STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Thursday 1 December 2022 Jeudi 1er décembre 2022
The committee met at 0900 in room 228.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Good morning, everyone. The Standing Committee on Government Agencies will come to order. We are meeting to conduct a review of an intended appointee.
We are joined by staff from legislative research, Hansard, and broadcast and recording.
To make sure that everyone can understand what is going on, it is important that all participants speak slowly and clearly. Please wait until I recognize you before starting to speak. As always, all comments by members and witnesses should go through the Chair.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): The first item of business will be the adoption of a subcommittee report, which was distributed in advance. Do I have a motion?
Mr. Lorne Coe: Through you, Chair, I move adoption of the subcommittee report on intended appointments dated Thursday, November 24, 2022, on the order-in-council certificate dated Friday, November 18, 2022.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): So we have the subcommittee report dated November 24, 2022, moved by member Coe. Is there any discussion? Seeing none, are the members ready to vote? All those in favour? Any opposed? Seeing none, carried.
If I could just make special mention of the fact: I would like to very much thank staff—because I know there have been issues in the Amethyst Room—for being able to set this up. While we don’t have live video, I appreciate all the work that has gone into making this happen. I believe, from the Clerk, that this is the first time this room has been used for committee business in—how many Parliaments?
The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Isaiah Thorning): Since the 40th.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Since the 40th.
Interjection: The 40th? Wow.
Mr. Mike Harris: That’s only, like, 20 years ago.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): I know, but in politics, that’s forever.
Mr. Gregory Ingram
Review of intended appointment, selected by government party: Gregory Ingram, intended appointee as member, Ontario Land Tribunal.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): We will now move to our review of an intended appointee. Today we have Gregory Ingram—thank you very much for joining us—nominated as member of the Ontario Land Tribunal. If you would, just have a seat. Again, thank you for joining us live; I feel terribly old, but I love meeting in person.
You may make an initial statement at your discretion. 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 allotted to the government.
Again, thank you for joining us. You have the floor.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: I’ll just stray from my notes here just to thank you for the opportunity to come in person. It’s my first time in this building, and it’s just an incredible place, so thank you so much for the opportunity.
Through you, Chair and members of the committee: Good morning. I’d like to begin by thanking you for inviting me to be here in the first place. It’s an honour to be under consideration for this appointment. Community service has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I appreciate the opportunity today to tell you a little bit about this commitment and how it is relevant to my appointment to the Ontario Land Tribunal.
To begin, I’ll share with you something my dad told me many years ago, and it has always stuck in my head. My dad is quite a community member, a busy community person. He said, “If you want to have a nice community to live in, you can’t just sit back and hope it happens; you have to get involved and make it happen.” These words have always stuck in my head as a private citizen, as a parent of four children, a community volunteer, an elected official and in my professional career as a superintendent of schools and a teacher. It’s my belief that all have a responsibility to do whatever we can to make our communities better places to live.
I’m sure you all have had a chance to see my resumé, which provides an overview of my credentials and the various experiences I have had, but I’d like to take the opportunity now to share some more detail about the experiences that I think will serve me well in the role with the Ontario Land Tribunal.
I had the good fortune in my life of serving as an elected official on the village of Bobcaygeon council and the hydroelectric commission, while also having a career in education for over 30 years. Pursuing an elected position as a 25-year-old seems daunting as I look back now, but at the time it seemed like a natural thing to do, as our family had always been very involved in the community. Serving as a village councillor, as I’m sure many of you may agree in your current role, was like earning another diploma or degree. The learning curve was steep, the pressure to do the right thing was huge and, thankfully, the rewards were large.
It has only been in the last few years, though, that I truly realized the positive impact our actions as community leaders had on Bobcaygeon. During our time in office, we achieved two significant outcomes that have shown a positive impact on the village today, and I’m sharing these because, as part of demonstrating why I’m here today, I wanted to demonstrate to you that the things that you do really do make a difference, especially around planning.
The first decision we made was to consolidate community services into one facility and build it in a more accessible, central location better suited to the Bobcaygeon of the future. Today, the service centre has been expanded to include a library and is a critical hub for the city of Kawartha Lakes. We didn’t know that at the time, but because of that forward planning it really made a difference in the quality of services in the community.
The second and perhaps even more significant action was our decision to apply for and build a water tower. I, at 25 or 26 at the time, was chair of the committee for that. Building that water tower not only allowed the town to expand—exponentially, really, if you’ve been in that area—but also, the firefighting in the town was supported, because before that they couldn’t purify the water fast enough to keep the hydrants alive. Those two small examples I would share with you were really important in looking forward and planning to make a difference.
The third piece as part of my experience that I think you would probably find relevant was that I sat on the committee of adjustment for three years as a village councillor. We very much tried to work in an open-for-business mindset as a council. There’s five people on the council, so it was a pretty cohesive group. We really tried to help people do things in the community. That was quite a learning experience too, just seeing the different ideas that came forward through the committee of adjustment.
My four-year term as a hydro commissioner—normally they were three, but they were extended. A significant move by the hydro commission was that we sold the utility to Ontario Power Generation at the time. The legacy of that sale now serves the community, year after year, by funding different major events and different things that are going on in the community. So that’s a legacy of positive decision-making there.
I was able to continue serving the public in my professional career as an educator, which formally ended in July 2021 when I retired as a superintendent of schools with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. Through my work in education, I worked in communities in Muskoka, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Northumberland and Clarington. I also had the opportunity to sit on provincial committees to help set direction for the province and develop implementation plans for new initiatives. And as an instructor with the Ontario Principals’ Council, I travelled the province to teach courses with experienced principals. I remember, one end-of-January day, flying to Sault Ste. Marie for the weekend to work with principals there in the Algoma district. All those things, I think, are beneficial to coming to this role and having these experiences.
One significant responsibility, though, as a superintendent, is accommodation planning. That’s where we’re looking at how the demographics have changed in our areas and trying to meet the needs of the communities while they continue to change. This is particularly challenging as our communities change and populations shift. The school accommodation review is a public process, and as a superintendent I participated in several of these. Schools are a critical part of the community, and any change must be responsive to current and future growth and development.
In the two reviews that I led, there were different outcomes. In the first, it was recommended to the board that they close a secondary school and, in its place, create a K-to-8, triple-stream elementary school that would be French-, Ojibway- and English-focused, which was quite a unique change and needed in the community. In the second scenario, it was recommended to expand the school to become a 7-to-12 school when it was previously just a 9-to-12 facility. So there was no one solution for any scenario that we faced in that work, and I bring that same open-mindedness to this role, that there’s no one solution.
I have shared these specific examples to demonstrate my involvement and belief in the importance of good planning for the future health of our communities. These life and professional experiences have also taught me about the importance of the public having confidence in our institutions and the decision-making process they follow. In my elected and public service roles, I supported open, transparent and inclusive processes to reach decisions.
The Ontario Land Tribunal mission states that it will “deliver modern, fair, responsive, accessible, effective and efficient dispute resolution services that support strong, healthy communities and the public interest.” It just seems natural to me.
I have the requisite skills and mindset to support the tribunal in achieving its mission and I look forward to the new learning and positive impact I can have to support the development of strong, healthy communities across Ontario. Thank you for that opportunity, Chair.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Thank you very much. We have about eight minutes remaining for the government side. Member Coe.
Mr. Lorne Coe: Thank you, Chair, through you: Thank you, Mr. Ingram, for being here this morning. Your introductory remarks, for many of us here on the committee, demonstrate the far and significant range of the skill set that you’re bringing to this particular position, should you be approved for it.
I’d like you to speak a little more broadly about your motivation for applying for this position. You served as a councillor and you served as a superintendent, but I’d like you to talk about the importance of public service, because this is a public service here that you would be performing. Can you talk to that aspect, please, and what you think your background allows you to bring in that context?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair: Thank you for the question, MPP Coe. As I said in my comments, the whole notion of community service has been part of my whole life. In fact, my dad received Citizen of the Year in Bobcaygeon. My grandmother, whose birthday is December 5—she was born in 1920—was the first Citizen of the Year in Bobcaygeon. She had 10 children and raised them on her own. So I’ve come from a family of—we’re just immersed in the community.
As silly as it seems now when I look back, when the reeve at the time said, “Hey, why don’t you come on council?”, I didn’t even hesitate; I said, “Sure.” I was a beginning teacher at the time and got involved. I was on the parks board, the arena board and the committee of adjustment, and then over the years, I’ve maintained that.
To answer your question directly, having a chance in a positive way to engage the community in change, improvement and growth through good processes, I’ve seen, only results in good things. Those school examples I gave you—everyone would know how contentious and hard it is to talk about schools, and whether they stay open or closed or what happens. But with the change in the Lakefield school, I didn’t have one parent phone call after that. We closed the high school and created the triple-stream elementary school—it’s probably one of the best in the board now—but not one parent phoned. I think that has a lot to do with the solid process you follow. When you engage the community in thinking and planning, I think you get a lot better success. It’s no different from running a school or a school board.
But if you do things that are not engaging and hearing from people—we had a working committee, for that example, that had 30 people on it; 28 of them were against any change in the school. The only two in support were myself and the other superintendent. But we worked through that process, we addressed their questions, we worked through a good, fair process, and I think people felt heard and respected because of that.
I just know, MPP Coe, that we have a ball diamond in Bobcaygeon because people volunteered and got involved. We have growth in that area because of that. I was on the crown ward championship team in two big areas; we made some big changes for children and youth in care because of the actions that were taken to make that happen. So I believe in the process, and I believe that, in the public processes we have, good things come from that.
Mr. Lorne Coe: Thank you, Mr. Ingram.
Chair, through you, to MPP Sandhu, please.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Member Sandhu, go ahead. You have about four and a half minutes.
Mr. Amarjot Sandhu: Thank you so much, Mr. Ingram, for your presentation. I really liked the advice your dad gave you that to make a difference, you have to get involved.
From your presentation, it shows that you have a great engagement in your community. Can you please advise the committee on what you have learned from that engagement in the community and how it will inform your work on the OLT?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair: Thank you for the excellent question. I would say what I’ve learned is that when starting in a small town—Bobcaygeon is about 2,000 or 3,000 people. And through my career—that’s 30 years ago—I’ve extended that same kind of approach to my professional life. I’ve sat on the junior achievement advisory board to improve the outcomes for kids who want to pursue an apprenticeship, by trying to have a made-in-Peterborough plan there. I worked with Learning Forward Ontario as a volunteer on the board of directors to improve learning for consultants across the province on how to help teachers become better teachers.
To me, it has just been a mindset of how you can influence change by participating in the process. I’ve learned that from seeing it at a small scale, on a larger scale—for example, we were trying to improve outcomes for students in the applied-level courses at one time. You all know now that we have de-streaming, no streams in grade 9 for math and English and science. That came out of consultations and discussion with us at the board level and then at the provincial level, and changes happened from that engagement. So I would say that the engagement part is what I’ve learned the most. You can’t change anything if you don’t talk about it.
Mr. Amarjot Sandhu: Thank you, Chair.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Any further questions from the government? Member Harris.
Mr. Mike Harris: I know we don’t have a whole lot of time left, so I’ll be a bit brief. I appreciate you being here today, and this goes to the comment, actually, that I want to make: Obviously, we know that, through COVID, there have been a lot of challenges with some of our boards and tribunals when it comes to in-person hearings versus video hearings. Give us some comments on that. Obviously, today, we had to have you here in person because we couldn’t have video hearings in our normal committee room. But it is, I think, good to have some flexible options. I’m just wondering what your thoughts were on that.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair, the question is an excellent one. Up to my retirement a year ago, we were really looking at how you find good out of a really trying situation with respect to technology and face-to-face. So, to me, if you look over the last few years and you think, “Okay, what are the things we can take from this that give us more flexibility, more accessibility?” then I think it’s a good thing. When you can meet face-to-face, it’s a good thing, and if you can’t, then you still have a way and means to communicate and connect. And I certainly support the whole idea of technology helping to level the playing field in our province, where suddenly places where people could not connect or participate in whatever process now had a way to do that.
In education now, school boards can actually provide tutoring and things like that by the use of technology now, where people in smaller communities might not have been able to access it and in rural areas where you couldn’t, maybe, get to the location to get support. So to me, using both as appropriate is the best way forward.
Mr. Mike Harris: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): One minute left. Go ahead, member Hogarth.
Ms. Christine Hogarth: Thank you very much for being here. I’m going to be really quick: You were recommended through Tribunals Ontario, and it was a merit-based recruitment process. I just wanted your thoughts on the process. How does it work? We want good people like yourself, qualified people, to join and be part of this process. So tell me how the process worked for you and why you’re the best candidate for the job.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Thank you. Through the Chair, I’m the best candidate for the job because I think I’ve always approached—anything community-based is really taking a good look at all angles on it and trying to get us to the best place for the community. People will have certain opinions on all sides, but there’s always a way in between to find the right way, the best way. So I’ve had a lot of experience of that in all my jobs. I started being a vice-principal in the year 2000. If any of you attended school, you knew a vice-principal had to walk quite a line to try to keep things functioning. Then, I was a principal of adult and alternative education, and I was a superintendent for nine years. In all of those capacities—
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): I’m sorry to cut you off—a quick break there. That concludes the time for government members.
We’ll now turn to the official opposition. Member Begum, go ahead.
Ms. Doly Begum: Good morning to you, and thank you very much. I actually was enjoying the answer from MPP Hogarth’s question, so would you like to finish your response?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Sure, thank you. Through the Chair: My professional career has given me an opportunity to build those skills and to work with people. But in education, as all of you know, the world ebbs and flows and you have to always find your way forward to continue to improve and build and make things better for young people. That’s, I think, the skills part. The interest part of it is—I gave examples in my opening remarks about the impact of change that I can see in a small community, and it’s a thrill to see that, when you see something that you were part of and the hard work you went through to make that happen. I can tell you, when we created the common service centre—in a small town, you’re often related to a lot of people. There weren’t very many of my relatives who supported us putting a common community centre in the town, but now, when we look back, 30 years later, you would have never thought. So sometimes you have to work hard to make things happen.
I like the opportunity of learning about the province, too, through this role. I’ve visited many areas of the province to support education in that role, and now I think I have a good, balanced mindset from working at provincial committees, regional committees to make change, and then locally to bring that kind of perspective.
Ms. Doly Begum: Thank you very much. I know that you come with a wide range of experience, as well, not just as an educator, principal, superintendent, but also in the community, which I think brings in a lot of different perspectives.
One of the things that I was wondering is: We have different tribunals, as well. Why particularly did you decide to apply to the OLT?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair, the experiences on council on the committee of adjustment, I would say, were some of the most exciting meetings I ever attended, because they were all action-based. Somebody wanted to do something, and they wanted you to engage in that process. So that’s part of it. I found about it when a colleague of mine who had just retired was looking at the public appointments. He called me and he said, “Hey, they’re looking for someone here. This matches up with that.”
I’m not sure if we all share this, but when I think about planning, it’s probably one of the most critical things that we’re doing as a province right now. Good planning and communities allow so many other things to happen in good ways. I live in Peterborough now, and I watch how there’s—it’s in a transition phase, it looks like to me. Some good planning has to occur so that the community is set up for down the road.
I just see the connection between planning, land use and quality of community being very closely knit, and that excites me. My partner said, “I haven’t heard you so excited about something since you applied to be the superintendent.” I trust her judgment.
Ms. Doly Begum: Thank you, Mr. Ingram. My next question is similar. One of the things that we have found with recent bills and the passing of recent legislation is that there used to be the ability for third parties, including conservation authorities, to appeal and basically have a say. So my two-part question would be, (1) how significant do you think is the role of conservation authorities and environmental organizations, and (2) do you feel that third parties should have a say or be able to appeal in such decisions?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: This sounds like questions that I would get sometimes from trustees that are fairly pointed. To be perfectly straightforward with you, I’m too new to this now to really offer a firm opinion on that. I mean, I see in the news what everyone sees in the news. I’m sure if I’m appointed to the committee I will learn more about the significance of how to handle the changes, and then we’ll move forward from there.
Ms. Doly Begum: And did you want to comment on conservation authorities and the role of environmental protection when it comes to planning and land use?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: I’m not familiar with how significant it is in planning in recent years. Certainly environmental is an important thing. I’m sure I’ll continue to get training about how to support or address that in this role, if I’m appointed.
Ms. Doly Begum: Thank you very much. I’ll pass the rest of the time.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Thank you.
Member Bourgouin, 10 minutes.
Mr. Guy Bourgouin: Just on that point: Surely, you must have views. You have a lot of experience. You’re engaged. You definitely have views on this. This is why my colleague’s question—we’d like to see your views on this, because you’re being appointed to an important committee. I’m sure you have views to share.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair: Thank you for the even more pointed question. Certainly when I was superintendent we created a program at Trent University where the students attended for a whole semester and a teacher worked at the university in an environmental focus. So I think environmental is important to everyone—everyone in this room—and I would share the same level of importance with everyone here.
Mr. Guy Bourgouin: In your view, what impact would Bill 23 have on the OLT’s operation?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair: I haven’t read the bill in depth to know, and I’m assuming that if I’m appointed, I would have more intimate knowledge of that and be better able to answer in the future when I get to that point. But at this point it would be unfair and not practical for me to try to answer that.
Mr. Guy Bourgouin: In May 2022, Orangeville town council passed a motion calling on the province to eliminate the OLT. The motion described the OLT appeal process as “red tape” that is hindering the development of attainable housing. Can you comment on this?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair: Once again, I’m not familiar with the Orangeville situation. When I was on council, it was called the Ontario Municipal Board. Really, all I’ve read about it now is what’s on the website. The mandate of the committee interests me, as I’ve indicated today, and that’s really as much as I could say about that.
Mr. Guy Bourgouin: Okay. You’ll have the same answer for the next question, so I’ll pass it to my colleague the MPP from the Liberals.
Mr. John Fraser: Thank you very much for being here. You’ve got a tremendous record of community and public service and working with people.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Thank you.
Mr. John Fraser: What I want to ask, relevant to your experience, is: The Ontario Land Tribunal is going to operate under the principles of administrative justice. So what work have you done or training have you had in the application of administrative justice?
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair, I’m not sure if it’s officially called administrative justice, the work I’ve done, but I’ll give you a couple of examples.
When I worked for Trillium Lakelands’s school board, I was in charge of the suspension-expulsion program. So the goal of that—it’s almost the most extreme intervention school boards had to deal with refractory behaviour. I would review the report from the schools about the incident that happened. I would meet with parents and the child to get a more in-depth understanding of where they were at. I would facilitate the group coming together. And then, most importantly, I really worked with the family after.
But those hearings were official, similar to your hearing here today. It was a clear agenda. People had a chance to say what they wanted to say. The school had a chance to say what they needed to say. And then the board of trustees could ask questions of clarification and then would move forward from there. For the board of trustees, I would be their expert, so to speak, as an educator, and then I would work with the family after to help them finally get the child back into school.
Mr. John Fraser: Did you write decisions or recommend decisions that were applied by the board of trustees, or was it just a—
Mr. Gregory Ingram: So in that case, no. The board of trustees made their own decision. The principal would make a recommendation as the lead. As far as writing a recommendation to the board of trustees, that was part of my everyday job as a superintendent: writing policy, bringing procedures to the board of trustees to review and ask questions. Then they would debate them and then vote on them to go ahead.
Mr. John Fraser: So the reason that I ask this is that when you’re on—in a tribunal, you’re applying administrative justice; you’re taking the legislation, applying the legislation in a way that’s fair and transparent.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: That’s right.
Mr. John Fraser: So writing decisions is a really important thing for clarity and ensuring that things are not only fair but appear to be fair. I think the experience that you have is good there, and there’s no question. It is something, though, that is different in terms of applying legislation.
We’re at a time in Ontario right now when land use is a really big issue. Not just with Bill 23, but what we’ve seen—even in my community of Ottawa. My colleagues over here mentioned the third party. It’s not yours to—you have to apply whatever the law is. With third parties being removed as interveners, I think that’s going to be a challenge for Ontario, and it will be really important for anybody who sits on that land tribunal to apply what laws there are and remain in a fair and clear way.
Mr. John Fraser: Pardon me? I’m sorry; do you want to ask a question, or did you want to answer for the deputant?
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Order, please. Member Fraser has the floor.
Mr. John Fraser: How much time do I have left?
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Four and a half minutes.
Mr. John Fraser: I think that that’s going to be something that—obviously, you’ve had some experience, and you can learn. You have a very good resumé. I think it’s really important that—you need to familiarize yourself with that legislation. Administrative tribunals are a challenge because if you get it wrong, then, as you know, there’s more work to be done. And so—
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Through the Chair: MPP Fraser, just to speak to your point about the importance of factual, in my interview with the chair of the land tribunal, one of the things I said to him was that it isn’t just about writing a report; it’s that the people who participate in the process see a true reflection of the process in the report. If you look at a report and you think, “What meeting was this person at? This isn’t what I heard”—so in your further comment, I would say that that is a critical piece. In the school accommodation piece, we reflected every detail that was for or against, because people needed to see themselves in that, that we had truly considered all factors in landing at a recommendation.
Mr. John Fraser: I think that will serve you well, and I do think that you’re a good candidate. So please don’t take my questions—
Mr. Gregory Ingram: No, no.
Mr. John Fraser: I just think that what you’ll find with administrative is that it’s going to be next level, right? That experience is going to be very good, but when you’re directly applying pieces of legislation it becomes even more crucial. Right now in Ontario, land use will be a massive issue, and it will be, probably, for the next three or four years and beyond.
That’s all the questions that I have.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Thank you, sir. There’s two and a half minutes left. Any other questions at all?
Ms. Doly Begum: No. I just wanted to say thank you. On this side, one of the things that we looked at was your qualifications and the background, and in a way, they were a little bit different from some of the other candidates’. I just want to say we also think that you are a good candidate and appreciate you coming forward. There will be a little bit of a learning—you’ve had that experience, as well, in terms of a steep learning curve. Because there are a lot of changes that have been recently made which really impact the way we use land as well as the way we respect and protect our environment, I think that impartiality is going to be really significant. So thank you very much.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: You’re welcome.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Okay. Thank you all very much. We’ll move on now. We will consider the—actually, that concludes the time you have to spend at your table, Mr. Ingram.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): You can stay, or you are free to leave as we continue the meeting.
Mr. Gregory Ingram: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Thank you.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Gregory Ingram, nominated as member of the Ontario Land Tribunal. Do we have a motion? Member Coe.
Mr. Lorne Coe: Thank you, Chair. Through you, I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Gregory Ingram, nominated as member of the Ontario Land Tribunal.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Concurrence in the intended appointment has been moved by member Coe. Is there any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, are members ready to vote? All those in favour? That is unanimous. Thank you very much. That’s carried.
We will now move on to extensions. Committee members, the deadline to review the intended appointments of Ian Speers and Jeremy Roberts, selected from the November 4, 2022, certificate, is December 4, 2022. Do we have unanimous agreement to extend the deadline to consider the intended appointments of Ian Speers and Jeremy Roberts to January 3, 2023?
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): I heard a no.
Ms. Doly Begum: Is there time to discuss this, Chair?
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): I will say that we already heard a no, so that’s done; however, the member has time to discuss, yes.
Ms. Doly Begum: Thank you very much, Chair. I appreciate the opportunity. I guess my question would be to ask members opposite or just hear—what we just had was great, having someone come in, to be able to ask some questions, to be able to hear the feedback and understand the qualifications. These are very important positions; I’m sure you all agree. We’re talking about land tribunals. We’re talking about the tenant board. We’re talking about the human rights tribunal. They’re extremely significant positions that really require us to—I mean, we have a responsibility. We’re representing hundreds of thousands of people, Chair, and we have a responsibility to make sure that we are appointing the people that are fit. When we bring in these selections, in the official opposition, for example, as New Democrats, one of the things that we’re asking for is to be able to have the opportunity to ask those questions to see who these individuals are or why they would like to be a part of these positions or these appointments, why they feel they’re fit, and to be able to hear those responses, because I think that it’s important for us to make sure that they’re qualified individuals. It doesn’t mean that they’re not qualified; it doesn’t mean that they are qualified. This is a process, and I think we all respect the process.
So I would really like the indulgence, the respect, of all members in committee to allow for this process to happen. One of the difficulties that I find when an extension is required—because I know that when the call happens, the person will come in. But unfortunately, we have a little bit of a loophole here, which is that we need an extension because the House will adjourn in a week for Christmas and, therefore, we will have to come back later on and do this. Why not take that time? Why not come back? Or when we do come back, why not go through the procedure as it was intended so that we can allow for the individuals who would like to be part of such a significant tribunal process, such as in a role—so that we can ask those questions?
I know that two individuals, including a former MPP of the government party, are asking to take on a position. I have the utmost respect for the former member, who was one of my former colleagues. But not just this member; anyone who comes forward and asks to take on a role, should really feel—it’s like when you’re hiring, for example, in your offices, Chair. I’m sure you would like to sit down with the individuals, the appointees, to say, “Why do you want to take on this role? What are you passionate about? We have some questions”—you know?—based on the requirements for it.
So my simple ask of all government members—you have a majority, so you can vote it down or you can vote for it; it’s completely up to you. But I would really ask for you to reconsider these decisions, because we’ve had multiple extensions where we lost out on the opportunity, missed out on the opportunity, because we did not have unanimous consent. My humble ask is for us to really consider this.
I’ll yield my time to the rest of my colleagues here, if that is possible, Chair. Thank you very much, and thank you, everybody, for listening.
Mr. John Fraser: I just have a comment. I just don’t think—
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): MPP Fraser.
Mr. John Fraser: Thank you. Sorry, Chair. I don’t think we’re doing the member any favours by having him not appear.
The Chair (Mr. Will Bouma): Thank you. Any further discussion? Thank you very much, everyone. That concludes our business for today, and this committee now stands adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 0937.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Président
Mr. Will Bouma (Brantford–Brant PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South / Ottawa-Sud L)
Ms. Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest / Scarborough-Sud-Ouest ND)
Mr. Will Bouma (Brantford–Brant PC)
Mr. Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk–James Bay / Mushkegowuk–Baie James ND)
Mr. Lorne Coe (Whitby PC)
Mr. John Fraser (Ottawa South / Ottawa-Sud L)
Mme Dawn Gallagher Murphy (Newmarket–Aurora PC)
Mr. Mike Harris (Kitchener–Conestoga PC)
Mr. Trevor Jones (Chatham-Kent–Leamington PC)
Mr. Billy Pang (Markham–Unionville PC)
Ms. Chandra Pasma (Ottawa West–Nepean / Ottawa-Ouest–Nepean ND)
Mr. Sheref Sabawy (Mississauga–Erin Mills PC)
Mr. Amarjot Sandhu (Brampton West / Brampton-Ouest PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Ms. Christine Hogarth (Etobicoke–Lakeshore PC)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr. Isaiah Thorning
Staff / Personnel
Ms. Lauren Warner, research officer,