeed possess many world-class attributes, but its rate of growth is threatening these very qualities. For Toronto to become a viable world-class city, it is imperative that the implications of its growth be carefully considered in an Ontario-wide context. Without proper forethought, uncontrolled urban sprawl like that of Mexico City is a frightening but real possibility.
The environmental, social, economic and political effects of such a transformation are truly formidable. The world-class city that I prefer is a much smaller urban area. It is part of a widespread net of other substantial urban centres. These centres will be separated by well-defined areas of rural economic activity which will ensure the preservation of important environmental features.
With proper linkages and decentralization of functions, cities such as Peterborough, London, Windsor and Kingston and their surrounding areas can thrive as independent centres to the benefit of the province as a whole, including Metropolitan Toronto. The world-class city of the 21st century must be economically competitive but must also permit an enhanced, sustainable quality of life to its inhabitants.
It can only accomplish these two goals by being part of a network. In fact, it is the network of independent centres which will be world-class, not just the core. There can be no world-class Toronto without a world-class Ontario; hence the need for a province-wide inquiry.
On October 20, 1988, this House passed a resolution by the member for Oxford (Mr. Tatham) calling for an integrated rail transportation system. Our fine GO Transit system plays a vital role in commuting within the Metro area, but it inevitably leads to the filling in of spaces between stops. In a true intercity system the space between cities is seen as being as important as the city at either end of the railway line. An intercity system would foster real centres of excellence in viable regional settings. It is this sort of forward-looking strategy that the proposed inquiry could promote.
Some groups and individuals are already developing strategies for the future in one way or another. They should be commended for doing so. One example is the Premier's Council, which is steering Ontario to the forefront of economic and technological innovation. Its activities have sparked the imagination of business, labour and other leaders.
Another example is the Thomson commission, which produced the Transitions report. Transitions looks at population and other trends and suggests new strategies for delivering social services in coming decades. It triggered a fundamental rethinking of social service delivery. Ripples of this are still affecting our ridings as people meet to discuss the report.
A more local example is a study undertaken by the greater Peterborough economic council, which is examining future growth scenarios for the city and surrounding areas. They have made the effort to think about the kind of community they want. My proposed inquiry will encourage others to do the same.
As we prepare for the next century, we can see that government can no longer be expected to act alone. Planning will require the fullest cooperation of all sectors of the community. The government cannot act alone in this matter of growth but it can act as a catalyst and so harness the creativity of the province. It can show leadership in developing strategies, which ensure the growth is balanced, sustainable and promotes the long-term interests of Ontarians. It is time we all asked, "What kind of Ontario do we want?"
I must say at the outset that while we support the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy, which I think is the name that the member for Peterborough meant to refer to in his resolution but did not -- I take note of the member's comments on the Brundtland commission as well, which did highlight environmental problems around the world -- I think there are some problems with the Premier's round table.
One of its major members I believe is a United States citizen. I do not know whether that is supposed to mean that it is to accommodate the free trade agreement, which this government pretended to be opposed to as it spoke out of both sides of its mouth on that matter. I do not know if that is the reason.
Farm groups are underrepresented on the Premier's Council and, of course, so is the north.
In regard to this particular motion, I am going to strive and struggle in my remarks to take this resolution seriously. The member should know that the purpose of the Premier's Council was, as I recall, to steer Ontario into the forefront of economic leadership and technological innovation. That was the purpose of the round table when it was formed in the Premier's Council.
But when I look at what the Premier's Council has done since it was formed in 1986 -- by the way, so that everyone understands, it was to spend $1 billion over 10 years. That was the financial allocation to the round table in the council, and the expenditure of that money was to be steered by the council itself. In 1986-87, out of the first year's allocation of $100 million a year for 10 years, the council spent $1.7 million; it did not quite spend it all. It sounds like the allocations of the Minister of Housing (Ms. Hosek) to social housing.
In 1987-88, the following year, of $100 million it spent $20 million -- just a mite short again on its commitment -- and in 1988-89, the projected figure, as I understand it, is about $74 million. Out of the three years, we can see the kind of commitment the government has given to that council, despite all its fine words. Despite that, I am going to try very hard to take the member's resolution very seriously.
I think we should look at the specific recommendations. If we are going to take the resolution seriously, we should look at the specific recommendations contained therein.
The first one is to establish "a high-profile inquiry similar to the Premier's Council" which should advise the government of the likely magnitude of growth in the province. I suspected all along that the Ministry of Treasury and Economics was not doing anything and did not know what it was doing. What is the Treasurer and Minister of Economics for if not for that? However, I do not want to devalue the worth of the member's resolution. I am going to work at taking this seriously.
The inquiry should also advise the government of alternative forms of growth. Excuse me, I thought that was what the Premier's Council was all about. I do not know whether this is an attempt to undermine the Premier's Council or the Ministry of Treasury and Economics. However, I do not want to devalue the member's resolution.
The inquiry is to "examine the impact of the greater Toronto area's unparalleled urban growth on outlying rural communities in the province." I think we can take a look at the whole question of housing in Metropolitan Toronto if we want to look at the impact of the growth of Toronto on the outlying areas. We have in Toronto, as we speak, 20,000 homeless people and the Minister of Housing is underspending her social housing budget to the tune of over $90 million in the last two years. Does the government call that a commitment? It is a joke. As for vacant apartments in Toronto, you can find the odd one which rents for over $1,000 a month.
Instead of looking for alternative forms of growth, why is this government not doing something about the whole problem of public transportation here? I mentioned housing as well, and overcrowded schools in Metro. There are all sorts of things the government could be doing.
Another thing the inquiry would do would be to "consider the planning implications of this growth for rapidly growing smaller communities within a 300-kilometre radius of Metro," which is almost 200 miles from Toronto.
If the member for Peterborough is truly serious -- and I hope he is, because I am trying to take his resolution seriously -- about growth in areas outside the Metropolitan area, why does he not have a talk with the Minister of Transportation (Mr. Fulton), who to this day will not make a commitment to four-lane highways to northern Ontario. He will not do it. He will not make a commitment to four-lane Highway 17 in the north or Highway 69 from Waubaushene to Sudbury or Highway 11 all the way to North Bay. He will not do it.
To talk about concern for developing growth outside the Golden Horseshoe is to make a ridiculous statement if the government is not going to back it up with some dollars to make sure that the means of developing the outlying areas in the province are possible. However, I do not want to devalue the worth of the member's resolution, because I believe it is well intentioned.
I look at the whole question of economic development in the north. Put aside for a moment the highways that are necessary to get there. What about development within the north? We have been hammering the government over the head for 10 years to build a fertilizer plant in Sudbury, given the phosphates that are there and the acid that is there, the two major ingredients for that, and all it does is commission yet another study; always another study.
We have in Ontario a company in the Sudbury basin which has been digging nickel out and smelting it for not 100 years but more than 50 years in the Sudbury area. To this day they take that nickel out of the ground, the dangerous work; they smelt it, which is the dirty work; and they send it to Norway for refining. Does the government call that encouraging economic growth in other parts of Ontario? There is a new Mining Act coming in which says it is going to be continued. Does the government consider that a serious attempt to decentralize growth in the province?
Never mind. I am going to take this resolution at face value and really try to take it seriously, but I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, if the members of the government party are going to take a Reagan-like approach to running Ontario and say: "Put a happy face on everything. Ignore the problems all around you and just put a happy face on it. Everything will be all right. After all, it is a minority of people who suffer out there" -- this is the only Reaganite Liberal Party in the free world, the only one there is.
lf I were a member of the government I would be offended, first, by the way the member is undermining the Premier's Council by trying to take away its mandate with this high-profile inquiry; and second, by the way he is saying the Ministry of Treasury and Economics is not doing its job in Ontario. I happen to agree that the Ministry of Treasury and Economics is not doing its job, but I really am surprised that the member for Peterborough would stand in his place and condemn his own government's actions in that regard.
I am pleased that he recognizes, as I know we all do in this House, the seriousness of the impact this growth is having on Metropolitan Toronto and the greater Toronto area and the importance of having better co-ordination between Metropolitan Toronto and the surrounding regions. There has to be far more co-operation among all levels. The federal and provincial governments and the regional municipalities and cities really have to work together to solve these problems.
There are concerns affecting all of us in the province as we see the growth taking place in this area. We are seeing problems with the transportation networks. There is just no doubt that the congestion on the highways is getting worse. The public transit system is not meeting the needs of the people within the city and within the neighbouring areas. Air travel is becoming a mess; look at what is happening at Pearson International Airport. The maintenance of roads and highways is becoming a grave concern to everybody.
It begs the question: What is the Minister of Transportation doing? Why have another type of panel or council or advisory board if there are certain responsibilities which should be followed now by the Minister of Transportation that are going wanting?
What is happening with waste disposal? There is no doubt that we have a serious problem in and around Toronto. In fact, many municipalities in this province are facing the problems of no landfill sites and the need to expand the landfill sites they already have. There has to be some investigation of how we can have recycling made available to all residences all across the province, along with apartment buildings.
We know the need to promote the use of more biodegradable products. We also have to have a responsibility to the world need for the environment and, indeed, I recognize that the honourable member has referred to the Brundtland report and the importance of not allowing chlorofluorocarbons and other substances that are destroying the ozone layer.
It begs another question: What is the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) doing and what is the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy doing? Why have another kind of panel or board when these responsibilities, which are important to all of us, are still going wanting?
We look at the need for affordable housing and we see the bureaucratic red tape in getting approvals in the process. We see the rent review fiasco. I look at the excellent work that is being done by our own Housing critic, the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris). In fact, I see the Minister of Housing on the ropes in the way she is trying to defend what she is not doing; the failure to spend money the way it has been allocated and the failure to respond to the needs.
I have to ask the honourable member from Peterborough, why have another kind of panel or study when the existing Minister of Housing is already failing to do the job she has been given to do?
Municipal planning is a very important function that affects all the growth areas; in fact, every part of this province. Yet that very planning process is being thrown awry by virtue of some of the changes that the province is mandating upon municipalities, taking away their right to do zoning and planning themselves.
The Legislature has had a chance to look at Bill 128. It has been withdrawn; the government is not proceeding with it. Here is an opportunity for the government to do something about planning; yet nothing is happening in that regard. So it begs yet another question: What is the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Eakins) doing? Why then, also, have another board to look into it?
We are dealing with quality-of-life issues. I sense that the member for Peterborough understands the importance of having that quality of life. In fact, it would be dreadful if Toronto in any way ceases to be developed and supported and the infrastructure around this city is not maintained so that Toronto can continue to be a world-class city. The member wants to make it a world-class city. I think Toronto is already there and I think that what we have to do is realize that there are responsibilities the province has in helping to make that a continuing possibility.
There are already two councils that the member refers to in his resolution: There is the Premier's Council and there is the environmental round table, and we have to ask whether or not these two bodies are just catchments for Liberals.
I know there are people on those bodies who are not Liberals, but I have to say there are identified Liberals on them, and I cannot identify any Conservatives. There is one token person from the labour groups, but I point out to the House that if we are going to have any appointments to different councils and different bodies, it would be far better if this government would start looking at balancing off the needs of the north, the needs of the south and the different political persuasions of people who can participate in this, rather than just putting in the friends of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and some of the political supporters of that party.
When we start looking at the recommendations that have already come out of the Premier's Council -- also, I have not seen too many reports come from the environmental round table, so that may be why the member for Peterborough does not mention that too much.
The recommendations in this province should really be co-ordinated with the federal government. Let's never forget that we in Ontario are Canadians first and that we want to be working with our federal counterparts and we also want to work with the municipalities. Things that we do here should not be done in isolation of the other levels of government around us.
There are significant recommendations that have come out of the Premier's Council and I support them: the need to revamp education, the need to do more retraining, the need to do strategic procurement processes for business, the need to support technology transfer. These are things that can be happening, yet they are not being done. Maybe by virtue of having them recommended something will begin to happen in the future. I do not know how far distant into the future, but indeed I know that there is a possibility of something happening.
In regard to the fact that the honourable member for Peterborough is suggesting through his resolution that we have another study group, we already have two of them, and I am wondering just how effective they have been and how much the different ministries that can be involved with the implementation of those recommendations are really taking them seriously.
We already have in the Metro area three different people who are responsible for specific functions that would overlap on this specific subject that is recommended in the resolution. First, we have Gardner Church, who is responsible for the greater Toronto area office. He reports to the Premier. Then we have another office, the greater Toronto co-ordinating committee, headed by Eric Fleming. I think that reports to Gardner Church. Then we have a third little group, again at the deputy minister level, a special adviser to the Premier on the waterfront, headed up by Duncan Allan.
We have three groups already that are doing much of the kind of things that are being suggested in this resolution, and I really have not heard a thing that came from them yet. I have had a chance to ask them questions in estimates and in the Legislature. I find it a mystery that here we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars already in the support of these functions and these offices and there is just nothing to speak about yet.
Maybe what the honourable member for Peterborough is saying is, "They are not doing the job, so let's find some other way of doing it." That is not the way to solve problems. We in this province already have ministries that are responsible for certain things. We also have special task forces that are already doing what it is next to impossible to find out. There are many questions raised by the honourable member's motion. I am asking the question instead, "Why create another level of bureaucracy?" Let's get on with the job.
The Premier was elected with a mandate to do something on September 10, 1987, and I think it is obvious that there are cracks appearing in the walls.
We are seeing a breakdown taking place in the responses that are coming for people who are asking the Minister of Health (Mrs. Caplan), "What are you doing?" We have that minister failing to respond. The Minister of Housing was on the ropes yesterday, completely frustrated and unable to answer the questions that were being raised; and the same applies to the Solicitor General (Mrs. Smith).
We are seeing this government trying to deal with the problems of running business and keeping the province strong. Yet here we are saying, "Let's have another study." Maybe by having a study the government can take the tension away from all those who are failing to do the job they should be doing. I point to the Minister of Transportation; I point to the Minister of Housing; I point to the other ministers.
I am saying there is no need for another specific group like this to try to solve the problems. We have the problems, we know what they are, and if this government would take its job seriously it would begin to happen. The member closed his speech by asking, "What kind of Ontario do we want?" We want a good Ontario, and I think there are other ways of getting it done without his suggestion.
Elgin, the riding which I have the honour to represent, is approximately 190 kilometres from the core or the centre of the greater Toronto area and a mere 10 kilometres from the city of London. Elgin has a strong and meaningful agricultural heritage. The long expanse of the north shore of Lake Erie, which makes up the county of Elgin, enjoys some of the best agricultural lands in the province. This and excellent weather conditions, along with the industry of its inhabitants, have allowed the county to have a prosperous and competitive farming community. This base has also nurtured the city of St. Thomas, the town of Aylmer and smaller villages and hamlets throughout the county.
While the greater Toronto area has been the focus of much of the economic growth, rural communities like Elgin have not always benefited from the boom times in Ontario. The rapidly changing demographics, the explosion of technological innovations at all levels in our society, along with the change in international markets, are transforming the rural way of life and rural communities.
Ontario has many resources. Good agricultural land is one of the greatest resources any province or nation can possess. Without proper planning, uncontrolled urban sprawl can be disastrous. There must be a balance to allow the rural communities to develop and sustain healthy economies in the pressures of a global market.
Relationships between larger metropolitan areas and rural areas should be a partnership: development for mutual benefit and the mutual benefit of all. The greater Toronto area's rapid and unparalleled urban growth has not had only a negative effect or impact on the communities outside its boundaries, nor has it had only a positive effect on the areas within itself. It is imperative that this growth within all areas of the province continue.
I support the resolution of the member for Peterborough requesting an inquiry. This inquiry is into the likely and essential growth of Ontario. The inquiry could take the form of a task force, a commission, an advisory council; any particular shape of the inquiry that is necessary to meet the need.
I enjoyed hearing the comments of the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) as well as those of the member for Markham (Mr. Cousens). Their views, their concerns, are very important and add another dimension to the resolution as brought forward by the member for Peterborough. This task force could explore many issues such as the possible magnitude of growth or development in all of Ontario.
I support the member's resolution. I do not necessarily believe everything in it is gospel because I feel it is important that we look at the growth in all of Ontario, not just the area that is within a 300-kilometre radius of Metro.
I think issues this inquiry could consider are the possible and desired form of such growth and development and the possible impact of technological change. There is the change in communications we are already seeing -- the changes with electronic mail, computer hookups and telephone conferencing -- the rapid rail that has been suggested and used in other areas of the globe; and also the technological change of our industrial machinery, for example the robotics that are being put in various plants throughout Ontario. These changes have a great influence on our growth patterns.
I think one of the important things coming from my riding is the cottage industry that is becoming more and more important. It is allowing people to live and work in smaller communities, in rural communities, and still participate in an excellent industry, in a developing industry, in an industry that allows us to market on a global sphere.
The inquiry could also look into the issue of the requirement and alternatives for transportation. As mentioned by the members from the third party and from the opposition, housing, open space, environmental quality, commercial-industrial development, agricultural land resource preservation, servicing industries, energy supply -- all those things could be looked into by this particular inquiry.
There is another thing this inquiry could review, and that is the provincial, regional and municipal governments and other structures that can best manage this growth and development.
I like the point brought forward by my friends in the opposition in the sense of co-operation, and I think the tone of the resolution put forward by the member for Peterborough is in the sense of co-operation. There is no question there are other structures in place to address the issues in a separate manner, but there is not a structure in place that will have an overall scope, an overall understanding, an overall development for the growth of Ontario.
One of the most important things I see about this particular inquiry is that it will give the people of Ontario, the different interest groups of Ontario and also various sectors of Ontario -- business, industrial, commercial, education -- a chance to have input into the economic growth and into the pattern of growth for Ontario. It is important that we examine this growth and make sure the growth is sustainable growth, sustainable development and that it is sound for Ontario.
Among the major groups I would hope to hear from would be the groups that have been looking after planning and development of planning in Ontario for a long period of time, the municipal councils and the municipalities.
My reason for supporting this motion is that it sets out its purpose as having a meaningful initiative that will look into growth on an overall basis for Ontario. Although I disagree with the 300-kilometre radius, I support the motion in principle.
I think the environmentally sound development of Ontario is becoming more and more important. We have not always addressed it in the appropriate manner as a province. Any government, whether it is provincial, federal or municipal, should take a lead role in developing a comprehensive policy and should look at a comprehensive way of managing its growth.
I may not have the same vision as my friend the member for Peterborough with respect to smaller communities linked by fast rail or anything like that. I may not have that --
In conclusion, what I would like to do is support the resolution put forward by the honourable member for Peterborough and ask for the support of the other members of the House for this particular inquiry so that we as a province, and as individual members and sectors of that province, can develop an environmentally sound policy for growth in Ontario.
When it comes to economic development, this resolution again illustrates where the government's priority is in Ontario, and that is on the metropolitan area around the city of Toronto. This government has put its priorities, since it has been elected, on Metropolitan Toronto and it has funnelled as much money as it can into that area.
This government refuses to look at the fact that we have two economies in this province. There is a strained, booming economy that is creating real hardship for people in Metro because of the cost of housing, with strains on families that do not have schools they can go to in Metro because the government has not provided the facilities for them. It is an economy that is encouraging people around the province to move to Toronto and the adjacent areas around Toronto because that is where the jobs are, while we have much higher levels of unemployment in other areas of the province.
As a whole, of course, our unemployment levels have gone down in recent years, but there is still a serious problem in areas such as rural Ontario, and in particular in northern Ontario, where young people cannot find jobs in the areas they are trained, skilled or educated to work in. They are finding they cannot find the employment opportunities there. There is a migration out of rural Ontario and there is a migration of young people out of northern Ontario, desperately trying to find jobs and facing astronomical costs of living down here in Metropolitan Toronto.
Here we have a government that continues to want to build on the growth of Metro Toronto and expand that growth. This government instead should take its responsibilities for balancing the economy of this province and should take the initiative to see that where the government can influence economic development, that development occurs in areas where there are people willing, able and trained to work, and to do productive enterprise for the province and for themselves, their families and their communities.
They should have the right and the ability to be able to do that in their home communities and not have to come down into this growing area adjacent to the city of Toronto that is strained in terms of accommodation and is a serious problem facing the whole province.
The suggestion that we should have another council to study this problem is another example of the Liberal solution to every problem, and that is to name a new task force, a new council to look at every problem that comes along rather than do something about it. The supreme example of this in terms of the economic realm is the Premier's Council. The Premier's Council was formed three years ago in 1986. What has the Premier's Council accomplished?
It has produced, to this point, two studies. These studies in fact do give some direction for what the government should be doing. Instead of doing something about it and listening to the recommendations the government is receiving from the people it has commissioned to do studies, its suggestion is: "No, we need more studies. We need to form more commissions. We need to form more task forces to give us more recommendations rather than act on the results of these recommendations."
The Premier's Council study does have some valuable information in it. It does emphasize the need to develop a more highly skilled workforce and to expand production of manufactured goods into more highly valued products that can support a more skilled workforce and more jobs in terms of manufacturing.
Much of the study talks not just about the high-tech future the Premier likes to talk about, but also the fact that most of the jobs in this province are based on manufacturing in basic industries, in industries that take our resource wealth and produce products out of that wealth. We could be doing so much more in terms of producing finished goods, rather than having to import those consumer goods that are coming into the province and exporting more and more raw materials and commodity goods.
What has happened in terms of the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been committed to development of technology in this province is that again the funds that were put into the technology fund are being put primarily into Metro Toronto. The universities that are being supported, the major research projects that are being supported, the major industries that are being supported are not those that are located in the communities that need growth. The funds are going into the major centres in southern Ontario, predominantly those around the city of Toronto in the Golden Horseshoe.
Instead of developing and working on the strengths, abilities and industries that exist in the more far-flung areas of this province, in northern Ontario, some areas of rural southern Ontario, southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario, this province continues to ignore those areas and puts all its eggs in the Toronto basket. This government is going to come to regret that action in the next few years, as we head into the next election.
I ask that this resolution be soundly defeated, as it is certainly not in the interests of the province as a whole.
Also, with regard to some of the remarks that have been made by the opposition parties, I have to say they all recognized with their words that we are faced by problems, that growth in all parts of the province is a vital problem today.
Unlike them, I prefer to take a positive attitude to those problems. I like to take a positive attitude and to try to solve them as creatively as we possibly can. Also, in my approaches to those problems, I believe in involving the public. This is not something the government should do on its own, that we in this House should do on our own. This is something in which we should involve the entire public so we know what the people want in order that we can develop a better Ontario.
I want to thank all those members who spoke in favour of my resolution. This is the sort of proposal that has brought together members from across the province, urban and rural. I particularly want to thank the member for Elgin (Miss Roberts) for her representation on behalf of a rural area. It was eloquently put. I also would like to thank the member for York North (Mr. Beer) and the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Kanter) who were sitting here in the wings waiting to make contributions on behalf of their ridings, a riding on the boundaries of Metro and a riding in downtown Metro.
The issue of sustainable growth is not only a Toronto issue, nor is it exclusively a rural issue. Members from northern Ontario, even the member for Nickel Belt and the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Morin-Strom), can also see that they are being affected by the boom in the greater Toronto area.
The current boom presents an opportunity for us all to ask the question, what kind of Ontario do we want? I would like to come back to some of the key points. The proposal supports growth, but we want to make sure that growth is balanced, sustainable and environmentally sound. The proposal supports actions of groups such as the Premier's Council, the Ontario Round Table on Environment and Economy and any others who are preparing long-term strategies for the province. This proposal supports the efforts of the Greater Toronto Co-ordinating Committee in dealing with the daily challenges associated with such growth.
A carefully designed inquiry, as I said, could stimulate interest in a broad range of related issues. For example, the sorts of challenge growth creates clearly extend beyond the scope of any one ministry. Development proposals often fall under the jurisdiction of ministries such as Municipal Affairs, Education, Housing, Environment, Agriculture and Food and more. The inquiry I envisage might encourage further interministerial co-operation and some form of horizontal decision-making. The possibilities are there and they should be explored. I hope that the member for Markham is listening to this.
The purpose of the proposed inquiry is to mobilize human ingenuity, energy and commitment to a particular issue. Ontario's people are our most valuable resource. We should tap that resource and encourage it to focus on the fundamental question of growth.
The purpose of the inquiry is to encourage people in this chamber, in this city and across the province to think about the kind of Ontario they want, the kind of Ontario their children should inherit.
I confess my interest in this resolution is personal to the extent that Peterborough is one of the ridings poised on a threshold in its development. We can nurture places like it as independent centres or we can see them deteriorate into specialty service roles, as appendages of formless and ultimately inefficient urban sprawl.
I sincerely ask that members believe that my motives in proposing this resolution relate equally or more to my concern for the whole province, rural and urban, north and south, and Metro. All of Ontario is at an economic crossroads. Consciously or otherwise, we are going to choose our route for the future. I want us to make this choice consciously, using the best available information and harnessing all of the talent at our disposal.
Let's step back and ask ourselves, what sort of Ontario do we really want? I ask all members to support this resolution.
LIMITATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. D. R. Cooke moved second reading of Bill 198, An Act to amend the Limitations Act.
I would like to start by indicating that in the gallery this morning are Lynn Allen of Family Transition Place, Dufferin, and Susan Yzerman of the Survivors and Supporters Against Sexual Abuse. I appreciate their coming here in support of this resolution this morning.
I also appreciate the work that has been done on it by my former special assistant, Matt Certosimo, my legislative intern, Ashley McCall, and my legislative assistant, Pat Rutter.
It should not hurt to be a child, and the purpose of Bill 198 is to make the limitation period under civil law more just for victims of sexual assault and incest and to ensure that the dynamics of sexual assault and incest, which often make it impossible for a victim to proceed with a court action for an undetermined period of time, are reflected in the statute of limitations.
I can indicate that this bill was initiated in response to the case of Karen Marciano, a case that was heard in my riding a little over a year ago. Perhaps I can give a little bit of her background, but I should make it clear that Miss Marciano is not unique in this province. I have discovered since then that there are many, many hundreds of cases, if not thousands, that are very similar.
Miss Marciano was sexually abused by her father between the ages of eight and 16. She left home as a teenager and got married, which is not unusual, and raised three children. In her 20s, she separated from her husband and became a single-parent mother and began to grasp the fact that she was having trouble relating emotionally to her own children and to men. She underwent therapy and traced her problem to the incest she had experienced in her childhood.
She confronted both her parents. Both of them, as she expected, denied the incidents. She consulted with a crown attorney. The issue of reasonable doubt, which of course is the standard for a criminal prosecution, was such, in view of the fact the evidence was basically her word against her parents, that she was advised against a criminal proceeding, so she brought civil proceedings against her father. A jury deliberated on the facts, having heard from both herself and her father, and found her father liable and awarded her $50,000 in pain and suffering and punitive damages.
Subsequent to the jury decision, the trial judge, Mr. Justice Maloney, found he had to dismiss the case based on a motion that was raised at the opening of the case that the limitation period had expired, in that she had waited more than four years past her 18th birthday before commencing the lawsuit.
The Limitations Act with regard to assault was passed by this Legislature in 1897, and I am not aware that we have looked at it since that time. The application of this law ignored the fact that Miss Marciano, along with so many incest victims, had not been capable of initiating a lawsuit within those four years as a result of the abuse itself. She and the Kitchener-based support group, Survivors and Supporters Against Sexual Abuse, came to me for help and the result has been this bill.
I have discovered the statistics show that what happened to Karen Marciano in her childhood is far from an isolated experience. Incest and child sexual abuse were once considered a rare phenomenon documented to occur at a rate of only once in a million children, but a dramatic increase in the reporting of child sexual assault and the extensive scientific research this has sparked has led to the recognition that child sexual abuse is a widespread and pervasive problem in our society.
According to the Ontario child abuse register, 1,345 cases of sexual abuse involving children under the age of 16 were reported in 1987. But reported cases represent just a fraction of the incidents that occur. A recent report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which has been utilized by Rix Rogers, a special adviser on child abuse to the federal Minister of Health, Mr. Epp, reports, "An estimated 25 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men were sexually abused at least once before the age of 16." I am not certain that is a very solid statistic. I have seen other statistics from the United States that put the figure at a little less than that, in the area of around 16 per cent. But if this figure is accurate, it means that in fact millions of the adult population of Canada have suffered some sort of sexual abuse.
The Badgley report, a federal government study established in 1984, indicated further shocking statistics on child abuse. I think these statistics can be counted on because they are looking at particular instances. Four in five of all unwanted sexual acts are first committed against people when they are children. Virtually all assailants are male. One in 100 is female. Over two in five of all sexual assault homicides are committed against children aged 15 or younger. About one in four assailants is a family member or a person in a position of trust. About half are friends and acquaintances and about one in six is a stranger. Thus, the pressure for a suit can linger for years.
Sexual abuse not only has tragic impact on its victims but exacts real costs on society. Mr. Rogers discovered that approximately 80 per cent of young offenders and emotionally disturbed children in residential care had been sexually abused. I invite members to just think about the estimate we can make of the cost to society -- in the millions, I am sure, is what it is costing us per year to support these young people through welfare, police, court, medical and correctional systems.
This bill could go a long way in helping victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault who choose to take their cases to court. I am not suggesting that the majority of them will, but the option should be there. Bringing a case to criminal court, where there are no limitation periods, has always been an option open, but it is very hard to obtain a conviction, just as it was in Miss Marciano's case. Sexual assault is not usually a crime committed with witnesses present, nor is it a crime a defendant is likely to confess to, and therefore it is very difficult to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many victims of sexual abuse and assault turn to civil law to seek justice, but they are blocked by a limitation period that is clearly too brief considering the dynamics of child sexual abuse. Psychologists have documented the delay in victims' ability in bringing forward a case as caused by the abuse itself. They call this child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. It produces dysfunctional behaviours, including a repression of the incidents by the victim, the victims blaming themselves for the incidents and not holding the perpetrators responsible, and the victims experiencing a deeply rooted sense of hopelessness and powerlessness, making it difficult for them to conceptualize taking action against the offender.
As family violence consultant Barbara Pressman makes clear, the psychological impact of child sexual abuse can be extremely far-reaching. The evidence is that it is so destructive that even after 10 years of therapy, even after recall and awareness of the impact of the abuse, the woman may be unready to lay charges. She is fearful that he is a perpetrator.
Even more convincing are the words of a survivor of child sexual abuse:
"I have always felt so guilty about what occurred between myself and my father. I always felt I caused it. It was a dirty secret I must keep to myself. Dad taught me both verbally and physically that I was of no value. I had no sense of self-worth.
"I got married. I put my past behind me. We had a daughter. Just before her eighth birthday, I started having nightmares about my father. I felt confused, frightened and totally unsettled all the time. The memories came flooding into my mind. I was having a hard time functioning day to day. I was almost 30 years old. Up till this time, I thought of it as something I had participated in and therefore I was guilty.
"My father stole my innocence, my sense of security, my childhood, my sense of family, my sense of self-worth. The incest overshadows my ability to parent, my relationship with my husband, how I relate to people in general, my ability to make decisions and, most of all, how I feel about myself."
In this amendment to the Limitations Act, the limitation period is set to the later of two periods:
"Twenty years after the cause of action arose," or, "Ten years after the time the person bringing the action discovers that the injury was caused by the sexual abuse or sexual assault and the injury no longer renders the person unable to bring an action."
This is an innovation in legislation, as far as I can determine, anywhere in the world. It takes a doctrine of delayed discovery, which has been utilized to some extent by courts in contracts and in matters of this nature in some American states, and widens it to permit the victim to come to full grips, I believe, with the problem and to make a decision before the limitation period starts to run.
These limitation periods have been chosen taking into account the opinions of the survivors of sexual abuse, those who work with them and legal experts. Quite frankly, the reason I have left a limitation period in at all is out of deference to the Canadian Bar Association, but we may wish to consider whether sexual assault even needs a limitation period. The fact that the Limitations Act was enacted in 1897 when crimes of incest and sexual abuse were almost certainly not considered by this Legislature underlines the necessity of bringing a bill up to date to reflect reality.
As mentioned before, the reason many women do not bring cases to court within the time frame set out by the Limitations Act is a direct result of the wrongdoing of the abuser and of the abuser's active miseducation and silencing. Three out of five sexually abused children have been threatened or physically coerced by their assailants. The victim's blameless ignorance of her incest-related injuries is likely to continue for the longest time when the damage to her character inflicted by the abuse is most severe.
Therefore, the mature incest plaintiff is often the most deserving of compensation. If action through the courts is no longer available to a victim who has taken many years to discover the impact of sexual assault, this effectively denies justice to those deserving plaintiffs.
It also raises the question of equality rights and equal benefits under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Narrow limitation periods do not offer equal benefit of the law to those who have been disadvantaged by reason of age or sex from bringing an action. The consequences of this are summed up in the words of one incest survivor now in her 30s who said, "If I wanted to hold my father responsible by suing him, that option is not open to me. Laws should be open and accessible to all. This one is not open to incest victims by virtue of the statute of limitations."
Support for this bill has been widespread. Survivors and Supporters Against Sexual Abuse collected almost 4,000 names on a petition supporting the cause. Frankly, when they informed me they were going to start taking up petitions, I did not ever conceive that they would be able to go into shopping centres and door to door and actually get this kind of volume of signatures on an issue of this nature.
Since the final draft of this bill was released, I have received numerous letters from groups all across the province endorsing the bill wholeheartedly. These groups include the Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse; the National Association of Women and the Law; the Ojibway Family Resource Centre in North Bay; the Muskoka Women's Advisory Group; the United Church Women, Hamilton Conference and Waterloo Presbyterian; the United Church of Canada per Se; Survival through Friendship House of Huron County; the Territorial Headquarters of Canada and Bermuda of the Salvation Army; the Family Transition Place (Dufferin) in Orangeville; the Nova Vita Women's Shelter in Brantford; the Mattawa Family Resource Centre; the Rosewood Shelter for Women and their Children in Midland, and the Haldimand-Norfolk Women's Shelter.
This bill will make a difference to a great many people's lives. For incest survivors, a successful court case against their abusers brings so much more than simply the money received for damages. For many child victims of sexual abuse, being able to speak publicly about what has happened to them in their youth is a form of therapy. A successful conclusion to a court case would help a survivor to deal with her past and to recognize that these events are indeed in the past.
A public recognition of the fact that the abuser is wrong and the victim has been wronged, and the laying of blame where it should be, can help release a victim from feelings of guilt and worthlessness and allow her to lead a more happy and productive life. It may also stop others from falling victim to the same crime. By allowing survivors who have finally come to be able to do so to talk publicly about what they have suffered, awareness of the issue will be raised.
By passing this bill, the Legislature will show its abhorrence for the crime of sexual assault and its support for those victims who have suffered from it.
I commend the member. I think he has done some excellent work. As I say, I am pleased to be able to speak in favour of the bill. One of my colleagues, for sure, will also be speaking in favour of the bill. I know several others wanted to be able to speak. However, time limitations being as they are, only one or two of us will likely get on.
I have a background in some of the professional areas or professional activities that have to confront sexual abuse and sexual abuse of children. My first vocation was as a teacher. I became a teacher at just about the time when people in the social services field and people in the education field started becoming more aware themselves of sexual abuse.
I remember the first workshop I went to as a teacher. We had a child care worker come in and speak to us, I think it was for a whole day, on the issue of sexual abuse and also on our responsibilities under the law in terms of being sensitive to children and looking for indications that sexual abuse might be occurring, either in the home or in some other social milieu that the child was in, and our requirement under the law to report any suspicion that we had or any reasons that we had to suspect that child sexual abuse might be occurring.
That weighed very heavily on me because in the few years I was a teacher, I am sad to say that in the schools where I taught we did encounter situations where children were being sexually abused. I suspect now in retrospect that the abuse that was going on was much more prevalent than we were able to observe or than we suspected or were able to do anything about.
My second experience in this area was as a private practice solicitor. For a couple of years, I acted for the local children's aid society. In a couple of cases, I represented the children's aid society in child welfare cases where the children had been apprehended from the home and in a couple of cases, sadly, from their parents. The issues in a couple of these cases were suspected child abuse.
Again, from having spoken with a number of child care workers and from having worked with a number of children's aid and family services workers, I can confirm what has been said by the honourable member in the presentation of his bill; that is, even today, with our greater sensitivity to sexual abuse of young persons, we are still not able to detect and deal with the vast majority of these cases.
I think it is fair to say we are more aware now that these things happen. We are more aware of them, but I still think that our capacity to deal with them, to prevent them, to know that they are happening and then react very quickly is still not as it should be. I think it is fair to say that even today, with our greater awareness, there is a great deal of sexual abuse of young persons that is occurring and we are unknowledgeable of it.
I suppose one of the reasons we are unknowledgeable of it is that in many cases it takes place in social situations where there is a great deal of confidence or where there is a great deal of privacy. It is very sad, but too often the sexual abuse of young persons does involve parents or relatives or close friends.
We know these things from the news media. I can think of just three or four examples that have happened within the last two years. I think many of us probably marked with some horror the report from a British Columbia court of the principal of a school who had been convicted of, I think it was, something like more than 23 incidents of abuse of children who were in the principal's care and control when he was the principal of a various number of schools. In the Ottawa area there have been, I think, two or three cases within the last three or four years, and recently there were convictions obtained in St. John's, Newfoundland, I believe -- all in situations of trust, confidence and privacy.
Our inability to deal now with what may be happening out there necessarily means that the limitation periods are brought into question. I think the limitation period, as the honourable member has quite rightly pointed out, is the central issue when we are dealing with sexual abuse cases.
In legal theory, I think it is fair to say that the limitation period exists for a very good reason: to ensure that someone who may have committed a wrong or who might be accused of having committed a wrong in terms of whatever kind of nature -- in this case we are dealing with a physical assault -- does not have to be concerned about the possible allegation of that offence for ever.
But I think it is fair to say we have a justice system that says you are not judged to be guilty until you have had a meaningful process of law, and that you should be held out there for ever as an accused is something that many of us I do not think could live with and it is something that I do not think would be conducive to a very orderly society or a society that would function very well.
There is a good reason for limitation periods, but as we look through the Limitations Act, you can see how limitation periods have been tailored to specific kinds of incidents. There are limitation periods for auto accidents, for actions dealing with land and property, for contracts and for physical assaults. In other words, the limitation periods that are provided for in the Limitations Act are already tailored very much to different kinds of incidents and different kinds of activities.
I think what we have discussed here today and what we have tried to point out is that sexual abuse of young persons is in itself a unique and very different kind of incident in a legal, psychological and social sense. It is very hard to detect in terms of its impacts and therefore is deserving of special consideration in terms of when a limitation period ought to take effect.
I want briefly to make a few comments about how the bill has been drafted. I may not agree in the legal sense that the way the bill has been drafted would be legally effective in terms of efficacy, proof or the availability of evidence, but I think in general terms the concept that is illustrated here is a good one. In the final analysis we may want to look at a shorter period, we may want to look at changing the language somewhat; but in principle I support the member and I commend him for bringing this bill forward.
Indeed, I actually share a sense of sympathy with him in his experience of frustration, having to bring these amendments to the Limitations Act before the House as a private member without the stated and full support of his government. As some members of this House may recall, I had a private member's bill before the House on June 9 which dealt partly with the point of the amendments of the member for Kitchener. Unfortunately, it did not find the support of a single Liberal member of the House at that time.
However, as my bill suggested that the matters of the attitude of the courts and legal institutions with respect to the crime of sexual assault be referred to the standing committee on social development for discussion and open public hearings, I suspect that at day's end, should this bill pass -- and I hope it will -- it too will be referred to the social development committee and public input will occur.
I too would like to stand in my place and commend Miss Marciano for her courage and for the thoughtfulness in her approach, because it is apparent that she has the touch, the heart and the conscience of the member for Kitchener. I wish to provide my full support for the fact that she has done that and that he has responded with this bill.
Quite frankly, it was my hope, with my bill, that Miss Marciano would have had the opportunity to touch the hearts of all members of this House. Perhaps, when this bill is referred to the social development committee, that opportunity will occur, and I am sure Miss Marciano would be more than pleased to come to talk to other legislators.
These amendments extend the allotted amount of time during which victims of sexual assault will be able to bring action against those who have perpetrated the crimes against them. They represent an important step in the overall direction in which I believe legislation in Ontario should be turning with respect to the treatment of the victims of crime.
I have stood in this House on several previous occasions to call the attention of all members to what can only be called a serious imbalance of attitude on the part of our social, legal, and yes even our legislative institutions, in dealing with criminals and in their dealings with victims.
This imbalance is often weighed in favour of the criminal as numerous mechanisms are in place, all at the courtesy of Ontario taxpayers, to help the offenders and not the victims. And yet, in all this seemingly enlightened activity on behalf of the criminal, our society appears to have forgotten the victims whom criminals leave behind as they themselves go on to press for their civil liberties.
It is our society which appears to have taken down its psychological textbooks to help the criminal but seems to reshelve them at the precise moment when it should try to consider the inner and outer scars borne by those whose own psychological nightmare could only just be beginning.
I do not believe that this evident neglect of victims of crime is simply an oversight which can easily be corrected by a few cosmetic solutions here and there to our justice system. I believe that our legal system is flawed in this respect and this flaw has to do with socially rooted attitudes. I believe that our systems tend to view the criminal act from the perspective of the criminal rather than of the victim.
It is time to move away from notions of society defined in terms of faceless crowds towards a notion of human personalities and lives which have been damaged and otherwise negatively influenced by the criminal act and whose unending experience of pain as a result of that act is a situation of continuing crime, of crime that has been extended in terms of its effect into the future and which needs to be addressed because it is in the future.
In the final analysis, I believe that we need to begin to view the criminal act from the perspective, clearly, of the victim. Happily, the proposed amendments which we are considering today go a long way to addressing the situation of the continuing crime as experienced by victims of sexual assault and they do this precisely from the victim's perspective and I commend the member for his understanding of that.
By extending the legal time frames within which victims of sexual assault may bring action against those who have perpetrated the crimes, this legislation is acknowledging the countless social and psychological effects, the virtual daily hell that victims of sexual assault, especially of incestuous abuse and molestation, must live through as a result of their being victimized, and which effects have a most significant impact on their being able to bring both criminal and civil actions against their assailants.
By providing a broader time frame for the victims of sexual assault, this legislation is in essence allowing the victim a period which varies from individual to individual, during which some inner healing and emotional as well as spiritual rejuvenation may be brought to bear on the victims' lives, thus enabling them to proceed to the often therapeutic, however painful, process of fighting back.
The victim of sexual assault experiences not only inner turmoil at being physically violated but also the much more subtle and dangerous punishment of guilt. In cases of incestuous molestation, it is not uncommon for victims to suffer from the guilt that somehow they and not the perpetrator are to blame, that somehow bringing the incident of sexual abuse by a parent, for example, to the attention of others is a breach of the familial relationship which is seen as off limits to everyone save those within it.
Parents and other relatives cannot be allowed, of course, to abuse their singular position of authority with the family. We are reminded of St. Paul's commandment to all parents not to provoke their children to anger.
The victim of sexual assault needs support from the society from which he or she feels estranged as a result of feeling that taboos have been broken. Victims need to feel good about themselves again and to feel in control of their life situations. Such control, such psychologically necessary experience of personal power over the direction of one's life is an all-important ingredient of the general process of healing for the victim of sexual assault who has had it suddenly taken away from him or her.
The ability to undertake action against the criminal at such a time when sufficient inner healing has occurred for the victim is also part of the same process, as it constitutes an exercise in the experience of personal power and the re-establishment of control over one's life.
Also, the proposed 10-year time frame allotted to victims of sexual assault who discover previously unacknowledged inner wounds which are derived from their experience of assault takes into account the subtlety as well as the depth of the personal, psychological damage which is inflicted at the time of assault.
The human psyche is still a vast and largely unexplored mystery to us. Despite Freud and Jung, we as legislators need to fight the temptation to want to neatly categorize and compartmentalize human behaviour as we do our budgetary allocations.
This proposal at least gives tacit recognition to the fact that victims of sexual assault are subject to the broadest possible range of emotional side-effects as a result of their pain, which may or may not surface or be otherwise made apparent in connection with their experience of assault for several years.
In conclusion, I reiterate my support for these amendments. I also affirm my belief that these amendments are only a small beginning, however significant, for victims of sexual assault along the path which should see an overhauling of our institutional attitudes towards the victims of crime.
I know these amendments will go far towards helping those who wish to help themselves as they slowly rise from the abyss of despair into which their experience of assault has plunged them.
It is because of the policy of viewing crime from the perspective of the victim that I support these amendments now, and it is to this policy that I dedicate my efforts as a legislator in the future.
The first question that comes to my mind in dealing with this bill is, why has it taken us so long? We are, after all, amending legislation that was established almost a century ago, in 1897.
Many members will know that I have personal problems in defining issues as solely women's issues. For the most part, I see a common community thrust, but I can tell members, having talked to many broken women who are trying to recover from the trauma that they still bear from incestuous assault and other kinds of sexual assault in their childhood, this is very definitely a woman's issue.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, the perpetrators of incest are male and the victims are female. Society must place responsibility for this crime squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators. The damaging effects of incestuous assault is an important social problem. Yet, in spite of the dramatic increase in reported cases of incest, it continues to be one of the most unreported and underreported forms of abuse of children.
Incestuous assault is being defined as any manual, oral or genital sexual contact or other explicit sexual behaviour that an adult family member imposes on a child who is unable to alter or understand the adult's behaviour because of his or her powerlessness in the family and early stages of psychological development.
You do not have to be a psychologist or a social worker to realize that it takes a long time for victims of incest to recover from psychological and emotional damage. Victims of this kind of sexual abuse are broken people and the healing period usually does not begin until most are adults, when they are old enough or can understand enough to realize it was not their fault.
Unlike nonsexual assault, where both the act and the resulting damages are usually apparent at the time, where incestuous sexual assault occurs, victims frequently do not acknowledge the wrongful act nor seek redress for their damages for a considerable time after the acts are committed on them.
I have met several incest victims who have spoken to me in a forthright manner. These people come from my constituency and they have talked about their difficult time of recovery. One woman who talked to me spoke of her own troubling experience and said:
"You know, at the time it felt good to me. I thought it was love and that it happened to everyone. Then I discovered that it did not and things were very wrong in our family. I thought it had to be because I made it happen, but I still could not talk about it."
For most other victims I have met, the physical pain and degradation they experienced as children are expressions of a cruelty that I have difficulty bringing into any kind of personal imagining. From shame or guilt or fear those who have suffered cannot speak of their horror, and when they do, it is much later.
There are reasons for that. Children are typically dependent on adults. They are not free legally or psychologically to give or refuse permission for access to their sexuality. They cannot know the consequences in later life of a childhood sexual encounter. Intense suffering and sometimes long-term social effects result from it.
Incest victims experience significant and unique damages flowing from this form of sexual assault, including severe emotional and social disabilities that last into adulthood. Victims develop psychological blocks such as repression, denial, guilt or dissociation as coping mechanisms.
Some of the psychological injuries resulting from incest remain latent for many years. It is often only after victims are well into adulthood that they begin to appreciate that they are indeed victims of a criminal act and that they have suffered severe damages which, in a just society, demand redress.
Incest victims often experience a sense of powerlessness, a loss of self-esteem, a loss of confidence in those who should be in a position of trust. They also bear the fear of disclosure based on threats or implications for family, employment and other relationships. It is for all these reasons that there may be lengthy delays in bringing a civil action against the perpetrator. Unlike breaches of contract or other torts, the delay in bringing an action is the direct result of the wrongdoing of the abuser.
The opportunity to seek compensation for these damages through civil action is an important mechanism for securing access to justice. As well, setting things right is important in securing the physical and mental security of the person for the victims. It is also a crucial means of addressing this exploitation of children and women.
The private member's bill of the member for Kitchener will change the Limitations Act to take into account the legitimate needs of victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse. The amendment recognizes that such victims belong to a special class of claimants to whom much longer limitations should apply.
The current limitation period of four years after the age of majority does not provide victims of incestuous abuse equal benefit of law, because the injury itself precludes them from coming forward to sue within the legislated time period. Instituting such legal reforms will not in itself eliminate the problem of sexual abuse, but it will make the system more fair for victims seeking compensation. It will also say to offenders that they will not easily escape future civil action once young victims are able to look after themselves after they have been empowered to take action.
Adoption of Bill 198 will help raise community awareness and understanding of the issue. It will send out the message that we will not tolerate such abuse in our communities, that we will not ignore the damage inflicted and that we will not turn our backs on abuse victims in need.
Not too long ago, children were seen as their parents' property and too many were invisible in our communities. Although we are still fighting the notion that what happens in a family is a private matter, more and more today old taboos such as family violence, wife battering, sexual abuse and incest are being discussed openly.
Bill 198 is a reflection of society's effort to come to terms with these issues. Sexual abuse, particularly incestual abuse, is a subject difficult for society and excruciating for its victims. Generally, the healing process cannot begin before child victims are adults. In the words of one writer: "Child abuse scars the mind. It damages the child's development and shatters social competence. Victims may suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and withdrawal."
There is probably no easier crime to get away with. The child molester is at ease, knowing that children are easily intimidated into silence, and children are often so damaged they cannot testify. They are often so traumatized they will deny what has happened to them in an attempt to shut the door on it. They are faced with telling on an adult whom they want to trust and whom they want to love and be loved by.
Pressures such as these are overcome only by time, and time is what Bill 198 is all about. Because the silence is an inherent aspect of the abuse, the delay in bringing a court action is a direct result of the wrongdoing of the abuser, not the fault of the victim.
This bill will ensure that victims, when they are sufficiently recovered from their injuries to take action, obtain their day in court. It is long overdue. I urge members to support Bill 198.
I would also like to say that during the course of my remarks I may repeat some of what has been said, some of the cases and statistics, but I think that will serve only to re-emphasize to members of this House and the public in general the need to support this bill.
This bill extends the period in which victims of sexual assault or abuse may bring their cases in front of the courts. It fills a gap in the justice system, which presently makes no allowance for the fact that many victims of assault, especially those who were assaulted as children, may not face the fact of the crime for many years and are therefore not ready to bring a case to the courts within the limitations period.
At present, victims of sexual assault who wish to lay charges may proceed through one of two routes. They may bring the matter to either a criminal court or a civil court.
In the criminal court, there is no period of limitations; that is, the person who is bringing charges can do so at any time in his or her life. However, the burden of proof rests with the person who is bringing forward those charges. He or she must therefore prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other person is guilty. That usually entails pictures, witnesses and, in fact, documentation of the crime. As members of this House and, indeed, the public can well imagine, none of that detailed evidence is normally available in sexual assault cases.
For this reason, sexual assault cases usually end up in civil courts, where the cases are judged on the basis of the probability of the crime having been committed. However, in civil courts, unlike criminal courts, there is a limitations period. For assault, the limitations period as it presently stands is four years; that is, a person must bring the case to the courts within four years of the assault or within four years after the person reaches the age of 18. Thus, a person who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child must bring his or her case forward by the time he or she is 22 years old and no older.
This law proclaiming the four-year limitations period was first written in 1897 and has not been reviewed since. At that time, sexual abuse was not discussed and therefore limitation was never considered independently when this law was being established. Now, as a society, we acknowledge the fact of sexual abuse and we are more aware of the circumstances surrounding it. We know that because sex is a taboo subject, it makes it extremely difficult for victims of sexual assault to talk about the crime and therefore to start the healing process. It takes much longer for them to deal with the assault and thus longer before they are ready to decide whether they should take this before the courts.
One victim, a Waterloo woman who was sexually abused by her father from the time she was eight until she left home at 17, explained the predicament in this manner: "That means that at the age of 22, I would have had to go to court. I didn't even know this law existed at the time I was free, finally, of my father's advances. I had just gotten married and wanted to live a free and normal life. I couldn't have dealt with what happened to me in the past because it had happened over such a long period of time. I just wasn't capable. Even at that time, I didn't know it wasn't my fault it had happened. I had thought I was the bad person, the guilty one. What my father did to me was my punishment. No child or adult should have to go through that."
For this Waterloo woman, she was not ready to deal with the issue, let alone decide to take it to court at the age of 22.
I have in front of me another situation, the well-known case of Miss Marciano, which has been documented and talked about here this morning. Her case proves even more definitively the need to reform the limitations statute.
Miss Marciano was sexually abused by her father between the ages of eight and 16. When her case was heard, the Ontario Supreme Court jury found in favour of her claim and awarded her $50,000. However, the case was later dismissed because Mr. Justice Maloney pointed out that the statute of limitations had expired several years earlier. We have to ask ourselves and the public in general, is this really justice being served in this province?
The law needs to be reformed so that people like Miss Marciano can have their cases heard, so that they can use the justice system as it was intended, to see justice served.
I believe we all feel as members of this House that incest or other sexual child abuse is a repulsive crime, but I think many people are unaware of how widespread the problem is. Some of the statistics have been mentioned by the member for Kitchener, so I will not go through them again, but I will say that many children are victims of sexual abuse or assault. To expect them to come to terms with the trauma of abuse by the time they are 22 is unrealistic. At that age, they are trying to deal with the new responsibilities of adulthood, living on their own, getting settled in a job, starting a family, all of which requires tremendous adjustment. Dealing with the fact of the assault at the same time and deciding whether to take the issue to court is plainly unrealistic.
I do not think the justice system intentionally penalizes people who are unable to bring their case to court because they have suffered great trauma and personal injury. It is a result of historical views, oversight and the time it takes to change the system. However, we in this House are now in a position to change the system and make it more fair. Changing the limitation period is something positive we can do to help stop the cycle of child abuse and give the victims justice in the system.
There are numerous groups in favour of this legislation; they have been mentioned here today.
I understand that the whole statute of limitations is under review right now. I understand that the fact of delayed discovery will be taken into account as the limitations are revised. That is certainly a positive step towards making the limitation period more just. I believe Bill 198 helps to do just that. It allows reasonable time for victims to seek justice.
In support of all those who have worked to bring this problem to our attention, the women's groups, transition houses, churches, individuals and indeed members of this House, and as a positive step towards stopping the cycle of incest and making the system more just for future victims, I urge all members of this House to support Bill 198 today.
The member for Rainy River (Mr. Hampton) cited his experience as a barrister. I share with him some concerns regarding lengthening limitation periods and I would like to go over with him later, perhaps, why I came to the conclusion that it is valuable to do so.
I appreciate the support of the member for Burlington South (Mr. Jackson). I think he will agree with me that this bill is somewhat different and more to the point in this particular case than his own bill. In any event, I appreciate the help and support he has given with regard to this particular matter and the undertaking he has given with regard to the future.
The member for Halton Centre (Mrs. Sullivan) and the member for Sudbury East (Miss Martel) have both spoken. As the member for Halton Centre indicated, it is a women's issue, and she was careful to define what that is. Both members spoke very much from the heart, the member for Halton Centre indicating she has met with incest victims and the member for Sudbury East pointing out how unrealistic it is to expect all the cases to take place within the present limitation period.
Considering the statistics I cited earlier, I suppose it would cross one's mind that if there are millions of victims of sexual abuse, there might well be some adult victims of sexual abuse in this House today. I very much doubt that. I know I certainly was not. I had two very loving parents. Because of the tremendous psychological impact of child sexual abuse on its victims, very few would have the sense of confidence, the sense of self-worth, that is needed to run for elective office.
I believe those of us who have been lucky enough to escape this childhood trauma have a responsibility to those who have suffered. Everyone should have the right to have the happiest and most fulfilling life possible. By passing this bill, we will give this chance to those who have suffered the tragic consequences of child sexual abuse. As I indicated earlier, it should not hurt to be a child.
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
LIMITATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
The House recessed at 12:01 p.m.
The House resumed at 1:30 p.m.
SALE OF CIGARETTES TO MINORS
What can be done to protect young consumers from becoming addicted to tobacco products? The answer is clear. The government should move immediately to end the major reason why young people smoke; namely, the easy access youths have to tobacco products. Teenagers and even preteens can obtain cigarettes without difficulty even though it is illegal for stores to sell cigarettes to persons under 18.
The government should replace the antiquated Minors' Protection Act with legislation having a meaningful deterrent. The current maximum fine of $50 has not been increased since the act was first passed in 1892. This paltry penalty gives retailers an economic incentive to disobey the law. What is needed is new legislation that will give retailers an economic incentive to obey the law. The government can do this by substantially increasing fines to retailers who sell cigarettes to minors.
Young people in this province, led by the Student Movement Aimed at Restricting Tobacco, SMART, and the youth wings of the three main political parties, have demonstrated leadership on this issue by proposing a reasoned legislative package of reforms to address the issue. Unfortunately, to date the government has not acted.
I urge the government to review the problem of easy access to tobacco products by young people and bring forward legislation to address this issue.
JILL PATTERSON AND DONNA BEGGS
Jill Patterson of Metcalfe was recently crowned Ontario Queen of the Furrow at the 1988 Ontario Plowing Match. Jill is a 19-year-old student at Guelph University and was our 1987 Carleton county Queen of the Furrow. In addition to achieving academic excellence, Miss Patterson has completed 35 4-H projects and served as a Sunday school teacher in her community.
The citizens of Carleton have also been made proud by 17-year-old Donna Beggs of North Gower, who won the Ontario Dairy Princess title. Donna Beggs is a graduate of South Carleton High School and, in addition to being a musician and a tap dance instructor, she too has been very active in agricultural endeavours through the 4-H Club.
I think it bodes well to have these beautiful, talented young ladies representing agricultural interests, and I ask the members of this assembly to join me in extending congratulations and best wishes to both the Ontario Dairy Princess, Donna Beggs, and the Ontario Queen of the Furrow, Jill Patterson, both from the great riding of Carleton.
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE TOWN COUNCIL
It has been my pleasure to have the Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Stan Ignatczyk, the Deputy Lord Mayor, Alderman Gary Burroughs, Alderman Nellie Keeler and Alderman Dave Lepp visiting Queen's Park as members of our newly elected council in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
We have spent time today touring Queen's Park and meeting with the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Eakins) in order that we might discuss our goals and mutual concerns. Our meetings were very productive and we look forward to continuing to work together over the next three years.
I ask all honourable members of this House to join with me in welcoming the delegation from the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, which I might be a little bit prejudiced in saying is the most beautiful spot in all of North America, but I would certainly request the members of this House to join me in welcoming my guests to this Legislative Assembly.
The significance of TVOntario may be lost on many of us who reside in urban Ontario or in southern Ontario. But I come from a part of Ontario where in many communities there is only one channel which can be received all the time, and that is usually a CBC channel from Winnipeg, of all places.
Many folks who live in communities in northwestern Ontario and can receive TVOntario appreciate it greatly. They appreciate it for the current programs it provides. They appreciate it for the coverage of the Ontario Legislature it provides. They appreciate it because it introduces television programs which are so distinct and different from what may be available on American channels.
I would urge the government, when funnelling more money into TVOntario, to carefully consider putting some in the northwest, please.
I find it extremely disappointing that rarely do members of this House rise to commend our police forces for the effective job they do for us on a daily basis and for performing their duties in a conscientious manner in the interests of protecting the public. Within the last few weeks, a police officer was killed in the line of duty, the result of a traffic accident. Also, a woman police officer had part of her leg amputated after being hit by a car while in the line of duty. However, no one in this House stood up to express condolences on the death of the officer, nor did any member stand to address the fact that the woman officer's career is now in question.
It is imperative that we maintain a balance between stating our concern over questionable actions of our police forces and our support for their dedication to their duties. Police officers are human beings. Mistakes will be made. However, we must also recognize that officers are called upon regularly to make split-second decisions in the interests of enforcing the laws of our province.
Mr. Speaker, I ask you and members of this House to join me in stating support for our police forces and to express to them the respect they deserve.
SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD
Of all the great men who have passed through the pages of our history, few have had the significant impact the Old Chieftain did on the evolution of Canada. With his creative and visionary leadership, he guided this country through those first difficult and turbulent years as a nation. He brought together Maritimers, Quebeckers, central Canadians and westerners, as well as anglophones and francophones, and gave them incentive to unite as a country and remain so united. He once told an audience, "Let us be English or let us be French, but above all, let us be Canadians." Today he would probably say, "Let us be English, French or any of our diverse cultures, but above all, let us be Canadians."
In his 19 years as Prime Minister of Canada, he faced many of the same problems we still face today. The federal-provincial battles raged on, quarrels over language filled the land and, as we still find today, the great expanse that is Canadian geography kept our regions far from one another.
It has been called for before and will be again, I am sure, that a national day be established to honour this great Canadian known as the Father of Confederation, and I would urge this Legislature to support such a move.
During his last campaign, that took place during 1891, he was greeted everywhere by shouts of, "Sir John, you'll never die." I am pleased to advise this House that these shouts were in essence a prophecy. For as long as we exist together as a united Canada, his impact will be with us.
RETAIL STORE HOURS
Here in Ontario, the people of Ontario have spoken on the issue of Sunday shopping. They have spoken in a clear, unequivocal manner and they have said very, very clearly, "We want a common pause day."
The Premier (Mr. Peterson) and this government do not listen. In Ontario, the principle of government is not "We, the people." In Ontario, the principle of government is "We, the government."
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
SCHOOL OPENING AND CLOSING EXERCISES AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
It was within this context that last September 23 the Ontario Court of Appeal rendered a decision with respect to the charter that struck down the section of Ontario regulation 262 dealing with religious exercises in public elementary schools.
This government opted to accept the court's ruling, respecting and sharing in its spirit that we must recognize and respond to the multicultural and multifaith nature of Ontario society today. We have chosen to act on our belief that a new section can be created within the regulation that complies with the court's interpretation of the charter.
I wish to inform the Legislature today that, effective immediately, we have amended the sections of regulation 262 concerning opening or closing exercises to achieve two very important purposes: to recognize and respond to the multicultural and multifaith nature of our province and to permit the Lord's Prayer to continue to have a place in the classrooms of Ontario.
The amended regulation will require all public elementary and secondary schools in Ontario to be opened or closed each day with our national anthem, 0 Canada. In addition, at the discretion of each public school board, God Save the Queen may be included.
The inclusion of any content beyond 0 Canada will be optional for each public school board. Where a board decides to include other material, the content will include a period of silence and/or one or more readings that impart social, moral or spiritual values and that are representative of our multicultural society. Such readings may be chosen from both scriptural writings, such as the Bible, the Koran, the Torah and many others, and secular writings.
Let me emphasize that the Lord's Prayer may be included among the readings chosen for use in any public school. However, to ensure that all our schools hold opening or closing exercises that are consistent with the spirit of the Court of Appeal's ruling and with the charter, readings from any one religion may not be used exclusively or be given a position of primacy.
To comply further with the court's ruling and with the charter, such readings will replace the collective recitation of any specific reading from a particular religious tradition. Such a practice within the public schools is not in accordance with the charter as interpreted by the court.
My ministry will assist boards that choose to include readings by developing and distributing a resource document for opening or closing exercises which will contain guidance for its use.
The period of silence available for inclusion in opening or closing exercises is intended to be used for personal reflection or individual silent prayer.
As is the case with elements elsewhere in the educational program, parents who object to part or all of their school's exercises may apply to the principal to have their children exempted. Adult students may also exercise such a right.
I am confident that these changes respond fully and appropriately to the intent and spirit of the judgement of the Court of Appeal and to the court's interpretation of the charter. We must all acknowledge and understand the clear message of the courts: that in opening or closing exercises, Ontario's public schools must not give one religion a position of primacy. The public school system is open and available to all.
Through our amended regulation, we are acting upon an excellent educational opportunity to firmly establish Ontario's classrooms as a cradle of tolerance and understanding, where children learn to accept and appreciate that we are all citizens of the same province.
Regulation 262 also covers the teaching of religious education in the public elementary schools of this province. The regulation governing religious education in schools was introduced in 1944, and a review, in consultation with the many religious groups which make up Ontario's multicultural society, is, I believe, timely, appropriate and useful.
This need is underlined by recent developments, including the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, its interpretation by the courts and the passage last year of a resolution by the Legislature, introduced by my colleague, the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen), to consider for Ontario schools a multigrade, multifaith religious education curriculum.
This government believes there is an important role for religious education in the public elementary schools. While this view is shared by many religious groups, parents and educators, opinions differ on what should be contained in an appropriate policy on religious education.
Therefore, I am pleased to announce today that I am establishing a ministerial inquiry into religious education in the public elementary schools, to report and make recommendations to me by January 31, 1990.
The inquiry will be conducted by Dr. Glenn Watson, the former director of education of the Brant County Board of Education. Dr. Watson is in the visitors' gallery today. His terms of reference will afford him the opportunity to undertake a complete review of how current religious education programs are conducted and how religious education might be conducted in the future.
His terms of reference include a review of the existing policy with respect to religious education; the identification of curriculum options for an appropriate religious education policy for the public elementary schools which responds to the multicultural and multifaith nature of the population of the province; the identification of appropriate teacher preparation strategies to support the teaching of religious education, and the delivery of recommendations with regard to the adoption of an appropriate religious education policy for Ontario.
I have asked Dr. Watson to conduct extensive consultations with interested parties during his inquiry, and it is my expectation that he will solicit their input through a public process.
As members will be aware, the Premier's Council technology fund was established in 1986 to support science and technology research in the private sector and post-secondary institutions.
Since then, it has sponsored a number of major initiatives to carry out that mandate, including the support of more than a dozen industrial research projects in areas that range from the development of an advanced form of radar to investigating new types of ceramic materials.
Today I am pleased to announce that the technology fund will be providing up to $4.85 million towards the development of a new mobile satellite communication system for the transport industry.
This project, which is worth a total of $9.71 million, will be undertaken by Telesat Canada of Ottawa, in partnership with Frederick Transport Ltd. of Dundas, Ontario, and Bill Thompson Transport Ltd. of St. Thomas, Ontario, two major Canadian carriers.
Telesat Canada already has extensive experience in the installation and operation of satellite communication systems. Under this project, the company will research and develop a sophisticated new system that will allow carriers to communicate via satellite with vehicle drivers while they are on the road.
The work will lead to the manufacture of sophisticated new high-technology communications and computer equipment that will have widespread uses in other fields. But it will also have additional benefits. Not only will it increase the competitiveness of the transportation industry, it will help those manufacturing companies which depend on trucking firms for the timely delivery of components and other products.
An added bonus will be improved highway efficiency as the superior communication abilities of this new system will permit drivers to avoid areas of heavy congestion. The mobile satellite communication industry is an excellent example of a market that is poised to expand rapidly during the next few years. Markets such as these will be responsible for creating much of this province's wealth in the future.
The project I am announcing today will help establish a major new Canadian manufacturing presence in this promising area, thus ensuring that Ontario reaps the full benefit from its anticipated growth.
ARTS MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM
The 12-month program, costing $450,000, is in response to the need expressed by the province's arts community for quality arts management training.
The arts management training program is a chance for 30 individuals throughout this province to receive in-depth and on-the-job training in their area of specialty. They, in turn, are expected to reinvest the expertise gained back into the arts community after the one-year term.
There is also a spinoff benefit from this program, in that it will provide an opportunity for professional arts organizations to hone the efficiency and effectiveness of their own organizations by participating in the development of prospective managers. In addition, it affords the arts community an opportunity to groom the next generation of arts administrators.
My ministry has always worked to strengthen cultural organizations in Ontario. Therefore, I think that the talent and enthusiasm the 30 individuals will bring to the program will add much to strengthening the community-based role of arts organizations throughout the province.
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION TREATMENT
Three of the projects will provide various kinds of counselling and referrals. They include Toronto's Sistering project, which is a supportive, nonthreatening environment for transient and socially isolated women in the Parkdale area, and the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which counsels the victims of childhood sexual abuse and incest and provides them with crisis intervention and referral services. The third is the Women's Counselling Referral and Education Centre, offering services including telephone crisis counselling, education counselling and referral.
We are also funding the establishment and operation of two alcohol and drug dependency centres. The program, sponsored by the Sudbury Algoma Hospital, will provide nonmedical detoxification for women in the district of Manitoulin and the region of Sudbury. The other centre is in Acton; it will serve Halton and Peel regions, offering treatment on both a daily and residential basis.
Finally, we are funding three programs for people with eating disorders. These programs, open to both men and women, are the eating disorders program at the Toronto General Hospital, which serves more than 500 people and is a provincial resource, offering outpatient and hospital services to women and men; the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, also located at the Toronto General Hospital, which provides information about services across the country in both French and English and operates a support group for people with anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and a new eating disorder outpatient clinic at the Sudbury General Hospital.
These programs are active examples of my ministry's commitment to serving the needs of women. They are also important steps towards our goal of seeing that the people of Ontario have equitable access to the best and most effective health care possible.
At this time, I would also like to announce the appointment of Dianne Macfarlane as the mental health and addictions co-ordinator for the ministry. Mrs. Macfarlane is currently the administrator of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. She has a background in community mental health and a graduate degree in criminology. As co-ordinator for mental health, she will serve as a focal point for outside agencies, other ministries and the public in development of mental health and addictions programs and policy.
The designation of a mental health and addictions co-ordinator is in keeping with the recommendations of the Task Force on Illegal Drug Use report by the member for Muskoka Georgian Bay (Mr. Black), encouraging cooperative approaches among government ministries and between government and other sectors.
ARTS MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM
On the heels of that, though, I would like to say I am disappointed that we have yet to hear from either this minister or the government any announcement concerning the commitment to the five-year plan that was put forward by the Ontario Arts Council. That plan would certainly see a large infusion of money over the next five years into the arts sector in this province; money which is badly needed both to provide for financial stability to the arts and for artists themselves.
I would hope that the minister would continue to lobby the Treasurer (Mr. R. F. Nixon) and that some money can be freed up for that plan. At this point, the first year should already be well under way.
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION TREATMENT
It is pretty clear that the Minister of Health has not read the Graham report, or if in fact she has read it, she intends to pay no attention to it. The eight programs that she announces are undoubtedly worthwhile programs, but the Graham report indicates that the priority of this government should be people who suffer the most severe disabilities and not some of the recipients of these programs.
The other comment I have to make is in respect of the grants to eating disorder clinics. Let me point out that the most serious eating disorder in the province remains hunger. This government has done nothing about the recommendations in the Thomson report which would begin to address the shocking hunger of people in our province.
SCHOOL OPENING AND CLOSING EXERCISES AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
To that extent, I think the minister is to be complimented on having brought forward an agenda now and having appointed somebody to actively review those options. We certainly wish Dr. Glenn Watson all the best as he undertakes a very sensitive task which we hope he will resolve to the satisfaction of our communities across Ontario.
I appreciate the minister mentioning our own interest in that regard, but I also want to refer to the opening exercise question. The minister has attempted to respond as carefully as he can to the court decision. The essence of the court decision was that no one should be subjected to compulsory prayer. That, of course, is the essence of our position as a party as well.
We are happy to see that he has tried to distinguish between readings and prayers, and we recognize that readings obviously must relate to the various traditions that exist in this province.
We are troubled, I think, by the fact that he appears to feel that exemption may still be necessary. I understand that is a technical requirement in terms of freedom of expression.
In any case, almost no matter what he did, he would have to have that clause in there. I hope this does not mean, however, that what goes on in opening exercises or the nature of the readings that are included will require in their overall cast that anyone would feel the necessity of absenting themselves.
It is extremely important that no child feels that he or she is different or excluded from our school system because he does not happen to be Christian. I make it clear as the father of three children who are not Christian, who are Jewish, that they have as much right to feel part of the school system --
I am also pleased that the government has seen fit to retreat from a position that has been recently exposed in the media, that it stands poised to eliminate prayer in schools altogether.
But I am concerned about these new regulations which the minister has referred to and how they are to be understood. For example, what is meant by the use of prayers on a rotating basis? What will primacy mean? Will it be in proportion to the population of Ontario which is, according to statistics published by the Treasurer, 89.3 per cent Christian, 3.5 per cent non-Christian and 7.2 per cent indicating no religious preference? Or will prayers be rotated in proportion to the religious composition of a community or of a specific classroom? Or does this government intend a strict rotation with absolutely no consideration given to the religious roots of the students or the population of Ontario as a whole?
What of the legal consequences of this new ruling by the minister if a local school board is taken to court by parents who object to the use of the Lord's Prayer at all, even on a rotating basis? Will this government give the boards a guarantee that it will intervene on their behalf and defend their actions in court?
Finally, this plan will allow a school board to choose to use absolutely no prayers at all. I would suggest that in these cases, instead of allowing no exercises at all, the government should mandate a moment of silence for students to use as they wish. There should be recited prayers or a moment of silence, but I do not think the vast majority of Ontarians feel that no prayer whatsoever is an acceptable option.
In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare says in a very sarcastic vein, "His worst fault is that he is given to prayer." I would hope that this is not the philosophy of this government. It is certainly not the philosophy of our party. Far better to embrace the words of Tennyson, who wrote, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION TREATMENT
However, having said that, that is the bad news. The good news is that I am fully supportive of the minister's statement and the project she has announced today in the Legislature. I think they are long overdue.
I want to ask the Premier very directly, is he prepared now to have the collective agreement between the Ontario Hospital Association and the Ontario Nurses' Association reopened in order to see that nurses who are providing cardiac care get paid the money that will keep them in the profession?
This gentleman has already had a couple of heart attacks. He is on a very urgent list, but the list still requires him to wait for several months before he can receive surgery in London which, as the Premier will know, is the regional centre for southwestern Ontario --
RETAIL STORE HOURS
I wonder if the Premier can explain the logic of a bill such as his which says that very large drugstores that sell all kinds of goods, not just Aspirin and not just drugs but all kinds of goods ranging from groceries to everything else, are going to be made available to be open on Sunday as a matter of government policy and not as a matter of municipal option.
Can the Premier explain why, if Paul Magder started selling Aspirins, he might be able to open up his fur store?
Everybody will know the rules, what the penalties are, and most communities will be happy with that, but communities that will not be happy can have their own individual choice. Surely there is nothing antidemocratic about that. It is going to be very clear to everyone what the rules are, as is not the case now.
I recognize that some people have different opinions on these matters. That is the case with any legislation that comes into the House and any view I happen to have or, may I say, any view the member happens to have on any subject. This Legislature is democratically elected to deal with these issues, and I am very comfortable with the process that we have employed in that regard.
I want to ask the Premier why he is so reluctant to try to work out a compromise, not with the House leader of the New Democratic Party or with members of the Conservative Party but with those people, those retail merchants, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the religious groups and the coalition of literally millions of people in this province who are dead set against his entire approach to this question on Sunday opening, Sunday working and Sunday shopping.
We have had endless hearings on this matter. I believe there have been something like nine amendments -- I may be incorrect -- seven or nine amendments to the legislation. It is all there. My friend has taken an emotional response to this matter, but I ask him and my friends who are looking on at this debate: Do they object to Point Edward, in the riding of my good friend the leader of the third party, being open on Sunday should it so choose? Are they upset because Sault Ste. Marie has chosen, on its own, to have Sunday shopping? That does not in any way force Toronto or Pembroke or North Bay or anyone else.
Surely when we have a system, as we do in a large province like ours, with roughly a third of the workforce now working on Sunday, the member can understand that it does not in fact erode family life. If we look at the other provinces that employ this kind of legislation, it is sensitively tailored to meet the needs of a community in a huge land mass. Surely that is not too difficult for my friends opposite to understand. What we do find is that when people are comfortable with this legislation and understand it, they do not get nearly as, shall I say, shocked as my friend opposite.
When he was asked about the laying of charges, Chief Marks said, "After the first investigation by our homicide detectives, a crown attorney looked at the evidence and he could see no reason to lay charges." I understand an out-of-town crown attorney was given the results of the Ontario Provincial Police investigation and he again, to the best of my information, said there were not sufficient grounds to lay charges.
According to my information, and I stand to be corrected, that whole information packet was forwarded to the Ministry of the Attorney General and the decision to lay charges was made there. Can the Attorney General tell the House who made the decision to lay those charges and on what new evidence the charges were laid?
The process that was followed was the usual one in this sense. Let me describe it. The OPP investigative team, under a very senior member of the staff, conducted an investigation which it brought to crown attorney Meinhardt and the senior crown staff of the Ministry of the Attorney General. That staff, the crown law staff, formulated the legal advice it would give to the head of the OPP investigative team. That advice was communicated. I did not participate in that process but I know the advice and I agree with it.
Following the receipt of the advice, the senior OPP officer who was the investigative leader of the team went before a justice of the peace and swore in the words of the Criminal Code that there were reasonable grounds to believe and that he did believe that the offence of manslaughter had been committed. That is the normal process.
That is precisely the process that was followed in this case.
It has worsened an already bad situation. How can the Attorney General justify his interference which has, as of yesterday, led to a situation where the police officers of this community have gone on the streets and refused to carry their guns? Some 30 police officers, according to this headline in this newspaper, have refused to go on the streets with their guns as a result of the minister's decision. How can he justify that?
The crown attorney does not lay a charge. I know of no case in my experience where a crown attorney has ever laid a charge. He gives legal advice to police or citizens who seek it and then the person seeking the advice, in this case a senior officer of the OPP --
Then the superintendent in charge of the investigation attends before a justice of the peace, who is an officer of the court, and swears an oath that he has reasonable grounds to believe and does in fact believe that an offence has occurred. That is what happened in this case. The information, on the basis no doubt of legal advice that was given by the crown law staff, was laid by a senior inspector of the Ontario Provincial Police.
The minister could not do it yesterday, but the Toronto Star, after looking high and low, finally found the mystery affordable house, and here it is. It is called Chateau Hosek. It has three rooms and costs $128,000. This is the only one that could be found under $133,000.
Does the minister not understand that the affordable housing supply situation is getting worse, not better, and that her policies to increase supply have failed?
By way of supplementary, let me remind everybody of the answer I would have got, which is the same pat answer. The minister is always saying that the solution is to increase supply. We agree, but the facts show that the minister has failed to increase supply. There is less affordable housing in Ontario, not more. The social housing the minister talks about is not affordable. Taxpayers would not have to subsidize construction and shelter costs if it were.
Given that buying affordable homes is totally out of the question, let me turn to the other choice people have and that is renting. In January 1988 the minister said that --
Let me also point out to the member opposite that this year 100,000 people came to Ontario and last year 100,000 people came to Ontario. That is twice as many people as live in the member's riding.
The pressure on housing is great, and I am the first to admit that there is not enough housing in this province that people can afford to buy. That is precisely the reason we are working to make sure that the rules for building and the use of land are such that the private sector can build more. The people in the private sector tell me they can indeed do so, if the municipalities co-operate with us to make it possible to use land more creatively.
When I say housing, perhaps the member opposite thinks only of a detached house. That is an indication of a certain lack of imagination. Housing includes detached houses, semidetached houses, town homes, condominiums and many forms of housing. What we are going to make sure is that there are many housing choices for people, so that people can move into a home that they can afford --
Liberal housing policies have taxed and levied housing prices out of reach. Liberal housing policies have stifled the rental market by grinding new supply to a halt. No matter how the minister tries to doctor history, the fact is that no government has ever so outrageously denied such basic housing rights to the people by the way of its policies than this government has done.
I ask the minister: Why should we, why should the people of Ontario, have any confidence in a minister who has failed so long and so often and then stands up and says she is proud of the mess that her government has created? Can she give us one reason why?
Let's talk about the thousands and thousands of nonprofit units that are being built across this province and are continuing to be built across this province, many of them funded unilaterally by the province, despite the fact that the federal government seems not to be as interested in the pressure of housing need in this province as I would like it to be.
Let's point out that 100,000 people coming to this province in one year represents significant pressure. The member opposite says he is interested in markets. It seems to me that a market that has to absorb that number of new people will always be stretched.
That is the reason that we are promoting infill and intensification. That is the reason that we are making sure that municipalities plan for people of moderate income from now on. Instead of having people of moderate income as an afterthought, from now on people of moderate income will be planned for as part of the building process.
That, I think, is something we can be proud of, because it represents a change in direction and an expansion of our sense of responsibility in the entire building process.
The minister will find the operation a very trim ship, with the sacrifice of a supervisor, for example, in recent years. No benefits are paid either to the administrative staff or to the field workers. The operation is a very commendable one, but it is going into deficit at a rate -- this coming year certainly -- at least of 50 cents per hour of service offered.
Do I hear in the minister's remarks or read into his comments that if in this coming year the Hamilton-Wentworth Visiting Homemakers pays reasonable wages, adds reasonable benefits, covers travel costs and pays for training costs, the minister will in fact cover the deficit of the Hamilton-Wentworth Visiting Homemakers in the coming year, as he has for the others in the past year and has promised to do for next year for them as well?
RETAIL STORE HOURS
If the Premier insists on pushing for this legislation that will force more people to work on Sundays, further eroding our family time together, will he then, at the same time, stand in this House and state that he will permit a free vote without any coercion or threats of reprisal or demotion?
I do not have the power to force anyone to vote in any way he does not want to, any more than the member's leader has any power over her. She can stand in this House and vote in any way she wants to, as can her friend the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Why not let him stand and vote the way he wants to? Members of the House will stand and vote on this bill in the way they want to, as they will on every other bill.
I just say to my friend that as she now has my commitment, why does she not stand up now and persuade her recalcitrant colleagues to move ahead and deal with this matter? Why do they keep wasting time around here, 58 days of debate? When are they going to bring this matter to fruition and let these members exercise their democratic rights to vote on behalf of all the people of this province?
My question to the minister is, is he considering this kind of assistance be given in order to make the homemaker profession more attractive?
We have made it very clear that we appreciate the fact that if homemakers are going to do the kind of job required of them, then there has to be a different way of helping them prepare themselves through training, and that there has to be a greater recognition of the demands made upon them. Yes, the kinds of suggestions the honourable member has made are currently under investigation by the Ministry of Health and myself.
That says very strongly to us that the people who are providing the service have to have a better range of ability and training than they have required in the past. Yes, that is part of the current negotiations that are going on.
MUNICIPAL-INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY FOR ABATEMENT
I can tell this member that whenever I have information of that kind available, it is released at the very earliest opportunity. Where people would have discussions with others to get such information, I do not know. But all of our MISA monitoring and premonitoring and the results that come out are public. The MISA Advisory Committee has set up a regime and it, of course, contains a number of well-known environmentalists. It sets up a regime whereby this information is gathered on a very detailed basis and is released. We will continue to do that on a timely basis.
I will certainly look into the specific situation the member brings to my attention, but certainly that is there at all times. That is put out at all times.
I am wondering if the minister would confirm that she has asked the Ontario Provincial Police to find the necessary funds for this initiative within its own budget, that it will be forced to cut services elsewhere and that she has once again let the police down.
There are some indications now that those predictions may in fact be incorrect and that the shortage of teachers in this province may occur as early as next September. Large boards of education are now out, for the first time in many years, actively recruiting new teachers. Many new teachers have been signed to contracts for next year. Is his ministry aware of the problem, and if so, is that his perception of the significance of the problem?
We were able to offset some of the impacts of that by moving to a three-year phase-in. I think it is important to note that the shortages that seem to exist are contained to specific areas of specialization. There is no question the expansion of French-language programs has contributed greatly to a shortage of French-language specialists. We are looking at various ways we can address that short-term need. In terms of the bigger picture, I think it should be noted that the faculties this year will graduate over 4,000 potential teachers who --
We have also undertaken a two-year review of teacher education in this province. I expect those will be released and available in the very near future. We are considering various options in terms of responding to this situation of shortages in specific areas. But I want to stress that we will only respond to this problem, which is not expected to last very far into the future, in a fashion that clearly reflects our commitment to maintain the high quality of teaching professionalism in this province today.
I can give the honourable member an assurance that I will look into the matter and see if anything has changed. The discussions between my ministry and the Archives of Ontario had been ongoing and until that time we had put a hold on everything, but I will certainly be pleased to check into it for the honourable member.
The minister will be aware that Quebec has all its original land records stored so that they can be consulted. Will the minister give a guarantee that Ontario not only deserves the same right but also will get the same right?
I think my honourable friend will want to acknowledge that one of the reasons for the original decision that was taken was simply, to some extent, the amount of space required and the volume of paper involved in that. Certainly, after discussions with appropriate people in the field, the view was that the putting on microfilm of part of that period from 1867 to 1945 was an appropriate action which reflected and respected the history of the province that my honourable friend refers to and indeed allows us to retain, with original documents, an appropriate period before 1867.
I will advise my friend personally if there have been any changes taking place which would change this answer in any way.
According to the discussion paper of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley), he will only fund 25 per cent of the program and he said, "Municipalities should go to cabinet for the remaining $40 million." Will the minister give us his assurance that municipalities will be able to count on him for the $40 million necessary to make the MISA program work?
We have before us today a bill that will make municipalities responsible for providing provincial courthouse security. It will make them spend more money on policing. We also have the provincial government fobbing off the responsibility for Sunday shopping on to municipalities, which also means paying more for bylaw enforcement officers.
What the municipalities want to know is: Does this minister believe it makes sense to continue to hand off to municipalities his responsibilities as the advocate for municipalities without giving them adequate money to do his job?
Certainly the contribution this government made to the municipalities last year meant that many of the mill rates were the lowest in many years across this province. I feel that the commitment of this government to municipalities has been very good indeed.
What are we doing at the provincial level to ensure that trees can form part of our defence against the global warming trend?
We are certainly working to utilize all the potential we have to absorb carbon dioxide and we believe that the forests do indeed play a very important role. As a member of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, we had a presentation in western Canada last year about the greenhouse effect. I am very pleased to say that we are following up on initiatives I think will be very helpful: protecting our forests from fire -- we spent some $50 million last year to do that; planting some 160 million trees, the most ever in Ontario.
Those are the kinds of things we are doing. We are looking into the cloning of trees; we are looking into a progression of trees that will grow faster. Indeed, we are doing a great deal to make certain that our forests are part of the protection of the atmosphere that is being threatened.
I have to tell you also that the Minister of the Environment is taking a lead role in making certain that there are things done which reduce the impact on the environment.
All those things taken into account are certainly going to point out that this government and the ministers in it who are directly involved are playing a very important role in not only recognizing the greenhouse effect but taking very important steps to see that we are protected to the degree we can be from this kind of involvement.
NORTHERN ONTARIO HERITAGE FUND
I would like to ask the minister specifically how much money of the $30 million allocated for this year has been spent on new projects in the north.
I would like to ask the minister again, given that I do not think any money has been spent so far on new projects, can we expect some projects to be funded before this fiscal year ends?
TRAINING FOR FIREFIGHTERS
FISHING LICENCE REVENUES
The fact of the matter is this question sounds a little bit like the triple play in baseball, Tinker to Evers to Chance, and I give the same answer every time. When we put in a licence to enhance the fishing opportunities in Ontario, from day one, before the licence was issued, we said -- and the sportsmen agreed -- that we would have to have more conservation officers to make certain they could protect the resource. That has happened; that has never changed. I am very disappointed in the people on the other side who would make the comment that this was not the case.
I have all kinds of proof here that even before the licence was put into effect, the commitment was made that we needed more conservation officers. They were put in place; I lived up to the agreement. All the money that was raised through the licence has been put into fisheries. It has been directed by Dr. Crossman, the chairman of the Ontario Fisheries Advisory Council across the province. Everything that was promised has been done. When we do something as good as that, the members opposite cannot stand it.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas the crown in the province of Ontario continues a lengthy, futile and expensive prosecution against the Church of Scientology; and
"Whereas at no time in recorded history has an entire church been charged with a criminal offence for the actions of individuals, and freedom of religion in the province is at risk; and
"Whereas the alleged offences occurred over a decade ago and those responsible have been expelled from the church or rehabilitated;
"We petition the Attorney General and the government of Ontario to withdraw the charges against the church and end this prosecution."
I submit the said petition with a caveat that I will sign this petition because I am obligated to do so under standing order 31(b), in order to allow the petition to be entered into the record and for no other reason whatsoever.
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"The Canadian Red Cross Society, Ontario division, homemaker service, as part of the government's home care program, provides service to the elderly, handicapped, ill or convalescent in order that they may remain in their own homes. This care is a much less expensive alternative to institutionalization. The Red Cross homemaker service, the largest not-for-profit homemaking agency in Ontario, requests the parliament of Ontario to assist in the operation of this essential service so that it may continue to be viable. The Red Cross homemaker service is currently in a crisis situation, having a deficit of $1.1 million which is threatening our ability to continue to serve the people of the province."
There are 448 names.
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Mr. D. R. Cooke from the standing committee on finance and economic affairs presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill 122, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Eakins moved first reading of Bill 201, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
METROPOLITAN TORONTO POLICE FORCE COMPLAINTS AMENDMENT ACT
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 4, An Act to amend the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force Complaints Act, 1984.
It is interesting. Before I comment on this, I was reported in the press for some extraneous reason regarding our compensation here. I got a call from a member of my family saying my press was not as good as my son's press today. My son was reported in the sports section of the Ottawa Citizen. Last night, South Carleton High School played St. Pius X High School. The score was 9-0 for South Carleton, which my son plays for. My son got nine points in that particular game and now leads the scoring in the Ottawa-Carleton area in the high school league. That is the good press.
This act, as probably other speakers have indicated, is an act that deals with the problem a member of the public might have with the actions of a police officer while he is on duty. One of my concerns about this act is the justification this government brings forward in order to change the existing act because we have a police force complaints mechanism only in the city of Toronto.
When the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) was speaking about this bill, which extends the mechanism now available in the city of Toronto to any other municipality across Ontario that might want to have this kind of mechanism, his rationale behind bringing forward this bill was stated on November 19, 1986, when this was first brought forward in debate. His rationale was that if a person has a complaint outside Metro Toronto, he has really only two choices to complain about police actions. He can go to the police chief of that particular force or to the commissioners of that police force and ultimately he has an appeal mechanism that takes him to the Ontario Police Commission.
The problem with the process as it now exists is the appearance, the fact that the police are investigating their own actions and that many of the hearings that take place are done behind closed doors.
In talking to the various police groups, I was able to determine that the police recognize there is a problem with the existing procedures that are in the Police Act for members of the public to complain about a police action. The police of our province are quite willing to revamp the existing procedure to allow public participation, to allow hearings in public, and therefore, not only to do justice but also to give the appearance of justice to someone who has a legitimate complaint against police actions.
The problem police see with this kind of mechanism we have in front of us today is, number one, that it is not appropriate for every municipality across Ontario. I believe we have some 50-odd different police forces across our province. The Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, I believe, numbers in excess of 5,000. In other municipalities across this province, we have police forces that have one or two officers within their police force.
Therefore, the prospect of setting up a police complaints mechanism, as envisaged by the Metro Toronto example or experiment, is not practical when you take it down to the town of Kemptville which has four officers, I believe, the town of Cardinal which has either one or two officers, or the town of Prescott which has about a dozen officers. What I complain about with regard to this piece of legislation is that it leaves communities like those I have mentioned without an adequate appeal mechanism that will satisfy the public's curiosity and its right to legitimately complain about a police action.
One of the other problems with this piece of legislation is the understanding by the public of exactly what the bill allows the police complaints commissioner to do, if in fact there is a legitimate complaint. I think many of the public are under the impression that if a municipality opts to pick up this mechanism to investigate a police action, it will give a member of the public some right of redress in the form of compensation or some criminal action against a police officer.
That is not the case in this bill. The police complaints commissioner has the sanction to recommend that a police officer be discharged or dismissed from a police force or that some kind of penalty be taken against a particular police officer. Therefore, although the member of the public may have had a legitimate complaint against a police officer, he must then go to the civil courts system in order to gain compensation for whatever wrong was done to him or her. So the bill is lacking in that sense as well.
On November 18, the day before this piece of legislation was introduced, the then Solicitor General, the member for Kingston and The Islands (Mr. Keyes), was having his estimates. I explained at that time some concerns I had with regard to this piece of legislation.
One of the concerns I had was the fact that it appears from this piece of legislation that a municipality has the option to adopt or invite in a police complaints commissioner, but it is not clear in this legislation that it has the right to opt out of this particular kind of complaints mechanism.
I spoke about it at that time. I think it is important in two aspects. The first is that under the present situation with Metropolitan Toronto, the province of Ontario is paying for approximately 50 per cent of the running of the public complaints commissioner's office. If in fact a municipality opts into this arrangement, it will be done with the understanding that the province is going to be participate in funding that particular office.
I think it is necessary that the municipality have some bargaining power when it gets to the table with the province, to ensure the province maintains its continued support for these kinds of offices if they are adopted across the province.
The second reason I believe it is necessary to have an opting-out clause with regard to a police complaints commissioner, although I think it would happen very rarely, is that our Solicitor General (Mrs. Smith) may come forward with an act to amend the Police Act whereby there would be a more reasonable process for the public at large to complain about police actions, which I referred to in my remarks some five or 10 minutes ago.
There are only two extremes in terms of mechanisms that a municipality now has to choose from. That may not be the situation in one or two years from now if the Solicitor General brings forward badly needed changes to the Police Act. So I want to give the option to a municipality that might be having difficulty with the existing method of complaining about police actions. They do not think that is adequate so they jump from the present procedure, which is basically held behind closed doors, to a police complaints commissioner, but when they see another kind of option offered, they may want to go back to that particular option. I want to ensure that those municipalities will have the right, upon adequate notice to the police commissioner who is there, to be able to take another option at that time.
Therefore, it had been my intention to put this piece of legislation into committee of the whole House and put forward an amendment, which I am happy to say the Attorney General has agreed to support, to amend the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force Complaints Act to allow a municipality to opt out if it gives reasonable notice that it wants to opt out of this mechanism.
Having said that and having been consulted by the Attorney General, who has accepted a reasonable amendment, I am glad to say that my party will of course support this piece of legislation on second reading. If the amendment is brought forward and supported in committee, then we will support the amendment when it comes back on third reading.
I understand the New Democratic Party wants to send this bill out for hearings. We will participate constructively in them.
At that time I hoped that you, Mr. Speaker, and the members of this House would forgive me for being somewhat parochial. But she made some comment with respect to the Peel Region Police Force and I, too, wanted to echo some of her comments with respect to the high quality and calibre of men and women serving on that force.
I have had an opportunity, as have my friends opposite, to speak with police officers on my force and other forces, on this and other issues. I have some comments that I think might be relevant to the discussion on this bill.
Not too long ago I was quoted fairly extensively with respect to some comments on Bill 4. One thing I really want to underscore that flows from that is that I believe that by and large and for the most part, particularly in the region of Peel, the process we now have in place is working well. I was quoted as saying, and indeed it is true, that in the six weeks prior to Christmas, more or less, I received some 17 complaints in my office from constituents that ranged from -- if I could classify it as such -- poor judgement to allegations, and I stress they were allegations, of brutality by police officers.
Upon receiving those complaints, I indicated to them the process that was in place. To the best of my knowledge, 15 of those 17 have been satisfied. I think that is indicative of the fact the process works very well.
Having said that, I also want to stress that does not necessarily mean the two outstanding complaints will not be dealt with, and dealt with to the satisfaction of the individuals concerned. They may or may not be. Time will tell.
with respect to the process of complaints levelled against the police is the perception of the public. I have said, and it seems to me reasonable to suggest, that the success of the police in my community and communities across this province is very much dependent upon the goodwill and respect the citizens have for the police and the work they do. I think, likewise, the community benefits tremendously from the respect the police have for the citizens in the community. It is a reciprocal relationship. When it begins to break down, everyone is hurt by it.
It seems to me that in those very few cases, in those instances where a citizen feels his or her complaint has not been appropriately satisfied within the process of internal complaints, in bringing the concerns to the commission -- indeed, part of it is the lack of understanding some citizens have of the processes that are available to them -- I think we as public representatives have a responsibility and opportunity to help them understand what remedies are currently available to them.
Having said that, in those circumstances where the process does not appear to work, I think there begins to be an erosion in confidence of the citizen. When that happens everybody suffers, including the police officers. I think they have a sense of lower morale on the job and feel the citizens are not behind them.
It seems to me that having a process whereby there is a civilian complaints procedure as envisaged by the expansion in Bill 4, providing the opportunity to expand that in other parts of that province, accomplishes a couple of things that are very important.
Paramount is the fact that it brings an opportunity for the citizen to feel that his or her complaint has been dealt with in a public, open forum and that he or she has been given complete satisfaction. That is paramount and very critical. As I said before, I believe the tremendous work that is done by our police officers is dependent on that confidence which everyone in the community has in the officers of the forces.
What it also does, it seems to me -- I know there is a difference of opinion among the police officers to whom I have spoken -- is that it provides a tremendous opportunity for police officers to have their confidence restored in the public perception they know is out there. They have a sense that: "I am not tainted by allegations that remain unsatisfied. I feel good about what I am doing and know the people of my community are with me."
I think there are certainly two benefits, if not many others, that can be derived that are very important for the citizen and equally as important, not only for the police officer who has the allegation rendered against him or her but also for all of the other officers in the force. I think that is very important.
I wanted to make it very clear with respect to some of the comments that have been attributed to me in the press as well on this particular bill and my comments with respect to it, and I will be very candid about this, there has been an element of racism in some of the complaints that have been brought to me. I am quoted in the paper as saying that the vast majority -- indeed, I am quoted as saying 15 of the 17 complaints -- were from people of black or East Indian origin. That indeed is the case, but I also want to stress and make it very clear that those happen to be of those 17 complaints and that may not represent the total scope of complaints that were brought in our jurisdiction.
But it is because of that type of image that is created, the seeds of the idea of an existing problem that may not in fact exist being sown in articles that are printed or stories that are told, that I think the process of giving a complete public airing in those situations where the citizen remains unsatisfied is very important.
I want to make a couple of brief comments about the scope and timing of the implementation of Bill 4 in other parts of the province.
My friend the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) made some comments yesterday that I think were very thoughtful and had great merit and consideration. I was pleased that the Solicitor General was here to respond to his comments and invite his input as we look, as a government, to dealing with the new Police Act.
I suppose that if I were to have my preference, I would like to see in this particular piece of legislation more direction with respect to the implementation of a citizens' complaints process in other jurisdictions across the province, rather than making it an opt-in option.
Having said that, I also believe that the opt-in option has some positive aspects to it. I think there are some forces that will look very closely at the opportunity that is afforded them under the terms of this bill. I think it may also provide a tremendous opportunity for transition as we move towards the writing of a new piece of legislation, the new Police Act, and will provide those police forces that see it as appropriate an opportunity to look at ways they may implement a civilian complaints process in their community.
Although I would have a preference that it have more direction and more clout, if you will, in terms of bringing a process on stream with more definition and more explicitly, I also think there is a benefit that it can be brought on in a co-operative and a thoughtful manner by police forces that will take leadership in this area. As police forces look closely at their work in the community, they will examine the merits of this, and I am convinced that in many cases they will see the merit of establishing a citizens' complaint process and implementing it in their community.
I look forward to that happening and I trust that police forces across this province will do that and I look forward to the possibility that the same type of process may be in place for Ontario Provincial Police officers, particularly, for the reasons I have mentioned before.
I am pleased to add my support personally, as the member for Brampton North and someone who resides in the region of Peel, having said that I believe the police in Peel are among the finest in this country. I think my friends would forgive me again for that parochial statement. I notice my friend the member for Riverdale (Mr. Reville) nodding his approval. I really do believe that, in all sincerity.
Having spent four months working with the police force in this province, I understand that sense of the adrenalin pumping as I was sworn in to accept my responsibilities working with the police force, the sense of apprehension as I went on my first patrol, experiencing the literally moment-by-moment uncertainties of police officers on the job and the tremendous tensions that they operate under and the tremendous responsibility they take for the benefit of all of us in this fine province. Because of that, I think we have to give them every opportunity to do their job as best they can.
I firmly believe that the implementation of this bill will provide them with an opportunity to do their job even better than they are doing it currently, and I am delighted to speak in support of it.
That is an opportunity I believe is both overdue and significant as well as important. I regret, as do the member for Rainy River (Mr. Hampton) and the rest of my caucus, that all municipalities are not required to have a police complaints procedure. The optional nature of this legislation is my chief concern about it and my chief regret in respect of the legislation.
The other regret is that the Ontario Provincial Police will not be subject to a police complaints procedure of this nature. We have to wait until the Solicitor General introduces the much-promised new Police Act before we will know just what kind of complaints procedure will be available to those who have concerns about the conduct of the provincial police.
I do want to make a few remarks about my own experience with the Metropolitan Toronto Police complaints procedure and the history thereof. As it happens, the majority of the members who are currently sitting in the House at this moment are here as a result of elections in 1985 or 1987, although there are some veterans here who have seen and know much more than I will ever see or know. I did want to say a few words about the history of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force complaints procedure just in case members are not as aware of it as they might be.
I had an opportunity to have some involvement in the development of the police force complaints procedure in Metro, partially because of my role as an alderman on Toronto city council during the period when the question of the relationship between the police and the community was of much interest to not only local politicians but to many citizens. Those who were in the Legislature at that time will remember the debates which were undertaken in the House and will remember particularly the remarks of my predecessor, the former member for Riverdale, Jim Renwick, who had a great many things to say about how the public should be served when it has concerns about the way a police force has behaved.
As a member of the council of the city of Toronto, I had occasion on a number of occasions to think about and discuss this matter with my colleagues. Some members will remember the bathhouse raids of 1981 and the incredible outpouring of concern which was evident at that time about the conduct of the police and may have spoken with some of the lawyers who came together in a defence fund. Members would perhaps know about the Right To Privacy Committee that was formed as a response to the bathhouse raids.
Members may also remember that in the end almost none of the charges which were laid were followed by convictions and that in fact the gay community felt very much that the police had behaved inappropriately.
The other side to that story, and the story of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force Complaints Act in its original form, related to repeated concerns expressed by members of the black community, in the main, that in its relationship with the police force there was much to be desired.
A number of responses were developed to those concerns. The council of Metropolitan Toronto established a number of committees and a number of bureaucracies to investigate the question of police-community relations, as did the city of Toronto.
At the time, I was representing a downtown ward which has a somewhat different geography than does Riverdale -- it is primarily the provincial riding of St. George-St. David, as it now is -- and within that municipal political geography were Regent Park and St. Jamestown, both of which are home to large numbers of people from other cultures, primarily, at that time, West Indian blacks. As the local representative, I had the responsibility to listen to the concerns of my constituents, and among the most concerned were the representatives of young West Indian black males. In fact, there were a number of groups that formed specifically around issues related to police-community relationships.
I think my colleague the member for Oshawa said yesterday that he had not seen but once the storming of a police station by the community. I have seen the storming of a police station by the community on several occasions, and the kind of calm response that was described by the member for Oshawa is not my recollection of the stormings that I witnessed.
That is because there was a very strong perception, particularly in Regent Park, that the police did not understand the culture of the people who lived there and that the police were not sensitive to the ways in which people from the West Indies were familiar with socializing and particularly that there was a very strong bias against young men from the West Indies, to the extent that the citizens' group that sprang up to give voice to these concerns began to collect examples of the kinds of concerns that they had.
With my fellow alderperson, who was at the time Joanne Campbell, I went to see the chief of police and as well the leadership of 51 division, so that we could make the leadership of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force aware of the concerns that were being brought to us. While we were accorded a polite hearing, we were not satisfied with the response of the police force at all.
What we then did was that we went and talked to Sidney Linden, who was at the time running the police complaints procedure in Metropolitan Toronto, and we brought to Mr. Linden 18 documented cases of incidents that had occurred, particularly in the Regent Park area, in which citizens had reason to complain about the behaviour of the police.
We said to Mr. Linden that we think this may not be a case in which we should have regard only to dates, times and places; that we must respond to the perceptions that a community has; that we must not be strictly legalistic about this; that this is not a court of law; that the ordinary rules of evidence should not be applied to this case, but that we needed a response that took seriously the perceptions that were being expressed by large numbers of people.
What was clear to me and to my colleague was that the perceptions were deeply felt and the beliefs were deeply held, regardless of whether strict proof of the allegations could be provided.
We were pleased that the Metropolitan Toronto police complaints procedure that we then had was able to respond to that situation. Thankfully, the situation did not include people dying but involved the more common kinds of concerns that we hear about from time to time, which some criminologists refer to as police-caused crime. For those members of the Legislature who cannot imagine such a turn of events, a police-caused crime relates to charges that are laid that would not have been laid without the intervention of police.
If members were to spend some time in Regent Park, they would understand instinctively what I am talking about. What frequently happens is that some lads are standing over by the Root and Burger having a chat and along comes Officer O'Malley -- this of course is a fictitious name -- and he says, "Good morning, lads." They say -- I know Hansard cannot describe it; they do not say, "Good morning, Officer O'Malley." They say something else, which might be interpreted as rude in some circles, but in fact is just some young lads feeling their oats and being tough or smart-aleck.
Officer O'Malley scratches his head and walks on a few steps further and then has to make a decision as to whether this sort of offence to the uniform and to those who would serve and protect should be just kind of passed off and he should continue on down the avenue, or he should go back and talk to the lads.
On occasion, regrettably, Officer O'Malley decides that he should go over and stop and talk to the lads. One thing leads to the other. The lads make the odd remark and, sure enough, one of the lads is up against the wall with his hands behind his back with some cuffs on and he is being charged with resisting arrest or obstructing justice or assaulting police.
Sure enough, the mother at home gets the phone call that she has been expecting for some time now, because her lad is 15. I cannot tell members how upsetting it is to have a black woman say to one that it is her expectation that one of the rites of passage for her son or sons will be that they will have a criminal record before they are very old. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that that black mother believes her son will have a criminal record not because he has broken the law but merely because he is black. That is a serious problem for our society to confront.
I am not alleging, as I am sure members understand, that in fact the lad was arrested because he was black, because I do not know; but I do allege that the boy's mother believes that is the case, and as long as she believes that is the case, we have a problem that we have to resolve. One of the ways we can resolve problems like this is to have a police complaints procedure in place which is seen to respond to the concerns people bring to it.
I want to say that, by and large, overall, I am quite satisfied with the way in which our police complaints procedure in Metropolitan Toronto has operated. I want to say as well, referring back to the group of cases that was brought before Mr. Linden when he was the co-ordinator, that we were very pleased not only with the effort that was put into the resolution of this police community relations problem by the police complaints procedure but also with the way the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force responded to the suggestions of the complaints commissioner.
In fact, some fairly basic changes were effected in the way Regent Park was being policed. Some of them were really simple and had to do with where the police cruiser traditionally parked. Members of the Legislature may find it a bit odd that it would be a problem that a police cruiser might park in a particular place, but it was a problem because it seemed provocative and unnecessary. When the yellow car would drive across the lawn to take up its position to do daily surveillance, people thought that was offensive. They were not allowed to drive across the lawn. If they sat and did a surveillance on their neighbours, they would expect to be told in no uncertain terms that was inappropriate.
When there is a call in the Regent Park area nowadays for something minor like the light over a licence plate being out, we now hope that seven cruisers will not arrive to respond to this flagrant abuse of the law and threat to the public of the light being burned out over the licence plate. That sort of thing used to happen all the time. The cruisers would arrive with the sirens wailing in front of a 13-storey building and, of course, everybody would come down to see what was going on. They would discover that the problem was that there was a light out over the licence plate.
They thought -- I am not sure why they thought this -- this was an excessive police response. Regrettably, sometimes people said to the police, "I think you are responding in an excessive way to this light being burned out over a licence plate." Then, of course, there would be a number of arrests that would flow from what I agree was an inappropriate police response.
I certainly hope that sort of response does not occur often, and if it does occur in other areas, citizens will have somewhere to take their concerns and we can anticipate that the same kind of helpful, constructive response will be forthcoming as we saw from the Metropolitan Toronto police complaints outfit with respect to the situation that I mentioned.
I had occasion on behalf of my own son to lay a complaint when I felt he had been beaten up by the police. Again, I want to report that I was pleased that the police complaints procedure was available to me and I was pleased with the results of the investigation. I am not at all pleased with the continuing perception that young people, particularly young men, get beaten up by the police, particularly if they are hanging around particular places.
I do hope that the public can feel assured that if those kinds of concerns are on their minds, they have somewhere to take them. That is why I think it is particularly important to amend this legislation to make a police complaints procedure mandatory across this province.
I do hope that we will have an opportunity to hear more from the public. Clearly, it is a timely initiative. Right at the moment the media is carrying the concerns of a lot of people about the way police forces are operated, who is in charge of police forces and what is appropriate in terms of a response by police to various kinds of situations that occur. I do not believe it will be the most calm set of hearings we have ever had, but this is about a subject that affects people a great deal. I suggest that we need to provide an opportunity for people to state their views.
Yesterday my colleague the member for Oshawa spoke about the difficult job that the police have and how grateful we are as citizens that the police do their job so well. I certainly want to associate myself with those remarks. I have had an opportunity, as he points out that he has had and that we all have had, to work closely with the police force and police forces to develop solutions to problems that we experience in our ridings and in our communities. I have in fact been delighted with the relationship that has developed between my office and the police force in Metropolitan Toronto.
That said, I think that some of the structure of police forces and policing creates problems. I think that those problems need to addressed from time to time. I think that members of the public must be assured that if they have a complaint to make, that complaint will be investigated by people who are totally unbiased and who have no organizational stake to protect.
I would invite members who are interested to pick up the book that was written by a former colleague of mine and a former appointee of this government, John Sewell. He identified a number of the problems that policing is heir to and a number of the problems that are caused by the difficulty of the mandate that the police have. In fact, it is a mandate that is not always crystal-clear and it is a mandate that has ingredients that are sometimes contradictory. Those kinds of conflicts sometimes produce behaviour that the public will have reason to complain about.
I look forward to the hearings that I anticipate will be held into this legislation and urge the members of the Legislature to give very strong consideration to the advisability of requiring municipalities to buy into a police complaints procedure.
I want to reiterate some of the comments my colleagues on this side of the House have made and to state again where we stand on the fundamentals of this bill. I should start perhaps by echoing what my leader said last week on this bill. He basically said there are some fundamental issues of human rights involved in this bill, issues that concern not only us here in this province but also nations all around the world.
One of the documents which is quite interesting, and I would recommend it as reading for a number of members, is the proceedings of a conference that was held here in October 1985, called Proceedings of the First International Conference on Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. Ironically, both the current Attorney General and the former Solicitor General spoke at that conference and took part in that conference.
We are dealing with a problem that stretches far and wide beyond this province and it deals with a fundamental question of human rights, a fundamental question of social order: What should the relationship be between the police on the one hand and citizens on the other?
We give police officers a great deal of authority in our society. We expect a lot of them, and generally they perform to the highest degree. I think we all recognize that. But putting that aside, we must also recognize that there are problems and that our society has become more complex in a number of ways: more complex racially; more complex in terms of the different communities to be found within one metropolitan area; more complex in the sense that I come from a remote part of the province in northwestern Ontario which is far different from Metropolitan Toronto, far different in social makeup, far different in some of the social values and far different just in terms of geographical distribution of people.
Invariably, in all of our communities we have police forces, and invariably conflicts will arise between the police and between our citizens. We have to find a means which both the police and the public at large find acceptable in terms of mediating those disputes or investigating them or getting them solved.
The government has said that this bill is the best it can do. I just review the Attorney General's statement given last week at this time. He said, "This is not the ultimate bill," but this is the best the government can do at this stage. I want to go through the bill very briefly to point out why the government has to do better, why this bill just will not work and why we think this bill will lead to more problems, not less.
First, it is the question of -- and I do not mean this in a derogatory sense -- the local option again. Several members from our side of the House have spoken about this, the idea that a citizen, if he lives in Metropolitan Toronto, has a right to ask for a civilian review and has the right to launch a complaint with the police complaints body, which will, at a second stage, be a civilian review. The idea that a citizen has that right in Toronto but might not have it in Oshawa, Peel or Thunder Bay is really a serious, serious issue.
It is serious enough to do it on an issue of whether a community will have a pause day on a Sunday or not or whether stores will be open on a Sunday or not. That creates a certain level of social chaos in and of itself. As a member of the standing committee on administration of justice, I heard 400 submissions this summer on why these kinds of local options are not good, why they are not workable and why they will cause problems in the long run.
To now suggest that we can have a local option on something that is as serious as the relationship between the police and the citizenry -- I must ask: Where is the government's thinking? Where is its thinking cap? That cannot be a workable system for very long in our society.
I realize, as I said, that the government has a difficult job. There are citizens on the one hand who may have complaints about the police and there is some insecurity from selected police forces in terms of not being sure what kind of review they are getting into. They are not sure they like the procedures, they are not sure they like what the outcomes might be.
However, this elected government is merely attempting to have this law passed and then to say to the municipalities or to say when there are complaints about police forces, "Well, the mechanism's there; go back to your municipality." In a practical sense, that is what I see coming out of this bill, and that cannot be allowed to happen.
When there are problems that can be that serious -- and we need only look at the news media for the past two weeks or six months to realize how serious those problems can become -- this kind of solution, this incremental local option, just will not deal with them. The government is asking for more trouble.
It just is no answer to say: "Well, the mechanism's there. Go harp at your municipal politicians and make them do something." It will not wash. I think it is a sad day for this government to try that approach, to try to slough it on to municipalities. We cannot support it, because we do not think it will work and we do not think it is right.
The second problem, which again I think was expressed very ably by my colleague the member for Oshawa, is that the government cannot have a situation whereby conduct by a municipal officer can be investigated by a civilian review formula, yet conduct by an Ontario Provincial Police officer is excluded. As was pointed out, there are all kinds of communities across this province where the OPP are in essence the municipal police force. Most of the communities in my riding fall into that category. To exclude the OPP is, again, something that just will not wash in practical terms. It is wrong.
Finally, we are given a bill that was introduced in Metropolitan Toronto. We are not given a refined Metropolitan Toronto bill; we are simply given the Metropolitan Toronto bill and we are asked to apply it to other communities outside of Metropolitan Toronto.
I want to tell the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General that we already have all kinds of complaints about the existing Metropolitan Toronto Police Force Complaints Act, and they come from both sides. If the government had brought to the House a refined bill, a bill that dealt with some of the problems that are already there, that would at least be an improvement.
Let me just give members an example of some of the comments we hear: Many citizens are quite upset that they must go through an internal police force investigation of the complaint before it goes to the independent complaints commission. Many citizens feel that is not a proper system.
As the member for Oshawa indicated yesterday, you can find police officers who are not happy with that system, who are not happy with the sometimes rigid internal discipline that is imposed internally in a police force when a complaint is investigated. So we have heard complaints about that.
We have also heard complaints from individual police officers about the way in which the present act is being interpreted by the courts in the sense that officers feel their private conduct, what they do off duty, should not be the subject of or should not be reviewed by the existing Metropolitan Toronto Police Force Complaints Act.
It should not be the subject of that review, yet we have had complaints that it is. Police officers have said to me: "If I show someone my badge and I express to him that I am a police officer and I somehow misconduct myself while doing that, I think that is fair game for this kind of review. But if I am off duty and I somehow get into an altercation with someone, without representing myself as a police officer, I am just a private citizen. That should not be reviewed."
Yet I have been told that has happened on some occasions. If it has, that is something that needs to be looked at. That is a problem with the existing law that I would not feel comfortable extending on to the province, even if it is on some sort of optional basis.
Finally, the problem we have with what is before us is that there is no built-in review process. I want to quote the Attorney General again because he made this statement in his comments earlier on. I would take, from his comments, that there should be some sort of internal review. Last Thursday, he said that this is not the ultimate bill and that in some ways it is unsatisfactory. Then he said: "I simply draw to his attention," and he is speaking here to the leader of our party, "what Sydney Linden, who founded the Metro police complaints commission, had to say when he was confronted by this incremental approach. He said he thought it was not only appropriate but wise to do this exercise in three stages."
The Attorney General insists that with this bill we are now at the second stage. If we were indeed at the second stage, we would have liked to have seen some refinements of what was at the first stage. If indeed there is this staged system, we want to see in this act a review process that is incorporated into the act, so that we do not fool around with this issue for five, six, seven, eight or nine years, as the Legislature has done.
When this act comes up for discussion, we have to be very careful which bill we pull from our file because this bill has been before this House three times now in three years. I say that is fooling around with the issue. It has been before the House; it has been withdrawn. It has been before the House; an election was called. Now it is before the House again.
If the government is serious in getting on with this in an orderly, intelligent, incremental manner, then written into this bill should be the requirement for a review process by the standing committee on administration of justice a couple of years down the road, and a requirement for review with commentary and public hearings.
Those are the reasons we cannot support this bill. Quite frankly, we see the need for this bill, the need for this kind of legislation, but I am afraid I have to say that what this bill would mean is that the government could then hold up the legislation and say: "See, we did something. There is a viable mechanism there. There is a mechanism there for a civilian police review."
Yet I know in reading it that it is not workable, that there are internal problems with it and that it is going to lead to more problems down the road than it solves. The optional character of it is something that just -- it is too important to leave up to some sort of municipal option.
In conclusion, I think there is something that has to be said a little further about police relations and I think my colleague the member for Riverdale, my colleague the member for Oshawa yesterday and the leader of our party, the member for York South (Mr. B. Rae), have all referred to this. There has to be a better mechanism. We have to work at a better mechanism for police relations with the community at large and with individuals who may from time to time complain about police conduct.
The internal police review mechanism, as I have said and as the member for Oshawa pointed out yesterday, sometimes is handled in an almost militaristic manner, a manner that may deprive an individual police officer of all or a large degree of his rights, or it is sometimes, unfortunately, handled in a way that members of the public may feel is shutting them out of the process or shutting them out of information they feel they would like to have or information they would like to give or discussions they would like to have held.
We want a better bill than this. We want a better law than this. From our perspective, a better bill and a better law have to be forthcoming from the government, because as I have said before and I say it again, it is not enough to simply hold up this legislation, after it has presumably been passed, and when you run into police complaint situations, then say to those individuals or those community groups that are complaining: "Well, hey, we've done our thing. You have to go back to your municipality now." That is not solving the problem. That is passing the political buck, and again, this issue is too important to pass on the political buck.
I say to the parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General that I hope he will take some of the comments we have made and consider them seriously. We want this bill to go out to committee and we want some hearings to be held on it. We want groups and individuals to have the opportunity to comment on it because in our view that is the only way, at this stage, that better legislation and an eventual better law will result. I hope again that the parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General has listened and is prepared to listen and make some changes in the legislation.
I think what they are trying to express to the government is that the issue certainly is a sensitive one, but if it is going to deal adequately with a complaints mechanism, then it cannot have a local option, an opting-in of municipalities in the future, etc. If the government is going to deal seriously with what appears to be in some cases a very definite problem between police and civilians, then it has to make that option open to everyone in this province.
It cannot be selective about who will be covered, who will have the option to complain or who will have the option to have an investigation done in order to satisfy their concerns. I think that represents a serious flaw in this legislation, which I trust the government and government members are going to deal with adequately in committee.
As well, I certainly hope the government will consider having the Ontario Provincial Police covered. I know there are several areas in my community where the only authority in that regard is the OPP. I have a number of communities that are unorganized and as a consequence the OPP is the only force there to provide authority. They should be included as well. There should be a mechanism where complaints can be raised not only against regional or municipal police, but against provincial police as well.
I trust the members of the government party will take into consideration and debate during the hearings what we have said today.
I just want to reiterate that in a speech that was given by the former Solicitor General of this province at the International Conference on Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, he said basically, "I recognize as Solicitor General and as former mayor of a city and member of a police commission that there is a need for a recognized forum to which civilians can direct their complaints regarding police activities for the treatment they received in the hands of the police."
He then goes on to point out that a civilian complaints mechanism is the preferred method. One of the other methods he lists is going up to the ministry, the problem percolating up to the Ministry of the Solicitor General. I think the inevitable politics that may involve is quite an inappropriate way to resolve these problems. As I say again, government has to grasp this issue more carefully and more thoroughly than it has.
First, I would like to thank all the members who have taken part in this debate. I believe we have heard matters in this debate not only of issues of crucial importance, but also with that, an emotion attached to those issues, and that says a great deal. It says to all who watch and listen or read Hansard, how very important this bill is to all members of the Legislature.
I understand the concerns raised by members of the opposition in terms of some of the provisions that are and are not in this legislation, and in my closing remarks I want to devote a short time to discussing them. I would also like to comment specifically for the member for Riverdale who has really shared with us a history of this bill, who has shared with us his experience with this bill, and I think that adds a great deal.
This is a bill, and I think it is trite to say, where there are no winners and losers. We all know the job and the duty done by the police forces across this province. We know of the great reliance and security we put on the police forces. We know the stress and strain they have in fulfilling their duties and obligations to all sectors of this province.
No one can dispute not only the reliance the public puts on the police force, but an increasing reliance, an increasing security, an increasing sense of protection that we demand from our police force, which is in large measure well met. But neither can one deny the right of the public to have a process, a framework of investigation to allow them, in an open forum, to issue any complaint they may have.
This is not a bill of winners and losers. It is a bill that meets on the one hand the needs of society, of our province, in large measure in terms of the requirement to have an open forum for hearing a complaint, while on the other hand allowing our police force to have such a process and framework where complaints too can be heard without any concern in terms of openness, without any concern that they are not being heard fairly. Those two items together make for a greater reliance, a greater understanding, a greater sense of understanding between the public at large and the members of the police force charged with the responsibility of serving and protecting.
Concerns have been raised in terms of the question whether this bill should be mandatory, whether there should be a compulsory aspect to this bill as opposed to what is now in the bill in terms of its being optional. I think we have to recall the statement made by the Attorney General that the process of development in this bill is in certain stages. We are now entering what we hope to be the second stage. We have just completed the first stage, a stage of a pilot project, a mechanism within Metro Toronto where people had, within that municipality, a public complaints system.
What we are doing by this bill is expanding and stepping into that second stage, whereby other municipalities will have the right to opt in. Let me say this opt-in approach continues the pattern established when the police complaints system was first put into place in Metro Toronto.
The Metro system has resulted in significant benefits not only to those who are intimately involved in the office of the public complaints commissioner but throughout Metro Toronto as a whole.
Through Bill 4 we are going to afford other municipalities the same opportunity to obtain these benefits for their communities. We do this because once the experience of the municipalities outside Metro who do opt in is known we can then consider in an informed way whether it would be advisable to make the system mandatory for all municipalities.
We know there are municipalities which will, on one hand, feel a more urgent need to opt into this system than others, but this second stage in the development of this legislation demands this type of option, this type of opt-in for those municipalities which so desire.
Much has been brought forward in terms of the OPP not being covered by the bill. Even yesterday, the Solicitor General in remarks to the speech by the member for Oshawa, I believe, indicated that the Police Act is currently being examined, and one such issue is going to be dealing with the question of public civilian complaints and the OPP. That was said just yesterday and has been put forward by the Solicitor General on a number of occasions.
This is a bill which we hope will have speedy passage. We believe this is a bill which is necessary for those municipalities that wish to take advantage of the opportunity, who wish to opt in, to take advantage immediately. We believe there is a necessity, there is a demand, there is a desire, to have that type of complaints commission which now exists solely within Metro Toronto in other parts of the province.
In saying so, I reiterate that this is the second of three stages in the development of this bill. I have already alluded to an investigation, an examination, an analysis, an assessment which would take place after this second stage commences, one issue of which would be the question of whether this bill should be mandatory across the province. But that type of analysis, investigation and assessment cannot be made in an informed manner unless we allow those municipalities the option of opting in to this bill, and this amendment does give those municipalities that option.
Points were and have been made by many of the members, such as the inquiry by the Police Complaints Board; that there is a necessity that this particular legislation allow for an investigation by the public complaints commissioner. This legislation does that. There is provision that investigation can be made by the commissioner when certain elements, criteria and factors are present.
I would hope that members of the opposition and third party will take note of our intent, our desire and our concern to move as quickly as possible into the second stage of this bill, to have this bill pass into law as quickly and urgently as possible, so that other municipalities will have the opportunity to have a complaints commission such as exists in Metropolitan Toronto. Many members here are aware of its success, its importance to the community at large and to those specific individuals who have been involved in the process themselves.
This bill is extremely important, it is extremely urgent and I trust and hope that there will be a speedy passage of this bill so that such opportunity for other municipalities may be given.
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
POLICE AND SHERIFFS STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Offer, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Scott, moved second reading of Bill 187, An Act to amend certain Acts as they relate to Police and Sheriffs.
The importance of our court system is obvious. The courts play an essential role in preserving this ability and standard of life that we have a right to expect in Ontario. The provision of an adequate level of security in all our courts is a matter of great importance. Recently, concerns have been expressed that the lines of responsibility in this very important area are unclear. This bill will remove any confusion.
Local police forces already provide court security at most of the locations where court proceedings are conducted. They have the training and equipment necessary to provide effective security. In addition, since police forces appear regularly as participants in court proceedings, they are familiar with many of the cases that might result in risks to security.
This legislation conforms with the policy announced in 1985 by the then Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Dennis Timbrell, under which municipalities responsible for policing had been receiving an additional $3 per household in provincial grants to recognize the municipality's role in providing protective services at court facilities.
I believe this legislation will promote effective security for Ontario residents involved in court securities. I hope and trust it will receive the support of the House.
This is a bill which clearly indicates that the responsibility for court security rests with municipal police forces. The decision as to the type and form of security is that of the municipal police force. In response once more to the member, in most court locations that is now being done by the police force. What this legislation does is recite what is, in most instances, the case right at this point in time.
There is no question that, in terms of persons who are now conducting some court security functions, the police of the municipality will take a look; they will reassess; they will make certain that the courts have a certain level of security which all people who are going to the courts not only expect but demand. I think that this bill and its purpose is to clarify the responsibility which is in large measure at this point in time being exercised by the police force.
First of all, the fact of the matter is that many municipal police forces in Ontario do not at the present time have sufficient numbers of officers to staff courthouses with adequate security and also meet their community policing obligations.
We know that many of the municipal police forces and the Ministry of the Solicitor General are holding ongoing conversations on the need to pursue community policing more effectively, to devote more officers, more police constables, more police resources to community policing; and yet the gist of this bill is that officers will have to be withdrawn or, if not withdrawn, will have to concentrate more of their attention on court security.
Which way is the government going? Is it going in the direction of the Attorney General or of the Solicitor General (Mrs. Smith)? We would like to know, and the police forces of Ontario would like to know as well.
The parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General mentions a $3 increase in the unconditional grants that was granted in 1985 -- not granted in 1986 after a period of inflation, not granted in 1987 after a period of inflation, not granted in 1988 after a period of inflation; he is referring to a $3 increase in unconditional grants that was made in 1985.
Without an increase in the grant structure -- and we do not see that in this legislation, and we do not see it in any companion legislation, and we do not see it in any existing program -- municipalities will simply not have the financial wherewithal to cover these costs. They have been very clear about that.
Finally, the bill says specifically that the municipal police force in the area where the court facilities are situated will have the responsibility for court security, or if there is not a municipal police force, the Ontario Provincial Police.
Let's look at some of the situations which can occur. We have spoken to some of the municipal police forces. There are court facilities in Barrie. The Barrie Police Force indicates that to provide the adequate security which is necessary at the district court and the provincial court facilities in Barrie, it estimates it would cost in the neighbourhood of $306,000 a year. They estimate that about all they would get out of the unconditional grants is about $50,000. In other words, the municipality has to make up the $250,000 shortfall.
Meanwhile, in Alliston, the neighbouring municipality which has no court facilities and still gets the unconditional grant, the net financial cost to it of providing courtroom security is zero.
That is, again, what we have had put to us. We have had visitations from chiefs of police from various municipalities who have outlined this and who have emphasized this time and time again.
Finally, let me say this: The municipal police force security concept that is advocated in this bill, from my reading, completely contradicts the recommendations of two government reports. Mr. Justice Zuber, in his report on the Ontario courts, had something to say about court security, and furthermore, in 1978 another study was done on the issue of court security.
I think it is worth while just to read into the record some of the things Mr. Justice Zuber had to say, because he quotes. He says the issues of court security have been brought to the attention of the inquiry. He says there are some questions as to whether the responsibility should go to a local police force, whether there should be specifically set up under the auspices of the Ministry of the Attorney General a special force which is charged with providing court security at all of the courts or whether we should continue with the mix and match that we have now.
He says: "The responsibility for the provision of courthouse security is a matter of continuing debate. In 1978, the Pukacz report recommended that `the Ontario Government Protective Service administered by the Ontario Provincial Police be designated to provide' court security officers, information officers and attendants for all courts, and that where police officers were performing these functions, they should be replaced by the protective service or by `specially trained uniformed civilian staff' in the smaller centres. The police were to `supplement and strengthen security in the courts whenever required' if they were present in court" -- but it should not be their primary responsibility --"and to institute `special security arrangements whenever dangerous prisoners or a large number of prisoners have been brought for trial or where threats, violence, disturbances...are likely to occur.'"
In other words, police were to get involved when it was an extraordinary situation. The police were not recommended to provide everyday security.
I want to say that upon reading Mr. Zuber -- he is referring there, of course, to the Pukacz report -- he essentially agrees with that report. He says:
"This inquiry recommends that the provision of court security should be the responsibility of a provincial police force operating at the direction of the courts administration division of the Ministry of the Attorney General. To the extent that the use of municipal police forces is considered desirable, appropriate arrangements should be made with the municipal authorities involved and adequate funding should be provided for that purpose."
The government has had two reports now and neither of them advocates what is coming down the pipe here.
Finally, having spoken to individual officers, they want to know the logic of the government having a first class constable, broadly trained in various aspects of policing, tied up day after day in what is essentially a security operation. They feel it should be possible to have specially trained security officers who are more aware, who have, as I say, the specialized training in security issues, which, as we must acknowledge, are not the same as general police issues. The police officers want to know the logic that is contained here.
Just to emphasize and bring up a few other points, one of the things that has upset a number of municipal forces is that a letter was sent -- this legislation, let us point out, was introduced in the House back in November 1988, not that long ago. On November 16, a letter went from the Attorney General to the executive director of the Municipal Police Authorities. In that letter, the Attorney General says:
"The legislation will not in any way seek to direct the OPP, the municipality or its police force. Naturally, the government will welcome your comments on the legislation once you have had a chance to review it. In particular, if there are any specific local circumstances which require special consideration, I would be grateful if you would bring them to the attention of the Solicitor General so that we can hear about them."
That was November 17. It is now the beginning of January. Christmas was in the middle. How was any municipal police force, any municipal council going to be able to conduct the kind of review of the legislation and then the review of what court security might require and then a review of its staffing and manpower and respond? How were they able to do that? The time simply was not there. I would agree they have a right to be somewhat upset at the manner in which the Ministry of the Attorney General has proceeded in this matter.
Finally, a letter was written to the Premier (Mr. Peterson) on December 5 outlining all the problems that the Municipal Police Authorities have with this legislation. Sad to say, no answer has been received yet.
Let me emphasize the point again: The parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General says, "All we're doing is laying out the law clearly here on who is responsible." I want to say to the parliamentary assistant that this is not a principle of law issue; this is a program issue.
The program question is: Who is going to pay the bill to provide for adequate court security, which we all acknowledge is necessary? Merely to pass a law which says it shall be the responsibility of the municipal police forces without providing the program funding does not solve the problem.
It is another one of those wonderful municipal local options that this government seems to be so enchanted with. Pass it off on the municipalities; let them worry about it. Let them find the money. That is totally inadequate. This is a program issue. If the government cannot come forward with a clear legislative and financial framework as to how this responsibility is going to be worked out and how it is going to be paid for, then the government is not doing its job.
Finally, let me emphasize again: The unconditional grants to municipalities, which are to be used to pay for this service or one would have to assume are going to be used to pay for this security service, have been frozen in 1989; we know that, the municipalities know that. To be putting this off on the municipalities on the one hand, knowing it is going to increase their costs, and on the other hand to be freezing the unconditional grants to municipalities is irresponsible of this government.
I hope that the parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General is now fully apprised of our position and why we think this is a bad bill and why the government had better go back and do it again. What did those guys do over Christmas anyway, all take a holiday? Is that what it was? Did they not do any homework? I hope they are fully apprised now as to why we cannot support this bill and what we think they need to do to make it a bill which we can at least attempt to support.
I would just like to go back to the purpose of the bill as it was outlined by the Attorney General in a question that was raised to him on Tuesday of this week. The Attorney General said at that time:
"The purpose of the bill is simply to identify precisely what we are funding. What we are funding, so the honourable member will know, is work that is now done by police forces in almost every municipality in Ontario: the transporting of prisoners; responding to threats of violence if they are made at the courthouse; and maintaining a presence, as required, to maintain the safety of the occupants of the courthouse."
He also added, "In the vast majority of cases in Ontario, there should be no additional costs at all."
We heard the parliamentary assistant say basically the same thing, to reiterate the purpose of the bill as it was outlined by the Attorney General on Tuesday of this week.
I would like to say to the parliamentary assistant that, while he figures it may be true in most parts of Ontario that this is happening, I do not believe it is happening in most areas of the province and I note that it is certainly not happening in my community. In fact, the bill that the government proposes to put through in this House will have a significant cost to the police force in my community, and in the end to the community at large.
Let me just tell him about what is going to happen in Sudbury. The information that I have comes via the regional police and, in fact, from Chief Zanabi at the regional police headquarters. He faxed a letter to me at about 4:10 on Tuesday afternoon in response to the comments made by the Attorney General earlier on in the day.
He states that in Sudbury, for example, what the government proposes will mean hiring an additional six police officers. The starting rates in terms of salaries and benefits, which come under their contract, mean approximately $50,000 per officer. The cost that we are looking at in our community is about $300,000 in order to meet the requirements put out in this bill.
For the regional police in Sudbury, that represents about two per cent of their total current budget, which is $17 million. In terms of our community -- and I do not think our community is the only one -- there is going to be a significant cost in trying to provide for court security using police officers.
Second, the money from the unconditional grants is gone. The Attorney General stated that in 1985, $3 per family was made available to offset any costs that were related to police providing security within the district courts. Our police chief has stated to us that that money is long gone. They do not know where it is going to come from next.
Certainly the unconditional grants have now been frozen, so it is not likely the money will be coming from that source any further. In fact, what the minister says -- and, of course, this is going to be the same for other municipalities in the same boat as us -- is that it is going to be the region that will pick it up. All of these communities in our region are going to be affected by a change in mill rate in order to raise the funds necessary to provide that extra policing.
In light of all that, there is a substantial cost that is going to be picked up in our region. The police in our region assure me that they do not have a problem with providing extra police security, except that they do not feel that they should be the ones, or the municipality should be the one, to bear the brunt of that.
In our case, we are looking at $300,000 a year, and upwards with the rate of inflation. If we have to hire new police officers year after year, that is going to be the cost for us. They feel that if the province is going to carry on with this bill, then the province should begin to pick that up and add to the cost of its annual budget.
Second, I just want to point out again that my colleague the member for Rainy River has raised several reasons why we in this caucus do not agree, one of them being that some municipalities will bear the brunt of all the costs of providing court security in the district court. He outlined the case of Barrie versus Alliston.
He also pointed out that the concept of security that is outlined in this bill really contradicts the recommendations in two reports he pointed out and certainly causes some problems for community policing, which I am sure all of us in the province are worried about. I know our own local force is extremely concerned about that.
In summary -- and I say this to the parliamentary assistant -- there is no doubt that citizens in the province, and certainly judges, require adequate court security. No one is disputing that. But I think the government should step back and take a look at how that should most adequately and efficiently be provided. Perhaps the answer is not to have more police in the courtrooms, because that will probably take away from the police who are going to be used out in the community on the streets. Perhaps they should look further at the recommendations that were outlined by my colleague in those two reports.
I think it must be said that what is really happening here, if the government chose to admit it, is that the bill before us is really an attempt by the Attorney General to slough off some of that financial responsibility in terms of administration and staffing that we have in the courts now. In the view of my community, and I am certain there are others, it is going to have a substantial impact.
There has been no response by the government as to why it is that the government should not provide for extra police if indeed, as in the case in my community, unconditional grants will no longer meet that. Second, because the unconditional grant is now frozen, the government has not responded as to why all those municipalities should have to add that to their mill rate in order to raise those finances locally.
I too am not supporting this bill. I have tried to identify at least some of the problems in my own community and I certainly hope that if we have public hearings on this or if this bill goes to committee, the government will be forced to address some of the concerns that I have raised and certainly some of the concerns that police associations across the province have raised in terms of this bill.
Again, in terms of staffing the district court, it would mean that the regional police will have to hire at least an additional six police officers for that in terms of their salary and benefits. Under their contract, the rate they are looking at is at least $50,000 per officer per year, so in our community we are talking about $300,000 in the first year this goes into effect. That represents a total of about two per cent of their entire budget, which is $70 million.
I can only speak for what is happening in my own community, but I think it certainly is significant. I think other members will find that in their own communities the same type of thing is happening and the costs to those communities are going to be quite substantial.
I am concerned with the process that is involved with this bill and how it has appeared before the House. Right at the very beginning, I would like to ask again -- because I was speaking earlier, last week, on Bill 4 -- where is the Attorney General? I really think that maybe we should move him into some of his other responsibilities of counselling the Premier or taking over Hershell Ezrin's job or doing some of the other things that may be very important to him.
What is of great importance to the people of Ontario is that he be here to understand and appreciate the points of view of those of us who are elected to office to speak to different bills and to present the views of our own constituencies. I again would like to express right now that I am disappointed that the Attorney General is not in this House to participate in the debate, to respond to what is being said and to listen to what is going on.
I do appreciate the fact that he has a very capable parliamentary assistant in the form of the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Offer), a friend and one who has shown great capability in what he is doing. Maybe what we should do is put forward a petition that will make him the Attorney General. Then we can move the Attorney General into something that he wants to do. If the parliamentary assistant is going to do such a good job of carrying these bills forward, then let him have the pay that goes with it rather than just the pittance that he gets as a parliamentary assistant.
But even further to that, if he wants to make any amendments or do any changes, the tragedy is that at present the parliamentary assistant has to go and make an appointment with the Attorney General. Then, assuming he can get an appointment, maybe he can try to present the views that have been presented in the House. But who is to think that anyone could present the views of all honourable members that well? Therefore, I come back to my fundamental point: Where is the Attorney General when he has the responsibility to be here in the Legislature to carry his own legislation?
I have great respect for the parliamentary assistant, but I still think the Attorney General is sloughing off important responsibilities to someone else and I think the people of Ontario should be made aware of that problem. The bill is presented by, "The Hon. I." -- that stands for Ian -- "Scott, Attorney General," yet it is the member for Mississauga North who is carrying the bill.
I guess there is nothing that can be done about it, because I said it last week and there is no change. Maybe there is a lesson in that one, that this government really does not want to listen, it does not want to respond; it is going to do its own thing in its own time, with its own agenda. I say it is going to come back to haunt government members, because when the voters of Ontario start to look at the record of this government, they are going to be looking at just this kind of thing I am talking about. It is arrogance, and it is an arrogance that undermines the confidence of all people in what good government is all about.
The fact of the matter is that when we are going to transfer the responsibility of court security to municipal police forces, we are transferring responsibilities which are presently assumed by the province. What is going to happen now is that the financial obligations which go with these services will also be transferred to the local municipalities or to the local regional governments. The cost then will be borne by the local taxpayers. It will come off the property owners who pay property taxes which are already too high.
We have a problem right now in Ontario. We know that the percentage of taxes being paid by property owners in this province, and therefore by renters and by anyone who has property, is not equitable. I know for a fact that many seniors who are on fixed incomes are worrying about their property in the future, how much longer they are going to be able to keep up the payment of their taxes. Fortunately, they have paid for their dwelling, it is paid off, but they worry about whether they are going to be able to keep up the tax payments.
Somehow or other this government just keeps on pouring more of that load back on to the local municipalities without giving those municipalities any of the funding and the financial support they need in order to carry out that job.
For York region alone, the additional cost is over $1,100,000, which will be borne by the citizens of York region. Our own York Region Police Force will have to have at least 12 more regular police constables to replace the services presently handled by the sheriffs. That may not seem like much to the parliamentary assistant. It is just that these responsibilities being handed down to the local municipalities are starting to add up. I think it becomes extremely unfair to the ratepayers of our province when you keep adding and adding and adding to that load.
I have some of the costs associated with this. It is not just what is going to come out of York region, which I represent; I think of the people in Metropolitan Toronto. We are talking about a total bill in excess of $16 million. Maybe $8 million of that is presently being paid for in the joint arrangement which was developed some years ago, and that has given a precedent for some of the thinking that is going on now within the Attorney General's brain, which we cannot see here. None the less, you are talking about $8 million more from the people of Metropolitan Toronto.
The honourable member for Sudbury East (Miss Martel) just pointed out how much Sudbury is going to have to pay. Barrie is going to be paying $306,000 more -- here's to the people of Barrie, another gift from the Premier and the Liberals in Ontario which they will be paying through their local taxes; Cobourg, $250,000; Collingwood, $133,000; for Durham region, $2 million is estimated as the cost that will be picked up by the ratepayers in Durham.
Lindsay will be paying $40,000; Metropolitan Toronto, I have already mentioned; $70,000 more will be paid out of the coffers of the taxpayers of Orillia. I know that my good friend the member for Simcoe East (Mr. McLean) would support the concerns that I am expressing in this House today. We have with us the honourable member for Mississauga South (Mrs. Marland) and Peel region will be paying over $500,000; Peterborough, $204,000; and the numbers go on.
The point stands. The province is giving up responsibilities presently held by the province, passing them out to the local municipalities, the regional municipalities or Metropolitan Toronto, and saying, "Here, it is your problem." In making it their problem, the province is saying that they also have to pay for it. There is no bargaining going on here. There is no conversation. There is no effort by this province and this government to say: "Let's work something out. Let's have some kind of conciliation. Let's work out a deal."
That was an approach that was used by Mr. McMurtry several years ago. It was an approach used by Mr. Timbrell when he was Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. There was some kind of working through a problem, especially when they developed a deal for Metropolitan Toronto.
Why can this government not do the same thing today? I am talking to the wrong person. I am talking to the empty seat because the Attorney General is not here to listen. It is hard to know who to talk to when he is not here and not paying attention.
Another concern that we have is just the way in which this has been announced and brought forward. The bill itself -- as innocuous as it seems but it has significant ramifications, as we know -- came out on November 17, 1988, and one has to ask how much of this was discussed with different police forces and with the people who are involved in the delivery of these services.
The fact of the matter is it was quite a surprise to the people in York region and it was quite a surprise to the other police forces. They really had no idea that the Attorney General was planning to do this. What is going to happen then to their budget planning and everything else, assuming that this bill passes quickly, which is in fact what the Attorney General said he wants to do? He wants to get it through as fast as he can. Maybe that is so no one has a chance to think about it and understand the consequences of it.
I have here a file of papers from different police forces and all of them are unanimous in their concern at the way this bill has been introduced. If I wanted to go through it, I could start reading from these letters just to indicate this strong negative reaction that they have.
"The Municipal Police Authorities, representing Ontario's 122 Municipal Police Commissions and Police Committees, in concert with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, has major concerns with respect to Bill 187." She then goes on to explain it. Those are the people who are going to have to deliver on this and they know the consequences of it.
I sense a level of arrogance in this whole process. We are having this bill presented to the House; we are going to have to consider it. I hope that when it gets to committee there will be some chance of amending it and there will be some opening up of responsibility back to the government rather than just saying that the local municipalities and the regions and everyone else have to carry on its job for it.
One of the concerns that comes through this bill has to do with the whole relationship that we are coming towards as a police state. What about that fundamental concept of a person being innocent until proven guilty? That is something we value in this society in Canada. It is enshrined in our Constitution. Now we are going to be like the French, who are guilty until proven innocent, just by appearances.
Is this not becoming more of a police state, when you are apprehended by the police and now you are going to have uniformed police in the courtroom, with the people at arm's length? To what extent does that put a special aura over the court and over a person who is pleading innocent? What does that do to the jury or to the judge when they start seeing that person accompanied by police in the court? I say there is a danger in doing that, because at that point we have suddenly said, "We are a police state and we're going to watch over people; we're going to be right beside them." There is not that sense of trust and there is not that sense that people are innocent until proven guilty.
That is a concern that has been expressed by my own chief of police from York region, Chief Hillock. He has expressed that as a concern, because he is saying it does open up that spectre. Here is what he says in a letter: "Further, the responsibility of the police should end when an accused is first incarcerated. To continue escorting a prisoner and providing security within the courts could certainly give the appearance that we have a police state."
I just wonder to what extent the government is trying to make that happen. The Attorney General is not here to respond to that; we all know that. He has gone off hiding and has left the parliamentary assistant to respond.
There is still that appearance, that perception. People will start to think, "Once I am in jail and once I am in court, there's a sense of guilt attached to it." I think the police have so much to do as it is.
I would just like to stop and comment on the excellent statement that was made today by my friend the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr. Runciman). It is probably one of the things that needs to be said far more by legislators in this House, to stop and say thank you to our police for the work they are doing. People are so quick to criticize, yet we know there was a policeman killed in the line of duty within the last short while. A constable in York region had a leg amputated in a car accident just over a week ago on Bayview Avenue, south of Highway 7.
How many people stood up in this Legislature or anywhere? Here is another police constable in the line of duty, serving us and our community.
Again, we find it so much easier to throw stones, to criticize, or as the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt), our leader, was saying today, to charge them. He was raising the question with the Attorney General of the degree to which the government was involved in placing charges against a policeman for manslaughter when six months ago it could not be done because the evidence was not there to do it.
Stop, ladies and gentlemen, and understand that we have within Ontario an excellent police force whose job and responsibility to keep and maintain the law, to keep the peace and serve the community, to protect us all, is something we should respect. Indeed, there will be times when there is balance lost, but there are other times when there has to be action taken. We have discussed that in other bills in this Legislature, so there can be complaints and there is a process involved in that.
Here and now, what we are doing in this bill is again putting the police into a category of responsibility which is not appropriate. They have done it in two courts, but we are saying now that it is going to be obligatory in the provincial courts and we are going to be picking up the cost. Let's find a way of not making it look as if we have a police state. Maybe that is one of the things that can be discussed as we take this to committee.
What does this government do with all the reports it commissions? Do you know, Mr. Speaker? We had a chance this morning to review the private member's resolution from my good friend the member for Peterborough (Mr. Adams). He was asking for another commission, another study.
We had a study not that long ago. It was done by T. G. Zuber, Report of the Ontario Courts Inquiry. This report was released in 1987. I would like to put his recommendation 95 on the record in case the parliamentary assistant and the Attorney General have forgotten what Mr. Zuber said in his report. It has to do with this bill, because the bill we are now debating in this Legislature totally contradicts Judge Zuber's recommendations. He said:
"The provision of court security should be the responsibility of a provincial police force operating at the direction of the courts administration division of the Ministry of the Attorney General. To the extent that use of municipal police forces is considered desirable, appropriate arrangements should be made with the municipal authorities involved and adequate funding should be provided for that purpose."
Here we have a bill before this House today that contradicts that recommendation. I do not expect every government to accept every recommendation from every study that is done, understandably, but we all know that when this report was tabled in the House it was seen as a positive document, something that would be taken seriously.
I happen to believe it probably has more dust on it in the Attorney General's ministry because they have not even looked at it; they have not even considered it. One of the things he is saying is that adequate funding should be provided for this purpose. It is not provided in this bill. This is another instance of the Liberal government of the Premier passing the buck down to the local municipalities.
The point I want to make is that this is another example of the Ontario Liberal government -- I am repeating the point because of that rude interruption by the member for Durham-York (Mr. Ballinger) and his terrible interjections. I want to repeat it so that it goes in his ears and it might stay there. The fact is it is just another attempt by the government of Ontario to pass the buck back to the local municipalities. There, I said it a third time. Maybe he will begin to understand it.
This adds another burden to our local police forces, which are already very busy, and I see it as an unnecessary burden for them. I do not for a moment discount the importance of having this service in the courts. I know that our own Supreme Court judge, when he was opening the courts recently commented on it, on how important it is. I have concerns about the way this bill is going to be implemented and the cost it is going to add to our own local ratepayers.
This bill shows a total lack of consultation with the chiefs of police and the municipalities with regard to this issue. That, in itself, is inexcusable. We are talking about a consultative process where all levels of goverrnment have to start working more effectively together. That has to be the way in which Canada was built.
What we have is the arrogance of this government. It does not want to deal with Ottawa; it does not when it comes to other concerns, it wants to just do it its own way.
Now we are seeing this government do the same thing when it comes to our own local police forces, saying, "We will just sort of order them to do it." It can and probably will, but before it does I know that myself and a number of others from our party will give the government reason to rethink that position; that is if we can get its attention.
That has to be the biggest problem we have with this huge majority of 94 Liberals. The Attorney General does not even bother coming to the House for his own legislation. I make that point again because I see it as a shame and a mockery to the rest of us who are taking very seriously our responsibilities in this House, especially when it has to do with bills that have such a major impact to our own municipalities.
I guess members can tell from what I have said that I am opposed to the bill. I know there will be others joining me in this protest. I just hope that the bill is considered in committee and that we all have a chance to make some amendments to it that can satisfy the concerns that I have tried to raise.
I have great concerns as well for people in my riding. I will state one case that applies in a much smaller frame, but applies in the same way as it does to the region of York. It is the village of Alexandria, which has a population of 3,300 in 1,400 households and a five-man police force, one chief and four officers. We are going to be asking them to foot the bill for all of the courts that are held in the town of Alexandria for the municipalities of Maxville, Kenyon, Lochiel, Lancaster township, Lancaster village and Charlottenburgh. I do not think that makes any sense.
The police force in Alexandria did have an Ontario Provincial Police officer on loan until July 1988, at which time the Solicitor General saw fit to remove this police chief who was acting for the town of Alexandria, and now it is left with its own five-man police force.
This government, by using the so-called local option again, by copping out on its responsibilities, copping out on whatever it does not feel it needs to do, just turning it over to the municipalities, is asking a small town here -- and at $3 per household, when we have 1,400 households you can imagine how far that will go in providing security at the courthouse, which is very important and which this government says must be maintained by the municipality.
I say again, reinforcing the comments of my colleague the member for Markham, that this is absolutely ludicrous.
I want to indicate in that support that my community of North Bay, which I have communicated with, is looking at an increased cost of somewhere around $450,000 per year on the basis of this bill, to be borne totally by local taxpayers -- with a provincial jail in North Bay, with provincial courts in North Bay and with provincial OPP already in North Bay -- to provide this service for the province.
I want to tell members that it appears to the city of North Bay that it would also be asked to provide police services for the district court, so that the city of North Bay taxpayers would be asked, according to this bill, to be providing services for all the municipalities taken in by the district court. Quite frankly, from discussions with representatives of my municipality today, if this bill were to proceed as it is now written, they believe, under some legal advice from talking to the town solicitor, that not only is it unfair, not only is it another example of shifting the burden to the municipalities from what should be and always has been a provincial responsibility, but they are also now seeking advice on whether it is even constitutional to require the municipality and taxpayers in the city of North Bay to pay for services being provided for other municipalities.
I tell the members that there are a lot of problems with this particular bill. This is an unfair piece of legislation. It is typical of some of the stuff we have seen from this government and I am opposed to this particular bill.
In fact, no one is saying a word about this. They are quietly and meekly, like little sheep and lambs, going to the slaughter and letting the Attorney General and the Premier just push them over the hill.
If they want to get elected again, I am just telling the men and ladies that they should be thinking about their own constituencies and realize they should have some backbone and stand up and be counted. The fact that the member for Nipissing and the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry have that kind of courage and that kind of freedom of speech and that understanding of their community is something that makes a difference between a Tory and a Liberal.
I will tell the members, there is still time for a number of them to rethink their positions and stop and look at the consequences in their own community and talk to their chief of police and to the people in their municipality. How happy are they to see their local taxes increased by this extra amount? It is just like torture. You do a little bit here and a little bit there and it just adds and adds and adds. There is no reason to do that.
This Bill 187 is a short bill, but it will have a long impact. A number of previous speakers have already pointed out that if you were to ask the citizens of their municipalities just what was on their wish list for activities the police could undertake which they are not now undertaking, none of those citizens would suggest that what they should do is provide security for courthouses.
The community demands for increased policing which I am aware of, certainly in the Metropolitan Toronto area, do not relate to providing security at courthouses.
The people who live on Ontario Street in the Attorney General's own riding would like to see an increased police presence to deal with the sidewalk sale of sex, and will not be delighted to contemplate millions of dollars being spent on policing in courthouses. In fact, they want to get ahead of that process and start to create business for courthouses.
Similarly, the residents on any number of streets in my riding, Langley Avenue, for instance, would like to see an increased police presence to deal with people who drive at 100 kilometres an hour down their quiet residential street. There is a bit of an oxymoron there, I guess -- a quiet residential street and 100 kilometres an hour -- but you understand what I am saying. They feel that enforcement of the Highway Traffic Act would be a higher priority than the securing of courthouses.
All over Metropolitan Toronto there is increasing concern about drug trafficking and the tragic results of the traffic in drugs for both the traffickers and those to whom the drugs are trafficked. You will know that the municipality recently made a decision to spend a huge amount of money to improve the police capacity to deal with that problem. I know that people in Metro do not want to spend $16 million, or even $8 million, on the policing of courthouses.
It is pretty clear what has happened here. The Attorney General, confronted with the shambles of his ministry, put his mind to this problem and, confronted with courthouses that are crumbling, with court facilities that are inadequate, with court waiting rooms jam-packed with accused and victim alike, cheek by jowl, with judges who are grumbling about their workload and about accused persons having to be acquitted because they cannot fit them on to the docket, with holding facilities in courthouses being inadequate, with judges clamouring for better salaries, which reminds me of other public servants who feel they are underpaid. I just cannot remember which ones they are right now -- oh, yes, that is us.
Clearly, the Attorney General has decided that one of the ways to try to reduce the financial mess he is in is to shove this cost on to the municipalities. Members have heard, time in and time out, and time and time again, from the New Democratic Party what a jaundiced view we take of regressive taxation. We take an extremely jaundiced view. We do not approve of an increased burden being shoved on to the property taxpayers who, as members will know, pay taxes without reference to their ability to pay.
We think it is more appropriate for the province to carry this expense because of the access the province has to progressive forms of taxation. One will not be surprised to find that the New Democratic Party has been paying close attention to what has been said to us by the police departments and by the municipal officials. We will not be supporting what we see as an unfair shifting of financial cost to municipalities in this way.
It seems to me that it is unbelievable this Liberal government would have introduced this bill without alerting the Ontario police forces or the municipalities. These police forces and the municipalities, I must say, are up in arms over the added burden of costs this responsibility will place on them and ultimately on the taxpayers.
It is one thing to introduce legislation if it has been deliberated over and the people who are impacted by the legislation have had some input into it and some discussion about the implications of that legislation. But here the Liberal government just goes bang straight ahead and introduces something that has a tremendous impact, yet it does not plan for the people who are impacted to have any comment on that legislation. Fortunately for those people in Ontario today, we at least have the Progressive Conservative Party in opposition to speak on their behalf.
I want to say that, of course, theoretically under provincial law the province is responsible for security of provincial courts, and according to the Sheriffs Act, sheriffs are responsible for security at the district and Supreme Court level. In effect, the Liberals are adding to the burdens of municipalities by making them bear not only the cost of provincial courtroom security, but the additional cost of district and Supreme Court security as well.
I would just like to tell the members what the impact is in my own region of Peel, of which Mississauga South is a part. In the judicial district of Peel, there are 25 courtrooms available for use. Bill 187 would necessitate the hiring of approximately 20 additional court security officers at a cost in excess of $600,000.
What is significant about that cost is that this costing represents the utilization of civilian court security officers. If sworn, professional police constables had to be used, the cost would be much higher for these additional officers, or there would be a marked reduction of the services if current police personnel strength had to be used to fill these positions.
I do not know what it is the Liberal government wants us to do with our policing in Peel, whether it wants us to take the police off the streets, when we have invested three years in their training, in order to sit in the courtrooms. We have certainly had indications about the implications of that being in excess of $1 million. Obviously, if it is $600,000 for nonprofessional officers it speaks for itself.
The most vocal opposition to this bill comes from the police forces and the municipalities throughout Ontario. They are really angry about the increasing cost they will have to pay for courtroom security, but they will not be nearly as angry as the taxpayers, who once again are having put on their backs a provincial responsibility, directly on property taxes at the municipal level. We are seeing this all the time.
We have seen it in the reduction of transfer payments for health care costs and the funding of hospitals and the capital costs for education; I could go on and on. We are going to get a very current example when Bill 113 goes through and suddenly whether a municipality has Sunday shopping -- whether it has it or does not have it -- the enforcement of the law will depend on the local municipality through its bylaw officers. There is another example of a cost that this provincial government will put on the backs of the local taxpayer; and so it goes.
However, we do not see any reduction in provincial income tax. We do not see the province saying, "We are not funding this, this and this now so we will give that money back to the municipality, or even better, we will not collect it in the first place." What we do see, however, is an increase in taxes at the provincial level. We see an increase of 15 per cent in sales tax, and I can go on and on.
These facts are, fortunately, becoming well known by the people of this province. Do not be mistaken; the people of the province who know the facts and are aware of what is going on will remember when the next election comes around.
I want to tell the members also that for some police forces, Bill 187 may result in the elimination of community police programs such as school safety and Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere programs in order to pay for courtroom security.
There are small municipalities in this province that simply do not have anywhere from which to draw additional funds. They simply cannot take on the additional financial burden this legislation would require of them. They have to look at what programs they have today, and those are some of the programs they are telling us they may have to remove.
How ironic if they have to remove drug education, as an example, when this Liberal government goes flying around the province on its white charger telling everybody that it is going to be the solution for everything and that it is certainly going to introduce better educational programs on the hazards of drugs. Here we are going to have police forces, which are the enforcers of whatever the government policies are, being faced with the cost of collecting that at the local level.
The municipal police authority is concerned that to comply with Bill 187, many police forces in Ontario will have to consider removing officers from the street and placing them in the courts instead. They are concerned the bill will make police forces into baby-sitters and take them away from the more serious responsibilities such as crime prevention, drug squads and criminal intelligence, despite the Solicitor General's constant reminding of the need to reinstate community-based policing, the need to provide more RIDE programs and the need to combat the drug epidemic.
Most of the police forces argue that the province is responsible for court security, that under common law, the security of a building is the responsibility of the owner. Therefore, because the province owns the courthouses, it should pay for their security.
The police also argue that Bill 187, by involving police in the court process, makes the public think the police are associated with the judiciary. Some police forces argue that making professional, sworn police officers rather than special constables or civilians responsible for routine security duties in the courts is like having physicians change soiled linen on hospital beds or having lawyers handle janitorial duties.
It is a sad story. It is a continuing commentary. Unfortunately, as I said at the outset, it all falls on the backs of the taxpayers of this province. It is yet one more piece of legislation without consultation. How ironic that the Liberal government is the one that campaigned around this province in the summer of 1987 on its being the first world-class government that would have no walls, no bars, no restrictions. Would it not be wonderful if, instead of campaigning falsely, the people who campaigned as the Liberal government and made the kind of promises that they made actually fulfilled even one of those promises?
Instead of that, we have more and more legislation, which in fact says to the public and the people who are responsible for the public -- in this case, municipalities and police forces around this province -- "We don't care what you think. We don't need to discuss this with you before we introduce it as legislation because we, the Liberal government, are so perfect that we know what the province of Ontario needs. We know that the municipalities have lots of money. The taxpayers in those municipalities can afford the added tax burdens through their property taxes to pay for anything we introduce."
The fact is that if this was a responsible Liberal government, it would talk to the people who are involved first; but we do not see that. We certainly hope that through the direction and argument of the two opposition parties at least this legislation will go to committee and at least in committee we will get input from the people who are involved and they will be able to help us make amendments that might make this legislation a little more palatable and a little more workable and perhaps have a little less financial impact on the people who pay for all these outrageous Liberal government programs.
On motion by Mr. Sterling, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
On Monday, January 16, we will consider the estimates of the Ministry of Housing.
We will then continue the second reading of Bill 194, An Act to restrict Smoking in Workplaces; of Bill 170, An Act to revise several Acts related to Aggregate Resources, and the adjourned debate on Bill 147, An Act respecting Independent Health Facilities.
However, if the standing committee on the administration of justice reports Bill 114, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, we will deal with its adoption, along with the adjourned debate on the adoption of the report regarding Bill 113, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act.
On Thursday morning, we will deal with private members' business standing in the names of Mr. Morin and Mr. Reycraft.
I am reminded by my friend the Minister of Skills Development (Mr. Curling) that this afternoon this wonderful group of pages concludes its very productive stay with us. To all of them, on behalf of the members of the Legislature, I want to thank them for their diligence, their courtesy and their very good example. We wish them well in their future academic and other endeavours.
What happened is that a worker from Gogama named André Petitclerc was injured on the job. He came to my office and we helped him with the appeal process. We took the appeal process right through to the very end, right to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal, WCAT for short.
In October 1988, WCAT awarded Mr. Petitclerc his claim for chronic pain and a permanent disability pension. When WCAT made the findings, it noted the WCB's criteria for chronic pain, saying:
When the WCAT made its ruling, it was after the July 30, 1987, date when the board began to accept chronic pain as compensable. It was not prior to the July 1987 date that is so important in those incredible minds of the people at the Workers' Compensation Board, and apparently in the mind of this minister as well.
That is what the WCAT said. Then, in January of this year, the injured worker got a letter -- I received a copy -- in which the adjudication officer in Sudbury overruled the WCAT; the adjudication officer. I checked section 86n of the Workers' Compensation Act, in which it states, "Where a decision of the appeals tribunal turns upon an interpretation of the policy and general law of this act, the board of directors of the board may in its discretion review and determine the issue of interpretation of the policy.
It says the board of directors of the board will determine if perhaps the decision of the WCAT should be reconsidered. This was not a case of the board of directors of the compensation board determining that WCAT's decision should be reconsidered. It was an adjudication officer in Sudbury at the regional office making that determination. Who is setting the rules around this place?
I am upset by the fact that section 86n is even in the act, which allows the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal decisions to be overruled by the Workers' Compensation Board. We can talk about a denial of justice when the very same people who have made the decision that has now been challenged and overruled by an independent tribunal then have the right to go back and say:
"You're wrong. We don't care how independent you are. We have the final say," treating the injured worker like a ping-pong ball back and forth between the appeals tribunal and the Workers' Compensation Board.
I want to hear the minister stand in his place today and say that an adjudication officer in Sudbury or any other regional office, or at the office here on Bloor Street in Toronto, has the right to overturn a decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal. I want to hear the minister either stand in his place and say that or apologize to this place and to the injured worker, Mr. Petitclerc in Gogama, for the way he has been treated by the Workers' Compensation Board.
What this man has been put through since 1983 is indescribable. It is inhumane and I want to tell the minister that if he gets satisfaction out of these kinds of decisions, he should be picking the wings off flies and not administering the Workers' Compensation Act in Ontario. I will not talk about what he has done to this injured worker in this chamber, but what he has done to him is absolutely and fundamentally obscene.
The minister stood in his place the other day and said, "Well, that is the way the system works." When my leader brought in a private member's bill saying section 86n should be repealed so that the independent tribunal would have the final say, what did the minister say? No, he would not accept that.
Mr. Speaker, I rest my case.
The board is proceeding with an 86n review of the chronic pain retroactivity issues and therefore implementation of that portion of the decision relating to benefits prior to July 3, 1987, will be stayed by the board, not by the regional office, under section 86n, pending the outcome of the 86n review.
In addition, I want to put on the record the following. That portion of the decision directing that a permanent disability award be considered will be implemented forthwith. A pension assessment appointment for the particular claimant is presently being arranged to assess the degree of residual impairment resulting from the worker's chronic pain disability.
I am glad the member has raised the case. I am confident that with his assistance, justice will be done in that case. Only that portion of the award that is subject to the current review of retroactivity under chronic pain will be stayed. All the rest of the award will be implemented and an assessment will be done.
I think it is regrettable that somehow during this late show, as we call it, the member for Nickel Belt is trying to suggest to this House and this province that somehow the Minister of Labour is responsible for the administration of the Workers' Compensation Board, because he knows that is not the case; that somehow I was tolerating, indeed promoting the notion that an injustice should be done with respect to Mr. Petitclerc's case.
I am confident that the board will act only under the authority it has and stay only that portion of the decision relating to the period before July 3, 1987; that a pension assessment will be done, and that the appropriate pension will be awarded.
I know the member for Nickel Belt takes all the workers' compensation cases that he handles in his office very seriously. I understand him when he says this was a particularly difficult case and it is for that reason that he has raised it in the House.
I think we have a resolution of this problem. But to suggest that, based on my comments yesterday, somehow I was promoting and advocating an injustice and that somehow I was suggesting that the Sudbury office did have that authority is incorrect and should be corrected. I am glad that he has asked for this time, because I think we have now corrected the record.
The House adjourned at 6:07 p.m.
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