Committee Transcripts: Standing Committee on the Ombudsman - 1993-Apr-28 - Organizational Meeting

Organizational Meeting
1993-04-28_b001.htm    HTML

ELECTION OF CHAIR

ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR

APPOINTMENT OF SUBCOMMITTEE

COMMITTEE BUDGET

AUSTRALIAN COMMITTEE

COMMITTEE REPORT

CONTENTS

Wednesday 28 April 1993

Election of Chair

Election of Vice-Chair

Appointment of subcommittee

Committee budget

Australian committee

Committee report

STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN

*Chair / Président: Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Rizzo, Tony (Oakwood ND)

*Abel, Donald (Wentworth North/-Nord ND)

*Akande, Zanana L. (St Andrew-St Patrick ND)

*Drainville, Dennis (Victoria-Haliburton ND)

Henderson, D. James (Etobicoke-Humber L)

*Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND)

*Miclash, Frank (Kenora L)

*Murdoch, Bill (Grey PC)

*Ramsay, David (Timiskaming L)

Stockwell, Chris (Etobicoke West/-Ouest PC)

Wilson, Gary (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Les Îles ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South/-Sud L) for Mr Henderson

Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND) for Mr Wilson

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Murray, Paul, committee counsel and research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1104 in room 151.

ELECTION OF CHAIR

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): Good morning. I am the clerk. I shall be following through with the election of the Chairman. I call upon you to nominate a member for the Chair.

Ms Zanana L. Akande (St Andrew-St Patrick): I nominate Mark Morrow for Chair.

Clerk of the Committee: Are there any other nominations? There being no other nominations, I call upon Mr Mark Morrow to take the chair as the Chairman.

The Chair (Mr Mark Morrow): Thank you very much. I believe this is our third year as the committee of the Office of the Ombudsman.

ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR

The Chair: I'm now going to move into elections for Vice-Chair. I now open the floor for nominations.

Mr Donald Abel (Wentworth North): I'd like to nominate Tony Rizzo in absentia.

The Chair: Tony Rizzo. Any further nominations?

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): Do you really mean that? Do you want further nominations? No.

The Chair: By all means, if you have one. Seeing no further nominations, I declare nominations closed, and I also declare Tony Rizzo elected.

Moving on to the third business on the agenda --

Mr Callahan: Just on that last point, Mr Chairman, I think people watching this process should be well aware of the fact that this is all done in advance. I find it objectionable in an Ombudsman's committee, where the Ombudsman is the court of last resort for those people who have been impaled by the particular government of the day, of whatever political stripe.

I find it interesting that when it comes time to appoint the Chair or the Vice-Chair, and the clerk has to go through this charade of saying, "Are there any other nominations?" the public out there viewing this, and again keeping in mind that this is the Ombudsman's committee -- I mean, I find this to be a sacrosanct committee. The sham down here in terms of the procedure doesn't allow for a second nominee to be made for Chair or Vice-Chair. Somehow that flies totally in the face of democracy. It flies totally in the face of a government that says it's democratic. It also, I suggest, has a good deal to do with what really is wrong with this place.

Ms Christel Haeck (St Catharines-Brock): Point of order.

The Chair: He's on a point of order.

Ms Haeck: Well, I can interrupt with another point of order.

Interjection.

Mr Callahan: What is really wrong with this place is that the structure of it is so -- "pre-arranged" is the best word I can use, the kindest word I can use. It's time that there be reform in this place, that true democracy reign and that people can in fact nominate the best candidate. I'm not suggesting, Mr Chairman, you're not the best candidate or that the Vice-Chair is not, but I think the taxpayers demand that of us. They no longer want these little concepts that were created in the past; they want something more open. They want to see a committee Chair not pre-arranged by the government, and none of these arrangements made whereby no other person could run for committee Chair or Vice-Chair.

We don't want to see any more kerfuffles like yesterday, where Mr Kormos -- what was it, resources development -- was denied the opportunity, even in this fixed arrangement, the right to be the Chairman of that committee. That, to me, makes us, all of us collectively, as politicians, look pretty silly down here. I really think that maybe one of the committees, maybe Legislative Assembly or maybe even the Ombudsman's committee, should really look deeply at the question of reform of this place. Somebody has got to look at it, because I think that the time and effort that was spent yesterday -- there was an entire day in a committee and there was an entire day in the House where people in the opposition had to plead and try to educate the public in terms of how unfair that whole process was.

Think of the money that was spent in doing that when people's public business should have been conducted. It was done, I think, for a very good reason, because it had to be done. It was totally undemocratic what had happened to Mr Kormos in terms of his appointment as Chairman. Yet it took up a full day that would have been available for legislative business and for the benefit of the taxpayers. That's what this whole thing did. So I think someone's going to have to take a look at this, because it can't happen again. I think the public out there demand more of us, and I think it's got to happen.

1110

The Chair: Just before I move to the next point of order, Mr Callahan, you will notice that when the Chair called for nominations for Vice-Chair, I asked for further nominations, and there were none. If you also look in our report on the Ombudsman, we are asking for a bit of reform on this committee, recommendation 42, I believe. Ms Haeck, please.

Ms Haeck: I always find it interesting to get into these discussions because some folks do cling a lot to tradition. I don't necessarily happen to be one of them, but there are some procedures that do follow through in this House. Obviously, I would hope that Mr Callahan would concede that when an opposition Chair is the order of the day, the selection process is exactly the same as what is done here, so for him to somehow assert that this is an extraordinary process that somehow deviates from democracy or practice I think is, shall we say, the pot calling the kettle black, and at that point --

Mr Callahan: I'll have to rise to the occasion for that one, Mrs Haeck.

Ms Haeck: No, I really think the debate is over and I'd adjourn, if we may.

The Chair: You've answered the point, Ms Haeck.

Mr Callahan: I'd like to address that point of order as well, Mr Chairman.

Ms Haeck: I don't know that a motion to adjourn is debatable.

Mr Callahan: There's a point of order on the floor.

The Chair: There is a motion to adjourn.

Mr Callahan: I don't think she can call that motion, with all due respect, until the point of order has been dealt with.

Ms Haeck: No, I called it actually after I finished my point of order.

Mr Callahan: That's terribly democratic of you, Mrs Haeck, but that's not what you can do. I would suggest that --

Ms Haeck: I think under the circumstances it's as good as anything that you guys do.

Mr Callahan: -- there is a further point of order. I raised a further point of order.

The Chair: Excuse me, please. There was a motion on the floor, before your point of order, to adjourn. A motion to adjourn is non-debatable. All those in favour of adjourning, please indicate.

Mr Callahan: You're all alone, I guess.

Ms Haeck: That's fine. It's the democratic way.

The Chair: All those opposed? Thank you very much. Motion defeated.

APPOINTMENT OF SUBCOMMITTEE

The Chair: Now, can we please move to item 3, a motion to establish a subcommittee on business of this committee? Can I have a motion to establish one, please?

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I so move a motion to establish a subcommittee.

The Chair: Mr Miclash, thank you very much. Okay, can we now please name the individuals to the committee, one from each caucus.

Mr Miclash: I nominate Dave Ramsay.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey): Do you want to nominate me?

Mr Callahan: Sure, I'll nominate Crash -- sorry; Bill Murdoch.

Ms Akande: Mr Rizzo.

The Chair: Okay, thank you very much.

Now, all those in favour of the people on the subcommittee, please indicate. Thank you very much. Opposed? Carried.

COMMITTEE BUDGET

The Chair: Item 4: We now have to give some direction to our clerk to establish a budget for the 1993-94 year. I think what the clerk is looking for here is just a motion on the floor to allow him to prepare a budget. Can I have a motion, please?

Interjection.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Any discussion on that motion? Seeing none, all those in favour? Opposed? Seeing none, carried.

AUSTRALIAN COMMITTEE

The Chair: If you all move to the third letter in your package, we have a joint committee that will be here from Australia. It's in October. I gather this is just for a point of information at this point.

Clerk of the Committee: Could I clarify?

The Chair: The clerk has asked to clarify the situation.

Clerk of the Committee: The committee would like to come. They are on their tour. One of the stops will be in Toronto. They would like to meet with the committee and discuss some points that they are reviewing. We have finished our review. They would like to meet with us. The new date will be some time in October, and that is when the Legislature is meeting in Ontario and we are meeting, so if it's agreeable, we'll try to arrange a meeting between the two committees during our own meeting on Wednesday morning.

Ms Akande: I think that's wonderful.

The Chair: Are we all then in agreement? Do I need a motion from the floor?

Clerk of the Committee: Agreement will be fine.

The Chair: Agreement?

Mr Murdoch: We couldn't hear, but that's all right. I'm sure it must be all right; Margaret here is smiling.

The Chair: That chainsaw is fairly loud outside.

COMMITTEE REPORT

The Chair: Okay, the next item of business is a discussion on a proposal to request from the House leaders that a date be set so that we can debate our report in the House on the Office of the Ombudsman. Can we go ahead and ask the three House leaders for a possible date where we can put our report into the House to get it debated? Can I have a motion to that extent, please?

Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): I will move a motion that we request of all three House leaders that a date be set so that a review of the Office of the Ombudsman may be debated in the Legislature.

The Chair: Is there any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all those in favour of the motion? All opposed? Seeing none, carried.

Item 7 on our agenda is any other business. Is there any other business before this committee?

Ms Akande: I don't know whether I have to bring it to the committee, and obviously nobody can hear what I'm saying anyway, especially now, but I understand that -- I missed the last meeting of the Ombudsman committee -- there was some response from the Ombudsman to our committee report. May I have that? I didn't receive it.

Clerk of the Committee: The only letter I have received -- it's in your package -- is from the Ombudsman and is a response to Mr Drainville's question of the Ombudsman. I personally have not received any response regarding the report.

Ms Akande: Can I have a copy of that, please? Oh, it's here. Okay.

The Chair: Ms Akande, at this time, as far as I'm aware, talking with the clerk, there has been no official response to the report.

Ms Akande: Okay, thank you.

The Chair: Is there any other business before the committee?

Mr Dennis Drainville (Victoria-Haliburton): I would wish to move that the committee do now adjourn.

The Chair: This committee stands adjourned until the call of the Chair.

The committee adjourned at 1117.

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