Official Records for 1 June 2010

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO

ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO

Tuesday 1 June 2010 Mardi 1er juin 2010

SPECIAL REPORT, AUDITOR GENERAL

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION

TIME ALLOCATION

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

ORAL QUESTIONS

HEALTH CARE

TAXATION

TAXATION

TAXATION

TAXATION

RETIREMENT HOMES

TAXATION

SERVICES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

BUS TRANSPORTATION

RETIREMENT HOMES

TAXATION

ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE DISABLED

ANTI-SMOKING
INITIATIVES FOR YOUTH

POWER PLANT

CORRECTION OF RECORD

DEFERRED VOTES

TIME ALLOCATION

TIME ALLOCATION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

MEMBERS’ STATEMENTS

CARLETON LODGE AND MANORDALE PUBLIC SCHOOL

CHILD CARE

TOWN OF CHAPLEAU

DEAFBLIND SERVICES

VILLAGE OF PORT CREDIT

RIDING OF BRUCE–GREY–OWEN SOUND

AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

RIDING OF GLENGARRY–PRESCOTT–RUSSELL /
CIRCONSCRIPTION DE GLENGARRY–PRESCOTT–RUSSELL

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
GENERAL GOVERNMENT

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

ONTARIO WORKS AMENDMENT ACT (CARE ASSISTANCE), 2010 /
LOI DE 2010 MODIFIANT
LA LOI SUR LE PROGRAMME
ONTARIO AU TRAVAIL
(AIDE POUR SOINS)

MOTIONS

APPOINTMENT OF OMBUDSMAN

HOUSE SITTINGS

PETITIONS

VETERANS

INJURED WORKERS

SERVICES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

ELMVALE DISTRICT HIGH SCHOOL

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

ONTARIO PHARMACISTS

CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

REPLACEMENT WORKERS

CHANGEMENT DE CLIMAT

ONTARIO PHARMACISTS

WIND TURBINES

IDENTITY THEFT

SERVICES FOR THE
DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION

The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Good morning. Please remain standing for the Lord’s Prayer, followed by the non-denominational prayer.

Prayers.

SPECIAL REPORT, AUDITOR GENERAL

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I beg to inform the House that I have today laid upon the table a special report from the Auditor General of Ontario respecting expense practices at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION

Resuming the debate adjourned on May 31, 2010, on the motion for allocation of time on Bill 65, An Act to revise the law in respect of not-for-profit corporations / Projet de loi 65, Loi modifiant des lois en ce qui concerne les organisations sans but lucratif.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Pursuant to standing order 47(b), there having been two hours of debate on the motion, I am now required to put the question.

On May 31, Ms. Smith moved government notice of motion 25.

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

All those in favour will say “aye.”

All those opposed will say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

This vote is deferred until following question period today.

Vote deferred.

TIME ALLOCATION

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 191, An Act with respect to land use planning and protection in the Far North, when the bill is next called as a government order the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill without further debate or amendment and at such time the bill shall be ordered referred to the Standing Committee on General Government; and

That the vote on second reading may be deferred pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That the Standing Committee on General Government be authorized to meet for four days during the week of June 14, 2010, for public hearings in each of Slate Falls, Webequie, Sandy Lake, Attawapiskat and Moosonee, and during its regular meeting times on Monday, September 13, 2010, and Wednesday, September 15, 2010, for clause-by-clause consideration of the bill; and

That the deadline for filing amendments to the bill with the clerk of the committee shall be 12 noon on Wednesday, September 8, 2010. At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15, 2010, those amendments which have not yet been moved shall be deemed to have been moved, and the Chair of the committee shall interrupt the proceedings and shall, without further debate or amendment, put every question necessary to dispose of all remaining sections of the bill and any amendments thereto. The committee shall be authorized to meet beyond the normal hour of adjournment until completion of clause-by-clause consideration. Any division required shall be deferred until all remaining questions have been put and taken in succession with one 20-minute waiting period allowed pursuant to standing order 129(a); and

That the committee shall report the bill to the House no later than Thursday, September 16, 2010. In the event that the committee fails to report the bill on that day, the bill shall be deemed to be passed by the committee and shall be deemed to be reported to and received by the House; and

That, upon receiving the report of the Standing Committee on General Government, the Speaker shall put the question for adoption of the report forthwith, and at such time the bill shall be ordered for third reading; and

That, when the order for third reading of the bill is called, two hours shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill, apportioned equally among the recognized parties. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

That the vote on third reading may be deferred pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Ms. Smith has moved government notice of motion of 26. Debate?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: I would say thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, but I don’t know what to thank when it comes to this particular bill, first of all, being time-allocated and being dealt with in the way that it’s being put forward now.

It is clear that First Nations, I want to say upfront, want to have a regime of planning instituted in the Far North. It is clear that First Nations want to have development around their communities so that they’re able to deal properly with the issues of making sure that there is economic opportunity for their community and community members. But, clearly, what the government is proposing now by way of the Far North planning act doesn’t meet with the approval of First Nations.

Why do we know that? We know that because we’ve already gone out to committee hearings, and I give the government some credit. I’m not going to say that was a bad thing; I think that was a very good thing. They decided to do a bit of a trial balloon and after the bill was initially drafted, they put the bill out in committee along with the Mining Act last year, where we had an opportunity to travel to a number of communities not so much in the Far North but in the near north in order to deal with what people have to say about this particular bill. It was unanimous. There wasn’t anybody who liked it. Nobody said—

Interjection: Monte Hummel—

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Monte Hummel liked it, but that’s a whole other question. By and large, all of the First Nations, the environmentalists, the mining association and others, all of them were saying that this particular bill created a whole bunch of problems, and I’ll get into that a little bit later. But what was really clear was that First Nations didn’t like this particular version of the bill, and they were very clear. They said, “We want to engage in dialogue with the provincial government,” using this new relationship supposedly that has been developed so that they can come to some kind of understanding about what the Far North planning act should look like.

So the First Nations expected, because the Premier—they took him at his word—said there is a new relationship. They said, “This new relationship then should mean that we’re going to have this dialogue, and we’re going to have an understanding and have some input about what goes in this particular bill as it’s redrafted for second reading.”

Well, how did they find out that the bill was coming back? We heard it from the Minister of Natural Resources the other day when we were debating this bill at second reading. She ran across Grand Chief Stan Beardy in an airport and told him as they were getting on the plane—some new relationship. You’re supposing to have government-to-government relationships with First Nations. It’s not about telling somebody as you’re boarding an aircraft, “Oh, by the way, I’m bringing back the Far North planning act and hope you like it.”

Jeez, I can tell you that Chief Stan Beardy is somewhat upset and so are the other chiefs and elders and those people in resource planning in the Far North when it comes to this particular act. They’re saying, “You have not consulted us in any meaningful way about what amendments should be in this act from first to second reading.” There are some principles that they want to see contained in the act that are not in the act now, and they’re telling you quite clearly—letters have been written by my good colleague Mr. Hillier from the Conservative Party and myself. NAN, Treaty 3 and others have sent letters to the government saying, “Do not allow this bill to go to second reading until you’ve addressed these issues.”

So I say to the government across the way, a new relationship? How is it new for First Nations when they see basically the same kind of treatment that they’ve been getting for years, which is colonialism at its best when it comes to how we deal with First Nations? I just want to say to the government, shame on you for having tried to say that you’ve got a new relationship when clearly the relationship has not changed, and what you’re doing is dictating, by way of your majority in this House, what you think is good for those First Nations. That, to me, sounds a bit paternalistic.

0910

I also want to say that the process by which we’re now going to go to deal with second reading is flawed at best. This time allocation motion says that we’re going to have four days of hearings in about two weeks’ time. We’re going to go to a couple of communities up in the Far North, some of which I agree with. There should be more, but here we are. We’re going to get a scant four days in order to consult with First Nations in the Far North on this particular bill.

But here’s the kicker: They’re going to communities where there’s not going to be anybody there when they show up, because the week that they’re travelling, there’s the assembly of Mushkegowuk tribal chiefs. The elders and the resource planning people are going to be at a meeting in Chapleau, where I’m going to be, when it comes to their annual assembly. So when you try to go into Moosonee and Attawapiskat, you’re going to have a hard time trying to find people to present to this bill, because the very people who you want to talk to are not going to be in the community because they’re at their annual assembly.

This, I think, demonstrates to what degree this government’s out of touch when it comes to trying to work with First Nations. If little old me, a member of the opposition, knew that the Mushkegowuk tribal chiefs were not going to be around that week, a government with all the apparatus that it has—where the heck are they? Did they fall asleep at the switch?

There was a great opportunity, I believe, that was missed by way of having time allocation. It takes away the opportunity to try to tie into a couple of meetings that are taking place in the next couple of weeks that would have given First Nations an opportunity to have a greater say about this legislation and for the standing committee to hear from them. The first one is that NAN is having their annual assembly. That’s going on, I believe, on the eighth and ninth of June, to which I know my leader, Andrea Horwath, is going to be going. I’m going to try to get up to it myself. That’s going to be going on in one of the Far North communities; I believe Sandy Lake, if I remember correctly.

So here’s an opportunity where all of the chiefs of Treaty 9 are going to be assembled at one place, along with the elders and, more importantly, those people who work in resource planning—the whole issue of planning in the Far North. They’re going to be in one community. We could have taken that day, we could have taken a day and a half, whatever it takes, in order for the standing committee to go to the community just prior to their annual meeting starting or just after their annual meeting finishing, so that we can engage in dialogue with those chiefs and elders and land use planning people as to what they think needs to be in this bill. There was one opportunity to, in one day, talk to more people who have something to say about this than any other opportunity we would have had.

The other one is that Matawa is having their annual meeting, along with the Mushkegowuk—they’re having their meeting, I believe, the week of June 14. So I say to the government, good for you that you’re sending this bill to the Far North. I say that is a good thing. But boy, you sure know how to pick your weeks. You’re picking weeks when people aren’t going to be there.

This is the other point: trying to organize getting people to present to this committee. Basically, what we’re going to have is a week, because this bill is now going to be, by way of time allocation, voted on sometime probably within the next day or two; if not this afternoon, then tomorrow. Then the committee has a week in order to strike up who it is who’s going to come and present to the committee.

I’m going to predict that there’s not going to be a lot of take-up for two reasons: One is, how do you, within a week—people don’t get this, right? You’ve got landlocked communities that have no roads and no rail. The only method of transportation going in is by plane. Most of the communities don’t have Internet, and they have phone service that at times is problematic, let’s just put it that way. How are you going to allow those communities to find out (a) that this particular committee is coming to their community, (b) what it’s all about, and (c) give them the chance to organize themselves so that they can have people do some meaningful process of thought about what this bill is and what they think it should look like, in a week’s time? It’s preposterous what you’re up to. If you’re going to force this thing by time allocation, it would seem to me that what the government should have tried to do is try to find a process, in discussion with First Nations, as to “When would it be appropriate for us to travel to your communities? Which communities do you think we need to travel to within Treaty 3 and Treaty 9? Who are those people who want to have the most say on this?” Give the First Nations an opportunity to organize so that they can have a meaningful opportunity to give input into this process at committee.

But no, the government has made up its mind. It’s pretty darned clear. What they’re going to do by way of this time allocation motion is, quite frankly, not give the communities the opportunity to have the say that they want. I say to the government, it’s really clever on your part, using time allocation; very good, efficient use of time. But I’ll tell you, it is at the cost of First Nations and at the cost of a final product that could be better.

Now to the issue, the Far North planning act: Is the Far North planning act a good idea? Absolutely. I don’t think anybody in this House is going to argue, and neither will First Nations, that there doesn’t need to be some form of a planning regime when it comes to how we do development in the Far North. I don’t think anybody would argue against that. But what’s contained in the act is what the issue really is. First of all, you have to allow First Nations the ability to have a say about what planning is going to look like in their communities. To do that, there are a number of things that have to happen.

First of all, there needs to be sufficient time for First Nations themselves to first work individually as First Nations and then as a group within their own tribal councils in order to start working at trying to determine what the approach should be when it comes to land use planning, using some provincial policies to guide them. It’s fairly clear, in my view, that First Nations have been working for a long time on a number of these issues, and some communities are ready to go.

Why didn’t the government take an approach and say, “All right, we’re going to create a land use planning act that enables First Nations to adopt the planning regime that suits their needs and follows provincial policy that would allow them to do it at the time that they’re ready to do it”?

I’ve got to tell you, there are a number of communities that are there and prepared to go and do what needs to be done in order to enact some sort of a planning regime in their community. There are other communities that are not there, and they’re not there for a number of reasons: One, there’s an issue of overlapping jurisdictions between communities that they have to deal with. Most people don’t know this, but within the First Nations communities, there are some pretty grey lines about which community has jurisdiction over which part of the territory. A lot of this was as per how families hunted and gathered over a period of time. There needs to be some discussion between the communities about who’s responsible and where the line ends when it comes to the jurisdiction of community A versus community B. Some of these communities need the time to work their way through this so that the territory of the communities can be defined clearly so that people know who it is they’ve got to deal with.

If you have a development that is in one of those areas that is, let’s say, subject to—what would be the word?—overlapping jurisdictions, where two communities are claiming the same territory, the developer is going to have one heck of a time. Who do you deal with? Why put the developer in that particular position?

What you need to do is allow First Nations the ability to determine where the boundaries are. Yes, you can give them some timelines to do that to a degree, but you’ve got to give them sufficient time to do that.

The other thing is that you have to allow First Nations the ability to develop the capacity to do this in the first place. There are some communities, as I said, that are ready to go. They’ve been working at this for a long time. They’ve been developing capacity in their communities and within their tribal councils to deal with this issue, and they’re ready to go. But there are other communities that are just not there yet because development has not even come close to those communities, and it’s something that they’re starting to think of just now.

I take a look at what the government likes to tout as the next great economic opportunity in northern Ontario; it’s called the Ring of Fire. If you look at the communities in the circle around the Ring of Fire, a majority of those communities at this point are not prepared to deal with those planning issues in the way that the government wants them to do so. There needs to be some time taken for some of those communities to deal with the jurisdictional issues and also the issues of capacity development, and for them to clearly understand what it is that they want, what the sensitive areas are that they want to protect, and to do the kind of stuff that needs to be done in order to make sure that proper land use planning is done.

0920

I just say to the government across the way: Really, you’re trying to hurry this process in such a way that at the end it’s not going to get you what you want. I’ll tell you what we’re going to end up with: We are going to end up, with this act, with two things. First of all, you’re going to have communities that are going to be offside, and when developers go in to do mining development or forestry development or hydroelectric development, whatever it might be, the First Nation community may not be ready and we’re going to have blockades. That’s what’s going to happen.

Why put communities in that position? The ore has been in the ground for thousands of years. Waiting another year or two to give them a chance to get themselves organized to me doesn’t seem very onerous. From the perspective of the developer, they need to know clearly what the heck the rules are. You can’t have what we’ve got now, which is a system where we’re going to be in a position where you still don’t have a clear set of rules of what development is going to be. It’s going to put those developers in a position that I think is quite unfortunate.

I just want to say clearly, as well, a couple of things. I started out with this at the beginning and I just want to say it again. There is hardly anyone in the First Nations communities who is opposed to the idea of development. The question is, how is the development going to happen and who’s going to benefit? That’s the issue that they deal with. I look at the Musselwhite project; I look at the Detour—I’ll talk about Detour Lake in a minute. I look at the Musselwhite project and I look at the Attawapiskat Victor mine project. There have been some really good examples where companies have gone in and taken the time to negotiate an impact benefit agreement with the First Nation.

If we used the private sector principles that De Beers put in place to negotiate their IBA with the Attawapiskat First Nation and other First Nations that were affected, I can tell you, we wouldn’t be doing time allocation. If De Beers had tried to do development by way of what this government is doing with time allocation to short-circuit the process, there would have been huge problems as far as trying to get any kind of an agreement, and, I would argue, that mine would not be operating today. The only reason that mine is operating today is because De Beers understood that they needed to have the consent—and that’s the issue here. They needed to have the consent of the First Nation to go forward. They said, right off the start, years ago, “We, De Beers Canada, will not start this mine unless we have consent from the First Nations and we have an IBA negotiated with each one of them”—impact benefit agreements.

Did that take time? Absolutely, it took time. I venture to guess that it was at least seven to eight years from the beginning to the process of actually ratifying the IBA in Attawapiskat. Was it easy? Absolutely not. For both De Beers and Attawapiskat, it was a difficult process, not because they were antagonistic to each other, but first of all, Attawapiskat: “What’s an IBA? What’s a diamond mine? How much is that worth? What does it mean to me?”—all of those questions. As some community members came to terms with that, other community members didn’t come to terms with it. There were some people who still were opposed to the project. So it took a long time for the proper questions to be asked by the First Nation to their leadership about what should be in an impact benefit agreement.

For De Beers, was it easy? Absolutely not. They spent, I would argue, probably upwards of 20 million bucks to negotiate that IBA. The amount of money it took in order for them to take the staff time, the travel—because everything is by charter. It’s not as if you can walk across the street here in Toronto and take the subway to a meeting; you’ve got to charter aircraft in order to move either the De Beers people to Attawapiskat or the Attawapiskat people to the De Beers office here in Toronto. Lawyers had to be hired. Environmental specialists had to be hired. It took a long time.

Eventually, De Beers Canada, along with the Attawapiskat First Nation, came to an understanding. Was it a perfect understanding? Absolutely not. There are still people in the community of Attawapiskat today who, quite frankly, don’t like this IBA. But the majority—and I think it was 85%, when it went to a vote—said yes.

Has everything in the IBA turned out to be the way that they want it in the First Nation? No. There have been some problems with the IBA, because again, as they negotiated the IBA, the understanding on the part of the greater part of the community was probably somewhat lacking as far as what mining really brings to their community. So they’re learning as they go ahead, and there have been a couple of blockades along the way in order to try to—the community tried to come to terms with the IBA even after it was passed. But, by and large, we have an agreement. The mine is operating. I can tell you, once we get to the next diamond pipes, Attawapiskat, as they negotiate IBAs with De Beers or whoever, is absolutely going to know what questions to ask and what to put inside their IBAs.

But that’s the point I’m making: It takes time. If De Beers Canada—and De Beers International doesn’t have the best record in the world when it comes dealing with aboriginal people, but certainly in Canada, De Beers Canada does. When it came to negotiating, De Beers understood, and I don’t understand why the government doesn’t understand this. De Beers understood that you cannot force an agreement onto a community, that there has to be consent on the part of the community. If De Beers Canada understands that, where the heck is the provincial government?

The same is now taking place with the Detour Lake project. Now, most members of this House will say, “Detour Lake? What’s that?” That’s got to be the largest gold mine, if not just in North America, probably in the world. It’s in my riding, again. There’s going to be a pit that’s going to be developed on the old Detour Lake project that’s probably two kilometres long by 1,000 feet wide. They’ll be mining 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes a day from that particular operation. It’s a $1.2-billion project, so it’s a pretty big thing.

Here’s what Detour Gold is doing: They’re sitting down and they’re negotiating with Moose Cree First Nation and other affected First Nations to that project. They’re not trying to truncate the process. They’re not trying to force the community into an agreement. They’re trying to find an agreement to which the communities can consent. Will they be successful? I think so. I think that Moose Cree has a lot of experience at negotiating IBAs with the mining sector, with OPG and others, so I think the capacity in that community is far enough ahead that they’re able to negotiate an IBA with Detour Lake. But my point is, if the mining companies understand that you’ve got to take the time to negotiate, that you can’t force agreements onto communities and there needs to be consent, where the heck is the government? Where’s the government?

Now, here’s the problem: Not every mining company is a Detour Gold or a De Beers. There are some bad apples out there, and we saw that in the case of KI with Platinex, where they went in and just tried to do it on their own. They tried to get no consent and they tried to railroad over the community. The government’s response was what? Was it, “Hang on, mining company—back off, mining explorationists,” I should say. “Back off for a second. The First Nations community isn’t ready. Go do what Detour Gold is doing and go do what De Beers did”? No; the government took the leadership and threw them in jail. Talk about a new relationship. They took the leadership and they put them in jail for standing up for their rights in order to try to block the mining exploration company from going ahead with the advanced exploration they were trying to do.

So I’m just saying to the government: Listen. Understand that First Nations want development. First Nations do not want their community members to live in poverty. First Nations leadership wants their First Nations members to enjoy the same benefits that we enjoy outside of those First Nations in communities like Timmins, in communities like Toronto and Hamilton, where people are able to get jobs and build better lives for themselves and their families. They see the abject poverty in their communities every day. They see the dysfunctionality that the poverty brings. They want development for their First Nations members, but they want to have a say about how that development’s going to happen so that they can make sure that they protect their interests, both when it comes to their economic interests and when it comes to their interests on the land, the environmental protection that is needed in developing these particular projects.

The government needs to understand that the First Nations are ready. They want to go there. But you cannot force them into a process such as you’re forcing them now, because NAN and Treaty 3, Mushkegowuk tribal, Wabun, all of them have told you the same thing: “We want planning, we want a planning act, but we need to have a system by which we have an ability to give our consent about how planning is going to take place,” and that’s not in this bill.

Now, the other part of this bill which—I’m going to go there in a minute. The other thing is that the government also needs to understand that it’s not just strictly about planning now, because yes, you need to have a planning act of a type that gives developers an understanding of what it is they can do and can’t do with regards to the environment and the economic interests of First Nations communities, but you’ve also got to deal with revenue-sharing. Communities in the Far North have to have the same ability as any other community when it comes to benefiting from the economic development that’s going on in their area.

0930

In the city of Timmins, when a mine is established within our community, Mayor Tom Laughren and his council don’t have to pass any special legislation. There is an Assessment Act that deals with how we’re going to assess taxes on that mining development or whatever development it might be. The taxes that are generated from those particular buildings and properties are paid in the form of assessment to the municipality so that we have some money to build some infrastructure.

If you build a mine in a place like Attawapiskat, the company doesn’t have to do anything. There’s no requirement to pay any kind of assessment on property or on value of buildings or anything to the First Nation.

Am I arguing that we should have municipal taxation for First Nations? That’s not my argument. What I say is that the government needs to recognize that we need to find a way to share the revenue that we currently get from the mining activity and that it be shared with the First Nation. I would argue: You don’t create a new tax; what you do is take the existing taxes that are paid on the part of the mining companies and we, the province of Ontario, share those taxes in some sort of way that’s commensurate with what municipalities would get. If, let’s say, a project would generate for the city of Timmins $2 million a year and the project is so big, the province of Ontario should take some of its revenue from various forms of taxation that we get on mining activities, and that equal amount of $2 million a year should be, by statute, given to the First Nation so that they can build roads, water plants, housing, sewer systems; so they can build an arena for kids to have a place to go play hockey; so they can do those things that we take for granted in our communities.

I want you—those members who are lucky enough to go on this committee when it travels in two weeks—to look at the infrastructure in each and every one of the communities we’re going to travel into. I’m going to ask you a very simple question at the end of the four days: Would you raise your family in those communities? No paved roads; absolutely not. Not one paved road in any community. What does that mean? That means it’s a really dusty place in the summer and it’s an extremely muddy place in the spring and summer. What does that do for the psyche of a community when you’re tracking dirt just because of the condition of the roads?

Housing that is inadequate and busted and there isn’t the money to fix it; families that are living 20, 25 people in a house; a community that doesn’t have a hockey rink, a community that doesn’t have a gym where kids can go and play basketball or volleyball or do the things that need to be done; communities where schools are—quite frankly, if you sent your child to that school, you’d pull them out—schools with mould in them; schools with textbooks that don’t exist or are in really bad shape; schools that are funded at 50% of the rate of a provincial school because our federal government is absent when it comes to their responsibility to those First Nations.

I want you to visit those four communities that we’re going to be in and I want you to come out at the end of it and tell me if you would raise your family in those communities. I can tell you what the answer is going to be: You’re going to say no.

So the question is this: Once you’ve seen it, what do you do about it? The first place we can start is where we have the ability to make a change, and that is in the planning act that you’re trying to create under the Far North planning act and with revenue-sharing, so that communities at least have the hope of developing infrastructure in their communities that becomes equal to or greater than what we find in our communities down south. I don’t think that’s asking for a heck of a lot. Why should a mining, forest or hydroelectric activity happen in the Far North and the First Nations not benefit from it? It’s their territory.

We forget that when we signed Treaty 9 with our First Nations, which is Nishnawbe Aski, and Treaty 3 and others, the basis of the treaty was really simple: “We, First Nations, do not cede our land to the crown. We agree to share the land with the crown and that the benefit that derives from the land be shared between our two nations.” That was the basis of the agreement. Since then, now 100 years plus, we’ve done very little from the crown side—being the province and the federal government—to do any sharing. We’ve been really good at taking. Oh, God, we’ve taken it all, and we’ve left them with communities that are, quite frankly, substandard when it comes to infrastructure. We’ve done quite well with the resources we’ve extracted in northern Ontario and across this province and have left First Nations far behind.

I can’t change what my ancestors did in this Legislature 100 years ago; neither can anybody in this House. But certainly to God we can change something today. Certainly to God we, as members in this assembly, can say we don’t agree with what’s happened in the past as far as how we’ve taken advantage of First Nations, how we have not lived up to our side of the bargain, and that we are going to do better. We are going to ensure that we do have a planning act that works for First Nations, that they can be proud of, that they can say is theirs and they can move forward with development. Certainly to God we can do revenue-sharing so that those projects that go forward have an ability to give some economic activity to those First Nations communities.

I say to the government that trying to short-circuit this process, you’re not doing them any favours. If you think that you’re the great saviours of First Nations and you’re going to do some wonderful things to help them along, they don’t need this kind of help.

What they need is a government and a Legislature that understands that they are still a sovereign people, that this is their land and they’re still prepared to share with us, but we need to have a mechanism by which they’re able to benefit and have a say about what happens. It’s a very simple concept.

Now, I say again, we’ve got some good examples in Ontario. We’re quite fortunate. Some of the mining outfits that are operating in Ontario are further ahead of the government than we are as a Legislature.

Mr. Peter Shurman: The ones that are left.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: The ones that are left is a whole other issue.

The point is that certainly to God if Detour Gold, who’s now negotiating IBAs with First Nations, if the Victor mine, De Beers Canada, who has negotiated IBAs with Attawapiskat and other First Nations, understand the concept, where the heck is the government?

I’ve got to say, you’re not only making things bad for First Nations by way of what you’re doing, you’re not making things any easier for those companies that are trying to operate in the Far North, because I’ll tell you, they understand that they have a responsibility. I’ll tell you what they’ll do.

Companies like De Beers or Detour Gold or Lake Shore Gold, who’s negotiating an IBA in Timmins as we speak, are all in the same situation. They’re going to look at the model and say, “Here’s an ore body. This is how much ore is in it. This is what the grade is. This is how many tonnes we’ve got to take out. Factor in what it’s going to cost us to have an IBA with the First Nations community. Factor in what it’s going to cost to negotiate that, and we either have or don’t have a mine.”

It’s the same way they do it when they come into the city of Timmins. When they come into the city of Timmins, Sudbury or Kenora—I should say Red Lake or Kirkland Lake—to build a mine, they look at how much it’s going to cost to build and they decide it’s either a project or it’s not.

Companies understand how this works, but what they need to have are clear rules about where they can explore, how that exploration can take place, what the requirements are when it comes to advance exploration when it comes to First Nations, what the requirements are when it comes to development of a mine and how First Nations are going to benefit. They’ll factor in what the cost is, and they’re either going to say, “It’s a mine or it’s not a mine.” It’s a really simple process.

I don’t understand why the government doesn’t get this. It’s not as if we’ve not had this debate before. I and others have been pushing this issue for years in this Legislature. We’ve actually passed at second reading a revenue-sharing act that I put forward in this Parliament about six, seven years ago. Unfortunately, the government didn’t adopt it at third reading, but this House at least provided some leadership by saying, “Yes, we agree with the concept. Let’s go forward and try to figure out what needs to be done.”

I say to the government, shame on you, because time allocation might be very cute within the Liberal ranks, it might be very cute at cabinet, you might be very proud of yourself as a minister responsible, you might think you’re doing a great thing, and, “Boy, we’re finally going to do something to bring development to them First Nations,” as they would see them. But I’m just saying, you’re not doing them any favours. You’re not doing First Nations any favours and you’re not giving them the respect they’re due when it comes to this process. We need to have a planning act that First Nations consent to. We need to have a planning act that reflects the value of the First Nations. We need to have a planning act that’s developed in a timeline that works for First Nations so that they have the time to know what questions to ask, how to ask them and how to get the answers, and how to put it into legislation that works for them.

We need the time to be able to develop a revenue-sharing protocol of some type with the crown. Again, I don’t argue new taxes; I argue doing something with existing taxes by which the province shares with First Nations; that we deal with the training issues so that First Nations are able to train their members so that they’re able to get the jobs in the exploration companies, in the development and operation of those mines at all levels, from management to workers. There’s a lot that needs to be done, and I think that in the end, we would all be better if we were to do this, because we do know there is huge potential in northern Ontario when it comes to mining in the Far North. We know there’s huge potential when it comes to hydroelectric and forestry, to a certain degree. All of us here in Ontario can benefit by way of coming to the proper understanding with First Nations about how that’s going to happen.

0940

If it takes another four or five years, so be it. Let’s take the four or five years that are needed in order to negotiate what’s right. In the end, all you’re doing is you’re forcing a product onto the First Nations that they’re not going to see as their own, that they are not going to like, and you’re inviting problems down the road where we will not have the kind of buy-in that we need by First Nations to move forward with development.

Those are the comments that I wanted to give in this particular debate. I just say to the government, shame on you for using time allocation on such an important bill. Shame on you for the amount of time that you’re taking in developing this and not doing it in such a way that gives First Nations the type of say that they should have in an issue as important as this one.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Further debate?

Mr. Randy Hillier: Once again, we’re speaking to a time allocation motion, and this one is on Bill 191, the Far North Act. Of course, the Liberal government has painted a picture of themselves with the Far North Act as the great consulters, the great open and transparent Liberal government who will sit down and consult with people before they bring in Bill 191, and then they bring in time allocation. There’s nothing so deceptive as the obvious with this Liberal government.

This Liberal government, with time allocation, really demonstrates just how much contempt they hold for northern Ontario with this bill. They themselves know that everybody in the north opposes this bill the way it stands. I’ve read into this House resolutions from the NAN First Nation, resolutions opposing Bill 191, and I’d like to just read a little bit. This is the latest letter from NAN, signed by Grand Chief Beardy:

“As Bill 191 continues to be considered for second reading in session 2, Parliament 39” of Ontario, “the First Nations in NAN would like to remind you and other members of Parliament that they oppose the bill as it is currently written.

“NAN First Nations have been consistent in their opposition to the bill since it was first read and carried on June 2, 2009. NAN First Nations continue to oppose the bill even though the Standing Committee on General Government reviewed it and made amendments in October ... 2009.”

Last summer, the committee went through the near north, listened to people, listened to First Nations, listened to municipalities, listened to industry. They were all opposed to Bill 191. The government and the opposition on that committee heard it clearly—we took deputations and delegations from across the north—and guess what? It was all just a facade with this Liberal government. Not one of those concerns has made it into second reading. There’s the term “Hobson’s choice.” I guess we’re going to have to change it to “the Liberal choice” instead of “Hobson’s choice,” where you can take it or you can leave it, but the Liberals are just going to do it anyway. You can have all the appearance of the Liberals listening, all the appearance that they’re concerned, but at the end of the day they do absolutely zero, nothing. Nothing was done from all those committee hearings through northern Ontario.

But I will say that there is that one person who does support this bill, other than the Liberal Party itself, and that is Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife Fund. He was consulted. He sat down with the Premier. They discussed Bill 191. They came up with their ideas. Bill 191 is the result of Monte Hummel’s and the World Wildlife Fund’s discussion with the Premier of this province.

It is absolutely atrocious that this Liberal government is now bringing in a time allocation motion to prevent further discussion and debate on Bill 191.

I find it interesting. I was listening to my colleague from Timmins–James Bay, who made some excellent points about Bill 191. He was on the committee hearings last year as well. As I was sitting here listening to the member from Timmins–James Bay, I cast my eyes over to the other side, and nobody in the Liberal benches was listening at all. I wouldn’t mind if the cameras could show the other side of the House during this debate. It shows just how little regard the Liberal government and the Liberal members have for debate on northern Ontario. They’re not interested; they don’t care. As long as Monte Hummel is in favour of it, everything’s good with these fellows.

But I have to mention that there are significant needs in northern Ontario. This government in Queen’s Park needs to recognize that the north has received the short end of the stick from this government, and the stick that this government is giving to them is getting sharper.

Just to give a little background: Here we’re going to lock off a quarter-million square kilometres of land. We’re going to prevent any development on that land: any hydro development, any roads, any mines. On the rest of the land, we will allow development after these land use plans have been put in place. But a quarter-million square kilometres are going to be off limits for anybody and everybody.

I’d like to just ask the people who are listening in Ontario—and the people across the way, if they’re listening—what would Ontario look like if Dalton McGuinty had been the first Premier of this province and had brought in a bill that locked off half of Ontario from development? Would this province even exist today, with a Dalton McGuinty Premier who locks off half of development? There’s no way our province would have succeeded.

But now we’re asking—we’re not asking, we’re demanding of the First Nations and the people of northern Ontario that we tie their hands behind their backs. We will not allow them to find value in the resources of northern Ontario on a quarter-million square kilometres of land. They will not find value in minerals. They will not find value in hydroelectric developments. They will not find value anywhere—in forestry; anywhere—because this government and Monte Hummel want to have a super-park in northern Ontario, a super-park named poverty and destitution. That will be the name of this Liberal park in northern Ontario. And 42%—a quarter-million square kilometres: no development, no homes, no cottages, no roads, no hydro; just a park of poverty that this Liberal government is creating in northern Ontario. At the same time that they talk the talk of the Ring of Fire, they walk the green walk with Monte Hummel. That’s what this Liberal government is doing.

They talk of their open-door policies, and they’re opening the doors for everybody to leave this province. There are no open doors of opportunities. It’s opening the door to obstruction; opening the door to red tape; opening the door to government interference. Open the door and you’ll find a vast emptiness, because no development will be happening in northern Ontario.

Absolutely, this will harm northern Ontario tremendously, but it will also have effects here as well. It will have effects in southern Ontario.

It really galls everyone as we watch the actions of this Liberal government, as we watch them refuse to listen to people, refuse to act on thoughtful reasoned amendments to the bill and refuse to do anything. Then they have their communications experts and spin doctors talk about how open and transparent they are and how consultative they are and that they would never do anything without consultation. It’s just a facade. It’s Morton’s fork: take it or leave it. The Liberals are still going to get their way. They’ve got their majority, and they don’t care.

It’s much like the same tactics, the same strategy and the same process the Liberals used for their HST: “We’re going to bring in this tax, even though we told you and we pledged an oath that we wouldn’t increase taxes without going back to the people.” They bring in a new tax. Whatever they want to do, they say one thing, and they do the other thing.

Of course, when the Progressive Conservatives get a deal with the Liberals to have a motion in this House to debate the HST, and they agree to it, as soon as we turn our backs, they renege on the deal, and they pull the motion off the floor, preventing people in this province from hearing debate on the HST.

That whole HST debacle that this government has brought forward—they’re now trying replicate it even worse in the north with Bill 191. They’re using the same process they did with the HST: cutting off debate, cutting off discussion, pretending to listen while at the same time they’re conniving to get their way, to get through what’s already there.

As I mentioned earlier to the member from Timmins–James Bay, there was no interest on the Liberal side of this House listening to the thoughtful comments from the member. This Liberal government is not interested in debate or discussion on anything. They have their own agenda. It is an agenda that Monte Hummel agrees with in the north. It’s an agenda that creates the largest park of poverty and destitution in this Confederation, and they just don’t care.

I would move that we have a motion to adjourn debate on Bill 191.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Mr. Hillier has moved adjournment of the debate. 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 nays have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 0953 to 1015.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Pursuant to standing order 46(a), I am now required to put the question. Mr. Hillier has moved adjournment of the debate.

All those in favour, please rise and remain standing.

All those opposed, please rise and remain standing.

The Clerk-at-the-Table (Ms. Tonia Grannum): The ayes are 0; the nays are 5.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): I declare the motion lost.

Debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): The clock being past 10:15, I declare this House recessed until 10:30.

The House recessed from 1016 to 1030.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Mr. Michael A. Brown: I would like to introduce the mother of page Lars Moffatt. She will be in the members’ east gallery later on this afternoon. Dianna Stenland is from the beautiful municipality of Plummer Additional, which is a suburb of Bruce Mines.

Ms. Sylvia Jones: Please indulge me as I introduce members who are here to talk about developmental services in Ontario: Helene Jacobs, Cindy Mitchell, April Wells, Margaret Frame, Don Burroughs, Lind Armour, Bryan Shields, Janet Monahan, Pat Senft, Barbara Ostroff and her son Jeremiah, Jessie Poulton, Marty Graf, Cathy Parker, Tracy McGarry, Samantha Hillis, Carol Hunt, Melissa Jenkins, Nicky Jones, Hetty Ryan, Barbara Hooton, Odette Lawrence, Catherine Arthurs and her daughter Janis Jaffe-White, Linda Russell, Laza and her son Filip, Wilma Arthurs, Stacey Ryan and her daughter Sadler, Annette Haley and her son Lucas, Jan Burke-Gaffney, Judith McGill, Philippa Howell, Gail Fisher-Taylor and her son Kerr, Christy and Bill Barber and her daughter Nancy, Brodie Hart, Kathleen Hutchinson, Maureen Emmons, Keith Powell, Garry Cooke, and Gordon Kyle. I’m sure there are others, and I apologize if I have mispronounced any. I think it’s important that people understand just how many parents and children are here.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I’d like to introduce some folks from my constituency and my staff: Beth Mackinnon, Afie Mardulchi, Aafaaq Shaikh, and Samantha Grant, a summer intern.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s my pleasure to introduce, in the opposition gallery today, some people who came here from the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario: Dean McCabe, from the Association of Condominium Managers; Jennifer Webb is a condo property manager; Dawn Rogers is a condo property manager; Martha Lippa is a condo property manager; and Laurel McCorriston is a condo property manager.

Also joining us today is Penny Simmons of Penny Loafers Shoe Shine Co., which will see an 8% HST tax hike come July 1. She’s here today to make sure that the McGuinty government is being held to account on that.

Mme France Gélinas: It is my pleasure to welcome one more time at Queen’s Park the members of the Yellow Shirt Brigade from Niagara, especially Sue Salzer and all of her friends. Welcome to Queen’s Park, ladies.

Mr. Charles Sousa: On behalf of our esteemed colleague, I would like to acknowledge residents from his riding of Oakville who have concerns about their local air quality. I would like to recognize representatives of Citizens for Clean Air in attendance today, along with the mayor of Haldimand county, Her Worship Marie Trainer; and the mayor of Oakville, His Worship Rob Burton.

Hon. Margarett R. Best: It’s my pleasure to welcome to the Legislature this morning my constituent Mr. William Burch, from the riding of Scarborough–Guildwood, in the members’ east gallery.

Mrs. Christine Elliott: I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce my good friends Rod and Marnie Barlow, who are here to express some of their concerns with respect to the developmental services sector as well today. Welcome.

Hon. Monique M. Smith: It’s my privilege today to introduce Alexandra Wilkinson, who is here with us. She’s my summer student. She goes to Western. She’s doing a fantastic job, and she wanted to come and see how the House runs today.

Mr. Charles Sousa: I would also like to welcome, soon to the public gallery, 16 members of the folklore group known as Pauliteiros de Duas Igrejas from Miranda do Douro, located in the north of Portugal. They were the headline performers at the Portugal pavilion at Mississauga’s Festival of Cultures during Carassauga’s 25th anniversary last weekend. They will be joining in this year’s Portugal Week festivities.

I urge everyone to join us this Saturday to see these wonderful dancers perform at the Portugal Day parade.

Bem vindo ao Ontario, Canada. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound and page Emma Allen to welcome her father, Peter Allen, to the members’ gallery today.

We have with us in the Speakers’ gallery today a very special delegation from the Sultanate of Oman, led by His Excellency Dr. Yahya bin Mahfoodh Al Manthri, chairman of the state council. The delegation is accompanied today by the non-resident ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Canada, Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy.

Please join me in welcoming all of our guests to the Legislature today. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, if you would permit me to do one more introduction, my summer interns Kayla Palmateer, Peter Swanstrom and Samantha Smitiuch are here with us today.

ORAL QUESTIONS

HEALTH CARE

Mr. Tim Hudak: A question to the Acting Premier—I want to first welcome the Yellow Shirt Brigade to the Legislature here today, tireless advocates for health care in Fort Erie and Port Colborne.

Sadly, the Yellow Shirt Brigade has witnessed the closure of the 24-hour ER in Fort Erie under Dalton McGuinty. Then Dalton McGuinty hid behind the veils of his LHIN to justify this cut in health care. To add insult to injury, André Marin, the Ombudsman, did an investigation of LHIN decision-making in Hamilton and Niagara, and you’ve buried that in this circus of a show that you put the Ombudsman through these last number of months.

I ask the Acting Premier: Will you do the right thing? Will you reopen the 24-hour ER in Fort Erie? If you don’t, a PC government will.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Health.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I guess the campaign has begun. The pledge to flatline or cut health care is now augmented by a promise to open an emergency department.

But in any case, let me first of all welcome the members of the Yellow Shirt Brigade. One thing I’ve learned in my time as Minister of Health is how passionate the people of Ontario are about their health care system, and no one exemplifies that more than the Yellow Shirt Brigade. Thank you for being here once again.

When it comes to our health care system, the vitally important thing is that we offer the very best health care to people as close to home as possible. What that—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: Minister, with all due respect, instead of giving platitudes to the Yellow Shirt Brigade, give them the answer they want. Just tell them that you’re going to reopen the 24-hour ER at Douglas Memorial Hospital in Fort Erie. Just cut to the chase.

They’re also here today because the Ombudsman has completed his investigation into your unaccountable, unelected, largely anonymous LHIN Liberal appointees. Seventeen weeks ago he handed it off to the Premier, and you have put him through an incredible sham—a three-ring circus of a process, smearing his reputation, with Dalton McGuinty’s team engaging in an unprecedented whisper campaign. You’ve avoided the mandated review of your LHIN process and you’ve unleashed attack dogs like Warren Kinsella to personally attack the Ombudsman.

Minister, will you release today the Ombudsman’s report on the LHINs so we can get to the bottom of why you closed—

1040

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Minister?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: The member opposite knows full well that the Ombudsman will release his report whenever the Ombudsman decides to release his report. The member knows that.

When it comes to health care, as I was saying, we are determined to build the very best high-quality health care system that we possibly can, providing care as close to home as possible, as quickly as possible, at the highest possible quality. Having said that, there are times when the best possible care is not available in the home community hospital.

We have looked at the situation in Niagara very closely; the LHIN has. We brought in Dr. Jack Kitts from Ottawa to have another look at the decisions around health care in the Niagara region. The overwhelming consensus among those who looked seriously at health care policy—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Final supplementary.

Mr. Tim Hudak: The arrogance of the Liberal government after six and a half years in office shows no bounds. You blame André Marin for the lack of the release of the LHIN report when you are sitting on it, and you’ve put him through a three-ring circus of a reappointment process. You’ve engaged your Liberal attack dogs, like Warren Kinsella, in an ugly whisper campaign. You’ve smeared the reputation of the Ombudsman and tried to bury the report.

I ask you, Minister—it’s very clear how to proceed today—will you just cut to the chase? Will you reappoint André Marin, set aside your smear campaign, and then release that LHIN report immediately to see why Dalton McGuinty tried to close the ERs in Fort Erie and Port Colborne?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: The member opposite continues with his drive-by smear campaign of our local health integration networks. This leader of the opposition, this man who aspires to be the Premier of this province, has been to communities across this province and has not even taken the time to talk to people who work in health care. What he has done is he has driven up, parked at the podium in front of the hospital and completely discredited the people who are making our health care system as strong as they can. I think it’s time that this member started to take health care in this province seriously.

TAXATION

Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Acting Premier: Not only are people in the Yellow Shirt Brigade and other seniors across the province losing access to key ER services like in Fort Erie and Port Colborne, they’re worried about the impact of the HST in one month’s time. The HST greedy tax grab kicks in on Canada Day. Today marks the beginning of Seniors’ Month, and how is Dalton McGuinty celebrating? Well, not in the Legislature today. He’s interested in punishing seniors—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I remind the honourable member that we don’t make reference to the attendance of members.

Mr. Tim Hudak: The Premier is putting a new tax on mutual funds, which means less income in retirement. He’s putting a new tax on condo fees, 8% on gas for their cars, snow removal, lawn care, home repairs, Internet, entertainment etc.

Why is the Premier closing down ER services and also raising the taxes on seniors in their retirement?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know my colleague is going to want to comment on the HST.

I want to just make a comment, first of all, about what we have done for seniors, because the member opposite is saying that this government has not paid attention to the needs of seniors, and that is not true.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Acting Premier?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The most recent example that this party is not supportive of the initiatives we’ve put in place to help seniors is that they are in opposition to reducing the price of generic drugs. We are working very hard to make sure that seniors get the medications they need at a price that’s reasonable, and the party opposite is not supportive of that.

On top of creating 8,000 new long-term-care beds, creating a new Ontario sales tax for seniors, doubling the Ontario home property tax for seniors, we have got a basket of measures to support seniors. The party opposite has not supported any one of those.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary.

Mr. Tim Hudak: The minister asks what you’ve done to seniors. Well, Minister, you’ve closed the ERs for seniors in Niagara. You’re bent on closing down community pharmacies and interrupting that dependent relationship between seniors and their community pharmacists. Now you’re putting in smart meters that say to seniors, who have fought in the wars, who helped us through the Depression, who have built this great province, “Well, too bad. Wash your clothes at 11 p.m. Do your dishes at 10 p.m. We don’t care.”

The PC Party does not share that view, and we will continue to stand up and fight for seniors in this province.

What happens on Canada Day? A new tax on home heating, energy conservation retrofits, taking the dog or cat to the vet, cable, haircuts, vitamins. How much more can seniors take in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario? Won’t the minister please stand up and say you’re not going to go through with this massive tax—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Acting Premier?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Revenue.

Hon. John Wilkinson: I want to say to the seniors of Ontario—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I realize that this is the last week. Many members may want to be out of here earlier. I would be very happy to help facilitate an early exit for them.

Minister of Revenue.

Hon. John Wilkinson: Millions of seniors and millions of Ontarians are going to receive billions of dollars over the next year courtesy of our agreement with the federal government. The PC Party voted against that. On July 1, seniors will receive their enhanced property tax credit. We’re doubling that credit, a credit that you voted against in the first place, and you voted against the doubling. That is for seniors. And then there are many seniors who, in August, will start to qualify for the new Ontario HST rebate that your party voted against.

Let’s make sure the seniors know the whole story on this file. Yes, indeed, we are reforming our tax system. This side of the House has a plan to create 600,000 more jobs in this province, and your side of the House doesn’t. Seniors rely on their public services. It requires a vibrant economy, an economy like Ontario leading Canada and leading in the world—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Final supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: Dalton McGuinty is punishing Ontario seniors with his HST tax grab on hotel stays, gas for their cars, gym memberships and dry cleaning. The auditor’s report today shows that Liberal insiders at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. racked up millions of dollars expensing the same items: hotels, cars, limousines, spa visits, clothing, lavish hospitality. So when seniors want to see the local community play, you’re going to nail them with the HST increase while your friends at the OLG go to see Detroit luxury suites, the Air Canada Centre, season’s tickets etc., running up the bills. Why do you have one rule for Liberal insiders and a different rule for hard-working retired Ontario seniors?

Hon. John Wilkinson: The Minister of Finance would be eager to answer that question.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: I am delighted that we have changed the expense policies that were put in place by the government you were a part of. That member, when he was a minister, expensed $1,000 a month for alcohol and partying—more than any of the officials covered by this.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Stop the clock.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Member from Halton.

I think it’s important to remind all members that when we are either asking questions or answering questions, we in no way start to bring in attacks on individual members.

Minister of Finance.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: We took action last year and addressed the problems before the auditor’s report. I called the auditor in to do this.

The other point I would make is that those changes—the new board, the new executives we brought in are cleaning this up. We welcome the auditor. We asked him to do this. He did a thorough report. We’re delighted with the findings. We’ve taken the right steps with Paul Godfrey and the new board to make sure none of this happens again.

TAXATION

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Acting Premier. With the HST now 30 days away, families are figuring out the changes that they’re going to have to make to adjust. Roger Davidson of Toronto writes this:

“Two years ago I lost my business of 42 years at Chrysler. At 62, I finally got a job and am barely scratching by every month. This HST will cost me $196 per month.… It looks like our son will no longer be able to either play hockey or golf.”

1050

With people like Mr. Davidson already struggling for a good job and decent pay, how is a new tax on everything from heating to hockey going to help him?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Revenue.

Hon. John Wilkinson: I would encourage Mr. Davidson not to go to the NDP website to find out what’s changing but actually go to the government’s website at ontario.ca/taxchange, where some two million Ontarians have actually gone to get the facts on which things are changing and which things are not. Some 83% of things will see no change in sales tax. It is true that there will be a change in regard to 17% of things—broadly speaking, energy and services—but by going to that website, you get to understand, especially for Mr. Davison, all of the tax benefits that are particularly geared for those people who are struggling; for example, the new Ontario sales tax benefit, the fact that this individual, of course, will qualify for the transitional payment as well, and the fact that we have reduced his income tax on the first. Again, as someone who is almost a senior, there will be other benefits that he will qualify for when he turns 65. It’s important to get the whole story out—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I’ve heard from many more Ontarians. Nancy McSloy writes this: “According to my calculation, the HST is going to cost us an extra $94 per month, or $1,128 per year. Last year, I lost my job.... My husband lost his job in November.... Any extra expense is a hardship.”

Marcella Lico of Hamilton adds, “If you could kindly let Mr. McGuinty know that we are in a recession, [and] although making a steady recovery, there are many of us who have not had a pay increase in more than two years or, even worse, are unemployed.”

Why is the McGuinty government making people like Mrs. Lico and Ms. McSloy, who are already worried about their jobs and their incomes, pay an average of $800 more each and every year?

Hon. John Wilkinson: There’s the contrast. You’re talking about people who have troubles because of a recession, which we’re now getting over, and the fact that they don’t have jobs. On this side of the House, we have a plan to create 600,000 jobs over the next 10 years. Your party doesn’t have a plan.

I say to the people who have been affected by the recession—through no fault of their own—that your government understands that. That’s exactly why we’re reforming our taxes: so there are more jobs. That’s what those people want more than anything else.

To ensure that those people with the least, including those people who are suffering from unemployment, are looked after, we have done a number of things. For example, when it comes to their income, we cut their income tax so we have the lowest income tax rate of any province in Canada on the first $37,000. I know that those individuals will be receiving tax-free transition cheques. I also know that if they’re struggling—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Final supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The McGuinty HST is going to cost families in northern Ontario big bucks. Tom and Heather Brignall from Dryden write this: “We have our house for sale, ready to move to Manitoba. It’s hard enough to heat our home now. With the added tax, what are we supposed to do? We can’t cut back on heat! How will that help our economy in northwestern Ontario?”

Lorri Foley from Sault Ste. Marie adds, “We ... have children living abroad, and any increase in costs for air travel will definitely reduce our ability to visit them. It is already difficult to do so, living in northern Ontario.... ”

Can the Acting Premier explain to people like the Brignalls and Mrs. Foley how a new tax on everything helps create jobs and grow prosperity in northern Ontario?

Hon. John Wilkinson: Only NDP math would think that 17% is everything. I say to the member, if they went to the website they would understand that when that individual wants to see their loved ones outside of this country, there is no change in tax. It’s exactly that kind of pernicious statement of what they consider to be fact which is causing concern for Ontarians, and I think they’ll understand after July 1.

I say that we’ve taken special care, because of the leadership of our northern caucus, to have a new energy rebate for up in the north.

To the question of Manitoba and Ontario, on July 1, the marginal effective rate on new investment in this province will be half of what it is in Manitoba. I think that leads to a brighter future for northern Ontario as we take the steps to make sure that we’re even more competitive.

This is all about the fact that in the north and throughout Ontario, we need more jobs. They’re coming, but it’s because we’re showing the leadership and understanding of what we need—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

TAXATION

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My second question again is to the Acting Premier. Ontario seniors, too, are going to feel the HST squeeze very soon. Darlene Wright of Barrie writes this: “The HST will affect me by about $500 per year. As a single, 60-year-old senior lady on a fixed income, I currently work two part-time retail jobs to pay my living expenses. It’s impossible to find full-time work at my age.... I may have to take on a third part-time job just to pay the HST.”

Rosanne Delorme from Peterborough writes this: “I calculated the HST will cost our family of two seniors on a fixed income an extra $1,122 a year.”

After devoting a lifetime to building our province, how is the new tax on turning the lights on going to help seniors through their retirement years?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know the Minister of Revenue will want to comment in the supplementary, but I just want to make the statement that we are very, very aware and we were aware when we put our package of tax reforms in place that there were certain people who needed to be protected. That was part of the plan. That is why there are special provisions in place to protect seniors. That’s why 93% of people in the province are going to get a tax reduction. That’s why the Ontario sales tax credit is in place, which will affect seniors. That’s why the Ontario property tax credit will benefit seniors.

I think the assumption and the implication by the third party that this was a plan that did not take into account seniors is absolutely flawed and needs to be corrected.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: This Acting Premier knows very well that even with the credits and even with the income tax changes she’s talking about, seniors will still be worse off under the HST, as will every single Ontarian.

Here’s what Ontarians who own small businesses are saying. Farid Larson writes, “I have a small dry cleaning store. With the HST coming, our dying business will be gone for sure.”

Neveen Dominic of Windsor says, “As a small business owner ... it is devastating to me. I cannot increase my prices to make ends meet and I am most likely to go out of business if change is not made urgently.”

Joe Cosentino adds this: “As a small service-oriented business owner, my customers have already expressed concern over the additional HST that they will be paying and they have already cut back or cancelled their services.”

Why should Ontario families believe the new $800 tax is going to create jobs when small business owners like the ones I’ve just quoted say that it’s not—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Acting Premier.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Revenue.

Hon. John Wilkinson: Then why does the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represent small business, say the single most important thing we can do is to actually bring in a harmonized sales tax and reform our income tax system? All of the businesses that you’ve mentioned, on July 1, are going to receive input tax credits at 13% for the very first time.

I say to businesses, and I come from small business, as so many members of our caucus do, that it is important to look at the bigger picture. Yes, there is going to be a change in regard to sales tax. We’re actually going to have one in this province instead of two. We’re not going to have two governments tripping over themselves trying to tax the same thing twice when once will do. That’s exactly what we do with income tax.

There are people that say that we should embrace the status quo, but the cost of business in Ontario is going down on July 1.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The CFIB did a survey of the membership, and over 60% said they see no value or benefit whatsoever in the HST; 85% of the Toronto area BIA’s membership does not support the implementation of the HST.

Now I’m sharing stories of real Ontarians because the McGuinty government has obviously refused to listen. The HST will make life more expensive, and people are justifiably worried.

Claude McMahon from Guelph writes: “Our family expenses will increase by $959.”

Jenn Young adds, “I, as a single working parent, would suffer quite a bit from the new HST tax. I struggle to pay my bills and provide for my son as it is. I have been hit pretty hard this year.... If things get any tighter for me, I will have to get another job and totally miss my son growing up.”

People like Ms. Young and Mr. McMahon deserve an answer from this government. How is taking money out of their already stretched budgets actually going to help them?

Hon. John Wilkinson: Let’s just be clear: We’re putting money in the pockets of people. There are millions of Ontarians who will receive billions of dollars tax-free in the next year alone. There are millions of Ontarians who are, today, benefiting from a tax cut that we brought in on January 1. There are millions of Ontarians who are going to benefit from our new tax credits, which come into effect on July 1. So, it is important to look at the whole picture.

1100

I know that if people go to a partisan website that is factually incorrect, people are going to draw incorrect assumptions.

Again, I always tell people that this is a government that understands we need 600,000 more jobs in this province, we need $47 billion worth of new investment, we need $30 billion more income a year in this province, and that’s why we’re moving forward. Take a look at the whole picture—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

TAXATION

Mrs. Joyce Savoline: To the Acting Premier: Dalton McGuinty’s HST on condominium fees will make housing less affordable for Ontario seniors and families. Members of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario, who are here with us today, advocate for seniors and families who will have to pay Dalton McGuinty’s HST tax grab. They tell us that many seniors already live on a fixed income. Families tell us that up to half of their take-home pay is going to the mortgage, the condo fee and property taxes.

What does Dalton McGuinty expect seniors and families to sacrifice when he starts taxing them more on July 1?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Revenue.

Hon. John Wilkinson: There is no HST on condominium fees or on rents for people.

I know that the—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Order. The members from Nepean and Bruce and Lanark, and the Minister of the Environment.

Minister.

Hon. John Wilkinson: So let’s put that canard to rest.

The second thing we have to look at is, the condo managers are here, and we welcome you to Queen’s Park. Your responsibility is to provide the very best value for your residents.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I ask the member to withdraw the comment he just made.

Hon. John Wilkinson: I withdraw.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’m learning lots of new words in this role.

Hon. John Wilkinson: That’s good. It is a duck, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the managers, you’ve been entrusted by your residents to get the best value. For those companies that will have to charge your condominium corporation more money, their cost of business is going down.

I know that if I was in a condominium, I would expect my condominium manager to get the best value. Also, it’s important to understand that the residents themselves have an enhanced property tax credit, some $270 million because of the work of the Minister of Finance. For those who are seniors, they are receiving an enhanced property tax credit as well—all designed to—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mrs. Joyce Savoline: The minister should not split words. It would behoove him not to split words and know that condo fees will go up because of all the maintenance costs and everything else that gets rolled into them.

Dalton McGuinty’s HST on condo fees is not the only way you’re punishing seniors. According to the Ontario Home Care Association, seniors will pay $315 a year more for Dalton McGuinty’s HST on home care. That’s a hard number. Because you haven’t created any long-term-care beds, seniors are forced to look at retirement homes as an alternative. Operators say that HST will add to the cost of utilities, renovations, maintenance and nursing attendant care.

Why is Dalton McGuinty punishing seniors with his HST?

Hon. John Wilkinson: Seniors have been around a long time, and they’re pretty sharp. They understand that there are two things they need to take into account: which things are going to be affected by a change in sales tax, and what the benefits are that they each personally receive from our tax reform in regard to income.

I remind seniors that the vast majority of them will be receiving a tax-fee transitional cheque in June, December and next June; that they have, if they have income, already received a personal income tax cut that came in in January; that seniors who are struggling because of low income will be qualifying for the Ontario sales tax benefit, which is in addition to the GST rebate.

I know that when seniors take a look at the big question, they understand that our world has changed. They understand that they are, more than others, dependent on high-quality public services, and that we cannot have those high-quality public services if we have chronically high unemployment. That’s why our government has taken this step to ensure that there is plenty of employment in this province. People paying—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

RETIREMENT HOMES

Mr. Paul Miller: My question is to the Acting Premier. The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, the Firefighters Association of Ontario, the Ontario fire marshal, the National Fire Protection Association and three separate coroner’s reports have all called for mandatory sprinkler systems in every retirement home in Ontario.

Today is the first day of Seniors’ Month in Ontario—a good day for this government to take decisive action to protect our seniors from the horrors of fire in their retirement homes. Will Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals show Ontario’s seniors that their safety really matters, and before the Legislature rises this summer will they legislate mandatory sprinkler systems in all Ontario retirement homes?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the minister responsible for seniors, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Gerry Phillips: I believe he asked the same question just about 10 days ago, and the answer will be, again, the same. For the first time ever, if the Legislature passes it, we will have retirement home legislation that will provide strong protections for safety and care in retirement homes. I’ve indicated to the member that one of the considerations, as we develop the regulations around safety, is sprinklers. I’ve indicated that we will be consulting over the months ahead—assuming the legislation passes—on this issue. This is exactly the same answer I gave him a week and a half ago. We’re determined to ensure that we provide the appropriate level of safety for our seniors living in retirement homes, and for the first time ever we’re going to have legislation to permit retirement homes to be regulated and licensed.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary? The member from Nickel Belt.

Mme France Gélinas: To the Acting Premier: I think this government has missed the mark with Bill 21, whether it be safety or accountability, and I am not alone. The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, the Ontario Health Coalition, CUPE, ONA, RNAO, OPSEU—they’ve all taken the very unusual step of writing to each member of this Parliament and asking them to vote against Bill 21. Why? Because they are frustrated and alarmed that this government is rushing through a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation that will leave our seniors more vulnerable after this bill than they are now. This government has made it clear that it will not listen. I’ve put forward 92 amendments, and they’ve turned them all down. We will be stuck with this unaccountable authority, so I will ask for one change: Will they agree to put a cap on the amount of care in retirement homes?

Hon. Gerry Phillips: Again, you say it’s legislation that has real problems, but then you’ve got one suggestion. Let me just say again, this legislation is the result of four years. We’ve had consultations in 13 communities, we have had a substantial debate here in the Legislature, and I might add the NDP voted—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The members will come to order, please. They understand that if they’re not satisfied with an answer, the provisions of the standing orders allow them to call for a late show.

Mr. Paul Miller: It’s absolutely disgusting.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek.

It’s not helpful, the shots from the government side.

Minister?

Hon. Gerry Phillips: This bill is a result of extensive consultations over four years, and I repeat for the public listening and watching this right now: We’ve had debate here in the Legislature; the NDP voted at second reading for this legislation. So I would just say to all of us, for the first time ever in the history of the province we are going to license and regulate retirement homes. No other party has done that. We’re going to do that, and we’re going to do it with a bill that—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

TAXATION

Mr. Charles Sousa: My question is to the Minister of Revenue. Ontario businesses can no longer rely on a low dollar, and our current tax system is a huge disadvantage, as it taxes the investments businesses need to grow. Groups like the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have said moving to the HST eliminates hidden but real tax, ultimately saving money and making businesses more competitive. The HST has the support of groups ranging from leaders in business, such as Telus and Bell Canada, and is also supported by poverty advocates such as the Daily Bread Food Bank, because it will benefit low-income-earners and create jobs. This is a serious issue dealing with the economic future of Ontario, yet some have expressed concern that the needed tax reform is occurring too soon. How important is it that Ontario implement the HST now?

1110

Hon. John Wilkinson: We need those jobs right now. There’s encouraging news from the economy that there are jobs coming back, and we welcome that.

I think fair-minded people understand that the world has changed. I agree with the member: I don’t think it’s wise for us to have an economic policy based on the fact that the dollar somehow is going to go back to 64 cents or that somehow the price of a barrel of oil is going to go down.

I think businesses and, increasingly, people understand that in the 21st century, we’re going to have to do things differently—not the way we did it in the 20th century, but in the 21st century. We have to enter the modern age and make sure that our businesses are on a competitive playing field with so many other jurisdictions, where we compete every day for jobs. We’re trying to land jobs right here in our province. We cannot have high-quality public services and chronically high unemployment. That’s why we’ve taken the step, working in partnership with the federal government, to reform our taxes, not just the sales tax but—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Charles Sousa: The Conference Board of Canada released their quarterly provincial outlook report this week. The report states that Ontario will lead all other provinces in economic growth at 3.8% this year, and next year by 3.7%.

TD Bank has released a report which states that the majority of businesses’ cost savings will be passed on to consumers; 80% of consumer expenditures will see no change in tax; and 80% of savings will be passed on immediately.

Bell Canada has said that the implementation of a single sales tax structure in 2010 means Bell can accelerate its investments in the province next year.

Minister, the HST means good jobs in my riding and across Ontario. What do you say to the Conservatives and NDP who oppose the creation of 600,000 good new jobs?

Hon. John Wilkinson: It’s interesting: We live in a world where Ontario in 2010 has a government that has a plan to help create 600,000 more jobs as the result of $47 billion of more investment and $30 billion of more income.

Our opposition parties don’t have a plan. They’re opposed to our plan; I get that. But the interesting thing is, they don’t have an alternative plan. What they’re telling us to do is: Do nothing. I refer to them as the do-nothing opposition because they are wedded to the status quo, even though the world itself has changed.

That’s why we’ve taken the step, working in partnership with the federal government, to fundamentally reform our tax system so that we have just one value-added sales tax in the province of Ontario and we dramatically reduce personal and corporate income taxes in this province.

It’s important because our children are going to need jobs in the 21st century, and a 20th-century taxation system is—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

SERVICES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

Ms. Sylvia Jones: My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Wilma and Chris Arthurs of Bright’s Grove have accepted the responsibility of providing daily support for their daughter Emilia for the past 19 years. Emilia requires 24-hour care, as she suffers seizures in the middle of the night.

The Arthurs know that when Emilia completes school, she will face a long wait-list for a group home; 110 other people are currently on a wait-list for residential services through Lambton County Developmental Services.

The Arthurs family is here today, Minister, along with many other families in similar situations. When can they expect action on eliminating wait-lists for residential placements, Passports, special services at home? You name it: They’re waiting.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: Thank you for the question.

Interruption.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): We certainly welcome all of our guests to come to the chamber and observe. As much as you may want to participate in the debate, you can only observe, so applause is not appropriate.

Minister?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: First of all, let me welcome to the House the Arthurs family and thank them for being such good advocates for their daughter Emilia.

What I can say to the member opposite is that since 2003, this government has invested a lot of money to help people with developmental disabilities and to also help create spaces to welcome these individuals in group homes.

I know that there are a lot of people waiting out there to have a place in a group home and residence. But in the meantime, what we have done is we have invested money in the Passport program. We have created that Passport program, and the Passport program is very popular.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?

Mrs. Christine Elliott: In fact, this government broke its promise to increase funding by 2% to Community Living, one of the major agencies that helps people, so a bad situation is only getting worse.

Rod and Marnie Barlow are here today with us in the gallery. Their son Richard, who has an intellectual disability, is trying to live as independently as possible in the community but is still heavily reliant upon the services provided by the supported independent living program at Community Living. Until recently, Richard received three visits per week from his support worker, but as of April 6, four of the eight support workers were laid off from this program.

Richard will now receive an average of 19 minutes per week from his worker. This won’t even begin to cover Richard’s basic needs—cooking and cleaning—without even considering the social needs. The fact is, he spends most of his time alone in his apartment listening to music.

Minister, what would you say to these parents who are desperately worried about their son—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Minister?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: What I can say is, again, that this government has invested half a billion dollars to strengthen and expand its service. Almost half of this investment—$240 million—has been committed to agency base increases and wage enhancement for front-line workers. We increased agency base budgets by 10% over the last three years. We have invested $246 million since 2003. We have committed $110 million in funding to help adults with developmental disabilities. We have created 2,500 spaces since we came to power. As I said, we have created the Passport program. We are helping 2,300 families.

I want to thank all our partners in the community, Community Living and all other partners, who are helping our—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

BUS TRANSPORTATION

Mr. Gilles Bisson: My question is to the Minister of Education. Minister, you’re currently changing the system by which school bus contracts are awarded in this province. Your new RFP process to date has had the effect of pushing out small, locally owned bus companies in favour of larger corporate entities and/or multinational school bus companies.

Minister, why are you implementing an RFP system that has the effect of shutting down locally owned businesses?

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky: What I would say to the honourable member is that what we are trying to do with respect to supporting boards in the provision of transportation is to ensure that we have a transparent, open and accountable process that provides those services.

Up until now, for the most part, I think it’s fair to say that those transportation services have been engaged on basically a sole-source contract arrangement. What we are working on with boards and with the School Bus Operators’ Association of Ontario is a way that boards can engage these important services in a way that is fair and that ensures that we get the best service for the best price.

We have implemented some pilots in the province of Ontario. We are examining the results of those pilots—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Minister, the effect of the pilots is pretty clear. In the case of Wellington and Dufferin, there were 439 routes that were put up, and only 22 of them went to the locally owned businesses.

I say to you again: Why would the government of Ontario have a policy that says, “We’re going to favour multinationals over locally owned businesses”? I say to you again: Why are you favouring a system that, at the end of the day, is going to put out of business people who have been working hard in this province for 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years in favour of large multinationals that do not have the same interests here in Ontario?

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky: Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, when the pilots were under way—I know that the honourable member is choosing those numbers; it suits his purpose. But it’s more accurate to report that, as a result of pilot initiative, what we found is that there were winners and losers. What is accurate to say is that some of the winners were the small, single one- and two-bus operators, and some of the winners were larger businesses. Again, the losers: Some were one- and two-bus operators, but also some were larger businesses.

We continue to work with the School Bus Operators’ Association of Ontario to understand how we can work with them. Of course, the priority for all of us is to ensure that our children are transported in a safe, efficient manner. Then we say to the parents and to the taxpayers of Ontario—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

1120

RETIREMENT HOMES

Mrs. Amrit Mangat: My question is for the minister responsible for seniors. Minister, in 2007 you were the first MPP to visit my riding. By coincidence, that day we visited a retirement home in my community. At that time we made a commitment to work hard to improve standards for retirement homes, and I’m so happy about the introduction of Bill 21 because we are delivering on our promise. For the first time in the history of the province, Ontario is proposing legislative protections for seniors living in retirement homes.

Ontario seniors have been calling for regulations for many years. However, some are suggesting that the legislation be delayed for more consultations.

Minister, can you tell this House if you are planning to delay this important legislation?

Hon. Gerry Phillips: I thank the member for the thoughtful question.

The comment really is, has the bill been broadly consulted? I’d just say to the public and to the members of the Legislature, we promised to do this in 2006. We visited 13 communities in 2007. We have consulted extremely broadly on it. We introduced the legislation in March. We had thorough debate here in the Legislature in April. We had unanimous support at second reading for the bill. The bill was then referred to a committee. They scheduled two days of public hearings. They heard—

Mr. Paul Miller: You took one amendment out of 90.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Sorry, Minister. The member from Hamilton East will please come to order.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Stop picking on him.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): That’s not helpful, the member from Timmins–James Bay.

Minister.

Hon. Gerry Phillips: Two days of public hearings were scheduled, but everybody was accommodated in one day and the second day was cancelled.

I’d just say to those who have raised concerns about the bill, I believe their concerns have been addressed in the bill because of very broad consultation over several years.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary.

Mrs. Amrit Mangat: Minister, this is such an important issue for many reasons, but perhaps most important because Ontario’s senior population is expected to double to nearly 4.1 million within 25 years. We need to ensure that seniors and their families have the right information; they need to make informed decisions about their care.

Questions have been raised about parts of this legislation. One concern is the use of restraints in retirement homes. Some have also expressed concerns about the governance of the organizations that will license and inspect retirement homes.

Minister, all members of this House want to ensure that the rights of seniors in retirement homes are protected in the bill. How are these concerns addressed in the bill?

Hon. Gerry Phillips: The member did raise a couple of issues that have been raised with me. There has been a comment that this is a self-regulating board. That is not true. It is a regulatory authority; not self-regulated. We, the government, appoint the chair; we appoint three additional members to the board; and we, the government, have to approve the bylaw for the selection of the other board members. This is not going to be a self-regulated board. It has the responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the legislation.

On the use of restraints, which was your second issue, there’s an absolute prohibition in the bill against the use of restraints. In fact, we amended the bill to even clarify it further. If you check page 37 of the bill, it says restraints are prohibited.

So I think—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

TAXATION

Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Acting Premier: The one-month countdown to the HST begins today. The HST obviously hasn’t been implemented yet, and Dalton McGuinty is already salivating over a new carbon tax. Yesterday, your environment minister said, “A carbon tax is something to look at.” We all know what that means when a McGuinty Liberal says it.

Why is Dalton McGuinty going down the road of Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift greedy carbon tax?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of the Environment.

Hon. John Gerretsen: First of all, we appreciate the report that the Environmental Commissioner has done. It’s always extremely important to hear from someone who takes an independent look at all the various actions that government is taking with respect to our climate change program, and certainly we thank him for that. We will be working with all of the recommendations that he has made in the report.

I should also remind you, though, that he said some very, very positive things about—and if I can find it here, I will tell you. He said that he supports “the government’s current initiatives involving a cap-and-trade system.” He also says that the report also contains “a key recommendation designed to ensure that Ontario”—and this is the crucial word—“continues to show leadership in the areas of GHG target setting.”

He feels we’re on the right way. We’ve still got a long way to go, and we look forward to working with that party, now that they’re interested in the environment, to make sure that we can reduce our greenhouse—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Toby Barrett: Ontario seniors and families already pay a fuel tax. A month from now, Dalton McGuinty will make them pay HST on gasoline as well. We saw all of the Liberal caucus giving rousing ovations to Jeff Rubin when he proposed a carbon tax. The member from Toronto Centre is tweeting his support.

The new tax grabs that the Liberals are eyeballing don’t stop with your carbon tax. You’re also looking at a new health tax, a tap water tax, road tolls and restricting seniors’ access to the public drug plan. How much more do the McGuinty Liberals think Ontario seniors and families can afford to pay?

Hon. John Gerretsen: Since it contained so many issues, I’d better refer this to the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: I told the House yesterday that these are tax matters. They’ll be dealt with in a budget.

I think what we all want to know is why they voted against a personal tax cut for Ontario’s lowest-income seniors. Why, sir, did you vote against doubling the seniors’ property tax credit? Why did you vote against a policy that will make our corporate tax rates the most competitive in the country? Why did you vote against a policy that will lower the marginal effective tax—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The members from Bruce, Halton and Oxford.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Double mention for Bruce.

Minister?

Hon. Dwight Duncan: I just say to the voters of Ontario that that question is nothing but a Tory story. Let’s focus on the policies before us. Let’s build a stronger economy and create jobs for our children and our grandchildren so that they will have the same quality of life that our parents left us with.

ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE DISABLED

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Acting Premier. Yesterday, the independent review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was tabled. Five years ago, the McGuinty government made a commitment to a fully accessible Ontario, but yesterday we learned that Ontario is not on track to meet its 20-year target. Instead, the implementation of the AODA is falling behind because of a complete lack of leadership, coordination and enforcement.

When will this government adopt the recommendations in the independent review?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: First of all, let me thank Charles Beer for his report. We asked for this independent review, and I want to thank him for the good report that he wrote. A lot of his recommendations—we’re already in progress to accomplish them.

I am very proud of what this government has done with regard to accessibility in Ontario. We have developed the standards in four areas, and we are working on the built environment. You will understand, Mr. Speaker, that the built environment is more challenging, but we have slowed down the process, at the request of the disabled community, who wanted to be more involved and to have time to review what we are proposing—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The government had the last three months to study this report. The recommendations that advocates are telling us they want to see prioritized are simply common sense. They are: Designate a ministry and a deputy minister responsible for disability issues, so some leadership actually can take place on this issue, and create a clear process of enforcement.

Is this government prepared to get serious about meeting its disability targets and implementing all of the recommendations in that report, or will it sit back as Ontario falls further and further behind in achieving its goals of full accessibility by 2025?

1130

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I can assure the House that we are in a good position to be fully accessible by 2025. I want to thank all of those who helped us to develop standards. We have hundreds of people sitting on this committee to help us to develop the standards.

It’s very easy for the leader of the third party to talk about accessibility, but what did they do when they were in power? Nothing. They’re now here to criticize instead of helping all of us to make sure that it works.

We will be on time. Before the end of this year, the five standards will be in place. We’re very proud of the progress we have made. Again, thanks to everyone who helped us in that endeavour.

ANTI-SMOKING
INITIATIVES FOR YOUTH

Mr. Phil McNeely: My question is for the Minister of Health Promotion. Yesterday was World No Tobacco Day. It is a day that serves to remind us of the dangers of exposure to tobacco smoke and an opportunity for governments and anti-smoking groups alike to get the word out.

Here in Ontario, we have the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which is one of the most comprehensive anti-tobacco initiatives on the continent, but there is always more work to be done, especially when it comes to protecting our youth from smoke. Minister, can you tell this House what the government is planning to do to combat youth smoking?

Hon. Margarett R. Best: I want to take this opportunity to thank the member from Ottawa–Orléans for his question. I want to say to this House that yesterday I announced that our government is investing more than $4.7 million in a number of new youth anti-smoking initiatives, including engaging young people through the province’s 36 public health units to oversee and be resources for youth tobacco control activities. This is going on in communities across the province, engaging youth in grassroots programs through Ontario’s seven tobacco control area networks. We are providing grants for young people to plan and implement creative initiatives for their peers that promote a smoke-free lifestyle. This is about peer-to-peer empowerment.

There is more to do; we know that. That is why we are developing, with our stakeholders, a new—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Phil McNeely: I’m pleased that this government recognizes the need to engage youth on the dangers of smoking. Tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Ontario, killing over 13,000 Ontarians every year. The cost of tobacco use goes beyond the $1.6 billion in direct health care costs: 500,000 hospital days and $4.4 billion in productivity losses. There are also the costs to family and friends who must witness loved ones suffer and die of cancer or heart disease.

We know that youth—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The honourable members will please come to order.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): That is not helpful, government House leader.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): No, it’s not helpful coming back from both sides.

Please continue.

Mr. Phil McNeely: We know that youth are one of the most vulnerable groups at risk to pick up this deadly habit. Can the minister tell this House the government’s progress thus far in preventing youth from starting to smoke?

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Carleton, please come to order.

Minister?

Hon. Margarett R. Best: As I was saying before, we’re continuing to work with our stakeholders to develop a new five-year strategy to combat tobacco—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d like to hear the answer, but it’s difficult with all the heckling.

Minister?

Hon. Margarett R. Best: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I said, our announcement yesterday was just a recommitment of our government’s interest in young people and our efforts to combat smoking. Since the ministry’s creation in 2005, we have invested approximately $37 million in programs to prevent children and youth from starting to smoke. We have banned smoking at work and in public places. We have banned smoking in motor vehicles with children under 16 years of age, and we have put up tobacco power walls. We are amending the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to further protect young people, and our efforts are having an impact. In the last 10 years, the number of students who reported smoking in the past year has decreased from almost—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.

POWER PLANT

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: My question is to the Acting Premier. The people of Oakville have told you they don’t want the proposed gas-fired power plant in the polluted Clarkson-Oakville airshed, and I agree with them. The mayors of Haldimand, Mississauga and Oakville have written you a letter expressing their support for an alternative location: the Nanticoke industrial park. The mayors of Oakville and Haldimand are here today to ask you to stop ignoring this alternative solution. Will you listen, Minister?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: We are committed to meeting the power needs for the southwest GTA. We understand that along with that goes the responsibility to reduce harmful air pollution. What we are committed to doing is improving the power supply in the region. We know that the demand is growing at more than double the provincial average, so this is an extremely important aspect of the solution for the GTA. We’re listening to the community; we know that their concerns have been brought forward. I know that our member for Oakville has been a terrific advocate for his community; he is paying very close attention. We’re working with our municipal partners, but we’re also mindful of our contractual obligations. We understand that there is a bigger picture here. We need to increase the power for this area, and we’ll continue to work with the community.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: This is a very rare win-win situation. Oakville doesn’t want the gas plant which you are proposing to put in an already-stressed and highly polluted air shed—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Stop the clock.

Please continue.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: This proposed plant is close to homes, it’s close to daycare centres and it’s close to schools. Haldimand–Norfolk wants the power plant at Nanticoke and has long-term experience and infrastructure to provide Ontario with a reliable energy supply. The Nanticoke industrial park site is consistent with the proposed integrated power supply plan.

Acting Premier, this proposal just makes sense. You have this proposal. When can the mayors of Haldimand, Oakville and Mississauga expect a response from your government?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of the Environment.

Hon. John Gerretsen: As the member well knows, back in November, the southwest GTA task force was established under the head of Dr. David Balsillie, who will be reporting at the end of June. He also knows that any proponent for a power plant needs to complete all the environmental approval requirements under both the Environmental Assessment Act and the Environmental Protection Act. Our Ministry of the Environment officials will ensure that the proponents’ plan will meet or exceed provincial standards and be operated in a totally environmentally responsible way.

CORRECTION OF RECORD

Hon. Sophia Aggelonitis: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I’d like to correct the record. Yesterday, during my response, I stated that during the extended period, municipalities will be responsible for enforcing the Liquor Licence Act. In fact it is the AGCO that is responsible for enforcing the act during that time.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): That is a point of order.

DEFERRED VOTES

TIME ALLOCATION

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): We have a deferred vote on the motion for allocation of time on Bill 46, An Act respecting the care provided by health care organizations.

Call in the members. This is a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1139 to 1144.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Members please take their seats.

On May 31, Ms. Smith moved government notice of motion number 24.

All those in favour will rise one at a time and be recorded by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Aggelonitis, Sophia
  • Albanese, Laura
  • Arthurs, Wayne
  • Balkissoon, Bas
  • Bartolucci, Rick
  • Bentley, Christopher
  • Best, Margarett
  • Broten, Laurel C.
  • Brown, Michael A.
  • Cansfield, Donna H.
  • Carroll, Aileen
  • Chan, Michael
  • Colle, Mike
  • Crozier, Bruce
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dombrowsky, Leona
  • Duncan, Dwight
  • Fonseca, Peter
  • Gerretsen, John
  • Gravelle, Michael
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hoy, Pat
  • Jaczek, Helena
  • Jeffrey, Linda
  • Johnson, Rick
  • Kwinter, Monte
  • Leal, Jeff
  • Levac, Dave
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • Mauro, Bill
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • McNeely, Phil
  • Meilleur, Madeleine
  • Milloy, John
  • Mitchell, Carol
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Orazietti, David
  • Pendergast, Leeanna
  • Phillips, Gerry
  • Ramal, Khalil
  • Ramsay, David
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Smith, Monique
  • Takhar, Harinder S.
  • Van Bommel, Maria
  • Wilkinson, John
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Zimmer, David

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): All those opposed?

Nays

  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Chudleigh, Ted
  • DiNovo, Cheri
  • Dunlop, Garfield
  • Elliott, Christine
  • Gélinas, France
  • Hampton, Howard
  • Hillier, Randy
  • Hudak, Tim
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Klees, Frank
  • Kormos, Peter
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Marchese, Rosario
  • Miller, Norm
  • Miller, Paul
  • Munro, Julia
  • Murdoch, Bill
  • Prue, Michael
  • Savoline, Joyce
  • Shurman, Peter
  • Sterling, Norman W.
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 51; the nays are 26.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I declare the motion passed.

Motion agreed to.

TIME ALLOCATION

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): We have a deferred vote on the motion for allocation of time on Bill 65, An Act to revise the law in respect of not-for-profit corporations.

Agreed? I heard a no.

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

The division bells rang from 1147 to 1152.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): On May 31, Ms. Smith moved government notice of motion 25.

All those in favour will rise one at a time and be recorded by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Aggelonitis, Sophia
  • Albanese, Laura
  • Arthurs, Wayne
  • Balkissoon, Bas
  • Bartolucci, Rick
  • Bentley, Christopher
  • Best, Margarett
  • Broten, Laurel C.
  • Brown, Michael A.
  • Cansfield, Donna H.
  • Carroll, Aileen
  • Chan, Michael
  • Colle, Mike
  • Crozier, Bruce
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dombrowsky, Leona
  • Duncan, Dwight
  • Fonseca, Peter
  • Gerretsen, John
  • Gravelle, Michael
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hoy, Pat
  • Jaczek, Helena
  • Jeffrey, Linda
  • Johnson, Rick
  • Kwinter, Monte
  • Leal, Jeff
  • Levac, Dave
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • Mauro, Bill
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • McNeely, Phil
  • Meilleur, Madeleine
  • Milloy, John
  • Mitchell, Carol
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Orazietti, David
  • Pendergast, Leeanna
  • Phillips, Gerry
  • Ramal, Khalil
  • Ramsay, David
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Smith, Monique
  • Sousa, Charles
  • Takhar, Harinder S.
  • Van Bommel, Maria
  • Wilkinson, John
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Zimmer, David

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Those opposed?

Nays

  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Chudleigh, Ted
  • DiNovo, Cheri
  • Dunlop, Garfield
  • Elliott, Christine
  • Gélinas, France
  • Hampton, Howard
  • Hudak, Tim
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Klees, Frank
  • Kormos, Peter
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Marchese, Rosario
  • Miller, Norm
  • Miller, Paul
  • Munro, Julia
  • Murdoch, Bill
  • Prue, Michael
  • Savoline, Joyce
  • Shurman, Peter
  • Sterling, Norman W.
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 52; the nays are 26.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Mr. John Yakabuski: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I refer to standing order 56: “Before the adjournment of the House on each Thursday during the session, the government House leader shall announce the business for the following week.”

Mr. Norm Miller: “Shall.”

Mr. John Yakabuski: I did say “shall.”

That is something that has been a practice in this House for many, many decades.

Not only has the government embarked on a method of trying to show increased lack of co-operation here in this House by forcing night sittings when there was a deal in principle in place that would have prevented that and also would have given the opposition party an opposition day motion; when they reneged on that deal in principle, they instituted this policy of not informing the opposition House leaders as to what their plans are.

Case in point: Yesterday, we didn’t know what the House business would be until it was called. Not at any time did we know the business of the House until it was called. When you’re calling bills, the critics and the people on the opposition side do need time to prepare for debate on those occasions.

I can tell you that in the past—and I had the opportunity to consult with my colleague Norm Sterling, who was the government House leader when we were in government—without exception, they gave the opposition the opportunity on a Thursday to review and see the orders of business for the following week in the House.

It’s disappointing, the way that this has ended up near the end of this session, where the government has decided that they will just remove the opposition parties from any input into the business of the House or to be able to participate properly by giving us fair warning.

I refer to Bosc in this instance: “Each Thursday, after oral questions, the Speaker recognizes the House leader of the official opposition, or his or her representative, to ask the government House leader, or his or her representative, about the government orders to be considered by the House in the succeeding days or week. The government House leader then proceeds to outline for the House what business the government intends to bring forward.”

That’s very clear. I do believe that it is disrespectful of the opposition parties for the government, just because they’re upset, just because they don’t like the way things turned out with respect to a particular press release that may have rankled the feathers of the government House leader, to then embark upon this program of trying to be difficult in every way possible with respect to the rights of members on the opposition side to be able to conduct their business in a properly informed way.

I think that it is a legitimate point of order, and I think the government House leader and the government are in breach of that order. I ask you to rule on that, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Carleton–Mississippi Mills on the same point of order.

Mr. Norman W. Sterling: I think the whole idea of this particular standing order is that members of the Legislature, including the opposition but also backbench members from the government, have a clear idea of the matters to be debated in here to improve the debate so that people can become knowledgeable of it and so that critics for the particular area will be attending at that time. The practice included, in the past, a statement on Thursday with regard to the business of the upcoming week—to the best of the ability of the government House leader; sometimes things do change over the weekend and during the period of time—to give advance notice, as much as possible, to everyone in the Legislature what the agenda is going to be.

1200

As well, it has become a practice of this government to introduce legislation on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and then call that legislation prior to the opposition having the opportunity to caucus that legislation the following Tuesday.

I can say that it was my practice, as government House leader, that if legislation was introduced after the caucus meeting that we all have on Tuesdays, we would not call that legislation until after the following Tuesday so that the caucus would have some opportunity to discuss it, formulate an opinion, become knowledgeable about the particular matter and therefore carry on a better debate in this place. I believe that this particular standing order should not only be followed in fact, but it should also be followed in intent and in the spirit of it with regard to future debate in our Parliament as we go forward.

It’s late in the session, and I would only hope, Mr. Speaker, that any ruling you might make would have an impact when we meet again in the fall.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d like to thank the honourable member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke and the member from Carleton–Mississippi Mills for their comments.

The interpretation of standing order 56, previously standing order 55, appears to have always been permissive, despite the word “shall.” It supposes that when the government has determined what the business will be, the House should be informed. The government, in any case, is at liberty to indicate that the business is to be announced.

I refer to a ruling of Speaker Stockwell back in 1997. The Speaker advises that the rule has not been followed to the letter during the last few parliaments. Therefore, he cannot force the government House leader to announce the business every Thursday, nor can the Speaker impose repercussions.

As well, there was a previous ruling of Acting Speaker Arnott in 1996 that the Speaker has no authority to determine the business of the House and that responsibility to determine the business of the House rests with the government House leader.

But I will say, having had the opportunity to sit on both sides of this House, that I can recall many occasions when the government House leader did announce the business for the following week. I can relate particularly, having been a critic for a particular portfolio, where it is extremely beneficial for a critic to have some advance knowledge. If he or she has an understanding of what is going to be debated the following week, it gives that individual an opportunity to be prepared for the debate.

Albeit not ruling in favour of the honourable member, I would deliver a message to the government House leader that serious consideration be given to what is contained in standing order 56 and that she endeavour, as best as possible in her ability, to inform the House of what business will be arising the following week.

The member from Welland.

Mr. Peter Kormos: I just want to indicate that I saw no need to join my friend in the point of order. It was capably put forward with appropriate references from Bosc and to the standing orders.

I do indicate that we are having a House leaders’ meeting tomorrow morning. I’m confident that it will be a productive meeting, that it will be a candid exchange, that people will be out of their funk and that we can pave the way for a more productive session commencing September 13, because Lord knows we wouldn’t want this air to prevail when we come back in the fall. It would make things very difficult for everybody here.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I think that that’s a very appropriate place for the discussion to take place.

There being no further business, this House stands recessed until 3 p.m. this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1204 to 1500.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Mr. Toby Barrett: I would like to welcome to Queen’s Park Cheryl Scott, manager of West Niagara community care, as well as Ben Da Sousa, Joanne Keddy and Kornit Chindanon, a student from Bangkok, Thailand, who travelled here today for Hunger Awareness Day.

Mr. Paul Miller: I would like to introduce grandmothers raising their grandchildren from Grand-Parenting Again St. Catharines, Brantford and Guelph; and We ROCK Hamilton—ROCK stands for Raising Our Children’s Kids—including Sandra Schoenfeldt, Heather Livingstone, Diana Graham, Carol Weaver, Pat Rowen, Beverly McIntosh, Marilyn Oddson, Karen Greene and Diane Chiarelli.

Mr. Greg Sorbara: In conjunction with a statement that I will be making in a few minutes, I would like to welcome to the assembly from Vaughan the Ahmadiyya Muslim community national president, Lal Khan Malik. He is joined by Farhan Khokhar, the national secretary for outreach; Saleem Akhtar, the chair of the national public relations committee; and Hafeez Khalifa, the director for national public relations. I’d like to welcome them all.

Mr. Charles Sousa: It gives me great pleasure to introduce to this House my daughter Cristine Sousa, a University of Ottawa student, a wonderful girl and here visiting us today. Thank you, Cristine.

MEMBERS’ STATEMENTS

CARLETON LODGE AND MANORDALE PUBLIC SCHOOL

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It is a real pleasure to be able to stand here today to celebrate two very cherished institutions in the former city of Nepean, which is now the southwest end of the city of Ottawa. This year, both Manordale Public School and Carleton Lodge are turning 50 years old. Both were created in 1960 to serve the current city of Ottawa’s southwest end.

Carleton Lodge was the first municipal long-term-care home in Ottawa–Carleton. In 1989, a new facility was reconstructed right on the beautiful banks of the Rideau River. Thank you to Mary Zion, Ghuylaine Theriault, Janet Moris, Luc Carriere and Brenda Atwood for doing the wonderful work that they do on behalf of Nepean–Carleton seniors.

Also, Manordale Public School celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and I am able to work with the principal, Suzie Robertson, and school administrator, Bev Charles. They also have wonderful volunteers, whom I’m so very proud of, who will be honoured next week: Myrna Hay, who has been volunteering at the school for 43 years, answering the phones, working for the people and making sure our students and their parents are looked after; as well, Murray McClymont, who Bev Charles calls Murray the saint, or St. Murray. He has been there for 22 years.

Nepean–Carleton is a fast-growing place. It’s really a new and vibrant community, but we have 50 years of a great legacy in our institutions like Carleton Lodge and Manordale Public School. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak so highly about them on the floor of this Legislature.

CHILD CARE

Mr. Paul Miller: There are countless grandparents across this province who are the primary caregivers for their at-risk grandchildren. The temporary care assistance program previously provided these families with at least minimal support. Unfortunately, new directives imposed by this government have left many of Ontario’s grandparents to fend for themselves. This hurts not only the grandparents but the grandchildren they care for. It’s time for the government to revisit this issue and support all Ontario families.

As I mentioned during the introduction of guests a few moments ago, I’m joined here today by fantastic grandparents from many organizations. We ROCK, Cangrands, Grand-Parenting Again and Legal Aid Ontario all fight, day in and day out, for grandparents in this province. Today they are here to show their support for my private member’s bill. These individuals and the organizations they are affiliated with are very much the inspiration behind this piece of legislation, and I am proud to have the opportunity to work with them.

These grandparent groups have organized rallies here at Queen’s Park, bus trips across the province and countless other initiatives to gain support when the government has ignored them.

Their dedication to this issue is unmatched, and for this I say thank you and keep up the good work.

TOWN OF CHAPLEAU

Mr. Michael A. Brown: I would like to take this opportunity to update the House on the emergency situation that took place in Chapleau.

Last Thursday, a forest fire started near Highway 101, approximately 40 kilometres east of Hawk Junction. The Ministry of Natural Resources set up a base camp at the Weyerhaeuser mill location. MNR’s priority was to suppress the fire and enable the repair of Hydro One’s transmission lines through the area.

Helicopters and air tanker support, nine initial attack crews and four Type II crews were all committed to the fire effort. Heavy equipment was used to consolidate the perimeter guards. The fire’s most immediate impact was to cut off the electricity supply to the fine town of Chapleau, the area First Nations and all hamlets.

I am pleased to report that power was restored late yesterday afternoon. I would like to express my gratitude and our gratitude to the Ministry of Natural Resources for their exquisite fire response and to Hydro One for its impressive work under very difficult conditions in restoring power through an area that had just been burned over during a forest fire.

I’d like to thank Earle Freeborn, the mayor, for his leadership throughout this emergency situation and for keeping me up to date on what was going on, his council, his staff and all those volunteers in Chapleau who helped to manage this very difficult situation. I’d also like to acknowledge the local radio station, JJAM FM, for keeping the community informed.

Best wishes for a return to normalcy in Chapleau.

DEAFBLIND SERVICES

Mrs. Julia Munro: I recently had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of Deafblind Ontario Services in my riding. They help about 7,000 Ontario residents a year, people who will need lifelong specialized support.

The biggest issue the organization faces is training intervenors and retaining them. Since each individual with deafblindness has his own unique way of communicating, it can take months or even years to establish a bond with an intervenor. This one-on-one relationship establishes the trust and communication flow needed to help the individual who is deafblind gain more independence.

High-quality specialized training for this profession is imperative to the success of individuals with deafblindness. Funding for training and competitive wages is instrumental in recruiting and retaining qualified, committed staff. Yet this government placed a wage freeze on the salaries of staff, and it has now extended the wage freeze for two years in order to save $22 million. This wage freeze will mean a cut in services to front-line health care for deafblind people in Ontario.

It is time for this government to stop these cuts and provide deafblind citizens of this—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you.

VILLAGE OF PORT CREDIT

Mr. Charles Sousa: I rise today to recognize a milestone year for the village of Port Credit in south Mississauga. Founded in 1835, the village will mark its 175th anniversary as a vibrant lakefront community. Over these many years, Port Credit has transformed from a trade centre and fishing port to a beautiful waterfront village of vibrant businesses, teeming with tourism.

Whether enjoying an award-winning Old Credit Brew in the many cafés and restaurants, shopping along Lakeshore, chartering a fishing boat in the salmon capital of Ontario or just walking along the pristine lakeside, Port Credit offers something for everyone.

Enjoying its many festivals, Port Credit is rich with activity to celebrate this historic anniversary. To name a few, there has been a pond hockey tournament, public displays of the village’s storied past and a collection of items for a time capsule honouring Port Credit’s history.

1510

On July 1, Port Credit’s Paint the Town Red Canada Day event will celebrate the 175th anniversary. It will surely be a spectacular party to remember. On July 1, we will celebrate Canada Day and promote a fun-filled family day, which kicks off with a sunrise ceremony featuring live local music, a parade, a giant birthday cake and a fireworks display at Memorial Park.

All of this is possible thanks to the tremendous work of hundreds of volunteers and the dedication of visionaries on the anniversary committee. The spirit of community from Port Credit residents is inspirational. Congratulations and thank you to all who work to organize this special anniversary.

I invite you to join us on July 1 to celebrate the birth of our country and the 175th anniversary of Port Credit.

RIDING OF BRUCE–GREY–OWEN SOUND

Mr. Bill Murdoch: With the summer break at our doorstep, I know that every one of us in the chamber today is looking for an early exit. It’s just too bad we have to do these dumb night sittings. Nevertheless, by the end of this week, most of you will have agreed with me and returned home to do the real work, which is constituency work.

This summer will be a busy one in my riding. From barbecue parties to fish fries to music festivals, anniversaries and sports events, there will be an assortment of activities to enjoy. So I take this opportunity to invite all of you to visit Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound and take part in some of our great events, such as the 23rd Annual Salmon Spectacular, from August 27 to September 5, along with the Team Murdoch fish fry on September 4; the 35th Annual Summerfolk festival, August 20 to 22 in Owen Sound; the annual pork chop barbecue in my hometown of Bognor on July 21; Tobermory’s Chi-Cheemaun Festival, starting June 18; and the Sauble Sandfest on August 5.

We’ll also be celebrating the 40th anniversary of ECL, Electrical Contacts Ltd., in Hanover thus summer.

I’d like to wish all of you a happy and safe summer. I know I’ll be happy to be spending a lot more time with the folks back home. After all, I’ve always called for a different breed of MPPs at Queen’s Park, ones who focus more on their community needs and less on the gamesmanship that’s played out on the floor of this Legislature.

I hope you keep my thoughts in mind when you return to Queen’s Park in the fall. See you in September.

AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY

Mr. Greg Sorbara: I rise in the House today to speak to the terrible acts of violence that took place last week in Lahore, Pakistan. I refer to the savage attacks on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in two of its mosques at the height of religious services last Friday. Nearly 100 people from the community were killed, and many more were seriously injured. The pain of these attacks has been felt around the world, including in Ontario.

This kind of terror, brutality and religious persecution is simply unthinkable. Yet it represents just part of the ongoing persecution of the Ahmadiyya community and Ahmadi Muslims around the world. That persecution is rooted in hatred, discrimination and violence against a truly peace-loving religious faith.

Vaughan is home to the national headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Canada, and thousands of Vaughan residents are members of that community. They and all Canadians should know that we condemn these acts in the strongest possible terms, and we call upon the government of Pakistan to take every possible step to end the persecution of the Ahmadiyya community, including reform of its blasphemy laws.

At the same time, we express our grief and sorrow to those whose families, friends and fellow Ahmadis have suffered so tragically.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Ms. M. Aileen Carroll: I’m asking the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and this government to allow multiple sclerosis sufferers to obtain treatment for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, more commonly called CCSVI, here in Ontario. The treatment consists of corrective angioplasty, a well-known, universally practised procedure that is of very low risk and relatively low expense.

I’m not, at this time, requesting that the treatment be covered by OHIP, but only that MS patients have the right to decide for themselves to access this procedure here in Ontario, just as patients can have cosmetic surgery by highly skilled doctors in accredited medical facilities.

I have spoken frequently with Dr. Sandy McDonald, a thoracic surgeon in Barrie, who has studied with Dr. Zamboni in Italy and who has performed a number of venoplasties, as the angioplasty is called, in Barrie. He is committed to making this procedure available to MS patients.

More research and double-blind clinical trials are indeed needed to determine the correlation between CCSVI and MS, but Dr. McDonald and others have found the anecdotal evidence of relief is very compelling.

Yes, more study is needed, but we can’t wait while we study. MS patients must be allowed to obtain the venoplasties that so impact their quality of life and of their families and their caregivers.

RIDING OF GLENGARRY–PRESCOTT–RUSSELL /
CIRCONSCRIPTION DE GLENGARRY–PRESCOTT–RUSSELL

Mr. Jean-Marc Lalonde: I’m delighted to share with this House that tomorrow marks the third annual Glengarry–Prescott–Russell day here at Queen’s Park. GPR day is a time for us to celebrate all of the wonderful products that come from Ontario’s most eastern communities.

Glengarry–Prescott–Russell is a very special place, home to thousands of friendly and hard-working people. This area has seen a lot of positive changes since the election of the McGuinty government.

Demain, j’invite tous les membres de cette Assemblée et leur personnel à venir célébrer nos producteurs locaux de Glengarry–Prescott–Russell.

I am looking forward to introducing you to the nine mayors from our eastern Ontario municipalities. The wine and cheese will take place in room 247 from 11:30 to 1 p.m. I invite everyone to come and taste the best Canadian poutine along with our famous local cheese and our award-winning Beau’s beer. Once again, I invite everyone to come and celebrate with the GPR producers in room 247.

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
GENERAL GOVERNMENT

Mr. David Orazietti: I beg leave to present a report from the Standing Committee on General Government and move its adoption.

The Clerk-at-the-Table (Ms. Tonia Grannum): Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:

Bill 43, An Act to amend the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 and the Ontario College of Art & Design Act, 2002 / Projet de loi 43, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2000 favorisant le choix et l’excellence au niveau postsecondaire, la Loi de 2005 sur les collèges privés d’enseignement professionnel et la Loi de 2002 sur l’École d’art et de design de l’Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed? Agreed.

Report adopted.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The bill is therefore ordered for third reading.

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

Mr. Norman W. Sterling: I beg leave to present a report on school boards, acquisition of goods and services, from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and move its adoption.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Mr. Sterling presents the committee report and moves its adoption. Does the member wish to make a brief statement?

Mr. Norman W. Sterling: Yes. This report is in response to the Auditor General’s 2008 annual report, section 411. That means that this was a follow-up audit to the original audit, which took place in 2007. This related to one of the first matters that the Auditor General dealt with in his expanded jurisdiction to look at school boards and their particular management practices.

As a result of this being the first report, we thought it was important for the public accounts committee to call back in those school boards that had been before us and measure the results of what the Auditor General had been able to achieve by looking at the acquisition policies of the various school boards across Ontario.

The committee made no recommendations on this report, other than to note that the process had been successful. The committee decided, as a result, to create another report, which I’m going to introduce shortly, to outline the best practices and the success of the committee process and the Auditor General’s report of 2007 and 2008.

With that, I would move adjournment of the debate.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Mr. Sterling has moved adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Debate adjourned.

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

Mr. Norman W. Sterling: I beg leave to present a report on the public accounts committee best practice 2009 from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and move its adoption.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Mr. Sterling presents the committee’s report and moves its adoption. Does the member wish to make a brief statement?

1520

Mr. Norman W. Sterling: As I indicated on the previously submitted report, this is perhaps the first time in the Legislature of Ontario’s history that a committee has submitted a report on trying to establish best practices for the committee, and evolving that committee’s role as we go forward. This report will become a record and will no doubt be recommended to future public accounts committees as to what they can achieve by adopting certain kinds of practices as they go forward.

As I mentioned before, the committee in 2008 interviewed a number of school boards and the Ministry of Education with regard to acquisition practices by school boards across Ontario. Part of the auditor’s report related to the fact that although the Ministry of Education had asked various school boards to adopt acquisition principles and procurement policies, the response to the ministry had been very poor. The committee then undertook to not only recommend to the Minister of Education that their own policies be followed, but they wanted to encourage the school boards from across Ontario to actually put into practice what the Ministry of Education had asked them to do. The committee made a decision to not only make recommendations to the ministry, but asked the Chair, myself, to contact each board, the director of each board, and the chair of each board of education across Ontario, and request that they not only respond to the ministry with regard to procurement policies, but that they publish on a website their procurement policies. It was found that because there was a direct interaction between the committee of this Legislature and the school boards, we were able to help the Ministry of Education get their policy into effect and have all of those school boards across Ontario, bar none, adopt a procurement and acquisition policy and make it public.

At my request and with the full support of all members of the committee, I asked that we consider not only introducing the report with regard to the specific matter, but make a report to the Legislature on the best practices. Some of the best practices that are dealt with in this report—and it’s a very short report, three pages—include recommendations which deal with direct engagement between transfer partners and the committee of the Legislature so that transfer partners understand that a committee of the Legislature is interested in how they are spending our taxpayers’ money, even though there is an intermediary, of course, the ministry, which is handing them that money.

I’m proud of the work that all members of the committee have done in this matter. I think that all committees should perhaps follow the example that the public accounts committee has put forward. If they find an innovative way of assisting the administration of our government—our governments, as we go forward—in implementing the policies and making certain that people are following those policies, then we as politicians, as committee members, should try to institute those practices and make certain that the people who are the benefactors of our taxpayers’ dollars know that politicians are indeed looking over their shoulders and want them spent prudently and wisely. That’s what we have achieved at the public accounts committee. Now it has become part of the record and I urge other committees and future public accounts committees to do the same.

I adjourn the debate.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Mr. Sterling has moved adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Debate adjourned.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

ONTARIO WORKS AMENDMENT ACT (CARE ASSISTANCE), 2010 /
LOI DE 2010 MODIFIANT
LA LOI SUR LE PROGRAMME
ONTARIO AU TRAVAIL
(AIDE POUR SOINS)

Mr. Paul Miller moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 87, An Act to amend the Ontario Works Act, 1997 / Projet de loi 87, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1997 sur le programme Ontario au travail.

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

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member for a short statement.

Mr. Paul Miller: Section 10 of the Ontario Works Act currently provides for income assistance and benefits to an adult who cares for a child on a temporary basis, provided that the adult does not have a legal obligation to support the child. This bill amends section 10 of the act to apply where the child is in an adult’s care for a temporary or indefinite period of time.

In addition, subsections are added to provide the following:

(1) An adult has a legal obligation to support a child if he or she has an obligation to support the child under the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act or under similar legislation in another jurisdiction.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a legal obligation to support a child does not arise because an adult other than a step-parent has demonstrated a settled intention to treat the child as a child of his or her family.

MOTIONS

APPOINTMENT OF OMBUDSMAN

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I believe we have unanimous consent to deal with a government motion without notice or amendment dealing with the reappointment of the Ombudsman for the province of Ontario, and that up to five minutes be allotted to each party to speak to the motion.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I move that an humble address be presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council as follows:

“To the Lieutenant Governor in Council:

“We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, request the reappointment of André Marin as the Ombudsman for the province of Ontario as provided in section 4 of the Ombudsman Act, RSO 1990, chapter O.6, to hold office under the terms and conditions of the said act,” and

That the address be engrossed and presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council by the Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Ms. Smith moves that an humble address be presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council as follows:

“To the Lieutenant Governor in Council:

“We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, request the reappointment of André Marin as the Ombudsman for the province of Ontario as provided in section 4 of the Ombudsman Act, RSO 1990, chapter O.6, to hold office under the terms and conditions of the said act,” and

That the address be engrossed and presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council by the Speaker.

Debate?

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the reappointment of Mr. Marin today.

We are very pleased that the selection panel has reached a unanimous decision. I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, and those who have served on the selection panel and who have come to this decision.

As members of this Legislature know, the Ombudsman of Ontario is an officer of the Legislature, independent of government and political parties. The Ombudsman’s job is to ensure government accountability through effective oversight of the administration of government services. Mr. Marin has provided good advice to the government over the last five years.

Mr. Speaker, you would know, and many in this Legislature would know, that he started work as a crown attorney in Ottawa, until 1996. In 1996, he was named director of Ontario’s special investigation unit, SIU, the civilian agency in Canada for investigating incidents in which police officers have caused serious injury or death.

In 1998, Mr. Marin was named Canada’s first military Ombudsman, and he remained in that job until 2005, when he became Ontario’s sixth Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman plays a very important role in the province of Ontario. The job is not one designed to make friends within the government, but it is an important role. His job is to highlight the imperfections and help us, as a government, learn from his advice and from the imperfections that he identifies and take advantage of the advice that he provides.

Our government has made a lot of progress in boosting health care, improving our schools and attracting new jobs and investments in the province. But nobody is perfect and we need independent advocates to shine some light on what can be improved even more in the province. For that, we are grateful to Mr. Marin for the job that he has done over the last five years, and we look forward to continuing to work with him over the next five years.

1530

Mr. John Yakabuski: It’s a pleasure to finally get to this point. The reappointment of André Marin as our Ombudsman is something that we in the PC caucus and the official opposition have been looking forward to for some time. This process began several months ago. It’s a conclusion but it was a long battle getting there. I want to congratulate Mr. Marin for keeping his head high and maintaining his dignity throughout this process.

As the government House leader has said, Mr. Marin has had a distinguished career as a crown attorney, then as the director of the special investigations unit and as Canada’s first military Ombudsman. In every role that he has served he has received many deserved accolades for the work which he has done.

His work as Ombudsman over the past five years resulted in no less than 21 major investigations and reports, and the government pledged to adopt each and every one of the recommendations out of those reports.

I can tell you from a personal recollection that when we had an issue with the way military families were being treated at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa and the issue was turned over to the Ombudsman, it was not long before a resolution was found. The government was found wanting and agreed to correct its oversight. So we thanked the Ombudsman at that time and we thank him again.

We thank him for the tremendous work he has done over the past five years and look forward to him continuing to be over the next five years the fantastic watchdog that he has been.

I would be remiss if I didn’t speak a little bit about the process and the way that, much to the chagrin of, I think, many members of the government side of this House—certainly all members of the opposition side of this House—this process was politicized like none ever before it and, we hope, none in the future.

An independent officer of the Legislative Assembly was treated in such a way that none should ever be treated. Yes, we did have a process by which a panel would be selected and a member from each party would have input into making a decision and interviewing candidates, including Mr. Marin, who would be reapplying for his job.

When the government didn’t get its way, it resorted to a smear campaign—a smear campaign that involved, as the media like to say, government sources. It’s hard for me to believe that the hands of Warren Kinsella were not on this one as well, who quits his job in Ottawa on March 10, and on March the 14 the slagging and the slander of André Marin starts, coming out of Liberal sources. It’s just the way that Warren Kinsella conducts himself, and I’m not surprised that his hands would be all over this again.

What then went on in the shameful media fiasco put this man through the wringer, but also put a lot of other good people through the wringer. There was collateral damage involved here, too, and I apologize and regret that people like Susan Whelan, who were good candidates—not good enough but good candidates—had to be dragged through it because the government decided they were going to make this a public issue. That was regrettable as well.

It’s a shameful example of what can happen when partisan politics becomes the order of the day for the government as opposed to looking for the best candidate for the job through a very reasonable process and then appointing that candidate, as should have been done. Much of this could have been avoided had the government acted honourably from the start. That I regret, and we hope that we’ve learned by example through this charade that when you’ve got the best candidate already in-house, just because they’ve been tough on you, don’t try and besmirch their reputation.

Mr. Peter Kormos: I’m pleased and honoured to speak to this motion today on behalf of the NDP caucus. You’ll see that I’m joined by caucus mates as well as NDP leader Andrea Horwath. We support this motion wholeheartedly.

I’m pleased as well that this House is going to be unanimous in its support for an officer of the assembly. It’s been a number of years now since I’ve been honoured to be House leader, and during that course of time I’ve worked hard, along with my NDP colleagues and other members of the Legislature, to develop a hiring process, a selection process that’s far removed from the historic one where the government simply sought out its appointee and then used its majority force to have that appointee named to that particular position. Over the course of the last many years now, I think we’ve become increasingly successful at selecting by unanimity, by consensus. And it’s so incredibly important, because these are officers of the assembly that we’re appointing. These are people who have to be non-partisan, and who have been. These are people who have to understand that their commitment as an officer of the assembly is to the assembly in its totality, like you, Speaker, like the Clerk, like the Integrity Commissioner, like the Auditor General, like others.

New Democrats are confident that this assembly is selecting the best-qualified person today for this position, make no mistake about it. We recognize Mr. Marin’s outstanding intellect, his personal courage, his tenacity, his effectiveness and his ability to communicate effectively, not just with us here in the chamber and, more importantly, with the government and, even more importantly than the government, with the bureaucracy that he’s charged with investigating and dealing with, but he’s also extremely effective with communicating with the people of Ontario.

I’ve been a fan of Ontario’s Ombudsman since the day of Arthur Maloney. I’m old enough to remember him. I was but a student as I watched him work as an outstanding lawyer. I’ve watched the Ombudsman through the course of the history of the Ontario Ombudsman’s office, and I’ve learned a great deal from each and every one of them. I’ve been a fan of every one of them in a very special and unique way. I tell you that I personally am a fan of Mr. Marin. I’m confident that he will serve us, that he will serve the people of Ontario well. He’s re-energized that office. He’s made the Office of the Ombudsman water cooler talk—not here at Queen’s Park but in communities across the province. Folks come into our constituency office and they don’t talk about necessarily referring something to the Ombudsman’s office, they talk about referring something to “that André Marin guy.” And I say that’s a good thing, because he’s put a face, he’s put a style, he’s put a personality on this most important office.

But I also want to say this: New Democrats condemn in the strongest possible terms the seamy, seedy campaign of scurrilous slanders that Mr. Marin was subjected to during the course of the last few months. And I tell you that I am confident that those slanders have no substance in reality or fact. We were disappointed to see them displayed, mere allegations, unchecked, untested, on the front pages of major newspapers, where their only purpose was to fester like bacteria in a petri dish. Our conduct today as an assembly, by appointing Mr. Marin, by passing this motion unanimously, is to put those slanders, to put those allegations, to put those vile rumours to rest once and for all.

I want to thank Nancy Marling, human resources director of the Legislative Assembly, and the Clerk, Deb Deller. I want to thank you, Speaker, for your patient assistance to this small tripartite committee. I want to thank Sylvia Jones from the Conservative caucus for her intelligent, thoughtful role on that committee. I also want to thank David Zimmer, because as a new member of that committee after that committee had reached an impasse, he brought competent, careful, rational insight to the committee. David Zimmer has to be credited with assisting that committee in achieving its unanimity.

1540

We also have to commit ourselves to ensuring that this position and this selection process can never be politicized. That’s why the New Democrats have Bill 4; there has to be a 10-year term and no reappointment possible. That’s the only way that there’s going to be a complete and thorough depoliticization of the appointment process, and that should apply to all officers of the assembly.

I congratulate Mr. Marin, and I look forward to seeing his work over the course of the next half a decade. I thank you for your patience, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): All members have heard the motion.

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

Motion agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Mr. Marin is seated in the Speaker’s gallery. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, André, on your reappointment. I know that your family is going to be extremely proud of you. We look forward to the good work that you’re going to continue to do for us within the Ontario Legislature.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome Barb Finlay, the deputy Ombudsman, who has joined Mr. Ombudsman today in the gallery.

HOUSE SITTINGS

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I move that, pursuant to standing order 6(c)(ii), the House shall meet from 6:45 p.m. to 12 a.m. midnight on Tuesday, June 1, 2010.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will say “aye.”

All those 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 1541 to 1546.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): All those in favour will please rise one at a time and be recorded by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Arthurs, Wayne
  • Balkissoon, Bas
  • Bentley, Christopher
  • Berardinetti, Lorenzo
  • Cansfield, Donna H.
  • Colle, Mike
  • Crozier, Bruce
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dhillon, Vic
  • Flynn, Kevin Daniel
  • Gravelle, Michael
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hoy, Pat
  • Johnson, Rick
  • Kular, Kuldip
  • Lalonde, Jean-Marc
  • Leal, Jeff
  • Levac, Dave
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • McNeely, Phil
  • Milloy, John
  • Moridi, Reza
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Orazietti, David
  • Pupatello, Sandra
  • Qaadri, Shafiq
  • Ramal, Khalil
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Ruprecht, Tony
  • Sergio, Mario
  • Smith, Monique
  • Wilkinson, John
  • Zimmer, David

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Those opposed?

Nays

  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Gélinas, France
  • Hillier, Randy
  • Marchese, Rosario
  • Miller, Norm
  • Miller, Paul
  • Munro, Julia
  • Murdoch, Bill
  • Prue, Michael
  • Shurman, Peter
  • Wilson, Jim

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 34; the nays are 13.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.

PETITIONS

VETERANS

Mr. Robert Bailey: This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas with turmoil and fighting around the globe, what better time to remember the price our veterans paid for freedom than the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II; and

“Whereas we also remember and honour our present-day veterans and all who have paid the ultimate price fighting for the freedoms we enjoy in this great nation;

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

“That the Dalton McGuinty government declare November 11 a provincial holiday to honour our veterans of past and present; as well as all the soldiers of today who currently fight to defend our freedoms.”

1550

That was gathered by Wilma McNeill, and I agree with it and affix my signature.

INJURED WORKERS

Mr. Paul Miller: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas workplace injuries should not result in the poverty of an injured worker, and that it is the duty of a workers’ compensation system to ensure the financial security of those who can no longer engage in the labour market, and that financial burdens accumulated by the workers’ compensation system should not be the burden of the injured worker;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows: That all those who engage in work in Ontario shall be covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act; That the Legislature shall eliminate deeming permanently disabled workers to be earning income when they are not; That annual cost-of-living adjustments be made a permanent addition to the legislation; That claims-based experience rating be eliminated; and that the unfunded liability not be reduced at the expense of the injured worker.”

I agree with this petition and will affix my name to it, and Katina will bring it down.

SERVICES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

Mr. Bruce Crozier: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario signed by many of the constituents in my riding.

“Whereas almost 12,000 Ontario citizens who have an intellectual disability are on waiting lists for residential supports;

“Whereas another 7,000 individuals are waiting for other supports;

“Whereas 80% of the 1,500 parents providing primary care for their adult children waiting for residential services are over the age of 70;

“Whereas the government of Ontario made a commitment in 2007 to provide a 2% base funding increase to agencies providing developmental services every year up to 2010-11;

“Whereas the government has decided not to provide the 2% funding increase promised for the current year;

“Whereas the failure to honour this funding commitment will cause further deterioration of supports and services for people who have an intellectual disability;

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

“That the government of Ontario reinstate the 2% base funding increase promised four years ago to service providers in the developmental services sector.”

I’ve signed my signature in support.

ELMVALE DISTRICT HIGH SCHOOL

Mr. Jim Wilson: This is a petition that comes from the good people of Elmvale.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Elmvale District High School is an important part of the community of Elmvale and surrounding area; and

“Whereas the school is widely recognized as having high educational requirements and is well known for producing exceptional graduates who have gone on to work as professionals in health care, agriculture, community safety, the trades and many other fields that give back to the community; and

“Whereas Dalton McGuinty promised during the 2007 election that he would keep rural schools open when he declared that ‘Rural schools help keep communities strong, which is why we’re not only committed to keeping them open—but strengthening them’; and

“Whereas Dalton McGuinty found $12 million to keep school swimming pools open in Toronto but hasn’t found any money to keep an actual rural school open in Elmvale;

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

“That the Minister of Education support the citizens of Elmvale and flow funding to the local school board so that Elmvale District High School can remain open to serve the vibrant community of Elmvale and surrounding area.”

I agree with the petition and I will sign it.

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition from the people of Sudbury.

“Whereas the Ontario government is making ... PET scanning a publicly insured health service available to cancer and cardiac patients under” certain “conditions ... ; and

“Whereas” since “October 2009, insured PET scans” are “performed in Ottawa, London, Toronto, Hamilton and Thunder Bay; and

“Whereas the city of Greater Sudbury is a hub for health care in northeastern Ontario, with the Sudbury Regional Hospital, its regional cancer program and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine;

They petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to “make PET scans available through the Sudbury Regional Hospital, thereby serving and providing equitable access to the citizens of northeastern Ontario.”

I fully support this petition, will affix my signature to it and send it to the clerks’ table with page Sarah.

ONTARIO PHARMACISTS

Mr. Bob Delaney: I have a petition addressed to the Ontario Legislative Assembly that I’d like to read, and it goes as follows:

“Whereas Ontarians pay significantly more money than comparable US states for precisely the same generic drugs purchased at pharmacies for diabetes, cancer treatment, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart conditions and many other types of treatment; and

“Whereas Ontario taxpayers spend more than half a billion dollars each and every year on so-called professional allowances ... money paid by generic drug manufacturers to big pharmacy chains to stock their product. This money does not assist patients, and instead pays for shareholder dividends, salaries, benefits, bonuses and overhead expenses; and

“Whereas drug costs are among the fastest-growing parts of Ontario’s health care system. Taxpayers’ funds should better be invested in improving access to new drugs to consumers and seniors and lowering prices on existing products; and

“Whereas the government of Ontario has proposed a more equitable means of compensating community pharmacists for serving clients and will eliminate abuse by big pharmacy chains of rebates provided by manufacturers of drug products;

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

“That the government of Ontario and all members of the Ontario Legislative Assembly support Ontario’s proposed changes to the regulations governing ... patients and Ontario seniors with lower drug prices and better access to more new drugs for all Ontarians.”

I’m pleased to sign and support this petition, and to send it down with page Vrajesh Dave of the community of Lisgar in western Mississauga.

CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Mr. Bill Murdoch: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly which I’m reading in for my good friend from Cambridge, who wasn’t able to be here to read it in.

“Whereas the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services has the responsibility to ensure the provision of core mental health services to the children and youth of Ontario; and

“Whereas the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services provides funding to certain community agencies across Ontario for the provision of these services; and

“Whereas funding for core children’s mental health services has increased by only 8% since 1992, despite inflationary pressures of over 30%; and

“Whereas the community agencies mandated to provide these core children’s mental health services have rationalized and consolidated the delivery of such services in order to deliver them within the financial constraints, resulting in long waiting lists and reduced services to the detriment of their clients and the people of Ontario; and

“Whereas the Mental Health Commission of Canada identified that 70% of mental illnesses have their onset during childhood and adolescence and that early intervention and treatment provide significant potential for reducing the financial and emotional burden on society;

“We, the undersigned, urge the government of Ontario to immediately increase funding for core children’s mental health services by a minimum of 5% and to commit to similar annual increases until funding is returned to a level equivalent to that of 1992.”

I have signed it and will send it down with Dylan.

REPLACEMENT WORKERS

Mme France Gélinas: I have this petition from the people of Sudbury.

“Whereas a company’s resumption of production with replacement workers during a legal strike puts undue tensions and divisions on a community; and

“Whereas anti-replacement legislation in other provinces has reduced the length and divisiveness of labour disputes;

“Therefore I, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to enact legislation banning the use of replacement workers during a strike.”

I fully support this petition, will affix my name to it and send it to the Clerk with page Katina.

CHANGEMENT DE CLIMAT

M. Phil McNeely: J’ai une pétition à l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario. Elle est signée par à peu près 220 étudiants de l’école Gisèle-Lalonde, et les trois premiers sont Vincent Quiron, Flavie Leclair et Joshua Kramer.

« Attendu que dans son rapport de 2007, le Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat des Nations Unies a conclu que, sans des réductions dramatiques au niveau des émissions de dioxyde de carbone imputables à des activités humaines, les changements climatiques pourraient avoir des “effets soudains et irréversibles sur les océans, les glaciers, les terres, les littoraux et les espèces”; et

« Attendu qu’aucun groupe, pays ou continent n’assume la responsabilité des changements climatiques mais que tous les êtres humains sont collectivement responsables d’y apporter une solution; et

« Attendu que la production de gaz à effet de serre a augmenté de 27 % au-dessus des niveaux de 1990 au Canada; et

« Attendu que nos chefs élus ont la responsabilité de rendre compte aux membres du public de leurs gestes pour enrayer la problématique des changements climatiques par égard pour la redevabilité; et

« Attendu que les jeunes en particulier, héritiers éventuels de cette Terre, notre seul demeure, démontrent un intérêt spécial pour cette question;

« Nous, les soussignés, adressons une pétition à l’Assemblée législative pour demander que l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario adopte rapidement ... la Loi sur la sensibilisation aux changements climatiques. »

Je vais y signer mon nom et je vais l’envoyer avec M. Luke.

1600

ONTARIO PHARMACISTS

Mr. Ted Arnott: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it reads as follows:

“Whereas the Ontario government is cutting front-line health care at pharmacies, which could mean higher prices, less service and even store closures for us;

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

“Stop the cuts to front-line health care in our … pharmacy now.”

It’s signed by hundreds of my constituents in Wellington–Halton Hills.

WIND TURBINES

Mr. Robert Bailey: This petition is addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the health and general well-being of all citizens of Ontario is in the public interest as a necessary good;

“Whereas municipalities across Ontario have expressed economic and environmental concerns about wind farms being forced upon them by the ‘Green Energy Act’; and

“Whereas multiple wind farm sites are being considered by the government of Ontario, in the absence of independent, science-based studies on the long-term effects on the health of the residents and wildlife of Sarnia–Lambton in close proximity to wind turbines;

“We, the undersigned, call upon the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for a moratorium on all wind farm projects until an independent, comprehensive study of the possible health and environmental impacts of wind farms is completed and Premier McGuinty restores the planning authority governing them to municipalities and local boards.”

I agree with this petition, will affix my signature and send it down with Tristen.

IDENTITY THEFT

Mr. Tony Ruprecht: This petition is about identity theft, and was given to me by the Consumer Federation of Canada. It’s to the Parliament of Ontario and the Minister of Government Services. It reads as follows:

“Whereas identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in North America;

“Whereas confidential and private information is being stolen on a regular basis, affecting literally thousands of people;

“Whereas the cost of this crime exceeds billions of dollars;

“Whereas countless hours are wasted to restore one’s good credit rating;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, demand that Bill 75, which passed the second reading unanimously in the Ontario Legislature … be brought before committee and that the following issues be included for consideration and debate:

“(1) All consumer reports should be provided in a truncated (masked-out) form, protecting our vital private information such as SIN and loan account numbers.

“(2) Should a consumer reporting agency discover that there has been an unlawful disclosure of consumer information, the agency should immediately inform the affected consumer.

“(3) The consumer reporting agency shall only report credit inquiry records resulting from actual applications for credit or increase of credit, except in a report given to the consumer.

“(4) The consumer reporting agency shall investigate disputed information within 30 days and correct, supplement or automatically delete any information found unconfirmed, incomplete or inaccurate.”

Since I agree with this petition, I’m delighted to sign it.

SERVICES FOR THE
DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

Mr. Randy Hillier: I have a petition today, and it’s addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas almost 12,000 Ontario citizens who have an intellectual disability are on waiting lists for residential supports;

“Whereas another 7,000 individuals are waiting for other supports;

“Whereas 80% of the 1,500 parents providing primary care for their adult children waiting for residential services are over the age of 80”;

“Whereas the government of Ontario made a commitment in 2007 to provide a 2% base funding increase to agencies providing developmental services every year…;

“Whereas the government has decided not to provide the 2% funding increase promised for the current year;

“Whereas the failure to honour this funding commitment will cause further deterioration of supports and services for people who have an intellectual disability;

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

“That the government of Ontario reinstate the 2% base funding increase promised four years ago to service providers in the developmental services sector.”

I agree with this petition, I’ll affix and send it down with Stig.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION

Hon. John Milloy: I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 43, An Act to amend the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 and the Ontario College of Art and Design Act, 2002, when the order for third reading of the bill is called, 60 minutes shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill, apportioned equally among the recognized parties. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

That the vote on third reading may be deferred pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Mr. Milloy has moved motion number 27.

Mr. Milloy.

Hon. John Milloy: The bill before us, Bill 43, deals with three very important pieces of legislation.

As members are pointing out, this is a motion on time allocation, and I just want to take a second to talk about some of the urgency surrounding this bill.

I think members are very aware of the recent speech from the throne of this government, which outlined the Open Ontario plan of this government, which very much sees the international context as holding great opportunities for Ontario’s future. One of those areas involves international students and, dare I call it, the whole Ontario brand of excellence when it comes to education. I have to tell you, having had the opportunity to attend conferences both here in Canada and outside of our borders, Ontario has a stellar reputation when it comes to education at the post-secondary level, with our colleges and universities and also with our private career colleges.

What this bill does is it strengthens this brand by affording protection to students and to institutions themselves in three key areas.

The first has to deal with private institutions under the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, which is the body that looks at applications that come forward from private institutions looking for degree-granting status. It strengthens that to make sure that only the highest-quality education comes forward.

The second deals with private career colleges. Private career colleges perform a very valuable function here in the province of Ontario in terms of educating students. Are there bad actors in the system? Yes, there are, and we’ve actually worked very hard over the last number of years to strengthen the legislative framework and to strengthen the enforcement that goes along with it to ensure that these colleges—any bad actors—are weeded out and that people get the best education they can through private career colleges. The changes that are proposed in this bill, which I am urging members that we push forward to third reading, would in fact strengthen that.

Finally, OCAD, the Ontario College of Art and Design, again, part of the excellence of our higher educational system here in the province of Ontario: It’s one of the leading art and design institutions in Canada, and at their request, we are looking at changing their name, allowing them to change their brand and put in the word “university,” which would allow them to attract more students and to strengthen their role.

So, three very important pieces of legislation are being addressed by this bill. It has been the topic of debate in this Legislature, it has been examined by committees, and I think it’s time that we move forward with this motion so that it can go on to third reading and, if passed, strengthen the Ontario brand and strengthen the Ontario post-secondary education system.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Further debate?

Mr. Jim Wilson: This bill, Bill 43, was rushed from the beginning, and I think it stems from an interview that Minister Milloy had with the CBC when, after some bad publicity from the government side regarding some unregistered career colleges and one community college, the government was quite hasty in bringing forward this legislation, which they claim will crack down on the bad apples. Now, I think there are something like 435 private career colleges in the province of Ontario, but those are the registered colleges.

I guess why I and my colleagues in the PC caucus do not support this legislation, at least the first two parts of the legislation—I’ll talk about the Ontario College of Art and Design a little later. We do support allowing them to become a university, to put together a university governance structure and to change their name, and we made that clear during clause-by-clause hearings which were held yesterday.

1610

The bill came in a month ago, on April 27. It had barely even been printed when it was brought in for second reading. We had a very short time for second reading, just a few short hours, and then off it went to committee. We had one afternoon set aside for clause-by-clause, and that was yesterday. About three weeks prior to that, we had one afternoon set aside for committee hearings. Unfortunately, it was the same day that private career colleges across Canada—their Canadian association was hosting a seminar meeting in western Canada that was set to take place over a number of days. So only about 11 groups made it in to talk to the committee out of the over 400 private career colleges that are affected by this legislation, because they were all busy. We did hear from a couple of the major umbrella associations, but other than that, only a couple of what I call the mom-and-pop shops—and I’ll read some of their submissions here today—were in Ontario and were able to come to the hearings.

The only notice that was given was on the Internet. At least when I was in government for my first 15 years or so, we always gave notice in the major newspapers and we had extensive public hearings. The new members don’t seem to know and the new minister doesn’t seem to know—new in terms of the last couple of elections—that we used to have extensive public hearings. We would never think of the only notice being over the Internet—because we didn’t have the Internet. So we didn’t think of the only notice being you have to know by some miracle that the bill is being introduced and then you have to know by some miracle to go to the Ontario Legislative Assembly website to find out when the hearings are and when the written submissions are to be in to the committee. That occurred over a weekend. It occurred over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and bang, on Monday all these hundreds of organizations were to get their act together on legislation that came as a complete surprise.

Those that were able to give us written submissions before the deadline and that handful that were able to come to the committee were unanimous in telling us that they found this bill a complete surprise and that they thought they had a very good working relationship—again, those registered private career colleges which are required to have all of their programs registered with the government, their curriculum approved by the government, and many of them take students that are funded by the government through Second Career and other programs.

The fact of the matter is they told us to a T that they were completely surprised. The main association of the private career colleges of Ontario got a phone call saying that a bill was being introduced by Mr. Milloy the following day and that it was minor in nature. Apparently, the person from the minister’s office asked if they’d like a briefing, and then by the end of the phone call, told the representative for the private career colleges, “No, it’s so minor that you really don’t need a briefing.” Well, it turns out it’s not minor at all. There are tremendous new powers given to the ministry, and I’ll go over some of those in a little bit.

Again, the new powers, though, don’t catch the bad apples. If I had my briefing notes here from when I spoke briefly on second reading on it—I think they’re coming—I could give you some of the examples of the bad apples the government is trying to go after. But, again, they’re unregistered colleges, so they don’t fall within the purview of this bill or the government. What the government should have been bringing in is legislation to deal with fraud. There’s one—and again, if I can get my notes, because I hope my staff is watching.

That’s another thing: This is a time allocation motion. We don’t know until moments before which critic is to be on duty this afternoon, what bill is coming up, because the normal courtesy of telling us a week before or a day before, at least, from the government House leader, the member from North Bay, isn’t there anymore. They’ve totally given that up. It used to have to be on Thursdays before, the week before, at the end of the legislative week; at the end of the legislative day on Thursday, they would always tell us what was coming up the week before. So you don’t know, and we didn’t know and we haven’t known for weeks what’s coming up until sometimes five minutes before, sometimes just when she stands on her feet. That’s a really discourteous way to run a Parliament.

Interjection.

Mr. Jim Wilson: It’s contempt, as my honourable colleague from Lanark says, and I believe it is. But that’s certainly within the purview of this debate, because it is time allocation.

Going back to the lack of notification to the private career colleges: That’s a really discourteous way of doing business, too—it’s not a way of doing business. It’s estimated—they’re not too sure exactly how many students at any given time are in the over 400 private career colleges, but it’s about 26,000 students at any given time. Those are students paying their own way. Many of them are studying trades. Many of them are studying niche markets that aren’t covered by our community colleges, and therefore there is a real need for these private career colleges.

The ones that the government needs to go after—I thought you would be bringing in a discussion paper on how to work with the federal government to expand the Criminal Code to bring in stronger fraud charges or laws against people who are fraudulently out there pretending to be a career college, not registered. It’s not the minister’s fault, really, but they’re not registered with the government. In most cases, the government isn’t aware of them until somebody complains, until students complain that they’ve been ripped off.

Unfortunately, some of these colleges, the fraudulent ones, are in existence for two, three, four years, sometimes longer. The students go there for two, three or four years; they pay thousands of dollars a year—some of these tuitions are $12,000, $15,000, $30,000 a year—and then they graduate and they find out they can’t get into the trade or into the apprenticeship that they think they’re learning—welding, for example—because the standards at that particular unregistered career college were horrible; they didn’t prepare them for the workforce and are not recognized by journeymen or by future employers. This bill doesn’t deal with that. This bill only deals with if you’re registered and you’re essentially within the government system, then it gives the superintendent at the ministry more authority to crack down on you if you’re bad. But most of them aren’t bad.

One of the lawyers from the ministry that did brief me on the bill a month ago said, “About 5% of our customers create 80% of our business,” so it’s a small number. I think 5% was exaggerated, too, because in that 5% of complaints that keep the lawyers at the ministry busy, most of them are unregistered colleges; most of them will never come under Bill 43; most of them are under the Criminal Code creating fraud, as far as I can tell, and the government’s not doing anything to—there was an interview. I saw the interview that the minister had, and they said, “What can you do to further crack down on these colleges?” And the minister said, “Well, we could increase the fines.” That’s fine if you’re a registered college, but if you’re out there, I don’t see how this bill helps very much at all.

Because of the short timelines, there were many, many written submissions or emails that simply did not make it into the public record; they were not considered prior to this stage of the bill. Maxine Schacker is the director of Max the Mutt Animation School on Queen Street West in Toronto. Maxine writes:

“About Bill 43:

“This legislation is not in the interest of students, schools or the province.

“Checks and balances are always necessary. Any legislation that gives total power to an agency, and allows policy decisions without review, that does not include built-in protections and recourse to an impartial hearing, holds the potential for misuse of power (intentional or accidental) and has no place in a free society.

“This bill potentially gives the superintendent complete, unhindered and overreaching powers of program approval/revocation. This bill could decimate an entire ‘type’ or ‘class’ of programs. How can anyone invest in a school knowing that without cause, permission to teach a certain subject could suddenly be revoked … with no cause and no recourse to a hearing?

1620

“A school could be served with a contravention notice, restraining order and/or suspension and not even know, since it could be served on someone other than the owner or director. This could result in mounting daily fines or even closure. This bill could result in a horrifying backlog of program approvals. This bill would ensure that a school had very little recourse if faced with contravention and/or program revocation. This bill would significantly increase the current level of confusion and frustration about program approval standards due to the subjective nature of policy creation. If found guilty of an offence, one could face the possibility of going bankrupt due to exorbitant fines.

“We need positive legislation that protects the rights and interests of both students and schools, and is geared to support and encourage excellence in education.”

Maxine Schacker, the director, is bang on in terms of a wonderful short summary of the concerns of private career colleges.

Madam Speaker, I probably forgot to mention at the beginning that I will be sharing my debate time with my colleague from Lanark–Frontenac–Lennox and Addington, and perhaps others.

I’ll just go through this. The tremendous power the superintendent has: The superintendent now would, without notice and without warrant, be able to enter premises—pretty heavy-handed stuff. He or she at the ministry who is given this power on behalf of the minister would be able to just cancel a program midway through.

We tried to make sure there was some sort of recourse for schools that were being challenged by the ministry. Legitimate schools, many of them carrying on for years, have a hard time going to the bank and staying solvent, because the bankers look at them—this is one thing that was brought up—saying, “Wow, at any time, you could be shut down with no recourse, no tribunal, no court, nothing.” If they don’t like you at the ministry, they could just shut you down. That’s what these new powers do. I don’t know of too many government ministries that have that kind of power, other than public health and safety.

The students don’t seem to have any rights. We introduced amendments to make sure the students would get refunds if their program was suddenly cancelled—again, their registered program that was approved is suddenly cancelled.

I’m not sure how we ended up with all the amendments. We don’t even have the amended bill in front of us, because we just had clause-by-clause yesterday, but I don’t think that part of the act got clarified to the satisfaction of students.

The fines do increase, but again that’s for schools that are registered. If you’re not registered and you’re committing fraud, then, like Bestech Academy—I think that’s the one I was going to refer to. That was the famous one—I can’t find it at the moment—that was in the news a couple of years ago and that probably started the series of news stories on unregistered schools. The lady who ran that academy down in the Niagara area, I think, in southwestern Ontario, wasn’t registered. She just pretended to have a school, ran it out of her house and didn’t pay any of her bills to her creditors. Long story short, the ministry, over three years, used moral suasion to try to shut her down and have her stop registering students and pretending to be teaching them. Again, she was unregistered and wouldn’t fall under this act, so I don’t know what would happen. But it turns out—the irony of it, we found out in the news—that the government ended up hiring the lady. She became staff in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and—

Interjection.

Mr. Jim Wilson: No, you guys hired her, I say to the minister. You guys hired them. After we have a little break for bells, I’ll be sure to find my notes on Bestech Academy.

Again, it has all happened so fast. The motion we’re discussing right now to shut down debate is, I think, 40 minutes on a bill that’s really wide-ranging and that only had a couple of hours of hearings and short notice to the people who are affected.

Let me just remind people—and I did get my note here—there are 425 career colleges on 500 campuses. There are more than 27,684 students, it’s believed, pursuing degrees in 3,425 approved programs in more than 70 communities. There are 17 privately funded universities in Ontario, which are included in this bill. Examples would be Emmanuel Bible College, the Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies and other Jewish schools that are on this list. There are 29 institutions that offer degree programs by ministerial consent, which will be captured under this bill.

Private institutions include Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, which has an excellent worldwide reputation, Cornell University, Niagara University and Trinity Western University, and there are other public colleges that are permitted to grant degrees instead of diplomas, including Sheridan, Seneca, Niagara, Loyalist and other Ontario colleges.

Because of the lack of consultation and this closure motion, I move adjournment of the debate.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): The member has moved adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will say “aye.”

All those opposed will say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Call in the members. It will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1626 to 1656.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Mr. Wilson has moved adjournment of the debate. All those in favour will rise and be counted by the Clerk.

All those opposed will please rise and be counted.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 9; the nays are 37.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): I declare the motion lost.

Further debate?

Mr. Jim Wilson: Again, it’s a shame that we have to ring the bells to make points around here about the lack of consultation that the government has with the opposition parties with respect to even what the business of the House is going to be, let alone on Bill 43, which is what we’re—well, we’re discussing the closure motion of Bill 43. We will have third reading—a very short, one-hour third reading; 20 minutes for each party—to speak on Bill 43, which is An Act to amend the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 and the Ontario College of Art & Design Act, 2002.

I want to reiterate, because I met with the president of the Ontario College of Art and Design recently—just yesterday, I guess—before we did clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 43. She was very kind to point out that it was our government that brought in the Ontario College of Art & Design Act in 2002, which set them on their journey to become a full-fledged university. Certainly, I and my caucus colleagues wish them well.

As I said on second reading debate, it’s a real shame that this poison pill has been put in with this Bill 43, the rest of this legislation.

Hon. John Milloy: Not a poison pill.

Mr. Jim Wilson: Not a poison pill—this is good news. Thank you, Minister, for being helpful for a change. The good news, sorry—as the minister corrects me. The Ontario College of Art and Design is on its way to becoming a full-fledged university with the word and designation of “university” in the title of the college. Congratulations to them. It was the former PC government that set them on that journey with their first piece of legislation.

I can remember doing Algoma College, which became Algoma University not too many years ago—I was the critic, so it was within the last two or three years.

Ryerson Polytechnic Institute became a university during my time here at the Legislature many years ago, I guess under the NDP, in the early 1990s to mid-1990s. They were given their own set-aside piece of legislation—stand-alone piece of legislation—and it was customary for the government to brag about the accomplishments of these institutions moving from one level of post-secondary education to another designated level of post-secondary education. Unfortunately, this government, for political purposes, stuck their wonderful piece of news in the back of Bill 43.

1700

To make the point, we did vote in committee, I and the honourable member from Leeds–Grenville, Steve Clark. He and I served on the committee, and yesterday, we did vote for all those sections that did make the Ontario College of Art and Design a full-fledged university with its own board of governors and all the bells and whistles that it’ll be able to offer now as a university.

Probably the best use of my time is to not really paraphrase all the submissions we had. There were quite a few, and these are the ones in my hand that came in on May 19 and May 20, and up until basically yesterday. That was after—because there was no consultation with the sector, the over 425 schools that are affected by this legislation. The only consultation, as I said a few minutes ago before the bell, was they got a phone call the night before the bill was introduced and they were basically not told the whole truth about the legislation. It happened to be the day that the legislation was introduced, and you would remember this, Madam Speaker. The private career colleges had an MPP day here, and they had a reception downstairs. I went down to the reception after the bill was introduced here in the chamber and I handed a copy to one of the attendees, and then ended up getting about 30 copies for them and bringing it down. They were just shocked. It ruined their reception, and they really felt betrayed by the government, but also nervous because the government has such tremendous powers to shut down these small businesses, in most cases. The DeVrys of the world—DeVry college and that used to be in Ontario; they actually left Ontario, I was told in committee hearings, because of the business climate in this province and because of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and its already high-handedness even before this legislation takes effect, and basically putting a bad feeling in the sector.

There are bad apples in this sector, but again, this legislation, as far as I can tell, unless our legal advice is off the ball, isn’t going to go very far to catching those fraudulent institutions or people who pretend to be running an institution and training people in a fraudulent way and aren’t true private career colleges. That is the point of the Ontario private career college association: They only have registered members that can become part of the association, so why are you going after the vast majority, 95% or 96% of schools that have done a good job, some of them for 200 years? It was pointed out, during committee hearings, that we do have some schools that have been around for almost 200 years. We said that many of them have been around for 100 years, and they have trained thousands—millions, I guess—of Ontarians, Canadians and international students in the trades and, as I said, in many niche markets that our current publicly funded post-secondary institutions don’t necessarily cover.

Norine Roussain, owner of Career Blazers—here’s what she says about Bill 43:

“What are the main risks to your school and our sector?—Bill 43.

“I feel that this bill was designed to make it easier to close schools regardless of their success or past reputations.

“It’s one-way communication and disastrous to a small business. With this bill they can cause school closures without any discussion from the school. Isn’t this against our constitutional rights?” she asks. “As a small business owner, we have rights and they are now being violated without this bill. If this bill passes it will be worse.”

“This is the kind of unfair practice that you see on TV in other countries and we are thankful that we live in Canada. Now we have them in Canada. Scandalous!

“My father and my husband’s father both fought in World War II. They fought to make this country a better place, free from terrorists and tyrants.”

The private career colleges “(TCU) sector”—that’s training, colleges and universities—“is very much like tyrants and unless you walk in my shoes, you will not understand that. Try communicating with some of the PCCs or go to one of their meetings and you will be appalled at what you discover.” She goes on, referring to the relationship with the ministry.

This is Robert Barclay; Driven to Success is the name of the school:

“Sir, I want to voice my concerns with Bill 43. This bill potentially gives the superintendent complete, unhindered and overreaching powers of program approval/revocation relating to whatever the ‘sore point of the day is.’ This bill could decimate an entire ‘type’ or ‘class’ of programs. I could be served with a contravention notice, restraining order and/or suspension and not even know, since it could be served on someone other than myself”—we had an example in committee of an order that was served to an old address; the college was being fined and threatened by the ministry and never did receive the proper notice—“resulting in mounting daily fines or even closure. This bill could result in a horrifying backlog of program approvals.”

We tried to bring in an amendment that would ensure that program approvals were done in a timely manner. We were told in committee that some of these approvals take one to two years. These are small businesses, and they’re trying to respond to the marketplace. They can’t wait. If a company needs new welders or a certain type of welding, they need it done—they need the training put in place right away. They can’t wait one or two years for the government bureaucracy in the ministry to bring an approval in. By that time, somebody else, probably in another country, has filled that niche and that training, and again our small businesses is hurt.

Again, Robert Barclay says, “This bill would ensure that a school had very little recourse for contravention and/or program revocation. This bill would significantly increase the current level of confusion and frustration about program approval standards due to the subjective nature of policy creation. If found guilty of an offence I could face the possibility of going bankrupt due to exorbitant fines. I believe this bill needs to be stopped and changes made after consultation with stakeholders.”

That’s what we got time and time again. The people who do know about this bill don’t like it.

My caucus doesn’t like most of the bill and will be voting against it. We don’t like time allocation. For those reasons, I move a motion to adjourn the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Mr. Wilson has moved a motion to adjourn the House. 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 nays have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1707 to 1737.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): All those in favour will please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

All those opposed, please rise and be counted by the Clerk.

The Clerk-at-the-Table (Ms. Tonia Grannum): The ayes are 6; the nays are 40.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): I declare the motion lost.

Further debate? The member for Trinity–Spadina.

Interjections.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: We’ve got to give the members some time to leave, Madam Chair.

Interjections.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: No, no, you guys are busy. No, no, you go right ahead. Don’t you worry about us. We can handle this. We’re okay.

Mr. David Zimmer: Have you got your talking points from your caucus?

Mr. Rosario Marchese: Yeah, yeah. Thanks so much.

Bill 43: I want to make some comments because the comments we made on second reading I thought were very, very pertinent, but there was one deputant in particular who came in front of the committee who said some remarkable things that shed light on this bill in a way that I believe has helped me, and I suspect many of the Liberals, at least those who were attentive, with some things that enlightened all of us, I hope. I want to quote her because—first, I’m going to quote some other lawyer who makes this comment, but everyone made it. Well, it’s not a lawyer, but a group of lawyers: Fogler, Rubinoff conglomerate. They say, “To the best of our knowledge, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities ... did not consult with the private career college sector prior to first reading of the bill. We note as well that Minister Milloy did not make any mention of the proposed legislation at the annual Ontario Association of Career Colleges conference held at Blue Mountain just prior to first reading. Had any prior consultation with stakeholders occurred, then the ministry would have been apprised of the adverse and inadvertent consequences that the proposed legislation would have had upon private career colleges, students, and Ontario’s economy.”

1740

I thought that was a telling point, because normally when we change regulations, when we introduce bills, we tend to speak to those who are otherwise affected, just to give them a heads-up; just to say that we’re working as a team; just to say, “By the way, we’re making these changes. Do you have any suggestions?” What the deputants declared the day they came to the hearings was that the minister told them, “Don’t worry. The changes are very minor, technical in nature. You don’t have to worry about a thing.”

When the bill was introduced, they were shocked, because as much as the minister, the parliamentary assistant and Monsieur Jeff Leal, the member from Peterborough—who spoke that particular day, who is quoted in the submission that I’m about to speak from. They all claimed, of course, that they’re going after the rogue private college providers, and Paula Cooper says this bill has nothing to do with rogue operators. In fact, she says this bill does absolutely nothing to get at those who are providing a service that is either not good or that is fraudulent, where they’re literally cheating those students from an education that they deserve, that they’re paying for. The bill does absolutely nothing.

Interjection.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: Exactly. But you have to vary the tone. You go up and down when you have to.

The member from Peterborough said, “Many of them arrive here, and unfortunately, we have predators out there who want to take advantage of new Canadians coming in and, like the old snake oil salesmen, often try to sell them a bill of goods very quickly. That can be a very disheartening experience for newcomers....”

So the member from Peterborough, the minister and the parliamentary assistant made it appear that this bill goes after those who would otherwise be predators for those immigrants who don’t know what they’re getting into.

So she makes a number of points that I believe are very, very pertinent. She says:

“I have read the debates, and many erroneously have come to the conclusion that this bill is necessary to crack down on criminals intent on hurting students. This is emphatically wrong. Let me be extraordinarily clear here: This bill has been completely misunderstood. Bill 43 is not about protecting students against illegal operators. Bill 43 focuses on how the ministry can revoke approval of an already approved program and its associated credential and then force the school to reapply. The point that is being missed is that the reason for the revocation is not due to some issue of contravention but rather administrative triggers. The most concerning change is the addition that this requirement can also be triggered by some ‘to be determined’ policy directive.

“The act states that in order for a school to offer an approved program, it must be registered. Hence, it is clear that the ministry plans to apply this amendment to compliant, registered colleges, not anyone intent on fraudulent activity” as has been claimed by the minister, by the member from Peterborough and the parliamentary assistant.

She goes on: “There has been considerable reference in the debates to the Ombudsman’s report on this sector. There were two reports, one for privates and one for public. The common denominator in both of these reports was systemic failures by the ministry. The common message I read is that TCU requires better internal organization, not increased power.”

That’s an interesting observation. It’s a criticism I have often made of this ministry, that something is wrong in this ministry when they do not, cannot, seem not to want to fix a problem when it arises—before it arises. That’s an internal problem. It’s not for lack of powers, because the powers are there. They just haven’t been using those powers. I think it’s because, administratively, they’ve got a big problemo internally.

She says, and this is another interesting observation that I have made, which I supplemented when she came in front of the committee, “Since proclamation of the act the ministry has undergone enormous change. There have been no less than four superintendents in four years with a couple interim acting superintendents; staff has significantly increased; there have been three major reorganizations; staff turnover has been staggering; school portfolios have changed hands internally more times than I can count. But, there has not been any formal training offered to TCU staff or sector, except for one presentation in 2006. The result of these changes is the following:

“—unbelievable powers of investigation...;

“—very little training for inspectors and investigators...;

“—no ongoing training for the sector.

“TCU investigative staff does not have a clear understanding of their roles.... There is a great deal of documented evidence to support this statement. For example, one TCU inspector has made the following statement in writing: ‘I anticipate in advance of any discussion with my colleagues that you will never see 100% consistency with program approval.’”

She says, “This raises the obvious question, how then do you expect schools to follow the rules and be 100% compliant, then require them to accept the consequences of those policies when there is no transparent understanding?”

The problem is “systemic failures by the ministry.” This is an important point. We have had four ministers in the last five or six years. We have had four or five deputy ministers. She reminds us that there have been four superintendents in four years, meaning they come and they go. Assistant deputies, they come and they go. Ongoing staff comes and goes. You get the picture, Minister? You understand? You’ve got a problemo internally.

Hon. John Milloy: No, we fixed it.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: No, I don’t know that you’ve fixed it. I really don’t. I don’t know that you fixed that, Minister.

That is why I’m profoundly worried about whether or not what we need are bigger fines to go after those, those—

Hon. John Milloy: First you told us we weren’t tough enough; now you’re saying we’re too tough.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: But, Minister, you weren’t there when I told you the following: You can levy a fine up to $100,000 today. Do you know what your top fine has been so far that has been levied against someone for inappropriate reasons? You remember, don’t you? Because you were in committee and I told you that one.

Mr. Dave Levac: What did I tell you?

Mr. Rosario Marchese: Dave Levac from Brant remembers. Tell the minister, to help him, because he’s got a lot of paper. It’s 39,000 bucks. We haven’t even applied the maximum yet. Dave Levac says, “Yeah, that’s because the courts decide.” Because it’s like an elastic: They could decide it could be $39,000, it could be $100,000 or it could be $250,000. The point is that we haven’t even applied the maximum of $100,000.

1750

Mr. Dave Levac: Not we; the courts.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: Okay. But Dave Levac from Brant sustains, based on the argument, that we might need a higher amount in the event that the courts might want to go beyond $100,000 and need to go to $250,000. Do you understand, Speaker?

The point is that if we haven’t even levied what we have on the books so far, to pretend that we’re going to be tougher by adding an increased amount on those registered colleges that are not, generally speaking, in violation, except the rogue ones that we can’t go after because they probably don’t have any money to go after—you’re going to go after people who are illegally doing stuff where there is no money to get out from. Do you understand? This is for the registered private colleges, not the rogue, predatory ones, right? So what’s in this bill except to give, brothers and sisters, more power to the superintendent based on policy directives?

Don’t get me wrong. I suspect I might even agree with what the minister wants the superintendent to do from time to time. It’s quite possible that I might potentially agree with some directive that the superintendent may issue at some point in the future. It’s quite possible. But you understand, if you’ve got huge problems internally where people come and go, it’s quite possible that you might get some superintendent who might decide on his or her own to issue a directive without consulting the minister, although I doubt that they might do that, but they could, and because that new superintendent might want to eagerly get at a problem, they may issue a directive that could scare the living wits out of many of these private colleges, and they were scared. They were scared.

Dave Levac from Brant, you will admit that many of those private colleges have genuine fears. They said, “We want you to go after the bad ones because they make us look bad. We want you to be tough on them. Go after them.” But the changes you have made in this bill without any consultation with them—the Private Career Colleges Act changes in the bill on page 13 were done without any consultation with these people.

That’s a bit of a problem you have, because Liberals are fond of saying, “We work with our partners.” Jeff, we’re like this with our partners, right?

Mr. Jeff Leal: Usually.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: Imagine them to be completely taken by surprise.

Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Oh, come on, Rosie.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: Lou, they were taken by surprise, all of them. They were all angry. These are private college people. They were genuinely angry. I tell you, I went in there thinking, I’m not on their side, but when I heard their submission, it was difficult not to hear what they said. It was difficult to pretend I didn’t hear, I didn’t see. That’s the problem I had.

In order for me to be objective—as good Liberals, you would want me to be objective, I hope, because you often claim you have that standard of “by any objective measure,” which the Premier often says. You guys often say that. By any objective standard, you failed the test of not adequately consulting these people, so they are angry.

The parliamentary assistant said, “Don’t worry,” to them. I heard you. So, as we go on from here, not in the past but in the future, we will be together.

Mr. Jeff Leal: Again.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: No, not again, because you never were like this before, so it’s hard to do it again.

The parliamentary assistant said, “Look, I know you’re angry. We didn’t consult you,” although he didn’t quite say it that way. “But don’t worry; from now on when we make regulatory changes, we’re going to talk to you. You’ll be there. You’ll be part of those discussions.”

What can you say? I say to myself, okay, do I believe the PA? I don’t know; I really don’t know. Trust is a very delicate thing. Trust is based on what you build; it’s part of that foundation. If the foundation is not there, they say, “If they didn’t consult me before, now that they passed this bill that gives extraordinary powers to the superintendent without any adequate consultation, should a repeal of whatever they’re doing happen without any adequate time for us to be able to do an appeal, what do we do?” But Jeff Leal from Peterborough says, “Well, you’ve got to trust us.” I just don’t know about that. I’m with them. I happen to be on their side on that one.

I’m going to support your bill, but I have to tell you, you didn’t do this well. They raised legitimate concerns. Amendments were made by my Tory friend from Simcoe–Grey. Many I supported, in fact. If I have time—I have a couple of minutes—I’m going to speak to some of them, because they raise good points. Jeff Leal from Peterborough, just in case you missed them:

One PC motion said:

“If review requested

“(8) If a person who has received a notice of contravention applies for a review under subsection (6), the minister shall conduct the review in a reasonable time and shall commence the review within 30 days after he or she has received the notice under subsection (6)....” Then we follow the Liberal motion, which says, “and shall otherwise conduct the review in accordance with the regulations.” So what the Tories have added by way of listening to the deputants is that they should conduct the review in a reasonable time and commence a review within 30 days.

I thought that was a reasonable request. By any objective standards that the Liberals like to use, that amendment was a reasonable amendment. Of course, all of your Liberal buddies on the team rejected that—

Mr. Jeff Leal: I wasn’t on that committee then.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: But your friends, all your Liberal friends, rejected that suggestion.

Here is another simple one:

“(3) The minister shall ensure that the amount of the penalties prescribed under clause (1)(h) and the amount of any fines prescribed in respect of this act under the Provincial Offences Act are publicly available on a website maintained by the ministry and are otherwise reasonably made available to members of the public.”

I thought that was a reasonable request. The parliamentary assistant said, “We do that already.” Well, it’s curious to me that those in the field don’t seem to be aware of it, but the parliamentary assistant says, “Oh, no, no, no; we do this already.” So I said to the PA, “But if you do it and this motion makes that redundant, so what?” Reach out. Throw them some crumbs and say, “Okay, we agree with you. We’re going to post it. Even though we do it”—because you claim you do—“we’re going to do it.” A reasonable request by any objective standard, and all of the five Liberals who were there rejected that.

Do you understand what I’m saying? It’s like when governments introduce things and they say, “We listened.” It’s like Mr. Gerry Phillips today—the Minister of Government Services—“We listened to what people have said about retirement homes,” and then the NDP says, “But we had 92 amendments.” So you listened, but we don’t know who you were listening to, because the 92 amendments the New Democrats made weren’t even touched, except one or two technical ones that you probably agreed with, but everything else of substance was denied and defeated. Similarly with most of these suggestions: They would have made the bill just a little bit better. It’s these kinds of things that create mistrust in the sector, and you ought to worry about that. You really should.

There is a component of this bill that we support, and the Tories support it too. The poor member from Simcoe–Grey was saying that he wants to support the bill—not the bill, but he wants to support the change to the Ontario College of Art and Design to the Ontario College of Art and Design University. He would have loved to have supported that snuck-in component of the bill, but unfortunately, he’s going to vote against it because of other elements that he disagrees with. I agree with you on that, and I’ve got no problems with that.

The fine situation I already spoke to and told you that I’m not sure how effective it’s going to be, given that you haven’t levied the maximum so far, except that you want to—Speaker, you tell me whenever you think the time is up.

With the levies, you think you’re going to show yourself to be tough and tougher than before, but it’s not going to do anything, really—not that part of it.

The other part deals with the elements that I have mentioned, that the private college folks spoke to, and they’re really worried. I’ve got to tell you—

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you very much.

Debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): It being 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 6:45.

The House recessed from 1800 to 1845.

Evening meeting reported in volume B.

House Documents
Video