| British Columbia
The First Session of the
Thirty-fourth Parliament resumed on Thursday, November 24, 1987. The Speaker
advised the House that, after consultation with each side of the House, he
would be permitting public broadcast of the audio portion of the proceedings
commencing on that day.
After Oral Question Period the
Leader of the Opposition, Mike Harcourt, asked leave pursuant to Standing Order
35, to move adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent
public importance, namely, the privatization of Government Services throughout
the Province. On the following day, the Speaker delivered his reserved opinion
to the effect that the statement be allowed to qualify under Standing Order 35.
Subsequently, the House agreed to a debate on the matter which took place at
4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 30 and concluded one hour later as permitted by
On December 14, Dave Mercier,
Chairman of the Select Standing Committee on Economic Development,
Transportation and Municipal Affairs tabled in the Legislature the Committee's
final report relating to an examination and inquiry into the matter of the
Islands Trust Act.
On December 15, 1987, W.B.
Strachan, Minister of Environment and Parks and Government House Leader moved
establishment of two committee inquiries. The Select Standing Committee on
Labour, Justice and Intergovernmental Relations is to inquire into and make
recommendations on the matter of the Builders Lien Act with particular
reference to the purposes and the continuing relevance of the legislation in
today's society; the policy consideration behind the Act; the desirability of
repeal or reform to any or all of the provisions within the Act; and the policy
directions which would guide any reform in the province.
The Select Standing Committee on
Forests and Lands will inquire into, and make recommendations with respect to
provisions of timber harvesting contracts between tree farm licensees or forest
licensees and contractors and to consider the desirability of a standard timber
harvesting contract; the desirability of submitting to arbitration issues
between parties to a timber harvesting contract; and in the event that
arbitration is recommended, the policy considerations and desirability of
providing for the same by legislation or contract.
On the final sitting day before
Christmas, the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations, M.B. Couvelier
moved that the House authorize the Select Standing Committee on Finance, Crown
Corporations and Government Services to examine, inquire into and make
recommendations with respect to the regulation of the financial planning and
advisory industry in British Columbia, and to consider the desirability of a
regulatory regime to regulate the financial planning and advisory industry; the
objectives which regulation of the industry should attempt to accomplish and
the principles upon which regulation could be established; the policy
considerations inherent in regulating this industry; and alternative approaches
which could be used to design a regulatory regime.
This committee will also look into
changes in the Municipal Act and Taxation (Rural Area) Act with regards to
Before the House rose for Christmas
His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, Robert G. Rogers, in Her Majesty's name
gave Royal Assent to thirteen bills ranging in diversity from the Open Learning
Agency Act to the Softwood Lumber Products Export Change Compensation Act. In
this session there have been seventy-two government Bills introduced of which
nine remain at various stages on the Order Paper; nine Members' Bills of which
all remain on the Order Paper; and six Private Bills that have been given Royal
New Auditor General
On December 14, 1987 The Special
Committee to Appoint an Auditor General presented its report to the Assembly
wherein it recommended George Morfitt, of Vancouver to become the Province's
next Auditor General. Mr. Morfitt is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of British Columbia and has served in a variety of capacities with
public and private sector companies in the province and numerous community and
sports associations. Mr. Morfitt succeeds Mrs. Erma Morrison who retired from
the position recently.
Craig James, Second Clerk Assistant and Clerk of
Committees, British Columbia Legislative Assembly.
The Fall sitting of the Alberta
Legislature began November 23, 1987 and adjourned December 10, 1987. During the
session no new Government legislation was introduced although one major
Government resolution was passed and there were several interesting procedural
The Assembly unanimously passed a
motion on December 7, authorizing the Constitutional Amendment of 1987; the
so-called Meech Lake Accord. The resolution was passed after a great deal of
debate and the defeat of two major Opposition amendments to the resolution. In
passing the resolution, Alberta became the third province to give the necessary
provincial authorization for this amendment of the Constitution Acts. Two days
later the Assembly began debate on a motion supporting the Canada-United States
free trade agreement. The motion was discussed for several hours before being
adjourned until next session.
Oral Question Period produced many
complex situations for the Speaker with regard to questions concerning the
collapse of First and Associated Investors, part of the failed Principal
financial group. Currently the matter is under investigation by a court-appointed
inquiry headed by William Code. Under Alberta's Standing Orders (S.O. 23(g)
(ii) questions regarding matters before an investigative body may be considered
sub judice. Mr. Speaker suggested that questions regarding Principal Group be
submitted to him in writing in advance so that he could determine if the
question appeared to be in order. Some questions were ruled out of order but
several questions which did not prejudice the inquiry were permitted.
The Assembly passed a motion to
resolve procedural difficulties arising over permitted languages in the
Legislature. During the Spring sitting, Speaker David Carter had ruled the
member for Athabasca-Lac La Biche, Leo Piquette out of order for asking a
question in French. The Speaker based his ruling on Alberta's Standing Orders
and precedent. The matter was referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges
and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing which recommended, among other
things, that Mr. Piquette should apologize to the Assembly. The matter was resolved
when Mr. Piquette, in a statement to the House, clarified that it was not his
intention to challenge the authority of the Speaker. The Assembly accepted this
in lieu of an official apology which effectively resolved that aspect of the
controversy. The House adopted, on November 27, amendments to the Standing
Orders which allow for the use of any language in the Assembly provided that
English translations or brief descriptions be made available, and in the case
of Oral Question Period, two hours' notice be given in advance. English remains
the working language of the Assembly.
On November 23, the member for
Calgary-Buffalo, Sheldon Chumir made a formal apology to the Assembly for
having served Statements of Claim on two members within the precincts of the
Assembly while the House was sitting.
On the final day of the sitting,
Edward J. Younie moved that the Assembly suspend its normal business for an
emergency debate regarding the continued construction of the Oldman River dam
despite a ruling by Chief Justice Moore delivered on December 9. Mr. Justice
Moore ruled that the Department of the Environment had not followed the proper
procedures to build the dam bringing into consideration the possibility of
certain legal irregularities. After debate on the urgency of the matter, the
Speaker ruled that Mr. Younie's request for leave was in order, and with the
required 15 or more members in favour of the debate, the Assembly had its first
emergency debate since 1980.
Craig Wood, Legislative Intern , Alberta Legislative
Free trade continued to be a
dominant issue in the First Session of Ontario's 34th Parliament, as it was
during the 1987 fall election campaign. On December 15, just two days before
the expected rise for Christmas recess, a series of motions focussed Members'
attention on the issue. Holiday plans and precedents were broken as the
Legislature unexpectedly continued to debate between Christmas and New Year's.
On Tuesday, 15 December, Andy
Brandt, Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party moved that an
emergency debate e held on "the need for this House to endorse the
proposed Canada-U.S. trade agreement, an agreement which, while fully
protecting the sovereignty and unique culture of Canada and the right of this
nation to determine and implement its own social and regional development
policies, will provide for more secure access to Ontario's most important
export market thereby creating enhanced opportunities for economic and
employment growth and the reduction of regional disparities both within the
Province and throughout the nation." Mr. Brandt's motion was lost on
division, 15 to 95, with the Official Opposition New Democrats joining the
Liberal Government members to oppose it.
Consumer and Commercial Relations
Minister, . Monte Kwinter, then moved a motion detailing failures and dangers
of the proposed trade agreement. The motion stated that "the proposed
trade agreement between Canada and the United States fails to address Canada's
needs and goals, while making significant concessions which could prove costly
to Canadians". The Government motion faulted the proposed agreement for
failing to secure access to the U.S. market for Canadian goods and services and
providing no assurance of fairer treatment for Canadian exporters and virtually
no relief from U.S. trade laws and regulations.
The agreement would, the motion
continued, relinquish our ability to pursue an independent energy policy;
significantly reduce our ability to regulate U.S. investment and proposed
takeovers of Canadian-owned firms; undercut safeguards for the Canadian auto
industry; and threaten the existence of significant sectors of the agriculture
and food-processing industries.
It would require the federal
government to take "all necessary measures" to implement its
provisions, including infringement on the provincial capacity to respond to the
needs of Ontario citizens.
In conclusion, the motion declared,
"the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario opposes this
agreement as detrimental to Canada's sovereign and economic interests, and will
not be bound to implement those aspects which fall under provincial
jurisdiction. We urge the Parliament of Canada to reject the agreement."
In the ensuing debate, Official
Opposition Leader Bob Rae moved an amendment to Mr. Chanter's motion. In it he
urged that the following actions be taken immediately by the Government of
Ontario: a constitutional challenge to the agreement in the Supreme Court
because of the agreement's infringement on provincial jurisdiction; a message
to the Administration and Congress of the United States expressing our
opposition to the free trade agreement; an unequivocal commitment not to
legislate, regulate or co-operate in any way to implement the agreement in any
area of provincial jurisdiction, whether directly or indirectly; a commitment
to take such other political and economic measures within Ontario's powers
which would have the effect of blocking the agreement; and a message to the
Parliament of Canada urging rejection of the agreement.
After 10 days of debate on the
meaning of Canadian nationhood and the implications of free trade, the
Government and Progressive Conservative Members defeated Mr. Rae's motion on a
vote of 90 to 15 on January 6, 1988. The Government's motion was then carried
on division, 79 to 26, over the combined Opposition parties.
Standing and Select Committees of
the First Session, 34th Parliament, were established in late November and began
with organizational briefings or routine business. The distribution of
chairmanships, agreed to in advance by the House Leaders and Whips, was
according to party representation in the House (10 Liberals, 2 New Democrats
and 1 Progressive Conservative). Out of 10 Liberal presiding officers, seven
were first elected on September 10, 1987.
The Standing Committee on
Administration of Justice, chaired by Robert Callahan, dealt with the Estimates
of the Ministry of Treasury and Economics and the Ministry of Energy. During
January and February, the Committee held hearings in Toronto, Windsor, Ottawa,
Sudbury, and Thunder Bay on Bill 2 An Act to establish the Ontario Automobile
Insurance Board and to provide for the Review of Automobile Insurance Rates.
The Bill was reported to the House with certain amendments on February 8 and
given Royal Assent on February 10.
The Standing Committee on Finance
and Economic Affairs, under the chairmanship David Cooke (Kitchener) held 4
weeks of meetings to consider the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The
Chairman attended a meeting of the American Bar Association on the Agreement in
January. During February and March, the Committee scheduled 2 weeks of hearings
as part of the pre-Budget consultation process, and to consider tax reform.
Bill 29, An Act to amend the
Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, was considered by the standing
Committee on General Government during a week of hearings. The Bill provides
for the restructuring of the Metropolitan Toronto Council to be composed of
thirty-four members, twenty-eight of whom are to be directly elected and the
remaining six to be the mayors of the area municipalities.
Provision is made for the election
of the metropolitan chairman from among the twenty-eight directly elected
metropolitan councillors by all the councillors. Although the mayors will have
a vote for the chairman they will not be eligible for election as Chairman. The
Chairman will be a full voting member.
General Government Committee
Chairman, Noah Stoner reported Bill 29 with amendments to the Legislature on
February 8, and it received third reading the same day.
Allan McLean, presided over the
Standing Committee on Government Agencies organizational briefings by Committee
staff and by officials of Management Board of Cabinet. The Committee scheduled
hearings in March to consider the operations of four agencies: Ontario
Securities Commission, Pension Commission of Ontario, Civil Service Commission
and Ontario Food Terminal Board. The Committee also arranged meetings in
Boston, and Washington, for a comparative review of legislative oversight of
government agencies in those two American jurisdictions.
Herbert Epp presided over
consideration by the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly of the
Government's conflict of interest legislation. After 9 days of Committee
hearings in January, the Legislature passed Bill 1, An Act respecting Conflicts
of Interest of Members of the Assembly and the Executive Council, on February 9
by a vote of 78 to 29. The legislation requires all Members to file an annual
statement of assets with a Commissioner, to be appointed by Cabinet on address
of the Assembly. The disclosure statement must contain:
(a) a statement of the assets,
liabilities and financial interests of the member, the member's spouse and
minor children, and private companies as defined in the Securities Act
controlled by any of them;
(b) a statement of any income the
member and the member's spouse and minor children, and private companies as
defined in the Securities Act controlled by any of them, have received in the
preceding twelve months or are entitled to receive in the next twelve months
and the source of the income; and
(c) any other information that is
prescribed by the regulations.
The Legislative Assembly Committee
also considered and granted requests by the Whipper Watson CAT Scan Campaign,
York County Hospital Foundation, and the Wawatay Native Communications Society
for use of the ONT PARL satellite transponder.
The Standing Committee on the
Ombudsman is chaired by a recently elected member, Cindy Nicholas. The
Committee spent 2.5 weeks of hearings to consider the 1986-1987 Annual Report
of the Ombudsman, and is drafting its l6th Report to the House.
The Committee also met to prepare
future hearings on the issue of expansion of the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.
The Committee has agreed to limit the scope of its hearings to expansion in the
fields of public hospitals, Children's Aid Societies and the New Home Warranty
Program (HUDAC) .
The Committee is also planning to travel
to Manitoba and New Brunswick to meet with Ombudsman officials and politicians
there to discuss the role, function and scope of those Ombudsman operations in
the context of expansion of jurisdiction in Ontario.
The Standing Committee on Public
Accounts is chaired, according to Standing Order, by a member of the Official
Opposition, New Democrat, Ed Philip. The Committee early on held organizational
briefings by the Provincial Auditor, Douglas Archer and former Committee
Chairman, Patrick Reid. A sub-committee travelled to Ottawa to attend the 8th
annual conference of the Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation in
November. The Committee considered the Estimates of the Office of the
Provincial Auditor and, during two weeks of hearings in February reviewed 9
sections of the 1987 Report of the Provincial Auditor. In March, the Committee
met in Ottawa with the Auditor-General of Canada, the Public Accounts Committee
and the Comptroller General; and in Washington visited the General Accounting
The Standing Committee on Resource
Development chaired by Floyd Laughren has been considering the issue of
accidents and fatalities in Ontario mines. The review was announced in the
Speech from the Throne, given a significant increase in the number of deaths in
Ontario mines in 1987.
Until the beginning of March, the
Committee received 51 briefs, heard from about 25 groups and individuals and
travelled to Hagersville, Goderich, Elliot Lake and Sudbury. It toured mines in
each of these locations, as well as Falconbridge's above-ground smelter
operation in Sudbury. Further travel is planned to mines in Caledonia, Windsor,
Red Lake, Hemlo and Manitouwadge.
Peter Adams, Chairman of the
Standing Committee on Social Development, presided over the consideration of
Estimates of the Ministry of Skills Development and the Office Responsible for
A Select Committee on
Constitutional Reform was appointed by the House on November 30, 1987, to
consider and report on the 197 Constitutional Accord and related matters. Under
the Chairmanship of Charles Beer, the Select Committee held six weeks of
hearings in Toronto, London and Ottawa, during February and March. A Report to
the House is expected before the end of the spring sitting.
In December, the Board of Internal
Economy approved a major restructuring of the Office of the Assembly. The
reorganization eliminated the position of Director of Administration and created
two new posts reporting to the Clerk: Controller, and Executive Director of
Assembly Services. The latter has responsibility for Information Systems,
Information Services, Hansard, Sergeant-at-Arms (administrative functions) and
the Food Services branches.
Also established is a Management
Advisory Committee to review all matters from the Office of the Assembly for
the consideration of the Board and to determine that all pertinent material is
available for the benefit of the Board. The Committee is chaired by the Clerk,
who reports to the Board. It consists of the Executive Director of the
Legislative Library, the Executive Director of Assembly Services, the
Controller, and the Speaker as an ex-officio Member.
The reorganization formalizes the
advisory role of the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly in matters
of administration of the House, provision of services and facilities to
Members, and security within the Legislative precincts. At least twice a year,
or at the request of the Standing Committee, the Clerk as Chairman of the
Management Advisory Committee and the Sergeant-at-arms are required to report
to the Committee on matters within their areas of responsibility.
The Board of Internal Economy also
established procedures for filling certain key positions - a process that
further enhances the role of the Standing Committee on the Legislative
The Speaker, after consultation
with the Board of Internal Economy, is to establish the qualifications for the
positions of Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Executive Director of the
Legislative Library, Executive Director of Assembly Services, Controller, and
The Director of Human Resources
then advertises for applicants for the positions and receives all applications.
The Speaker submits a short list of candidates qualified for the position to a
review committee consisting of the Speaker, the Clerk, and a sub-committee of
the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, consisting of the Chairman
and one representative of each caucus. In the case of recruitment of the Clerk
of the Legislative Assembly, the review committee shall consist of the Speaker
and a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly,
consisting of the Chairman and one representative of each caucus. The review
committee then interviews the candidates on the short list and makes a report
to the Board of Internal Economy recommending the name of the candidate for
appointment to the position.
Douglas Arnott , Committee Clerk, Ontario Legislative