LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO

ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L'ONTARIO

Monday 13 June 2005 Lundi 13 juin 2005

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS

RON CHRISTIE

SOUTH CARLETON LEGION

UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO

COUNCIL ON FOREST SECTOR COMPETITIVENESS

COLLISION REPAIR INDUSTRY

ANTI-SMOKING LEGISLATION

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

GOVERNMENT'S RECORD

LEGISLATIVE PAGES

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON ESTIMATES

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

GREENBELT STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
EN CE QUI A TRAIT
À LA CEINTURE DE VERDURE

APPRENTICESHIP AND CERTIFICATION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE ET LA RECONNAISSANCE PROFESSIONNELLE

APPRENTICESHIP AND CERTIFICATION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE ET LA RECONNAISSANCE PROFESSIONNELLE

APPRENTICESHIP AND CERTIFICATION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE ET LA RECONNAISSANCE PROFESSIONNELLE

MOTIONS

LEGISLATIVE PAGES

PARTY STATUS

REFERRAL OF BILLS

STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY AND RESPONSES

OPSEU AGREEMENT /
ENTENTE AVEC LE SEFPO

DEFERRED VOTES

PLACES TO GROW ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR
LES ZONES DE CROISSANCE

REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY
OF PEEL ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LA MUNICIPALITÉ
RÉGIONALE DE PEEL

ORAL QUESTIONS

MINISTER'S INTEGRITY

COST OF ELECTRICAL POWER

MINISTER'S INTEGRITY

PROBATION AND PAROLE SERVICES

RURAL HEALTH SERVICES

ONTARIO ECONOMY

AIR QUALITY

TEACHERS' CONTRACTS

COMMERCIAL FISHING

RURAL EDUCATION FUNDING

VISITOR

PETITIONS

HEALTH CARE SERVICES

REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRES

PUBLIC TRANSIT TAX CREDIT

TFO

WEARING OF HELMETS

CREDIT VALLEY HOSPITAL

PENSION PLANS

CREDIT VALLEY HOSPITAL

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

EDUCATION FUNDING

TEACHER QUALIFICATION

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

ORDERS OF THE DAY

LABOUR RELATIONS STATUTE LAW
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
CONCERNANT LES RELATIONS
DE TRAVAIL

ELECTION STATUTE LAW
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
EN CE QUI CONCERNE LES ÉLECTIONS

ELECTION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT
LA LOI ÉLECTORALE

ELECTION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT
LA LOI ÉLECTORALE

KEY AIRCRAFT SERVICES INC. ACT, 2005

KEY AIRCRAFT SERVICES INC. ACT, 2005

ACTON DISPOSAL
SERVICES LIMITED ACT, 2005

ACTON DISPOSAL
SERVICES LIMITED ACT, 2005

KITCHENER-WATERLOO
Y.M.C.A. ACT, 2005

KITCHENER-WATERLOO
Y.M.C.A. ACT, 2005

TYNDALE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
& SEMINARY ACT, 2005

TYNDALE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
& SEMINARY ACT, 2005

INSTITUTE FOR
CHRISTIAN STUDIES ACT, 2005

INSTITUTE FOR
CHRISTIAN STUDIES ACT, 2005

TORONTO ATMOSPHERIC FUND
ACT, 2005

TORONTO ATMOSPHERIC FUND
ACT, 2005

REFERRAL OF BILLS

ASIAN HERITAGE ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005
SUR LE PATRIMOINE ASIATIQUE

HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
(SCHOOL CROSSING GUARDS), 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LE CODE
DE LA ROUTE (PASSEURS SCOLAIRES)

FARM IMPLEMENTS
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI
SUR LES APPAREILS AGRICOLES

ONTARIO WINE WEEK ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LA SEMAINE DES VINS
DE L'ONTARIO

ONTARIO WINE WEEK ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LA SEMAINE DES VINS
DE L'ONTARIO

SELECT COMMITTEE ON
ELECTORAL REFORM

STATUS OF BUSINESS

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

PARLIAMENTARY CALENDAR

ROYAL ASSENT /
SANCTION ROYALE


The House met at 1330.

Prayers.

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS

Mr. Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): In October 2003, our provincial PC government was pleased to announce and deliver $20 million under the 3B program for farmers affected by the BSE crisis. This money went directly to over 6,800 livestock producers throughout Ontario. This money was to help farmers recover a bare minimum of costs to help keep their family farms up and running.

Last week, however, I was shocked when I began to hear from farmers throughout my riding and throughout Ontario who received a letter from Agricorp telling them that the Liberal government of the day is required to recover this funding from all farmers who are not enrolled in the CAIS program. Jim Roberts is a beef and sheep producer from Gilford. His family received $2,000 in 2003, and now, in 2005, is being asked by the Liberal government to return this money, simply because he isn't enrolled in another government aid program, the CAIS program.

Farmers who received the money in 2003 were never told of this requirement and certainly did not expect today's Liberal government to turn the collection agent on to our own Ontario livestock farmers.

On page 29 of the Liberal 2005 budget, we noticed a 23.1% budget cut to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Minister Peters, on the other hand, has been continually telling us that there is no cut and that the real money spent balances out. Now we know where the differences will come from: directly from our farmers.

In 2003, the PC government was working hard to help our farmers affected by the BSE crisis. In 2005, the Liberal government is reaching back into the affected farmers' pockets and taking their money back to apply it to their current budget. Minister, you can't take 2003 money back and use it for 2005 expenses; it's simply not fair.

What are these farmers going to do now? The Liberal government should immediately apologize to the farmers and tell them they made a mistake, and that they will be able to keep this much-needed money.

RON CHRISTIE

Mr. Brad Duguid (Scarborough Centre): I rise today to pay tribute to a man who over the course of four decades has made an invaluable contribution to our province's environment, most recently here in the GTA. The gentleman I'm referring to is Mr. Ron Christie.

On Friday, June 17 of this year, a special luncheon is being held in his honour celebrating his 10 years as chair of the Rouge Park Alliance. Ron was the founding chair of the alliance, serving from April 1995 until January 2005, although he has been involved with the planning of the park since the early 1990s.

Ron Christie began his public service in 1961 with the Ministry of Natural Resources, after obtaining his master's degree in zoology from the University of Western Ontario. Until he retired from the ministry in 1993, Ron held a variety of different posts, including assistant deputy minister for southern Ontario.

Ron's activities on behalf of the environment were not restricted solely to the provincial scene; he also served as a member of the federal Green Space Stewardship Advisory Committee.

I've known Ron Christie for many years, but I've had the opportunity over the last year or so to work more closely with him as a member of the Rouge Park Alliance.

Through the efforts of Ron Christie, the park continues to flourish and grow. As Ron Christie leaves as chair of the Rouge Park Alliance, let us thank him for his contribution to the preservation of the Rouge and acknowledge that our children and our children's children will appreciate his legacy for many generations to come.

SOUTH CARLETON LEGION

Mr. John R. Baird (Nepean-Carleton): I rise today to report a great tragedy that took place in my riding of Nepean-Carleton.

Yesterday afternoon, a $1-million fire gutted the Manotick Legion, and that has had a huge effect on the community I'm privileged to represent. There was smoke coming out of the basement, so all the members quickly escaped, and no one was injured. Deputy Fire Chief Gord Mills said that firefighters had some early success knocking down the fire from inside the building, but flames spread to the walls and to the loft upstairs.

Thankfully, much of the memorabilia at the Legion from our fighting men and women in the past was saved when the fire was put out around 6 o'clock.

The official name of the Legion is South Carleton branch 314 of the Royal Canadian Legion. This Legion has an extraordinary record in honouring the sacrifices of our fighting men and women who have made a huge difference to democracy and preserving the way of life we currently enjoy; it is also a real centre of the community where numerous events for seniors and other public projects are participated in.

"There was a lot of memorabilia in that legion; that's the hardest part," reported one of the legion members. Many legionnaires were concerned about how much of the medals, souvenirs, plaques, photos and other memorabilia would be saved. Fortunately, many of these memorabilia were saved.

A special thank you to all of the firefighters, many of whom were volunteers, who did an extraordinary job in saving what could have been a much more substantial cost in life and limb.

UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO

Ms. Andrea Horwath (Hamilton East): This week the University of Western Ontario is recognizing two individuals who have been pivotal in advancing the rights of Canadian women: Doris Anderson and Dr. Henry Morgentaler, both recipients of honorary degrees from Western.

Author, actor and advocate Doris Anderson pioneered the Canadian media's coverage of women's struggles for equality. As editor of Chatelaine from 1957 to 1977, Doris commissioned articles on such hard-hitting topics as divorce, abortion, battered children and violence against women. Doris consistently broke new ground, and others followed her lead. Her body of work earned her a Companion medal of the Order of Canada and a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler, like Doris, is an outspoken supporter of women's reproductive rights. Dr. Morgentaler devoted decades fighting for changes to Canada's Criminal Code that would guarantee in law women's rights to choose.

He established Montreal's first clinic for women in 1968 and worked with the feminist movement to demand safe, timely access to abortion services until the law was changed. Similarly, he campaigned province by province to ensure that medicare covered the service in every province, a struggle that continues to this day.

Congratulations to these two new Western university graduates, and to Maude Barlow, the other honouree.

In profiling its commitment to women's rights, the University of Western Ontario has gained three outstanding new alumni who were pivotal in advancing the rights of Canadian women.

COUNCIL ON FOREST SECTOR COMPETITIVENESS

Mr. Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay-Superior North): Earlier today, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay released the final report of the Council on Forest Sector Competitiveness, which he set up in November 2004 to develop recommendations on the best way to strengthen and diversify Ontario's forest-based economy. Concurrent with its release, the minister announced a number of measures to take force immediately, including the provision of $350 million in loan guarantees to stimulate investment in the industry. The minister also committed to review the report and respond with a clear action plan in the very near future.

First of all, I want to thank Minister Ramsay for recognizing that the forest industry in our province is in crisis and that the survival of this economic giant in Ontario requires an immediate response from our government. I also want to thank the members of the minister's council for their hard work and very clear direction as to what is needed to overcome the diverse problems confronting the industry.

1340

Certainly, as the provincial representative for a riding that contains several of the mills and operations that are struggling to remain viable, I am incredibly conscious of the need for strong government support at both the federal and provincial levels, particularly if we are to remain focused on avoiding closures of the most vulnerable operations in the northwest. Personally, I am strongly supportive of many of the recommendations put forward by the minister's council, particularly the need for an independent review of existing forest inventory so that we can all come to terms with the wood supply issues confronting the industry.

Having said that, all the issues dealt with in the council's report require a speedy response, and I call on the minister today to move quickly to take the action needed, in conjunction with industry and labour, to keep our forest sector competitive today and in the future.

COLLISION REPAIR INDUSTRY

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): On June 1, over 700 individuals from across Ontario who work in the collision repair industry gathered for a one-day symposium to highlight the state of their industry. The organizer of the symposium, Rosanna Armata, is to be commended for such an outstanding event and for the daily efforts she puts forward in attempting to forge a trade association dedicated to the collision repair industry.

I would also like to acknowledge the individual who has worked tirelessly on this issue and who first brought it to my attention in 1998. Mr. Julius Suraski is the industry's strongest advocate, and I look forward to seeing his new venture, a magazine entitled Car Care Professionals, come off the presses next week.

Representatives from all aspects of the collision repair industry came together on June 1. They were represented by members of the Collision Industry Action Group, the Collision Industry Standards Council of Ontario and the Automobile Repair Regulatory Council. They came to discuss the lack of regulation of this industry, despite the passage of the Collision Repair Standards Act in December 2002.

This is a mature, thoughtful and responsible industry, and the time has come to either implement the Collision Repair Standards Act or to do something in its place. I urge the Minister of Consumer and Business Services to move forward on this file. If there are changes to be made to the bill, talk to the industry, and let's get on with it in the interest of consumer safety and industry stability. The collision repair industry and the consumers of Ontario have waited too long. It's time for action.

ANTI-SMOKING LEGISLATION

Mr. Dave Levac (Brant): I rise to remind this House of the passage of Bill 164, a good piece of legislation that brings the toughest anti-smoking legislation in North America. But it isn't just me standing here saying that the McGuinty government is doing a good job; others are saying it too.

My local newspaper, the Brantford Expositor, says, "We have to congratulate the government of Premier Dalton McGuinty." The editorial points out that all the arguments against are about money, not health, and they specifically try to educate one of the members who voted against this legislation, the member from Erie-Lincoln. Here is what the Expositor said to Mr. Hudak after he said, "I don't think this government accounted for the loss in money at the casinos as a result of this bill."

"We have some numbers for Mr. Hudak:

" -- 16,000 Ontarians are killed by illnesses related to cigarette smoking each year....

" -- Cigarette smoking causes 30% of cancers in Canada and 85% of lung cancers....

" -- The province's economy loses $2.7 billion annually in productivity due to smoking.

" -- Smoking costs the Ontario health care system $1.6 billion each year.

" -- Lung cancer kills an estimated 300 non-smokers each year because of second-hand smoke."

And here's the topper:

"We find those numbers a lot more convincing than anything Hudak can come up with."

The Expositor is right: The legislation is about the health of Ontarians. I hope that that member and six others who voted against the legislation will read the editorial from the Expositor, take their advice, and join with the vast majority in this House and the vast majority of Ontarians for a healthier Ontario.

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

Mr. Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence): Today, John Tory and the Conservatives have hit a new all-time low in Ontario politics. First it was the Harper Conservatives and the doctored, secret Grewal tapes; now it's the Tory Conservatives snooping and stalking people and their families. The man who said he wanted to raise the level of debate in the Legislature has sunk to a new low.

Mr. Tory directed staff, at taxpayers' expense, to literally stalk at least one cabinet minister. Mr. Tory has directed staff to violate people's privacy. This is Nixon-style, sleazy politics at its worst. John Tory fired his researchers and hired plumbers to spy on cabinet ministers. It's shocking and it's wrong, and it leads to many questions.

How many other cabinet ministers and MPPs has John Tory ordered his peeping Tories to stalk and follow? And how far are they willing to go? Are they following ministers home? Are they following their family members? Have they bugged their offices or their houses or their cars? How long has this been going on? And what Ontarians really want to know: How low are the John Tory Conservatives willing to go in their desperation?

John Tory owes Minister Takhar and his family an apology, and he owes an apology to every other cabinet minister he has ordered his peeping Tories to stalk and follow.

GOVERNMENT'S RECORD

Mr. John Wilkinson (Perth-Middlesex): I'm proud to stand up today to talk about some of the many great achievements of my government. We've been very busy, as you know, working hard to make sure that Ontario's families see the results of our government's initiatives.

In education, students are starting to see smaller classes for better learning, and we've seen the kind of respect, peace and stability in schools that has been sadly missing for far too long.

In health care, we've negotiated a four-year deal with doctors. That means we can all focus on working together for better health care for Ontarians. We are aggressively taking steps to reduce wait times for important surgeries like cataract and cardiac procedures and hip replacements. We're making progress.

The preservation of Ontario's environment is also a main concern of this government. That's why we introduced and passed Bill 133, to tackle industrial polluters in Ontario. Now in Ontario, if you spill, you pay. We've protected 1.8 million acres of green space for future generations of Ontarians. To help clean up the air we breathe, we've closed the Lakeview coal-fired plant. That's like taking 500,000 cars off the roads.

After a decade of Tory fiscal mismanagement, our economy has seen a positive shift in the right direction. Since taking office, there have been 178,000 net new jobs in Ontario.

I'm proud of what our government has been able to accomplish this session, and I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of this government, a government that is truly dedicated, not to spending their time being the peeping Tories in Ontario; our government is about getting the people's business done right here in this Legislature.

LEGISLATIVE PAGES

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): I know that today is a day that you have been looking forward to, but there are some individuals here in the Parliament who are not too happy. It's the last day for the pages, and they have served us so well. They asked me to pass on to you that they said the decorum of the House has improved. Because they were present in that time, they want to commend you for your wonderful behaviour and for the decorum in the House.

Although we are sad to see them go, we know that they will represent us very well. They will go out to their respective schools and speak about the wonderful Parliament of Ontario. Let us thank them very much for their service.

Applause.

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: --

The Speaker: And there must be a point of order from the member from Niagara Centre.

Mr. Kormos: I ask for unanimous consent for a motion directing that these pages receive their full week's stipend, notwithstanding that they're only here today.

Interjections.

The Speaker: The member from Niagara Centre has asked for unanimous consent that we give them their full stipend for the week. But I presume there must be a motion that comes forward on this. First you ask for unanimous consent that you move that motion, and then I'm sure that you have the motion all prepared for us.

Mr. Kormos: During motions.

The Speaker: OK. Thank you.

1350

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON ESTIMATES

Ms. Andrea Horwath (Hamilton East): Pursuant to standing orders 59(a) and 60(a), I beg leave to present a report from the standing committee on estimates on the estimates selected and not selected by the standing committee for consideration.

The Clerk-at-the-Table (Mr. Todd Decker): Ms. Horwath, from the standing committee on estimates, presents the committee's report as follows:

Pursuant to standing order 59 --

Interjection: Dispense.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Dispense? Therefore, pursuant to standing order 60(b), the report of the committee is deemed to be received and the estimates of the ministries and offices named therein as not being selected for consideration by the committee are deemed to be concurred in.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

GREENBELT STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
EN CE QUI A TRAIT
À LA CEINTURE DE VERDURE

Mr. Hudak moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 215, An Act to amend the Greenbelt Act, 2005 and the Municipal Act, 2001 / Projet de loi 215, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2005 sur la ceinture de verdure et la Loi de 2001 sur les municipalités.

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

Mr. Hudak?

Mr. Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln): This act, if passed, would require the Greenbelt Council, recently appointed, to report back to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in four important areas: first, an environmental appeal mechanism for land inside or outside the greenbelt; second, a formula to support greenbelt municipalities; third, a support plan for agricultural operators within the greenbelt; and fourth, a capital plan to support the success of the greenbelt.

APPRENTICESHIP AND CERTIFICATION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE ET LA RECONNAISSANCE PROFESSIONNELLE

Ms. Scott moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 216, An Act to amend the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998 / Projet de loi 216, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1998 sur l'apprentissage et la reconnaissance professionnelle.

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

Ms. Scott?

Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton-Victoria-Brock): The bill amends the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998. A committee is established, to be known as the fuel industry technician advisory committee, for the group of trades or occupations consisting of the activities for which a person is required to have a certificate under regulation 215/01, made under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, in order to carry out these activities.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent for a second and third reading votes on the bill that has been introduced.

The Speaker: Ms. Scott has requested unanimous consent to move second and third readings. Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.

APPRENTICESHIP AND CERTIFICATION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE ET LA RECONNAISSANCE PROFESSIONNELLE

Ms. Scott moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 216, An Act to amend the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998 / Projet de loi 216, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1998 sur l'apprentissage et la reconnaissance professionnelle.

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

APPRENTICESHIP AND CERTIFICATION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE ET LA RECONNAISSANCE PROFESSIONNELLE

Ms. Scott moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 216, An Act to amend the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998 / Projet de loi 216, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1998 sur l'apprentissage et la reconnaissance professionnelle.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

MOTIONS

LEGISLATIVE PAGES

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I believe we have unanimous consent for the member from Niagara Centre to place a motion without further debate with respect to pages.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): We have unanimous consent, but I will ask: Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I move that this House recommends that the pages receive their full week's stipend for the week commencing June 13, 2005.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

PARTY STATUS

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): Speaking of stipends, I believe I have unanimous consent to move a motion without notice regarding NDP party status.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): The government House leader requests unanimous consent to move a motion without notice. Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I move that, notwithstanding standing order 2, the New Democratic Party caucus be afforded the status of recognized party in respect of all procedural and administrative matters, pending the outcome of an eventual by-election in the riding of Toronto-Danforth, at which time the terms of the standing order shall apply.

The Speaker: Mr. Duncan moves that notwithstanding standing order 2, the New Democratic Party caucus be afforded --

Interjection: Dispense.

The Speaker: Dispense?

Any debate? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

REFERRAL OF BILLS

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I believe I have unanimous consent to move a motion without notice regarding discharging of private members' bills.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): The government has requested unanimous consent to move a motion. Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I move that the orders of the House referring the following bills to the following committees be discharged, and that the bills be ordered referred to the standing committee on regulations and private bills:

In the standing committee on estimates, Bill 137, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act to provide for a tax credit for expenses incurred in using public transit;

In the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, Bill 123, An Act to require that meetings of provincial and municipal boards, commissions and other public bodies be open to the public;

In the standing committee on general government, Bill 7, An Act to authorize a group of manufacturers of Ontario wines to sell Vintners Quality Alliance wines; Bill 58, An Act to amend the Safe Streets Act, 1999 and the Highway Traffic Act to recognize the fundraising activities of legitimate charities and non-profit organizations; Bill 153, An Act in memory of Jay Lawrence and Bart Mackey to amend the Highway Traffic Act; and

That pursuant to standing order 72(a), the orders for second reading of Bill 101, An Act to amend the Health Insurance Act, and Bill 209, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to the suspension of drivers' licences, be discharged and the bills be referred to the standing committee on regulations and private bills.

The Speaker: Mr. Duncan has moved that the orders of --

Interjection: Dispense.

The Speaker: Dispense? Dispensed. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

1400

STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY AND RESPONSES

OPSEU AGREEMENT /
ENTENTE AVEC LE SEFPO

Hon. Gerry Phillips (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I rise today in the House to inform members and the public that the McGuinty government is delivering on its commitment to rebuild Ontario's public services. I'm proud to say that we have reached an historic, tentative four-year collective agreement with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. At the heart of this agreement is a mutual interest by OPSEU and the government to rebuild Ontario's public services.

We are a new government with a new approach to collective bargaining, and this approach has paid off.

The Premier, on election night, said to our public servants, "I value your work and I look forward to working with you so we can provide still better services to our public."

Today I say to our public servants that we remain more committed than ever to rebuilding public services, and we look forward to continuing this work to deliver the best possible public services to the people of Ontario.

From day one, this has been our goal, and we have made great strides. We have funded thousands of new full-time nursing positions. We've announced new family health teams to ensure communities have access to medical professionals. We've made the single largest investment in post-secondary education in 40 years. We've hired 1,300 more teachers to reduce class sizes. We've converted over 500 consultant positions to full-time OPS staff. We've hired 33 new water inspectors to protect Ontario's drinking water. We've hired back 121 meat inspectors into the public service, as recommended by the Haines report into food safety. We have hired 100 new workplace safety and enforcement staff to protect our workers, with 100 more coming in the next year.

Our tentative agreement with OPSEU is another significant step.

We inherited a damaged relationship. Thanks to open lines of communication, we are building a strong partnership with our employees to deliver better public services to the people of Ontario.

In its negotiations, the government must ensure it deals with the bargaining agents who represent our employees with fairness and with respect. We must also be responsible and accountable with the public's money so as to deliver quality public services in the most efficient way. This agreement allows us to do both.

Collective bargaining is a tough process. There are long days, difficult decisions, and nights when bargaining continues until the sun rises. But this collective bargaining process is a process that I'm proud to say we are committed to.

We took a new, more constructive approach to bargaining, I must say, on both sides. We agreed to engage a mediator to assist our negotiations in an innovative way. This has not been done before in previous rounds of collective bargaining with OPSEU. Throughout the process, the lines of communication were open and, for the first time, negotiations did not have to go down to the wire for an agreement to be reached.

I said from the outset that the government's goal was to negotiate an agreement that was fair to our employees and fair to the public. Our employees deliver important services. They ensure our water is clean, our meat is safe and our communities are cared for. This four-year tentative deal will bring stability and confidence to our workforce, and, as a result, our communities will be safer and stronger.

No matter the responsibilities of our employees, they all provide important services to the public. It is work to be proud of.

In closing, it is all about delivering the best public services to the people of Ontario. This agreement will help us achieve that goal.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Responses?

Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): It's my pleasure to respond today to the statement by the Chair of Management Board.

At first blush, most people would agree that it's a good thing not to be having a public service strike. There's no one in the province of Ontario who wants to see those vital services interrupted, particularly through the summer. But then we have to look a little deeper into it and see the motivation of this government. Last summer was known as the summer of their discontent. They received a very poor reception throughout the province last summer, post-all of their broken promises and their horrendous budget of last May.

The Premier decided, "Look, I want a quiet summer; I want a little down time; I don't want to be dealing with an OPSEU strike in the summer of 2005," so a tentative deal was reached on the weekend.

But we do have some questions, and the taxpayers have questions about this deal. Are we continuing to pay more under this government --

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. The member gave you considerable attention when the statement was made by the Chair of Management Board. Then he asks that the same respect be given to him when responding to that statement. I would ask your co-operation.

Mr. Yakabuski: Taxpayers are asking the question, are we paying more while we continue to get less from this government? Because since they were elected, we are seeing no improvement in services but we are seeing the costs of those services go up. Taxpayers have a right to know what they're getting for the money that the government is collecting from them.

This deal, through the term of it, will cost the taxpayers over $1 billion, and they've a right to know, "What are we getting for this deal?" They're asking the question, "Are we getting an improvement in the Attorney General's office after a $5-million increase in wages and salaries in the executive offices of the Ministry of the Attorney General? What are we getting for a $534,000 increase in salaries and wages in the main office of the Ministry of Health?" Taxpayers know that the government has only one source of revenue, and that is them. Businesses will be asking themselves this question. If the cost of operating the government goes up, so does the cost of doing business in the province of Ontario. How will this impact the decisions that are made by businesses in the province of Ontario with regard to, "Are we going to establish there or are we going to remain in the province of Ontario while other jurisdictions are seeing their costs and taxes go down?"

This government has decided to buy labour peace at a cost to the taxpayers of Ontario. The question will remain, can they absorb it or will it be too much as the terms of this agreement unfold and as time goes by?

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): On behalf of New Democrats, I want to commend Leah Casselman and OPSEU, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, for their tremendous work at the bargaining table. Leah Casselman has established herself clearly and firmly within the ranks of Ontario's -- no, Canada's -- truly great labour leaders; as well, the chairs of the two bargaining committees -- Barry Scanlon, corrections, and Marg Simmons from the central team -- with a tremendous amount of work. OPSEU made it very, very clear that they didn't want to have to strike, but if they had to, they would; make no mistake about it. OPSEU should be acknowledged and commended for their eagerness to remain at the bargaining table and to bargain even when the government wanted to leave that bargaining table and freeze and squeeze them out.

OPSEU's success in finally putting a significant number of workers in the Ministry of the Attorney General, a significant OPSEU struggle indeed on behalf of those workers in removing them from unclassified over to classified status, is a great victory for those public sector workers within the Ministry of Attorney General in the province of Ontario. As well, across the board, OPSEU's success in reducing the number of unclassified workers adds to their success and their tenacity at the bargaining table.

It remains disappointing that this government still hasn't restored significant cuts to benefits that were imposed by the previous Conservative government. It remains of concern not only to OPSEU workers but to people across this province that this government failed to meet OPSEU on the proposal around factor 80, especially when there were more than adequate funds in the government stabilization fund, more than adequate monies there, to fund factor 80 with no new cost, no additional cost whatsoever, to the government or the taxpayers of Ontario.

New Democrats understand how incredibly important public sector workers are to the health, the safety, the security and the well-being of our communities. We hold those workers in regard, and we say that it's never wrong, ever, for workers to fight for better wages. It's never wrong for workers to fight for job security. It's never wrong for workers like public sector workers Leah Casselman and OPSEU, first and foremost, at the vanguard, to fight to maintain and rebuild a strong public sector. We are exceptionally proud of OPSEU, its membership, its bargaining teams and its leadership, and we urge the people of Ontario to give OPSEU due credit for their effective and important struggle on behalf of community safety and public safety in the province of Ontario.

M. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-Baie James): On veut reconnaître premièrement l'ouvrage qui a été fait par le comité de négociation de cette entente, spécifiquement SEFPO, Mme Leah Casselman et toute son équipe, qui ont travaillé très fort et qui ont été très dévoués de la part de leurs membres pour être capables de négocier une entente. On pense que c'est un pas très important de la part de SEFPO d'être capable d'avoir cette entente. Cela démontre quelque chose.

Premièrement, SEFPO a rejeté la première offre du gouvernement par 65 %. En faisant ça, le syndicat a démontré au gouvernement qu'il n'allait pas accepter l'offre qui a été faite originalement, et les travailleurs ont travaillé de ce point-là.

J'ai eu la chance, comme tous mes collègues dans le caucus NPD, d'aller aux lignes de piquetage qu'ils ont mises en place, les démonstrations, et toutes les manifestations qui ont été organisées, telles qu'à Timmins, à Sudbury et dans d'autres communautés. On était là pour supporter les travailleurs, pour s'assurer qu'eux autres donnaient au gouvernement un message très fort : que les travailleurs du syndicat SEFPO voulaient avoir une entente, qu'ils voulaient avoir une entente juste, et que, si c'était nécessaire, ils étaient préparés à aller en grève. Ils ont envoyé ce message très directement au gouvernement. Finalement, le gouvernement a reconnu la force de SEFPO et, à la fin de la journée, a fallu négocier une entente.

On dit bravo à SEFPO et à Leah Casselman.

DEFERRED VOTES

PLACES TO GROW ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR
LES ZONES DE CROISSANCE

Deferred vote on the motion for third reading of Bill 136, An Act respecting the establishment of growth plan areas and growth plans / Projet de loi 136, Loi sur l'établissement de zones de croissance planifiée et de plans de croissance.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1413 to 1418.

The Speaker: All those in favour, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arthurs, Wayne

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bountrogianni, Marie

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brown, Michael A.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Chambers, Mary Anne V.

Colle, Mike

Cordiano, Joseph

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoy, Pat

Jeffrey, Linda

Kennedy, Gerard

Kular, Kuldip

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marsales, Judy

Matthews, Deborah

McGuinty, Dalton

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Racco, Mario G.

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Sorbara, Gregory S.

Takhar, Harinder S.

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wong, Tony C.

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Speaker: All those opposed, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Baird, John R.

Bisson, Gilles

Chudleigh, Ted

Flaherty, Jim

Hardeman, Ernie

Horwath, Andrea

Hudak, Tim

Klees, Frank

Kormos, Peter

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Murdoch, Bill

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Prue, Michael

Scott, Laurie

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tory, John

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 65; the nays are 21.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY
OF PEEL ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LA MUNICIPALITÉ
RÉGIONALE DE PEEL

Deferred vote on the motion for third reading of Bill 186, An Act respecting the composition of the council of The Regional Municipality of Peel / Projet de loi 186, Loi traitant de la composition du conseil de la municipalité régionale de Peel.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Mr. Gerretsen has moved third reading of Bill 186.

All those in favour, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arthurs, Wayne

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bountrogianni, Marie

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brown, Michael A.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Chambers, Mary Anne V.

Colle, Mike

Cordiano, Joseph

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoy, Pat

Kennedy, Gerard

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marsales, Judy

Matthews, Deborah

McGuinty, Dalton

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Racco, Mario G.

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Sorbara, Gregory S.

Takhar, Harinder S.

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wong, Tony C.

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Speaker: All those opposed, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Baird, John R.

Bisson, Gilles

Chudleigh, Ted

Dhillon, Vic

Flaherty, Jim

Hardeman, Ernie

Horwath, Andrea

Hudak, Tim

Jeffrey, Linda

Klees, Frank

Kormos, Peter

Kular, Kuldip

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Murdoch, Bill

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Prue, Michael

Scott, Laurie

Tascona, Joseph N.

Tory, John

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 62; the nays are 24.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

ORAL QUESTIONS

MINISTER'S INTEGRITY

Mr. John Tory (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Premier. Over the last several days there have been mounting questions about the standards that you apply to your ministers.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Order. This is just the start of question period, and the Leader of the Opposition hasn't started asking his question yet.

The leader of the official opposition.

Mr. Tory: In opposition, the Premier was very clear that running personal expenses through a taxpayer-subsidized riding association, to use his own words, "was wrong." That standard seems to have changed, now that he's in government, thus creating a double standard.

We now see a troubling case of one of the Premier's ministers appearing to be in violation of integrity rules around a company he owns, which has been placed in a blind trust.

My question to the Premier is this: Do you not think it is appropriate that ministers in your government at the very least "act with integrity and impartiality that will bear the closest scrutiny," as the act itself states?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): Just so we're clear about the facts of this particular matter -- then I'm sure we'll want to devote some time to the new standard Mr. Tory is setting by hiring photographers to follow around ministers of this government; I'm sure he's going to want to spend some time speaking to that -- Minister Takhar has released some documentation, including a copy of a letter sent to Ms. Morrison at the Office of the Integrity Commissioner. The letter, in fact, was sent by the trustee for the blind trust, which made the circumstances of the meeting especially clear. He was meeting with his wife in order to talk about their daughter's future education and some of the costs connected with that.

That's the information we have. There are all kinds of speculation and innuendo on the other side, but I know that Ontarians really want to hear whether or not Mr. Tory thinks it is appropriate for members of his staff to be out there spying on ministers of the crown.

Mr. Tory: In the question I asked, the words that I used, word for word, came from the preamble to the Members' Integrity Act. I'll reiterate the point: "Members are expected to act with integrity and impartiality that will bear the closest scrutiny." That is the bare minimum.

Interjection.

The Speaker: Minister of Community and Social Services, please come to order. It will be a bad day if I have to name a minister at this time, supposedly at the end of the session.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. Can we come to order, please, all members.

Mr. Tory: The standard that is set out in the act is the minimum standard. It is the standard. The Premier, when he was in opposition, demanded a much higher standard. I'm sure the Premier will agree with me that when one visits a business, there's all kinds of information about that business posted on the walls, available on tables, not to mention the number of people you run into walking down the hallway. If you ask someone that you run into in the hallway whom you know, "How's it going?" you can get information on how the business is doing.

In light of this reality, and in light of the rules, which are very clear, do you think, Premier, it is appropriate that your Minister of Transportation spent time at a company that he placed in a blind trust and about which he is not supposed to have any knowledge? Do you think that's appropriate?

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Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Again, the circumstances relating to that particular meeting have been made very clear, notwithstanding the innuendo advanced by the other side. It was a discussion that had to do with the education of their daughter, and that was confirmed by the trustee with responsibility for the blind trust. Beyond that, you should know that Minister Takhar himself has asked the Integrity Commissioner to take a look at this and to offer his own opinion on that. I think that speaks to his integrity when it comes to matters like this.

I will remind the member opposite that the last time members raised questions about the Minister of Finance and Mr. Sorbara had the matter referred to the Integrity Commissioner, the Integrity Commissioner concluded that those allegations had no merit, they were devoid of any factual underpinning, and that they do not come close to providing evidence of breach of the Members' Integrity Act. That is this party's track record when it comes to allegations.

I fully rely on the information provided by Minister Takhar, and we look forward to receiving the Integrity Commissioner's confirmation.

Mr. Tory: We will all look forward to that.

Mr. Premier, your Minister of Transportation placed his company, The Chalmers Group, in a blind trust. Section 11 of the Members' Integrity Act says, "The trustees shall not consult with the member with respect to the managing of the trust property," and yet your minister -- and I'm going to refer to his words, not anybody else's -- your Minister of Transportation told Sun Media, "We are entitled to get regular reports from our trustees whenever we want."

Premier, this is a clear misunderstanding of the Members' Integrity Act and shows that your minister was probably unclear on the rules and may have conducted himself in a manner that was inconsistent with those rules. Do you not agree that this apparent misunderstanding, based on his words printed in the media, added to the evidence now before the public, including the minister's own comments, is precisely the sort of thing that should be referred to the Integrity Commissioner, with a request on your part as the head of the government that all of the relevant people be interviewed to make sure of what the facts are in this case, given that there's some considerable lack of clarity from the principal? Do you agree with that?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: The Integrity Commissioner has undertaken that very matter as we speak. I'm sure he's going to want to speak to whomever he wishes, and we pledge him our full co-operation.

I think there's a very important issue before this House today. Mr. Tory said he was going to introduce a new standard into Ontario politics. We've quickly discovered what that standard is. He has members of his staff go out with telephoto lenses and lie in wait for my ministers to take pictures of them and their activities. I ask him to tell Ontarians just how comfortable he feels sending members of his staff to take pictures. I'd ask him as well to inform us whether or not he's recording any conversations, because Ontarians will also want to know about that.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey): My question is again to the Premier. Premier, let's review the facts as we know them. Your minister was caught at his company, a company for which he is supposed to have no knowledge; it's supposed to be in a blind trust. The Members' Integrity Act states that he's not to receive updates from those who now run his company. While your minister is not to receive these updates, he seems to think that he's entitled to regular updates whenever he wants them from the trustee, a trustee who happens to not only be the CFO of The Chalmers Group but also the CFO of the minister's Liberal riding association.

In the same Sun Media article, the Integrity Commissioner's spokesperson says, "[Ministers] are not permitted to have any knowledge of what is going on and the trustee is not to discuss anything with the minister."

Premier, given this appearance of a breach by your Minister of Transportation of the Members' Integrity Act, do you not agree that he should step aside pending a full investigation by the commissioner?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: No, I don't agree. I do not agree. What we have before us is a letter from the trustee responsible for the blind trust, who describes what took place at that particular meeting. Mr. Takhar met with his wife, and the subject of the meeting was their daughter's future education at the post-secondary level.

I want to quote from the meeting notes made by the trustee. They say,

"Both of them discussed the following issues: location of the university; reputation of the university/college; program structure and long-term prospects; course fees -- residence fees -- all costs; daughter preference.

"The pros and cons of the above issues discussed in greater length.

"The financial impact $14,000 to $60,000 per annum.

"I was asked by Mr. Takhar whether this ... could be accommodated in the blind trust.

"I told him that this could be done...."

He concludes by saying, "No other business discussion took place."

They were talking about their daughter's education. That is what happened at that meeting. And, no, I will not ask him to step aside.

Mr. Wilson: Premier, there's very little honour left in this place. When we were in government, we did the honourable thing. I was the first minister, as Minister of Health, to step aside when questions were raised about what a member of my staff did. Mr. Runciman did the honourable thing. In opposition, you agreed that ministers should step aside, Premier, and do the honourable thing, do the parliamentary tradition, take ministerial responsibility and wait until investigations are completed. So I ask you again, given the iffy circumstances of your minister's actions, given that the CFO for his company is also his independent trustee and also the CFO of his Liberal riding association, will you not ask the minister to step aside and ask the Integrity Commissioner for a full investigation into this matter?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Again, this was a meeting that had to do with Minister Takhar's daughter's education. That has been confirmed by the trustee responsible for the blind trust. Minister Takhar himself has now referred this matter to the Integrity Commissioner. That matter is being addressed in an effective way and the best way possible that I know of.

I will tell you what is outstanding, Speaker. There is an outstanding issue facing this House today, and that is the new standard set by Mr. Tory. I think he owes it to the people of Ontario to tell them: How long has he engaged in this practice of sending his staffers around to take pictures of ministers of the crown? Who is he taking those pictures of? Will he provide us with copies of those pictures? Will he provide us with the negatives of those pictures? And beyond that, will he confirm whether or not he's in fact recording conversations that have been taking place with any ministers of the crown?

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Mr. Wilson: Premier, it's a pretty weak defence. You've got a minister who either doesn't know the rules and doesn't want to follow the law, or he doesn't care that he breaks the rules and perhaps breaks the law. So we ask you again to stop your spin doctoring; it's not going to work this time. Your minister has been caught with at least the appearance of doing something wrong and breaking the rules.

Interjection.

The Speaker: Minister of Community and Social Services, come to order.

Mr. Wilson: Why don't you do the honourable thing: Ask the minister to step aside, ask the Integrity Commissioner for a full investigation and restore some integrity to this place? After all, you're starting citizens' juries and committees to look at how this place works, and yet you won't follow the rules in place today and you won't do the honourable thing. So I give you one more chance: Will you ask your minister to step aside and do the honourable thing?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I can understand why Mr. Tory has chosen not to pursue this line of questioning. Minister Takhar has himself told us about the subject of this meeting, and that's been confirmed by the trustee responsible for the blind trust. The subject matter of the meeting was their daughter's post-secondary education, and that's been referred to the Integrity Commissioner by the minister himself.

The real issue before this House today is the new standard set by Mr. Tory when it comes to stalking cabinet ministers, spying on cabinet ministers. I would ask him to make clear to the people of Ontario why he endorses and approves of this new standard, and would he not provide us with copies of all the pictures ever taken of any cabinet ministers or any other members of the government?

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order. New question.

COST OF ELECTRICAL POWER

Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. A year ago, the Bowater forest products company came here and said that your government's policy of driving up hydroelectricity rates was going to put them in trouble and was going to put a number of paper mills across northern Ontario in serious economic trouble.

Now you have the forest sector competitiveness report, which echoes the same thing: In just the next few months five mills, over 2,000 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs are directly at risk as a result of your government's policy of driving industrial hydroelectricity prices through the roof.

Premier, what does your government intend to do? Are you simply going to write off these mills, write off these jobs and write off these communities? Your response today was an insult to those workers, those communities and those industries.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I know that the Minister of Natural Resources has more detail, but let me just take the first question and say that what we did today, we think, was a step forward. I don't think the communities, which are very concerned about the future of the forestry industry up there, would see this as an insult; they would see it as an important step forward.

I can tell you that I have had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Nemirow. I have met with him in Washington; I have met with him here in Toronto. I have met with him together with others connected with the forestry industry. There are some very real issues connected with it, not the least of which is the dollar. We have a trade issue; we have the sourcing of the pulp. Of course, electricity prices are a real issue, admittedly.

We've made an important first step today. I know the Minister of Natural Resources has more to do. We will continue to work with all of our northern communities. This is an important foundational economic issue up there. We've taken an important first step today, and there are more to come.

Mr. Hampton: The Premier talks about meetings. These companies aren't interested in more meetings; they're interested in some action. What the workers in these mills want to know is this: In many cases, these paper mills are surrounded by hydroelectricity dams where it costs one cent a kilowatt hour to produce the electricity, but under your government's policy, those paper mills are paying seven cents a kilowatt hour for their electricity, while a paper mill in Quebec is paying three and a half cents a kilowatt hour, a paper mill in Manitoba is paying three cents a kilowatt hour, and, in British Columbia, three and a half cents a kilowatt hour. In the United States -- in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- they're paying four and a half or five cents a kilowatt hour.

You're putting northern Ontario jobs, northern Ontario industries and northern Ontario communities at deep risk. I suggest you keep your eye on Thunder Bay, where three companies are looking not just at shutting down paper machines but shutting down whole mills. I say to you again, Premier: You're driving up electricity prices. You're making the problem worse. What are you going to do on the issue of electricity prices that have gone through the roof? Don't promise more meetings. They're not interested in meetings.

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: To the Minister of Natural Resources.

Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources): I know the honourable member knows that we're talking about more than just meetings here. He knows and is very well aware of the announcement I made this morning in Thunder Bay of a $350-million loan guarantee program for our forest industry companies to make those investments that are needed to improve their energy efficiency, their utilization of fibre and to look into exploring more value-added production from our northern forests. The member knows that.

He knows that we're working with our companies and dealing with Bowater in particular on a daily basis as they start to make some decisions to reposition their mill and produce a brand new product for northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Hampton: Minister, your response of loan guarantees was an insult, and that's what companies are saying. Have you looked at Abitibi? Abitibi is putting for sale their mill in Thunder Bay and the timber limits. Why? Because they need to reduce debt. Bloomberg says that they want to reduce their debt level by 13%, but reducing it by 13% would take the whole $350-million loan guarantee. These companies want to reduce their debt; they're not interested in the McGuinty government helping them take on more debt.

You're putting $500 million into the auto sector to sustain jobs. It's not debt money; it's direct taxpayer money. You're putting $150 million a year into the movie and television industry in Toronto to sustain jobs. You're going to put $400 million into the casino in Windsor to sustain jobs. Where's the investment strategy for northern Ontario pulp and paper mills that don't need more loans -- they need an investment strategy?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: The member also knows that this was an initial response and that, of all the requirements that the report is giving to the government, over the next few months we are going to be responding to that and working hand in hand with the industry. In fact, the competitive council has an ongoing working group to make sure that we work together, and that this is not a report that's going to sit on a shelf, but that we will continue to respond to the needs of the industry to make sure we don't have happen in the northwest what happened on your watch, when we lost from 6,000 to 11,000 jobs in our resources industry. We're working with the industry; we're working with the communities to make sure we save those jobs in northwestern Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): New question.

Mr. Hampton: To the Premier: I suggest that you go out and try to peddle that story. What I remember from the NDP government is, we helped restructure and reposition Spruce Falls and Timiskaming. We repositioned St. Marys. We repositioned Abitibi Provincial in Thunder Bay. We repositioned 22 sawmills. So if you want to go out and try to peddle that nonsense across northern Ontario, you go ahead.

This is about your government. You've driven up electricity prices. You're putting thousands of jobs at risk. An economist at Lakehead University says that what your government is doing to the forest sector is going to lead to a 25,000 reduction in Thunder Bay's population, and the loss of not just a hundred but thousands of forest sector jobs.

You've got an investment strategy for the auto sector, an investment strategy for the movie and television sector; where is the investment strategy for the forest sector? Stop trying to blame somebody else.

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: To the Minister of Natural Resources.

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Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I'd like to say to the member that the competitive council report that I released today is basically a blueprint that we have developed together for the future of the forest industry in northern Ontario. We're working with the forest companies to make sure that blueprint becomes a reality so that we can have a sustainable resource industry in northwestern and northeastern Ontario. This is very much unlike the 500,000 people who lost their jobs, basically 1,000 a week, during the NDP term of government. We're working with our northern economy, working with our communities, with our First Nations and with the unions to make sure that we sustain this industry to be strong in northern Ontario.

Mr. Hampton: Here is what's happening: The Abitibi mill in Kenora is saying that they're almost ready to close. Here's the reality for them: They have four hydro dams on the Winnipeg River and the English River that produce electricity for one cent a kilowatt hour, but the McGuinty government is forcing that company and those workers to pay seven cents a kilowatt hour. Meanwhile, 90 kilometres away in Manitoba, the Tembec mill also draws its electricity from hydro dams on the Winnipeg River, and they're paying three cents. Three cents versus seven cents: Hydroelectricity has now become the biggest cost item for that company's mill.

Minister, you didn't announce anything on electricity. You didn't announce an investment strategy. What they're asking is, how are they supposed to compete with mills in Quebec, mills in Manitoba, mills in British Columbia, mills in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, when you are forcing their electricity prices through the roof? How are they supposed to compete?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I think the member misrepresents what's going on here and is not looking at the whole picture. I should say, maybe he's not misrepresenting, but he's not giving us the whole picture.

The Speaker: Some unparliamentary language did come out. Would you like to withdraw those comments?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I'll withdraw, Mr. Speaker.

I think the member doesn't want to look at the total picture. He must remember that the Minister of Energy appointed a cogeneration coordinator for the province of Ontario to work with the resource industries. His team has been working with companies right across northern Ontario. The MNR team has also been working with these companies across the northwest. I don't think he appreciates what this loan incentive program does. It offers an opportunity for these companies to make investments in cogeneration, other energy efficiency investments and also fibre utilization investments -- exactly what the companies want. This is what they asked for in the report, and this is how we're responding.

Mr. Hampton: Minister, here's the reality: These mills aren't asking for more electricity. We actually have a surplus of electricity in northern Ontario and a big surplus of electricity in the northwest. More electricity isn't the issue for them; affordability of the electricity is the issue -- affordability of the price. The only thing the McGuinty government has done since coming to power is drive the price of their electricity up by close to 30%. Most of these companies have seen their electricity bills go up by over 50% in the last two and a half years. That's where they're asking for action. They came here a year ago asking for action. The only thing they've seen from the McGuinty government in the last year is that you've made the problem worse. You've driven up the price of electricity more, you haven't come forward with an investment strategy, and when they say to you, "We're at risk, we're in danger," you say, "Well, we'll have another process."

Minister, five mills are at risk of closing in the next six months -- thousands of jobs. What is the McGuinty government's response, other than trying to blame somebody else and offering more talk?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: The member is correct as far as working with the mills that are at risk. But they let the mills go during their watch, and we're not doing that. We're working with them. You let 11 mills go.

Interjection.

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: We gave you the list in the last few weeks.

We're working with those mills that are at risk, and making sure they have the opportunity to make the investments to make themselves whole. I think what the member needs to understand also is that we have an opportunity for green --

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order.

Interjection.

The Speaker: Member from St. Catharines.

Interjections.

The Speaker: Order Would the government House leader, the leader of the third party and the member from Nickel Belt come to order, please.

New question.

MINISTER'S INTEGRITY

Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey): My question is again for the Premier. I suggest, for the sake of the integrity of your government, that you should be concerned about the actions of your Minister of Transportation in visiting a company that's supposed to be in a blind trust.

In fact, it appears that your minister either doesn't know the rules or doesn't care, because Mr. Takhar said to Sun Media in a story on the weekend, "Nothing is prohibited; you should know that. We are entitled to get regular reports from our trustees whenever we want."

Premier, the fact of the matter is that he appears to be in breach of the Members' Integrity Act. The trustee whom you hide behind only reported today to the Integrity Commissioner. It has taken a month and a half. Only after Mr. Takhar and the trustee got caught did they even bother to contact the Integrity Commissioner, and they did it in such a hurry, they actually did it in handwriting.

I ask you again, Premier: For the sake of your own personal integrity and that of your government and that of your minister, will you not ask the minister -- since he isn't going to do the honourable thing himself, obviously -- to step aside, do the honourable thing and have a full investigation by the Integrity Commissioner?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): I hope that the Minister of Consumer and Business Services will also come to order. The ministers seem to be much more boisterous than the other members of the government, because --

Interjection.

The Speaker: Order. We are just trying to get through one hour of question period.

Hon. Sandra Pupatello (Minister of Community and Social Services, minister responsible for women's issues): I want to see the pictures.

The Speaker: The Minister of Community and Social Services refuses to adhere to any sort of warning that I give.

Interjection.

The Speaker: The help that I would need wouldn't be coming from anybody, as I'm quite capable of doing the job.

I think the member for Simcoe-Grey had already put his question. Premier?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): Again, the Minister of Transportation indicated clearly what the purpose of the meeting was. That has been confirmed by the trustee for the blind trust. The Minister of Transportation has taken it a step further and taken it upon himself to bring this matter before the Integrity Commissioner.

I think we should allow the Integrity Commissioner to review this matter and to take the appropriate time and to interview the appropriate witnesses and to examine the appropriate documentation. I think that's the fair and responsible thing to do.

What I think is unfair and irresponsible is for Mr. Tory to tell his staff to pick up a camera, equip it with a telephoto lens and begin to stalk cabinet ministers. I think that is inappropriate and I think that is irresponsible.

Mr. Wilson: Premier, that's a horrible defence, and you know that.

The fact of the matter is your minister has been caught doing something wrong. It's your responsibility to contact the Integrity Commissioner. You're the leader of the government. These are your advisers, called cabinet ministers.

When you were on this side of the House you were in favour of doing the right thing. You sure have done a flip-flop. All you do now is hide behind a trustee whose own independence is rather dubious, given that he's also the chief financial officer for the Liberal riding association. You've not contacted the Integrity Commissioner or done the right thing. All you've done is launch a Chrétien-style attack on us and the people who caught your minister.

Once again, will you contact the Integrity Commissioner, ask that a full investigation be launched, and in the meantime send your minister to the penalty box until this matter is cleared up? Ask him to step down and do the honourable thing.

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Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Minister Takhar has handled this in the appropriate way, in the fair way and in the responsible way. I think we should allow the Integrity Commissioner to do his work.

I might ask Mr. Wilson if he would feel comfortable if he was being followed by a photographer with a telephoto lens. I might ask Mr. Tory if he thinks it is appropriate that someone should follow him equipped with a camera and a telephoto lens.

There is an issue before us today, and it is an important issue. It is, to my knowledge, without precedent in this province. It's an issue that has been introduced by virtue of a new standard set by Mr. Tory. He thinks that it is fitting, right, just and appropriate that a member of his staff follow around ministers of the crown, lie in wait and surreptitiously photograph them. He thinks that's right, he thinks that's reasonable, he thinks that's responsible; I think he's set a new low for the province of Ontario.

PROBATION AND PAROLE SERVICES

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): A question to the Minister of Community Safety. People across this province are incredibly worried about your scheme to shut down the Ontario parole board. They're worried about community safety. Provincial parolees currently receive a high level of supervision, and enforcement is swift in most cases, at least to the extent that staffing permits. This is going to end if you dump provincial parole on to the national board of parole and Corrections Canada.

Why do you want to make it easier for very dangerous offenders to get parole and undergo less intensive supervision?

Hon. Monte Kwinter (Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services): I thank the member for the question. First of all, that decision has not been made. I have a responsibility as the minister to take a look at all of our operations to see where we can do things more efficiently, always keeping in mind public safety.

I think it's important to understand the environment that we work in. The people who come to our facilities are sentenced to two years less a day. The number of people who actually serve -- and you should know that we have more people on remand in our facilities than we do on charge. The number of people who actually serve a sentence average 54 days. When you consider that an average sentence is 54 days and they get released, parole is not the issue that it is at the federal level where you have people who are serving life sentences, who are serving very, very large sentences.

What we're doing is taking a look at why every other province but two does not have their own parole system. I can assure you of this: Whatever decision we make, it will have no impact on public safety, because that's our paramount concern.

Mr. Kormos: Amongst the people serving provincial offences are some of the most dangerous people in Ontario: child molesters, rapists and, indeed, yes, murderers.

Look, the National Parole Board has hardly distinguished itself, and you're ready, with their dismal track record, to hand over supervision of some of the most dangerous people in this province to them. I tell you, it's an extremely risky endeavour. You haven't consulted on this decision. You haven't talked to the parole board staff or probation and parole about this decision. Indeed, the information released recently is that a murderer was recently denied parole by the vice-chair of the Ontario parole board, a murderer within the provincial reformatory system.

Minister, tell us today that you are going to consult with parole officers and your provincial parole board before you embark on this very, very risky exercise.

Hon. Mr. Kwinter: As I stated earlier, we're examining it because we have a responsibility to look at everything that we're doing to make sure that we can provide the taxpayers of Ontario with a safe and efficient system.

When that decision is taken -- and it hasn't been taken as yet -- we will examine all of the possibilities and will satisfy ourselves that people are not put at risk, and that those people who are released, whether it is the provincial board or the federal board, are done so with safety in mind.

RURAL HEALTH SERVICES

Mrs. Maria Van Bommel (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex): My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. In my riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, I have four rural hospitals, and the one at Petrolia is particularly interesting. It is named after Charlotte Eleanor Englehart, who bequeathed the mansion that her husband, Jake, had built for her to the town of Petrolia when she died in 1908. That mansion is still an integral structural part of the hospital we have there today.

In the late 1990s, the Health Services Restructuring Commission came to Petrolia and the community literally rallied around their hospital and forced the Tory government to recognize that rural and northern health care had its own unique needs and was important to the people who use it. Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital was amalgamated with Sarnia General in April 2003 and continues to serve the communities of Petrolia and Enniskillen, and Lambton county.

But lately there has been concern about the hospital, and there has been talk that maybe the hospital is again at risk of closing. Minister, what assurances can you give the citizens of Petrolia and the surrounding catchment about the future of their hospital?

Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): I can say to the honourable member, who represents her constituents with vigour, that I appreciate the question on health care, particularly as it comes at least 120 hours after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that could have implications for medicare, and neither of the opposition parties here at Queen's Park has shown interest in that issue.

With respect to the Englehart hospital in Petrolia, I can give this member the assurance that its future is bright and that this government has committed to health care in rural Ontario. Since our coming to office, this hospital has received much more than $1 million in new funding as a result of the initiatives of our government for a wide variety of things, including enhancements to the capital and to the quality of the equipment. I can give assurance to the honourable member that as our government moves forward to build a better, stronger health care system in Ontario, the hospital in Petrolia will be at the centre of it.

Mrs. Van Bommel: Minister, I want to thank you for your unequivocal support and reassurance for the citizens of Petrolia and area.

A lot of things have changed in health care since the Tory regime. The instability that was there has now been replaced by a government that has a commitment to health care and a plan on how to get there.

Minister, I'm confident in our government's commitment to small and rural hospitals. Could you elaborate on how they're going to fit into the health care plan that you have?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: As a result of our initiatives with respect to local health integration networks, we're going to engage people from the local community to help make these final determinations. I can assure the honourable member, though, that as we move forward, we do need to look at opportunities to make sure that each hospital in our province is fulfilling a vital and very special role.

With respect to securing the future of these smaller rural hospitals, we've provided for larger than per capita investments through a diagnostic and medical equipment fund. Toward the end of last year, we made a $16-million adjustment to the operating budgets of these smallest hospitals, and more information will be available soon. People will see the efforts we're going to to establish those resources as a base funding initiative.

As we move forward through local health integration networks and seek to make sure that the health care system is better integrated, we will be making sure that hospitals like the one in Petrolia continue to play that vital, important role that they have in this community for decades and decades.

ONTARIO ECONOMY

Mr. Jim Flaherty (Whitby-Ajax): My question is for the Premier. We've seen, in almost two years, higher taxes -- dramatically higher taxes -- much higher spending in Ontario and substantial increases in the public debt. As a result, it's not surprising that Ontario economic growth now lags behind Canadian average economic growth. The Ontario that used to lead Canada now lags behind Canada in economic growth, and for good reason: the largest tax increase in the history of the province of Ontario. Our taxes in Ontario are now second only to Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec in the entire country.

Is it any wonder that we're lagging behind, particularly in the area of small business? Seventy-nine per cent of small business people say that the most important thing in their confidence in the Ontario economy is the overall tax burden. What can you say to small business in Ontario, the engine of economic growth, to restore their confidence, to get Ontario back where it should be, leading Canada, not lagging the Canadian --

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The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Thank you. Premier?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): The member may have missed this, but in May this economy in Ontario created 32,000 new jobs.

Interjection: Many of those in small business.

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Many of those in small businesses. Since we've been on the job, 178,000 new jobs have been created in the province of Ontario. If ever there was a vote of confidence in this economy, it is coming from the private sector that is taking out the loans, making the investments, taking the risks, creating the jobs, supporting the families and contributing to our quality of life. That, more than anything else this member says, speaks to the confidence that the private sector has in this province and in its economic future.

Mr. Flaherty: There is no question that this Premier knows how to grow government. We've got a lot more government jobs, we've got a lot more jobs in the broader public sector, but in the second-largest sector in this province, the retail sector, do you know what's happening? Retail growth in Ontario last year was 3%; retail growth across Canada -- 5%. Do you know what that means for our economy, Premier? That means $2.5 billion -- those two percentage points.

We're lagging behind the rest of the country. We've lost our economic growth momentum. That's why I say to the Premier, what are you going to do about creating more debt, which you're doing? Creating more deficit is what you're doing. Discouraging investment of capital is what you're doing, and in particular in the retail sector, which is one of the foundation areas for new jobs for people entering the workforce. What are you going to do about retail sales?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: In our first year, the Ontario economy created three times as many jobs as it did in the Tories' first year. In May, 32,000 new jobs created; since taking office, 178,000 new jobs created. The Dominion Bond Rating Service maintained our AA rating and upgraded the long-term outlook.

The auto sector has invested $3.5 billion in this economy. That surely is a vote of confidence about our economic future. I'll tell you one of the reasons why the auto sector in particular is endorsing this economy. It's because of medicare. And if they had their way, not only would they take $2.5 billion out of our medicare system, they would introduce more and more private health care that would drive up the cost, not only for Ontarians but for Ontario businesses.

We will continue to grow this economy. We're pleased with the accomplishments we've had so far, but there is more work to be done.

AIR QUALITY

Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): To the Premier: Before the election, you said often that you had a plan to clean up southern Ontario's air, that you had a plan for cleaner air and a cleaner environment in southern Ontario. But today, much of southern Ontario is under an extended smog advisory. It's not even summer and already southern Ontario has had 17 smog days, three more than in all of 2004. You said that you had a plan before the election. Where is the McGuinty plan? What is the McGuinty plan to ensure cleaner air in southern Ontario?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): To the Minister of the Environment.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Order. We have about 13 more minutes for question period, and I think just to get some orderly time, I may be starting to give a final warning to all members who are continuing to disrupt the proceedings.

I think the Premier said in that confusion, the Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky (Minister of the Environment): This government and this Premier take air quality issues in the province of Ontario very seriously. That is why we are committed to replacing coal-fired generation. The honourable member has not made that a priority. For this government replacing coal is a priority, and we closed the first generating station, in Lakeview, last month. We have introduced a five-point air emissions plan. We are capping air emissions on NOx and SOx, not just in the energy sector but in six new industrial sectors.

Our government is investing in public transit and we're directing two cents of our gas tax to municipalities which will improve and expand transit services. Our government is committed to cleaner gasoline and we're going to require 5% ethanol in our gasoline by the year 2007, 10% by the year 2010. That's our government's commitment to cleaner air in the province of Ontario.

Mr. Hampton: We're hearing a lot of hot air from the minister, but what people across Ontario experience is more and more smog days. You claim credit for closing coal plants. The only coal plant that's closed is Lakeview, and that was closed according to the plan the former government put in place. As far as the largest polluter, Nanticoke, there is no plan to close Nanticoke. It is belching as much smoke now as it did under the Conservatives. Your plan to close the Atikokan coal-fired generating station is a complete offside; it contributes no pollution, none, to the southern Ontario airshed. Meanwhile, you are importing more electricity from the United States, and what's that electricity? Coal-fired electricity. The air is getting dirtier, not cleaner. And so far, we don't see a plan. We see a media spin exercise but no plan. Where's the plan for cleaner air in southern Ontario, as it gets dirtier every day?

Hon. Mrs. Dombrowsky: This from the leader of a party that had a plan to replace coal by the year 2015, eight years beyond what our commitment is. I would like to refer the honourable member to the report that came out last week from the Sierra Club of Canada. This is what the Sierra Club has said about Ontario's performance on the climate change file and improving air quality. They've indicated that the closing of the Lakeview coal-fired plant is a significant step for Canada in fighting climate change. It has also cited that a recent request for a proposal for clean energy is also taking us a good way along our goal to cleaner air. I want to say that the Sierra Club of Canada has been providing a grade to the province of Ontario for the last 10 years, and that grade has been F. As a matter of fact, in the year 2001, it was F-minus, and I don't know how you can get an F-minus. This year it is C-plus. We still have work to do. Our goal is A, but the Sierra Club of Canada has recognized --

The Speaker: Thank you. New question.

TEACHERS' CONTRACTS

Mr. Jim Brownell (Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh): My question is to the Minister of Education. It is good news for Ontario, and particularly good news for students, that almost every school board in the province has settled its collective agreement based on the provincial framework. We are looking at the road ahead and parents now see us driving their children toward a very bright future. This new era of cooperation between government and our teachers is a marked departure from the divisive policies of the past government. Previously, school boards were pitted against teachers, and students were left struggling and missing countless days due to labour unrest.

Students in my riding of Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh are pleased that their school year will not be disrupted by teacher strikes or work-to-rule for three more years, but they wonder how the framework agreement will affect them directly. Minister, what changes will students see in their schools this September as a result of this provincial framework?

Hon. Gerard Kennedy (Minister of Education): Thank you to the member who has a long history of supporting publicly funded education, and that's what the parents and students will see happening this fall, which is an improvement in publicly funded education: 600 more specialist teachers in elementary schools delivering on improved arts and music and these kinds of enhancements. The last government had a choice; they could have improved public education. Instead, they decided to stampede students out of publicly funded education into private schools. It was a choice they made. We made quite a different choice.

In high school, there are 1,300 teachers there to help lower class sizes, to improve the prospects especially of struggling students. They are there in significant numbers; a student success teacher in every school, driving to reduce the dropout rate, shamefully, unfortunately, left to us by the previous government. Most importantly, there will be a collaborative outlook. That's what comes from the provincial framework: teachers and principals, school boards and the government working together, as we should, to convey an educational advantage for every Ontario student.

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Mr. Brownell: Education under the previous government was defined by striking workers on picket lines. Hospitals, schools, government offices and other public bodies were crippled by strikes as labour and the government fought over the divisive Tory agenda. I was in the schools; I remember.

Parents in my riding believe that peace and stability in the education system is a prerequisite for learning. Students, we know, don't have much of a chance if their teachers and principals are distracted by contract talks. To them, an end to work-to-rule and job actions by teachers is an example of how the McGuinty government has established peace and a healthier learning environment in our schools.

Minister, what is in your plan for continuing to work with teacher associations, school boards, school communities and others to improve student outcomes, and what is your plan to build on peace and stability to better education in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Kennedy: Again, I appreciate the question coming from this member, who I know has an abiding belief and faith in public education and who knows that there was and there has been, unfortunately, a choice. The previous government, when it saw that there were troubles in terms of education and things that had to be done, both to restore public confidence and make some things work better, took the lazy way out. They exacerbated conflict, they dodged all the tough questions, and they didn't find ways to make it work.

We have put in place a partnership table with the presence of all the education organizations. Trustees and parents, students and school boards come together, as they did last week, to look at the things that need to be done to help make decisions and to help create a unified agenda for going forward. We will have, this fall, a provincial stability commission to make sure that we don't just have labour peace; we have a means of co-operating. We'll have a student success commission to drive down the dropout rates. In short, we'll have the kind of coordination in public education that students have waited for way too long.

COMMERCIAL FISHING

Mr. Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound): My question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. As you will know, in my area they're working on a fishing agreement with our native people. You also received a letter from the OFAH around May 19, and in that letter they requested that your staff working on this agreement or yourself meet with some of the clubs that are directly affected by this agreement; namely, the Sydenham sportsmen's club and the Bruce Peninsula club, along with the OFAH. Today, Minister, I would like to ask you if you would commit to this meeting before an agreement is signed.

Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources): First off, I'd like to commend the member for how he's handling this issue. These issues are very contentious. Issues in regard to the conflict between commercial fishing and sports angling are contentious to begin with, but especially when First Nations communities want to partake in the commercial fishery. Trying to negotiate that to make sure that happens is a very contentious issue, and I appreciate the member's approach in this and working with me on this. I would say to the member, I'm committed to work with him, and we will have those public meetings to make sure that his community understands what we're trying to do in our negotiations.

Mr. Murdoch: Don't be too kind to me because then I'll get in trouble over here too.

I do appreciate what the minister has been doing in working with this problem. I appreciate the fact that he will meet, I understand, with some of the clubs in our area, along with the OFAH. This is a very contentious issue and we want to make sure that we get a deal that everyone will be -- well, we may not get one that everyone will like, but at least they'll like it the best they can.

I know in the past you've dealt with some of this, and in the past, when you were a critic, you did mention that everybody should be involved. So will you be able to meet with them or will it be your team that will meet with the different clubs?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I would say to the member, you might want to have the experts come up and meet with your people rather than myself. What I commit to you is that I'll make sure that people who have been very close to these negotiations will meet with the sports fishery clubs and your community up there to explain the balance that I think we're getting just right through these negotiations.

I very much appreciate the member's position and the position of the sports clubs that you want to protect the bays for the sports fishery. There's lots of water out there for the commercial fishery. I think through these negotiations we're going to find the right balance to make sure that the sport angling industry, which is very large in your area and contributes millions of dollars to this economy, is balanced with the First Nation commercial fishery.

RURAL EDUCATION FUNDING

Mr. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): To the Minister of Education: Seven small schools in the Lakehead District School Board are scheduled to close down, and parents, as you probably would understand, are very concerned. The child advocate is concerned. The child advocate, Judy Finlay, has this to say about the closure of the Fourway school: "Children aged four and older will be travelling considerable distances on the highway without seat belt, a washroom or adult supervision. In addition ... this highway is routinely closed in the winter months when the road conditions are poor, leaving the youth stranded and not able to return to their family homes."

Minister, you can't let this happen. What is your plan?

Hon. Gerard Kennedy (Minister of Education): I'm happy to hear from the member, as I think we all are, on this particular issue. It is an important issue. This is about the fate of rural schools and of smaller schools in one of our boards. It's about a transition between the past, which has been very harsh on those particular kinds of institutions, and a future where we consider schools more on their merits, more on whether they're good for students, more on what kind of involvement they have from the community, and more on what impact they have on the local economy. We've asked all those things to be taken into consideration.

I'm sure the member opposite has spoken to the facilitator because his concern is so significant in this regard. He's talked to David Cooke, whom I know he has awareness of. The former education minister has been in Thunder Bay and has spoken with not just Fourway but Gorham and Ware and a range of schools. He has looked at the decisions that have been made to see whether two things will be accomplished: Is this in the spirit of the new guidelines, and can a significant benefit be delivered if the new guidelines are applied? That is what --

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Thank you. Supplementary.

Mr. Marchese: On April 25, you said it would take "two to two and a half weeks" to come up with a decision on the Lakehead school closures. Obviously, this deadline has passed. Now we've found out that a review of the closure of the Lakehead schools was completed and handed over to you on June 1, but you still haven't informed us of your decision.

Minister, you make promises you don't keep; you deliberately delay; you dismiss, apparently, the issue as if it were trivial. Why haven't you told concerned parents what you're going to do with their schools given that the report was given to you on June 1?

Hon. Mr. Kennedy: I would say to the member opposite that he makes this the last question of the last question period. We have spent a significant amount of time. I believe he supports the appointment of Mr. Cooke. He knows that we've brought in a new policy. He knows that the policy and the funding behind it materially change the outlook. He'll be very happy and satisfied. It's very unfortunate we don't have a question period tomorrow. We inevitably would hear from him. The report is due out very shortly, and he may indeed be pleased with the conclusions. I'll look forward to his comments through other forums.

VISITOR

Mr. Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: We have a very important guest in the west gallery, Mr. Michael Gallagher, from the operating engineers of Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): That's not a point of order.

PETITIONS

HEALTH CARE SERVICES

Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): The petition reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the current government has eliminated OHIP coverage for chiropractic services; and

"Whereas the current government has eliminated and reduced OHIP coverage for optometry services; and

"Whereas the current government has eliminated and reduced OHIP coverage for physiotherapy services; and

"Whereas the current government has refused to fund treatment for autistic children even after the courts and human rights commission ruled it should; and

"Whereas the current government has now decided to fund sex change operations even though the Canada Health Act deems it not an essential health service;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, respectfully petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the government of Ontario does not fund sex change operations and reinstates funding for delisted health services."

I affix my name in full support.

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REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

Mr. Michael Prue (Beaches-East York): I have petition that reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal government were elected based on their promise to rebuild public services in Ontario;

"Whereas the Minister of Community and Social Services has announced plans to close the Rideau Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, many of whom have multiple diagnoses and severe problems that cannot be met in the community;

"Whereas closing the Rideau Regional Centre will have a devastating impact on residents with developmental disabilities, their families, the developmental services sector and the economies of the local communities;

"Whereas Ontario could use the professional staff and facilities of the Rideau Regional Centre to extend specialized services, support and professional training to many more clients who live in the community, in partnership with families and community agencies;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the government to keep the Rideau Regional Centre open as a home for people with developmental disabilities and to maintain it as a `centre of excellence' to provide specialized services and support to Ontarians with developmental needs, no matter where they live."

I am in agreement with this, signed by some 40 people of the Ottawa area, and have affixed my signature thereto.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRES

Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): I'm pleased to assist my colleague from Haliburton-Victoria-Brock in reading this petition on the funding of a community health centre in Brock township. Further, I congratulate the member on the passage of Bill 216, An Act to amend the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, on which I have read petitions myself in the past. I also want to thank Stacey, Kate and Raquel Farrington of Simcoe Street for this petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas Brock township has been declared an underserviced area by the Ministry of Health with respect to physician services since 1996;

"Whereas the Ontario government announced the creation of 150 family health teams, just like the community health centre in the spring budget;

"Whereas a CHC in Brock township could provide a range of community-based health and social services provided by a multidisciplinary team including physicians, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, health promotion coordinators, social workers, counsellors and other health professionals needed in our local" Brock "community;

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

"That the Brock CHC proposal submitted on February 27, 2003, be funded as recommended by the district health council."

I'm pleased to sign this and to ask Alexander to carry it for me.

PUBLIC TRANSIT TAX CREDIT

Mr. John O'Toole (Durham): It's a privilege to present a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas public transit is an important public good for Ontario which must be promoted;

"Whereas increased ridership of the public transit system will result in benefits such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the ease of traffic congestion and gridlock;

"Whereas it is important to provide incentives to commuters to choose public transit as an alternative,

"Therefore we, the undersigned, respectfully petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows: that eligible residents for the taxation year living within the province of Ontario be able to claim on their income tax an expense credit of" up to "50% for all public transit expenses incurred throughout the taxation year."

I encourage members to support Bill 137 from the MPP for Durham.

TFO

M. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-Baie James): J'ai ici une pétition signée par beaucoup de gens du nord-est de l'Ontario. C'est une pétition en faveur de maintenir le financement de base pour la TFO.

« Attendu que TFO est un instrument indispensable de développement de la communauté franco-ontarienne;

« Attendu que la programmation et les ressources éducatives de TFO constituent un appui essentiel à l'enseignement dans les écoles franco-ontariennes;

« Attendu que le Parti libéral s'est engagé, dans son programme électoral, à poser des gestes concrets pour favoriser le développement de la collectivité francophone de l'Ontario et à soutenir la croissance et l'autonomie de TFO;

« Nous, les soussignés et soussignées, demandons au gouvernement ontarien de maintenir, voire d'augmenter, le financement de base de TFO et d'accorder à TFO son autonomie par la création, dans les plus brefs délais, de son propre conseil d'administration dont tout le monde tous les membres parlent français. »

C'est signé par du monde à travers le nord-est de l'Ontario. J'aimerais remercier M. Stewart Kiff de m'avoir assisté avec cette pétition.

WEARING OF HELMETS

Mr. John Milloy (Kitchener Centre): I have a petition in support of Bill 129. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas each year tragedy strikes cyclists, in-line skaters, skateboarders etc. who are involved in collisions on our roadways;

"Whereas many of these involve injury to the head;

"Whereas the cost of treating an individual with a severe head injury can be $4 million to $9 million over the course of their lifetime;

"Whereas wearing a certified helmet can prevent 85% of head injuries;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to swiftly pass Bill 129 and make it mandatory for all individuals to wear a certified helmet when cycling, in-line skating, skateboarding or using any other type of muscular-powered vehicle on Ontario's roadways."

Of course, I support this petition.

CREDIT VALLEY HOSPITAL

Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton-Victoria-Brock): I would like to present this petition on behalf of the member from Mississauga West. The petitions were sent to him by Tom Glover of Joymar Drive in Streetsville.

"Credit Valley Hospital Capital Improvements:

"Whereas some 20,000 people each year choose to make their home in Mississauga, and a Halton-Peel District Health Council capacity study stated that the Credit Valley Hospital should be operating 435 beds by now and 514 beds by 2016; and

"Whereas the Credit Valley Hospital bed count has remained constant at 365 beds since its opening in November 1985, even though some 4,800 babies are delivered each year at the Credit Valley Hospital in a facility designed to handle 2,700 births annually; and

"Whereas donors in Mississauga and the regional municipalities served by the Credit Valley Hospital have contributed more than $41 million of a $50-million fundraising objective, the most ambitious of any community hospital in the country, to support the construction of an expanded facility able to meet the needs of our community;

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

"That the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care undertake specific measures to ensure the allocation of capital funds for the construction of A and H block at Credit Valley Hospital to ensure that the ongoing acute care needs of the patients and families served by the hospital are met in a timely and professional manner, to reduce wait times for patients in the hospital emergency department, and to better serve patients and the community in Halton and Peel regions by reducing severe overcrowding in the labour and delivery suite."

I'd like to hand this petition over to Alexander.

PENSION PLANS

Ms. Andrea Horwath (Hamilton East): This petition was signed by people from Oshawa, Ajax, Guelph, Whitby, Scarborough, Bowmanville, Port Hope, Chatham, Exeter, Tillsonburg, North Bay, many communities which are calling for pension reform.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas it has been more than 15 years since the last significant reform of Ontario's pension laws;

"Whereas the New Democratic Party believes that all Ontarians who have worked hard all their lives should be able to live out their retirement years with dignity and security;

"Whereas the fact that 60% of Ontarians are not covered by a workplace-based pension plan of any kind is simply unacceptable;

"Whereas the fact that 83% of workers in the private sector who do have pensions have absolutely no inflation protection and will inevitably see their pension benefits seriously eroded over their retirement period; and

"Whereas Ontario's pension backup, the pension benefits guarantee fund, only guarantees benefits up to $1,000 a month and excludes multi-employer plans; and

"Whereas pension plan members now have to wait two full years before they are able to take the employer's contributions to their plans with them if they leave;

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

"To immediately establish a special legislative committee to examine pension issues and recommend real reforms to protect pensions and ensure all Ontarians dignity and security upon retirement.

"To support a plan of meaningful pension reform as proposed by Howard Hampton and the NDP whereby:

"All plan members receiving benefits under a defined benefit pension plan in Ontario would receive some inflation protection;

"The pension benefits guarantee fund would be increased to $2,500 a month and multi-employer plans would be covered as well;

"Members would have immediate ownership over all contributions to their plan; and

"Measures would be taken to increase the proportion of workers covered by workplace-based pension plans."

I agree with this petition. I've signed it and send it down by way of Misha. Thank you, Misha.

CREDIT VALLEY HOSPITAL

Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): I have the pleasure today to introduce a petition on behalf of Ms. April Erwin, who lives at Unit 2, 12 Peel Ave in Brampton, Ontario, L6W 1X2. It's regarding the Credit Valley Hospital capital improvement program.

"Whereas some 20,000 people each year choose to make their home in Mississauga, and a Halton-Peel District Health Council capacity study stated that the Credit Valley Hospital should be operating 435 beds by now and 514 beds by 2016; and

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"Whereas the Credit Valley Hospital bed count has remained constant at 365 beds since its opening in November 1985, even though some 4,800 babies are delivered each year at the Credit Valley Hospital in a facility designed to handle 2,700 births annually; and

"Whereas donors in Mississauga and the regional municipalities served by the Credit Valley Hospital have contributed more than $41 million of a $50-million fundraising objective, the most ambitious of any community hospital in the country, to support the construction of an expanded facility able to meet the needs of our community;

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

"That the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care undertake specific measures to ensure the allocation of capital funds for the construction of A and H blocks at Credit Valley Hospital to ensure the ongoing acute care needs of the patients and families served by the hospital are met in a timely and professional manner, to reduce wait times for patients in the hospital emergency department, and to better serve patients and the community in Halton and Peel regions by reducing severe overcrowding in the labour and delivery suite."

I will attach my signature to this very worthy petition.

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

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

"Whereas many volunteer fire departments in Ontario are strengthened by the service of double-hatter firefighters who work as professional, full-time firefighters and also serve as volunteer firefighters on their free time and in their home communities; and

"Whereas the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association has declared their intent to `phase out' these double-hatter firefighters; and

"Whereas double-hatter firefighters are being threatened by the union leadership and forced to resign as volunteer firefighters or face losing their full-time jobs, and this is weakening volunteer fire departments in Ontario; and

"Whereas Waterloo-Wellington MPP Ted Arnott has introduced Bill 52, the Volunteer Firefighters Employment Protection Act, that would uphold the right to volunteer and solve this problem concerning public safety in Ontario;

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

"That the provincial government express public support for MPP Ted Arnott's Bill 52 and willingness to pass it into law or introduce similar legislation that protects the right of firefighters to volunteer in their home communities on their own free time."

I want to thank the folks at the township of Wellington North for circulating this. Of course it has my support as well, and I've affixed my signature.

EDUCATION FUNDING

Mr. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): "Whereas during the 2003 election campaign, Dalton McGuinty promised to establish a standing committee on education to ensure transparency in education funding; and

"Whereas such a committee has not been established; and

"Whereas Ontario's education system is not properly funded and there is no transparency in funding,

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

"To immediately establish a standing committee on education to hold public hearings every year on the effectiveness of education funding."

I will sign this petition because I agree with it wholeheartedly.

TEACHER QUALIFICATION

Mr. Peter Fonseca (Mississauga East): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the 2005 graduates of the publicly funded faculties of education in the province of Ontario will have met all the requirements of the individual faculties; and

"Whereas these same publicly funded faculties of education in the province of Ontario have all met the stringent standards as outlined and controlled by the Ontario College of Teachers; and

"Whereas the 2005 graduates of the publicly funded faculties of education in the province of Ontario will be placed at a severe disadvantage if they are given a provisional certificate of qualification by the Ontario College of Teachers,

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

"To make the changes necessary to the Education Act and/or its regulations in order to grant the 2005 graduates of the publicly funded faculties of education in the province of Ontario a permanent certificate of qualification, or to deem that the Bachelor of Education degree granted to 2005 graduates of the publicly funded faculties of education in the province of Ontario deems them to have completed the equivalent of the Ontario teacher qualification test, thus allowing the Ontario College of Teachers to grant these same graduates a permanent certificate of qualification."

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

Mr. Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound): I thought maybe I wasn't to get one there, and I'd have to hurry mine, but I will anyway, since nothing's been done with this.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas many volunteer fire departments in Ontario are strengthened by the service of double-hatter firefighters who work as professional, full-time firefighters and also serve as volunteer firefighters on their free time and in their home communities; and" -- to make things short, Mr. Speaker, I'll just read the important whereases.

"Whereas Waterloo-Wellington MPP Ted Arnott has introduced Bill 52, the Volunteer Firefighters Employment Protection Act, that would uphold the right to volunteer and solve this problem concerning public safety in Ontario;

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

"That the provincial government express public support for MPP Ted Arnott's Bill 52 and willingness to pass it into law or introduce similar legislation that protects the right of firefighters to volunteer in their home communities on their own free time."

I have also signed this.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

LABOUR RELATIONS STATUTE LAW
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
CONCERNANT LES RELATIONS
DE TRAVAIL

Resuming the debate adjourned on May 18, 2005, on the motion for third reading of Bill 144, An Act to amend certain statutes relating to labour relations / Projet de loi 144, Loi modifiant des lois concernant les relations de travail.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Pursuant to the order of the House dated Thursday, June 9, 2005, I'm now required to put the question.

Mr. Bentley has moved third reading of Bill 144, An Act to amend certain statutes relating to labour relations. 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 ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 10-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1545 to 1555.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour, stand one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arthurs, Wayne

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bountrogianni, Marie

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brown, Michael A.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Chambers, Mary Anne V.

Colle, Mike

Cordiano, Joseph

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoy, Pat

Jeffrey, Linda

Kennedy, Gerard

Kular, Kuldip

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marsales, Judy

Matthews, Deborah

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Sorbara, Gregory S.

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wong, Tony C.

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed, stand one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Bisson, Gilles

Chudleigh, Ted

Churley, Marilyn

Flaherty, Jim

Hampton, Howard

Hardeman, Ernie

Horwath, Andrea

Klees, Frank

Kormos, Peter

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Murdoch, Bill

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Prue, Michael

Runciman, Robert W.

Scott, Laurie

Tascona, Joseph N.

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 62; the nays are 23.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I believe we have unanimous consent to allow the House to meet beyond 6:00 p.m. today to complete certain business.

The Deputy Speaker: Agreed? Carried.

ELECTION STATUTE LAW
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
EN CE QUI CONCERNE LES ÉLECTIONS

Mr. Bryant moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 214, An Act to amend the Election Act, the Election Finances Act and the Legislative Assembly Act, to repeal the Representation Act, 1996 and to enact the Representation Act, 2005 / Projet de loi 214, Loi modifiant la Loi électorale, la Loi sur le financement des élections et la Loi sur l'Assemblée législative, abrogeant la Loi de 1996 sur la représentation électorale et édictant la Loi de 2005 sur la représentation électorale.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Bryant?

Is there any debate?

Mr. John R. Baird (Nepean-Carleton): I fear that much of this bill is unconstitutional and will be judged accordingly.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments?

There being none, further debate? Does any member wish to debate?

Mr. Bryant has moved second reading of Bill 214. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those opposed, please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1601 to 1603.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour, please stand one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arthurs, Wayne

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bisson, Gilles

Bountrogianni, Marie

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brown, Michael A.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Chambers, Mary Anne V.

Churley, Marilyn

Colle, Mike

Cordiano, Joseph

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hampton, Howard

Horwath, Andrea

Hoy, Pat

Jeffrey, Linda

Kennedy, Gerard

Kular, Kuldip

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marchese, Rosario

Marsales, Judy

Martel, Shelley

Matthews, Deborah

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Prue, Michael

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Sorbara, Gregory S.

Takhar, Harinder S.

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wong, Tony C.

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed, please stand and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Chudleigh, Ted

Flaherty, Jim

Hardeman, Ernie

Klees, Frank

Murdoch, Bill

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Runciman, Robert W.

Scott, Laurie

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 69; the nays are 13.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?

Hon. Michael Bryant (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs, minister responsible for democratic renewal): I would ask that the bill be referred to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.

The Deputy Speaker: The bill is accordingly referred to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.

ELECTION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT
LA LOI ÉLECTORALE

Mr. Bryant moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 213, An Act to amend the Election Act, 2005 / Projet de loi 213, Loi modifiant la Loi électorale.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Bryant?

Hon. Michael Bryant (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs, minister responsible for democratic renewal): I have spoken to this issue previously in this House. This bill will permit the Chief Election Officer to do by statute what he currently is not able to do. This will be a very, very important step in the direction of election reform and political finance reform.

As I have spoken to this before, I think this House would probably rather hear from my great parliamentary assistant, the member for Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale. I'm sharing my time with him.

Mr. Kuldip Kular (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): I'm very pleased to take part in second reading of Bill 213 --

Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I think we have unanimous consent to divide the time equally -- 15 minutes -- between each party.

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): That was not my understanding.

The Deputy Speaker: I'm not part of those discussions; I'm sorry.

The member for Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale has the floor.

Mr. Kular: I am pleased to participate in second reading debate of Bill 213, the Election Amendment Act, 2005, put forward by the minister responsible for democratic renewal.

This bill, if passed, will allow us to move forward with the establishment of a citizens' jury on political finance reform and a citizens' assembly on electoral reform and will give Ontarians a more direct say in important government decisions than they have ever had before.

This bill will enable Elections Ontario to access the permanent register of electors so that people can be selected to take part in either the jury or the assembly.

The citizens' jury will look at reducing the influence of money in politics. We are inviting Ontarians to participate in the discussion on political finance reform. This is their democracy, so they should be involved in making decisions about how political parties and election campaigns are funded.

The citizens' assembly will look at whether Ontario should keep its first-past-the-post electoral system or change how Ontarians elect their MPPs to this House. If the assembly recommends change, Ontarians will decide the issue in a provincial referendum to be held within our mandate.

The issue of electoral reform is being examined across Canada. Both PEI and New Brunswick formed commissions on electoral reform and legislative democracy. Quebec has created a secretariat for the reform of democratic institutions. Most recently, British Columbia held a province-wide referendum on a new electoral system, called the single transferable vote, on May 17, 2005.

Here in our province, we want to bring the debate on political finance and electoral reform directly to the people. Ontario's electoral system belongs to Ontarians, not to elected officials or appointed commissions. So we are asking Ontarians to decide for themselves how our political system should work and how they want to elect MPPs here to Queen's Park. No government in this province has ever given citizens this kind of opportunity. This bill, if passed, will give the people of Ontario the chance to have their say on the role of money in politics and electoral reform.

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Participation in the citizens' jury or the citizens' assembly will be voluntary. People whose names are selected from the register will first be contacted by Elections Ontario. Those who agree to become candidates may then be selected to sit on either the jury or the assembly. Both bodies will be reflective of Ontario's diversity.

This bill reflects one of the central tenets of our democratic renewal agenda: the need to build a more positive and productive relationship between citizens and their elected representatives and to give citizens an opportunity to have a meaningful impact on important issues. Together, we will make our democracy stronger. So I ask all members on both sides of the House to support this bill.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr. Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): I want to express our lack of support for this legislation in the Progressive Conservative Party. This is a suggestion that we made with respect to this legislation and the proposal we made for the establishment of a select committee to take a look at a number of these issues surrounding proportional representation and the form of government in the province of Ontario. One of the issues that we felt should be part of the mandate of the select committee was looking at the terms of reference for the selection of citizens' juries and the role that citizens' juries were going to play. That's not a position that won the day. Regrettably, the government has opted to hive that section out of the legislation. It's being referred to the standing committee and the area that's going to be looked at by a select committee. That's a concern to us because this government gets up with grand words prior to the election and subsequently talks about the role of backbenchers and enhancing the role of members of this assembly, but their actions tend to contradict their words. What we see in this situation is another stark example of that.

If you take a look at one situation that we have to refer to in Canada, and that's the British Columbia experience, in British Columbia, the government chose to bring the terms of reference for the citizens' assembly to the Legislature. So there was a full debate with respect to the role that the citizens' assembly in British Columbia would play in this process. The Liberal government of Ontario has instead chosen a different route.

To me, it fuels the degradation of the role that we as individual members play, whether we're sitting on the government side as backbenchers, who tend to be just yes-men and yes-women who stand up when they're told to stand up by the whip, and in fact get in here and read the questions prepared by the ministers or, by rote, read the speeches prepared by some ministerial staff -- that's their role. They don't have a role to play in terms of significant interchange in this place. Traditionally, they read from prepared notes or read prepared questions. That's just the government side. The opposition side -- I've been back and forth on both sides of the aisle, and we see the contempt shown for members of the opposition here on a daily basis. If you attend question period, you witness what we believe are very meaningful, important questions that we pose to members of the executive council on a daily basis. What do we get in return from the members of cabinet? Non-answers, accusations, charges against the opposition. Very rarely -- there are a few exceptions to this; I'll grant you that -- do we get any substantive or meaningful responses to legitimate questions posed by both the official opposition and the third party.

That just fuels our cynicism and, I think, the cynicism and skepticism of the public about this process. We're worried about this process and the role that the citizen jurors are going to have to play here without any input whatsoever by the elected members of this assembly. What message does that send out to the public at large with respect to the role of members? It reinforces that well-known Liberal Pierre Trudeau's view of members of Parliament. He said that once they walk 100 feet away from this place, they're nobodies. That's what this government is doing by refusing to allow us, as members of the assembly, to play any role whatsoever with respect to the terms of reference and the role and responsibilities of the citizens' jury. That is a serious concern of ours.

We had concerns about the other legislation; that's why we spoke against it. We were prepared to support continuing to have 11 members representing the north, but we felt very strongly that there should be a boundaries commission for the province of Ontario. This is the first time in memory that we've gone ahead with a redistribution without a boundaries commission. My colleague felt that that would create future legal problems. We will continue to oppose that, and we will vote against this legislation as well.

M. Bisson: I know my colleague Mme Churley also wanted to speak on this. She's going to be up here momentarily.

Je veux dire très vite une couple de points faisant affaire avec cette législation.

Comme j'ai dit plus tôt dans le débat qu'on a eu ici à l'Assemblée sur le projet de loi précédant, la question est, si on veut mettre en place un nouveau système électoral, c'est quoi le processus?

Le problème que j'ai avec cette législation, c'est que le gouvernement s'organise pour se retirer du processus jusqu'à une grande partie faisant affaire avec cette proposition de ce qu'on appelle « constituent assemblies ». Est-ce que le public a besoin d'être consulté? Mais oui, ça va sans dire. Est-ce que le public a besoin de faire partie du processus? Mais oui, c'est sans dire. Mais le problème avec cette législation, quant à moi, c'est que le gouvernement s'organise pour avoir un processus où, à la fin de la journée, ils auront le résultat final qu'ils veulent. C'est un peu ce qu'ils ont fait en Colombie-Britannique : amener un modèle qui est, premièrement, pas mal impossible à supporter, et deuxièmement, d'avoir une situation où le processus pour changer le système électoral est assez compliqué et difficile que le public, même s'ils le veulent par majorité, ne peuvent pas le changer. C'est un peu ça qu'on a vu en Colombie-Britannique, où, je pense, 50 % ou plus de la population a voté en faveur de changer le système électoral, mais il fallait 60 % du vote pour être capable de changer le système électoral.

Moi, je crois que si on veut changer le système électoral, c'est à cette Assemblée de prendre la décision. C'est aux députés dans cette Assemblée d'avoir un vote. Comme sur toute autre matière devant cette Assemblée, c'est nous autres qui avons besoin de nous prononcer. Est-ce qu'on veut consulter? Mais oui. On a des comités législatifs qui sont là pour exactement cette raison, pour donner la chance au public d'être consulté, pour que le public puisse nous dire leurs pensées. Moi, je crois qu'à la fin de la journée, si on va changer le système électoral, on doit mettre en place un comité spécial qui se penche sur la question de donner l'information à cette Assemblée pour que nous autres puissions faire notre décision. Dans ce processus, on a besoin de demander une couple de questions.

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Est-ce que le système actuel représente vraiment la démocratie comme on veut l'avoir? Si oui ou sinon, quels sont les autres modèles qui sont disponibles -- un autre modèle, comme on le sait, c'est la représentation proportionnelle -- et quel modèle est-ce que le comité recommanderait pour être capable de le mettre en place? Je crois qu'on doit faire ça à la première lecture : introduire un projet de loi qui est assez vague pour donner la chance au comité après la première lecture de vraiment faire une consultation publique, comme on a fait dans le temps de Bob Rae avec le comité constitutionnel, qui s'est promené autour de la province et qui a consulté et recherché ce qu'on voulait avoir comme proposition.

Une fois que le comité s'est penché sur tous les aspects qui ont été amenés par le public dans le processus du comité, dans les consultations publiques, qu'on revienne après ça au comité, qu'on se penche sur le travail et qu'on fasse des recommandations concrètes pour que le gouvernement puisse amender son projet de loi après la première lecture et le processus de consultation au comité. Qu'on amène ensuite le projet de loi à la deuxième lecture et qu'on ait un débat. On a encore la chance de retourner au comité après la deuxième lecture. Mais le point final, c'est la troisième lecture ici à l'Assemblée, et ce sont les députés qui font la décision.

Est-ce qu'on envoie notre budget au referendum? Est-ce qu'on envoie l'amalgamation de nos communautés au referendum? Est-ce qu'on envoie d'autres matières qui sont de juridiction provinciale au referendum? Mais non. On fait des votes ici à l'Assemblée. C'est ça le point que je voulais faire dans le débat : oui, on a besoin de changer notre système électoral; oui, un système de représentation proportionnelle fait du bon sens. Mais, à la fin de la journée, je crois sincèrement que ce processus doit être fait par les députés de cette Assemblée.

With that, I know my good friend Marilyn Churley has things she would like to say on this particular debate. I've put my comments on the record and I look forward to the time on the committee.

The Deputy Speaker: Are you sharing your time? No? OK. Questions or comments?

Mr. John R. Baird (Nepean-Carleton): I want to speak to this bill because I think it's an important one. We have a long agenda here at Queen's Park today of bills to pass. I suspect we might be here as long as 10 minutes after we deal with this piece of legislation. I know some people want to go home early and don't want to debate the issues of the day, but this is important and I want to stand and raise some concerns for this bill. I'm sorry if that doesn't sit well with the government House leader.

I look at this bill, and what this bill is really saying is that MPPs can't be trusted, that this issue is an important one and that the residents of Kingston and the Islands, the residents of Oak Ridges and the residents of Toronto-Danforth need someone to represent them, and their MPPs are incapable -- that it's not appropriate, that they are self-interested, that they don't have the capacity to consider a piece of public policy and to respond and to be accountable for it.

All of us in this House, all parties, all members, at one time or another have engaged in what I call legislative self-flagellation. What we want to do is run down politics or run down those who practise it, run down the capacity of hard-working men and women to stand for office and make a contribution, to be able to represent those who sent them here -- whether it's in terms of representation, whether it's a matter of fairly considering the broader public interest, whether it's considering submissions from their constituencies and from the public, reflecting on issues that are before us, that somehow members of provincial Parliament in this place are incapable of doing that.

I am no angel in that regard. I have participated in that over the years. I certainly acknowledge that. But last week I, along with many members, perhaps 10 members in our caucus and another 10 on the government side, celebrated 10 years of being elected here. After 10 years of engaging in repeated self-flagellation of the profession in which we serve, I simply don't want to do it any more. I think it's wrong; I think it degrades politics. All political parties have been part of that, and I simply don't want to participate in it any more. I think it's wrong. Beating up on politics, our own profession, causes us a great deal of concern.

Interjection.

Mr. Baird: I say to the member for Ottawa West-Nepean that this is a very important issue and I look forward to learning his comments and those of his constituents. I have listened a lot to the constituents of the member for Ottawa West-Nepean. Some members are very parochial and only consider the interests of people in their own ridings. Others, the member for Toronto-Danforth being one, want to look at a broader regional cross-section of issues of concern.

I look at this piece of legislation, what it does to the role of Parliament, what it does to the role of the Legislature. Members in this place have a mandate to serve. They have a responsibility to educate themselves on the salient issues before this place, to consider public interest and input, to make informed judgments and to be accountable for the decisions they make.

I want to quote some of the legislation that we're debating today: "The bill makes amendments to the Election Act to authorize the selection of representative bodies of electors to consider" an important matter of public policy. Well, what the heck do people send members of provincial Parliament to this place to represent? I look at some of the members opposite. I look at the member for Chatham. I say that he is more than capable of considering an important issue of public policy in this regard. I look at the member for Timmins-James Bay. The people in his constituency sent him here to represent them.

This tries to seek a parallel process to Parliament, which I take great offence at. I think it's frankly wrong. It authorizes the selection, somehow making it akin to an election campaign, to serve. I take great issue with this, because the people of Ontario once every four years have an opportunity to select a government, to select a legislator. This authorizes what can be called nothing more than a lottery, that would be conducted by the Chief Election Officer. Why bother having elections? Why couldn't we simply do a public opinion poll and send the results in to the Clerk of the Legislature? We wouldn't have to sit here. We wouldn't have to debate these public policy issues. We could simply have a lottery for people to decide various issues. I take great offence to that. Drawing names from a permanent register, a voters' list, is what it says. That's just wrong. MPPs were selected by the public and they weren't selected in any process of a lottery. They were selected after a 30-day campaign, they were selected after four years of governing, to represent the public, the people they serve.

Under this piece of legislation, you're going to see a public servant who will basically conduct a lottery on who will serve on the citizens' juries and then will submit names to a minister of the crown. So this is just a complete usurping of Parliament and of the legislative process, and I take great offence at it.

The federal Parliament has looked at citizens' juries -- a federal Liberal government. Don Boudria, a well-respected member of Parliament who has served in this place and on Parliament Hill, served on that committee, and they did not recommend that we have citizens' juries recommending the affront to Parliament.

The worst part of it all, though, is that when this lottery takes place, it now goes to a member of the cabinet to describe, totally usurping this process.

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What will the eligibility criteria for these citizens' juries have in mind? What will it do with respect to regional representation to say the values and principles of people in the city of Ottawa would be demonstrably different than they would be in northern Ontario? We don't elect New Democrats -- or haven't for many years -- in Ottawa, but they do in the north, they do in the city of Toronto.

We have no idea with this lottery what the prescribed eligibility criteria will be. They will be settled not in this chamber but down the hall in the cabinet room behind closed doors, where there will be no input from any members of Parliament, other than those who serve on the executive council. I would like to know what those eligibility criteria are. Will they be geographic? Will they be gender-based? Will they be racially based? Will they be politically based -- some from the left, some from the right -- and how will they do that? What they will allow --

Hon. Greg Sorbara (Minister of Finance): Sit down.

Mr. Baird: Sit down? I'm sorry. If the member opposite doesn't want to hear the debate on this, you shouldn't --

Hon. Mr. Bryant: No, he didn't say that.

Mr. Baird: He said, "Sit down."

The Deputy Speaker: I feel a little left out. Please, your remarks through the Chair.

Mr. Baird: If they don't want to hear the debate, they shouldn't call the legislation for debate. This is the only opportunity we will have --

The Deputy Speaker: Member for Nepean-Carleton, you heard me?

Mr. Baird: This is the only opportunity -- I don't have to look at you, Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker: I'm not going to argue with you. I would just like your comments through the Chair.

Mr. Baird: I didn't direct them at anyone other than you, sir.

The Deputy Speaker: Continue.

Mr. Baird: They are not required to come to Parliament and to suggest to us what these criteria should be.

Let's look at the legislation, section 17.8: "(a) provide that the minister shall assemble a representative body of electors" -- the minister; is that the Legislature? Is that the cabinet? Now we find out it is no longer even fully the cabinet in general, but the minister -- "to consider specified matters relating to reform ... ." What are those issues? Again, other than a broad mandate, we don't know.

And where will the accountability be for this? If someone disagrees with the way a member of Parliament votes on a particular issue, takes a stand on a particular issue, they have recourse. They have recourse in the court of public opinion and they have recourse on election day. But these citizens' juries will have none of that. The legislation allows the Chief Election Officer, who will become nothing more than a bingo master, a chief lottery officer, to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the minister. Will that come before Parliament? No. On this tremendously important issue, it is hived off to a member of the executive council with no input from members of Parliament.

The joke of this is -- and I'm talking about paragraph 1 of section 17.9 -- "The Chief Election Officer shall draw from the permanent register of electors a number of names that is large enough, in his or her opinion, to compose a pool of sufficient size for the purposes of" this legislation.

Again, we have no inkling, no understanding, nothing as to what criteria they will use. They could be demographic criteria, they could be ideological criteria, they could be geographic, they could be gender. We just don't know. Again, I take great issue with this.

Furthermore, on page 3, going on to paragraph 4 of the same section, "prescribed eligibility criteria" is talked about. "Prescribed." That will be made down the hall by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. There will be no input by members of Parliament. It's becoming, with the amount, in all parties -- the New Democratic Party was guilty of it, the Conservative Party was guilty of it, this Liberal Party is guilty of it. More and more power is going down the hall to the Lieutenant Governor.

In Texas, the Legislature sits about eight weeks every two years, I think. I'm beginning to think that eight weeks every two years in Ontario might be too much, if some would have their way, whether it's in the bureaucracy of government, whether it's in the political actors in government. That might be just about seven and a half weeks too long for some.

The best part of it is, don't worry, there will be a role for members of Parliament in this. Under section 17.13, don't worry, a report will be tabled at the Clerks' table. After we vote on this bill, that will be just about it for the input of members of Parliament in this process.

This bill seeks to establish virtually a second Legislature, because those of us who serve in this one obviously can't be trusted to do the right thing. I think that is bad news.

They want to table a report before the Legislature. I say to you, big, big deal.

I take great issue with this bill. No amount of accountability for electors, and that is wrong. After 10 years, I'm standing up to defend a role for legislators, for parliamentarians in this process. I strongly support it. What this is seeking to do is to degrade the role of legislators, to degrade the role of parliamentarians, to say that somehow we are too self-interested and can't be trusted. If some have that view, perhaps they shouldn't serve, they shouldn't re-offer at the appropriate time, because if they can't -- if Parliament can't consider this in consultation with the public, as we do on many pieces of legislation, in consultation with our constituents.

I know the member for Niagara Centre goes back to his constituency every week to consult his electors. If people in Niagara Centre disagree with their member, they can tell him so, and every so often they have the opportunity to pass judgment on him and throw him out of office or send him back for more. Of course, the people in Niagara Centre have chosen to send that member back for more, or they could say that they've chosen to send him back to give us more, which we take with some consternation.

I really feel strongly that citizen juries are an abomination to Parliament, are an abomination to the democratic process. Surely to goodness there's got to be a bigger role for Parliament than to simply have at the end of the day their report to be tabled before the House. Parliament can consider these issues and we can be accountable for them.

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): That's why we're paid the big bucks.

Mr. Baird: That's why we're paid the big bucks. I don't know how big the bucks are, but that's why we accept the responsibility to make these decisions.

It's with regret that I see this bill come before this House, to be voted upon later in the afternoon, because I think it really --

Mr. Khalil Ramal (London-Fanshawe): It's a very important bill.

Mr. Baird: It's a very important bill. What the bill says, to the member for London-Fanshawe, is you can't be trusted. We need to find someone else --

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Nepean-Carleton, again: Rather than speak directly to the member for London-Fanshawe, I would appreciate it if you would direct through the Chair.

Mr. Baird: I directed all my remarks through the Chair, Speaker. I was speaking in the third person, not in the first person.

What this bill says --

Interjections.

Mr. Baird: This is what Parliament becomes. I'm not going to go there.

I take great issue with some of the roles that legislators can assume in this place. We saw another example today in question period, I say to the member from Niagara. In response to the member for Kenora-Rainy River, the leader of the third party, a cabinet minister said that he was misleading. The Speaker at that time, speaking to the role of citizens' jury, wasn't even going to rise and say it was out of order. Not until there was some heckling -- that we have to rewrite the rule book once again -- did the Speaker rise.

I was disappointed. The big disappointment I have in this Parliament is the member for Niagara Centre. I have a tremendous disappointment in him that he didn't call a motion that he's got before the Legislature for debate. We could have had a vote on it.

Mr. Kormos: There's still time.

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Mr. Baird: There's still time, he says. It was done by lottery and he didn't call that member. I think he's getting soft in his old age, I say to the member for Niagara Centre.

I was speaking of the constituents of London-Fanshawe. The constituents of London-Fanshawe obviously can't trust their member. They've got to have someone picked out from this lottery to represent them. Who it will be, I don't know, or what criteria will be used to select a representative for the people of London-Fanshawe. What this bill says is that the people of London-Fanshawe can't be represented by their member of Parliament. What it says is that they need someone else to represent them, because the member for London-Fanshawe is obviously incapable of doing that. That would equally be the case for the member for Brampton, a member from Toronto or the member for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. This is something that causes me tremendous concern. The constituents of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound may agree or disagree with the member, but at least he's accountable. What this bill seeks to do is to say that that member can't be trusted to undertake his responsibilities.

Interjections.

Mr. Baird: The member for London-Fanshawe wants to talk about polls. There will be polls that go up and polls that go down. At the end of the day, the people of Ontario, through their elected representatives, will make the ultimate decisions. What this bill says is that the member for London-Fanshawe, the member for Toronto Centre-Rosedale, the member for Toronto-Danforth and the member for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound can't be trusted to undertake their responsibilities. If we have to go through some sort of lottery -- maybe they'll get one of those bingo -- what do you call those? -- a bingo bowl, where they roll out the numbers: Under the B, 9. Maybe they'll use a bingo. To us, that's a concern.

The member for Perth-Middlesex is here; I suspect he's going to be in the cabinet soon as the Minister of Agriculture. I know it's a position he has been lobbying very hard for, and I for one, if the Premier is watching, would like to see the member become the Minister of Agriculture. He would be very good in that role. I think the member for Perth-Middlesex could also contribute to this debate and offer the concerns of his constituents. But regrettably, under this scenario, he will not have that opportunity, because what this legislation says is that the member for Perth-Middlesex cannot be trusted to undertake his responsibilities.

I will be voting against this piece of legislation. I think it's an affront to Parliament. I think it's more self-flagellation in a system that has had far too much. I think we should use ballots, not bingo cards, to choose those who will govern the province and the country. This legislation goes in the exact opposite direction, which is unfortunate.

Mr. Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound): In the two minutes that I have, I have concerns about what is going on here today. This looks to me like a bill that is being rammed through the House, getting second and third readings today. From what I'm seeing, it looks like we're not supposed to debate it. This is unfortunate, because this is a bill that I think a lot of members here should look at very seriously. If you listen to the member who just spoke, it is taking away the democratic right of the members here in this House.

I can't understand what is actually going on. I have not been briefed on this bill; maybe I missed it. I'll be the first to say that I don't get all the briefings, but I haven't heard anything on this. All I see is that somebody has made a deal in a backroom to put this bill through. I think the Liberals themselves should be very concerned about this.

Hon. John Gerretsen (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, minister responsible for seniors): That doesn't happen.

Mr. Murdoch: Well, it has happened. I was handed a piece of paper when I came in here today, and this bill is on there and it says we're going to have second and third readings, basically without any debate. So something has gone on here. I understand the government wants to get some of their bills through, and I have no problem with that. But this is a bill we've never debated at all in the House. We've had no debate on it.

It takes a lot of powers away from elected politicians, Mr. Speaker -- from you yourself as an elected politician. They may decide in your area that you're not the person they want to send for some group. The minister can pick his group -- it doesn't really say how they're going to be picked. It says "at random," but is it going to be like the bingo hall, where everybody will get a number and we'll pick B-10, whoever that happens to be?

This is very serious. I think that since the government is going to hold some bills over, this might be one that should be held over. I think the way it's set up right now is undemocratic. There's something wrong. I notice the Liberals aren't saying a heck of a lot about this.

Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): I too want to comment on the address by the member from Nepean-Carleton on this particular bill. I think the points he raised are very valid.

As a member of this Legislature, I believe that I have been elected to represent the people of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke in this Legislature on matters of government policy, on bills that come before the Legislature and all such business and all such responsibilities of an elected member, and this bill would seek to diminish that. If I'm not doing my job as the elected member for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, the people have every right, and I hope they exercise that right, to throw me out of office, because that would be exactly what I deserve. But I should have the opportunity to follow through on my responsibilities as the elected member.

When people pick a name on the ballot, that's who they vote for. They vote for the individual to represent them in this chamber, not some cornucopia of a selection that's going to be taken across the province to bring in members from here and there helter-skelter in some kind of formula to decide who's going to actually speak for the citizens of this province. The elected members of this assembly are the ones who should have that responsibility.

Where we have failed, and why there's such a move out there for some kind of electoral reform, is because we, as parliamentarians in every House in this country, have failed to exercise that responsibility at times. What we need is reform about how we do our jobs here at times, but not necessarily reform as to who gets put into the seats in this House. Each constituency should be electing that member and that member should be representing them, but representing them as we traditionally should be representing them and doing our jobs here, not playing games half the time.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Nepean-Carleton has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Baird: As the member for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound said, what this legislation does is basically democracy by bingo ball. They'll get a big bingo ball and choose the representation for the people of Ontario. That's legislating by lottery. At a time when the public is yearning for more accountability, what this does is end accountability. We don't know. Constituents in my riding, constituents in the ridings that we all represent, won't have any say in who will represent them on this panel. It will be done by lottery and by cabinet order behind closed doors, down the hall.

It's about time legislators stand up for themselves, stand up for democracy, stand up for a broader role for all members of Parliament. The members in the government spoke against this type of act when they were in opposition. Of course, they're only taking it one step further. They're only digging the hole deeper. We might as well go to the Texas model if this is the way we're going to do it. Have an eight-week session. We're here for the day, or we're here until at least 6 o'clock. The House is authorized to sit after 6 o'clock. But even on a day when the House has unlimited time to debate bills, members are publicly chastised by McGuinty cabinet ministers that they shouldn't stand up and speak to an important piece of legislation, and that is the ultimate insult. It's no wonder the public has no faith in the people they elect.

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The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Ms. Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): I'm pleased to have an opportunity to speak to this bill today. I must say to the member for Nepean-Carleton that it was with a great deal of interest that I listened to him talk about the lessons he has learned after 10 years in this place. And it did bring back some memories for me, having been in this place for close to 15 years now, being in government, being in cabinet and then being defeated by the Mike Harris government, of which the member from Nepean-Carleton was a member at that time and, he'll recall, participated in the rule changes that diminished the role of members, particularly private members here. I think he's quite right to say that he has seen the light to some extent, because I believe it takes being in opposition in this place to really understand how limited the role can be for the opposition when you have a majority government, and that there are some downsides to people being elected and immediately getting into government, as I think the member would quite freely say. He was elected and put right into cabinet and had absolutely no sense of what it is to sit on the opposition benches and do your best and try your best to have input.

I'm happy to say that I feel quite proud of the fact that I, as a member of the opposition, have had the opportunity, for instance, to influence the finance minister. He even gave me credit for it in the newspaper. I woke up -- I get the Star -- and there was the headline: "Sorbara Credits Churley."

Interjection.

Ms. Churley: Yes, he does. Thank you very much for acknowledging that, because most ministers don't. I was pleased to see that the Minister of Finance graciously, in a crowded room before the media, credited me for it, that he gave some credit to an opposition member who, actually working in partnership with the industry -- I had private conversations with him where I think he would agree that I practically grabbed him by the lapel. In one conversation in the hall, I said, "You had better meet with those people, because you don't understand what's going on here. Once you do sit down with them and listen to them, you will understand and do what they're asking." They had their big demonstration, and, by God, it worked. We all came together to do the right thing in this place for a large constituency.

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: And today it's going well out there.

Ms. Churley: Yes, it is.

I diverted a little bit here to say that sometimes we do, and the public doesn't often see it because ministers don't frequently give opposition members credit publicly when we actually do play a role behind the scenes in forcing their hand in doing the right thing.

What I was thinking is that sometimes -- John Baird, the member for Nepean-Carleton, is now on the opposition benches. Looking back over, I'm happy to say, those 10 lost years under the Conservative government -- remember how they'd say that all the time? -- a lot of bad things happened in this place, and I don't want to see things, in terms of the individual member's ability to participate in this place.

I remember the sad day when Mike Harris arrived in front of the Legislature on his white horse, or should I say his flatbed truck -- I believe he had 34 seats on that flatbed truck; remember that? -- saying, "We have too many politicians wasting taxpayers' money here. We're going to get rid of 34 so that we're down to 103."

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: That was Mike Harris.

Ms. Churley: Yes, it was Mike Harris. I saw what happened then in my own riding, and we're still suffering the consequences of it. Whole boundaries were changed so that East York in particular, which is part of my riding of Toronto-Danforth and part of Beaches-East York, lost its identity. Through another act of the Harris government, against the views of the people, Toronto and East York were amalgamated. Remember that? I'm talking to my constituents about democracy and the importance of what members in this place do with them and together for them. East York was swallowed up by amalgamation.

It was Frances Lankin and I and the former mayor of East York, who is now the member for Beaches-East York, working together who got the Harris government to admit they made a mistake, at least in terms of the number of councillors for East York -- they were shortchanged. So we did get that third councillor for East York. But the reality is that they got swallowed up by amalgamation.

Then, after a while, Dennis Mills, who was the Liberal member for that riding, changed the name. He had an opportunity to put East York back in the name but called it Toronto-Danforth. I'm happy to say that Jack Layton, now the MP for Toronto-Danforth, has just announced, as we had promised together, that we are changing that name again, but this time it's going to reflect the proud former borough of East York as well as Riverdale. I think he's proposing -- and we've agreed on -- East York-Danforth-Riverdale. That was an opportunity, then, to at least get East York back in the name. Because I've got to tell you, all East Yorkers, within my riding of Toronto-Danforth and within the riding of Beaches-East York, continue to be very proud East Yorkers. So we had an ability to at least change the name to reflect that.

Then, after the Conservatives reduced the number of members in this House, suddenly, as politicians, our ridings almost doubled. The work we do here is different than what the federal members do. We work on a much more day-to-day basis. Especially those of us who live and work in Toronto are in our constituencies pretty much every night, going to meetings and events. Suddenly having a whole new part of the riding created without much of a change in budget to really service all of the riding was not good, in my view, for democracy and for our ability, as representatives, to do the best job we can for them.

Then we saw Mike Harris again on this white horse, saying to the people of Ontario, "We're going to get rid of these MPPs' rich pensions." Our pensions were gone, thrown out. It was a very popular move at the time. Now we see members from the Conservatives, from the Liberals and, yes, Democrats -- but it's particularly galling from the Conservatives -- saying, "We want to find a way to get our pension back." Do you know what? People out there still think we have this big, rich pension -- and we don't. From my point of view, it was a cheap way to get votes, to tell the people of Ontario that these politicians didn't deserve to get pensions. I agree that the pension situation, as it was, needed to be changed, and I was in favour of that. But I remember the way Mike Harris used the situation as a vote-getter.

As John Baird, who was a member of that government at the time, is saying today, it's not in the interests of any of us in this place or of our constituents to continually wear down and in fact attack ourselves on a day-to-day basis. We've got the press and the public to do that for us. So listening to the member for Nepean-Carleton today I indeed found very interesting because in fact I agree with him. I agree with many of the things that he said today. Having been a member in this place for almost 15 years and watching the deterioration of this place, watching the deterioration, overall, of what's going on in Ottawa, I certainly believe that we need some changes. There is no question about it.

I'm a strong proponent of completely revisiting and bringing in a kind of proportional representation model that will allow more women in this place, and more visible minorities and more true representation from our communities.

I want to speak now directly to this particular bill before us today. I should say that I'm not one of those -- I had nothing to do with the negotiations -- who agreed to be out of here today, because I wanted to go through the committee hearings on the adoption bill, Bill 183. I wanted to be in that committee today and I wanted to be in here until we were through with it, even if it took till the end of June or whatever it took to get that bill through. This is not democracy, what's happening here. A bill that's similar to a bill that I brought forward five times in this place went to committee, where the majority, from all sides, in the past and now, even, support the bill, but once again it has been held up. And what are we doing here today? We're not debating that. A bill that's important to thousands and thousands of people in this province who have been waiting --

Mr. Kormos: Who's stalling it?

Ms. Churley: I don't even want to get into that today.

Mr. Kormos: Not the New Democrats.

Ms. Churley: Certainly not New Democrats.

I want to be here and finish that debate. I don't like the idea that it's hanging out there again over this summer. There could be a change in the minister. We know that Conservatives are going to be out there all summer long scaremongering and doing what they've been doing.

Mr. Kormos: Not all of them.

Ms. Churley: Not all of them.

We may come back here with no bill or a completely watered-down bill. So we should be here today continuing the work that we were doing on the adoption bill.

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On the bill before us today, I want to say very clearly that I don't necessarily agree that in some situations citizens' juries are bad -- not in certain situations -- but I do want to say, given what's been presented to us here today, that these juries will be rigged, because the minister has the power to hire the staff, dictate the mandate, decide the timelines and control the purse strings without any input or oversight. It's like putting Al Capone in charge of a commission on crime, for goodness' sake. That's what this reminds me of here.

I believe that what we have before us today, unfortunately, is a stall tactic. I believe that the McGuinty Liberals want to stall reform with a lengthy consultation process so that they can keep raking in the corporate donations instead of just doing what they know they should be doing -- just fixing this themselves. I'm sure that if they did a quick poll, they would recognize that the way of riding associations, both under the Liberals and with some Conservatives, is wrong. It's spending taxpayers' money, because that's what it is; it's tax-deductible. It's wrong; just fix it.

On election finance reform, it's pretty obvious what needs to be done. The government could have brought in a bill a long time ago to fix it. But as Ian Urquhart recently observed in a Toronto Star column -- I'm going to quote him here: " ... bankers, lawyers, brokers, developers, contractors, lobbyists, telecommunications executives, computer suppliers, pharmaceutical makers, auto manufacturers and others" all buy "tickets to the dinner in order to maintain access to the party in power. And of course, the Liberals deny this."

But we know that's what's going on. They want to continue raking in the money in the meantime and get as much as they can from corporations the likes of AIM PowerGen Corp., an energy solutions company; Calpine Canada; Commercial Alcohols; and municipal hydro utility Enersource Corp. Those are all donors to the Minister of Energy.

I have long, long lists of the corporate donors and the huge amount of money that's been going to the Liberal Party -- the $20,000-a-plate dinners. It's wrong and it needs to be changed, and we all know that it needs to be changed. So I would say to --

Interruption.

Ms. Churley: I heard that. And the Lord agrees with me. Did you hear that thunder? Let's hear it for change. We don't need a citizens' jury to tell us what it was. We don't need a citizens' jury for this government to do the right thing.

What makes it even worse is the way it's been done. As I said, I believe that the concern is that the Liberals will be able to continue to stall, to rake in the big corporate dollars and then drop the boom when they're ready, making it that much more difficult for the opposition parties to raise money for an election campaign.

We do not support this bill today. I think that the Liberals have a very clear agenda on election finance reform, and right now they just don't want any; they continue raking in the big bucks from the big corporations.

With that, I'm going to sit down, but I'm glad that I had this opportunity --

Mr. Baird: You didn't mention the Beaches --

Ms. Churley: I talked about the Beaches and East York a fair amount here today.

The reality is that I'm very, very concerned. I know that the Liberals have a majority today, but as I said, I believe what we're doing here today is putting the likes of Al Capone in charge of a commission on crime, that they're going to oversee the whole thing. They can stall it as long as they want, and they have complete control of what ends up being on the agenda and the final recommendations.

So I believe that this should be voted down, and I believe that the minister responsible for democratic renewal should have just brought in a bill with the electoral finance reforms that we all need to be put in place.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr. Baird: I thought that was a fine speech by the member for --

Ms. Churley: Toronto-Danforth.

Mr. Baird: Toronto-Danforth.

Ms. Churley: Soon to be East York.

Mr. Baird: Potentially; they're doing redistribution, I think. She's got her own redistribution plan in mind, I think.

I agree with her in much of what she said. I disagree with the scorn that she heaped on the Harris government, I say to the member opposite, she is right, though, when she says that there is this collective -- every successive government, every successive Parliament tries to attack the institution. When they do it, the opposition decries it, but then when the opposition becomes the government, as it inevitably does in this province, it only makes it worse. It's sort of analogous to the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health always decries the allegedly 8,000 nurses who were fired by Mike Harris, but apparently that wasn't enough, because he's fired another 757 nurses. And this is the exact same example. I was surprised the member for Toronto-Danforth didn't mention that.

The Deputy Speaker: Further questions and comments? The member for Toronto-Danforth, you have two minutes to reply.

Ms. Churley: I will just wrap up by saying, did you hear that thunder again? I think it's really giving us a message here, and I'm sure the government is hearing that and will rethink this bill before us today and just bring in election finance reform. They know what needs to be done.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): I very much appreciate the opportunity to debate Bill 213. I just wanted to say as well that I'm with the member from Toronto-Danforth in that I too wanted to stay to the end of the month and debate a number of issues because there were a lot of things I wanted to have the opportunity to discuss. I think they would have been far more successful had they gone after caucus tomorrow. Typically, we have our caucuses tomorrow, and it would have been a lot easier in proceeding and getting all these things done.

What I have concerns with in this bill is that Bill 213 is a bit of a mad scramble in order to get out of here, to get broken for the summer and to get off and get the shuffle done and all those things, to give people time to adjust, and quite frankly I'm opposed to that. We have a set House calendar. We should comply with that, and quite frankly, going to the end of June would have been very good.

The areas where I have concern with this bill -- and, when you try to find a copy of the bill, it's so new that it's not even in our desks to have an opportunity to go over it, and that's why it gives us a great deal of concern. Right in the explanatory notes it says, "Proposed section 17.9 details how the Chief Election Officer is to draw names from the permanent register of electors, contact those persons to determine whether they are willing to participate, set up a list and provide it to the minister responsible for democratic renewal."

Then when you get into the legislation, there are a couple of areas here that should be looked at. In 17.8 of the bill, it specifically states, "The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation" -- and then it goes on to say -- "provide that the minister shall assemble a representative body of electors to consider specified matters relating to the reform, in the context of democratic renewal, of the statutes for which the minister has responsibility." It's pretty broad in that there are a lot of areas that could be looked at here, and I think that possibly a reference to a sitting committee of government would probably, for the makeup of this committee, be far more effective, or at least in part of the review in how the process should take place, would give the opportunity for the members of the House to have some input as well.

Under that same clause, 17.8(1)(c), it says, "specify the number of members, and the number of alternates, if any, who shall compose the representative body, and prescribe eligibility criteria for members, and for alternates, if any."Some of the difficulties with that are that some of the other ridings, particularly in the north, are quite large. How large is that committee going to be? Is it going to be able to travel? Is it going to be able to get input? What is the actual function of that committee?

In my riding of Oshawa -- and I can say that as to the federal bill when the boundaries were discussed, it was brought forward and a proposal was made. They came down and did a presentation after the discussions were made, and then people presented on that. I presented on that because I had some strong concerns, after which it went back to Ottawa, they reviewed it and changed it back to the way it was in the first place after they made some substantial changes after public input. Some of the concerns there are that the process seemed to be subject to the input of a lot of members behind closed doors, in much the same fashion that leaving today may have accomplished as well.

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Are these committees all going to be the same size? Is the one in the north going to be separate? Are they going to have one in each of the communities or is it going to be one to travel the area? How is it going to be set up?

Also, to "specify the date by which the Chief Election Officer shall provide the list and personal information to the minister under paragraph 6 of section 17.9": We want to make sure with this date information that there is enough time to make sure it can be implemented and that a process is put in place so that it can be done effectively and all the members will have the opportunity to make the changes within their riding associations in dealing with all these issues. I don't know if it's going to be taking place, because it doesn't specify the amount of time except that the committee is nullified on October 4, 2007, when the next provincial election is.

One area was really interesting. Under the same section, 17.8, it says,

"Amendment

"(2) A regulation made under subsection (1) may be amended from time to time."

What's that process going to be for amendment? How is that going to take place? Have you ever seen, in a piece of legislation, a clause that says that? Normally, it automatically takes place or you go to committee and review it, or you come back to the Legislature to debate it. What's taking place here is that that specific clause says that a regulation can make the amendment. Quite frankly, I have some strong concerns with that, because when it takes in regulation, the individual ministry and the minister are the ones responsible for that. Who is the one who is going to decide that process? How is it going to take place and what are the processes going to be?

As I mentioned, there were a couple of areas specifically. There's the timing. How can we implement this legislation to ensure that it's going to be effective, so that all members will have the opportunity within their ridings to deal with the legislation? What is the input going to be? I know the other members have mentioned the committee and the makeup of the committee, and certainly that is cause for concern. However, I think the elected officials should have some part in the process to ensure that those individuals are accountable within their ridings.

We had a lot of input during the federal process, where the individual citizens came forward to make presentations on this so that they could decide how the riding is going to be affected. I know that the Oshawa airport was taken out of the new boundaries, which made it difficult for those citizens in that area to participate in the Oshawa decisions, because now they're part of a Whitby process.

Those would be my concerns. I only had a few that I wanted to bring forward and get on the record. Had we had further debate on this, and longer debate, I think we could have all gone a little bit better, and the House closing tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday would have been a far better time so that we could have caucused these things and discussed them as a group and said that we have to bring it to the floor of the Legislature to let everybody know the opinion of the members who have concerns about this.

The Deputy Speaker: Member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, are you standing or reading?

Questions or comments?

Mr. Murdoch: I'm sure the member from Glengarry-Prescott-Russell would have had some good comments.

As I said before, a deal has been made on this, and we've talked a bit about it. I understand that this bill has been pulled out of another bill, and there was some comment on it then.

I want to tell you that I don't agree with it. I think we're going to have trouble with it. I just think this is wrong, the way this has come down today in this House, because it happens to be the last day. I agree with Jerry over here, who said we could have talked about this tomorrow in caucus and had some time to discuss it. But this has all gone wrong today. I know that some of the House leaders will be upset that we exercised our right to speak in this House. That seems to be all too much. The deals are made, and members like ourselves don't get a chance to express our concerns in this House. I know you'll hear from some of the whips opposite. They'll say, "Oh, we asked you, and you didn't want to do it," and things like that. But sometimes we just don't get all the stories, as you know, Mr. Speaker.

I was going to speak for 20 minutes on this bill, but I've had two minutes here and I had two minutes before. I will let you carry on your House, and hopefully you won't have to stay too late tonight to finish off. I know there will be some pouty people around here, and that's unfortunate. In the name of democracy, I think they have to get a life and live with it, and I'm sure they'll get over it. So thank you, and we'll see what happens.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Oshawa has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Ouellette: As I said earlier on, certainly an opportunity to discuss this would have been a little bit more prudent on behalf of the members.

In the Legislature, as I'm sure all members realize, there are certain rules and guidelines that we operate by. As elected officials we have certain abilities, and when we don't exercise those we don't act in the best interests of our constituents to make sure that all views are brought forward. We have expressed that in some of the concerns brought forward on the timelines, on the process and the procedure, on the amendments process, and other things in this bill. I certainly hope that the members would view that when they're voting on this particular piece of legislation.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate? Do any other members wish to speak?

Mr. Bryant has moved second reading of Bill 213. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1716 to 1746.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour, please stand one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arthurs, Wayne

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bountrogianni, Marie

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brown, Michael A.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Colle, Mike

Cordiano, Joseph

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoy, Pat

Jeffrey, Linda

Kular, Kuldip

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marsales, Judy

Matthews, Deborah

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Qaadri, Shafiq

Racco, Mario G.

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wong, Tony C.

Zimmer, David

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please stand one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Bisson, Gilles

Chudleigh, Ted

Churley, Marilyn

Flaherty, Jim

Hardeman, Ernie

Horwath, Andrea

Klees, Frank

Kormos, Peter

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Murdoch, Bill

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Prue, Michael

Runciman, Robert W.

Scott, Laurie

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 56; the nays are 20.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried. Shall the bill be ordered for third reading? So ordered.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I believe we have unanimous consent to call the order for third reading on Bill 213 immediately.

The Deputy Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.

ELECTION AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT
LA LOI ÉLECTORALE

Mr. Bryant moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 213, An Act to amend the Election Act, 2005 / Projet de loi 213, Loi modifiant la Loi électorale.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate? Do any members wish to speak?

Mr. Bryant has moved third reading of Bill 213, An Act to amend the Election Act. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1750 to 1751.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour will please stand one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arthurs, Wayne

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bountrogianni, Marie

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brown, Michael A.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Colle, Mike

Cordiano, Joseph

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoy, Pat

Jeffrey, Linda

Kular, Kuldip

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marsales, Judy

Matthews, Deborah

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Parsons, Ernie

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Qaadri, Shafiq

Racco, Mario G.

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wong, Tony C.

Zimmer, David

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed, please stand one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Baird, John R.

Bisson, Gilles

Chudleigh, Ted

Churley, Marilyn

Flaherty, Jim

Hardeman, Ernie

Horwath, Andrea

Klees, Frank

Kormos, Peter

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Murdoch, Bill

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Prue, Michael

Runciman, Robert W.

Scott, Laurie

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 56; the nays are 20.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion passed.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to call orders for second and third reading of Pr bills concurrently.

The Deputy Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.

KEY AIRCRAFT SERVICES INC. ACT, 2005

Mrs. Jeffrey moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr7, An Act to revive Key Aircraft Services Inc.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

KEY AIRCRAFT SERVICES INC. ACT, 2005

Mrs. Jeffrey moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr7, An Act to revive Key Aircraft Services Inc.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

ACTON DISPOSAL
SERVICES LIMITED ACT, 2005

Mr. Racco moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act to revive Acton Disposal Services Limited.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

ACTON DISPOSAL
SERVICES LIMITED ACT, 2005

Mr. Racco moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act to revive Acton Disposal Services Limited.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

KITCHENER-WATERLOO
Y.M.C.A. ACT, 2005

Mrs. Witmer moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr11, An Act respecting The Kitchener-Waterloo Young Men's Christian Association.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

KITCHENER-WATERLOO
Y.M.C.A. ACT, 2005

Mrs. Witmer moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr11, An Act respecting The Kitchener-Waterloo Young Men's Christian Association.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

TYNDALE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
& SEMINARY ACT, 2005

Mr. Klees moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Tyndale University College & Seminary.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

TYNDALE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
& SEMINARY ACT, 2005

Mr. Klees moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Tyndale University College & Seminary.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

INSTITUTE FOR
CHRISTIAN STUDIES ACT, 2005

Mr. Marchese moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the Institute for Christian Studies.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

INSTITUTE FOR
CHRISTIAN STUDIES ACT, 2005

Mr. Marchese moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the Institute for Christian Studies.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

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TORONTO ATMOSPHERIC FUND
ACT, 2005

Mr. Duguid moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr15, An Act respecting the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and the Clean Air Partnership (formerly known as the Toronto Atmospheric Fund Foundation).

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

TORONTO ATMOSPHERIC FUND
ACT, 2005

Mr. Duguid moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr15, An Act respecting the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and the Clean Air Partnership (formerly known as the Toronto Atmospheric Fund Foundation).

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

REFERRAL OF BILLS

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to move a motion respecting Bills 113, 168 and 203.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The government House leader has asked for unanimous consent. Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I move that the orders of the House referring the following bills to the following committees be discharged and that the bills be ordered referred for third reading:

In the standing committee on social policy, Bill 113, An Act to proclaim the month of May as Asian Heritage Month;

In the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, Bill 168, An Act to ensure fairness, to foster competition and consumer choice and to encourage innovation in the farm implement sector; and

To call the orders for second and third readings of Bill 203, An Act to proclaim Ontario Wine Week, concurrently.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Mr. Duncan has moved that the orders of the House referring the following bills to the following committees be discharged and that the bills be ordered referred for third reading --

Interjection: Dispense.

The Acting Speaker: Dispense? I heard a no.

In the standing committee on social policy, Bill 113, An Act to proclaim the month of May as Asian Heritage Month;

In the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, Bill 168, An Act --

Interjection: Dispense.

The Acting Speaker: Dispense? Dispensed.

All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

All those opposed, please say "nay."

Carried.

ASIAN HERITAGE ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005
SUR LE PATRIMOINE ASIATIQUE

Mr. Wong moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 113, An Act to proclaim the month of May as Asian Heritage Month / Projet de loi 113, Loi proclamant le mois de mai Mois du patrimoine asiatique.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
(SCHOOL CROSSING GUARDS), 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LE CODE
DE LA ROUTE (PASSEURS SCOLAIRES)

Mr. Brown moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 142, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to school crossing guards / Projet de loi 142, Loi modifiant le Code de la route en ce qui a trait aux passeurs scolaires.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

FARM IMPLEMENTS
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI
SUR LES APPAREILS AGRICOLES

Mr. Hardeman moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 168, An Act to ensure fairness, to foster competition and consumer choice and to encourage innovation in the farm implement sector / Projet de loi 168, Loi visant à assurer l'équité, à favoriser la concurrence et le choix chez le consommateur et à encourager l'innovation dans le secteur des appareils agricoles.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

ONTARIO WINE WEEK ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LA SEMAINE DES VINS
DE L'ONTARIO

Mr. Crozier moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 203, An Act to proclaim Ontario Wine Week / Projet de loi 203, Loi proclamant la Semaine des vins de l'Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

ONTARIO WINE WEEK ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LA SEMAINE DES VINS
DE L'ONTARIO

Mr. Crozier moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 203, An Act to proclaim Ontario Wine Week / Projet de loi 203, Loi proclamant la Semaine des vins de l'Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

SELECT COMMITTEE ON
ELECTORAL REFORM

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to move a motion without notice regarding striking a select committee.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Is there consent? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I move that a select committee on electoral reform be appointed to consider and report on options for electoral reform.

The committee shall, among other matters, review the current electoral system and alternative electoral systems. It may make recommendations on the viability of each alternative electoral system reviewed, taking into consideration the impact such alternatives may have on gender equality, full representation of Ontario's populace and the number and method of election of MPPs.

The committee shall consider the procedure for the referendum to be held following a review of electoral reform by a citizen assembly as constituted pursuant to the Election Amendment Act, 2005, and may make recommendations on the requirements for a winning referendum.

The committee shall be composed of six government members, two members of the official opposition and one member of the third party. It shall be chaired by a member of the government, and a member of the official opposition member shall serve as Vice-Chair. The membership of the committee, including the identification of the Chair and Vice-Chair, shall be filed with the Clerk of the Assembly by the whips of the recognized parties no later than Friday, July 8, 2005.

The committee shall have the authority to meet concurrently with the House and during any adjournment of the House, notwithstanding prorogation.

The committee shall have the authority to commission reports relevant to the terms of reference, to employ staff and to travel outside of Ontario.

At its discretion, the committee has the authority to present interim reports, and the committee shall present its final report to the Legislative Assembly no later than November 3, 2005. If the House is not sitting, the committee has the authority to release any report by depositing a copy of it with the Clerk of the Assembly, and, upon resumption of the sittings of the House, the Chair of the committee shall present such report to the House in accordance with the standing orders.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is the House familiar with the motion? Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

STATUS OF BUSINESS

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I seek unanimous consent to move a motion without notice regarding the order paper.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I move that, during the adjournment, in the event of the prorogation of the first session of the 38th Parliament and notwithstanding such prorogation, the estimates selected for consideration by the standing committee on estimates and the following bills remaining on the orders and notices paper be continued and placed on the orders and notices paper of the second sessional day of the second session of the 38th Parliament at the same stage of business for the House and its committees as at prorogation:

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Bill 7, An Act to authorize a group of manufacturers of Ontario wines to sell Vintners Quality Alliance wines;

Bill 58, An Act to amend the Safe Streets Act, 1999 and the Highway Traffic Act to recognize the fund-raising activities of legitimate charities and non-profit organizations;

Bill 101, An Act to amend the Health Insurance Act;

Bill 123, An Act to require that meetings of provincial and municipal boards, commissions and other public bodies be open to the public;

Bill 128, An Act to amend various Acts with respect to enforcement powers, penalties and the management of property forfeited, or that may be forfeited, to the Crown in right of Ontario as a result of organized crime, marijuana growing and other unlawful activities;

Bill 137, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act to provide for a tax credit for expenses incurred in using public transit;

Bill 138, An Act to amend the Emergency Management Act and the Employment Standards Act, 2000;

Bill 153, An Act in memory of Jay Lawrence and Bart Mackey to amend the Highway Traffic Act;

Bill 159, An Act to revise the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Licence Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999;

Bill 169, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and to amend and repeal various other statutes in respect of transportation-related matters;

Bill 183, An Act respecting the disclosure of information and records to adopted persons and birth parents;

Bill 190, An Act to promote good government by amending or repealing certain Acts and by enacting one new Act;

Bill 197, An Act to implement Budget measures;

Bill 206, An Act to revise the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Act;

Bill 209, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to the suspension of drivers' licences;

Bill 210, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act and make complementary amendments to other Acts;

Bill 211, An Act to amend the Human Rights Code and certain other Acts to end mandatory retirement;

Bill 214, An Act to amend the Election Act, the Election Finances Act and the Legislative Assembly Act, to repeal the Representation Act, 1996 and to enact the Representation Act, 2005.

The Deputy Speaker: Is the House familiar with the motion? During the adjournment -- dispense? Dispensed.

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

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I seek unanimous consent to move a motion without notice regarding committee meetings.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The government House leader has moved unanimous consent for a motion without notice for committee meetings. Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I move that the following committees be authorized to meet during the adjournment, in accordance with the schedule of meeting dates agreed to by the three party whips and tabled with the Clerk of the Assembly to examine and inquire into the following matters:

Standing committee on estimates to consider the estimates of certain ministries;

Standing committee on general government to consider Bill 169, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and to amend and repeal various other statutes in respect of transportation-related matters;

Standing committee on justice policy to consider Bill 159, An Act to revise the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Licence Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999;

The standing committee on the Legislative Assembly to consider Bill 214, An Act to amend the Election Act, the Election Finances Act and the Legislative Assembly Act, to repeal the Representation Act, 1996 and to enact the Representation Act, 2005, and the Chair and subcommittee to adjourn to Seattle, Washington, to attend the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures;

The standing committee on public accounts to adjourn to Niagara-on-the-Lake to attend the conference of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees;

The standing committee on regulations and private bills to consider certain private members' public bills;

The standing committee on social policy to conduct clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 183, An Act respecting the disclosure of information and records to adopted persons and birth parents; and

That the committees be authorized to release reports by depositing a copy of any report with the Clerk of the Assembly during the summer adjournment and that upon resumption of the meetings of the House, the Chairs of such committees shall bring any such reports before the House in accordance with the standing orders.

The Deputy Speaker: Is the House familiar with the motion?

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

PARLIAMENTARY CALENDAR

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I seek unanimous consent to move a motion without notice regarding the parliamentary calendar.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I move that, notwithstanding standing order 6(a), when the House adjourns today, it stand adjourned until Monday, September 26, 2005.

The Deputy Speaker: Is the House familiar with the motion? Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: His Honour awaits.

His Honour the Administrator of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat upon the throne.

1820

ROYAL ASSENT /
SANCTION ROYALE

Hon. Roy McMurtry (Administrator): Pray be seated.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario has, at its present meetings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.

The Deputy Clerk (Ms. Deborah Deller): The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:

Bill 3, An Act to protect anaphylactic pupils / Projet de loi 3, Loi visant à protéger les élèves anaphylactiques.

Bill 92, An Act to amend the Municipal Act, 2001 / Projet de loi 92, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2001 sur les municipalités.

Bill 110, An Act to require the disclosure of information to police respecting persons being treated for gunshot wounds / Projet de loi 110, Loi exigeant la divulgation à la police de renseignements en ce qui concerne les personnes traitées pour blessure par balle.

Bill 113, An Act to proclaim the month of May as Asian Heritage Month / Projet de loi 113, Loi proclamant le mois de mai Mois du patrimoine asiatique.

Bill 118, An Act respecting the development, implementation and enforcement of standards relating to accessibility with respect to goods, services, facilities, employment, accommodation, buildings and all other things specified in the Act for persons with disabilities / Projet de loi 118, Loi traitant de l'élaboration, de la mise en oeuvre et de l'application de normes concernant l'accessibilité pour les personnes handicapées en ce qui concerne les biens, les services, les installations, l'emploi, le logement, les bâtiments et toutes les autres choses qu'elle précise.

Bill 133, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act in respect of enforcement and other matters / Projet de loi 133, Loi modifiant la Loi sur la protection de l'environnement et la Loi sur les ressources en eau de l'Ontario en ce qui a trait à l'exécution et à d'autres questions.

Bill 136, An Act respecting the establishment of growth plan areas and growth plans / Projet de loi 136, Loi sur l'établissement de zones de croissance planifiée et de plans de croissance.

Bill 142, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to school crossing guards / Projet de loi 142, Loi modifiant le Code de la route en ce qui a trait aux passeurs scolaires.

Bill 144, An Act to amend certain statutes relating to labour relations / Projet de loi 144, Loi modifiant des lois concernant les relations de travail.

Bill 155, An Act to amend the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996 and to make consequential amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 / Projet de loi 155, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1996 sur les obligations familiales et l'exécution des arriérés d'aliments et apportant des modifications corrélatives à la Loi de 1997 sur la protection du poisson et de la faune.

Bill 158, An Act to replace the Theatres Act and to amend other Acts in respect of film / Projet de loi 158, Loi remplaçant la Loi sur les cinémas et modifiant d'autres lois en ce qui concerne les films.

Bill 164, An Act to rename and amend the Tobacco Control Act, 1994, repeal the Smoking in the Workplace Act and make complementary amendments to other Acts / Projet de loi 164, Loi visant à modifier le titre et la teneur de la Loi de 1994 sur la réglementation de l'usage du tabac, à abroger la Loi limitant l'usage du tabac dans les lieux de travail et à apporter des modifications complémentaires à d'autres lois.

Bill 168, An Act to ensure fairness, to foster competition and consumer choice and to encourage innovation in the farm implement sector / Projet de loi 168, Loi visant à assurer l'équité, à favoriser la concurrence et le choix chez le consommateur et à encourager l'innovation dans le secteur des appareils agricoles.

Bill 186, An Act respecting the composition of the council of The Regional Municipality of Peel / Projet de loi 186, Loi traitant de la composition du conseil de la municipalité régionale de Peel.

Bill 194, An Act to amend the Education Act / Projet de loi 194, Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'éducation.

Bill 203, An Act to proclaim Ontario Wine Week / Projet de loi 203, Loi proclamant la Semaine des vins de l'Ontario.

Bill 213, An Act to amend the Election Act / Projet de loi 213, Loi modifiant la Loi électorale.

Bill 216, An Act to amend the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998 / Projet de loi 216, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1998 sur l'apprentissage et la reconnaissance professionnelle.

Bill Pr7, An Act to revive Key Aircraft Services Inc.

Bill Pr9, An Act to revive Acton Disposal Services Limited.

Bill Pr11, An Act respecting The Kitchener-Waterloo Young Men's Christian Association.

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Tyndale University College & Seminary.

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the Institute for Christian Studies.

Bill Pr15, An Act respecting the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and the Clean Air Partnership (formerly known as the Toronto Atmospheric Fund Foundation).

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Administrator doth assent to these bills.

Au nom de Sa Majesté, Son Honneur l'administrateur sanctionne ces projets de loi.

His Honour was then pleased to retire.

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker: The government House leader has moved adjournment of the House.

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

All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those against, please say "nay."

I think the ayes have it. Carried.

The House stands adjourned until September 26, 2005.

The House adjourned at 1826.