STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 2 April 2019 Mardi 2 avril 2019
The committee met at 0900 in committee room 1.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): I’d like to call this meeting to order.
The first item of business this morning is the subcommittee report dated March 28, 2019. We have all seen the report in advance, so could I please have a motion? Mr. Cuzzetto.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: I move that the subcommittee report dated Thursday, March 28, 2019, be adopted, sir.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Any discussion? Seeing none, all those in favour? Approved—carried. A better word than “approved.”
Mr. Carmine Nigro
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Carmine Nigro, intended appointee as member and chair, Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Next, we have Carmine Nigro, nominated as member and chair for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Could you please come forward, sir?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Good morning.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): As you may be aware, you have the opportunity, should you choose to do so, to make an initial statement. Following this, there will be questions from members of the committee. With that questioning, we will start with the official opposition, followed by the government, with 15 minutes allocated to each recognized party. Any time you take in your statement will be deducted from the time allocated to the government. The floor is yours, sir. Welcome.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chair and members of the standing committee. Please allow me the opportunity to say that I’m truly honoured, and I can’t express my appreciation for the chance to be here this morning with all of you.
I’m very excited and look forward to the challenges the LCBO board may have in store for me if provided the opportunity to work in collaboration with the other members of the board.
A little history on me: a husband of 35 years of Maria-Teresa; the father of two incredible ladies, Linda and Bruna; and the proud grandfather of two adorable granddaughters, Siena and Capri. I was born in 1963 in southern Italy and immigrated to this incredible country in 1966. I grew up near St. Clair and Dufferin. At the age of 19, I purchased my first home in the city of Mississauga.
On the day I turned 16, I left school and started to work immediately in the construction industry as a bricklayer’s helper. I have always had a hunger to learn and improve. Therefore, shortly after learning the masonry trade, I decided to start my own masonry company, so I went into business for myself and my family. I started Birchwood Masonry. That company quickly evolved and grew into a medium-sized general contracting company, Ermacon Contracting, building my very first retail plaza in 1994.
Within four years, I once again got the urge to grow. This time, I rediscovered my passion for learning. Soon after that, I reinvented myself and helped to create the Craft group of companies. That was the commencement of my journey into a new field, the development industry, and from that day onward we began to develop office buildings, residential, and retail plazas throughout Ontario, which over the past six years has now extended into the USA, with purchases of development lands in the states of Florida and Pennsylvania.
Presently, as president of Craft Development Corp., my emphasis has been on guiding our partners in developing and creating complete, livable communities where people live and work and shop.
Under my leadership, attention has been directed to collaboration: a sustainable, community-focused approach to all aspects of our industry, with special efforts on retail expansions, consulting, multi-site strategies and management, land and business planning, tenant coordination, and building very strong relationships over many years with vendors, partners, management, unions, general contractors, boards and staff.
With well over two million square feet of retail, office and residential projects across southern Ontario, Pennsylvania and Florida, we see opportunities where others do not, and work with industry leaders to determine the best way to turn a vision into reality.
With an emphasis in ensuring the commercial success of our developments, the focus isn’t only on shareholders’ profits, but on the overall success. That means working and assisting our tenants throughout their design process, providing practical, cost-efficient solutions and with a mindset on new initiatives, always keeping their customers at the forefront of the thought process.
Outside Toronto, I was honoured when the city of Kawartha Lakes council, in January 2019, officially appointed me to a special task force committee to oversee and work with the city staff to grow the city’s residential, commercial and industrial base.
Further to my work at Craft, that hunger and passion that I grew up with has continually burned in me and now is providing me with the energy to focus on making permanent and encouraging changes, starting with the environment, all the way to supporting our new municipal and provincial governments. I am dedicated to undertaking whatever small changes are possible for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
I’m devoted in raising funds and sharing my knowledge with causes that matter to me and that make a positive difference.
I’m currently on the board of directors for Friends of the Orphans Canada, which has orphanages throughout the world. I have helped purchase, develop and build numerous orphanages in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, utilizing my earlier years of experience in construction.
Once a year, for the past five years, my business partners and I have hosted a charity event for the children’s Make-A-Wish foundation, where I roll up my sleeves and help cook for hundreds of families during the event.
For the past 15 years, my family has hosted a major event on December 8, where family, friends and business associates drop off unwrapped gifts for children of all ages, which go to the Peel police Toys for Tots drive.
And, in 2017, I was appointed to the board of directors for the Ontario Progressive Conservative fund.
Every project or cause that I support I choose because it’s important to me, to the future of my community and to the people it helps. I choose to make a commitment to serve and give of myself. I look forward to making a difference at the LCBO if approved today.
I know unreservedly that I can provide creative, common-sense solutions and would be considered a positive asset for both the Ministry of Finance and the other board members as acting chair of the LCBO.
Because of my history in the construction and development industry, I have acquired an enormous amount of respect and appreciation for employees who work on the front lines. I recognize unequivocally that these employees, in whatever field, are what makes all this click.
Speaking from my own personal shopping experience, I have witnessed how the existing LCBO stores are well run and, without a doubt, how knowledgeable the employees are when it comes to the 26,000 products currently sold by the LCBO. It is this admiration and gratitude for the employees and management presently in place that I will look to for help in guiding my decision-making, via conversations with the front-line people who are out there on a daily basis, to get a better understanding of what real obstacles or concerns are facing the LCBO presently.
As we look to the future and changes that may occur with the alcohol regime in Ontario, I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to serve the people of Ontario as the chair of the LCBO.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you for your presentation. The first round of questioning will go to the official opposition. Mr. Natyshak.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Sir, can I have the correct pronunciation of your last name?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: It’s Nigro.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Mr. Nigro, good morning. Thank you for being here. I appreciate it. My name is Taras Natyshak. It’s a mouthful as well, and difficult, so I appreciate getting people’s names right.
Sir, unfortunately we’ve seen a pattern in this appointments process whereby the vast majority of appointments that have come before this committee have been connected to the PC Party in some way or another. Either former candidates or donors or partisans or folks who have worked on campaigns—there is a connection; there is a pattern that has been developed. That being said, my colleagues and I have come to the conclusion that this is what the government is intent on doing. Our questions are streamlined in that regard, to the effect that I know them by heart, so I’ll start off the top with: Are you currently a member of the PC Party?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Yes, I am.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Have you ever donated to the PC Party?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I have donated to the PC Party, to the Liberal Party and to quite a few municipal candidates.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Have you ever worked on a PC Party leadership campaign or an electoral campaign for a candidate?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I have never worked on a PC—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Do you currently hold a position within the PC Party?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I presently am with the board of directors of the PC fund.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Will you resign from that post should this appointment go forward?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I have no intention of resigning.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: How did you come about this appointment? Who connected with you or who contacted you to inform you? How did you become aware of this position?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: It was posted on the Ontario government website.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: So you found it on your own inquiry?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I made an application probably four to five months earlier. I put my name down for various aspects—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Positions?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: —positions. I received an email—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: From who? From the appointments secretary?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: From the secretary, stating that there was—I received two or three of them. This particular one I really was interested in.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: On the LCBO?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: On the LCBO—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Pardon me; I’m time-limited. Had you ever made an application for a position within the board or any board?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No, I haven’t.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: That was the first time you’d done that?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: This was the first time.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Did someone let you know that there was going to be a series of appointments that were going to be vacant?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I was at an event and it was spoken about in public.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Do you remember with who, specifically?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: It was approximately six months ago, or four months ago. It was at a public event.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: So you don’t remember who specifically told you about the appointments that were coming out?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: There were three or four politicians that were speaking that day.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: In general?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: In general, yes.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Did you ever receive a call from—sorry; I’m going fast here because these are just questions that we have to ask. I apologize.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No problem.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Did you ever receive a call from Dean French, the current Premier’s chief of staff?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No, I have never—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: How close of a connection do you have with the Premier himself? Are you in quite close contact with him?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Not at all.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Have you ever socialized with him in any capacity?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I’ve never socialized with him.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Do you have any fiduciary connection to the chief of staff, Dean French?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I have no—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Any business relationships with him?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No business relationship with any of them.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Do you have any business ties or, again, any financial connections to any private, potential retailers of alcohol?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No, not at all.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Do you see any conflict in any of your holdings that might put you in conflict should you chair the LCBO?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No, not at all.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: On a personal level, do you believe in the privatization and the liberalization of alcohol sales in the province of Ontario? Is that a position you’ve held in the past?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I don’t believe that we should privatize it, but, again, we’ll let the government decide.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: I’m going to hand it off to my colleague Ms. Stiles. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Stiles.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m going to probably continue along in a similar way just with a few more questions.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No problem.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I just want to confirm: You are currently on the board of directors of the Ontario PC fund?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Yes, I am.
Ms. Marit Stiles: And you have no intention of resigning?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Not at all.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Okay. Can I just confirm that you chaired a development industry symposium for the PC Party in late 2018?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I did.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Was that part of your role as a member of the board of directors of the PC Ontario Fund?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: It was.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Do you recall what the cost of the tickets were for that event?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I think it was $145, if I remember correctly, or $140.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Okay.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Between $125 and $145. I don’t remember exactly; I’m sorry.
Ms. Marit Stiles: It’s okay. Have you any plans in the near future, then, to be organizing any big fundraising events, and at what cost?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Right now there is no intention to do any fundraising at this particular time, but I’m sure there will be, and I don’t know what the cost is.
Ms. Marit Stiles: What kinds of activities does somebody on the board of directors of the PC Ontario Fund participate in? Are you overseeing all of the fundraising activities of the PC Party?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No. That, I leave to leave the—the chair does that part of it.
Ms. Marit Stiles: But things would be brought to you to approve or disapprove.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Absolutely, yes.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Okay. I guess the other question I just want to ask is: You do have this very strong connection to the PC Party, so do you have an ability to remain independent in this position? You obviously have your own views, for example around privatization of the LCBO, but you said that this will depend on the government’s decisions. Do you feel that you can advocate around the issues that you believe in and what you think is in the best interest of the people of Ontario?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I would definitely advocate for what is important to the employees, to the existing management and to the people of Ontario, for sure.
Ms. Marit Stiles: And just confirming: Have you ever met the Premier?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Of course I’ve met the Premier.
Ms. Marit Stiles: And you don’t have regular contact with the Premier at this time?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: No.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Okay. Do you have any other questions?
Mr. Taras Natyshak: How much time do we have?
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Eight minutes. Mr. Natyshak.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Yes, thank you very much. I’m just formulating in my head.
This is a massive organization and one of the most lucrative that the province has in terms of revenue and return on that investment. It funds public education; it funds health care; it funds all facets of the province. From some of the messaging and some of the indications from the government, it looks like they’re willing to break it apart piece by piece; first of all, by opening up private liquor sales and alcohol sales into convenience stores. That will ultimately degrade the revenue stream that you have at the point of sale within the LCBO. Do you see that as a potential challenge going forward in the business model that the LCBO currently has as a monopsony? Do you understand that any degradation in that revenue stream will ultimately impact public services that the province has? What is your opinion on that?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Right now, I don’t have an opinion. I would like to sit with the board and understand it more. Until then, I refuse to provide any opinion on it.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Okay. Alcohol sales in the province are obviously something that various governments have taken a cautious approach to because there has to be a balance between the social impacts of alcohol and also the broadening or widening of access to alcohol. It’s something that has been a long-standing policy in this province and one that I think has served the people of the province well. I can tell you, I’ve never had problems accessing alcohol when I needed to at retail locations. I think we could probably do a better job in terms of the overall customer experience, and I think the LCBO has done a good job in revitalizing themselves, but there has to be a balance between public safety and that retail model.
Do you think that the liberalization of alcohol sales will degrade the aspect of public safety that is so integral and important to the LCBO?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Personally, I don’t think so. If, as the minister stated, that deals with just the wine and beer, whether it’s in corner stores or supermarkets, I think it would be positive for Ontario, for our farmers, for the suppliers, the growers—for everyone.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have been quite vocal in terms of the increased access to alcohol at points of sale, specifically near schools and recreational areas where kids might be. Do you have any concerns about the impact of that?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I believe that the employees at the LCBO are well informed and would be able to—they’re trained to see and to sell to the right individuals, so I believe—
Mr. Taras Natyshak: And I agree with you. I think those unionized employees have the right mix of customer service—
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Absolutely.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: —and also awareness. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I haven’t been carded in quite some time, but I hope to in the near future; it would be nice.
Our concern is that when and if the government decides to, again, liberalize or privatize alcohol sales, that convenience store model might not have the appropriate training or oversight. Would you be inclined to enhance some of the policies and the regulations or request that so that those entities not only train and are skilled, but also are paid a wage that is comparative to what we see in the LCBO model and those professionals?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I agree with a portion of it. I think you’re right about the requirement of these convenience stores to have a certain amount of training. Just like when they sold cigarettes, they would have to ask for ID and whatnot. I’m sure that through the board, we would expect a certain amount of training for the employees of these convenience stores, for sure.
Mr. Taras Natyshak: Again, I want to congratulate you on your imminent appointment. I wish you well. Know that the opposition parties are here as an outlet for you if you have any concerns going forward. We do strongly object to the pattern; unfortunately, you are part of that pattern, through no fault of your own. I mean, we can’t decide who we choose as our partisan affiliations, but when we see a government stacking the deck on the vast majority—I’m talking over 95%—of their appointments, it has to call into question the motive of what the government does.
I hope that motive doesn’t degrade or put into question your actions going forward, because it has the potential of tainting every appointment that is being made through this process. I hope you can understand that, with no offence given. But we have not ever seen this pattern in this House in the history of the province of Ontario, where there’s a concerted effort to appoint partisans and people who are affiliated with a party. It calls into question the veracity of those appointments and the legitimacy of those appointments.
With that, sir, I wish you very well. I cede my time to the Chair.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you, Mr. Natyshak. We now turn to the government. You have six minutes and 30 seconds. Mr. Nicholls.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Mr. Nigro, come stai?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Bene, grazie.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Bene? Buon giorno.
Listen, thank you so much for being with us this morning. I listened intently to my colleague across the way from the NDP with regard to some of his comments. I can’t say that they’re well-founded at all. But I’m looking at your background and I’m very, very impressed, especially from your volunteer perspective: Friends of the Orphans Canada and, of course, children’s Make-a-Wish. I’ve had a friend who actually had a daughter who was part of that children’s Make-a-Wish foundation and, unfortunately, she’s not with us today.
In listening to your background, I picked up on your entrepreneurial spirit. I think that’s critical. The fact that you’re hard-working—I mean, masonry is not an easy task, but that’s when we were young, and vibrant and so on.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Absolutely.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: I’m reading between the lines, and you’re a visionary. You were a visionary before with Craft, and I would anticipate that with your appointment to the LCBO, you’re a visionary as well—that as you get to become more familiar with your surroundings with the LCBO, you will become a strong visionary, as you have been in your past.
I also liked, when I was listening to you, that you’re very client-focused. Of course, serving in this position with the LCBO, you have to be client-focused. The big thing too is community-minded. The implications might have been that concerns with regard to your corner stores and the selling of beer and wine and those types of things—those are decisions that have already been made. The previous Liberal government is not here to defend themselves, so I’ll go after them. But to me, it tells me that your mindset, obviously, has been, is and will continue to be community-minded and looking after the people.
Having said all of that, is there anything else that you’d like to add, that you can impart to us that would help us get to know Mr. Nigro as a person, a human being?
Mr. Carmine Nigro: I think I said it in my opening statement. It’s pretty well there. I’m community-oriented. I want to see change, positive change. I like where this government is going, so I’m here to work and do what I can for them.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: We thank you for your service and for your volunteerism as well, especially around—you said it was December 8 when you have that big—
Mr. Carmine Nigro: December 8, yes.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: —annual bash, where people bring presents unwrapped for children who—well, we want to make sure that every child has a Christmas.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Absolutely.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Very, very notable and quite worthy.
Do we have any other questions?
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): No further questions? Thank you very much. That concludes the questioning, Mr. Nigro. You may step down.
Mr. Carmine Nigro: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Judith Clapperton
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Judith Clapperton, intended appointee as member, police services board—Midland (town of).
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): We have Judith Ann Clapperton, nominated as member for the town of Midland Police Services Board. You may please come forward. As you may be aware, you have the opportunity, should you choose to do so, to make an initial statement. Following this, there will be questions from members of the committee. With that questioning, we will start with the government, followed by the official opposition, with 15 minutes allocated to each recognized party. Any time you take in your statement will be deducted from the time allocated to the government.
Welcome. The floor is yours.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Thank you. As you can imagine, this is an experience and a half, so I might just take a deep breath before I get started.
I’m pleased to share a little bit of my background with you, beyond what you may have read in my resumé. My life is best described as average. I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, community volunteer and, most recently, writer of historic fiction. I’ve volunteered throughout my life and sat on many boards. These volunteer activities were, for the most part, in support of my children’s activities. I sat on the PTA for their schools, believing that being a part of the system, even in oversight roles, is preferable to standing on the outside criticizing the system. I prefer to be involved, informed and, hopefully, in a position to initiate and support change from within.
My career and family limited my volunteer commitments for much of my adult life, but after retiring four years ago, I had time, ability and desire to be more involved in my community. While I began by volunteering for organizations that serviced my community directly, in 2017, I met a strong female candidate running for our provincial riding. After meeting her, I was impressed with her capabilities and experiences and, for the first time in my life, joined a political party in order to have a vote in her nomination. Once she was nominated, I was anxious to see her elected to our traditionally male riding, and committed to help with her campaign, which I did.
In addition to the volunteer work I’ve done, I now sit on two committees for the town of Midland—heritage, and the seniors council—and I’m actively working on their initiatives within our town. Through this work, I am becoming better informed about issues in Midland and, hopefully, in a position to foster improvement.
My work throughout 40 years was primarily administrative, but in 2007, I pursued a dream of creating and running my own retail store. This highlighted previously unknown talents and abilities and, after closing, led to my current writing practice. I have self-published a novel of historical fiction, and I am currently working on a second, concerning a family who lived in Midland.
Although already significantly involved in committees and boards, I still have much to offer. Since my return to Midland in 2015, I have witnessed many changes in our town. As we have opened doors and services in ever-greater ways to residents with mental health and drug-related issues, and increased shelter home beds, our challenges around safety in the community for residents has grown exponentially. I believe these challenges fall, to a great degree, on the doorstep of our local police force.
The transfer of our policing in 2018 from our historical local police force to the OPP has also been much in the press. It’s difficult, from the outside looking in, to determine any great differences that this change may have brought about to our town. It will fall to all parties to ensure the continued success of the changeover.
I’ve always had an interest in our justice systems, working with correctional services in the 1970s in the parole office in Toronto, and again in the 1980s in Midland’s probation and parole office. A seat on the police services board in Midland aligns with my personal interest, and puts me in a position to support our local OPP initiatives in a manner best suiting our town’s policing needs.
I look forward to answering your questions.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Thank you very much for your presentation. The questioning goes to the government. Mr. Cuzzetto.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: Thank you, Judith, for being here today. I noticed that you worked with human resources for many years. Can you please tell us how these skills would benefit you on the board?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: For one thing, confidentiality—that was inherent in anything that you did within HR—and also, learning negotiating skills, because we had to resolve a lot of conflicts and issues, and employee problems and concerns; performance evaluation—I was involved in that; and recruiting. All of those things, I think, support the needs of the board members themselves, maybe in a bit of an advisory way.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Ke.
Mr. Vincent Ke: Good morning.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Good morning.
Mr. Vincent Ke: Thank you for being here. As a board member for the police services board, what are some of the issues you believe should be a priority for the OPP in the town of Midland?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I think working together to address the concerns of citizens around their safety, deciding on the best way of having a more visible presence—not a more visible presence, because our OPP are very visible.
Certainly, we have a lot of local parks and walks through woods. We now have people who are living sometimes in the woods, and sometimes being aggressive. How can we all work together as a community to meet the needs for safety and meet the needs of those people who are living in the woods and obviously have needs as well?
Mr. Vincent Ke: Okay, thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Ms. Khanjin.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Thank you, and welcome. Thank you for coming here today.
One of the key priorities of our government, when we were getting elected, was restoring accountability and trust back into government after it was lost for over 15 years.
We have recently introduced Bill 68, so I just wanted to get your thoughts on how the role of the police board will be impacted by Bill 68, and how the changes in Bill 68 will help restore accountability and trust in the government again.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I won’t profess to be an expert on Bill 68, but from the little bit that I’ve read, I saw that there was something around diversity, and specifically diversity training for board members.
Our town is linked with the Indigenous community of Christian Island and although we’re not a multicultural community, we certainly have those links in town. I personally have a very multicultural family. Each of my children has married out of our culture, faith and everything, so I think that’s a really strong step forward for all communities in Ontario.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Mr. Nicholls.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Well, good morning.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Good morning.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: It’s nice to have you here with us this morning. I’m very grateful that you chose to make the trip down from Midland this morning.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I wouldn’t want to fight your traffic every day.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Fight that—was it 400, I guess, eh?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: The 400. Avenue Road was worse.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Avenue Road was even worse. Well, welcome to Toronto. It’s something that as a government we’re trying to correct, but it’s going to take a little while.
I notice that you’re a grandmother. I see we have that in common—although I’m a grandfather. It’s kind of funny. Yesterday I had the opportunity of announcing to the Legislature that my oldest grandson turned 10 years old yesterday, April 1. That was no April Fool’s joke, either. That was, for sure, legitimate.
I recognize and appreciate the fact too that, as grandparents, as parents, as community-living people—I appreciate the concern that you have for Midland, for your community as well. I commend you for that, I truly do, because we want to make today’s world a better place for tomorrow’s children and families. I’m honoured that you would be considering this opportunity to be with us.
You talk about your volunteer experience in the community, and I’m just wondering: Can you tell us about some of the organizations and causes that you’re passionate about up in Midland and how this will actually assist you in serving on the police services board?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I think all interactions that we have in organizations help us with whatever new venture we’re taking on. I’m sure there’ll be a learning curve with the police services board. Each of the organizations I volunteer with or am on the board with is different, they’re diverse, and they’re giving me a broader context to the town of Midland.
Community Reach, for instance, is a locally driven community organization to address the needs of seniors and people with disabilities for transportation. It exists only in Midland and it’s completely reaching our needs. That was my drive initially when I started volunteering after retirement—to try and serve the needs of the immediate community. The police services board opportunity is doing exactly that.
A lot of the other experiences I have with other organizations in how they run and mistakes they make and things they do well will all be brought to this board and will allow me to help represent the community working with our police force.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Well, you know we do have an aging population. As a matter of fact, we’re all a little bit older, from 9 o’clock this morning.
I was kind of curious as to this seniors endeavour. How is that funded?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Simcoe county actually has a whole age-friendly initiative, but I understand from the World Health Organization that it’s a global initiative, because we are the tsunami that has hit. So all communities are trying to drive through age-friendly practices and services to meet the needs of the seniors in their communities.
I think of “age-friendly” as being all ages. It shouldn’t be senior-focused. I like to see high school students walking down my street and interacting with them. I think it’s important that we all stay connected with all ages.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: Absolutely. Okay, thank you very much. That’s all I have.
Mr. John Vanthof: Any further questions?
We now turn to the official opposition. Ms. Stiles.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Thank you so much for coming today. Congratulations. I have to start by just saying thank you for being very up front at the beginning of your presentation about your political partisan connections. I appreciate that. I think it’s really important.
You may have seen some of the questions we asked the previous appointee. Sometimes we have to come in there and dig around a lot. We’re doing it because we are concerned, as my colleague previously mentioned, about the very large percentage of appointments that are partisan appointments right now. That’s why we ask those questions. You can appreciate that we have to do that, but we also—I have to say I appreciate your political involvement. I believe that being locally active in our political process and elections is really important.
The first question that I should ask is how you came to apply for the position. Obviously, you have strong connections in the community. Can you just talk a little bit about whether you sought this out yourself? Or did somebody mention to you that you might be a good fit for this role?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Actually, no. Jill Dunlop asked if I was interested in the role. I’d like to think it was because of skills that she might have recognized through the campaign. I would like to say that I am more of a person versus a party person, historically, and that won’t change. I’ll leave it at that.
Ms. Marit Stiles: But she did suggest to you to apply, and then you went online—
Ms. Judith Clapperton: She asked if I might be interested in it.
Ms. Marit Stiles: And then did you go through the process of applying online and everything?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I did.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Did you choose other options, as well? Were there other roles that you were looking at? Or was it just simply this appointment?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Just this one.
Ms. Marit Stiles: We’ve already asked about Bill 68, so I won’t go through that again.
In this role, do you think you would be resigning from the PC Party of Ontario or are you intending to remain a member?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I hadn’t thought about it, but if that was a requirement—is that a requirement of being on the board?
Ms. Marit Stiles: No, I don’t think it is. It’s more just a question of whether or not you would think about that.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I’ve been on the board for a year, and I remain on it because I think continuity is important and you don’t contribute much in a year’s time. But if it was a requirement, I would certainly resign.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m not sure that it is, but I think it’s something to consider.
I have a few other questions more related to policing.
There has been a lot of conversation on the issue of carding in the past months. Do you know what I’m talking about when I talk about carding?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Yes.
Ms. Marit Stiles: I’m wondering what your feelings are on that particular issue.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Well, I think that it’s completely wrong. It’s a racist-based type of policing, I would say, and that is completely wrong.
Ms. Marit Stiles: That’s great. One of the other issues around carding has been, if we do away with carding, when we do away with carding, what happens to the data that was accumulated in the past? If you have data that has been acquired through the process of carding, which, as I think you rightly acknowledged, is a racist practice—there have been some questions about whether or not that data should be destroyed or not. Do you have any opinions about that?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: I don’t, actually. I hadn’t even thought about that. I don’t know that that’s something that a police services board in a small town would be asked to deal with.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Well, it is one of those big issues that’s surrounding us right now. Given your strong feelings about carding, it’s something to, I think, explore and be conscious of. I appreciate that. Thank you.
You mentioned something and I’m actually just curious about it. You talked about people living in the woods and that kind of thing. What do you mean by that? What’s going on in Midland around—
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Well, it happened in my last community, as well. There are people who choose either not to live in shelters or not to take advantage of services that are offered, usually for mental health issues. In our case, we’re a small community. There are well-used parks, and sometimes their mental health issues are making them become aggressive. So we have to work through this for everybody.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Yes, I noticed that one of the priorities of the Midland Police Services Board—or rather, the Georgian Bay detachments were continuing to collaborate for an enhanced response to people experiencing mental health crisis.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Yes, and housing and all of them. I don’t want it to sound like there are huge problems—it’s not. It’s just one of the factors that we have to look at.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Absolutely. You mentioned that you were a fan of the diversity training aspects of Bill 68. Do you know if you’re going to receive any training yourself as a board member? Would you be open to receiving training?
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Absolutely. I mentioned that my family is multicultural—and not that my children or grandchildren have yet experienced it; we’re very aware of it. My sons-in-law and my daughter-in-law have all experienced things to do with their races and cultures in the past, so yes.
Ms. Marit Stiles: Thank you very much. That’s all.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): That concludes the time allotted. Thank you very much for coming, and you may step down.
Ms. Judith Clapperton: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): We will now consider the intended appointment of Mr. Carmine Nigro, member and chair for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Mr. Cuzzetto.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Carmine Nigro, nominated as member and chair for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Concurrence in the appointment has been moved by Mr. Cuzzetto. Any further discussion? Seeing none, we’ll have a vote.
All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Ms. Judith Ann Clapperton, member of the town of Midland Police Services Board. Mr. Cuzzetto.
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Judith Ann Clapperton, nominated as member of the town of Midland Police Services Board.
The Chair (Mr. John Vanthof): Concurrence in the appointment has been moved by Mr. Cuzzetto. Any further discussion? We will move to a vote.
All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.
The meeting is now adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 0947.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Président
Mr. John Vanthof (Timiskaming–Cochrane ND)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr. Taras Natyshak (Essex ND)
Mr. Roman Baber (York Centre / York-Centre PC)
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto (Mississauga–Lakeshore PC)
Mrs. Amy Fee (Kitchener South–Hespeler / Kitchener-Sud–Hespeler PC)
Mr. Vincent Ke (Don Valley North / Don Valley-Nord PC)
Ms. Andrea Khanjin (Barrie–Innisfil PC)
Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde (Orléans L)
Mr. Taras Natyshak (Essex ND)
Mr. Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent–Leamington PC)
Mr. Jeremy Roberts (Ottawa West–Nepean / Ottawa-Ouest–Nepean PC)
Ms. Marit Stiles (Davenport ND)
Mr. John Vanthof (Timiskaming–Cochrane ND)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Aris Babikian (Scarborough–Agincourt PC)
Ms. Christine Hogarth (Etobicoke–Lakeshore PC)
Mr. Logan Kanapathi (Markham–Thornhill PC)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms. Jocelyn McCauley
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Andrew McNaught, research officer,