Thursday 28 June 2001 Jeudi 28 juin 2001

   

The House met at 1000.

Prayers.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS

ACCESS TO PROFESSIONS
AND TRADES


Ms Marilyn Mushinski (Scarborough Centre): Be it resolved that in the opinion of this House, the government of Ontario should appoint or designate a person or body as a special adviser to examine existing opportunities and identify methods for improving access to trades and professions in Ontario including but not limited to the professions of medicine, nursing and engineering, for Ontarians who are foreign-trained and foreign-qualified.

As part of the review, the special adviser should conduct a comprehensive review of the programs and policies of all ministries of the government, bodies that report to those ministries and professional regulatory bodies.

The special adviser be required to make written recommendations to the government, within the time period that the government establishes, on what measures the government needs to take to enhance opportunities described in paragraph 1 that the special adviser identifies.

As soon as possible after receiving the special adviser's recommendations, the government table a copy of the special adviser's recommendations in the Legislature.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Ms Mushinski has moved private member's notice of motion number 9. The member has up to 10 minutes for her presentation.

Ms Mushinski: I want to start off by thanking whomever it was who was so thoughtful to leave a glass of water for my presentation this morning. I believe it was one of the pages. This being the last day of the Legislature, I wanted to extend my sincere thanks for their levels of service to this Legislature in the past few weeks.

I want to start off by extending my particular thanks to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities for her help, guidance and support in my presentation this morning. There's no question that access to trades and professions is a very serious problem for many recent immigrants and residents of Ontario who are foreign-trained and foreign-qualified. I happen to have one of the most diverse communities, I believe, in all of Ontario, and I believe it is the single greatest concern among our diverse communities today, that issue of access to trades and professions.

I'd like to share a couple of specific examples of issues that are facing members of my constituency of Scarborough Centre. Recently, I received a constituency visit from a gentleman who immigrated to Canada in 1995 as a skilled person -- he and his wife, actually -- with landed-immigrant visas that were granted on a system-points basis. They are currently Canadian citizens. Since my constituent's arrival, he has worked for the Toronto board of education as full-time support staff. His wife is a computer programmer. This gentleman has a master of science degree in agricultural sciences and the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in education. He also has other qualifications in database programming and economics, and he's a certified tour guide. He has taught science at the high school level in Romania and since coming to Canada has volunteered as a teacher assistant for the Toronto board of education. He has worked in several schools in my riding, with an amount of 15 hours on average per week volunteering.

At the beginning of 1998, he submitted, in person, an application for registration to the Ontario College of Teachers, and he was required to pay a fee of approximately $220. After a few months he received from the membership services the first letter, which was dated in 1998, and this letter asked him to complete the following documents: a degree transcript, a teacher education transcript, a letter of good standing and an official letter from the institutions confirming the granting of degrees. That's when the problem started. He was surprised to learn that his original documents were not acceptable and that their translation had to be signed by the Romanian embassy in London, UK, and the Romanian consulate in Toronto. I have a four-page dissertation of the red tape that my constituent had to go through, including a visit back to Romania to get the original documents, because they would not accept notarized copies.

That is just one example of the litany of complaints I have received from my constituents over six years in gaining access to trades and professions in this province.

Recently I received another visit, in this case from a university professor whose wife is taking a four-year internship in the United States because for her to get an equivalent in Canada, it would take five years. Those are the kinds of issues that I believe are pervasive, not just in Ontario, but throughout Canada.

I had a call from the close friend of one of my newspaper deliverers whose cousin was encouraged, because of his particular expertise, to emigrate from Sri Lanka. This particular gentleman is a software engineer. His wife was a practising family doctor in Sri Lanka. They were encouraged to come to contribute to the economic environment of this great province of ours, only to find the litany of red tape and barriers to access that I have already described.

I think it's important to tell you what I believe my resolution will do. My resolution asks for a comprehensive review of current practices of all ministries and professional regulatory bodies that address access to trades and professions. I believe this issue is something that all parties agree is of great concern.

On May 1, the member for Kingston and the Islands asked, "Why don't we take advantage of these individuals and fast-track them into a system whereby if they have the qualifications to be a physician in our province and they meet our standards, we approve these people?"

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On May 9 the member for Timmins-James Bay submitted a petition regarding access to trades and professions where it said that "the government of Ontario should implement a plan to improve access to professions and trades for foreign-trained professionals."

The aim of my resolution is to create a cohesive and seamless system for the foreign-trained and qualified applicant where ministries and regulatory bodies would have greater interaction and co-operation among themselves to decrease the waiting time and recertification period.

I believe this government has indeed been responding quite significantly to the issue of accessing the skills of foreign-trained individuals, but I also believe more work needs to be done. I believe my resolution will actually harmonize a lot of the barrier removals we're presently working on to make sure that foreign-trained individuals, most of whom settle right here in Ontario -- 50% of all immigrants actually settle in Ontario, and 80% of those who settle in Ontario settle within the GTA. I believe we have more of the most experienced foreign-trained individuals, professionals, driving taxis in this city than anywhere in the world.

I believe that as a government we must do everything we can to remove the barriers, to harmonize the various credentials assessment procedures and also to work with other provincial agencies, as well as the federal government, to work together to remove those barriers so that everyone who comes to this province has a fair chance and an equal opportunity to access trades and professions. Not only will it help my colleagues in cabinet who are desperate to make sure that we have as many trained individuals as possible staying here and working here, but I believe it truly will help the economic fabric of the environment in this province.

I hope that I will get all-party support for my resolution this morning.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): I'm delighted to join this debate on behalf of Dalton McGuinty and my Liberal colleagues. The member from Scarborough's resolution today seems quite sincere, especially when she has a track record of introducing other pieces of information about access to trades and professions.

In short, what is access to trades and professions? It is a process by which a foreign-trained professional, a tradesperson, can enter the professions and trades in this country, especially in Ontario, as quickly as possible. That's the intent of what all parties are trying to accomplish.

To be honest, we have not been able to do it, even though we see there has been some goodwill among all three parties. For some strange reason, the ship of government is slowly turning around in terms of accepting the idea that those who are trained in other countries, in other jurisdictions -- even within Canada -- are able to practise in Ontario. As I just said, even within Canada, some professions and some trades will not permit a person who has a licence in Alberta -- there are some professions in Ontario that will not permit a person to practise right here. That is a shame and it should have been addressed a long time ago.

However, there are a number of issues that cause us real concern with this resolution, even though I must say on behalf of our leader, Dalton McGuinty, and the Liberal Party, that we are in support of this legislation. We know these are just baby steps in the direction of opening up and streamlining this process of access to trades and professions in Ontario.

First let's look at the original access report that was tabled in 1989. It sailed right by the NDP government of 1990 to 1995. Then of course we look at the Common Sense Revolution in 1995. Right in that blue book, with the Premier's picture on the front of it, we find that there is a commitment. The commitment is, "Yes, we will take the steps necessary to open up the doors and to streamline the process so that foreign-trained professionals can access professions and trades as quickly as possible in Ontario," which makes really good sense. That's the Common Sense Revolution promise of 1995.

Today it's 2001 and we're still talking about this member's resolution, which seems sincere. She says, "We should establish a process, we should establish a person or a group of persons who will then look into this matter of providing access to trades and professions and make recommendations." Six years after the promise, this is a baby step in the right direction and that's why we will be supporting it.

But as I just said, what we want to find out from the member for Scarborough Centre is -- while she was Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, she had carriage of this legislation. In other words, the people of Ontario should know she was in power: a simple signature on a simple recommendation. This one that she produced today not only would have started the process but set us ahead of this game for six years. Six years later, we're now talking about thinking of establishing a person or a group of people to make recommendations. Wow.

What I'd like to know, and I'm sure you'd like to know the same thing, in fact what the people of Ontario would like to know is, what happened when she was Minister of Citizenship and Culture at that time with a simple stroke of the pen? What happened? The promise was in the blue book, yet was she unable to influence her own colleagues at the executive table? Was she unable to influence even the backbenchers to say, "Look, this is important"?

My second point: now, six years later -- in fact from the access report of 1989, 11 years later -- the chickens have come home to roost. What are those chickens? It is now clear to all of Ontario that there is a doctor shortage, that there is a veterinarian shortage, that we need literally hundreds of nurses. In fact, what we did, not too long ago, was fire nurses, cut their salaries, send them out so they could find jobs in other places, whether it was the United States, Europe or Australia. We said, "We don't need you."

Only two years later we're saying, "Oh, wait a minute. We've made a mistake. In fact, we've made a grand mistake on a grand scale." Now we're saying to those very same nurses we paid off -- when we cut their contracts, we paid them off to leave and that cost an extra bundle of money -- "Please come back to Ontario, because we are in desperate need of your services." It is easy to see that there are hundreds of nurses we're now trying to pay more to come back. What a mistake.

We need pharmacists -- we don't have enough pharmacists -- hundreds of pharmacists, in fact. Now, we didn't know that before? Of course we've known this, but it always takes a long time to steer this cumbersome machine and ship of government around into the wind, or in fact to ensure that on the doctors, because we know there's a doctor shortage, there's something happening.

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I know that you'd like to know, Mr Speaker, and the member for Scarborough Centre already knows that, but most of us probably don't: we think we know the reason the government has finally seen the light and said, "Yes, we have to do something about shortages in terms of doctors, in terms of physicians, in terms of supplying physician services to our communities." We know that today there is a shortage of 1,000 doctors. We have over 700 communities in Ontario alone that are crying out for physicians, and we can fill that need. So we think somehow the government has seen the light. But let me also say thank you very much to those who have worked in the bunker, who have actually done something to produce the change and prodded this government along so they could see the light.

Who were they? Well, the first organization was Skills for Change. There are others. For instance, there is the Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre. There are the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women, and South Asian Family Support Services.

They all got together and said, "There's something basically wrong when we have so many of our doctors and so many of our trained professionals driving taxis and delivering pizzas and cleaning our restaurants and cleaning our buildings, and yet they are superqualified in terms of helping us out with our shortages." What a way to go. What a way to go, when you think about it. We're asking them to drive taxis while we need them desperately because we can't fill the shortage, we can't fill the spots.

In the information technology sector alone, do you know how many jobs are open right now, while we speak? There are literally, in Ontario alone, 30,000 openings for technologists in the information sector -- 30,000. We're not talking about trades and we're not talking about the professions; we're talking about open jobs we can't fill. What are these people doing in the meantime? They're doing some menial task, and yet they are highly, highly qualified.

So you can see that what this government is doing is simply following the direction of these groups which have made these recommendations already.

That brings me to my next point, and that is, people always say to me, "If you are going to open up the process and accept all these foreign-trained people, then you are lowering the standards." I know the member for Scarborough Centre will agree, and also my colleagues from the third party -- I know we will all agree -- that is not the case. We want to put everyone on notice in Ontario that that is not what we are trying to do today with this resolution. We're not trying to lower the standards. No, we're simply saying, "Give people a chance. Open the process so they know what is expected of them," because many of them are coming from other countries and are being told by our own immigration officials, "You know what? When you come to Ontario, you're qualified. We've got a job for you." Wow. Then they arrive. They are being told that. I know, because I've been to three foreign countries and I've been in touch with our own immigration workers. They've been telling those people who are highly qualified, "Come to Ontario and you'll have a job."

When they finally come to Ontario, what awaits them here? Well, somehow the interpretation is that many of the professions and trades that are organized here are protecting their own turf and are not having a shop with open doors. I'm not saying that all of our professions and trades are protecting their turf; oh, no. In fact, I just recently met with two of them that are very good at producing their own recommendations and making changes to help out because they know we need people to practise in Ontario. For instance, the certified general accountants have made a great recommendation to change their constitution. The engineers of Ontario have done the same thing. These are just two.

But when we say here, and when you say as a government, "We're determined to do something about it," that means everybody will follow soon in those footsteps. Everyone, all these associations and all the professions, will soon follow in those footsteps and say, "Well, they're doing something about it. We're being prodded by the government. We'd better open the doors," and so there will no longer be surprises.

What do we mean by protecting their turf? If one person, for instance, wants to write an exam and that person is being told, "That costs $1,000" -- I'm not going to mention any names here because we need their co-operation, but if you are going into a profession and you're being told that exam costs you $1,000, it is irresponsible for that profession to say later on, "Sorry. The $1,000 we told you about is no longer $1,000. Now we are asking you to pay $4,000 for that exam." There are many examples of this kind, and we could stay here all day to cite them. But since we need everyone's co-operation -- the government, the Liberals, the third party; we need all of us to sit together and to say, "Yes, we want to do something about it."

Two final notes. I've already introduced some of the recommendations that were made by the access report of 1989. Ms Mushinski today is saying we need another body to make better or more recommendations. We know what these recommendations are. I'm asking the member from Scarborough Centre -- she already knows it. She has good intentions; I have no doubt about that. But at the same time, we could make much more progress in this issue.

This board should be set up, because I know there's a consensus we will support this bill. If this process will be set up whereby a person or a group of people will be established, I would only hope this government will go to the sources, like Skills for Change, who have already made recommendations, and have already looked at this in detail. They know what they want. They know the process in detail. For instance, the Maytree Foundation is well placed not only to make recommendations but to be part of this group of people who will make recommendations. Ratna Omidvar is of course ready and open to help this government, and there are others.

At this point, I simply want to indicate that we will support this bill. We would hope that it passes rapidly, and we would hope that the plan we've produced will also have results.


Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford): I'm pleased to join in the debate with respect to the member's resolution dealing with trades and professions. I want to focus on trades from the perspective of construction trades, auto mechanics, the trades that are tremendous opportunities for our young people to get into.

Coming from an area where there's a major construction boom and obviously a great need for people who are involved in the automobile sector because of the tremendous amount of commuting that comes out of my area -- from the city of Barrie and throughout the riding, it would be in the area of 30% to 40% commuter traffic every day -- the opportunities here for access to trades are enormous, and it is something I believe is very important for us to focus on immediately.

Certainly there were measures taken a few years ago to deal with the apprenticeship and training act, but I believe that more can be done, certainly in the form of encouraging employers to provide the training and the opportunities for young people to choose trades -- I use the construction trades as an example -- and to get involved. Certainly as to the age of tradesmen, and I use the example of bricklayers, there's a tremendous number in that trade who emigrated from Italy, and the last significant amount of emigration from Italy, I believe, was in 1968. We're in the year 2001 and those individuals who were in that trade are facing an age -- obviously we need new people to come in and be part of that trade. That's just one example of the trades.

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I think the roadblocks that are involved in trades are with the number of apprenticeships available with a particular employer and with our allowing the employer to have some kind of leeway with respect to the number of apprentices they are allowed to provide; also, looking at methods of allowing and encouraging small operators, whether involved in construction, whether it's in the automotive sector, to provide the training.

I've heard from constituents saying, "If the government would provide that training and not stiff me with the paperwork," and maybe we can work through a college in terms of making sure the college monitors and ensures these individuals abide by the terms of the arrangement, and also look at providing a wage subsidy or wage arrangement with small operators to encourage them to engage individuals and provide them with that expertise.

A lot of these smaller operators don't have the time to deal with that paperwork and there may not be any economic incentive for them to bring on a person and pay a certain amount of money, when the person doesn't really know anything and they have to be given the proper training. That's where there's a role the government can play in terms of providing those opportunities in skilled trades for the smaller operators, to allow them to have some kind of incentive.

I've heard from employers in the electrical trade saying, "We would like to see a greater number of apprenticeships allowed so that we can utilize the manpower the way we need to, and we can train the people," because they're of a certain size.

So in terms of access, we have great opportunities here to deal with our skilled trades. We have to improve access. I've set out a couple of examples of how that can be done. I think the member's resolution should be supported.


Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): I'd like to start off by complimenting the member for Scarborough Centre for bringing forward this resolution. It's a very good resolution that will be helpful for the people of Ontario.

I'd like to make some reference in the beginning to the Premier's Task Force on Rural Economic Renewal and some of the findings we're coming across with it. Generally, people in this province have been very concerned about taxation. It's one of the reasons we've had a lot of difficulty getting industry to come here. What we were finding out with that task force was that there is a need for coordination of economic development in communities, skills training and capital. We were out doing some roundtables this past May and June, and the skills training has moved up significantly since a year ago. There's real concern for skills training here in Ontario. The taxation issue has been taken off the map, thanks to the number of tax cuts we've had, 166-plus and climbing tax cuts in Ontario, to stimulate the economy. It has done one tremendous job.

We're seeing things out there like, we're being told guidance teachers saying, "Johnny, which university would you like to go to? Oh, you don't want to go to university? You want to skills train. Well, I went to Queen's," or, "I went to Western, and I think that's where you should go," or mom and dad saying, "You've got to go to university."

That's the way it is: if you go through skills training, you're not quite up to the standards of Ontario, or something along that line, that kind of thinking. We have to turn that kind of attitude around. The money that can be made and the need for that skills training are absolutely exceptional. There are great jobs out there for those with those skills.

To use an example, at Loyalist, where there's a committee of manufacturers, they were laying out the scenario of what's happened. In the early 1990s when we were in the recession the NDP bought us into, they were saying that they had to lay off the senior CEOs because the companies couldn't afford them, and they weren't able to hire any more people because there was not enough work in these plants. They ended up with a group of people from about age 45 to age 60. Now, all of a sudden, the economic boom is on. The community colleges had shut down the courses for these skills because there was no call for them, understandably, so now we have community colleges trying to gear up.

Thanks for the introduction of this resolution the member for Scarborough Centre has brought in. Certainly her recommendations are right on with the needs in Ontario today, looking to foreign-trained people who are coming here, not getting the kind of jobs they have been trained for. Of course we have to watch for the kind of skills they have developed, the qualifications they have. We know there are lots of universities around the world that don't come close to the standards we have here in Ontario, and to have them come in and expect to be seen as having the same standards we have would certainly not be right. The academic credential assessment service our government has set up, examining universities and colleges in some 180 countries, is going to help with that.

Also, we've been recognizing and moving in the right direction. Look back to what the NDP did in 1993. They cut the number of training positions for physicians. In last year's budget, we invested $3.5 million over three years to up the number. We've now doubled the number of training positions for foreign-trained physicians. In this last budget, it was some $12 million over the next three years to assist with that.

Things are moving in the right direction. There's no question there are physicians here who are doing jobs that don't use the basic training they have. We'll be able to acknowledge some of those. I'm very pleased to see that the health critic, on June 4 this year, indicated support for this kind of thing with our foreign-trained physicians. The deputy leader of the official opposition is indicating similar support. It was great this morning to hear the member from Davenport, in the official opposition, indicating support for this resolution. I look forward to hearing that the NDP, the third party, will support the resolution put forward by the member for Scarborough Centre. I can indeed enthusiastically support this resolution.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): First of all, I want to commend the member for bringing this subject yet again before this Legislature for debate. It is an issue that has been on the table of government for quite some time -- yes, even back as far as when the New Democratic Party was in government. The New Democratic Party, when they were in government, did some quite significant work in tilling the ground and preparing the platform from which to launch an aggressive and progressive approach to this whole very difficult subject.

However, the government in place today has had six years. You'd think, to hear some of them speak, that they just got into power yesterday, because they continue to blame any shortage of any sort on previous governments, in particular the government of the New Democrats between 1990 and 1995. We didn't do everything right -- we certainly made our mistakes -- but we did a lot of things that I think were helpful in some very difficult financial times.

The difficulty this government faces in almost everything it does these days, in almost every challenge presented to it, is that it has no money. It has no money to pay the fees, the costs of adding new professionals to the fields that are identified here this morning as crying out for attention. That's the big reason behind their not moving quickly and aggressively in this area, as well as in many other areas: they've given the money away in tax breaks. So we find, whether it's in looking after our drinking water or providing good education for students or providing assistance for people in need across the province or whether it's looking at the whole area of health care, that we have systems that are simply starving to death. And because the systems are starving to death, there's no new money for new initiatives.

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So even though I compliment the member this morning for bringing this resolution -- it's not a bill, it needs to be noted. This is a resolution, which usually doesn't have much impact in this place. Bills very, very seldom get through. We had one example yesterday of a private member's bill. You know, we can do some things in here co-operatively and together if we have the political will, but 99% of the time we don't. What we have here this morning is not a bill but a resolution that simply states something that I think we all see as motherhood around this place. The big issue is, is the political will present to actually put in place the structures and the resources necessary to recognize the very valuable contribution of the folks identified here as coming into Canada with tremendous skills, to actually incorporate them into our workaday lives?

I suggest that the government, in looking at all of the other challenges it faces and the need for resources, is going to find this one difficult as well. So I want to talk about this this morning very briefly in terms of the need for some immediate action and for this government to move. I'm surprised that the member opposite hasn't worked co-operatively with her government to bring forward a government member's bill that would do what she's suggesting by way of resolution here today and that in fact she doesn't know that the government is already moving on one front, however incompletely and with some difficulty for some folks, to actually try to get a handle on some of this, and I'll reference that in a few minutes.

The other thing I want to tie this into is what many are referring to these days as the racialization of poverty in this province, the fact that immigrants and visible minorities in ever-increasing numbers are finding themselves in very difficult financial straits.

I have been travelling the province for about six months now. I've been into 10 communities talking with people about the issue of poverty. More and more it's becoming obvious to me that there is in fact the phenomenon of the racialization of poverty. I think that when you look at the overwhelming number of new Canadians and immigrants into this country who are of a visible minority status and the fact that they can't seem to get the ear of government, impress government effectively such that their credentials would be recognized, this is all part of this whole phenomenon that I'm talking about here and that I'll mention briefly in further comments I will make regarding this issue this morning.

I want to put this discussion that we're having this morning into some political context for folks out there; first of all to say that the issue isn't new. What has happened recently to bring it to the fore among social justice groups is renewed organizing among immigrant groups. This organizing has been supported recently by the release last year of a report by Professor Orenstein, written for the city of Toronto. This report restates what we already know, that there is a growing gap in our society. The new piece of information is that in Toronto, where the majority of immigrant communities reside, this gap is a racialized one; that is, visible minorities are over-represented among the poor.

A new coalition has been formed by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. The coalition has targeted the municipal government at the moment, but will keep the provincial government in its sights. So I think it's important to put this information on the record here this morning as we, at the provincial level, take a look at this very important issue.

The Conservatives have been toying with this issue using some small initiatives as simply public relations tools, which is what they're doing across the board in so many other areas simply because they don't have the resources necessary to actually fix things that they have broken. They have brought in an American company, World Education Services, to assess credentials for a cost of about $200. However, this adds up to nothing given that professionals will nevertheless face the very professional bodies that have always refused to recognize studies obtained abroad.

I remind people of a private member's bill that was before this House while this government was in power during its last term. Tony Silipo, a colleague of mine, who had some tremendous interest and had done some very significant work in this area, tabled a bill entitled Access to Professions and Trades. It would have created an agency that would assess the credentials of foreign-trained immigrants and make recommendations for the upgrading of training. The most important thing the bill does is that once the agency has assessed the training of foreign-trained professionals and established equivalence with Ontario's requirements, the professional bodies would be compelled to grant credentials, which would have been a huge, huge move forward.

Let's look at the current context within which this piece of business is floating here today. Our caucus's initiative on the need to ensure fair access to professions and trades for internationally trained workers comes at a time when the province is increasing its reliance on individuals with internationally acquired skills to meet labour shortages arising in various industries and sectors. The shortage of domestic labour is expected to grow in the construction industry, in some service sector industries and in key public service areas, such as health and education.

Canadian immigration policy has prioritized the selection of what it calls the best and the brightest, as key to ensuring the country's continued economic success as the baby boom generation nears retirement age. Moreover, the trend toward greater free trade relations with the rest of the Americas, as well as the globalization of many industries, suggest increased mobility of skilled labour from country to country, necessitating standardized and timely processes for granting licensure for internationally trained persons.

Ontario receives about 53% of Canada's immigrants, 66% of whom are of working age with post-secondary education and 28% of whom can be characterized as highly skilled professionals and tradespeople.

The economic importance of this skilled immigrant population has been established both by the federal government and the Ontario provincial government. It is argued that promoting fair access to professions and trades will contribute to Ontario's economic prosperity and help solve Ontario's skills shortages in key sectors, which is why I'm surprised that the government hasn't moved more quickly than simply allowing a private member to bring a resolution here this morning.

Action to deal with the problem will reduce social and economic costs related to underemployment and, in some cases, social assistance. On the other hand, it will ensure that internationally trained individuals can contribute to the economy and ensure that the benefits foreseen by immigration policy, the benefits of the immigrants' skills and expertise, can be enjoyed by Ontario.

To date though, the problem of barriers to access to professions and trades for internationally trained individuals still remains to be adequately addressed. I suggest that this resolution this morning won't get us any closer.

A number of Canadian jurisdictions have taken some steps to deal with aspects of the problem. In 1991 the federal government established the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials. Its role is to advocate for the collection, organization and distribution of information. An International Credential Evaluation Services organization is operating in Canada with a focus on academic credentials and works to establish equivalencies between universities worldwide. However, most licensing bodies don't recognize its credentials, which takes us back to the private member's bill of Mr Silipo.

Since 1995, the government of Saskatchewan has been using International Qualifications Assessment Services to assess international qualifications against Saskatchewan's standards. Though contracted by the government, individuals pay the service fees directly to that organization. Saskatchewan has a two-tier licensing process, with physicians from a select number of countries able to obtain temporary licences for five years, during which time they are expected to meet the residence requirements.

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In Quebec, Service des équivalences performs a similar function to Saskatchewan's, providing its recommendations to licensing bodies and universities and colleges. All immigrants can apply to have their credentials assessed, and the service is also available to those granted visas but still abroad. As early as 1973, Quebec established the Office des professions du Quebec with responsibilities for liaison with licensing bodies, providing advice to government on areas of potential conflict relating to professions and informing the public about their rights.

In Manitoba, there is an immigrant credentials and labour market branch of the department of heritage and citizenship responsible for some program initiatives to assist international trained professionals and tradespeople -- which goes back to Mr Ruprecht's comment earlier that this member, when she was minister of that portfolio in this government, could have done pretty much the same thing -- with credential assessments and alternative career planning. It was established in response to a 1992 Manitoba task force on immigrant credentials report entitled Issues, Trends and Options. There is a separate office in the Ministry of Health that deals with international medical graduates, although the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons maintains control over granting medical licences.

British Columbia has an Industrial and Apprenticeship Commission responsible for vocational apprenticeship and trades certification with particular responsibility for international trained tradespeople. Some community organizations are considering court challenges of the discriminatory practices of the licensing bodies.

In Ontario, the provincial government has identified the need for information about licensing processes and has created fact sheets outlining the licensing procedures for a number of professions and trades. However, it was not until recently that it mandated the establishment of a credential assessment service. The Ontario government has contracted an American credential assessment company, World Education Services, to set up a credential assessment service. Its Toronto office will be managed by Timothy Owen.

Community and advocacy organizations have expressed concerns about the government's choice of an American company with minimum consultation. A number of regulatory bodies have already indicated that they are not interested in honouring the credentials assessments of the new agency.

Recently an access to professions and trades advocacy network was establish to coordinate the work of the non-governmental organizations who want the government to take meaningful action to deal with the problem. I suggest they want them to take more action than simply bringing forward a private member's resolution to the House here on the very day that we're going to rise for the summer.

A recent report by Dr Robert McKendry to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care suggests that the current physician shortages will be intensified given the demographic changes, increase in female doctors and younger doctors whose preference is for limited workloads. The shortage in underserviced areas is currently 534 physicians and growing, while the whole of Ontario has a shortage of 1,000 physicians and growing.

An increasing number of internationally trained professionals and tradespeople are relocating to border sites and acquiring employment in their fields in the United States. Others are waiting to get their Canadian citizenship and then relocating to the United States. The American states seem to have more flexible systems than Ontario does. This represents a new brain drain from Canada and Ontario.

If the member bringing forth this resolution this morning indicates to us that this government is finally going to take this issue seriously, then I add my 100% support, and I could suggest that our caucus will probably lend that support as well. However, don't disappoint us yet once again.


The Deputy Speaker: I would like to welcome to the Legislature this morning in the members' west gallery, Tonie Ambrose, who is from the fine city of Sarnia and a teacher at St Christopher's secondary school, and the sister of the member from Sarnia-Lambton. Welcome.

Further debate?


Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): It is indeed a pleasure to join in the debate this morning about Mrs Mushinski's resolution on access to professions and trades.

I must say that it is unfortunate -- I'll try and defend the opposition, which is not usual for me -- that only two members, one from the Liberal side and one from the NDP side, spoke on this resolution. That really surprises me, because I'm sure there are other members who have concerns about immigrant involvement in terms of accessibility to some of the jobs and training. That really completely blows my mind. Maybe they'll get another opportunity another day. So, I'm surprised.

Most everybody in this country at some point in time was an immigrant, whether they came 200 years ago or two days ago. The beauty of this country is that everybody is equal, whether you came yesterday or whether you came many years ago. I am very proud and happy that, even though it was not my choice, it was my parent's choice, at the age of 17 I had the privilege of coming to this country in 1968. My story is similar to many immigrant's stories. Many of the members who were born here, their parents or their grandparents went through similar situations.

One of the things a new immigrant faces is the lack of information. I will give you a specific example. I met a doctor recently who was an active general family physician in Rexdale-Etobicoke. He told me that for eight years, when he was in BC, he had no idea how to access, how to get into the profession. The people he was living with -- he was working in lumber mills -- had no idea how to access the system. Then he happened to come to Ontario. He was able to talk to some people with similar interests, with similar difficulties they had gone through. He is now a very productive member of the medical profession.

I know in Mrs Mushinski's resolution -- and she has spoken so eloquently, and she's so compassionate about this issue, because in her community, as in my community, there are a lot of immigrants living there, people from every walk of life. We are so blessed in Canada and Ontario. We have people from more than 100 countries in the world. They speak many languages, and they live in harmony. We talk every day about the unrest that's going on throughout the world. People, in the name of religion, different languages and different customs, are fighting. We are blessed here in Canada that everybody is living harmoniously.

Coming back to adequate information, it is very important to have that information and, at the same time, fair assessment and tools. A lot of times the federal immigration department, with good intentions, advertises in countries and brings in people, professionals we feel are going to be needed in Canada, and then they just abandon them. There is no continuing effort made to integrate them. They leave it up to the provinces to do whatever they have to do.

I'm very happy that our government is already taking initiatives in terms of $12 million that we are going to be spending over the next three years to help foreign-trained individuals employ their skills more quickly in Ontario and, as you've heard previously in the House, $3.5 million over three years announced in last year's budget. We are, as a government, doing a lot of different things to try to integrate those people. Can more be done? Yes, absolutely. There's much more to be done. The new immigrant, as we all have been at some point in time, needs that one break, the so-called Canadian experience. I urge people to give them that opportunity.


The Deputy Speaker: The member for Scarborough Centre has two minutes to respond.

Ms Mushinski: I want to take this time to thank the honourable members from Davenport, Sault Ste Marie, Northumberland, Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford and Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale for their significant and substantial contribution to the debate this morning.

In the limited time I have, I believe I should just address a couple of issues that were raised with respect to our government's commitment to improving access to trades and professions.

On June 14, 2001, Minister Clement announced that the government would double the number of foreign doctors being assessed and trained each year to practise in Ontario, to 90 from 36, as part of its commitment to provide Ontarians with better access to doctors. The 2001 budget committed $12 million over three years to help foreign-trained individuals employ their skills more quickly in Ontario; $3.5 million over three years was announced in last year's budget to support bridging programs for foreign-trained nurses and pharmacists. Clearly, our government has recognized the absolute need to improve fair access to licensing and practising in Ontario.

I just want to leave with this one note. I have a major manufacturing company in my riding that manufactures chilling systems. I did a tour of their plant and was particularly impressed by the gender and ethnic mix of the workers. The manager of that plant said it was absolutely essential that his workplace reflect the community it serves. Not only does it create a stronger environment, but it helps to boost his sales abroad.


The Deputy Speaker: This completes the time allocated for this ballot item. I will place the questions related to this ballot item at 12 noon.

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ONTARIO WATER RESOURCES
AMENDMENT ACT
(WATER SOURCE PROTECTION), 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 MODIFIANT LA LOI
SUR LES RESSOURCES EN EAU
DE L'ONTARIO
(PROTECTION DES SOURCES
D'ALIMENTATION EN EAU)

Mrs Dombrowsky moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 79, An Act to amend the Ontario Water Resources Act with respect to water source protection / Projet de loi 79, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les ressources en eau de l'Ontario en ce qui concerne la protection des sources d'alimentation en eau.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): The member has up to 10 minutes for her presentation.

Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): I am pleased to have the opportunity this morning to address the Legislative Assembly with a piece of proposed legislation that is entitled An Act to amend the Ontario Water Resources Act with respect to water source protection.

Fresh water is undoubtedly one of the most precious of all of our natural resources. The people of Ontario are most concerned about two things, I would say, that relate to our water resources. The first, of course, and the one that we hear so very much about now in the media, is water quality. Certainly we recognize as a province and as a government that we have some very serious responsibilities to ensure that the water the people of Ontario have access to is safe to drink.

The other issue that Ontarians are most concerned about is quantity. We seem to think that we live in a province -- and we certainly do have and are especially blessed with abundant water resources. But there are many communities across the province where water sources have been compromised, where water levels have been significantly lower than what has been their typical and traditional level.

I must say that I have been most heartened by the response I have received from people from across Ontario who support what is being proposed in the Legislative Assembly this morning in Bill 79. This bill is very similar to a private member's bill that I introduced in the last session, Bill 121. However, this bill does have an addition. Bill 79 includes provisions that would require the Ministry of the Environment when it receives requests for permits to take water to notify the municipalities and the conservation authorities of the area where the permit would be granted.

While the direction right now is that the ministry may notify, this bill would change that and it would require that these municipalities and conservation authorities would be notified.

The addition, the difference between the present bill and the one that I introduced before, would require the director, when considering permits to take water, would consider them in light of the statement of environmental values.

The following is an excerpt from a backgrounder on the statement of environmental values:

"Statements of environmental values are a means for government ministries to record their commitment to the environment and be accountable for ensuring consideration of the environment in their decisions. The Environmental Bill of Rights requires a statement of environmental values from 14 government ministries.

"The statement of environmental values explains how the purposes of the Environmental Bill of Rights will be applied when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made by the ministry and how consideration of the purposes of the Environmental Bill of Rights will be integrated with other considerations, including social, economic and scientific considerations that are a part of decision-making in the ministry.

"It is each minister's responsibility to take every reasonable step to ensure that the statement of environmental values is considered when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made within that particular ministry."

I believe this is a significant addition to the proposed legislation, and I will further explain that in my remarks.

Also, I would like to make reference to a statement that was made during the first days of the hearings at the Walkerton inquiry, when Dr Kenneth Howard spoke about the problems with water-taking permits in the province, saying granting them was "like writing a cheque on your bank account without knowing how much money is coming in." Howard spoke in detail of the need for municipalities to have an understanding of the water use in their region.

I know when this bill was debated previously in the Legislature that it was presented by some of the government members that this bill was not necessary because that was happening, that notification was getting to municipalities and conservation authorities. However, I have a volume of correspondence with me this morning that very clearly indicates such is not the case. Municipalities have been made aware of significant permits to take water within their jurisdiction only after the fact, only after it has been issued. In some cases, it has presented some significant problems or concerns within the community, and municipalities would feel that they have not had an opportunity to provide the kind of input that should have been received by the ministry and certainly would be in keeping even with the statement of environmental values to assist the ministry to really appreciate a fuller ecosystem perspective on the issuing of the permits.

There are a couple of examples I would like to share with you this morning. In Hastings county, there was a permit granted at the spring head of a cold-water stream that feeds water sources miles downstream. Fortunately, this permit was revoked.

Also, in Perth there is a company that has been granted a permit of 4.5 million litres per day, and the people within that community are most concerned. This permit was issued to remove water from the Tay River. The Tay River is fed from Bob's Lake, which is in my riding, and it is part of the watershed that includes the historic Rideau Canal. This permit has been appealed under the Environmental Review Tribunal. In the hearing it was argued that issuing the permit without taking an ecosystem approach to the decision-making is really setting a precedent, and not a healthy one, I would add.

The ministry's statement of environmental values is not enshrined in legislation. This statement is part of the Environmental Bill of Rights. However, in this particular hearing the ministry's lawyers have argued that it is not binding to consider this statement because it's not incorporated in legislation. Bill 79 would require that the ministry consider the statement of environmental values.

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Why take an ecosystem approach when considering permits to take water? I would like to refer to the Ministry of the Environment's own business plan for 2000-01, where it indicates that one of its key commitments for the year is, "To build a better, stronger, clearer environmental agenda in keeping with our statement of environmental values. The ministry's mandate, articulated in the statement of environmental values that underpins all its activities, is to protect the quality of the natural environment so as to safeguard the ecosystem and human health and to foster the efficient use and conservation of resources."

So, within the ministry's own business plan it recognizes the importance of the statement of environmental values. However, there is also precedent within the province where it is argued that because it's not part of legislation, the ministry is not bound to that. I think that is an inconsistency that needs to be addressed. For that reason, I believe it's very appropriate that it would be incorporated in a piece of legislation that is designed to protect water sources. I have a number of quotes from individuals, municipalities and conservation authorities who believe this as well.

The town of Bancroft has said to me in a letter that in the past they have indicated their frustration with the current legislation regarding the taking-of-water permits. "It is completely inappropriate for a municipality to be notified ... after their issuance. Your proposed bill is a positive step in protecting and maintaining our delicate water resources."

In this particular community, the water source is very vulnerable. So I encourage members on both sides of the House, all three parties, to support an act that I believe will protect water sources in the province of Ontario.


The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey): I'd like to address the comments made by the member for Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington. She has spent some time in her remarks this morning dealing with two outstanding hearings that are going on in the province of Ontario; one is Walkerton and the other, which I believe started earlier this week, is the Environmental Review Tribunal in Perth.

She went even further. In her press release of June 26, she elaborated on that. Most of the press release dealt not with this bill but with what's going on in these hearings. I submit to the Legislature that the sole purpose of what she is doing in this place this morning is to prejudice those hearings. She has no right to do that. Government members cannot comment. It makes it very difficult for us on this side to debate the bill, because we cannot prejudice those hearings. She is prejudicing those hearings. She seems to believe that she has more rights than we do, and that's not true. This legislation should not be prejudicing those hearings.


Mr Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): Two years ago in much of Ontario we were so worried about the lower-than-average precipitation that we'd experienced for close to three consecutive years. Certainly in 1999 there were water bans in many municipalities across the province. Members may know that in my riding farmers were very concerned about the continuation of irrigation-based agriculture. This was a problem in both 1999 and 1998, and I certainly received many calls about the shortage of water. Fortunately, rain did come in the summer of 2000 -- too much of it. It was too wet, it was too cold and it resulted in poor crops. However, we cannot forget that we had a drought comparable to what we had well over 50 years ago. As policy-makers, we should continue to strive for measures to make sure that we are prepared to meet any future shortages of water.

The present system, Ontario's current permit-to-take-water program, is designed to prevent the interference of water taking with existing uses of water. Farmers in my riding can attest to the fact that these applications are reviewed very carefully. This is done not only to prevent interference but also to ensure that there will be no adverse impact on our environment. For example, conditions on permits to take water may include the restriction that takers may not withdraw more than 10% of stream flow, in order to protect natural water course functions.

The Environmental Bill of Rights office has clear procedures that must be followed to notify interested parties about proposed water takings, including a minimum posting of 30 days on the EBR registry.

The Ontario government has shown international leadership as well with regard to water takings. People may recall that in 1999 we brought into force the water-taking and transfer regulation, which requires ministry approving directors to consider ecosystem impacts and to consult on water takings, as well as to prohibit the bulk transfer of water from Ontario's major water basins, the Great Lakes, essentially.

One year prior, in 1998, the Ministry of the Environment established the groundwater management studies fund under the provincial water protection fund to assist municipalities and public utility commissions to undertake studies to ensure the long-term use and protection of our groundwater resources. On March 31, 2000, based on approved applications, grants were prepaid to give municipalities greater flexibility in the management of their cash flow.

I do want to return to the farm situation, intensely farmed areas in Ontario, my riding of Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant and in particular on the Norfolk sand plain. The Ministry of the Environment has encouraged the farm community to consider what is referred to as off-line pond storage in order to take water into storage at less critical times of the year. Locally, we refer to these ponds as retention ponds.

On May 3, healthy futures for Ontario agriculture approved a third water supply enhancement project in the Norfolk area. OMAFRA generously granted $326,303 to the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture for this project. The purpose of the project is to assist farmers interested in improving their water supplies for agricultural uses.

The same type of project also received $233,000 just last November. From this project, 27 ponds have been created or expanded to store a total of something like 23 million gallons of water. This is storing water when it's abundant, primarily in the spring of the year. It's then used to irrigate crops when water levels in local streams become low. Other offshoot activities of this program include creating impoundments, conducting engineering studies, drilling wells and designing water control structures.

Also, last December the Ministry of the Environment announced $150,000 for the Big Creek water basin study. As a result, the Long Point Region Conservation Authority is conducting research to provide a comprehensive information program about both surface and groundwater sources, as well as the interaction of surface and groundwater.

I present this as an example locally. We have a situation where, rather than pointing fingers at each other, farmers, conservationists, local businesses, resource agencies and municipal representatives in my riding have agreed to act together to guard against low water situations in the future.


Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): I have some appreciation for the intent of this bill, Bill 79, but indeed I am extremely disappointed in the member for Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington, seeing that press release that she put out on June 26, making reference to the inquiry at Walkerton, making reference to the Environmental Review Tribunal in Perth. This is blatantly trying to have political interference in our judicial procedures. That indeed is wrong and very unfortunate.

I'd like to relate an incident, while I was the parliamentary assistant with the Ministry of the Environment, that happened as it relates to water. I believe it was 1998. There was a request for a bulk water permit to take water from Lake Superior. The amount of water they requested per year -- it was over a five-year period, but on an annual basis -- would equal the amount of water flowing from Lake Michigan into the Mississippi through that man-made canal there. There was a big misunderstanding on the volume of water and what it was about and who had responsibility. Ontario had a responsibility: how would that water-taking permit affect that body of water? That little bit of water was not going to affect it very much. It was the federal government that had to do with exports and imports, and that's where it fell down. Of course, typical of Liberals federally, they dithered over this. Finally, because the feds wouldn't do anything, Ontario brought in a regulation that would limit the amount of water moving from one water basin to another by a maximum of 20-litre containers.

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What's going on now in Newfoundland? Their Liberal premier, Roger Grimes, is saying he'd like to revisit this because they'd like to export water. This is after their Liberal government in November 1999 endorsed a Canada-wide accord to prohibit bulk water removal from Canadian watersheds. This is after they signed that. Later, in December 1999, they enacted a Water Resources Protection Act which prohibits removal of water in containers greater than 30 litres. Now they reversed, just a year and a half later -- typical of Liberals. They now want to export water, which again comes under federal jurisdiction. I just thought it would be interesting when we're talking about water-taking permits to bring you up to date on that.

Just highlighting a few of the things our government has been doing here in Ontario to protect our groundwater, we've brought in a provincial groundwater monitoring network, some $6 million over three years, looking at 400 sites and 38 watersheds. We have a provincial water protection fund, some $4.3 million, looking at 34 groundwater studies, looking at possible contamination, looking at where the groundwater is for better understanding of aquifers. We're looking at long-term water and sewer infrastructure, with a tremendous investment, particularly through the OSTAR grants, some $240 million there. That, by the way, came from the Premier's Task Force on Rural Economic Renewal, our interim report to the Minister of Finance back in April 2000.

Also we've been looking at the intensive agricultural operations, looking at how manure and various other soil nutrients may be applied or may not be applied: extensive consultation on that all across the province, over a year and a half. The bill has been introduced and we'll continue with consultations prior to second reading.

In many ways we are doing a tremendous amount for the groundwater in Ontario, providing protection for it, certainly a big step with soil nutrient management and looking at that in many different ways. Also, ensuring compliance through environmental SWAT teams is being very effective across the province to ensure that our groundwater and our surface water is not contaminated, at least purposely contaminated.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak on Bill 79.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I want to, first of all, commend my colleague Mrs Dombrowsky for bringing forth this piece of legislation. She has been in the forefront of raising the issue in her riding about water-taking permits and the effect they can have on the province.

There are always those who are going to say -- and this is one of the problems on the environment. The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of the Environment is in the House this morning and would know this. They always say, "Well, it's going to create jobs." Whatever it is, it's going to create jobs, and it doesn't matter what it's going to do to the environment as long as it creates jobs. There are a lot of jobs that can be and have been created in this province that in fact do not have a detrimental effect on the environment in Ontario. Therefore, I think we have to proceed cautiously.

We have the Red Tape Commission of the government which has extraordinary powers to interfere in each of the ministries. Certainly during the Walkerton inquiry which is on at the present time and at which the Premier will have to testify tomorrow, it has come to light just how much power the Red Tape Commission has. I guess the point I make is that if you are thinking of the ecosystem out there, if you're thinking of jobs that are good for both our economic situation in Ontario and our environmental situation, then you would not proceed with those which simply create jobs at great expense to the environment. That is why I think the member has had to bring forward this piece of legislation.

In July 2000 the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gordon Miller, put out a special report -- this was not his annual report -- entitled The Protection of Ontario's Groundwater and Intensive Farming: Special Report to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It was July 27 of last year and we can recall that at that time, particularly during the election campaign, the Conservative government was saying, "Don't worry. We're looking after these water-taking permits. There's a moratorium out there. We're looking after it. Everything's fine."

It reminds me of the testimony I heard yesterday at the Walkerton inquiry where ministers were saying, "Don't worry, be happy, everything's fine, nothing's going to happen." We see that when it comes to water-taking permits, sometimes the last people to find out are the local municipality or conservation authority or the residents in the area. Those of us in the opposition, and I suspect members of the government, often get their information from local groups that see that something is going on. They may not know what that something is, but something is going on. There's a water-taking permit that's going to be granted at a time when residents of rural Ontario, particularly, are wrestling with the problem of low water levels in many places. They're going to be concerned, not only about the impact on the quantity of water, but the quality of water as well, as the water diminishes in its capacity to assimilate some of the contaminants that are around, so there's more concentrated contaminant.

Let me repeat. This is the environmental commissioner saying in July of last summer: "MOE" -- the Ministry of the Environment -- "has not effectively used the EBR" -- the Environmental Bill of Rights -- "and the new water-taking and transfer regulation to manage conflict over groundwater. In the past few years, many residents have contacted the ECO" -- office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario -- "because they are concerned with the lack of information contained in registry notices, the fact that notices on the registry are the only forms of notice provided, and that the effect that their comments had on the decision-making process was not adequately explained. In some cases, the ECO encouraged these residents to write to the MOE and request that the ministry provide enhanced public participation opportunities, such as public meetings, open houses or even mediation, on these proposals. To date, MOE has provided no evidence that these requests were seriously considered or that this type of public consultation has ever been carried out, as provided for by the EBR."

So we have Mrs Dombrowsky bringing forward this bill, not only on behalf of her own constituents but on behalf of the people of Ontario to try to address what the environmental commissioner says is a genuine problem.

Let me go on to tell you what else he's saying. "Conflicting information in the media about MOE policies on groundwater has added to the public uneasiness. In the spring of 1999, the media widely reported that MOE had placed a moratorium on the issuance of new PTTWs" -- water-taking permits -- "in certain parts of the province. In response to ECO inquiries, MOE clarified that a `moratorium' was never imposed but indicated the ministry was applying increased scrutiny to reviewing PTTW applications. Yet, for many months, many media sources and some government officials continued to report that a moratorium on the issue of new PTTWs was in place. Furthermore, information about the changes to the PTTW review process was not posted on the registry for public notice and comment."

When the commissioner was asked about this, he used terminology that if we were applying it to one another in this House, we couldn't do it, because he said that the Ministry of the Environment -- I don't say anyone in this House -- was misleading the people of Ontario, when he reported to us, because they said there was a moratorium and there was no moratorium. That was a very great concern at that time to the Environmental Commissioner. I'm not saying it as an opposition person. There's a person who is neutral, is an officer of this House and certainly was the person favoured for the position by members of the government.

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It says, "In October 1999, the Minister of the Environment indicated that ministry staff had, as of May 1999, updated their procedures `to include strictly defined time limits or expiry dates on permits.'" He goes on to say, "The public needs to be confident that MOE is managing Ontario's groundwater effectively. Our review suggests that MOE must provide guidance to staff on how to apply the criteria set out under the new regulation and staff need better data to make informed decisions about groundwater."

This is why the member is concerned. This is why Mrs Dombrowsky has brought this before the House. Does it affect the specific case she's talking about in her riding? It does. That's our job, to protect our constituents. Multiply that across the province. I was in Walkerton last summer. I was invited to a public meeting. I recall meeting, at that time, people from adjacent villages and towns who were concerned about water-taking in a specific area of the province. That was their area.

I know there's big money in it. I know there are a lot of people waiting to make money and they would like to circumvent any process that's there. The member has set out criteria that Ministry of the Environment staff should use before anything in the way of permits are granted to take water. The situation she has drawn to our attention, the Tay water deal, as it is referred to, is one that requires great scrutiny. I can certainly understand, sympathize with and support her opposition in this particular case. It is passing strange that no one on the government side seems to be overly concerned about that.

There was some testimony early on in the Walkerton inquiry. This is by Dr Ken Howard. He's an expert on water. "During the first day of hearings at the Walkerton inquiry, Dr Kenneth Howard spoke about the problems with water-taking permits in the province, saying granting them was `like writing a cheque on your bank account without knowing how much money is coming in.' Howard spoke in detail of the need for municipalities to have an understanding of water use in the regions."

We know that water levels over the past several years, including the year 2000, have been very low and rural residents are concerned about dry wells. Water levels in lakes and streams are low. The International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes has issued warnings about water levels.

We have the bill that is presented by Mrs Dombrowsky to the members of this House for consideration. I think that the stipulations she has in this bill are very strong, that we have to ensure ministry staff must look at these water-taking permits from an environmental protection point of view and that there must be an ecosystem approach. That's why she says, in her bill, that the ministry's environmental protection strategy will place priority, first, on preventing and, second, on minimizing the creation of pollutants that can damage the environment. When the creation of pollutants cannot be avoided, the ministry's priority will be to prevent the release to the environment and, second, to minimize the release. In the event that significant environmental harm is caused, action will be taken to ensure that those responsible for the harm remediate it and prevent a recurrence.

She also says that the ministry will exercise a precautionary approach in its decision-making, especially when there's uncertainty about the risk presented by particular pollutants or class of pollutants. The ministry will exercise caution in favour of the environment.

This is a very sensible bill. This is the kind of bill that members of this House should be supporting. Frankly, if I had my druthers, as they say, I would rather the Ministry of the Environment had brought in this bill some time ago. I think it is virtually out of control in this province. The water-taking permits are out of control. There is a danger that a very valuable resource, that being water, will be lost to the people of this province. It'll happen before you can blink your eyes, in this particular case.

So do we need the provisions of this bill? Yes. Is it something that sensibly anyone in any political party could support? The answer to that is yes.

We are seeing unfolding at the Walkerton inquiry, day after day, concerns about the quality and quantity of water in this province. We had the former -- I would say a man with a great reputation, a highly regarded person who would have praise heaped upon him -- medical officer of health of Ontario, Dr Richard Schabas, say that the Ontario government turned its back on water safety in this province, on public health in this province, that he sat across from the Premier and the Premier turned his back on that. He has had warnings and others have had warnings about this problem.

The member has chosen a specific area to address her bill to. I'm supportive of that. I suspect that in their heart of hearts virtually everybody in this House is supportive and I urge all members of the House to support a bill which is there to protect the environment, to do something which the government has chosen to this point in time not to do of its own volition.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I want this morning to say thanks to the member from Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington for bringing this piece of business before us, particularly in light of what is going on in Walkerton: the inquiry and the very real interest that people out there have right now in the question of the environment and air and water, the ecosystem and everything else represented by that very important public trust that we all have here as members of this Legislature.

I suggest to the government that they need not be afraid of this bill. It is indeed a modest and reasonable offering of something you could do to protect one of those very valuable commodities that we can so easily take for granted in this wonderful country and province: water. Who would have thought, 10, 15 or 20 years ago, sitting at that lake by your cottage or out swimming at a public beach or on a boat, that we would be in the circumstance we find ourselves in today with the amount of water that we have in this province and in this country, that we would have moved so quickly and so irresponsibly to now be at a point where we poison each other? It's not just water, it's air, it's everything to do with the environment, and we need to step back and take a very serious and close look at what we're doing, particularly in light of some of the dialogue that has been going on now this past week at Walkerton and when we begin to understand the lack of accountability and the lack of taking of responsibility by those who have been put in charge by this government where the environment is concerned -- the passing of the buck, the not listening to very important information that was flowing back and forth.

The only hero in this whole thing, if there's a hero -- it's very difficult to find a hero in this kind of scenario unfolding -- is perhaps the previous Minister of Health, Mr Wilson, who I think needs to be given at least some credit for having raised the alarm, for having run the flag up the pole, for having put on the red light here to say to the government and the Premier, by sending his deputy minister to that very infamous meeting, "Hang on. You should be doing what this bill is calling, in another instance, the government to do, which is to take into account the impact that your decisions re the cutback in the funding of the Ministry of the Environment is going to have on the public health of not only the people but all of the ecosystem as it exists in this province today."

People in this chamber and across the province who have heard me over the last six months will know I've been saying that there's nothing more fundamental to the responsibility that we have here in this place of government, being the conscience of the community of the province of Ontario, than the protection of life, that which we do to make sure that people out there who are at risk and who are vulnerable, in the so many ways that any one of us could become at any time in our lives in the world we live in today, are looked after, that we're providing the resources necessary, that we're providing the checks and balances necessary, that we're dealing with these folks in a way that speaks to their inherent value and quality; that we as government take up that task and responsibility and, more than anything else we do, deal with it in a priority way, in an aggressive and generous way so that when organizations like the United Nations say to the rest of the world that Ontario is a wonderful place to live, that we have all kinds of things in place to look after people, that we've learned how to build community so everybody's included and valued, in fact that's really what's happening.

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I have to tell you, in the area of poverty and where vulnerable and at-risk people are concerned, it's becoming more and more obvious out there that this government is dropping the ball on that, that they're not taking seriously their responsibility. In fact, even more than that, they're going out of their way to make it ever more difficult for people who are experiencing poverty, who are having some difficulty participating in the communities they live in, who are having some difficulty putting ends together so they can feed their families. Every week we come in here this government is introducing, under the leadership of the Minister of Community and Social Services, ever more stringent and narrow requirements to get the very basic resources they need to look after themselves.

I suggest to you, Minister, that when it comes to the environment, it's of equal importance. If we don't look after those things that support and give life in the first place, the ecosystem, our water and our air and our trees and wildlife, ultimately it will come back and get us all. I don't know about you, but I go home on weekends and get a moment to sit in my backyard. I look at the trees growing in the ravine behind my house and I thank God for the wonderful nature we have, those trees that take carbon monoxide and make oxygen out of it and give us all that nice fresh air we so appreciate, those of us who live in northern Ontario particularly. I think, wouldn't it be awful if somebody came along tomorrow and simply cut those trees down so they could make a few bucks by selling the lumber or making some paper out of them, not considering for a second the impact that would have on the environment we have come to appreciate.

Up in northern Ontario we look at a lake like Lake Superior. For the most part, it's still clean. It's still a lake where you can scoop water with your hand and drink it, in most parts. There are spots now, hot spots, that have been identified by international committees charged with looking at that whole area who are saying that if we're not careful, even Lake Superior, the biggest, by volume, inland mass of water in the world, is in threat of being polluted, if you can imagine. Any of you who have swum or tried to swim in some of the other great lakes, particularly in southern Ontario, and see signs up, "Swim at your own risk" or "Beaches closed," because of high levels of pollutants in the water, must be asking yourselves the question, how did we get to where we are and what can we do to improve this situation so we can send our kids to the lake, so we can go to the lake ourselves and actually swim without feeling like we might be infected in some way, so we can drink that water, so we don't have to be continually pouring more and more chemicals into that water which cause all kinds of health problems, so we can be proactive where this very important life source is concerned?

I'll tell you, this government has a penchant for turning everything we here have responsibility for and have decided over a number of years, through various colours of political parties, we should be looking after from a common, good perspective, that which we all have some stake in and have some responsibility for and need to be taking some action to protect and to share with others in a way that reflects the democracy in which we live -- this government has a penchant for turning that responsibility over to the private sector. I suggest that's in many ways what happened in terms of the drinking water at Walkerton. You turned the testing of water over to a company whose main interest isn't in the provision of clean water or tests that suggest what you need to do in order to make sure that your water is clean, but is in the bottom line, is in producing profits for itself and for its investors. When that's the priority, don't be surprised if what you end up with at the end of the day is a calamity such as what happened in Walkerton.

You've done the same thing with the delivery of services to those who are vulnerable and at risk in our community. You've turned over the design and the delivery of those programs to those most vulnerable and sensitive of our citizens to a multinational corporation called Andersen Consulting. Their first priority is to take advantage of the very generous contract you've signed with them that says they get a percentage of anything they save by way of take-back from the poor in our communities. So don't be surprised if people start dying on the streets of Toronto. Don't be surprised if a lot of individuals out there who are already challenged with so many of the maladies that affect us as human beings these days, many of them of a mental health nature, don't start, because of a different attack every week on their ability to look after themselves and pay for the rent and put food on the table and clothe themselves, thinking about ways to just kind of chuck it in and become suicidal.

I was in Ottawa, the backyard of the Minister of Community and Social Services, on Friday. We had just a whole host of people between 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock in the central block on the Hill, the main Legislature of this country, come forward and talk to us about the devastating impact of some of the decisions made by this government on programs that they count on for their very existence, and how the biggest decision they make every day when they get up now, because of the onslaught that never ends, is whether to live or whether to die. That's pretty serious business. You can't push it any further than that.

This government has pushed us all to the wall where dealing with our very basic needs is concerned. Now, in this instance, we're dealing with those life sources -- the environment. This bill that we're debating here this morning that I hope the government will find, in its sense of responsibility, to support, is, as I said, a very modest and reasonable request that simply people talk to each other when decisions are made about the taking of water so that we can together determine what the overall environmental impact is going to be, both immediate and long-term, so that we don't hurt ourselves, so that we don't diminish those elements that are required for our very life.

Anybody who's been watching the lakes over the last two or three years, particularly people who have boats, will understand that that water goes up and down, and it's not because some big hydro company shuts off the dam or opens the dam; it's because of environmental considerations and concerns. Our water levels in all of the lakes in northern Ontario for the last two or three years have been significantly lower than they've been historically over the years. That's primarily, if you look at that, because of things that we've done in other areas of the environment and not protecting it so that we get the regular cycle of precipitation and rain and snow and the burn-off of water up into the clouds again so that it comes down. That's not happening in the same way that it used to.

So the issue of having enough water, the issue of making sure that those lakes stay viable and vital, becomes even more important and speaks to the importance of this piece of legislation that's tabled before us here today; that we take whatever action is necessary; that we leave political considerations aside for a few minutes and recognize in the interest of the public good, in the interest of protecting our environment, one of those life sources, water, that we all depend on for our lives; that we do the right thing and pass this bill, because if we don't, we will continue down a road that will see us giving away, taking away, turning our back on, as the Premier did not so long ago to that person given responsibility overall at a provincial level for public health, and saying, "I don't want to hear. I'm not interested. All I'm interested in is how do we cut budgets, how do we save money, how can we turn the delivery of environmental services over to the private sector so that we can enhance the coffers of our friends and benefactors, and damn the cost?" We know now what that cost ultimately was and could be and can be.

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In this instance, all we're saying, all this member is saying -- and I commend her for that -- is when there's a permit brought forward that suggests that water be taken, that those people who have a responsibility talk to each other, get in touch with each other and consider in a serious and fulsome way the impact that will have on the overall environment, because if we don't do that, it is to our communal peril, I suggest.

So I'm committing our caucus this morning to supporting this very important, very helpful and very intelligent bill that has been tabled here for us to consider.


Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): It's a pleasure to make a few comments on Bill Pr79, the private bill of the member for Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington, an act to amend the Ontario Water Resources Act. We've heard a lot of comments this morning about water removal, monitoring, et cetera, and I would like to just make a quick comment on the comments of the member from Sault Ste Marie. It's always amazing to hear him comment and listen to his hatred for the private sector in this province.

I come from an area of the province where we are very, very concerned about our water supplies. Most of my riding borders on Georgian Bay, and we're very concerned about the levels. I was so pleased just recently, on June 18, when the Premier signed the agreement with the Great Lakes states, the Annex 2001.

"The objective of the Great Lakes provinces and states is to protect, conserve, restore and improve the water resources of the Great Lakes basin for today and for future generations."

On June 18, when the Annex was signed, "Mike Harris, Ontario's Premier, has helped establish the foundation for a strong new standard -- upon which the Great Lakes governors and premiers will base future water-use decisions.

"The critical change in the decision-making process will be the move from a good faith agreement to a binding agreement."

Hopefully in the future we will look at the Great Lakes basin and be very pleased with the water levels we see. We'll be "preventing or minimizing basin water loss through water conservation measures and return flow."

"For the first time, a formal avenue for public input will be created" through this agreement, "and a new and regular series of progress reports will be produced."

I appreciate the fact that the Premier has gone to this trouble and put this much effort in. As one of the leading parliamentarians around the Great Lakes, I was pleased to see that he has shown the leadership.

As well, "for the first time, the Great Lakes states have committed to notify and consult with the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec on all proposals subject to the US Water Resources Development Act, ... particularly given the fact that the provinces are not bound by the authority of the WRDA" of the United States.

Every man, woman and child in this province has a strong commitment to a great environment, clean water, fresh air. I mentioned the Great Lakes systems. I'm also concerned about water removal for drilling permits. I have an area in my riding called the Oro moraine, a very sensitive area, and most of the residents are concerned about the amount of water that's being removed, particularly for things like new subdivisions, golf courses and development. There is a lot of strain and pressure on this particular area of my riding, as there is in different moraines across this province.

I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words commenting on Bill 79 this morning. I thank the other members of my caucus for their comments as well and look forward to what happens during the vote here this afternoon.


Mr Michael Bryant (St Paul's): I want to respond to some of the comments made by the government, particularly with respect to the hearing that is going on, the appeal that is going on right now. This government is using a common tactic: it uses the courts, the judiciary, a hearing or a judicial inquiry as a shield. It says, "We're not going to take responsibility for this; we're not going to talk to this issue in this House. Why? Well, we've got a hearing over here." And they hide behind that hearing. They hide behind the shield. They hide behind the civil litigation going on right now in Ipperwash. They hide behind the Walkerton inquiry and won't answer questions in this House.

Now they're hiding behind this issue and they won't remedy a failure that is a failure borne by this government. We have heard in this hearing that ministry officials have said that the Environmental Bill of Rights is toothless; that the statement of values is worthless because it's not binding in law. That's a failure of this government. Rights without remedies are worthless. Where this government failed to fulfill its responsibilities, it's a dereliction of its duties. I can't believe that this government, in this week when the entire province of Ontario is watching what you do, is going to yet again turn its back on public health and the environment of this province.

There is no law binding the government to consider the statement of environmental values. So say the ministry officials before this hearing. That's an admission of failure. We have an opportunity to correct that failure in this House. Thanks to Ms Dumbrowsky, a private member's bill has been brought forward, and we can do that. In the constant dialogue between the courts and the Legislature, we will let the courts know that we want the statement of values to be considered when it is decided whether or not a permit is going to be passed.

So this is a test for this government. Are you going to continue to turn your back on the people of Ontario and public health in Ontario and the environment of Ontario, or are you going to support this bill for the sake --


The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. Response?

Mrs Dombrowsky: I would like to thank all of the members who have taken time to come to the House this morning to make some comments about what certainly I, and many people within my riding and many people across the province of Ontario, see to be a very important piece of legislation that would go a long way to ensure the protection of their water sources within their community.

I am very sorry when I hear members of the government suggest that there are some political motives that have given birth to this piece of legislation. I have brought this forward because I've listened to the people in my riding, who I thought had some very valid issues about their precious water resources.

I'm also very surprised when I would understand from members of the government that they had difficulty supporting what is within this piece of legislation, given that in their own business plan of this year it very clearly indicates that one of its key commitments for the year is, "To build a better, stronger, clearer environmental agenda in keeping with our statement of environment values." It is part of their business plan.

Maybe they're confused. Maybe they've been reading another business plan. We've been given to understand recently that there can be any number over there, so perhaps that is why there's some confusion. But I would suggest, when this is presented in a public document to the people of Ontario, that you have an obligation to be consistent with what you present to the people.

So it is my sincerest hope that you consider the legislation. Don't consider the member presenting it, the side of the House from which it comes, but consider the intent and the positive impact it will have on the communities, the people and the water sources in Ontario.

ACCESS TO PROFESSIONS
AND TRADES


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): We will now deal with ballot item 17. Mrs Mushinski has moved private member's notice of motion number 9.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

ONTARIO WATER RESOURCES
AMENDMENT ACT
(WATER SOURCE PROTECTION), 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 MODIFIANT LA LOI
SUR LES RESSOURCES EN EAU
DE L'ONTARIO
(PROTECTION DES SOURCES
D'ALIMENTATION EN EAU)


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Now we will deal with ballot item number 18. Mrs Dombrowsky has moved second reading of Bill 79. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All in favour will say "aye."

All opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members; this will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1201 to 1206.


The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour will stand and remain standing until their name is called.

Ayes

Agostino, Dominic

Bartolucci, Rick

Bountrogianni, Marie

Boyer, Claudette

Bradley, James J.

Bryant, Michael

Caplan, David

Cleary, John C.

Conway, Sean G.

Cordiano, Joseph

Crozier, Bruce

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Gravelle, Michael

Kennedy, Gerard

Kormos, Peter

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Levac, David

Marchese, Rosario

Martin, Tony

McGuinty, Dalton

McLeod, Lyn

McMeekin, Ted

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Ruprecht, Tony

Smitherman, George


The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please stand and remain standing until their name is called.

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Beaubien, Marcel

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Cunningham, Dianne

DeFaria, Carl

Dunlop, Garfield

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Johns, Helen

Johnson, Bert

Klees, Frank

Martiniuk, Gerry

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

Molinari, Tina R.

Munro, Julia

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Runciman, Robert W.

Sampson, Rob

Spina, Joseph

Stewart, R. Gary

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tilson, David

Tsubouchi, David H.

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Wood, Bob


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 31; the nays are 34.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion lost.

All matters relating to private members' public business having been complete, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock.

The House recessed from 1208 to 1330.

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

GOLF TOURNAMENTS


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex): It has been reported that a government agency has approved another $100,000 of taxpayers' money for a shell company led by Mike Harris's best friend, Peter Minogue, and it's for another golf tournament. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp has made an additional $25,000 contribution to the same tournament. The new confirmed gift brings the total value of grants since 1999 for golf tournaments organized and run by Mike Harris's golf buddies to an astounding $397,000.

The shell, a not-for-profit company known as Golf Northern Ontario, was created because the company that actually runs the tournaments, Golf Strategies of Canada Inc, owned by Jack and Paul Raino, could not qualify for funding under heritage fund rules. Heritage fund grants are supposed to be for not-for-profit companies. Golf Strategies is a private for-profit company.

Can you imagine the real benefit of $397,000 to the taxpayers of Ontario if it were spent in an overcrowded emergency room, or it would pay for a doctor for a year in an underserviced area, or it would pay for special education for 10 students who really need it, or it would pay for clean water in a small rural community? This is just another double bogey by Mike Harris.

SCARBOROUGH SUPPORT SERVICES
FOR THE ELDERLY


Ms Marilyn Mushinski (Scarborough Centre: It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to take this opportunity to congratulate an organization in my riding that has provided an invaluable service to the Scarborough community.

Scarborough Support Services for the Elderly has been providing assistance for the Scarborough community for 25 years. Scarborough Support Services is a non-profit agency. Its mission statement is, "To initiate and implement programs and services to improve the quality of life for the elderly, disabled and/or chronically ill adults in their efforts to remain independent in their own homes."

There are over 160 paid full-time and part-time employees and over 600 volunteers in various programs and services. Nearly 3,000 seniors and adults with disabilities benefit from programs and services offered by them.

I want to give you a couple of examples of what they did in just one year: 93,104 meals were delivered by volunteers to the homes of 1,073 elderly and disabled adults; 17,626 transportation trips were provided to over 433 seniors to medical, grocery shopping, seniors' programs and other essential appointments. This is a small example of what these amazing people do. Congratulations to the staff and volunteers of Scarborough Support Services. You truly do make a difference.

SENIORS


Mr Mario Sergio (York West): As we get ready to leave the House today, I can't help but feel a sense of sadness for the seniors who are nowadays facing sweltering weather. Our seniors having just come through a very cold and expensive winter, I feel our seniors are being let down by the Premier and by this government. They have just received a new tax bill, with increases for our seniors as well. They are afraid for hospital care and hospitalization, and they are afraid for the care they are receiving in nursing homes and other places as well.

I want to read from a letter I have received from one of my constituents: "I petition the Mike Harris government to resign from office before they can dismantle any more of our fundamental health care rights (they are certainly preparing to create a two-tier hospital system -- one for me and one for the rich)."

How can you disagree with these sentiments when our seniors are feeling the pinch from their own Premier and from their own government thinking they are so blessed to be living in Canada? They are saying, "How come we have our own Premier telling us that? Are we so grateful to the government for what they are giving us today?" Our seniors today are saying, "Are we better off today than we were five years ago?" and I have to say no, they are absolutely not any better off today than five years ago.

ADOPTION DISCLOSURE


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): Speaker, yesterday or today, everybody in this Legislature would have received a brown envelope from me, including you. I hope people will take the opportunity to look inside this brown envelope and review over the summer the information in this that I provided about my Bill 77, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act and the Child and Family Services Act in respect of Adoption Disclosure.

As everybody here in this Legislature knows, and particularly those who have been around for a few terms, this or a similar bill to this has come before this House on several occasions. In fact, my colleague Tony Martin introduced one that came for third reading when we were in government and came this close to passing. But one member, whose name I won't mention, who didn't support it at that time -- I hope he has changed his mind, and I think he may have -- held it up.

I have made a couple of attempts to pass a bill. Alex Cullen, a former member, tried to pass a bill.

This bill is long overdue. I know that most of the members from all three parties do support adoption disclosure reform in this province. We are far behind other jurisdictions in Canada, including Newfoundland and BC.

We must get these laws changed. Thousands and thousands of people are suffering unnecessary agony because we have outdated laws.

I ask everybody to read the information over the summer and get back to me if they have any questions.

CAMPBELLFORD WATERFRONT FESTIVAL


Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): I rise in the House today to announce the annual Campbellford Waterfront Festival that is scheduled to take place on August 3, 4 and 5.

This year, along with the traditional cardboard boat races and the beach volleyball tournament, there will be dragon boat races, a belly-flop competition, dunk tank, barbecues, 50-50 draws and lots more good family fun.

The weekend will begin on Friday night with live bands playing at the Captain's Ball. Saturday starts with a pancake breakfast, the parade of cardboard boats and many activities in the park for all ages. The dramatic and hilarious cardboard boat races will be starting at 1 pm. Last year I attended this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed watching the competitors as they struggled to keep afloat while attempting to complete the course.

There will also be barbecues on both sides of the canal this year, with a steak barbecue dinner to end this very exciting day of activities and a dance to the Saloon D'awgs on the patio of the legion to finish the night off.

The fun continues on Sunday, when another pancake breakfast will take place and the brand new competition of dragon boats will start at 10 am. This competition has 22 people in each boat working together to paddle to the finish line.

The sixth annual Campbellford Waterfront Festival is indeed a great event that you won't want to miss. I invite everyone to consider joining us for this fun-filled, action-packed weekend.

INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION


Mr Joseph Cordiano (York South-Weston): On Tuesday, June 25, I introduced a private member's bill that would provide tax relief for families being charged intercountry adoption fees. The bill would ensure fair and equitable treatment of all adoptions regardless of the child's place of birth.

Back in March 2000, the Minister of Community and Social Services levied a $925 head tax on international orphans. The only thing you can say about this head tax is that it was unjustifiable and discriminatory.

I ask the members opposite to support my private member's bill, because we want to ensure we're not telling the rest of the world that Ontario is discriminatory in imposing the $925 head tax. It is unjustifiable.

Other jurisdictions, Quebec included, offer tax credit relief to those families. I cannot for the life of me understand why this government wants to continue to perpetrate this discriminatory practice by its head tax of $925 on those families. They already face enormous burdens to undergo these adoptions internationally, and it's completely unjustifiable. I say again it is discriminatory. Do away with the head tax.

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VOLUNTEERS


Mrs Julia Munro (York North): I rise today to speak about one of the special activities that has taken place in this, the International Year of Volunteers. Volunteer Canada has developed and published the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement. The code provides organizations with a philosophical framework for involving volunteers at the governance, leadership and direct service levels. It also includes the organization standards checklist that will help agencies evaluate their volunteer programs.

Volunteers play a vital role in our society, and while this role is recognized widely, there has never been a clear statement of this importance. The code sets forth the values of volunteerism formally and consists of three important elements: values for volunteer involvement, guiding principles for volunteer involvement and organization standards for volunteer involvement.

Volunteer involvement is vital to a just, democratic society. Volunteer involvement strengthens communities. It mutually benefits both the volunteer and the organization. Volunteering is based on relationships.

Congratulations to Volunteer Canada for their leadership role in developing the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement.

COMMUNITY CARE ACCESS CENTRES


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): There is an ugly rumour circulating around my community that the government is about to fire our community care access centre board of directors. I would say to Mike Harris and to the Minister of Health that that is a big mistake. That is a move in the wrong direction. Today, I ask, I plead, I implore and, if necessary, I beg you not to fire these people who are dedicated to the clients they serve.

Our board of directors has asked your government to conduct a value-for-money audit. They want you to know that they are efficient. They want you to know that they are making wise use of our tax dollars.

Earlier this morning, Minister of Health, I faxed your office a letter asking you to attend a public hearing with me so that you can hear from the board of directors, the stakeholders and the clients. My community wants you at this meeting. I'll arrange this meeting at your convenience -- next week, next month, any time before the House resumes in September.

It is imperative before you act that you listen to what our board of directors has to say, what our stakeholders have to say and what our clients have to say, because the community of the city of greater Sudbury wants you to make not a rash choice; they want you to make the right choice. Listen to my community.

HEALTH PROTECTION


Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): I would like to welcome Mr Bruce Miller of the Police Association of Ontario, who is in the members' gallery today.

A number of years ago, while Mr Miller was with the London Police Service, he performed CPR on an individual who unfortunately did not survive. An autopsy was performed and it was determined that the person had a very contagious disease, spinal meningitis. Since Mr Miller could have contracted this disease while performing CPR, he was informed and was given the choice to begin treatments. If the individual had survived, Mr Miller would not have been privy to the same information, may not have taken the treatments and could have suffered from meningitis himself.

All too often, police officers, firefighters, ambulance workers and correctional officers are bitten, stabbed by syringes and forced into situations to perform life-saving CPR. We need measures put in place to allow emergency workers, good Samaritans and victims of crime to be given enough information on their exposure to infectious diseases so they can make an informed decision on the treatments that are needed.

Along with Mr Miller, I would also like to welcome Henry Watson of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association; Jimmy Lee, president of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association; and Doug Brown of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, who are in the members' gallery here today as well.

I look forward to working with them and other stakeholders over the next two months to draft a private member's bill that will be aimed at further protecting emergency workers, victims and good Samaritans.

VISITORS


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Seated in the Speaker's gallery today, I'm very pleased to welcome to our Legislature the Honourable Helen Sham-Ho, member of the New South Wales Legislative Council in Australia. She is joined by her husband, Robert, who is a councillor. Please join me in welcoming our honoured guests.

SPEAKER'S RULING


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): On Tuesday, June 26, 2001, the member for Windsor-St Clair raised a point of privilege concerning recent considerations by the Board of Internal Economy of the spending estimates of the Office of the Provincial Auditor. The Minister of Labour, the member for Niagara Centre, the member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, the government House leader and the member for Don Valley East also made submissions.

The member refers to a letter written by the Provincial Auditor on the subject of the office's annual budget wherein the auditor states, and I quote, "[a]s a servant of the Legislative Assembly and the public accounts committee, I consider the inadequate funding provided as interfering with my office's ability to fulfill its responsibilities under the Audit Act in a timely manner and is counterproductive to good accountability."

The member for Windsor-St Clair alleged that this statement amounts to a clear indication that the "government of Ontario has perpetrated a contempt of this Legislature by impeding and obstructing an officer of this House, the Provincial Auditor."

At the outset, let me describe the system as it exists for the review and approval of the Provincial Auditor's estimates. The Legislative Assembly Act, in section 87, creates the Board of Internal Economy, which is a creature of this assembly and which has membership drawn from all three party caucuses in this House. It oversees and collectively makes decisions about the management and the administration of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

This same Board of Internal Economy is statutorily authorized by subsection 29(2) of the Audit Act, the governing legislation of the Provincial Auditor, to "review and may alter as it considers proper the estimates presented by the auditor, and the Chair of the board shall cause the estimates as altered by the board to be laid before the assembly and the assembly shall refer the estimates laid before it to a committee of the assembly for review."

While the executive is represented on the Board of Internal Economy, at no point is the legal entity of the government of Ontario involved in this process. The Office of the Assembly and its governance structure, the Board of Internal Economy, are statutorily and factually separate and independent from the government of Ontario. It is therefore, in effect, practically impossible for the government of Ontario, having no involvement in this process, to somehow be seen to be a body that is obstructing this process.

I therefore do not find the government of Ontario, as alleged by the member for Windsor-St Clair, has, as he put it, perpetrated a contempt on this Legislature.

As for the statements of the Provincial Auditor, he is to be commended for so strenuously protecting the interests of his office and for vigorously defending and advocating for what he sees as the genuine requirements necessary to fulfill the functions for which he was appointed by this Legislature. The letter he provided on this issue, referred to by the member for Windsor-St Clair, cannot be described as anything but forceful.

I will, however, express reservations about its more intemperate contents and will simply reiterate that the Board of Internal Economy has, and claims, the right to determine the budget appropriation for the Office of the Provincial Auditor, subject to ultimate approval by this very assembly. The Board of Internal Economy is seized with serving the public interest in this regard and with providing the Provincial Auditor -- and all the parliamentary officers -- with the tools that it determines he needs to perform his function. The board's valid determination in this regard is final and while issue may be taken with its decision, the board has and asserts its right to make such decisions. Furthermore, with respect to the current case regarding the Provincial Auditor's budget submission, that decision has not yet been made by the board.

Finally, I can only observe how circular and illogical the argument becomes that somehow this process I have described has resulted in a contempt having been perpetrated on the assembly, since it is the assembly itself that has created, approved, participated in and followed this process. It is not a matter of privilege for the board to carry out its responsibilities. The Legislature can hardly be in contempt of itself; the assembly is master of its affairs and to the extent described above, master of its parliamentary officers, which it appoints. It is not the other way around.

I thank all of the members for their kind input.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-St Clair): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would have appreciated a notation in your response that the majority control of the Board of Internal Economy is composed of members of the government. That wasn't in your response. Second, it also has representatives, as defined in our Legislative Assembly Act, who are also cabinet ministers. I think that should have been noted, sir, in your response. The final point I would like to add: I found out yesterday that in fact in Ottawa the Auditor General of Canada had a 15% increase in her budget approved, a total of almost $8 million, which is more money -- just the increase -- than is spent entirely in auditing our functions here, sir.

The Speaker: You're correct about the composition.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member from Simcoe North paid respect to the Police Association of Ontario, and I'd like to draw to your attention that Anne Crawford, who was the first female in the Durham Regional Police Service, is retiring after 34 years of service. I would think the members should pay some respect to that valuable service to community.

The Speaker: I thank the member.

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
GENERAL GOVERNMENT


Ms Marilyn Mushinski (Scarborough Centre): I beg leave to present a report from the standing committee on general government and move its adoption.

Clerk at the Table (Ms Lisa Freedman): Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:

Bill 57, An Act to promote government efficiency and to improve services to taxpayers by amending or repealing certain Acts / Projet de loi 57, Loi visant à favoriser l'efficience du gouvernement et à améliorer les services aux contribuables en modifiant ou en abrogeant certaines lois.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Shall the report be received and adopted?

All those in favour will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1351 to 1356.


The Speaker: Mrs Mushinski has moved the adoption of the report from the standing committee on general government respecting Bill 57. All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Beaubien, Marcel

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

Cunningham, Dianne

DeFaria, Carl

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hastings, John

Hodgson, Chris

Hudak, Tim

Johns, Helen

Johnson, Bert

Klees, Frank

Marland, Margaret

Martiniuk, Gerry

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Munro, Julia

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Runciman, Robert W.

Sampson, Rob

Spina, Joseph

Sterling, Norman W.

Stewart, R. Gary

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tilson, David

Tsubouchi, David H.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David


The Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Agostino, Dominic

Bartolucci, Rick

Bisson, Gilles

Bountrogianni, Marie

Boyer, Claudette

Bradley, James J.

Brown, Michael A.

Caplan, David

Churley, Marilyn

Conway, Sean G.

Cordiano, Joseph

Crozier, Bruce

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Gravelle, Michael

Hampton, Howard

Kormos, Peter

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Lankin, Frances

Levac, David

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Martin, Tony

Parsons, Ernie

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Ruprecht, Tony

Sergio, Mario


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 49; the nays are 30.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Pursuant to the order of the House dated June 20, 2001, the bill is ordered for third reading.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

HIGHWAY TRAFFIC
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 MODIFIANT
LE CODE DE LA ROUTE

Mr Levac moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 96, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to double the fines for speeding / Projet de loi 96, Loi modifiant le Code de la route en vue de doubler les amendes pour excès de vitesse.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it. Carried.

The member for a short statement?


Mr Dave Levac (Brant): I'm awfully glad that I've enticed all the members to listen.

The bill would double the fines for speeding under subsection 128(14) of the Highway Traffic Act, which makes it a double fine if you're caught speeding in a construction zone, to protect the safety of our construction workers. It would also double the fine for speeding in a community zone, to protect our children in school areas.

DEMOCRATIC HERITAGE ARCHAEOLOGICAL
PRESERVATION ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR LA
PRÉSERVATION ARCHÉOLOGIQUE
DU PATRIMOINE DÉMOCRATIQUE

Mr Marchese moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 97, An Act to ensure the preservation of the site of Toronto's first parliament buildings / Projet de loi 97, Loi visant à assurer la préservation du site des premiers édifices parlementaires de Toronto.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member for a short statement?


Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): The bill is intended to ensure the preservation of the site of Toronto's first Parliament buildings, built in 1798 and 1820.

Section 2 provides that the site is deemed to have been designated under part VI, Conservation of Resources of Archaeological Value, of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Section 3 provides that the minister responsible for the administration of that act shall ensure that a full archaeological excavation and investigation is conducted and shall promote the purchase of the site, including the relocation of businesses, and its donation to the city of Toronto, the construction of a museum and the provision of operating funds for the museum.

SOUTH ASIAN HERITAGE ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR L'HÉRITAGE
SUD-ASIATIQUE

Mr Gill moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 98, An Act to proclaim May as South Asian Heritage Month and May 5 as South Asian Arrival Day / Projet de loi 98, Loi proclamant le mois de mai Mois de l'héritage sud-asiatique et le 5 mai Jour de l'arrivée des Sud-Asiatiques.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member for a short statement?


Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): This bill would proclaim May as South Asian Heritage Month and May 5 as South Asian Arrival Day in recognition of the contributions made to Ontario by persons of South Asian descent.

SAVE OUR ARCHITECTURAL
HERITAGE ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001
VISANT À SAUVEGARDER
NOTRE PATRIMOINE ARCHITECTURAL

Mr Marchese moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 99, An Act to amend the Ontario Heritage Act to promote the conservation of buildings of historic or architectural value / Projet de loi 99, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le patrimoine de l'Ontario pour promouvoir la conservation de bâtiments ayant une valeur historique ou architecturale.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member for a short statement?


Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): The bill makes the following amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act:

(1) Municipal councils are given power to prohibit the demolition of buildings that have been designated under part IV, Conservation of Buildings of Historic or Architectural Value, and the demolition of buildings in areas designated under part V, Heritage Conservation Districts. Currently the act merely allows councils to delay demolition for 180 days;

(2) The council's decision may be appealed to the Conservation Review Board, and a provision dealing with financial assistance for owners of heritage property is also included.

VISITORS


Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to welcome Pierre-Luc Sauvé of l'école Saint-Jean-Baptiste de L'Orignal. Pierre-Luc is spending the week here at Queen's Park. Bienvenue, Pierre-Luc.

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I know all the members in the House would like to welcome Paulette Gras, the mother of Anthony Gras, one of our pages, along with Anthony's brothers: Christopher, who's 12, and Gregory, who's nine. They're joined in the gallery by the billeting parent, who is also the mother of Matt Leroux, so Mrs Leroux, thank you very much as well.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): While we're speaking of mothers, the chief government whip, Mr Klees, informed me that his mother will be watching today, and our thoughts and our prayers are with her on the passing of her husband. I also invited her down to lunch. I believe she lives in the St Thomas area. So in case it doesn't get passed along to Mrs Klees, hopefully we'll get a chance to come down and have lunch here at the Ontario Legislature. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

LEGISLATIVE PAGES


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Just before we begin with motions, this is also the last day for our fine pages. I would ask all the members to please join in thanking our pages for their great job. Well done.

Applause.

We wish them well in all their future endeavours.

MOTIONS

HOUSE SITTINGS


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I move that pursuant to standing order 9(c)(iii), the House shall continue to meet until midnight on Thursday, June 28, for the purpose of considering government business.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1410 to 1415.


The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Agostino, Dominic

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Bartolucci, Rick

Beaubien, Marcel

Bisson, Gilles

Boyer, Claudette

Bradley, James J.

Brown, Michael A.

Caplan, David

Chudleigh, Ted

Churley, Marilyn

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

Conway, Sean G.

Cordiano, Joseph

Crozier, Bruce

Cunningham, Dianne

DeFaria, Carl

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Gravelle, Michael

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hampton, Howard

Hardeman, Ernie

Hastings, John

Hodgson, Chris

Hudak, Tim

Jackson, Cameron

Johns, Helen

Johnson, Bert

Kennedy, Gerard

Klees, Frank

Kormos, Peter

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Lankin, Frances

Levac, David

Marchese, Rosario

Marland, Margaret

Martel, Shelley

Martin, Tony

Martiniuk, Gerry

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Munro, Julia

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Parsons, Ernie

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Runciman, Robert W.

Ruprecht, Tony

Sampson, Rob

Sergio, Mario

Spina, Joseph

Sterling, Norman W.

Stewart, R. Gary

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tilson, David

Tsubouchi, David H.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 81; the nays are 0.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I seek unanimous consent for this House to sit on Tuesday, July 3, at 1:30 pm.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? I'm afraid I heard some noes.

COMMITTEE SITTINGS


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I have one more motion, which I discussed with the House leaders previously. I seek unanimous consent to move a motion without notice respecting the standing committee on public accounts.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is there unanimous consent? Agreed.

Hon Mrs Ecker: I move that the standing committee on public accounts be authorized to meet for up to four days, and in addition to be authorized to adjourn to Regina, Saskatchewan, to attend the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees; and that the committee be authorized to release its reports during the summer adjournment by depositing a copy of any report with the Clerk of the Assembly, and upon the resumption of the meetings of the House the Chair of the committee shall bring any such reports before the House in accordance with the standing orders.

The Speaker: Mrs Ecker has moved that the standing committee on public accounts be authorized -- dispense?

Interjection.


The Speaker: No dispense.

Mrs Ecker has moved that the standing committee on public accounts be authorized to meet for up to four days, and in addition to be authorized to adjourn to Regina, Saskatchewan, to attend the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees; and that the committee be authorized to release its reports during the summer adjournment by depositing a copy of any report --


Interjection: Dispense.

The Speaker: We already tried; he said no -- with the Clerk of the Assembly, and upon the resumption of the meetings of the House the Chair of the committee shall bring any such reports before the House in accordance with the standing orders.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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Mr John O'Toole (Durham): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: You would know that I have introduced a motion on decorum in the House and it has yet to be debated. Recognizing the temperature and the heat in here today on the last day, I think it's absolutely critical that we ensure that the ministers of the crown always wear a tie while on duty in the House.

Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It's come to my attention that the air conditioning in the legislative chamber is about to be repaired for next week. We've already heard a motion to have the House sit for the month of July, and that was turned down. But, seeing that the air conditioning will be on next week, I seek unanimous consent that this House sit for the first week of July.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? I'm afraid I heard some noes.

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): On the same point of order, Mr Speaker: I would just ask the House that the Ministry of Labour be called in to investigate the heat in here and see if these are suitable working conditions. I would ask that the inspector actually visit the site rather than doing it as a phone call.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): On the same point of order, Speaker: If I may, as a result of Bill 57, the inspector will be phoning and saying it doesn't sound very hot in there over the phone.

The Speaker: You think it's hot for you folks? I have to keep getting up and down on these points of order. It's like a workout here.

Is there unanimous consent? I'm afraid I heard some noes.

RESIGNATION OF MEMBER
FOR BEACHES-EAST YORK


Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I request unanimous consent for each caucus to be given five minutes to share in the recognition of the departure from provincial politics of the member for Beaches-East York, Frances Lankin.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is there unanimous consent? Agreed.

Mrs Marland: I consider it both a privilege and an honour for me to speak on behalf of the government in tribute to my friend Frances Lankin. This member for Beaches-East York leaves in her wake an enormous void to be filled by a future member.

Frances has been a role model for members in many ways. Although of course her party politics are not what we share, we admire her commitment to serve her constituents, and that has never wavered.

She has never forgotten why she was elected or by whom. Frances's purpose in being elected was always to make a difference in the lives of people, whether for one individual or many people.

Because of her ability, the former Premier, Bob Rae, recognized that she should be an important person in his cabinet and appointed her as Minister of Health, Chair of Management Board, Minister of Government Services and Minister of Economic Development and Trade. Certainly, as a member of the opposition for the five years of that government, those of us who were in that responsibility always found Frances Lankin a particularly fair and accessible minister from our opposition viewpoint.

Yesterday in this place we recognized her contribution by the passing into law of Frances Lankin's private bill, Bill 85, An Act to minimize the use of restraints on patients in hospitals and on patients of facilities. This bill probably says more about Frances the person than any words I can express today. She has always put her family first and has been particularly devoted to her mother's care these past few years.

United Way, and through that organization the people of Toronto, indeed Ontario, will be the beneficiaries of your caring commitment and dedication, Frances. We will all miss your humour, some of which of course has only been shared, dare I say, with the female members of this chamber. It's actually a fact and it's been a lot of fun. We will also miss your depth of conviction and passion.

We wish you great success in your new career and may you always be blessed with good health, to follow your dreams and live a fulfilled life.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): I'm delighted on behalf of my Liberal colleagues to join Mrs Marland and other members of the Legislature in paying tribute -- sadly, in a way -- to the imminent departure of our friend and esteemed colleague the member from Beaches-East York.

As I seem to be saying more often than I probably should these days, I've been around here a while and I think I can say without any fear of contradiction that Frances Lankin is certainly, from my point of view, one of the ablest people with whom I've served in over a quarter of a century, both in opposition and watching her, as Mrs Marland has so eloquently pointed out, in her five years in government.

It's the fashion in sports to talk about people who are natural to the business. You go to the arena, to the ball diamond, to the soccer pitch, and you see young people and you hear the wise men and women in that business say, "There is a natural talent." I think I can say, watching Frances Lankin for 11 years, that she was a natural to the business of politics.

Knowing something, as I do, about the history of politics and politicians, I was thinking, can I think, in my experience or in the historical literature in Canada, of someone who has gone from the jailhouse to the cabinet room? And I can't. I must sadly say I can think of a number of cases provincially and nationally where honourable members have gone from the cabinet room or the parliamentary place to the penitentiary or to the jailhouse, but I can't think of a case where someone came from the jail to the Legislature.

I think we all know that our colleague Ms Lankin, before coming to the Legislature, had a very significant career in the union movement, but her professional and work career was that of a correctional services officer.

Interjections.


Mr Conway: I think the NDP is unduly worried today. I don't think they should be.

I think it reminds us, this remarkable talent whom we rightly honour today, that the recruitment to politics ought to consider the broadest possible canvass. I meant what I said, and I think I speak for everybody here, that Ms Lankin is a very able politician and parliamentarian, and it is very useful for all of us to think about the skills and experiences she brought to her responsibilities. It has to be said that in government and in opposition she was a real power and a very significant force. I will leave it to her and her publisher some many years hence to tell her version of those very significant events in 1991, 1992, 1993, that only she would want to tell through a good publisher.

I think of Frances as one of the most significant women in politics that I have ever known. In fact, Frances, I have to tell you that you remind me a lot of my old friend and colleague Bette Stephenson -- a real force, a force to be reckoned with, a force of a different character in some respects but a force nonetheless.

I would say to new members, young members, what is it that gives to our colleague Ms Lankin the kind of reputation we properly celebrate today? I was talking to my friend Bradley today about this and he said, "You know, the thing about Frances that was so great is that she had real credibility." And why and where did her credibility come from? Well, to begin with, in my experience both in government and in opposition, she knew what she was talking about. She knew her file.

I remember, and Frances probably will, that day nine years ago when I got up here and without notice asked, amid my normal bluster, a pointed question -- of urgent and pressing necessity, I might add -- about a crisis in cheese curds in St Albert, a farmer's co-op. And do you know what, I say to my friend from London North? Ms Lankin knew what I was talking about and parried the question very effectively and, most importantly for the 55 people who worked at the St Albert farmers' co-op in eastern Ontario, she solved their problem.

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So I think Bradley speaks for all of us when he says that Frances had real credibility because she knew what she was talking about and she was always attentive to the concerns not just of her constituents but, ministerially, of her responsibilities in the various departments. Certainly in my experience in committee she was was always very attentive not just to what the deputants were saying, but what her colleagues were suggesting in the process.

Finally, I want to say that in my experience I really liked dealing with Frances Lankin because I felt that her word was absolutely golden. When she told you something as a colleague in opposition and, perhaps even more importantly, in government, you could absolutely rely on the worth of her word.

So I want to say to you, Frances, speaking for myself and my colleagues, your contribution has been very significant, your loss to the Legislature is very serious and in many ways sad, but you leave many friends and a very, very significant legacy. On behalf of Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal caucus, we wish you good luck and godspeed in your new and important responsibilities.


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): It's my pleasure on behalf of New Democrats everywhere to express our appreciation and our congratulations to the member for Beaches-East York, Frances Lankin. First let me state the obvious. We have been blessed and fortunate to have had Frances Lankin as a member of our caucus. We have benefited from her considerable experience, her eloquence and her commitment to the cause. I personally will miss her willingness to take on major areas of social policy and to handle them with obvious expertise.

In 11 years, I have gotten to know the member for Beaches-East York well, sitting around a cabinet table when it seemed like every day the decisions you were going to have to make were tougher than the decisions you made the day before, and spending time in opposition with her. I even had the experience of going through a leadership race with Frances, where I discovered that I was not the only one in the room with sharp elbows.

We will miss Frances. We will miss her in many ways. But we all recognize that Frances is not going to stop making a contribution to the lives of the people of this province, and especially the lives of the people in Toronto. This is a very positive step for the United Way. They have selected someone who is passionate, articulate, experienced, committed and, as we say around here, has media savvy.

To members of the government, lest you think it will go easier for you now, let me destroy those illusions right here. Do you really believe for an instant that Ms Lankin will stop hectoring you about the need for affordable licensed child care, about the shame of homelessness in a province that boasts about its wealth, about the need for more generous government support for community services? If any of you believe any of that, let me tell you that's not going to happen.

I suspect what you will find now is that the member for Beaches-East York is going to become, for this government, the member who is at large everywhere on these issues, and we look forward to that. In fact, we believe that Frances Lankin is going to make an even more substantive contribution to the lives of the people in Toronto and the lives of people in Ontario than she has heretofore. There's no doubt that this Legislature will miss her counsel, that we will miss her passion, that we will miss her eloquence in this place. But I know, from the 11 years that I have known Frances Lankin, that this is just the beginning of a job for her and one that she will take on with great relish.

I want to say to you, Frances, and I don't think we can say this enough, we thank you very much for your considerable contribution. We know that your considerable contribution, though, is just beginning. As New Democrats we thank you for your commitment to our cause, but we know your commitment to our cause is not changing; it's just going on to another place. We thank you for your friendship. We thank you for your willingness to take on tasks to which many people said, "No thanks. I'll pass on that one."

Most of all we thank you for the 11 years that you have been with us and the 11 years that you have given us all. We look forward to seeing you do even bigger and better things in your new position. Thank you very much.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Could I ask for unanimous consent for the member for Beaches-East York to respond?

The Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York): Thank you. This is my idea, not Kormos's. I'm not doing a filibuster. Don't worry, Janet.

My sincere thanks to Margaret, Sean and Howard for your kind words and to the sentiments from many, many colleagues who have spoken to me directly over the last couple of days. It has meant a lot to me.

Would any of you believe me if I told you I'm speechless?

Laughter.


Ms Lankin: OK. I won't try that one.

Let me begin by saying the most deeply felt thank you for the act of generosity yesterday of passing my private member's bill. It meant an incredible amount to me and it means a lot to many, many seniors and families who have contacted me and worked with me on this. I know that from my discussions with you as a group, many people believe in the bill and that the bill is the right thing to do. But I also know that the possibility of its receiving second and third reading while I'm still here as a sitting member of the Legislature was an act of generosity, and for that I thank all of you, my colleagues.

I want to say that the family we belong to, the group of members of provincial Parliament -- by the way, I get to be a former parliamentarian now. I got the application form in the mail from Derwyn Shea yesterday.

The family that we belong to is a very special group of people. Of course, first and foremost for us in our direct day-to-day working relationships in this chamber is our experience with each other, and over the 11 years that I have been here I have formed many dear friendships across parties and I cherish those friendships. There are many people I've worked with who I respect tremendously for their contribution, for their commitment, for their dedication to serving the people of Ontario. Of course there are many times when we disagree with each other on how to go about serving that common good, but I do not doubt the commitment of all honourable members to that end. It has been an honour and a pleasure and a truly enriching experience to have shared this sense of family with you.

But of course in this place -- my partner, my fiancé, often jokes when I refer to "this place" and he says, "It's the Legislature, it's the chamber," or something, but, as we refer to it, in this place, this very special place, there are many people the public don't often see who are part of our daily lives.

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I think that the men and women of tremendous energy and dedication who work on our political staffs and the caucuses of the three parties and in the MPPs' offices, many of them young and starting off their careers, others who give us wise and sage advice from their years of experience, are a tremendous value and a group of people, unsung heroes, who contribute to the life of this province in an amazing way.

I've met and worked with many of those folks from the Conservative caucus and from the Liberal caucus. Half of the political staff in the Liberal caucus live in my riding. I think there has been a one-by-one-by-one siege going on here. But I consider among them many friends as well.

Of course, the incredible group of men and women I have had the honour to work with in the New Democratic Party caucus staff, to all of them I give my thanks and my sincere best wishes and, I really want to say, an expression of gratitude from the people of Ontario, who don't often see the work that those people do. They have meant a tremendous amount to me, and I will miss them all.

I also had the honour, of course, in the few years that I was in government to work with some of the most amazing people who work in our ministries, the absolute best public service in the country, the Ontario public service, in the senior management, in the directors' levels and all throughout those ministries, wonderful public servants. I have continued joyously to maintain relations with many of them through the years that I've been in opposition, and I look forward to continuing that as I leave as well.

This building, the legislative services, the staff that you oversee, Speaker, are an amazing crew of people who are there to help us every day, whether they are in the library, whether they are the research department or the leg counsel that we work with, the Hansard reporting folks, many of whom I consider as dear friends. I can go on and on -- the broadcast folks; the cleaners who come to our office. We all have such wonderful personal relations that we've developed over the years; the mailroom and messenger folks, from the cafeteria, the delivery room. I just think that there are so many wonderful people who, again, often don't have the opportunity to shine in a public light but who make this place work, and I thank them for the relationships I've had with them.

What to say about the committee clerks? I have also had the honour of being a committee Chair and have been propped up and helped through by committee clerks and the committee branch staff in many ways, and I pay tribute to them.

But then there are the table officers. My relationship with them has been special and unique, as I have continued over the years to try to find points of order that didn't exist and have had to listen to their counsel back to me of why it was a very interesting and potentially even brilliant point but just not correct. I have appreciated their counsel and the magic that they work. They are here as we come and go. I was thinking last night when I was watching the news and saw all the public schools, the elementary schools, with the kids leaving for summer and the teachers and principals who watch them go as they're graduating, it's kind of like our table officers. I don't want to take that analogy too far, because the parallels in this place are just too strikingly similar and I don't think that's the appropriate note for today, but you work your magic. You take those of us ordinary members and help us as we move into positions like the Speaker. You make us look good. My God, look what you did for Stockwell. These are magicians at this table.

It's a particularly wonderful relationship, of course, with the media in the gallery. It is a strange and interesting relationship we have, where we need each other and sometimes it's hard to find that common point of where we can work together. But I have truly appreciated the friendships that I have developed with the media and understand the nature of the work that you do.

I want to say for the staff who have worked the closest with me in my constituency office and at the Legislative Assembly, a fine group of people who have helped me do what I can do to the best of my ability, without them I couldn't have done it. I have said thank you to them privately. On record, there are many of them over the years, some who have moved on -- I won't go through by name -- but the whole crew of them has just been the most solid and loyal and dedicated group of people that I could have ever worked with, and I will miss them. I will miss them greatly.

The people we serve in the province, and all the issues we work on, are the reason and the motivation for why we do what we do each day. But of course each of us has a particular relationship with those constituents from our own riding, and to the fine people of Beaches-East York I pay tribute for the community we have built, the incredible neighbourhood that we have developed, that we in our community enjoy living in. I will miss the honour of representing them. It has truly been an honour to have been elected and re-elected twice to serve as their representative. It is a special group of people who have a big place in my heart. Many of the organizations that I have worked there happen of course to be United Way agencies, so I guess our relationship will continue in many ways.

I go on to a new challenge. I believe profoundly that the work that many people do in the community is so important to the quality of life in this province. By saying that, I don't diminish the importance of the work we do in this chamber. To me, they are side by side in importance. The policy framework, the laws of the province, the direction of the government and how that interacts with the services we provide in the community -- to the families, to the neighbourhoods -- are of equal importance, and for me much of the work that has driven my passion and commitment over my years in the Legislative Assembly will be work that I will continue but at a community level.

Howard, I signed a non-partisan contract so it will be truly on a non-partisan basis. So any government of any political stripe, watch out, I'm coming after you with the power and the strength of an incredible organization, a meeting place where the corporate community and the labour movement and the community sector come together, where they create a common vision with common goals and a common set of beliefs about how our world can be better, and they set about doing it. They've given me the honour of leading them in that. It's an incredible honour for which I am grateful and very excited about the new challenge.

I will miss all of you. Godspeed to you all and all the best.

FRANK KLEES


Hon Frank Klees (Minister without Portfolio): Speaker, I just wanted to take an opportunity to thank you and members of the House for their expressions of sympathy and support over the last few days on the loss of my father. My father loved this place. He had the highest regard and respect for it. I think one of the proudest moments in his life was the day I was elected to this Legislature. I think the next most important day in his life was when I was sworn into cabinet here. As an immigrant who brought his family to this country, to this province, he had a great love, not only for the country and for the province but for all those who have a leadership role in this province. I thank him for having had the courage and the vision to bring his family here. It's an honour to serve here in his memory. He personified courage and integrity. I thank members of the House for expressing their support to our family over the last few days.

1450

ORAL QUESTIONS

WALKERTON TRAGEDY


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Acting Premier, who I believe today is the Minister of Education. Ontarians have witnessed the sorry spectacle in recent days of government ministers appearing before the Walkerton inquiry. There are three words in particular that spring to mind when we consider their testimony there: indifference, recklessness and incompetence. Indifference in that the attitude was shockingly blasé, laissez-faire and ho-hum; recklessness because there was a wanton disregard for the health of Ontarians, notwithstanding that so many warnings had been sounded on so many fronts by so many people; but I think most worrisome was the genuine incompetence. There was a failure as ministers to meet the basic standard that I believe a minister should live up to, and that is, when somebody tells you that somebody might get hurt, that some Ontarians may be in danger, there's a responsibility to take charge and see it through so that nobody can be in danger.

My question to you, Madam Minister, very simply, is, how could it be that Ontarians today have, instead of a stalwart guardian of their health care and their well-being, ministers who are characterized by incompetence, recklessness and indifference?


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I refer this to the Minister of the Environment.

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of the Environment): I think it's extremely important that we await the recommendations of the inquiry. As the Leader of the Opposition knows full well, there is a very comprehensive review and investigation taking place. There are many documents that are being considered and there are many individuals who have appeared before the commission. I think it's extremely important that we not prejudge the outcome or those recommendations.

Mr McGuinty: I can tell you, Madam Minister, that Ontarians are drawing their conclusions on a daily basis now and I think one of the things they are coming to understand is that nobody over there seems to realize just how serious an undertaking government is. It's more than fancy photo ops, it's more than lavish cocktail parties, it's more than formal wear and it's more than spin-doctoring.

The pillars of good government are leadership, responsibility, accountability and integrity, and clearly in this particular matter all four have been lacking. What we've had instead is indifference, recklessness and incompetence.

I put to you, Madam Minister, the same question that I put to the Acting Premier: how is it that Ontarians, when it comes to their government, instead of having somebody there who is going to act as a genuine guardian of their interests and above all their personal health, they've got a government that is characterized by indifference, recklessness and incompetence?


Hon Mrs Witmer: I would again remind the Leader of the Opposition that it is extremely important that we allow the inquiry to do the work it has been asked to do. In fact, it is we who have asked this inquiry to undertake this work. As I said before, there are many people who have appeared before the commission. There are thousands and thousands of documents that are being reviewed. I know we all look forward to receiving the recommendations and, until that time, I think it would be inappropriate for us to prejudge the outcome.

Mr McGuinty: This week Ontarians learned about Dr Richard Schabas and how he had taken great pains to bring home to this government in a meaningful way just how dangerous their actions were. We learned from the testimony of Norm Sterling and Brenda Elliott; both testified that they don't read important documents put in front of them. They admitted that they didn't think it was important to follow up on safety concerns that are raised with them. It was made clear that neither of them really and truly understood the importance of their ministerial responsibilities.

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): Mr Speaker, on a point of order.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Make it quick, though.

Hon Mrs Elliott: That is totally inaccurate and I would like --

The Speaker: That is not a point of order. Take your seat, please. Leader of the Opposition, continue, please.

Mr McGuinty: If only the minister would have been as definite in her answers and responses to the inquiry as she is trying to be here today.

This government had warnings from the Environmental Commissioner, the Provincial Auditor, the Minister of Health himself and Richard Schabas, the chief medical officer of health for Ontario. This government was warned time and time again. The fact of the matter is that Stan Koebel was foreseeable and predictable and this government should have had in place a fail-safe mechanism. They refused to act on the warnings that were put before them.

Again I ask you, how is it that instead of a stalwart guardian of their health care, Ontarians have a government that has been characterized by indifference, recklessness and incompetence?


Hon Mrs Witmer: It is very important that everyone respect the process that has been established.

Interjections.


The Speaker: Order. Do you want to have question period or not? I'm sure the opposition wants to ask some tough questions of the government. There won't be any question period. I'll stand up here, even if it's hot, for the entire hour that it takes and there'll be no question period, if that's what you want, if you're going to yell across. The same on the government benches.

Sorry for the interruption, Minister.


Hon Mrs Witmer: I find it curious: the opposition party wanted the inquiry; the inquiry is presently doing its work; it's doing its investigation; it's taking a look at the document; it's asking questions of witnesses. I would just encourage the Leader of the Opposition to respect the process we have established. Let's not prejudge the outcome.

HEALTH CARE FUNDING


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Health. Mr Minister, with the words from the Premier that seniors should thank God that they live in the province of Ontario, we have learned today that you are proceeding to delist services which seniors rely on to a very great extent. We have learned now that Monday coming, July 1, you will be delisting hearing aid evaluation and re-evaluation. We also learn that you are delisting physiotherapy services.

These are two particular areas that our seniors rely on. The fact of the matter is that many people suffer from hearing loss when they get on in their years. When seniors have a hip operation, for example, or if they suffer from a stroke, they're going to need physiotherapy services.

Can you tell me why seniors should continue to thank God that they live in Ontario if day after day this government continues to attack them by making them pay for services they should be able to count on?


Hon Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): The honourable member, the Leader of the Opposition, continues in his campaign to scare seniors with inaccurate information and, in doing so, does a disservice to his job.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): You can't say "inaccurate information." We're not going to start with that today. I'd ask you to withdraw it.

Interjection.


The Speaker: Order. I'll make the decisions, I say to the Solicitor General. Withdraw it, please. We're not going to start as we did yesterday. One side got very close to the edge, and then you answered the same way. We're not going to start today with that type of language.

Hon Mr Clement: I withdraw, Speaker.

The Speaker: Thank you. Continue your answer.

Hon Mr Clement: The Leader of the Opposition is engaging in wild speculation which only, I think in a mendacious way, seeks to scare people in this province.

The honourable member should know that on these services -- let me just talk about the therapeutic services he mentioned -- the decision is that they not be rendered by a physician but that they continue to be available in hospital outpatient clinics and OHIP physiotherapy facilities and in other clinics.

That is the full information for this House. His conclusions are just plain wrong.


Mr McGuinty: You should get hold of your own bulletins. Maybe ministers over there don't read documentation, as we've learned recently. But on June 22 you put out a bulletin saying, "The following changes are being implemented July 1, 2001, as part of the ministry's" effort "to achieve a $50-million annual savings." Through your own fact sheet, it says, "What is changing? Hearing aid evaluation and re-evaluation will no longer be insured by OHIP...." It also says, "Physical therapy and therapeutic exercise will no longer be covered" by OHIP. Those are your documents.

You tell us that these services are going to be found in the hospital setting and in the OHIP physio clinics. Can you then tell us that all the money you're going to be saving by this delisting will now be transferred to the hospital setting and the OHIP clinic so that in fact they will be able now to pick up the slack that you are creating as a result of the delisting in services?


Hon Mr Clement: Again, let me give this House the whole picture. The whole picture is that this is pursuant to the agreement with the Ontario Medical Association of what is and what is not a listed service. That does not mean there are not other avenues by which citizens of this province can gain access to OHIP as a result of other policies and procedures.

If the honourable member is wondering whether the $50 million saved is going to be spent in health care, oh, I can assure the honourable member that that $50 million is going to be spent in health care, because this government has increased the health care budget this year by $1.2 billion without any help from his federal henchperson friends.

1500


Mr McGuinty: So what you're telling us, Mr Minister, is that seniors who could have gone to their family doctor -- it's already tough enough for a senior to leave the house and go to see the family doctor. You are saying, "No, you can't get your hearing tested there any more, and you can't go through physio in your doctor's office any more; you've got to go to the hospital." Hospitals are telling us they're $750 million short this year. I phoned the Ottawa Hospital, through my office, before I came in here and they told us, "If you want to join the physio list in Ottawa, it'll take six months."

What you're really telling seniors is, "If you want quick and effective service, there is a third avenue and that is to go private." That's what this is all about, Minister. What you're doing is telling our seniors once more that when it comes to their health care, your $2.2-billion corporate tax cut is of greater concern, that it's a more important motivator for you than looking out for the health care needs of our parents and grandparents. Why don't you stand up and admit that?


Hon Mr Clement: The honourable member is being mendacious yet again. Let's put the facts on the table when it comes to supporting seniors in this province: a 72% increase for community health services, an additional 1,216 products added to the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary since 1995, and spending in ODB has risen by 70% since 1995. In 1997 the federal Liberals promised a national drug benefit program. Where is that program? What has been delivered? Nothing, nada, zilch, bupkus. That is the record he seeks to defend. That is a record he should be embarrassed about. On this side of the House, we have the facts that speak for our side and we are proud of that.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I won't take long but I noted the minister's answer. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word "mendacious" is described as "lying, untruthful."

The Speaker: Is it the same point of order? Stop the clock. Quickly, please.

Hon Mr Clement: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the word "mendacious" indicates by its definition that it is not a purposeful act. Lying is a purposeful act, so I encourage the honourable member --

The Speaker: The members are very helpful, but --

Interjections.


The Speaker: I thank all the members for their participation. I'm receiving notes about it. All I would say is that the table is going to listen very carefully. We're at the last day of the last session. It's very warm in here. There is no need to start using language that is imputing any motive on any side. We'll be listening carefully on both sides for that.

I would ask all members to please consider the language they're using. You can ask tough questions without going over the line, and as you know, yesterday what happened was we got very close to the line. I let it go a little bit and then this side began to pick up on it, and that's what happens. Quite frankly, as is the case usually with you folks, we can't let you get close to the line. I'm going to jump up very quickly. I would ask you all to consider the language you're using.

Minister of Health, I believe you still have the floor.


Hon Mr Clement: I yield the floor.

WALKERTON TRAGEDY


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Acting Premier. People across Ontario are reeling from the testimony this week at the Walkerton inquiry, because earlier this week they saw a former Minister of the Environment presented with documents that should have warned people across this province about the threat to public health, about the risks with their drinking water, yet none of those warnings were ever communicated by your government. At the same time, people remember that your government consistently -- day in, day out -- had the time to communicate a message about tax cuts. Can you tell me, Acting Premier, how it is that your government never, ever found the time to communicate any of those warnings about the risk to drinking water, the risk to public health, but you communicated consistently a message about tax cuts?

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I'd like to refer the question to the Minister of the Environment.

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of the Environment): To the leader of the third party, I think I would again just hasten to add that there is a process that has been put in place. It is a process that all of us agreed to and I think it would be inappropriate for us to preclude or determine what the outcome might be. It was certainly a very tragic situation, and I think it's very important that we await the recommendations that will be coming out of Walkerton later this year.

Mr Hampton: I'm not asking the Acting Premier to comment on the Walkerton inquiry. That testimony is now on the record. The testimony of your colleague sitting beside you, Mr Sterling, is on the record. He acknowledges that a letter was sent from the then-Minister of Health to him as Minister of the Environment indicating that there was a serious problem in terms of the testing of drinking water.

My question to you is, if you look at the trail of documents, it's very clear that members of your cabinet received warning after warning after warning about the risks to public health, about the risks to people's drinking water, yet as a government you never once issued those warnings or found time to tell the public. At the same time, your government had the time and took the opportunity to repeatedly send a message about tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

So I'm asking you, how is it that you couldn't be bothered or you couldn't find the time to tell the public about the risk to public health, the risk to drinking water, yet you found all the time in the world to tell them about tax cuts?


Hon Mrs Witmer: I'm having a little trouble understanding, because I think this is related to the inquiry. I believe the information that he is, I guess, referring to is information that has been filed with the inquiry. It's part of the documentation; it's part of the information. Again, I would simply say to the leader of the third party, let us respect the process that has been set up. All of the information that is being put forward is being very, very carefully considered, and I know we all look forward to the recommendations that will eventually come from Walkerton to address these issues.

Mr Hampton: Again, Minister, I'm not asking you about your testimony. I'm not asking you to pass judgment on what someone said at the inquiry. What people have said at the inquiry is now on the public record. We know it is on the public record that the chief medical officer of health felt so strongly that he flew back from Montreal to attend a cabinet meeting to warn the cabinet and the Premier that there were significant risks to public health because of your agenda of cutting resources. It's on the public record that the Premier turned away from him, as if not to be interested.

We saw the Premier here two days ago deliver a speech where, again, the major emphasis of that speech wasn't about how people died at Walkerton; it was about more tax cuts. I'm just asking you, as a government, how is it that you found the time to repeat this message of tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts over and over again, but on this message that there might be a risk to public health, there might be a risk to people's drinking water, you could never be bothered to even warn the public for one second?


Hon Mrs Witmer: I still think this relates to the inquiry and I think the information that the leader of the third party speaks to is information that has been made public as a result of either the testimony of witnesses or the information that has been collected. As I said before, there are thousands and thousands of documents, and I think it is not up to us to be the judge and jury. We've put a process in place. It's up to the commission to ensure that they very carefully consider all of the information, and it will be the recommendations that we will look forward to.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): New question.

1510


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): My question is for the Acting Premier. I was in Walkerton for the past few days listening to your ministers claim collective ignorance and amnesia and defending your cuts. I was also listening to Walkerton citizens. I heard from the friend of the mother who lost her two-year-old child because she drank the water. I heard from people who had loved ones in Walkerton die because of your oversights and your negligence. I heard about children who will never be healthy again.

Minister, listen carefully, because this is what they told me they want you to say: they want to know why you just can't admit that you hold some responsibility here for what happened, and they want you to say you're sorry. The legal liability is over now. It's time to show a sense of humanity. Why can't you admit that you hold responsibility here and simply say you're sorry?


Hon Mrs Ecker: To the Minister of the Environment.

Hon Mrs Witmer: In response to the question from the member, I want the member to know that I too have been to Walkerton and I too have been to London, last year, to visit the children and the families who had been impacted by the tragedy in Walkerton. A couple of weeks ago I was in Walkerton when there was the unveiling of the water gardens. I think we all have a tremendous amount of concern and we have a compassion for the people of Walkerton and what the people of Walkerton have undergone.

I think it's for that reason that it's very, very important that we respect the process that we in this House believed was necessary and that we not politicize and we not prejudge, that we await the outcome.


Ms Churley: Everything is on the public record now, and the people in Walkerton know what happened and know what you did. May I say to you that although the inquiry hasn't ruled yet, Stan Koebel admitted his mistake and said he was sorry. He didn't choose to wait until the end of the inquiry.

The people of Walkerton want to hear the truth from you. They want you to stop the spin that your ministers were spinning there and you're spinning here today. They want you to admit that at least you made mistakes. I'm using their words here. You ignored warnings; you neglected to read briefing notes; you pretend not to have read warning letters from fellow ministers marked "Urgent." Admitting that you made mistakes with your cuts and closing the labs is a first step in convincing people you won't do it again. It's the least you can do right now. Own up to your responsibilities. Why can't you admit that today, Minister, and say you're sorry to the people of Walkerton?


Hon Mrs Witmer: When I was in Walkerton, I heard from the people too. I know everyone recognizes that there is a process that has been established and that there will be a conclusion. I think it's particularly important as we move closer and closer to that conclusion that we continue to respect the process that has been established, that we continue to allow those who have been given the responsibility to draft the recommendations to do so. I think it's important for us not to prejudge the outcome of what those recommendations may or may not be.

USER FEES


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Health. Minister, seniors have contacted our office -- in fact, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons -- and they are telling us that you will soon be doubling the user fees on seniors' drugs. They believe the announcement will be coming as soon as tomorrow.

You will know that seniors cannot afford this continuing attack on their health care, and you may know that one half of our seniors today in Ontario average about $16,000 in terms of their annual income. Will you guarantee us today that you are not planning to increase user fees to seniors for their medicine and that you will do nothing to further limit in any way our parents' and grandparents' access to prescription medication?


Hon Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): I don't know what the honourable member is talking about, quite honestly. I can tell you that in terms of drug spending in this province, under the previous Liberal government it was $647.2 million spent on drugs, and that in this fiscal year the Mike Harris government is spending $1.8 billion on Ontario drug benefit and Trillium drugs.

In terms of home care, the Liberals in their last year of government spent $305 million on home care. This year the Mike Harris PCs have spent $1.1 billion on home care. Actions obviously speak louder than words. People can judge those actions. In terms of the specifics of what the honourable member said, I don't what he's talking about.


Mr McGuinty: Minister, it was a very straightforward and direct question. All you had to answer was yes or no. Seniors, specifically the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, have contacted our office. They are concerned that you're going to double user fees on seniors' drugs. We know you've been looking at income testing for seniors. We learned today that you're going to force seniors to pay out of their pockets for physiotherapy and hearing tests.

But let's be very specific so that you have an opportunity to put seniors' minds in Ontario at ease: will you or will you not be doing anything that will increase the cost to seniors of their drugs?


Hon Mr Clement: No.

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE POLICY


Mr Carl DeFaria (Mississauga East): My question is to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. More and more Canadians are becoming alarmed at the federal Liberals' reckless immigration and refugee policies. The refugee determination process set up by the federal Liberals takes too long, is broken down and simply doesn't work. Many such refugee claimants are not allowed to work in Canada and wind up on welfare. The problem is that the federal government does not pay for the welfare and other social benefits. Between 1990 and 2000, the region of Peel has provided more than $10 million in social assistance to refugee claimants. Could you tell us, Minister, what action is being taken by our government to ensure the federal Liberals pay up what they owe to our municipalities, and in particular to my municipality, the region of Peel?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I thank my colleague for the question. Ontario is recognized worldwide as a vital, growing part of Canada, and we're absolutely delighted that each year 100,000 immigrants choose our province to come to, to build this province.

As my colleague correctly noted, there are some challenges with regard to immigration. Yesterday I spoke to the federal Minister of Immigration, Elinor Caplan, to discuss these problems, problems like family sponsorship defaults, which cost Ontario $100 million a year in social assistance. There are 16,000 immigrants now on social assistance. These are sincere and deep problems for Ontario. We discussed the fact that the new federal Immigration Act has just been passed, and that there are possible regulations that could address these problems. I'm pleased to report to my colleagues here in this House that it was a productive discussion. I anticipate further discussions to find solutions.


Mr DeFaria: As a follow-up, Minister, if the greater Toronto area currently receives nearly half of all the immigrants and refugees coming to Canada, why then does Ottawa spend more than $3,000 for each immigrant arriving in Quebec and only $800 for an immigrant settling in Ontario? Why is the federal Liberal government discriminating against Ontario and against the taxpayers of Ontario?

Hon Mrs Elliott: Thank you, colleague. Let's be clear: the federal government establishes who and how many immigrants and refugees come to Canada. It's our government's view that the federal government must pay for the associated costs. Currently Ontario is not receiving its fair share for immigrant settlement services. In Ontario, which receives 60% of the immigrants, 45% of the federal funding is received -- only 45%. There are great imbalances, and my colleague is right in noting that Quebec receives 14% of the immigrants and 33% of federal funds. We will continue to welcome immigrants, who are needed and wanted in this province. But we ask the federal government to treat Ontario fairly through proper financial support and through the respective regulations in their new immigration bill.

1520

EDUCATION FUNDING


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is to the Minister of Education. I want to take up the matter with you of the cry for help effectively sent out by my school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. The board sent you a letter on June 27, just yesterday, and they have asked you essentially for help. They're saying that the fiscal box you have put them in is so tight they simply cannot carry out their ethical and moral responsibility to deliver quality education to all our children, including those with special education needs and English-as-a-second-language needs, and at the same time balance their budget.

They are asking you, Madam Minister, for help. What did you do? You sent them a letter of response and accused them of doing "nothing more than political posturing." This is not about political posturing. What you're doing is trivializing the plight of 80,000 students in the community of Ottawa. What are you going to do to help those 80,000 students and those trustees and the director who have taken on the responsibility of trying to do the best they can for our kids?


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I appreciate that the Ottawa board, as all school boards are doing now, is in the process of setting their budget. That is a very difficult process, to live within our means, to set important priorities. That's one of the reasons we increased education funding. The public education system received over $360 million, new dollars, money that is very important for them to meet the needs. The Ottawa board itself is projected to increase by over $6 million. That is an increase above their student enrolment. As a matter of fact, their enrolment has increased only very minimally. We are funding them above that enrolment increase because it is a very important priority.

As I've certainly said in the letter and as our staff have said to them many times, our staff are there to assist and provide advice wherever we can. We're quite prepared to do that. But at the end of the day it continues to be a school board obligation to set an appropriate budget.


Mr McGuinty: What they need is a partner. They need somebody who believes in public education. They need somebody who is going to provide the necessary funding to support public education. In his letter, the chair of the board, Jim Libbey, says that the money you've given them this year "does not come close to covering our increased costs due to enrolment growth and inflation." They're trying to be fiscally responsible. They had $20 million in reserves. They say that despite liquidating their reserves this year, they will not be able to meet the needs of many of their students.

Madam Minister, it's time for you to make an important decision. Are you a partner in public education or are you not? If you are a partner in public education, if you support public education, then why won't you support the public board in their cry for help?


Hon Mrs Ecker: School boards remain important partners for this government in the delivery of education. As a matter of fact, it's based on school board advice that we increased funding over $360 million this year, an increase above enrolment. I know the opposition likes to ignore that.

Secondly, we gave it to them without some of the normal rules around how they use that money, because school boards told us they needed that flexibility. Thirdly, we improved in a number of areas every year. We are meeting the commitments I made to school boards that every year we would improve and enhance areas in funding. This year there are 10 schools boards that are receiving remote and rural funding to recognize their unique needs, so for 10 more boards we made it more generous. Also, for new pupil places, for new schools, for upgrading, again more boards received more money.

We have worked with our school boards. We are prepared to continue to do that because the public education system in this province is extremely important.

WOMEN'S SHELTERS


Mr John O'Toole (Durham): My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. As you know, for the past six years I have been working with Bethesda House women's hostel to try and resolve problems they have encountered with their annualized funding. As you know, Bethesda House is classified as a hostel and is funded as such: 80% by the province and 20% by the region. It provides many services, however, of a violence-against-women shelter. For that reason, they have been experiencing financial difficulties over the years in offering these services for women and children in need.

This volunteer board and members and staff at Bethesda House want their facility to be classified as an emergency violence-against-women shelter.

Minister, can you detail for my constituents and for the House today why Bethesda House has not been able to qualify to date as a women's shelter despite the shelter-style services they continue to provide under some stress for funding.


Hon John R. Baird (Minister of Community and Social Services, minister responsible for children, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I want to acknowledge the work and efforts the member for Durham has undertaken on behalf of Bethesda House. They obviously do a good job in providing services and support to victims fleeing domestic violence. As the member said, they are funded as an emergency shelter, a hostel, which is funded 80% by the province and 20% by the municipality.

I think the member makes a good point that they're not able to provide the full range of services as a domestic violence shelter, and that the funding is inadequate and it's not core-based funding, and rather than being funded as a homeless shelter, perhaps they should be funded as a shelter for victims of violence, where they could offer a more comprehensive set of services.

In the recent budget we announced a substantial investment to try to begin to address these challenges, both with respect to building new spaces, and to ensuring that we can do a better job with respect to providing support to residents, like Bethesda House and its constituency.


Mr O'Toole: Thank you, Minister, for that informed response. I appreciate the time you've taken to consider this file and indeed to meet with members of the board. It's important to my constituents and important to the riding and indeed to the families that it services.

As an emergency hostel Bethesda House receives, as you've mentioned, 80% of its funding from the province -- and I want to clarify that -- as well as 20% from the region.

Minister, there are concerns of how Bethesda House will cope with its financial needs when the three-year, $204,000 Ontario Trillium fund grant expires in 2002. When will Bethesda House receive the stable funding it needs in order to continue to keep its operations running and to provide its service and keep its doors for women and children in need, not just in Durham but in my whole riding of Durham and Durham region itself?


Hon Mr Baird: The member for Durham has certainly made this issue a big priority. I think we've talked on it 10 or 11 times in the last year. I certainly recognize the need to expand the services, particularly in a community like Durham, which has seen a huge increase in population over the last 10 years and there haven't been a whole lot of new beds, and increasing the capacity of these supports, which is obviously tremendously important.

In the budget presented by the Minister of Finance last month there was funding going to $9 million in annual operating funding to help build 300 new beds. In addition, there was money to help refurbish some existing beds.

I'm certainly very happy to commit to the honourable member in the next month or two to be able to look at the case of Bethesda House and others like it in various parts of the province and look at what we can do to provide important services to women and their children fleeing domestic violence.

This year we'll spend a substantial amount on services for victims of domestic violence. In addition, over the $135 million we've already dedicated, we're spending a considerable amount more this year -- $10 million in new funding last year; $26 million in capital over the next five years; and soon we'll be spending an additional $9 million per year in helping to support victims of domestic violence.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Could we stop the clock for a moment, please? Point of order. The Minister of Labour?

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of Labour): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I was wondering, on Bill 66, Wilfrid Laurier University, if we could get unanimous consent for second and third reading immediately?

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? No. I heard some noes.

POVERTY


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. I have been in 10 communities over the last six months hearing from people living in poverty under your government. There are thousands of people struggling in poverty in Ontario today, and that struggle is very personal. They want to know if you understand. They want to know, Minister, if you have any idea about what it's like to struggle in poverty.

For example, have you ever had to tell a child on pizza day that you have no money and that perhaps it would be better if they didn't go to school? Or have you ever had to make the choice between feeding yourself or feeding your children? Have you ever experienced this kind of personal struggle, Minister?


Hon John R. Baird (Minister of Community and Social Services, minister responsible for children, minister responsible for francophone affairs): We have made trying to address the plight of those people who often, through no fault of their own, lack employment, lack economic resources to be able to provide for themselves and their families -- I think the state of poverty in this province six years ago left a lot to be desired for it. We needed a government that would make job creation and economic growth a significant priority. The single thing we can do that will have the most powerful impact for a child living in poverty is to be able to help their parent get a job, a full-time job where they can provide for themselves and their family.

I think this government can take great pride in the renewed economic growth we've seen in the province. More than 800,000 net new jobs have been created. More than a quarter of a million children have left the welfare rolls. We acknowledge that we've come a long way and that one child living in poverty is one too many, that we've got considerably more work to do. What is needed is a government that will continue to make job creation and economic growth and take-home pay a priority. That's our commitment: to try to ensure that more people can take advantage of a growing economy and more people can realize the dignity that comes with a job and the pride that comes with independence.

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Mr Martin: Minister, you obviously cannot relate, you obviously don't understand, so let me try another couple of scenarios.

Do you know what it's like to suffer from mental illness and on top of that to have the money you need to survive taken away from you? Do you know what it's like to leave an abusive relationship, free at last, only to end up shackled by the chains of poverty? I don't think you know what it's like. But let me tell you, it's horrible and it's happening in your own backyard. People living in your own riding came to talk to us just last week. Do you know what they said? They said they were on the verge of suicide because they just can't cope with your destructive policies.

How can you continue to pursue policies that drive people to the verge of suicide and still look at yourself in the mirror every day?


Hon Mr Baird: I regret that the member opposite takes a tone like that. I think we all want to ensure that people's lives are enriched; we all want to make sure that people can prevail to provide for themselves and their families.

I think we can do more to address poverty. I think we can do more, that despite more than 800,000 net new jobs created, more can be done. I do reject the notion of the member opposite that only he and his party recognize the plight of the poor, that only he and his party care. I know that under his party a record number of children lived in poverty. Thank goodness a government was elected in 1995 to help address that underlying problem of job creation, of economic growth, of trying to provide an increase in take-home pay. Thank God we have a government of Ontario that's providing a helpful hand up to help more people break free of a cycle of welfare dependency. More than a quarter of a million children have broken free of welfare dependency in the last six years. But more work remains to be done. We are going to continue to make economic growth and job creation a big priority in this province.

WALKERTON TRAGEDY


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a question for the Minister of Energy, Science and Technology. Minister, could you tell the House and the people of Ontario today how you feel about the Premier ignoring your warnings about the dangers to public health of the policies that you and Dr Schabas brought to his attention? Could you tell us that, sir?

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Order. Stop the clock. I'm sorry. You have to ask a question relating to his portfolio.

Mr Bradley: I'm going to the Acting Premier, then, with this question.

The only person, Acting Premier, who comes out of the Walkerton situation with any integrity, I suppose you could say, is the present Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, who wrote a letter to the Minister of the Environment and who brought Dr Schabas into the cabinet room and had him warn about the dangers to public health of government policies.

Acting Premier, could you tell us how it is that the Premier and the policies and priorities board of cabinet could possibly have ignored such a clear warning as was presented by Mr Wilson to the Minister of the Environment and to the cabinet, and how possibly the Premier could have ignored both Dr Schabas and Jim Wilson when they warned him about the dangers to the public of Ontario presented by the policies of the Harris government as it relates to the downloading of public health?


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I'd like to refer this question to the Minister of the Environment.

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of the Environment): The information that has just been provided is part of the documentation that has been presented to the Walkerton inquiry, and it also refers to testimony that has been heard. Again, it is important that we await the outcome of the inquiry's recommendations.

Mr Bradley: I'll try the Acting Premier again. We have documentation which has been produced by the Walkerton inquiry. I would call it a missile sent to the Minister of the Environment by the present Minister of Energy when he was Minister of Health saying that there were great dangers because there was no mechanism for telling the medical officer of health when there was a serious problem with the water. The same minister also brought Dr Schabas to the cabinet on three different occasions to warn of the dangers of the downloading of public health on to municipalities -- brought Dr Schabas into the cabinet room where the Premier turned his back on him and turned his back on public health. Can you tell us how it is that a fine public servant like Jim Wilson and a fine public servant like Dr Richard Schabas, with such salient and excellent advice, could be ignored by the Premier and members of the cabinet?

Hon Mrs Witmer: Again, the information that is being recounted by the member opposite is information that has been presented to the inquiry in Walkerton and it also relates to documents that have been presented to the inquiry. Let's all continue to respect the process that we agreed to and let's make sure that we await the outcome and the final recommendations.

CLEANUP OF PUBLIC LANDS


Ms Marilyn Mushinski (Scarborough Centre): My question is to the fine Minister of Energy, Science and Technology. Minister, in my riding of Scarborough Centre there are power corridors, specifically hydroelectric power. These corridors are often right next door to residential communities. For some time, many of my constituents have had to look at a horrible mess of garbage on a certain piece of land under some wires that are owned by Hydro One. Minister, knowing that you are such a fine minister, I wonder if you can tell this House what you have done to resolve this issue.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Energy, Science and Technology): I want to thank the member for Scarborough Centre for the question and for her advocacy on behalf of her constituents. She's a tremendous member of provincial Parliament and she did in this case exactly what good members of provincial Parliament should do; that is, she brought the matter of this messy pile of garbage under Hydro One electric lines to my attention. I brought it to the attention of the company and they did clean up the garbage. It's unfortunate, though, that some unscrupulous people in this province dumped a very large amount of garbage over a long period of time on what essentially is land that's owned by a public corporation, Hydro One, the successor wires company to Ontario Hydro.

I want to congratulate the honourable member and assure her that we've also erected barriers on the site to try and prevent these polluters from polluting public lands.


Ms Mushinski: I'd like to thank the fine minister for such a comprehensive response and finally responding to a plea for help from some of my constituents, and also of course for coming clean.

Minister, I want you to tell this House please how you can assure my residents of Scarborough Centre, indeed all of the residents who live adjacent to hydro towers, that this won't happen again?


Hon Mr Wilson: Again, I invite colleagues in the House to let me know if there are lands that are being polluted that are owned by Hydro One. In many cases, though, we find that Hydro One doesn't actually own the land -- well, they own the land but it has been leased to other companies or other users of the land. We just have the wires and the towers on top of the land. We are cracking down on the tenants. Sparked by Ms Mushinski's inquiry, we started to check the inventory across the province and in some cases it's tenants themselves who are leaving the lands in an unsightly condition.

I want to know about that. More importantly, Hydro One would like to know about that. They've assured me and assured the honourable member that, because of her good advocacy, they will work hard in the future when they hear about these problems to clean up and then to go after, in a lawful way, those who are unlawfully polluting public lands.

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LONG-TERM CARE


Mr Dave Levac (Brant): My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Before you became the minister of this portfolio, I had worked with your predecessor on a very important and special project in my riding of Brant. Some 10 months later we're still working on it. With new standards for long-term care, 205 beds at the municipally run John Noble Home, the long-term-care facility there, were ruled substandard.

When your government closed St Joseph's Hospital, we made lemonade out of lemons, because this project is unanimously supported by Brantford city council, the county of Brant council, St Joseph's Hospital, the Sisters of St Joseph, McMaster University and the John Noble Home board. They're going to transfer the 205 beds to the old site of St Joseph's Hospital. The only thing stopping this project right now, Minister, is your signature on the release of the negotiated funds that are required to continue the rest of the funding that's already in place. Will you tell us today where we are and why we're still waiting for this?


Hon Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): I thank the honourable member for the question. Indeed, as he and I know, we are working on sorting out some of the final details of that. As the honourable member is aware, there is a legal issue about the continuity of the foundation that is attached to St Joseph's Hospital to ensure that it can still be a recipient for any fundraising funds. I remain optimistic that we can settle these outstanding legal issues and proceed with the project.

Mr Levac: Minister, as you are aware, the decommissioning of the hospital will actually end the foundation's existence, so I'm urging you and pleading with you to expedite that so the project can happen. This is a project that the entire community wants to happen. As you know, inside this project is a very new and novel idea to create on-site research, a daycare centre and all the amenities, including doctor facilities, and one very special project our community voted 100% in favour of, the hospice. As you know, not one dime of government money goes into that project.

Can you tell us today that you will meet with the foundation, which is now called the St Joseph Life Care Centre of Brantford, to discuss with them the possibility of the government participating in the hospice in our community in terms of financial support?


Hon Mr Clement: Let me commend the citizens and participants in the community who have been working very hard on this project or series of projects. I can tell the honourable member, as I said, that I remain optimistic we can remove all the remaining legal impediments. Certainly, from our perspective, more long-term-care facilities in the catchment area are required, as well as the health care that is needed for that community. I remain committed to working with him, and through him as well, and directly with all the participants to reach a satisfactory conclusion in the most expeditious way possible.

ONTARIO-NEW YORK
ECONOMIC SUMMIT


Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): My question is for the Minister of Economic Development and Trade. Last week I asked you about the Building on Partnerships summit that was about to take place in my riding of Niagara Falls and in Buffalo, New York. You said the objective of the summit was to build on existing ties between the two communities to create jobs and income for families on both sides of the border. I was quite pleased to be part of the summit myself. In fact, it was a very enlightening session on biotechnology, information technology and telecommunications, which I had the pleasure to chair with my co-chair, Dr Bruce Holm from the university at Buffalo.

Now that the summit has come to an end, could you please update the House on the outcome of the summit and fill us in on some of the successful agreements that were reached?


Hon Robert W. Runciman (Minister of Economic Development and Trade): I want to thank the member from Niagara Falls, Mr Maves, for the question, and also congratulate him on losing 12 pounds in 24 days. Well done.

I'm pleased to report that the first Ontario-New York summit was a huge success. Over 500 delegates from both sides of the border met to discuss ways to increase investment and opportunity between the two areas. At the conclusion of the summit, our Premier and Governor Pataki signed a memorandum of understanding. That memorandum encourages consultation on transportation, business, tourism and technology issues. Both communities are eager to get on with this process, and we're looking forward to creating more opportunities for Ontarians and New York state residents.


Mr Maves: I thank the minister for his answer and I also thank him for noticing. However, I have to confess that the 12½ pounds I lost was part of a competition, and even though I lost 12½ pounds in 26 days, I lost that competition to Guy Giorno, a friend of mine who happens to work in one of the ministers' offices. Guy lost 26 pounds, which was too much weight to lose in 26 days, but he did. However, I digress.

Minister, I saw first hand that the summit was a great success, and this is great news. Here in Ontario there were several media reports on transportation and tourism discussions that came out of the summit. Now that the summit is over, what are the next steps that you and others will be taking to follow up on the recommendations that came out of those two days?


Hon Mr Runciman: That was a heck of a question, more like an ad for Weight Watchers.

One of the most exciting things to come out of the conference was the launch of the Niagara Bi-National Region Economic Roundtable. The roundtable is going to be chaired by John Mayberry, who is the president of Dofasco in Hamilton, and Robert Rich Jr, president of Rich Products in Buffalo. It will help the private sector, Niagara and Halton regions, the city of Hamilton and several New York counties to develop an economic vision and action plan for their area.

The summit also established an education partnership fund and a southern Ontario/western New York tourism steering committee. My colleague Charles Gargano, who is the chairman of the Empire State Development Corp, and I will be tabling a report on the summit's findings later this summer. The report will highlight the key findings and identify areas where we can focus our future efforts.

AIR QUALITY


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Minister of Energy. Minister, as people across southern Ontario experience some of the worst and most prolonged dirty air in our history, your response is to promote an emissions trading scheme that even the George Bush administration in the United States can't support.

This is a letter from the Bush administration where they say on page 2, "We are concerned that emissions will increase under the program," and then later that the program is "fairly complicated, potentially difficult to implement and burdensome to administer."

Minister, since George Bush, no friend of the environment, can't support your emissions trading strategy, why don't you put together something that does take smog seriously?


Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Energy, Science and Technology): I thank the honourable member sincerely for the question to help clear the air on this issue, literally. The fact of the matter is, emissions trading is something that is encouraged under the Kyoto agreement. All nations that are signatories to that agreement are exploring similar opportunities to try and encourage industry to pollute less, and to do it in an economical way, a way that makes sense to business and is good for the environment.

The reason there's a story in the media is because the government is proactive and very serious about this issue and we've asked the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States for their opinion on the emissions trading scheme that we are working on in this province. They provided some initial response.

We'll continue -- obviously the lead is the Minister of the Environment -- to fine-tune this program and make sure we get our emissions down in the electricity sector and in every other sector. By the way, the electricity sector is one of the smallest contributors to smog in this province. It just happens to be one of the more visible plants and gets all the blame, but 63% of the smog and pollution comes from people who are driving their cars. I don't hear the honourable member talking much about that.


Mr Hampton: Minister, you're the government that agrees with almost everything George Bush says. When he says he wants our electricity, you're only too happy to open up the market. Now they're trying to provide you with some environmental advice about what not to do, and suddenly you don't want to listen. It's significant. It's a two-page letter where they tell you over and over again that your emissions trading strategy is not going to reduce smog, and that it's going to be burdensome and difficult to implement.

I'm simply asking you, why won't you listen to them? Why won't you get serious about smog and do something like converting Nanticoke from coal to natural gas? Follow the advice they're trying to give you. You follow it all the other times.

1550


Hon Mr Wilson: Obviously the premise of the question from the leader of the third party is once again ridiculous. He knows, on Nanticoke, that we're spending an unprecedented $300 million this year to increase our environmental protection measures at that plant. The Minister of the Environment, because of her tough advocacy on this portfolio, has already announced that we'll be converting Lakeview to gas.

There are five coal plants in Ontario. There are 205 American coal plants in our air shed. Our air goes south; their air comes north. It's been that way since God created this good earth. The fact of the matter is, emissions trading I think is going to help us actually convince the Americans to stop polluting Toronto, with 205 coal plants all firing across the lakes at us.

So we're taking action where the Liberals and the NDP failed to do anything. We'll spend close to $1 billion this year on environmental controls at all of our plants. That's on top of the $2 billion we spent in the last five years. The fact of the matter is, they used to be the green party over there. They were there for five years and they didn't do a darned thing about the coal plants and about the smog problems in this province.

PETITIONS

HYDRO ONE EQUIPMENT


Mr Dave Levac (Brant): This is a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It's actually three, but in the summer recess, I'll put all three together.

"Whereas the government of Ontario has direct responsibility for Hydro One and the equipment owned and operated by Hydro One;

"Whereas the electrical equipment in Brant county is in desperate need of repair, regularly causing disruptive blackouts to the residents and businesses of Brant county; and

"Whereas this equipment was previously offered for sale to the municipality, during which time the municipality was conducting its own restructuring and was forbidden to purchase the infrastructure by the provincial government; and

"Whereas the municipality of the county of Brant is now in a position to purchase these dilapidated structures owned by Hydro One;

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

"To allow the municipality of the county of Brant to commence negotiations with Hydro One to purchase the infrastructure that lies within the county borders to ensure that this equipment is properly maintained and to avoid further blackouts to our industry, caused primarily by the neglect of Hydro One."

I definitely sign my name to this petition and I offer it to Ryan, our page.

TRANSIT SERVICES


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): I have a petition signed by over 1,000 people which reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the government of Ontario has ceased to fund municipal transit systems, and whereas today as much as 85% of operating revenues come from the fare box; and

"Whereas a properly funded public transit system can mitigate the effects of global warming, traffic gridlock, poor air quality and smog alert days; and

"Whereas a recent study linked air pollution to the premature death of 1,000 persons per year in Toronto; and further

"Whereas several provinces, namely BC and Quebec, already fund transit from vehicle fuel taxes,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to enact legislation forthwith that would fund public transit, dollar for dollar, from existing vehicular fuel taxes for both operation and expansion of public transit across Ontario."

I will affix my signature to this petition because I totally agree with it.

LORD'S PRAYER


Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): I continue to receive petitions on an issue. These are from the First Baptist Church, the Farewell Evangel, the Harmony United and the King Street Pentecostal, and they read as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Lord's Prayer, also called Our Father, has been used to open the proceedings of municipal chambers and the Ontario Legislative Assembly since the beginning of Upper Canada in the 18th century;

"Whereas such use of the Lord's Prayer is part of Ontario's long-standing heritage and tradition that continues to play a significant role in contemporary Ontario life;

"Whereas the Lord's Prayer is a most meaningful expression of the religious convictions of many Ontario citizens;

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

"That the Parliament of Ontario maintain the use of the Lord's Prayer in its proceedings, in accordance with its long-standing established custom, and do all in its power to maintain use of this prayer in municipal chambers in Ontario."

I am proud to support that.

WATER EXTRACTION


Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas we, the residents and cottagers of Bob's Lake, strenuously object to the permit issued by the Ministry of the Environment to OMYA to remove 1.5 million litres of water per day from the Tay River, without adequate assessment of the consequences and without adequate consultation with the public and those people and groups who have expertise and interest; and

"Whereas it is our belief that this water taking will drastically impact the environment and seriously affect the water levels in Bob's Lake and Christie's Lake. This in turn would affect fish spawning beds as well as habitat;

"Whereas Bob's Lake and the Tay River watershed are already highly stressed by the historic responsibility of Parks Canada to use Bob's Lake as a reservoir for the Rideau Canal; and

"Whereas the movement of water from the lake throughout the watershed for navigation purposes in the canal provides sufficient stress and problems for the lake. This water taking permit will only compound the stresses on the waterway;

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

"We request that this permit be rescinded until a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of water taking by OMYA Inc on the environment, the water levels and the water needs of these communities is complete. An independent non-partisan body should undertake this evaluation."

I affix my signature to this petition.

NORTHERN HEALTH TRAVEL GRANT


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): This is a petition to the Ontario Legislature.

"Whereas the northern health travel grant offers a reimbursement of partial travel costs at a rate of 30.4 cents per kilometre one way for northerners forced to travel for cancer care while travel policy for southerners who travel for cancer care features full reimbursement costs for travel, meals and accommodation;

"Whereas a cancer tumour knows no health travel policy or geographic location;

"Whereas a recently released Oracle research poll confirms that 92% of Ontarians support equal health travel funding;

"Whereas northern Ontario residents pay the same amount of taxes and are entitled to the same access to health care and all government services and inherent civil rights as residents living elsewhere in the province; and

"Whereas we support the efforts of the newly formed OSECC, founded by Gerry Lougheed Jr, former chair of Cancer Care Ontario, Northeast Region, to correct this injustice against northerners travelling for cancer treatment;

"Whereas we also support the efforts of Stéphane Aubé ... from Dryden who has taken the initiative to circulate this petition across northwestern Ontario;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Ontario Legislature to demand the Mike Harris government move immediately to fund full travel expenses for northern Ontario cancer patients and eliminate the health care apartheid which exists presently in the province of Ontario."

This is signed by hundreds of people from northwestern Ontario.

ELECTRICITY GENERATING STATION


Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): It's a pleasure for me to table this petition on behalf of the member for Oakville, Speaker Gary Carr, and on behalf of my constituents in Mississauga South.

It is a petition to the Parliament of Ontario which reads as follows:

"Whereas Sithe Energies Canadian Development Ltd is actively involved in pursuing the development of an 800 MW electricity generating facility;

"Whereas the 14-hectare parcel of land on which the station is proposed is located on the east side of Winston Churchill Boulevard in the Southdown industrial district of Mississauga;

"Whereas Sithe has stated its commitment to an open dialogue with communities where it has a presence and to being responsive to the concerns of the same; and

"Whereas the government of Ontario has a responsibility to ensure the safety of Ontario citizens and to determine how this facility will impact those who live in its immediate, surrounding area,

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

"That the government of Ontario direct the Ministry of the Environment to undertake a formal environmental assessment of the Sithe project."

I am happy to add my signature in support of this petition.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Pursuant to standing order 30(b), I'll now proceed to orders of the day.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

STABILITY AND EXCELLENCE
IN EDUCATION ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR LA STABILITÉ
ET L'EXCELLENCE EN ÉDUCATION


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Pursuant to the order of the House dated June 27, 2001, Mrs Ecker has moved second reading of Bill 80.

All those in favour of the motion, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1600 to 1605.


The Acting Speaker: All those in favour will please rise and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Beaubien, Marcel

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

Cunningham, Dianne

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hardeman, Ernie

Hastings, John

Hodgson, Chris

Hudak, Tim

Jackson, Cameron

Johns, Helen

Klees, Frank

Marland, Margaret

Martiniuk, Gerry

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Munro, Julia

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Runciman, Robert W.

Sampson, Rob

Spina, Joseph

Sterling, Norman W.

Stewart, R. Gary

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tilson, David

Tsubouchi, David H.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David


The Acting Speaker: All those opposed will please rise and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Agostino, Dominic

Bartolucci, Rick

Bisson, Gilles

Bountrogianni, Marie

Boyer, Claudette

Cordiano, Joseph

Crozier, Bruce

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Kormos, Peter

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Levac, David

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Martin, Tony

McGuinty, Dalton

McLeod, Lyn

Parsons, Ernie

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Ruprecht, Tony


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 49; the nays are 22.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

The bill is ordered for third reading.


Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Business Services): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It's very warm in here, and I'm sure every member of this Legislature would not be offended if either the clerks or the pages removed their jackets.

The Acting Speaker: I'm sure that's true, but I don't think it's a point of order.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): To that same point of order: I encourage them to take their jackets off.

The Acting Speaker: That's not a point of order, but if they'd like, they can take my lead.

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STABILITY AND EXCELLENCE
IN EDUCATION ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR LA STABILITÉ
ET L'EXCELLENCE EN ÉDUCATION

Mrs Ecker moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 80, An Act to promote a stable learning environment and support teacher excellence / Projet de loi 80, Loi favorisant la stabilité du milieu de l'enseignement et soutenant l'excellence des enseignants.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): The Chair recognizes the Minister of Education.

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I'll be sharing my time with my parliamentary assistant, the member for Simcoe North, and also the member for Thornhill.

I'm pleased to speak on this bill, the Stability and Excellence in Education Act. This is another step in our commitment to provide our students with an education system that is focused on quality and accountability and improved student achievement. This bill will provide labour stability in our schools, it will help restore co-instructional activities for our students and it will implement the next step in our comprehensive Ontario teacher testing program.

I'd like to just briefly make a couple of points about those three initiatives in this legislation, and I'll start with the comprehensive teacher testing program. I know our critics love to portray this as something negative, but it is quite the contrary. Many other professions around the world, many other teaching professions in other jurisdictions, have varying degrees of quality assurance, professional development activities. It's not a unique requirement, and neither is this. Actually, the Royal Commission on Learning, which received all-party support, all three parties in this Legislature, recommended mandatory professional development for all educators and also that that be part of a recertification process every five years. That was a recommendation based on considerable consultation, considerable research. It was something that we said we would move forward with if we were elected, and so we are indeed attempting to do that in the legislation before this House.

We also know that not only do best practices in other jurisdictions and research indicate that this kind of step is appropriate for excellence in teaching, but we know that parents want to be assured that all teachers have the knowledge and the skills to help their children achieve higher standards. That in no way implies that we don't have in this province many, many excellent and committed teachers who go above and beyond for their students every day because they just see that as part of their job.

The second important issue has to do with labour stability in our schools, because students and parents have been very clear that labour disruptions are not helpful for their education. They can not only cause disruption but can actually put the education of a student at risk. They have said to us that there has to be a better way to do this, and we agree.

We're doing two things in this bill. We're proposing to have collective agreements for teachers, between teachers and school boards, be for three years so that we don't have the cycle in some boards that we've seen of annual collective bargaining. Doing it every three years I think will be a significant improvement in terms of having boards and teachers be able to direct their energies toward improved student achievement.

The second change proposed in this legislation, of course, is to allow the Education Relations Commission, which is an arm's-length, independent body that gives advice to the government when there are labour disputes in schools involving teachers -- they advise the government when we should take steps to stop a strike or a labour disruption because it's threatening the students' school year. We would extend their jurisdiction so they could also give us that advice -- as they call it, a jeopardy ruling -- if it was support staff. So it's not just teachers but also support staff.

For some, those changes may seem to be less than a province-wide or a significant dramatic overhaul of collective bargaining in the education system, and that may well be something that a future government decides to do. But I think it's important to recognize that that kind of change, while legitimate, while important, while something that may occur, could also provide disruption in the system, which we do not think is appropriate. We want to have our school boards, our schools and the government focus our efforts on all of those initiatives that will lead to improved student achievement, and this will allow us to do that.

The third important issue has to do with restoring extracurricular activities. As I think everyone in this House agrees, those co-instructional extracurricular activities are extremely important for our students. They allow them in many cases to learn better, to have opportunities that might lead to job opportunities, scholarships. There are many things that extracurricular co-instructional activities provide for our students and for the teachers who enjoy doing them. We've seen them used, unfortunately, in too many communities as a bargaining chip.

With the help of the task force, the advisory group on restoring extracurricular activities, they did considerable consultations, they made recommendations to all of the education partners, asking all of us to set aside our original positions to in effect compromise, and on May 7 I announced a significant package of initiatives that would indeed do that, that adopted those recommendations, that asked all parties to make that important step, and all parties said they would.

That is encapsulated in this legislation before the House, and it would give our school boards, our high school principals and our schools greater flexibility to recognize co-instructional activities, the extra work that can be for a teacher when they are doing timetabling and assigning teachers' workload. I think that's an important improvement to assist both teachers and students.

It will also provide greater flexibility in how we define the standard for instructional time, the standard four hours and 10 minutes a day that we based on the national average. We will ensure that that includes important work the teachers do to provide remediation for students and also the supervision and on-call, filling in for absent colleagues, if you will, those duties as well. So remediation, supervision and on-call can also be included in the workload standard -- again, flexibility that I think will help very much.

I think we were very encouraged to see -- as I said, all education partners did say that they were prepared to set aside their original positions to work with the government to make this happen. We just saw recently in my own community in Durham region where the local public high school teacher union and the Durham board have come to a collective agreement. They said they were able to do that because of these moves that are being proposed in this legislation. I think that is something that parents, students and teachers are very happy to see.

We think this legislation is an important step along the path to an education system where the highest priority is improving student achievement. I would encourage all the members in this House to give it due consideration, to support it.

I would also like to say, before turning the floor over to my colleagues, that I would like to thank very much the staff in my ministry for their work, the task force for their work, the advice we've received from all of our educational partners, even my political staff for the assistance they have given in making this happen; and also to provide a special note of thanks to my parliamentary assistant, who will be speaking shortly, because he has also provided good advice and assistance in making this significant step possible today.


The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I'm pleased to continue the debate on Bill 80, to say that we in the Liberal Party and caucus and Dalton McGuinty are extremely anxious that extracurricular activities be available to students. I might say that we proposed what we called a peace plan many, many months ago, that frankly I still believe is substantially superior to what's proposed here. We would have hoped the government would have taken advantage of that advice.

I hope the bill does provide an opportunity for extracurricular activities. I think many of us look back on our own days in the high schools, and extracurricular activities were clearly an integral part of that.

I would say that a problem in the bill is going to be the plan for three-year negotiations of contracts between our school boards and our teachers, but the government being prepared to only provide the school boards with one year of funding. In other words, they are telling the school boards that they must reach a three-year agreement, but they are providing absolutely no indication to the school boards about the financial resources that might be available.

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I just want to put on the record the financial numbers, the amount of money that the province of Ontario is providing to our elementary and secondary schools. I sit on a legislative committee called finance and economic affairs, and we were looking at the budget bill. We had our independent legislative research staff provide for us the amount of money provided by the government for elementary and secondary school spending. The government always says, "We have increased spending by $360 million this year over last year." Frankly, that is not the case, according to the numbers we have. The numbers we have, provided by our independent legislative research staff, show that spending is actually going down $75 million. The government will say, "Yes, but you have to remember that in previous years we had some incremental spending that we provided only on a short-term basis to provide for higher fuel costs, an extra fund for textbooks, and some additional money for phasing, so we're not including that."

You've got to really read the fine print when they say that spending is going up $360 million. It's not the case at all. Spending, year to year, is going down by $75 million. I hope the public doesn't get too tired of these duelling numbers but, as I say, don't use our numbers, use the independent legislative research numbers.

Here we have the government saying, "We are now demanding by legislation a three-year agreement that you reach, but we're going to provide you with $75 million less money." I might add that if you go back over a six-year period, we are essentially spending, per student in the province of Ontario, about the same amount of money as we spent six years ago and, as we all know, inflation has gone up very dramatically. So when we hear the problems that school boards are having meeting the needs in their schools across this province, I understand why: as I said, $75 million less available this year -- the year that we have just entered -- than last year. I challenge the minister to refute those numbers. She may choose to say, "But you're including in last year's numbers some things like extra money we provided for fuel and extra money we provided for texts."

I raise these because the bill is called an act to promote a stable learning environment, and I submit that with less funding and with the implementation of funding for private schools, those two things will do more to destabilize our public education system, frankly, than almost anything the government has done to date. I would add that over the last six years, the government has very much destabilized our public education system.

I quote what the implications of the funding will be from a letter that the Premier himself sent. He sent this letter to point out how angry he was that the federal government was giving any indication at all that it would support extending support to private schools. He said:

"As our provincial Minister of Education has made clear, our government is committed to preserving and improving our public education system by upholding our constitutional obligation to fully fund public and separate schools. Complying with the UN's demand, as the federal Liberal government would have us do" -- the demand to fund private religious schools -- "would remove from our existing public education system at least $300 million per year, with some estimates as high as $700 million. Obviously, such an action would run directly counter to Ontario's long-standing commitment to public education.

"Our government is providing strong leadership to protect our public education system."

He goes on to argue strenuously against extending funding to private schools. This was less than two years ago, January 18, 2000. The Premier himself saying it would result in at least $300 million, up to $700 million, and would run "counter to Ontario's long-standing commitment to public education."

The Minister of Education was even stronger in her letter dated January 13, roughly 18 months ago, again a letter to the federal government. She said:

"I wish to inform you that our position on this matter remains unchanged. The government ... is not prepared to adopt the alternatives suggested by the UNHRC" -- the United Nations -- "for complying with the decision, ... namely to provide direct funding to private religious schools....

"We believe that our commitment and resources must continue to focus on preserving and improving the quality of our publicly funded system. While the government of Ontario recognizes the right of parents to choose alternative forms of education for their children, it" has "no plans to provide funding to private religious schools or to parents of children who attend such schools. As was set out in the submission to the UNHRC, extending funding to religious private schools would result in fragmentation of the education system in Ontario and undermine the goal of universal access to education....

"We trust that the government of Ontario's position, as outlined in this letter, is clear, and that you will proceed to draft Canada's response to the" United Nations "in keeping with this position. I was somewhat surprised to read the comments attributed to you in the Toronto Sun today, given the position presented to the UNHRC and the fact I have not yet received any communication from you indicating the contrary."

It was absolutely clear less than two years ago, a year and a half ago, that the Premier and the Minister of Education were crystal clear in saying it would be a huge mistake to extend funding to private and private religious schools and it would take $300 million to $700 million out of funds that would be available for our public schools. The reason I raise this so strongly as we're dealing with Bill 80, called An Act to promote a stable learning environment, is the government says it's going to provide funding to allow a stable learning environment in three-year settlements, but it is proceeding with a move on the funding for private schools that will do far more to destabilize our system than anything the government's done.

Don't just take our word for it. The National Citizens Coalition has been very clear. They say that extending funding to private schools "is the most important educational public policy initiative going on in North America." The Fraser Institute said it's the biggest development in 100 years in education and indicated that 15% to 30% of students will move to the private and religious schools. Yet the government is saying that this bill, Bill 80, will bring some stability to the education system.

I go on to point out how the instability is coming. This was a brief that's probably 70 to 80 pages long, submitted by the government of Ontario, arguing against --


Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member is making I think some very good points but it doesn't appear we have a quorum in the Legislature to hear it.

The Acting Speaker: Would you like me to check and see? Would you check and see if there is a quorum present.

Clerk Assistant (Ms Deborah Deller): A quorum is not present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker ordered the bells rung.


Clerk Assistant: A quorum is now present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: The chair recognizes the member for Scarborough-Agincourt.

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Mr Phillips: Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I was saying, the bill is entitled An Act to promote a stable learning environment, but as we are approving this bill, a measure that will do far more to destabilize the education system than anything that has been done to date by the government is underway, I'd like to put on the record Mike Harris's argument a year and a half ago against extending funding. He said the Ontario government "submits that one of the strengths of a public system of education is that it provides a venue where people of all colours, races, national and ethnic origins, and religions interact and try to come to terms with one another's differences. In this way, the public schools build social cohesion, tolerance and understanding." This is Premier Harris's language.

He goes on to state, "Extending public school funding rights to private religious schools will undermine this ability and ... result in a significant increase in the number and kind of private schools. This would have an adverse effect on the viability of the public school system which would become the system serving students not found admissible by any other system. Such potential fragmentation of the school system is an expensive and debilitating structure for society."

Moreover, he says, "Extending public school funding rights to private religious schools could compound the problems of religious coercion and ostracism sometimes faced by minority religious groups in homogeneous rural areas."

He goes on to say, "It would have a detrimental impact on the public schools and hence their ability to foster a tolerant, multicultural, non-discriminatory society in the province, thus undermining the fundamental rights and freedoms of others."

The reason I read that in is that we were told time and time again in the hearings that this move to fund private and private religious schools will have a dramatic negative impact on our public schools. The support for that came from both those who were for and those who were against.

The Fraser Institute, as I say, said this will mean the most dramatic change in education in 100 years. They've studied this. I disagree with their political leanings, but they're an organization that does their research.

The National Citizens Coalition said this move is the biggest change for public education going on in North America. They go on to point out that, contrary to the numbers that were made up on the back of an envelope by the government, this will not have a huge impact. The people who study this say 15% to 30% of the students could end up in private and private religious schools.

I say to the public, listen to the language that the Premier used a year and a half ago when he argued strenuously against doing this. Why are they doing it? I don't know for sure. The thing that all of us know is that until the budget was presented no one saw this coming. The government was on the record saying the exact opposite. In fact, they attacked the federal government strenuously.

The Premier sent a strongly worded letter indicating he's concerned that the federal government is going to expect Ontario to comply with the United Nations decision regarding the provision of denominational schooling. "As our provincial Minister of Education has made clear, our government is committed to preserving public education. Complying with the UN demand would mean removing from our existing public education system at least $300 million, with some estimates as high as $700 million."

So, here we are approving a bill to provide stability to the system and we are throwing a hand grenade into our public education system. Anybody who doesn't believe there's going to be fundamental change has not read the material, has not listened to the government's own arguments of less than two years ago, has not listened to many of the professional educators.

It was instructive: three former deputy ministers of education, probably three pages of other current and former directors of education, all urging the government to reconsider its position. These are people who have served under a variety of different political regimes here in Ontario. I believe most of the deputies served under Premier Davis.

So, I just say that stability, under Bill 80, will be totally undermined as the impact of the funding of private schools begins to be felt and as, I might say, the funding impact of taking $75 million a year out of public education begins to be felt.


Mr Bisson: Here we are yet again debating a bill in this Legislature, another bill that is, to an extent, an attack on teachers. I have to say again, because I really get to a point where I have to say to the government: give your head a shake. With every opportunity you guys get over there, you want to pick a fight with the teaching profession.

I just say, what's the point? What are you guys trying to prove? I have to ask myself, is it a question that you're trying to score political points with a certain part of Ontario society which happens to feel that teachers are somehow more privileged than the rest? I have to wonder, is it that? Is it truly a dislike for the teaching profession? Are there those among you who worked in the teaching profession for years and have a secret desire to see it relegated to the back of the esteem of the public, as far as the profession that it is? Or is it just that, quite frankly, you guys are lost and don't know what the heck you're doing? I've really got to ask myself.

I would think that in a modern society like ours in the year 2001, a nation that prides itself on being one of the most progressive nations in the world, a province that prides itself on saying, "We are a province that has a caring compassion for our fellow citizens and understand that a modern economy cannot operate effectively and efficiently without good people who are properly trained, and you need teachers to do that" -- you ask yourself, "Why are you constantly, at every occasion, trying to find a way to pick a fight with teachers?"

I say, shame on you. It's the wrong thing to be doing. What we should be doing in this Legislature and what we should be doing at the cabinet table and what we should be doing at our committees and our ministries is trying to find ways to be able to strengthen the teaching profession. We should be saying to ourselves, "How do we challenge ourselves as legislators in order to find a way to take the best possible advantage of new teaching methodologies, of technologies within the classroom, of what's going on out there as far as the Internet and other things that are available to us, so that we can make the teaching profession a stronger profession, one that, at the end of the day, young people can aspire to and they're feeling challenged and thrilled when they get into it and are able to pass that energy and that drive that they have back to the kids in the classroom?"

But instead you've managed, on every occasion, to pick a fight with the teachers. I say, it's starting to have an effect. All the members of this assembly -- this is not just New Democrats; this is not just Liberals or even Conservatives -- when we go back to our constituencies, we deal on a daily basis, or at least a weekly basis, with kids in the classroom, teachers, principals, school boards or parents. We come in contact with education on a weekly basis, if not a daily basis. We as legislators, above most people, should understand the importance education has to not only our kids but to the economy.

The way you develop a good education system, in my view, is to focus on the positive -- yes, to admit where there is a problem; yes, to admit that we could do better; yes, to admit that not everything in education is 100% rosy, because I think you have students, teachers and ministers of education and members of this assembly who would stand in this place and say, "There are some problems in the education system, and we need to make it strong." But it's the old story: are we going to look at the glass as being half empty, or is it half full? You guys try to focus on the half-empty side. I say, let's look at the half-full side.

What are some of the things we could be doing? One of the things we could be doing is providing the kinds of resources our school boards need so that they aren't constantly having to fight, at the school board level and with the provincial government and others, about the funding shortfall that exists in the education system. That's one of the things we could be doing. We should be saying to our school boards, our partners out there who are responsible for running our schools and our classrooms on a daily basis, "What are the kinds of things" -- within limits; within the ability of the government to pay. I don't argue that we should just open our wallets and let it rip and let them do what they want, but I would argue, within limits, what are the priorities in our education system, and how can we fund them so that we can make learning the best possible experience for our young people, so that at the end of the day, when they come out of grade 12 -- grade 13 for the next couple of years, for those who choose -- they come out with the best possible experience in education that they can get as people here in Ontario? Instead, we tend to focus on the negative. What we could be doing is looking at, what can we do?

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For example, I look at the new technologies and at what is happening in the workplace. There have been some positive steps, not only by this government but by other, preceding governments, to take a look at developing work experiences for young people in the workplaces of today. We call those co-op programs in the secondary level at grade 10. Some schools offer them at different levels, but most of them at grade 10. We say to our young people, "Let's develop a co-op program where you can go out and experience what happens in a workplace so that you can relate what you're learning in the classroom to the workplace, and vice versa, learn what you've got in the workplace and bring it back to the classroom. But more importantly, it will help you make some choices about what you might want to do when you finally make the decision about college or university." We can do a lot more when it comes to dealing with trying to provide good, strong opportunities for our students when it comes to the co-op.

Mr Speaker, I notice that again we're without a quorum and I wonder if you can have the -- Mr Speaker? Mr Speaker? I would like you to check if there is a quorum.


The Acting Speaker: I want to remind you that I hear with my ears and I see with my eyes. Just because my eyes are up in the corner of the room doesn't mean I can't hear. I expected you to proceed if you needed my attention for anything.

Mr Bisson: Mr Speaker, I believe we do not have a quorum and I ask you to ask the table clerks to see if there is a quorum.

The Acting Speaker: Would you check to see if there's a quorum present.

Clerk Assistant: A quorum is not present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker ordered the bells rung.


Clerk Assistant: A quorum is now present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: The Chair recognizes the member for Timmins-James Bay.

Mr Bisson: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. If people only knew what happens in the sort of friendly exchanges we have here. I was indicating to one of my friends across the way that he has turned out to be one of my favourite Conservative members, and he's still sort of shocked over there and doesn't know quite what to do with that. But that's another story.

As I was saying, it is important that we could be focusing on the positive things we can do in education. As I was saying about the co-op system, we could be doing really amazing things in trying to extend that program. For example, why don't we try to give the co-op program a bit of a focus? Yes, it means some investment of new monies to make it happen, and maybe some reallocations as well, but let's look at how we can maybe refocus.

In the community I come from a huge advance has been made with the new technologies in both the forestry and mining industries, on the harvesting side and also on the processing side of the forestry industry, and in mining as well. Why don't we look at having in grade 10, grade 11, grade 12 -- some could argue even in grade 9 -- some sort of a focused co-op program that could give students the kind of experience they could get in private sector industry so that industry is able, first of all, to show to the young people in our system of education what's out there, and at the same time give the kids an opportunity to learn a little bit about those new technologies?

It could be everything from programming to the actual equipment, as far as how that works -- they may not have to operate it, but at least to learn how it operates and what makes it tick -- and then trying to tailor programs in our secondary system and our college and university systems so they are more closely related to the workplace. I'll give you an example.

I was on a tour recently with one of the legislative interns who worked for us here this winter, Nanda Purandare, who was an intern for both Brenda Elliott and myself. We had a great opportunity to go out and to visit the Falconbridge mine. I come out of the mining sector and I have a good understanding of how hard-rock mining operates -- underground, surface and pit operations. I worked in the industry. I worked on the technical side as an electrician and also as a technologist-electronics person in that time.

When I brought Nanda through it, we were touring the hoist room up at the Kidd Creek mine site. The mining company now is moving toward much more sophisticated systems when it comes to programming and equipment that operates underground. In fact, the father of one of the pages here, Dustin Hughes -- George Hughes, a fellow I've known for some time; we were in the air cadets together -- is responsible for developing much of the systems when it comes to developing new technologies and how we can best utilize technology in the workplace, in the mining industry.

Why don't we look at focusing some dollars and how we can best use the expertise within the private sector and the expertise within the public sector to develop systems and programs and the co-op stages that really give our kids a good opportunity to get the experiences they need so that they can make some good choices about what they want to do when they go off to college or university? We can do that in the public sector as well.

Why don't we open up our co-op programs so that we can better utilize co-op programs in the public sector? What is wrong with a young person saying, "I would like to work for the Ministry of the Environment as an inspector," or, "I would like to work for the Ministry of Health as a lab technologist," or whatever it might be? "I desire to serve the public and work for the public sector in years to come, but as a young person in grade 9 or 10, I'm not quite sure what that would be, so I need some experience," says the young person, "in order to make some of those choices of, do I go into sciences, do I go into technologies, do I go into arts, do I go into business, do I go into administration?" so that they're able to get a broader view of what is offered in the public sector as far as employment.

In fact, people should know that the public sector is the largest employer in the province of Ontario. Right now, we do have some co-op programs within government offices but we don't have them to the extent that I think we could be offering.

Why don't we look at what the Europeans have done by way of apprenticeships? Why don't we look at students who decide that maybe university is not the way they want to go but they would like to go into some stream of technology or administration or whatever it might be, and look at developing internship programs that give people the opportunity, while they're in high school, to do some placements by way of co-op in a few of the trades or technologies or whatever they want? They can then start honing in on making a decision by the time they get to grade 11 or 12, and by that time put in the full internship program that allows them to work within industry, at the same time being able to get work.

I would argue that not only is that a valuable tool for the student, because the student develops an understanding of what is available, makes a decision about what they want to do and then falls into an internship program supported by the government that is out there in a real job so that by the time they have finished their internship they are in a position of being able to have the licence or degree or whatever it is they need. I would argue that employers -- because I've also been a private sector employer -- would love that opportunity. A lot of businesses out there -- large, medium and small -- I think would jump at the opportunity to bring new people into their organization. And yes, the motivation would be initially that it would cost those employers less money. That would be initially why the employers would want to do it. But the idea would be that the employer pays part of the wage of the person while they're on internship while the government pays the other part on a sliding scale going down as a person gets more experience and comes closer to successfully completing the program until eventually the employer is responsible for the entire cost.

It would do a couple of things, in my view. It would motivate our young people to really make some good choices about what they want to do. It would make their choices easier. As it is now, they sit in grade 11 or 12 and it's a little bit like a dartboard: "I think I'm going to go into health sciences," and they go there and do that for a year of college and they go, "Gee, I didn't like that. Maybe I'd rather go into administration," and they switch programs, or unfortunately sometimes they just drop out. I would say that kind of good opportunity to make some choices based on actual experiences while they're in high school would be a really good thing to do.

The other thing you have to tie to this, I would say, is when it comes to the teachers and giving them the kind of support they need -- and I come back to the bill -- in order to do a better job when it comes to this particular issue.

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For example, I'm a tradesperson. I'm an electrician by trade. Originally it was electronics, and eventually I went over to electricity. So basically I've gone through two different programs: an electronic technician's program and an electrical apprenticeship program, which I completed. What is wrong with saying to those people who are in the teaching profession, "We're going to allow you to go back into the field, either public or private sector employers, and give you an opportunity to upgrade your skills so you can bring those skills back into the classroom so that they're current"?

Currently, the problem we have at the college level, for example, and it's the same thing at the secondary level -- I'll talk trades specifically -- is that you get hired as a trades teacher. You're a successful applicant. You've got all the required things that you need to get hired. You get in, let's say, in 1980 as a shop electrical teacher. Often what ends up happening is that person may only work in the shops at the high school for a period of 10, 15 or 20 years. I can tell you, I've been out of the electrical trade for the better part of 15 years, and I would not go back into industry without taking some kind of refresher programs and serving a short-term apprenticeship to get me back into it, because things have changed greatly.

Why don't we give the teachers an opportunity to do sabbaticals so they can go back into their chosen profession and get some concrete experience so the teacher is not penalized by way of salary and pension contributions, nor are they penalized by way of seniority? So every five years or so, the teacher can withdraw themselves from the classroom, go out and get those experiences they need to upgrade their skills so that they are current with what's happening out in the workplaces today. Then also, more importantly, and in my view as a former shop teacher for a short period of time -- and I was an unqualified shop teacher, I want to say for the record. I supply-taught for two and half years in the Timmins public board. Why don't we give them the opportunity to get out?

The point is, once you've been dealing with kids for a long period of time, you might get a little bit short on patience, depending on your experience. I think allowing the teachers by choice in a positive way to get out of the classroom and get some experiences and get them back in again would be good for the teachers and good for the kids, because at the end of the day the teacher would come back and say, "I'm all excited again. I'm ready to go. I've learned some new things. Man, I'm looking forward to getting back in the classroom." The kids would benefit from that positive experience.

I think the critic would like at this point to go into debate, unless you want me to go a little bit longer.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): No, this is great.

Mr Bisson: OK. So I would just say, in the final wrapping up, those are the kinds of positive things that I think we could be focusing on as members of this assembly, rather than doing what this government has done, which is to basically focus on the negative and attack teachers constantly. As a result, we have teachers who are demoralized within the teaching profession. I argue it's not only teachers who suffer. I argue it's kids, because if kids are unhappy, they don't perform well. It's like MPPs: if you're not happy at what you're doing, you're not going to do a good job for your constituents. It's the same thing when it comes to teachers. For the kids, they're the losers, because at the end of the day they don't get the best possible experience that they can get when you're demoralizing teachers by constantly attacking them.

Last point, an interesting figure that came out: the enrolments in our teachers' colleges across the province have diminished by almost half. That tells me the public is getting the government's message. They understand that you say that teachers aren't valued and should not be valued members of our society and it's a profession that people should not aspire to. The kids have got the message. They're not enrolling in the numbers they did before, and as a result we have fewer people going into the teaching profession.

So I say, why don't we work on the positive and stop doing the negative? Because at the end of the day, all you end up doing is hurting the kids.


The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): I'm very pleased this afternoon to rise on the third reading debate on Bill 80, the Stability and Excellence in Education Act. I'm very pleased also to follow Minister Ecker. I'd like to say to this House what a pleasure it is working with Minister Ecker. I want to commend her for a job well done in this last session as the Minister of Education, but also an excellent job as our government House leader.

I'd like to make a few comments on some of the co-instructional activities and some comments as well on some things around student-focused funding.

First of all, parents, students and taxpayers want our ministry to be completely honest and transparent. The provincial government -- this is referring to some of the comments made by Mr Phillips -- uses accounting and reporting practices that are approved by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. The government's accounting practices are similar to those used by most major private sector companies. There's only one way to be completely honest and transparent, and that is to present the actual spending numbers, as we have reported.

The actual spending numbers are clear and well known. Education funding has gone from $12.9 billion in 1995 to a projected $13.8 billion for the next school year. Of course, you've seen that in the budget.

We recently announced that funding for the public education system for the 2001-02 school year would be increasing by more than $360 million. Education funding for the school year is 2.8% higher than the funding for the school year that just passed. That represents an increase from $12.9 billion to $13.8 billion from 1995, when we took office.

I also want to talk about co-instructional activities. Our education reforms continue to be focused on supporting excellence, achievement and accountability within the public education system.

All of our education reforms -- more challenging and rigorous curricula, standardized student testing, fair and equitable student-focused funding, safer schools, teacher testing and a stronger voice for parents in their children's education -- have been aimed at supporting these objectives.

Quality education requires a commitment of significant public resources, as well as flexibility for school boards to define and meet their local priorities. In response to suggestions from the education community, the additional $360 million for the coming school year is being provided in a way that allows for greater flexibility in determining local priorities.

In addition to the necessary resources, quality education requires stable and positive school environments to support teaching and learning and to ensure the availability of co-instructional activities for all students. An education system committed to quality is an education system where everyone must work together.

The government has therefore committed to giving school boards and high school principals greater flexibility to recognize co-instructional activities while assigning teachers' workloads.

Parents want to be assured that their children learn in school environments that are enriching and stable.

Teachers and volunteers here and in many schools across the province are supporting co-instructional activities as they have always done, but we share the concern of parents and students in schools where a full range of co-instructional activities is not available.

Outside their regular classes, students participate in a wide range of sports, arts and cultural activities. Other important activities that contribute to a quality education for our students also take place outside the instructional day. These include parent-teacher interviews and school functions such as commencements and graduation ceremonies. These co-instructional activities are a very important part of a student's education.

Teachers have often stated that making these opportunities available to students is an important part of their professional responsibilities. Parents have told the government that they do not want their children denied important school-related activities because of labour disputes.

The Stability and Excellence in Education Act would implement key recommendations from the minister's advisory group on co-instructional activities and other education partners to ensure that co-instructional activities are available to all students in our province.

Bill 80 would maintain the current requirement that high school teachers teach an average of 6.6 eligible courses a year, the course load equivalent of an average of four hours and 10 minutes per day, but provide greater flexibility in the regulations that define instructional time. That would include time spent giving remedial help to students so they can meet the challenges of Ontario's rigorous curriculum and time spent on duties such as supervising students and filling in for absent teachers.

It is planned that regulations would provide the details of all eligible programs that can be counted as instructional time and how they are counted.

The maximum average class size for secondary school classes, calculated on a board-wide basis, would remain at 21.

The legislation would allow a school board to pass a resolution, at a public meeting, to vary the maximum average class size in its high schools by up to one student.

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Bill 80 would give the Minister of Education the authority to make regulations respecting the process and timing of the resolution, the period of time during which the resolution would apply and the matters the resolution must provide for. It is then incumbent on the board to ensure that the aggregate average class size does not exceed that passed in the resolution. Boards have asked for more flexibility with respect to the secondary class size standard, and we are giving them that flexibility to ensure students receive a better education.

This does not mean that all teachers have to have the same workload. The instructional time standard, 6.67, is an average workload. School boards would have the flexibility to vary the assignment load of teachers. For instance, in addition to teaching credit courses, some teachers could be assigned remedial instruction, others could be assigned supervision duties and a third group could include all three components in their workload.

It also does not mean that schools will end up with all teachers teaching a quarter-credit course. We have reduced the average credit-course workload for teachers and have stated that we will recognize remedial instruction, supervision and substitution for absent colleagues in the instructional time calculation.

Nothing in legislation requires that all teachers have the same workload. We have provided flexibility to boards. We expect teachers to be flexible in working with boards to meet the needs of students.

This provides boards with flexibility to access resources that could be used for local priorities to meet the needs of students for quality education. There are opportunities for better programming for students, a safer school environment and more time for qualified teachers with students.

The instructional time standard is consistent with other provinces. With this legislation, the government has introduced additional flexibility into the system and expects school boards to work with teachers to best meet the needs of students.

The changes resulting from Bill 80, by contrast, would not cost taxpayers extra money. It will in fact let boards use existing funding more flexibly to meet their priorities, as was recommended by the Advisory Group on the Provision of Co-instructional Activities.

We have always said that smaller class sizes contribute to student achievement. That's why we took steps to lower average class sizes. We have provided $264 million to make class size smaller. Class size at the elementary level has already been reduced.

The bill would repeal subsections of the Education Accountability Act, 2000, which made co-instructional activities a duty of a teacher and which provided principals authority to assign co-instructional activities to a teacher.

As announced on May 7, the government plans to proclaim the sections of the Education Accountability Act that require school boards, in accordance with guidelines provided by the ministry, to develop and implement plans for the provision of co-instructional activities for high schools. The bill would also require the principal to develop and implement a school plan for co-instructional activities and to seek input from the school council on this school plan.

We are implementing a compromise that should restore co-instructional activities in our schools this fall. We are committed to setting higher standards for student achievement in Ontario, and we are committed to providing students with the tools and the environment they need to succeed.

The proposed Stability and Excellence in Education Act is an important step along the path to an education system where the highest priority is improving student achievement.

I want to make a few comments on some of the things Mr Phillips mentioned on the United Nations report. In its report, the United Nations human rights committee argued that Ontario should offer full funding to other religious schools or discontinue funding for the Catholic separate school system or offer religious instruction as part of the public school curriculum. As you know, we fully fund 72 boards across this province.

We opposed those recommendations when they were first made, and we continue to oppose them now.

The commitment we have made to parents is to provide them with modest tax relief that respects parental choice. We have listened to parents who asked us to respect the choices they make. The move is consistent with our ongoing efforts to bring quality to Ontario's education system. The government remains committed to the publicly funded education system to ensure that all students have access to a quality education. The Ontario government will continue to uphold its constitutional obligations and provide increased funding to public and separate schools.

I have a few moments left and I just want to say at the end of my comments that I appreciate the opportunity to speak on Bill 80 today. I wanted to speak a little bit on our throne speech report, "21 Steps into the 21st Century." At this time, I'll leave the remaining time to Ms Molinari, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this bill this afternoon.


Mr Joseph Cordiano (York South-Weston): I am delighted to speak on this bill on second reading. There are two parts to this bill, one dealing with teacher excellence, so-called by the government, and the other part speaks to creating greater stability in our education system.

That is a great question mark, with respect to this bill. Nothing could be further from the truth, the introduction of this bill, and in fact most of what this government has passed off as creating stability or excellence simply doesn't wash. At this point, I think most people in the province are now recognizing that there is great instability in our education system. This bill further destabilizes school boards and our schools right across this province.

The bill calls for three-year contracts to be negotiated by boards. However, the government fails to provide any funding over a three-year period to coincide with settlements that would be of the duration of three years. So you have no funding for contracts to be negotiated over that period of time. In effect, school boards are being asked to cope with this without the funding necessary to make it a reality. The government is trying to have it both ways. This does not provide for stability over that period of time when contracts need to be settled.

As well, my colleague the member for Scarborough-Agincourt pointed out earlier in his comments that the finance and economic affairs committee had an independent research paper done by legislative research that indicated the government is actually spending less money this year, about $75 million less than last year, contrary to the claim the government has made that they're spending more. How in the world are school boards, our schools, our children, able to cope with less money when they're already being constrained? This government has repeatedly cut funding to schools, and over the last six years, as a matter of fact, the per student spending is the same. There has been no increase over six years. Not accounting for inflation over that six-year period, schools have had to cope with less money.

The evidence is really quite clear. You walk into a school, you talk to the principals, you talk to the teachers, and they haven't got money for anything. My daughter, who is in grade 5 this year -- she was in French immersion -- did not have a textbook all year. That's a crying shame. She belongs to what I think is a very good community school in the separate school system, but they simply don't have the resources to have textbooks for all the students. That is still the case today, and it is a real shame that in this great province of ours there isn't the ability to provide textbooks for all our students.

Once again, we have to look at the record of this government. Schools have tried to cope, boards have tried to cope with less money and --


Mr Gerard Kennedy (Parkdale-High Park): A strike.

Mr Cordiano: -- and a strike and the ongoing difficulty that teachers face being demeaned by this government. There's no other way to describe it, because every single teacher, and my wife is one of them, is completely demoralized by the fact that this government fails to recognize the great job teachers have done in our school system, and at the same time having to cope with enormous difficulties that go well beyond the classroom.

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So I would say that this act does not accomplish what it sets out to accomplish, and that is to create any kind of stability in our system, to enhance and improve our education system. In fact, it does the contrary. It destabilizes the system, not to mention the fact that this government now intends to fund private, wealthy schools. These are wealthy schools, most of them. The ones that aren't, independent religious schools, are an entirely different matter.

But at the end of the day this government intends to provide public funds to private schools. That ultimately can mean only one thing: that dollars intended to go to the public system will now be going to the private system. Obviously that means less money for the public system.


Mr Marchese: It's good to speak to this bill, the Stability and Excellence in Education Act. I spoke to it yesterday. We can't get enough of this kind of stuff. But it's interesting to hear the various MPPs speak about this bill, interesting to hear Mr Flaherty yesterday talk about how competition is good, meaning that giving public dollars to some religious schools and the non-denominational schools that do not need our help, that that competition is good for our public system. Good citizens, do you understand the argument he's making? How does giving your money to private schools make our public system qualitatively better, private schools that are not subject to the restrictions that are imposed on our public system, to the restrictions and standards that are imposed on our teachers? How does that make it competitive? They are not subject to the same standards. How do we compete, first of all, and how does it make it better for our public system to divert money to a system that is not in any way, shape or form accountable in the way that teachers in the public system are? I just don't get it.

It makes absolutely no sense. How does giving money to private schools, where tuition fees are $15,000, allow the public system to better compete and to say that kind of competition is good for us? Can you believe it? This is a minister of the crown speaking, a minister who ought to know better. Clearly the Minister of Education didn't make that argument, but I suspect she probably might or is capable of making such a comparison. But the Minister of Finance, Mr Flaherty, making such a claim, that giving money to those who pay tuition fees of $15,000 and up -- or $7,000 and up, depending on which private school you send them to -- is going to make it easier for my kids in the public system -- it's just incredible, the arguments you hear from these people.

No other group has been subjected to the kind of demonization that we have witnessed other than the teachers. With the exception of welfare recipients, those who receive social assistance because their needs are different from mine, teachers are next in line for having been assaulted day in and day out. So demoralized are the teachers that we depend on for the education of our children that many parents are concerned about the quality of education we're getting.

The member for Simcoe North says this government is committed to quality in education. Well, show the evidence of your commitment. You can't just say it in words; it has to be actually seen in practice.

How does taking $2.3 billion out of the educational system make it a qualitatively better system than previously? It makes no sense. These are ministers of the crown arguing this, people who ought to know better, people who are presumably educated somewhat, I might venture to say, making arguments about commitment to quality.

How can you argue that taking money out of the system is good and that it improves quality? How can you argue that taking $300 million out of the public system because we now fund private schools -- because that's what Mrs Ecker said. While she doesn't deny it, she did say it. It was in her writing; at least her signature was there. So did Premier Harris make the same claim that funding private schools would take $500 million. The amount of the claim is somewhat different, but it's higher than Mrs Ecker said it would be to fund private schools. What sense does it make to suggest that taking $3 billion out of the education system, once you factor in private school funding, brings quality to the system? It's unbelievable. I don't get it.

I know you've got to make the statements. I know you have to, for political reasons, say these things. But it isn't bright, it's hardly intelligent, to those who pay attention to educational issues. It may not matter to some who obviously are concerned about your political message that doing more with less is OK. They might, I suspect, be convinced by the argument. But the majority of people who came to the committee dealing with tax credits for private schools are not persuaded or dissuaded by your argument. You see, they know better. They know because they are engaged actively in the education of their children and they know what they have missed, what they do not have and what the cuts have meant to their children and to them as parents and to the teachers who have to teach them.

I don't know. I'm not quite sure of the arguments you people make. In fact, the member for Durham argued in committee that one size fits all is simply not a good philosophy with respect to where parents send their children. I argued with the member for Durham, while he was in committee, from time to time. I said, "Hold on a moment. Why is it that one-size-fits-all education financing is OK for everyone in Ontario, but you don't agree with the one size fits all for all students?"

Why is it, member for Durham, that you apply two standards? One size fits all is not appropriate for those you say ought to have a choice to send their kids to private schools, but one size fits all is OK in terms of education financing of all the boards across Ontario, where we have clearly argued that we are all so different in Ontario from one area and region to the other that one-size-fits-all financing simply doesn't work, makes no sense. How could you not, member for Durham, see that? Yet you argue that a similar kind of philosophical statement, the one size fits all, is simply not good when it comes to a matter of choice. You see the inconsistency? You've got to try to be as consistent as you can when you make these arguments.

So many points were made in committee with respect to tax credits for private schools. The member for Oxford on many occasions said and argued that it's OK for these students and teachers in private schools not to be subjected to the same rules but is very proud to say that the teachers in the public system will be subjected to teacher testing, will of course have to maintain those standards that are so vital, he argues, in order to bring up the quality of education for our public school students, but it's not OK to apply the same standards for the students and teachers in private schools; that it's OK and necessary to have a teacher's certificate to teach in a public system, but it doesn't matter if you don't have a teacher's certificate if you send them to a private school.

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You see all these inconsistencies? I'm convinced some of you are able to see these inconsistencies. I'm convinced the member from Ottawa West-Nepean probably sees them. I'm convinced many of the members see them, but when you have to, as a matter of rule because you're a member of government, follow the dictates and the directives given to you, I suppose you will all make the same argument. But it's wrong. I tell you, when you bring in this bill, stability and excellence in education, pretending that you're bringing in stability when all you've done for five years is destabilize the educational system, it makes no sense.

For six long years, you've done nothing but cause and create chaos in the system. Snobelen obviously was the only one who was clear in his intentions when he said, "We need to create a crisis in education." At least you respect someone who says out loud, "That's what we want to do." The others of course are surreptitiously skulking around the issue by simply suggesting that of course what they're after is stability and quality in education when everything that has been done to the public system is anything but. I don't know how they get away with it.

They talk about multi-year funding as part of this bill as a way of bringing stability. Boards and teachers' unions have been saying, "Sorry, we have not been getting a fair deal from you for the last six years. In fact, $2.3 billion has been taken out of the education system. How can you try to persuade us that multi-year funding, three-year funding is good for us when we know that for six years we've gotten less every year for the financing of our public system?" How can you think they would be happy with that multi-year funding? They would be happy, and probably would not be opposing it, if they knew the funding was at least adequate to address children's needs and to address the needs of the system; they would be. But because experience has shown them that the money has been inadequately disbursed, they don't trust you.

I know the member from Thornhill is about to come and tell us how great choice is, how much money the system has been getting, and the quality in education, God, it could not be better since the Tories have come in. I know the Thornhill member is ready, because she's got her books packed up and she's ready to make her speech, right? But I can anticipate in advance what she's going to say. "Choice is good. It will make things better." She's going to mimic Minister Flaherty when he says, "Competition is good."


Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): She'd better be careful because of her bill. Her bill may or may not pass this evening.

Mr Marchese: That's a different issue, isn't it? But we're going to hear those kinds of arguments: quality, helping them, making teachers more accountable -- "but we don't have to make the private schools more accountable" -- all of that. Am I missing anything?

Teaching testing is nothing but a political manoeuvre. It's very highly political. I argue that MPPs should be tested, in which case I suggest that most of us probably wouldn't be here.


Mr Kormos: Let's go for it. Let's go for it.

Mr Marchese: I'd like to see how many Tory hands would go up for that volunteer program. You see, it is a most insulting thing to say to teachers, who have been so completely demoralized after the assaults year after year, "You are going to have mandatory testing and mandatory courses, because you're not good." Some 67% of the teachers have been taking courses voluntarily, and now you're saying to them, "Not good enough." Imagine. What other profession can claim to have 70% of its participants engaged in courses on professional development, and this government says, "Not good enough. You will have mandatory courses." What a way to demoralize a system and a profession that has been whacked day in and day out.

But the member for Thornhill, I know, will convince me -- or try to convince you, citizens, not me -- that what they are doing is really cool, that what they're doing is going to make it a whole lot better, when if you're a parent you know it hasn't been the case.

I'm afraid that what they're doing to education in terms of giving dollars to private schools is the same as what they have done and continue to do with our hospitals and our health care system. The parallels are strikingly similar. The arguments are the same: competition is good, and it's as good in education as it is with our health care system. They now fund a private university where they claim that the competition will be good, where tuition fees will be double in the private university, the one my children and most other children in Ontario will not be able to attend because tuition fees will be extraordinarily high. But they claim and argue that that kind of competition is good. Sorry. The majority of you Ontarians will never be able to send the kids to those private schools because you won't be able to afford it, even if you wanted to send them. As a result, there is no competition.

You see the game? The politics of this has got to be exposed day in and day out. We do our best, because this is the only political forum we've got to engage you, the public, on these issues. We've got very few other forums when we sit here in the Legislative Assembly, and that's the only debate we get to have with you.

Now I pay attention to the member for Thornhill. I more or less told you what she and others are going to say. I hope you don't --


The Acting Speaker: Further debate.

Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill): It's certainly a challenge coming after the member opposite. As entertaining as he is in the delivery of his message, it certainly lacks the accuracy and what the philosophy of this government is. I'm going to speak on the topic which is being debated today rather than talking about all of the other bills that we've passed in this Legislature, and that's Bill 80, An Act to promote a stable learning environment and support teacher excellence.

Our government has laid out the key directions for continuing education reform. We have made several clear commitments for what we would do. We have been getting on with those commitments, moving forward to do what we said we would do, but also listening to the advice and input we have received on how best to proceed.

One of the key components of Ontario's plan for quality education includes a comprehensive teacher testing program to ensure that teachers keep developing and improving their skills.

Few people would disagree that doctors, lawyers, architects and other trusted professionals would have to stay up to date in their skills and knowledge to continue to provide high-quality service. In Ontario, professional associations and self-regulated professions approach professional development and upgrading in a variety of ways. Some have provisions in place which set specific requirements for the renewal or maintenance of a professional certificate. Generally, these requirements must be met over a certain period of time, often three to five years. For some professions, failure to meet ongoing learning requirements could mean losing the right to a professional designation. Let me provide a few examples.

I have a friend who is an architect. He belongs to the Ontario Association of Architects, which has a mandatory continuing education requirement for all licensed members. Over a period of two years, members must complete a minimum 15 points, half of which must be taken from core professional renewal options and the other half from self-directed options.

The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario also requires its members to complete a mandatory program of professional development over a specific period of time. All members are required to obtain 90 points every three years through a range of educational experiences. Dental specialists must obtain at least half of those credits from programs linked to their area of specialization. A typical full-day program of professional development would be equivalent to six credit points. The Law Society of Upper Canada requires its members to provide information under continuing legal education activities.

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The point I'm trying to make is that the demand for quality assurance exists in many professions. In establishing ongoing professional learning requirements for their members, the professions I have just named, as well as many others, are responding to public expectations for quality and excellence. Their objective is to provide their clients with the assurance that all their members have the up-to-date knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality service. That is what our government is trying to achieve with the mandatory teacher recertification program proposed in Bill 80.

Over the past six years, our government has been building a more rigorous, accountable, high-quality education system, one that will ensure our children's success for the future. We will only be able to fulfill and achieve this goal with the confidence that all members of the Ontario College of Teachers are up to date in their skills and knowledge.

Ongoing professional learning is not something new to the teaching profession in this province or to teachers of many jurisdictions. Teachers in other countries and provinces are also required to update their skills and knowledge. In Ontario, we have many excellent teachers who regularly update their skills and are committed to excellence. But parents want to know that all teachers, not just the large majority, have the skills and knowledge to help their children achieve the higher standards we have set for them.

That is why our government last year introduced the comprehensive Ontario teacher testing program. The program builds on supports and systems already in place to ensure that both new and experienced teachers have the up-to-date training, knowledge and skills to help students succeed and achieve higher standards.

Mandatory teacher recertification, as we are proposing in this bill, is an important element of our teacher testing program. It was a key election promise our government made in 1999, and was also recommended by the Royal Commission on Learning in its 1995 report, which received all-party support, I might add.

Building a system that ensures our children's success means preparing them for a world that is continuously changing. We will be even more driven by the technological changes and the competition that are coming up in today's and tomorrow's society.

All parents want to see their children succeed, and most would agree that the quality of their children's teachers can affect how well their children perform -- whether a student has a difficult year in school or a rewarding and enriching one. Parents want to be assured that the teachers are properly trained and equipped to provide for the excellence we are demanding of the school system.

Parents want their children taught by teachers they know are well trained, knowledgeable and committed to continuous improvement, teachers they know will prepare their kids to compete and win in the world of today and tomorrow. Parents know that excellent teachers foster a passion for learning that students carry with them throughout their lives. A good teacher can also motivate and inspire their students to achieve things they never thought possible.

That is why, in designing and developing the details of our teacher testing program, we have consulted and continue to consult with parents and students, as well as teachers and all our education partners, including the Ontario College of Teachers. We have also drawn from experiences in other jurisdictions and extensive research on best practices in other professions.

It is a pleasure for me to speak on this very valuable piece of legislation this evening, legislation that I think should be supported by all parties, because it promotes excellence in our schools; it promotes accountability. I believe it's the right thing to do. We are fulfilling our commitment.


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): I'm pleased to have a few minutes as part of this debate. When you look at the title of the bill, Mr Speaker, I find that if this wasn't such a serious issue, it would be great work for David Letterman here. This government, after six years of instability, brings in a bill called Stability and Excellence in Education Act.

This is a government that for the last six years has done nothing more than destabilize and cause chaos and crisis in our educational system. We've had six years of cuts, we've had six years of attacking teachers, demonizing teachers, creating chaos in the system, making school boards evil individuals for trying to run the system, basically taking control of funding away from the school boards and then letting them be stuck with the fallout from this. So we've had six years of a government that has gone out of its way to make it an obsession to create instability, to "create a crisis" -- the famous quote of a former education minister -- and they've succeeded. They've created that crisis in order to get us to the point today where now they've gone to the next step.

We said four or five years ago, "Do you know where this is going to lead us? This is going to lead us to funding for private schools. This is going to lead to vouchers." And the government said at that time, "No, you're wrong. It's just the opposite. This is scaremongering. We will never do that." Six years later, there we are.

They talk about stability. When you look at the statistics, in the last five years there have been 1.7 million teaching days lost to strikes in Ontario. That is five times more than in the previous five years. Under this government, 1.7 million days have been lost in regard to strikes. When you look at it, last year 4,400 teachers left the profession for reasons other than retiring because they've been demoralized, they've been attacked, they've been beaten up by this government. As we've tried to attract teachers in Ontario, as we have a teacher shortage, 4,400 left the profession last year for reasons other than retiring.

That must tell you something about the climate this government has set for teaching and teachers in Ontario. They've cut $2 billion out of education since taking office. Last year they claimed they increased by $350 million in education, when in reality we saw in public accounts they reduced it by a further $75 million.

Then they bring in this bill, a plan that supposedly is going to create stability in education, that's going to bring back extracurricular activities. They had an opportunity in December. My leader, Dalton McGuinty, and our education critic, Gerard Kennedy, put together a peace plan -- one that was endorsed by all sides except this government -- that would have created stability and would not have wasted another six or eight months where kids across Ontario went without extracurricular activities. But this government, in its usual partisan, stubborn way, refused to accept that plan.

What we see here today is a piece of legislation that forces boards into three-year contracts without knowing beyond next year, if they're lucky, the level of funding they actually receive from Ontario. So they sign three-year contracts, and then how do they meet those commitments if the government does not come through with the funding: larger classrooms, fewer teachers, fewer computers, fewer textbooks? So what this government is doing is creating another situation where for an extra three years boards are going to be stuck with a situation they can't control because this government is not going to give them enough money. But they have to sign three-year contracts.

If the government were serious about this, why would they not commit to stable funding for the next three years for school boards across Ontario? Why wouldn't they tell school boards, "You sign three-year contracts, but here's how much funding we're going to give you for the next three years," so there's a level playing field and they have understanding? But they're not interested in this. They're interested in further destabilizing the education system in Ontario. So we can see an expansion of exactly what we've seen passed by this government yesterday, and that is a bill that will cost, at least in its first year of implementation, $500 million out of public education being given to private schools, being given to rich, independent schools across Ontario, something this government said they would never do, something that Mike Harris made it clear in the leaders' debate he would never accept, something that Janet Ecker, the Minister of Education, made it clear in the response to the federal government and to our leader is unacceptable because it would take money out of the public education system. What did we see yesterday? A bill by this government that did exactly that.

A letter of January 13, 2000, from the minister to Minister Axworthy in regard to the United Nations resolution made it very clear, and the minister said, "As was set out in the submission to the UNHRC, extending funding religious private schools would result in fragmentation of the education system in Ontario and undermine the goal of universal access to education." That's not the opposition saying that, that's not some special interest group saying that; that is the current Minister of Education of Ontario who made these comments on January 13, 2000.

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What has changed in six months except that the Minister of Finance, in trying to further his ambitions to succeed Mike Harris as leader of that party, tried to shove his own agenda on the cabinet and on the people of Ontario? The Minister of Education and the rest of cabinet balked at it and we now have further chaos. Public education has always been the great equalizer. It meant that every child, regardless of background, regardless of where you came from, regardless of how much money your parents had, if you had the ability and the willingness, you could succeed in our public education system. This government has taken away that fundamental principle that we all have grown up believing in and that this province was formed and has been based on since we have been part of this great country of ours. If this government was serious about creating stability in public education, they would put back the money, the $2 billion they took out of public education, they would decrease class sizes, they would create a better climate for teachers. This bill goes nowhere toward doing that.

We have a plan. Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals have a clear plan for education, a plan that Ontarians believe in and accept. We have made it clear that we do not support extending funding to private and religious schools and we have made it clear that if we're fortunate enough in two years to have the blessing of the people of Ontario to govern, we will reverse that decision and change that. We will create stability in education by putting money back into the classroom, not into rich private schools, to make sure kids have textbooks, computers and smaller classes. This government should be ashamed of what it has done to destabilize public education in Ontario. The people of one riding in this province will have an opportunity tonight to judge this government's agenda. The people of Ontario will have an opportunity to judge in two years. The Liberal Party, under Dalton McGuinty, will bring back true stability in education in two years.


Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, minister responsible for women's issues): There is one thing that you can't take away from young people and that is they are willing and able and totally committed to teach in this province. This year we had 11,758 applicants to our teachers' colleges. In the last three years we have increased the number of spaces by 150 seats. All I can say is that I am actually correcting the record, in a sense, of the member for Timmins-James Bay, because I think the young people who are looking to their careers in education should know that there is room for lots of new blood in our education system.

Just like when I began teaching in the late 1950s and early 1960S, we are in a time of transition. The other thing we're in transition regarding is that over the last 10 or 15 years the public and parents have been crying out for standards, new curriculum and a renewed enthusiasm in our public school system. Change has been very difficult. It's been difficult for the government and the teachers some days to manage. But I know that with those new textbooks, the new curriculum, these bright young teachers, plus many of the mentors who are still there working hard, this legislation today hopefully is the kind of compromise that we can make with our teachers and with our school system so that the extracurricular activities will return to our students, because in fact we all know that our young people go to school to learn but they also go to school to have many friends and be involved in sports and music.

I just wanted to appear a little more optimistic than some of the opposition speakers today. As a former teacher, I'm very pleased about the changes in curriculum and standards.


The Acting Speaker: Pursuant to an order of the House dated June 27, 2001, I will put the question. Mrs Ecker has moved third reading of Bill 80, An Act to promote a stable learning environment and support teacher excellence. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1745 to 1750.


The Acting Speaker: All those in favour will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Beaubien, Marcel

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

Cunningham, Dianne

DeFaria, Carl

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hardeman, Ernie

Hastings, John

Hudak, Tim

Johns, Helen

Klees, Frank

Marland, Margaret

Martiniuk, Gerry

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Sampson, Rob

Spina, Joseph

Sterling, Norman W.

Stewart, R. Gary

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tilson, David

Tsubouchi, David H.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David


The Acting Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Agostino, Dominic

Bartolucci, Rick

Bisson, Gilles

Bountrogianni, Marie

Boyer, Claudette

Cordiano, Joseph

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Hampton, Howard

Kennedy, Gerard

Kormos, Peter

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Levac, David

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Martin, Tony

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Ruprecht, Tony


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 46; the nays are 20.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

MPP COMPENSATION REFORM ACT
(ARM'S LENGTH PROCESS), 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 PORTANT RÉFORME
DE LA RÉTRIBUTION DES DÉPUTÉS
(PROCESSUS SANS LIEN
DE DÉPENDANCE)

Mr Tsubouchi moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 82, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act to provide an arm's length process to determine members' compensation / Projet de loi 82, Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Assemblée législative pour établir un processus sans lien de dépendance permettant de fixer la rétribution des députés.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Pursuant to the order of the House dated June 26, I am now required to put the question.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it. Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1755 to 1800.


The Acting Speaker: All those in favour will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Agostino, Dominic

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Beaubien, Marcel

Bountrogianni, Marie

Boyer, Claudette

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

Cordiano, Joseph

Cunningham, Dianne

DeFaria, Carl

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hardeman, Ernie

Hastings, John

Hodgson, Chris

Hudak, Tim

Johns, Helen

Klees, Frank

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Levac, David

Marland, Margaret

Martiniuk, Gerry

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Phillips, Gerry

Ruprecht, Tony

Sampson, Rob

Spina, Joseph

Sterling, Norman W.

Stewart, R. Gary

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tilson, David

Tsubouchi, David H.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David


The Acting Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Bisson, Gilles

Hampton, Howard

Kennedy, Gerard

Kormos, Peter

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Martin, Tony


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 58; the nays are 7.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR L'EFFICIENCE
DU GOUVERNEMENT

Mr Sterling moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 57, An Act to promote government efficiency and to improve services to taxpayers by amending or repealing certain Acts / Projet de loi 57, Loi visant à favoriser l'efficience du gouvernement et à améliorer les services aux contribuables en modifiant ou en abrogeant certaines lois.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Pursuant to the order of the House dated June 20, 2001, I am now required to put the question.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1803 to 1809.


The Acting Speaker: All those in favour will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Barrett, Toby

Beaubien, Marcel

Chudleigh, Ted

Clark, Brad

Clement, Tony

Cunningham, Dianne

DeFaria, Carl

Dunlop, Garfield

Ecker, Janet

Elliott, Brenda

Galt, Doug

Gilchrist, Steve

Gill, Raminder

Guzzo, Garry J.

Hardeman, Ernie

Hastings, John

Hodgson, Chris

Hudak, Tim

Johns, Helen

Klees, Frank

Marland, Margaret

Martiniuk, Gerry

Maves, Bart

Mazzilli, Frank

Miller, Norm

Molinari, Tina R.

Murdoch, Bill

Mushinski, Marilyn

Newman, Dan

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Sampson, Rob

Spina, Joseph

Sterling, Norman W.

Stewart, R. Gary

Stockwell, Chris

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tilson, David

Tsubouchi, David H.

Turnbull, David

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wood, Bob

Young, David


The Acting Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Agostino, Dominic

Bartolucci, Rick

Bisson, Gilles

Bountrogianni, Marie

Boyer, Claudette

Cordiano, Joseph

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Hampton, Howard

Kennedy, Gerard

Kormos, Peter

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Levac, David

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Martin, Tony

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Ruprecht, Tony


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 47; the nays are 20.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to call the orders for second and third readings on Bill Pr4, Bill Pr7, Bill Pr8, Bill Pr9, Bill Pr11, Bill Pr12, Bill Pr13, Bill Pr14, Bill Pr16, Bill Pr17, Bill Pr18, Bill Pr19 and Pr20 so that they may be moved and considered concurrently, and to proceed with second and third readings of Bill Pr13, notwithstanding that it has not been reprinted.

The Acting Speaker: Is there consent? It is agreed.

CITY OF ELLIOT LAKE ACT, 2001

Mr Duncan, on behalf of Mr Brown, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the City of Elliot Lake.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Duncan, on behalf of Mr Brown, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the City of Elliot Lake.


The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

PREMIUM AUTO
COLLISION INC. ACT, 2001

Mr Hastings moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr7, An Act to revive Premium Auto Collision Inc.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? It is carried.

Mr Hastings moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr7, An Act to revive Premium Auto Collision Inc.


The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? It is carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

1072550 ONTARIO
LIMITED ACT, 2001

Mr Duncan, on behalf of Mr Smitherman, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr8, An Act to revive 1072550 Ontario Limited.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? It is carried.

Mr Duncan, on behalf of Mr Smitherman, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr8, An Act to revive 1072550 Ontario Limited.


The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

TOWN OF NEWMARKET ACT, 2001

Mr Dunlop, on behalf of Mrs Munro, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act respecting the Town of Newmarket.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Dunlop, on behalf of Mrs Munro, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act respecting the Town of Newmarket.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

NIAGARA CENTRAL AIRPORT COMMISSION ACT, 2001

Mr Kormos moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr11, An Act to amend The Welland-Port Colborne Airport Act, 1976.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Kormos moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr11, An Act to amend The Welland-Port Colborne Airport Act, 1976.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

MASTER'S COLLEGE AND
SEMINARY ACT, 2001

Mr Stewart moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Master's College and Seminary (formerly Eastern Pentecostal Bible College).


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Stewart moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Master's College and Seminary (formerly Eastern Pentecostal Bible College).


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

THE BOYS' HOME ACT, 2001

Mr Kormos, on behalf of Ms Churley, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr13, An Act respecting The Boys' Home.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Kormos, on behalf of Ms Churley, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr13, An Act respecting The Boys' Home.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

1820

1150982 ONTARIO INC. ACT, 2001

Mr Spina moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr14, An Act to revive 1150982 Ontario Inc.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Spina moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr14, An Act to revive 1150982 Ontario Inc.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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

1252563 ONTARIO LIMITED ACT, 2001

Mr Marchese moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr16, An Act to revive 1252563 Ontario Limited.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Marchese moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr16, An Act to revive 1252563 Ontario Limited.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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

RDP COMPUTER
CONSULTING INC. ACT, 2001

Mrs Molinari moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr17, An Act to revive RDP Computer Consulting Inc.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mrs Molinari moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr17, An Act to revive RDP Computer Consulting Inc.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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

CONRAD GREBEL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE ACT, 2001

Mr Arnott moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr18, An Act respecting Conrad Grebel University College.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Arnott moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr18, An Act respecting Conrad Grebel University College.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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

569924 ONTARIO LIMITED ACT, 2001

Mr Duncan, on behalf of Mr Parsons, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr19, An Act to revive 569924 Ontario Limited.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Duncan, on behalf of Mr Parsons, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr19, An Act to revive 569924 Ontario Limited.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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

CITY OF TORONTO ACT
(HERITAGE PROPERTIES), 2001

Mrs Mushinski moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr20, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mrs Mushinski moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr20, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I would like to ask for unanimous consent for a 15-minute recess. We are attempting to finalize arrangements for private members' bills and I would like a 15-minute recess to do that, please.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? Agreed. This House stands recessed until 6:45 pm.

The House recessed from 1828 to 1843.


The Speaker: The government House leader.

Hon Mrs Ecker: Mr Speaker, I am seeking unanimous consent for a series of bills. I will go slowly. We have shared wording with all the different parties. There may well be some minor editorial changes from the Clerk, so we shall go through this slowly.

I seek unanimous consent to call second reading of Bill 56, An Act to encourage the revitalization of contaminated land and to make other amendments relating to environmental matters, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendments, and upon passage of the bill, to have it referred to the standing committee on general government, and that the committee be authorized to meet during the summer adjournment for up to one week to examine and inquire into the bill; and

To call second and third reading of Bill 66, An Act to amend The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment; and

To call second and third reading of Bill 71, An Act to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act, amend the Developmental Services Act and make related amendments to other statutes, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment; and

To have the question put without further debate or amendment on the motion relating to a select committee on alternative fuels; and

For the order of Bill 59, An Act to amend the Police Services Act, to be immediately discharged from the standing committee on justice and social policy and immediately called for third reading, with up to five minutes of debate for each party, at which time the Speaker will interrupt the proceedings to have the question put immediately on third reading without further debate or amendment and without any deferral of the vote; and

To call third reading of Bill 12, An Act to increase the safety of equestrian riders, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment; and

To call second reading of Bill 51, An Act to help save the lives of Ontarians who suffer from cardiac arrest by promoting the widespread availability and use of portable heart defibrillators in public places, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment, and upon passage of second reading have the bill referred to the standing committee on justice and social policy, and that the committee shall sit for two days with one additional day for clause-by-clause consideration of the bill; and

To discharge Bill 34, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to increase the penalties for contraventions of the Act and regulations, from committee and to recommit to the standing committee on general government for one day of hearings; and

To call second reading of Bill 77, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act and the Child and Family Services Act in respect of Adoption Disclosure, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment, and upon passage of second reading have the bill referred to the standing committee on general government for four days in Toronto; and

For each recorded division on any of these matters bells be limited to five minutes.


The Speaker: Is there unanimous -- do you want me to read it?

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): Please.

The Speaker: OK, if I may. Dispense? No.

Mrs Ecker seeks unanimous consent to call second reading of Bill 56, An Act to encourage the revitalization of contaminated land and to make other amendments relating to environmental matters, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment, and upon passage of the bill, to have it referred to the standing committee on general government, and that the committee be authorized to meet during the summer adjournment for up to one week to examine and inquire into the bill; and

To call second and third reading of Bill 66, An Act to amend The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment; and

To call second and third reading of Bill 71, An Act to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act, amend the Developmental Services Act and make related amendments to other statutes, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment; and

To have the question put without further debate or amendment on the motion relating to a select committee on alternative fuels; and

For the order of Bill 59, An Act to amend the Police Services Act, to be immediately discharged from the standing committee on justice and social policy and immediately called for third reading, with up to five minutes of debate for each party, at which time the Speaker will interrupt the proceedings to have the question put immediately on third reading without further debate or amendment and without any deferral of the vote; and

To call third reading of Bill 12, An Act to increase the safety of equestrian riders, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment; and

To call second reading of Bill 51, An Act to help save the lives of Ontarians who suffer from cardiac arrest by promoting the widespread availability and use of portable heart defibrillators in public places, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment, and upon passage of second reading have the bill referred to the standing committee on justice and social policy, and that the committee shall sit for two days with one additional day for clause-by-clause consideration of the bill; and

To discharge Bill 34, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to increase the penalties for contraventions of the Act and regulations, from committee and to recommit to the standing committee on general government for one day of hearings; and

To call second reading of Bill 77, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act and the Child and Family Services Act in respect of Adoption Disclosure, and to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment, and upon passage of second reading have the bill referred to the standing committee on general government for four days in Toronto; and

If there is a recorded division on any of these matters, that the division bells will be limited to five minutes.

Is there unanimous consent? Agreed.

1850

BROWNFIELDS STATUTE LAW
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
EN CE QUI CONCERNE
LES FRICHES CONTAMINÉES

Mrs Ecker, on behalf of Mr Hodgson, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 56, An Act to encourage the revitalization of contaminated land and to make other amendments relating to environmental matters / Projet de loi 56, Loi visant à encourager la revitalisation des terrains contaminés et apportant d'autres modifications se rapportant à des questions environnementales.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it. Carried.

The bill is referred to the standing committee on general government.

WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001
MODIFIANT LA LOI INTITULÉE
THE WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY ACT

Mrs Ecker, on behalf of Mrs Cunningham, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 66, An Act to amend The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973 / Projet de loi 66, Loi modifiant la loi intitulée The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mrs Ecker, on behalf of Mrs Cunningham, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 66, An Act to amend The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973 / Projet de loi 66, Loi modifiant la loi intitulée The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

HOMES FOR RETARDED PERSONS
REPEAL ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 ABROGEANT
LA LOI SUR LES FOYERS
POUR DÉFICIENTS MENTAUX

Mr Baird moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 71, An Act to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act, amend the Developmental Services Act and make related amendments to other statutes / Projet de loi 71, Loi abrogeant la Loi sur les foyers pour déficients mentaux, modifiant la Loi sur les services aux personnes atteintes d'un handicap de développement et apportant des modifications connexes à d'autres lois.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Hon John R. Baird (Minister of Community and Social Services, minister responsible for children, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I thank all members from all sides. That's an excellent example of where we can work together.

Mr Baird moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 71, An Act to repeal the Homes for Retarded Persons Act, amend the Developmental Services Act and make related amendments to other statutes / Projet de loi 71, Loi abrogeant la Loi sur les foyers pour déficients mentaux, modifiant la Loi sur les services aux personnes atteintes d'un handicap de développement et apportant des modifications connexes à d'autres lois.


The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

SELECT COMMITTEE ON
ALTERNATIVE FUEL SOURCES


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I move that a select committee on alternative fuel sources be appointed to investigate, report, and recommend ways of supporting the development and application of environmentally friendly, sustainable alternatives to our existing fossil fuel sources;

That the membership of the committee be composed of the following members: Doug Galt (Chair), Marie Bountrogianni (Vice-Chair), Jim Bradley, Marilyn Churley, Steve Gilchrist, John Hastings, John O'Toole, Jerry Ouellette, and Ernie Parsons;

That the committee have the authority to meet concurrently with the House and during any adjournment of the House;

That the committee be encouraged to employ a staff person or persons, reporting to the committee through the Chair, to assist the committee in fulfilling its mandate;

That the committee shall have the power to hear witnesses, to commission reports relevant to the terms of reference, to employ staff and to adjourn from place to place in North America and abroad as the committee may deem advisable, subject to normal budget approval from the Board of Internal Economy;

That, at its discretion, the committee have the authority to issue interim reports; and

That the committee submit its final report to the assembly before the end of May 2002, and that if the House is not sitting, the committee have the authority to release its report by depositing a copy of it with the Clerk of the assembly and upon resumption of the sittings of the House, the Chair of the committee shall present such report to the House in accordance with the standing orders.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Mrs Ecker has moved --

Interjection: Dispense.

Interjection: No.

The Speaker: I'll read it through -- that a select committee on alternative fuel sources be appointed to investigate, report, and recommend ways of supporting the development and application of environmentally friendly, sustainable alternatives to our existing fossil fuel sources;

That the membership of the committee be composed of the following members: Doug Galt (Chair), Marie Bountrogianni (Vice-Chair), and Jim Bradley, Marilyn Churley, Steve Gilchrist, John Hastings, John O'Toole, Jerry Ouellette, and Ernie Parsons;

That the committee have the authority to meet concurrently with the House and during any adjournment of the House;

That the committee be encouraged to employ a staff person or persons, reporting to the committee through the Chair, to assist the committee in fulfilling its mandate;

That the committee shall have the power to hear witnesses, to commission reports relevant to the terms of reference, to employ staff, and to adjourn from place to place in North America and abroad as the committee may deem advisable, subject to normal budget approval from the Board of Internal Economy;

That, at its discretion, the committee have the authority to issue interim reports; and

That the committee submit its final report to the assembly before the end of May 2002, and that if the House is not sitting, the committee have the authority to release its report by depositing a copy of it with the Clerk of the assembly and upon resumption of the sittings of the House, the Chair of the committee shall present such report to the House in accordance with the standing orders.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

POLICE SERVICES
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 MODIFIANT LA LOI
SUR LES SERVICES POLICIERS

Mr Tilson moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 59, An Act to amend the Police Services Act / Projet de loi 59, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les services policiers.


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, each party will speak for up to five minutes.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): The member for Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey): This is a private member's bill. The bill was debated in the House for second reading on June 14 and received unanimous approval of the House. Essentially what this bill does is amend the Police Services Act, specifically section 5.

Under the current Police Services Act, a municipality must choose one of six delivery alternatives: (1) maintain its own police service; (2) contract with an adjacent municipality for police services; (3) contract with the Ontario Provincial Police, either alone or jointly with one or more municipalities; (4) amalgamate its existing police service with one or more municipal police services; (5) form a joint police service with one or more municipalities; or (6) adopt another method approved by the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services.

Originally, when I started to research this specific bill, it was mainly with respect to the town of Caledon. The town of Caledon is governed by the Ontario Provincial Police. The rest of Peel, which is generally the south half of Peel, is governed by the Peel regional police force. Under section 5 of the Police Services Act, that can't happen, notwithstanding the fact that policing in Caledon is quite different from policing in Mississauga.

I introduced the bill provincially because I discovered it affected a number of areas. It affected the area of my friend from Bruce-Grey, Mr Murdoch; it affected Sudbury; it affected Timmins; it affected Kenora; it affected the Kawartha Lakes. I know it affected those areas specifically. I therefore changed the philosophy of the bill to cover the entire province.

1900

All of the options that I referred to require a single provider or delivery agent per jurisdiction. That's what the Police Services Act now allows for. Bill 59, the bill before us tonight, provides more flexibility in police service by adding the option of what is commonly known as hybrid policing. That is what this bill has been known for. In case some of you don't know what hybrid policing is, it's an arrangement that allows more than one police service to provide services to different areas within a single municipality.

There are three criteria that could be established for hybrid policing. The first is in municipalities with remote or dispersed communities. Examples of that are Sudbury and Timmins; Mr Bartolucci has spoken on that during second reading. The second is in municipalities with historical policing relationships. An example is the riding that I represent, which is Caledon, another example is Kenora and finally the Kawartha Lakes or the Lindsay area. The third criterion is one that provides governance by a single police services board in a hybrid police arrangement except in section 5.1, a municipality with no contract and therefore no police services board.

I believe this bill is going to save jurisdictions in this province a lot of funding. The best example is Sudbury. Sudbury estimates that it's going to save that area $2 million in additional costs should the Sudbury police be required to service outlying areas. This bill clarifies that. The bill will allow relevant communities to retain police services with which they are comfortable and allow them to avoid potential divisiveness or amalgamation or disbandment. An example again is the riding that I represent, which is Caledon and the area of Lindsay.

I would ask that the House support this piece of legislation as it did during second reading. It's good for Ontario, it's good for policing, it's good municipalities, it's good for the people of Ontario.


Mr Dave Levac (Brant): I will confirm indeed that all three parties provided unanimous consent on second reading, quite frankly, with the lead of the member for Sudbury. Mr Rick Bartolucci indicated the positive side of the bill. The hybrid bill does bring to mind the fact that community policing is the issue here. I dare say it should not be solely an exercise of fundraising. I have spoken to the Solicitor General and pointed out to him several occasions on which we have funding collection problems. These need to be evaluated very clearly in terms of equity across the province. Having spoken very clearly, we are in support of the hybrid bill, but it should not be used solely as a fund-saving issue. It's to focus community policing in the right direction. It shouldn't be seen as a foothold for any one particular force to get hold in the province, to be step 1, step 2, step 3 in creating a larger force that the municipalities themselves do not want. The care and concern that I've issued to the Solicitor General I hope is taken very seriously, about the types of funding that I pointed out to him were downfalls that were happening already in our province. With the acceptance of hybrid policing, I hope it does not create a situation where we see even more problems escalate further than I've already pointed out to the Solicitor General.

All in all, we are supportive of hybrid policing. We understand that the municipalities named before are in favour of them, but I will tell you, in my travels across the province I have spoken to some police chiefs who are very concerned about this being a first step for dominance of any one particular police force, and that should never be seen across the province as anything that we want except for what community policing represents in our communities as we see fit to create.

Does it have a good, strong acceptance by our party? Yes, it does. But the issue I'm making now is to make sure it doesn't turn into a double-edged sword where communities across the province may be coming back to the Solicitor General and saying, "This is not what we wanted with hybrid policing," making sure that it doesn't happen. I challenge the Solicitor General to make sure those funding issues that I brought to his attention get addressed, because there are inequities already taking place in this province because of funding issues. I would hope that gets dealt with immediately.


Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I'm pleased to have a chance to speak to the bill, albeit for five minutes. Our leader, Howard Hampton, spoke to this at private members' business when the bill was presented for second reading. Howard Hampton outlined the scenario, first as it applies to where he comes from, in Kenora. He spoke to it. Part of this bill is a cleanup from the mess this government made when it forced megacities, merged municipalities, on a whole bunch of those primarily northern but not solely northern communities. This is part of the bill; it's part of the cleanup.

That Mr Tilson should be given a broom and a dustpan instead of the cabinet position he deserves beats me, but I respect the fact that at the end of the day he's the guy who came in to do the cleanup, as he has explained it to me -- and I'm grateful to Mr Tilson for the information he has provided to me for the Caledon area; part of his bailiwick is one of the areas impacted -- in terms of being the historical communities that have this split or bifurcated policing system.

I spoke with Doug Farrell from the Timmins police. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with him via his MPP, Gilles Bisson, who has worked very hard with me in terms of trying to assess this bill, analyze it and see where it's fitting in. I spoke with Richard Frayne, from the Niagara Regional Police Association, and again I thank Richard Frayne for his input. And I spoke to the chief of police from Sudbury, with the assistance of Shelley Martel.

The problem is, when I talk to my police association down in Niagara, they've never heard of the bill. That's part of the problem. Again, no disrespect to the author of the bill; one doesn't and couldn't have any real quarrel with the historical realities being acknowledged by the bill.

You know, sir, that there has been some interesting raiding -- no, perhaps that's an unfair word. There have been some municipal police forces that have found themselves competing with the OPP -- the Solicitor General knows what I'm talking about -- when the OPP have offered themselves up to that municipality as an alternative for contract police service. I find that regrettable. I find the instances that I'm familiar with, where the OPP have created this competition between the municipal/regional police and the Ontario Provincial Police, fighting for the same policing venue, extremely unfortunate. I wish the OPP weren't put into that position by this government's -- Mr Runciman's -- amendments to the Police Services Act, which we opposed some time ago. The fact is it's there.

The second part of the bill that causes concern is the one that doesn't just recognize the status quo but facilitates and encourages an increased encroachment by Ontario Provincial Police into traditional municipal policing areas. I understand the rationale, and I think most police officers do. I'm talking, of course, to municipal/regional police officers and their associations. I understand the need to have this in the five regions, I believe it is, the five areas to which it applies currently.

All I can tell you is that we all better be incredibly vigilant about ensuring that the government of Ontario, as provider of contract police services -- because one of our fears when we saw the raiding of municipal police forces -- that may be an unfortunate word, but it's nonetheless one I'll stick with -- we saw the government conducting itself as if it was in business, providing policing services.

The concern that I have, the concern that municipal police officers have, among other things, is the fact that the OPP can come in there and can low-ball the community stuck with them, and then a year, two years, three years down the road it's no longer $90 a household; it's $100, $110, $120. That sucks. It's very similar to what you people are doing to public education. Every buck you take out of public education to spend on private schools means less money for public education. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

1910

Police forces and police associations are concerned with the OPP encroachment on their turf, and then the seizure of that, the entrenchment of the OPP with the prospect of increases in contract prices. The region is stuck with the OPP doing that policing. If OPP contract prices go up, that means that municipal police officers have an even bigger fight with already cash-strapped municipal and regional councils.

We are cautiously supporting this legislation. We will be monitoring it, as I'm sure Mr Tilson will, to see whether the intent and the impact is as intended by the legislation.


The Speaker: Mr Tilson has moved third reading of Bill 59. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

HORSE RIDING SAFETY ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR LA SÉCURITÉ
DES CAVALIERS

Mrs Molinari moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 12, An Act to increase the safety of equestrian riders / Projet de loi 12, Loi visant à accroître la sécurité des cavaliers.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

PORTABLE HEART
DEFIBRILLATOR ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR LES DÉFIBRILLATEURS
CARDIAQUES PORTATIFS

Mr Duncan, on behalf of Mr Colle, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 51, An Act to help save the lives of Ontarians who suffer from cardiac arrest by promoting the widespread availability and use of portable heart defibrillators in public places / Projet de loi 51, Loi visant à contribuer à sauver la vie des Ontariens qui souffrent d'un arrêt cardiaque en promouvant la disponibilité et l'usage généralisés de défibrillateurs cardiaques portatifs dans les lieux publics.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The bill is referred to the standing committee on justice and social policy.

REFERRAL OF BILL 34


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): I move to discharge Bill 34, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to increase the penalties for contraventions of the Act and regulations, from committee and to recommend it to the standing committee on general government for one day of hearings.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

ADOPTION DISCLOSURE
STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 MODIFIANT DES LOIS EN CE
QUI CONCERNE LA DIVULGATION DE
RENSEIGNEMENTS SUR LES ADOPTIONS

Mr Kormos, on behalf of Ms Churley, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 77, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act and the Child and Family Services Act in respect of Adoption Disclosure / Projet de loi 77, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les statistiques de l'état civil et la Loi sur les services à l'enfance et à la famille en ce qui concerne la divulgation de renseignements sur les adoptions.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I move that Bill 77, having carried in second reading, be referred to the standing committee on general government for four days of meeting time in Toronto.

The Speaker: The bill is so referred.

Government House leader.


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): One final item: I seek unanimous consent to call second reading of Bill 14, An Act to encourage awareness of the need for the early detection and treatment of brain tumours, to have the question put immediately thereon without further debate or amendment and, upon passage of second reading, have the bill referred to the standing committee on justice and social policy.

The Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.

Mr Bob Wood (London West): Before I make this motion, I'd like to thank all three parties for their help in respect to this bill.

BRAIN TUMOUR
AWARENESS MONTH ACT, 2001 /
LOI DE 2001 SUR LE MOIS
DE LA SENSIBILISATION
AUX TUMEURS CÉRÉBRALES

Mr Wood moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 14, An Act to encourage awareness of the need for the early detection and treatment of brain tumours / Projet de loi 14, Loi visant à favoriser la sensibilisation à la nécessité du dépistage et du traitement précoces des tumeurs cérébrales.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House. No. Sorry. No, I don't. We've got to send it to committee.

Mr Bob Wood (London West): I ask that this bill be referred to the standing committee on justice.

The Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.

Hon Mrs Ecker: We'll try again: Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker: All those in favour will please say aye. Carried.

This House stands adjourned until September 24 at 1:30 of the clock.

The House adjourned at 1920.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 

 

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