38th Parliament, 2nd Session



Wednesday 4 April 2007 Mercredi 4 avril 2007

























































The House met at 1330.




Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton—Victoria—Brock): Hundreds of millions of dollars potentially stolen from people who were the legitimate winners of lotteries; a minister who follows a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to his job of overseeing Ontario Lottery and Gaming; and a scathing report from the Ombudsman that details shocking practices that have undermined public confidence in the integrity of the lottery system: Everyone in Ontario sees this as a scandalous problem, everyone except the Premier of Ontario, who views it as a communications problem.

Rather than taking action to address insider fraud, this government ignored all the evidence and instead concentrated on a communications strategy. Four key advisers to the Premier were involved in an attempt to spin the scandal by trying to discredit the CBC report. That didn't work, so the next move was to pay off the OLG CEO with a $720,000 severance package and offer him up as a scapegoat. The Premier's latest communications strategy—laying the blame on Ontario's retailers yesterday—is a new low for this government and an insult to the thousands of honest people working in convenience stores across Ontario.

The constant refusals to answer questions on who knew what and when in the Premier's office and in the minister's office demonstrate that the McGuinty government can't be trusted to get to the bottom of this scandal. What are you hiding from over there? Stop the communications strategies of laying blame on everyone except the Premier and the minister responsible. If you have nothing to hide, open up the investigation to include the offices of the Premier and the minister.


Ms. Monique M. Smith (Nipissing): Again, it's a proud moment for the folks in Nipissing. Last Thursday, March 29, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Near North Student Robotics Initiative team as they competed in the greater Toronto regionals for the FIRST Robotics competition. I'd like to congratulate the students on being recognized as regional finalists in the Toronto competition, as well as for winning the highest honour, the Regional Chairman's Award, the week before in Waterloo, which allows them to advance to the world championships in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Regional Chairman's Award, which is the competition's most prestigious honour, honours the team judged to have created the best partnership effort among team participants and to have best exemplified the true meaning of FIRST: inspiring greater levels of respect and honour for science and technology.

Near North Student Robotics Initiative team members are drawn from six schools in the Nipissing district. However, the students emphasize that the NNSRI is not just their team, but the community's team. Well, the whole community of Nipissing is very proud of the following students: Will Allen, Hafize Artan, Stephanie Boden, Michelle Bos, Jerri Clout, Spencer Elliott, Graham Fraser, Martin Gagné, Wesley Groom, Jessica Groom, Lauren Isenegger, Tyler Langlois, Melissa Laplante, Kevin Miller, Emma Mossington, Andrew Taylor, Brad Wilson, and their team captain, George Wang. I also want to thank for their tireless efforts their mentors: Nancy Dewar-Stenning, Nadia Gagné, John Groom, Jennifer Medd, Gerry St. Denis, John Aquino and Brad Stenning.

Our team has done us incredibly proud, and as they do their local fundraising getting ready for Atlanta and their last-minute preparations, I want to tell our northern ambassadors: Way to go, and all the best in Atlanta.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean—Carleton): I want to know when the Dalton McGuinty government is finally going to take responsibility for the Lottogate scandal it created. Ticket buyers have been ripped off by the millions. The public has lost confidence in the system, and the minister for the OLG wants to duck his head in the sand. He wants to pretend he knows nothing of the scandal, he wants the mess to go away, and the Premier is just sitting by doing nothing.

But the people of Ontario have a right to know. They have a right to know why the minister refuses to accept responsibility for this scandal. They have a right to know why senior members of the minister's staff knew for at least one year about the lottery fraud and why the minister did nothing about it. They want to know why from the summer of 2005 to the spring of 2006 OLG was changing their insider-win policies so there would be no investigation into the fraudulent wins. And the public has a right to know why a top adviser to the minister, now his chief of staff, was aware of inside wins but the minister was supposedly unaware.

The public has a right to know why Liberal insiders, Liberal spinners and Liberal campaigners were meeting with the OLG. The public has a right to know why the Premier thinks this scandal, this corruption, this Lottogate should be swept under the rug and why the minister should remain in cabinet even though he has lost the confidence of this House and—

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. Members' statements.


Mr. Ted McMeekin (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot): I have long believed that to be an effective member of the provincial Legislature, you have to "think sync," that you need to be in sync with the people you purport to represent, and on those occasions when you are not in sync, you need to be really committed to having dialogue with your constituents so as to ascertain how best to proceed.

In our riding, we do something somewhat different. We call it deliberative democracy. I've created, with the help of some well-meaning constituents, a series of advisory groups in the riding. We have a group on education, one on the environment, one on services to seniors, one on small business, and either I or a senior member of my staff attend every meeting of the Hamilton-Wentworth Federation of Agriculture to keep abreast of agricultural issues. I can say quite candidly that while there are a number of good ideas that emanate from any one of the members here, probably 90% of the creative entrepreneurial ideas that come my way and that I get to share with my colleagues and try to move forward with come from people in my riding.

So I want to thank Anne Thomson in particular, who chairs our education group, John MacLennan for his great efforts with the environmental group, and all of the seniors and business people who contribute so consistently. We have over 600 citizens involved in offering their MPP advice. It helps me to do a better job.

I also want to take my last few seconds to say thanks to Dr. Mel Hawkrigg and his spouse, Marilyn, who for a number of years have served as chancellor and assistant to the chancellor of my alma mater, McMaster. They have done a great job. They are a great credit to the community, and I just want to say thanks to both of them.



Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): On behalf of John Tory and the Progressive Conservative caucus, I would like to applaud the move yesterday by OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino requesting that the Toronto Police Service conduct an independent review of all matters relating to the potential conflict of interest posed by the secondment of a former OPP officer as a vice-president of corporate security for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

This announcement by Commissioner Fantino came during the lead-off speech by PC House leader and former Solicitor General Bob Runciman on Bill 103, the Independent Police Review Act. During his speech, Mr. Runciman indicated that the Ontario Provincial Police had been placed in the very difficult position of policing their own. Commissioner Fantino indicated, "To ensure there is no perceived or real conflict of interest, the OPP will no longer provide a seconded officer to the OLG."

Our caucus would encourage the Toronto Police Service to extend their probe into the offices of the Premier and the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal and their attempts to cover up Lottogate before it became public. Our caucus is still calling for the scandal-torn Liberals to call an independent investigator to review the whole scratch-and-lose scandal.

The citizens of Ontario demand accountability and transparency from their government. They demand that the Premier and the ministers of the crown be responsible and ethical in their handling of tax dollars. To date, all we have seen is a government desperately trying to spin and cover up a scandal. The one ray of hope is the leadership shown by Commissioner Julian Fantino—

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Members' statements?


Ms. Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale—High Park): The McGuinty government promised status-of-the-artist legislation back in 2003. Instead, artists in Ontario get the first weekend in June as Celebrate the Artist Weekend in their so-called artist act. ACTRA and other workers asked for protection for child performers, an income-averaging tax system, and support for housing for aging artists. Instead, they received a Celebrate the Artist Weekend. The Fashion Design Council of Canada asked that fashion design be considered part of a cultured Ontario. Instead, they received—guess what?—Celebrate the Artist Weekend. Artists everywhere asked that the recommendations of the status-of-the-artist report finally be delivered after months of delay and finally be implemented. Instead, they received a Celebrate the Artist Weekend. There will be no real celebration until we have meaningful status-of-the-artist legislation out of the McGuinty Liberal government.


Mr. David Orazietti (Sault Ste. Marie): Residents in my community of Sault Ste. Marie are reacting very positively to a recently announced balanced budget. We are investing $2.1 billion in the new Ontario child benefit that will help nearly 1.3 million children. We're also investing $43 million to helpful fulfill our commitment to hire an additional 8,000 nurses in Ontario, and we added an additional $135 million to further reduce wait times. We're investing $780 million in education to support Ontario's students, and we have continued our five-year, $30-billion Renew Ontario program with a further $5.9 billion for transit, highways, energy, hospitals, schools and rural infrastructure. In this budget, we have initiated a $540-million business education tax reduction, stabilized the municipal property assessment system, and accelerated the elimination of the capital tax to encourage more business investment in Ontario.

Our plan is working, and as a result, we have 327,000 net new jobs in Ontario. In Sault Ste. Marie, health care and education and other important provincial services continue to improve.

In my community, we can't afford to go back to the irresponsible financial mismanagement of the province by the past two governments. The NDP ran four straight deficits of over $10 billion a year, while the Conservatives tried to hide a $5.5-billion deficit. We have a balanced budget, and we're continuing to deliver positive results for all Ontarians, results that we can be proud of.

Mr. Jim Brownell (Stormont—Dundas—Charlottenburgh): The role of upper government is to provide municipal government with the tools needed to provide for the residents of communities. This means helping municipalities deliver the services people deserve at a manageable taxation level. After a decade of neglect, this is a role that the people of my riding of Stormont—Dundas—Charlottenburgh were unaccustomed to the province playing. Since 2003, that has changed.

For the first time in a long time, the government of Ontario is producing results for communities like Cornwall, Winchester and Morrisburg. We have finally moved on important projects for our hospitals in Cornwall and Winchester, a new wastewater treatment facility in Morrisburg and substantial funding for infrastructure rehabilitation throughout the united counties.

Strategic investments by the province have allowed Cornwall to move on important projects while also ensuring that taxes for the people of the city will only increase slightly—a major change from the last government, under which communities in Ontario were forced to increase taxes and cut services to manage downloaded responsibilities.

Through careful, thoughtful funding, the McGuinty government has allowed for the reconstruction of Brookdale Avenue and roads and bridges throughout the riding, thanks to Move Ontario funding. It also facilitated development in Cornwall's downtown core, improved delivery of health care and education and provided discretionary funds for the city to use to best serve its citizens.

This is responsible government. We are working with Ontario municipalities to ensure that the citizens of this great province have the best possible outcomes.


Mrs. Carol Mitchell (Huron—Bruce): I rise in the House today as a reminder that the McGuinty Liberals are delivering open, transparent and accountable government.

While the member opposite talks a lot about ministerial responsibility and integrity, his actions seem to conflict with his rhetoric. I would like to remind members of this Legislature where that member really stands. Ontarians remember his failure to reprimand a member of his caucus for making derogatory remarks about a female MP. That party also hid a $5.5-billion budget deficit that was delivered in an auto plant. Where is the integrity in that?

The McGuinty Liberals are delivering open, transparent, accountable government through expanding salary disclosure mechanisms and giving new powers to the Auditor General, amongst other things.

And good government means delivering results: 9.7 million patient days saved because of reductions in wait times; 92% of primary classes have 23 or fewer students; and close to 4,900 new staff to the long-term-care home sector.

If the members opposite want to be accountable to Ontarians, then why do they want to take public school funding and put it into private schools? Or why do they want to take $2.5 billion out of health care, which is vital for the well-being of all Ontarians?

The McGuinty Liberals are working hard to ensure fair, accountable and good government. We are delivering that and making sure that Ontarians have the tools to succeed.



The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): I beg to inform the House that today the Clerk received the report on intended appointments dated April 4, 2007, of the standing committee on government agencies. Pursuant to standing order 106(e)(9), the report is deemed to be adopted by the House.



Mr. Bisson moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 200, An Act to provide for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario / Projet de loi 200, Loi prévoyant la réduction des émissions de gaz à  effet de serre en Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member may wish to make a brief statement.

M. Gilles Bisson (Timmins—Baie James): Comme on le sait en Ontario, comme partout dans le nord de l'Amérique du nord, on reconnaà®t de plus en plus que notre environnement commence à  diminuer quand ça vient aux gaz à  effet de serre. En Ontario c'est un problème, mais spécifiquement c'est un problème au nord de l'Ontario. On voit justement que le changement de climat au nord, et spécialement dans la région que je représente, a des effets négatifs sur l'environnement. C'est pour cette raison-là  qu'on veut proposer ce projet de loi.


The act, simply put, would make the minister responsible for putting in place a plan to reduce greenhouse gases, starting in 2008 and up to 2020, by up to 25% from 1990 levels. In addition, this particular bill would give the Environmental Commissioner the ability to review the work that the minister has or has not done and to make sure that the work set out in this bill actually gets done. I think it's high time that we pass this bill.


Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I'd like to introduce to you in the members' gallery today Kim Leblanc and her son Matt, who have joined us here for question period. I want to welcome them to Queen's Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): We have with us in the Speaker's gallery some of the 2007 recipients of the internationally recognized Ordre de la Pléiade award. These men and women will be honoured today by the Ontario branch for the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie for their outstanding contributions to French-speaking communities in the province. The ceremony will be held in the Lieutenant Governor's suite in the presence of the Honourable James Bartleman, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, later this afternoon.

The recipients of this prestigious award for 2007 are: Yvan Brousseau, Omer Cantin, Mariette Carrier-Fraser, Jean Comtois, Claude DesRosiers, Joffre Victor Dupuis, Katch Koch and Normand Labrie. Please join me in welcoming our guests.



Hon. Leona Dombrowsky (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs): Last August, I had the opportunity to tour the Vineland Research Station and help to celebrate its 100 years of impressive contributions to the community and to the province.

The months leading up to that celebration were spent by the community discussing the future. A strong voice emerged in support of revitalizing agri-food research at Vineland, a voice that our government answered by appointing the Vineland Renaissance Advisory Panel and asking them to develop a business case for the future of this research station. This panel was chaired by Donald Ziraldo, and he, along with the panel members, developed a compelling vision for the future. Their report pointed to the need for collaboration and partnerships among a broad range of government, academic and industry organizations.

I want to thank Donald and the panel members—James Farrar, Dr. Cal Stiller and Jamie Warner—for their outstanding efforts. They worked very hard on tight timelines to deliver their findings.

We have listened to these findings. We understand how important promoting a culture of new ideas and new discoveries is to the future of our great agri-food industry and the quality of life in Ontario, and we welcome partnerships that will keep this industry ahead of the curve.

Together, our federal and provincial governments are taking the first step to create a vital hub for horticultural science and innovation in Vineland by making it a model for research facilities elsewhere in the province, and indeed in the country.

Yesterday, I returned to the Vineland Research Station with Dean Allison, representing the federal government, and my colleagues Minister Jim Bradley and Jennifer Mossop to share some good news. That news was a provincial investment of $12.5 million in the new Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. That investment was made along with a federal contribution of $15.5 million that will be invested over the next five years for this centre.

This total federal-provincial investment of $28 million will support research and revitalization projects at Vineland. This news was enthusiastically received by about 100 members of the community. It serves as a strong base that is already attracting additional funding support from other organizations and individuals, such as Flowers Canada, the Niagara Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association and Donald Ziraldo.

Together, we are working to plant the seeds of success for Vineland and for horticultural research across the province. We anticipate the future with renewed enthusiasm and look forward to building a continued legacy of growth and success.

As a next step, I want to tell you that both levels of government will explore additional means to support the activities of this new centre, where we can optimize our investments in land, facilities and ongoing support for horticultural research. We are committed to working with industry to bolster ongoing support for the centre.

I'm very excited about the potential of the new centre. It will have the capacity to serve as a major contributor to Ontario's horticulture sector. This is great news for our agri-food sector, great news for the Niagara region and great news for the people of Ontario.


Hon. Donna H. Cansfield (Minister of Transportation): I rise in the House today to tell you about our government's public transit improvements to better serve the people of Hamilton.

Since we took office nearly four years ago, the province has invested $1.8 billion in GO Transit to benefit riders in Hamilton and the GTA, including $457 million this year.

Tomorrow, I will be in Hamilton to open a new GO bus terminal at McMaster University, in which we've invested $750,000.

Since 2004, we have helped GO Transit serve new riders by opening four new train stations, including East Gwillimbury, Mount Pleasant, Kennedy and the Milliken station. We opened a new GO bus terminal at the Square One shopping mall in Mississauga.

We're also expanding capacity. We have purchased 70 new bi-level railcars that can carry seven million more passengers per year, 27 more powerful and fuel-efficient locomotives, 144 new accessible buses, 12 double-decker buses, and we have added 500 new bus trips per day.

We've also added 6,000 new parking spaces across the GO Transit system to take the cars off the road every workday.

Since 2003, this government has also invested $42 million to improve municipal transit in Hamilton.


Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: Hamilton has its own cheering section.

Just yesterday, Hamilton took delivery of 12 new hybrid buses. These were partially funded by the province. It's another example of working together with the municipalities.

We've delivered on our commitment to pump a share of the provincial gas tax into public transit right across this province.

On October 1, 2006, we increased funding to two cents for every litre of gasoline sold in Ontario, and this year alone we are giving municipalities $313 million in gas tax funding. So what does that mean? It means expanded service, and it means many new, more comfortable and accessible buses right across Ontario.

By September 2007, the city of Hamilton will have received almost $26 million in gas tax funding from the province since 2004.

In addition, the McGuinty government has provided Hamilton with $14.3 million to replace transit vehicles. We've committed $2.2 million to help replace vehicles this year and over $520,000 to expand transit. I'm pleased to say that these investments are paying off.

Hamilton's transit ridership increased by 2.7% from 2003 to 2005. So what does that mean? It means 570,000 more passenger trips, and what that means is 475,000 fewer car trips each year in and around Hamilton.

Getting more people out of their cars and on to public transit means we're all breathing cleaner air, burning less fuel and reducing gridlock.

Improving public transit is one part of this government's efforts to create what we call a more sustainable transportation system.

A milestone in this effort, of course, was creating the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority. This agency will develop an integrated plan for local transit, GO Transit and major roads in Hamilton and the greater Toronto area.


We want to give riders the convenience of using one fare card to travel across 10 different transit systems from Hamilton to Durham—each region—by developing the GTA fare card.

To create a cleaner environment, the Ministry of Transportation will host a leading-edge forum this year, the first of its kind in the history of this province, to explore new transportation technologies and share ideas from around the world on how to make the transportation sector in this province more sustainable—the first sustainable transportation summit in the history of this province.

I'm proud that our commitment to public transit is making a difference for the people who live and work in Hamilton and for all the people who live and work in this province.


Hon. Caroline Di Cocco (Minister of Culture): I'm pleased to rise in the House today to recognize the importance arts and culture play in building quality of place and economic development in our communities.

Here in Ontario, some amazing things are happening in the cultural sector, thanks to the remarkably talented people in Ontario.

I am proud of what this government has done in support of our arts and cultural sector, and in recognizing our artists in our 2007-08 budget.

We have made unwavering commitments to all of our artists through our support of the Ontario Arts Council, which will receive an increase of $15 million in annual funding by 2009-10, representing a 38% increase.

In 2005-06, the Ontario Arts Council provided $35.7 million to nearly 1,300 individual artists and 836 organizations in 253 communities across Ontario.

In addition to increased funding, and to recognize the contributions that arts and culture make to Ontario's economy and quality of life, our government has introduced new legislation, the proposed Status of Ontario Artists Act. Should this pass, it would be an important first step in our plan to continually improve the environment our artists live and work in.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of announcing that the Ontario Trillium Foundation will receive an increase of $20 million in funding, phased in over three years. This organization provides approximately 1,500 grants per year to not-for-profit and charitable organizations.

Ontario's museums are another important part of Ontario's culture. We are increasing funding to the community museum operating grants program by $2.3 million, to approximately $5 million. This program assists 180 museums across Ontario.

We're also assisting communities through the arts endowment fund. This fund matches dollars raised from private donors by arts organizations. I'm particularly pleased that in the 2007 budget we announced an investment of $10 million for the arts endowment fund.

As a government, we realize the importance of our cultural industries. The Ontario Media Development Corp., the lead agency supporting and strengthening Ontario's cultural industries, including magazine and book publishing, sound recording, film and television, and interactive digital media, will receive another $5 million in one-time funding.

In total, this current budget, if passed, will provide an additional $76.5 million to our arts and culture sector for 2007-08. This is on top of the $6.8 million recently provided to rural communities for arts and culture projects through this government's fall economic stimulus package.

Our government recognizes that our entertainment and creative industries are one of three of Ontario's economic sectors expected to experience the most rapid growth in the next 20 years. That is why we have invested $152 million and land valued at $31 million to seven projects in downtown Toronto venues—projects that people call Ontario's cultural renaissance. This cultural renaissance breeds new life into Toronto as a cultural tourism destination. The Ontario government has also invested $25 million in the development of the Toronto International Film Festival's new centre.

By supporting arts and culture, we are investing in the future prosperity of the province. I am proud of the leadership our government is showing in recognizing our artists and our cultural and heritage sectors. But although we are extremely proud of our achievements, we also understand that there is much more that needs to be done.


Hon. Jim Watson (Minister of Health Promotion): On December 11, 2006, our great education minister, Kathleen Wynne, and I, issued a healthy schools challenge to every school in the province as part of the new healthy schools recognition program. We challenged schools across the province to partner with their school community to do at least one more thing to make their students and schools healthier in the 2006-07 school year.

I am pleased to give you an update on the success of the program so far. The deadline for making a pledge and accepting the challenge is April 15 of this year, and I want to encourage all Ontario schools to act now so they can be recognized for their efforts. I'm proud to report that hundreds of schools and over half of the Ontario school boards have already accepted the McGuinty government's healthy schools challenge. All of these schools have pledged to do something that will make their school environment healthier.

Il conviendrait de féliciter chaque école qui a répondu au défi, pour son engagement envers la santé de ses étudiants.

à€ titre de ministre de la Promotion de la santé, un aspect qui préoccupe particulièrement mon ministère est d'aider les gens à  faire des choix éclairés et positifs quant à  une alimentation saine et une vie active.

According to the recent report, Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids, released by the federal standing committee on health at the House of Commons, a supportive school environment can contribute to reduced rates of overweight and obese children. We all know that teachers, parents, staff and community partners play an important role in helping students make positive choices, and we understand that all of them are involved in this very important effort.

By educating kids and providing them with the right tools, they will become great champions for good health. Just as kids taught their parents about the benefits of recycling and the dangers of smoking, they can use their persuasive talents to encourage moms and dads to make healthier choices.

I want to take a moment to outline some of the great initiatives I've heard about so far across our province. Elementary school students in Cornwall, for instance, are participating in a new healthy breakfast club. An elementary school in Windsor now enjoys a lunch hour fitness program. Students at a secondary school in Orillia founded Students Helping Students, to help raise funds to purchase healthy lunches for fellow students in need.

These are just a few examples of the exciting initiatives around the healthy eating and physical activity plan. But the program goes well beyond that. The healthy schools recognition program is based on a comprehensive approach to health.

I want to take a moment to thank one of my parliamentary assistants, Peter Fonseca, whose idea it was to bring this kind of initiative to the fore. We thank Peter very, very much. It looks at all factors that contribute to the overall health of students, from healthy eating and physical activity to mental health and bullying prevention.

To help schools understand the kinds of activities they could undertake to become healthier, the Ministry of Education consulted with experts from the education and health promotion sectors to develop the foundation for a healthy school framework. This framework is an important tool, because it integrates existing practices and evidence of what works. It's posted on the healthy schools section of Minister Wynne's website.

I want to take a moment to highlight a few of the other excellent initiatives that focus on areas of school health. In Sault Ste. Marie, one school has developed a body image program to focus on healthy growth and development. A school in Carleton Place is hosting an awareness week on substance use and abuse. A school in Ottawa is focusing on mental health, with a lunchtime club for students to encourage inclusion and peer support. A school in Cambridge is creating a logo and motto that will be visible in the school to affirm that it is a bully-free zone. And in December, in my own riding at Frank Ryan Catholic Senior Elementary School, they pledged to create a supportive school environment by implementing an anti-bullying program called Creating a Culture of Respect.


This spring, we'll be asking all MPPs from this Legislature to present every school in their constituencies that accepted and reached the healthy school challenge with a pennant that can be displayed in their school, which will acknowledge their commitment to creating healthier schools for healthier Ontarians.

This is an important initiative. Schools are a key setting for promoting health in our province, and we have done much in the school setting: from the removal of junk food in vending machines to daily physical activity to creating a standard for nutritional guidelines for school cafeterias. But much more has to be done. We know that good health promotes better learning and that students, teachers and the broader community all benefit when children learn in a healthy environment. And we know that healthier schools also make an impact on student achievement. Students think and feel better when they're learning in a healthy environment.

In conclusion, I want to encourage every school in the province to accept our challenge and be part of the healthy schools recognition program. We all win when our children learn in a healthier school.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Responses?


Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant): Well, kudos to Flowers Canada and Niagara fruit and vegetable growers for securing the federal-provincial dollars to create an ag innovation centre at Vineland. This was a photo op for some of the area politicians. I regret the MPP for Erie—Lincoln was not invited.

For five years now, there has been a funding request for an ag innovation centre at Simcoe, at the University of Guelph horticultural research station. As thousands of acres of tobacco exit the industry, we have to have that announcement immediately.

While in Vineland, Agriculture Minister Dombrowsky should have explained the $191-million cut in this year's anti-farmer budget. Last year, she spent $809 million on her ministry plus $278 million on assistance, totalling just under $1.1 billion. This year, she's spending $876 million on her ministry plus only $20 million on assistance. That totals $896 million, or $191 million less—no exit dollars for tobacco, no RMP dollars for cash crops, and $258 million less for farm safety net programs.

Yesterday's news release said, "Research and innovation are crucial to the future success of Ontario's agri-food sector." Well, minister, we take you at your word: $12.5 million is a start, and the research community and tobacco country and fruit and vegetable country to the west of Niagara look forward to an immediate green light for the Simcoe ag innovation centre.


Mr. John O'Toole (Durham): I'm pleased to respond on behalf of the official opposition and our leader, John Tory. I'm actually cynical about any announcement or photo op by the McGuinty government. The current lottery scandal proves the McGuinty government can't even be trusted to give money away. If we can't count on them to run a lottery, how can we ever count on them to run a sophisticated transportation network?

Let's just look at one example of this government's dismal performance in the delivery of the transportation sector and the gridlock issue specifically. Let's look at how long it took to establish the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority. It's generally agreed that the GTTA is a priority for fighting gridlock with planning and providing some form of leadership. However, Dalton McGuinty's government announced the GTTA in three budgets, three throne speeches and other occasions, without delivering on the goods: No funding at this time. I would also have hoped that when the GTTA was finally approved last year, this government sprang into action. I don't think so.

The last thing I should say about the McGuinty government is that they make promises that they never intend to keep. Be careful of the transit issue, because this government will deliver nothing, but it will cost you more. The citizens of Ontario deserve more. Another Liberal photo op; more broken promises.


Mrs. Julia Munro (York North): I'm pleased to respond to the Minister of Culture on behalf of John Tory and the PC caucus. I think perhaps the question of looking at increasing grants is open to a certain amount of interpretation, because last year the operating grant didn't even cover the insurance bill in one of my museums. So to suggest that there is increased money for museums, I certainly hope that it would look at some of the real issues that are in the area of operating museums.

The minister made reference to the introduction of the status-of-the-artist legislation. I think something that people need to understand is the fact that it was buried in the budget and there's no indication at this point in terms of details. I would just remind people that we've been waiting on this Liberal promise for the last three and a half years. There really still isn't much for people to assume or go on from this minister and this announcement.


Mr. Norman W. Sterling (Lanark—Carleton): I'm responding to Mr. Watson's healthy schools statement.

I wish the minister would get together with the Minister of Education and build some gymnasiums in our elementary schools so the kids can go down to the gym and exercise. Last week, I was in Huntley Centennial Public School in Carp. The gym is half the size it should be. In fact, the only exercise they can participate in is tai chi, because the movements are very, very slow.


Mr. Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth): My comments are in response to the Minister of Transportation.

There's no question that GO Transit would be great if only Dalton McGuinty would let it go. The reality for lots of transit riders is that GO Transit is more often like no transit. People want to take it. People want to take GO—

Hon. James J. Bradley (Minister of Tourism, minister responsible for seniors, Government House Leader): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: You instructed the member who is sitting here that they must use the riding or the person's title, and I heard that violated again.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): That is always the case, and thank you for reminding us.

Member for Toronto—Danforth.

Mr. Tabuns: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. More than ever, however, GO Transit is an exercise in frustration: mechanical problems, switch problems, overcrowded cars, delays, cancellation after cancellation after cancellation. Minister, GO Transit riders are sick and tired of waiting in the rain for trains to come when they want to be on the job or they want to get home to their families. They need to see real action to improve GO Transit. What we are seeing today, unfortunately, is more pre-election self-congratulation, more rhetoric. This is done simply to make people forget the sorry record of this government when it comes to transit.

The Premier had a chance to improve service. He didn't get the job done. Working families deserve better, and you can count on my leader, Howard Hampton, and the NDP to make transit function in this province.


Ms. Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale—High Park): I'm responding to the Minister of Culture. This government cut $90 million from the culture budget last year, so she is right: There is certainly much, much, much more that they can do.

For one thing, they could bring in status-of-the-artist legislation, real status-of-the-artist legislation, like the Ontario Federation of Labour and cultural workers asked for and like I've asked for in my resolution, in Bill 191: legislation that leads to protection for child performers, that gives access to training, that gives favourable tax measures, that gives housing, that gives a collective bargaining procedure for all professional artists in this province.

That's what they could do if they were really serious about helping artists. Instead, what this bill does is give a Celebrate the Artist Weekend in June, and quite frankly, that's not nearly enough. That's shameful.


Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): Well, it was nice to hear from the Minister of Agriculture that she was down in Vineland in Niagara region, because if she was down in Vineland, she would know about the 2,000 acres of juice grape production, most of it located in Niagara region. If she was down there, she would know about the 105 juice grape growers here in the province of Ontario, most of them right down there in Niagara region, who, because of the shutdown, the closure, of the Cadbury Schweppes plant in St. Catharines—another 26 good jobs lost here in Dalton McGuinty's Liberal Ontario, along with—

Mr. Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): That's your riding, is it?

Mr. Kormos: My riding, Mr. Patten? No, that's Jim Bradley's St. Catharines riding, Cadbury Schweppes: 26 more jobs lost here in Dalton McGuinty's Liberal Ontario, and 105 farmers sitting on 2,000 acres of land with a product for which there is no market—farmers who have been ignored by this government, by its budget and by its Minister of Agriculture. She goes down to Vineland and wants to do photo ops with federal counterparts, but the Minister of Agriculture won't go down there and say a word to those farmers now who are desperate. Some of them are second-, third- and fourth-generation farmers of those lands. Their lands are in your greenbelt. Those farmers are the most effective stewards of that very scarce and valuable farmland, far more so than any legislative effort, including your so-called greenbelt exercise.


What do you say to them? You say to them, "Sit on land that's locked into a greenbelt." You say to them, "Let your land lie fallow." You say to them, "Don't even think about bothering to pay mortgages and ongoing debts associated with that land." You tell them you won't assist them in transferring their product over into wine grape, but having said that, you won't change the Wine Content Act to increase the amount of Ontario grape that's required for Ontario wine. Grape growers in Niagara are suffering the risk, on an annual basis, of surpluses, and that's the direct responsibility of this government's failure to amend the Wine Content Act to ensure greater content of Ontario grape in Ontario wine.

Your failure to act in response to Niagara grape farmers has put thousands of acres of good, valuable, scarce farmland at risk, and it has put those hard-working families at real risk of bankruptcy and being forced off those lands after generations of stewardship of those valuable pieces of property. Shame on you, Minister.


Mr. Bas Balkissoon (Scarborough—Rouge River): I would ask all members of the Legislature to join me in welcoming the grade 10 students of Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute, in my riding of Scarborough—Rouge River. They're joined by their teacher, Mrs. Kelso, and they're in the east gallery.

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): I would ask that we recognize Mr. Sam Hoppe, who is in the Speaker's gallery today with his personal attendant, Erica McCalla. He has watched question period religiously. This is his first visit to the Legislature. He is a resident at Bendale Acres, a long-term-care facility in Scarborough. He is president of the residents' council of Bendale Acres. I would ask all members to extend a warm welcome to him.

Mr. Brad Duguid (Scarborough Centre): In the gallery just behind me is Mr. Lawrence Dawkins, who has brought another class to this Legislature, which he does very, very often. I don't know what school they're from; I was trying to get him to mouth it to me but I can't read his lips. I want to welcome him and his class here today anyway.



Mr. John Tory (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Premier. This matter with the lottery scandal started with your minister saying that he saw nothing, he knew nothing and he did nothing—at least we know the last part is true—then there were the April e-mails which no one knew much about, then it was your chief political schemer, Don Guy, and you refused to answer three questions about his involvement when we all knew he was involved.

Now we have Wilson Lee, the minister's chief of staff, who was in a late August meeting in which your office said that these rip-offs were just a communications problem. Now what does he say through his new official spokesperson? It's a new concept in your government that chiefs of staff have official spokespeople who work in your office. He says, "There is no recollection." Shades of Mr. Lafleur at the Gomery commission, who said, "I don't remember," over and over again—murky, fuzzy, less than straightforward.

We need an independent investigation to clear the air on all this. Why won't you order one?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): There has been a lot of heat generated on this issue of late but not a lot of light, so I'm going to do my best to shed a bit of light on this.

I think Ontarians want to know how this all came about. Our lottery system was created in the 1970s. It turns out that unfortunately there have been a few bad-apple retailers of lottery tickets, so-called insiders, who have been gaming the system. They've been cheating, and they've done that at the expense of legitimate ticket buyers. That has been going on for quite some time. In fact, the Ombudsman's first documented case comes from 1993.

Those same kinds of concerns have been raised also in British Columbia, in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick. In BC, the Ombudsman is already conducting an investigation; in Nova Scotia, the government has launched its own investigation; and I know that in New Brunswick, the Ombudsman is looking into this matter.

Mr. Tory: I'm not sure if all that is supposed to explain that it's okay that this is all going on here and the government is doing nothing about it, and why they refuse to act to have an independent investigation. I'm not really sure what all that means. But the bottom line is that the Premier talks about how his government is implementing all the recommendations and all is well that ends well and we should all just go back to sleep, especially his minister and his office, who were asleep.

But take the case of the $12.5-million prize awarded to or given to a woman that the lottery corporation apparently knew had no rightful claim to the money. They "held their noses," to use the expression that's right in the Ombudsman's report, despite the misgivings, and awarded the prize under the cover of darkness: no announcement, no press release, no nothing. The Ombudsman's report says right in there that this woman apparently has money she shouldn't have.

Now, I tried the other day and I'm going to ask you again: Do you think you and your government and the lottery corporation have any responsibility at all to do anything through the civil courts or any other way you could to try and protect that money and maybe even try to get it back in case the rightful owner shows up?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Again, I'll allow the leader of the official opposition to make it his preserve when it comes to allegations unfounded in nature and to innuendo. Again, I'm going to stick to the facts today.

We're making a number of changes in view of the evidence that was uncovered by the Ombudsman and brought forward. In fact, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. itself has put forward a seven-point action plan, and I look forward to getting into that in some detail, because I'm sure my friend will present me with all kinds of opportunities today. KPMG came forward with 40 separate recommendations of their own. The Ombudsman himself came forward with 23 recommendations as well.

Seventeen of those recommendations are already in place; 25 more will be in place by the end of June. We will continue to move aggressively on each and every one of those 70 separate recommendations.

Mr. Tory: In case the Premier is suggesting that it's innuendo to talk about this woman having the money, I refer you to paragraph 74 of the Ombudsman's report, where he concludes by saying, "Incredibly, despite all this, the corporation paid her the $12.5 million after the ticket expired." This is from his report. You refuse to get up—you just recite old passages out of a briefing book, as opposed to saying you're actually going to do anything to protect that money that might well belong to someone else.

Now, the Ombudsman said in his report, and it's interesting just how right he was when he said, "There are disturbing signs that the culture that led to the difficulties in the first place is not gone." And he goes on to say that "a profound cultural shift has yet to occur."

The proof for this is a gentleman that we've spoken to who thinks he might be the rightful owner of the $12.5-million ticket. We referred him, as I think was the proper thing to do, to the Ombudsman, and I understand the Ombudsman has subsequently referred him to the OPP. He called the lottery corporation on March 15, 2007. That's an important date, because it's eight days after the lottery corporation received a draft report from the Ombudsman and after the OLGC responded. What was he told? He was told someone would call him back, and nobody did. Do you think this is evidence of an organization—

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. Premier?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I am sure the leader of the official opposition actually believes the best thing to do in the circumstances is to turn these matters over to the Ontario Provincial Police, which is exactly what we have done.

Now, with respect to passing judgment on the response being offered by Ontario Lottery and Gaming, let me quote again from the Ombudsman's report. They received a letter from OLG chair Michael Gough. He said, "We want to assure you that the OLG is committed to acting quickly to implement the recommendations in your report, including the recommendations made by KPMG, in order to better serve and protect Ontarians." Mr. Gough, head of OLG, goes on to specifically offer the following observation, when he didn't have to. He says, "… we would like to comment on your findings with respect to the level of service and protection we have offered our customers. There is no doubt we could and should have done better. We agree with your assessment of OLG's treatment of Mr. Edmonds. Our apology to him was long overdue and absolutely sincere...." I get the sense that OLG wants to move forward.


The Speaker: New question.

Mr. Tory: Again for the Premier: It's hard to conclude that, when you have a man coming forward in March who says that he might own a ticket—and whether or not he does is for someone else to determine. He's coming forward and saying he—


Mr. Tory: This man just came forward yesterday. I don't know how you'd know that.

Page 2 of the Ombudsman's report: They tried to downplay the revelations of the CBC program; page 5: "A profound cultural shift has yet to occur...."; page 50: "A ... real danger that some of its initiatives will result in mere window dressing." That's what the Ombudsman says.

The Premier says this stuff has been referred to the OPP, but that stands in stark contrast to what this gentleman was told. Your new and reformed lottery corporation told him not to contact a lawyer, not to call the OPP. When they finally got someone to call him back, that's what he was told. These are not the actions of an organization interested in getting at the truth; it's what kidnappers normally tell people.

My question for the Premier is this: Whether he owns the ticket or not, and someone else will ultimately determine that, does he think this kind of approach—don't call a lawyer, don't call the OPP—is appropriate for an organization that is trying to protect—

The Speaker: The question's been asked. Premier?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I'm not sure about the reference and the comparison between OLG and kidnappers. I'll leave it to Mr. Tory to explain that in his scrum.

Again, I think the simple answer and the best answer is that if there are any concerns of this nature, they ought to be—

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Earlier, the House leader for the government made a point with you to ensure that members do not use the names of members in this House. If it's good for the government, surely it's good for the official opposition. I would ask you to call the Premier to order for that.

The Speaker: I will remind all members that proper names are not to be used in this place. You either refer to members by their riding or by the particular ministry they represent.


Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I think Ontarians want to know what changes are being made with respect to their lottery system to ensure that they can have confidence in it. I want to cite some of those that I think are very pertinent, very salient. One of those is that there's now a requirement to install at every lottery terminal location a device enabling consumers to electronically check their own tickets and see the value of their prize instantly. That's important because there is a real concern, in some cases, obviously, that insiders might have appropriated those winning tickets and not divulged accurate information about whether somebody won or not. This is specifically designed to protect the interests of consumers in that regard.

Mr. Tory: You see, it's very interesting, because I took a phone call on a TV program at noon today from a man who said that when you use those machines, half the time they don't work. That's what he said. So you're saying, "All's well that ends well. Everything's okay. Let's not worry about a thing"—


The Speaker: Order. The Minister of Finance. I remind all members that we all need to be able to hear the question and we all need to be able to hear the response.

Mr. Tory: He's got these kind of tidy scripted answers that everything's okay, we don't need to worry about another thing. We've had for a year now, since April, e-mails into the minister's office. The government should have been working to fix this scandal, but they haven't. They tried to sweep it under the carpet every chance they had—April, August and many times in between. Even in the days after the Ombudsman released his report, this man who came in thinking he owns the $12.5-million ticket—which you'll do nothing to recover—is told not to call the police and not to contact a lawyer by people at the lottery corporation.

These are not the actions of an agency that is looking out for the public interest and to protect this man's interest. These are people in denial. They're looking at the standards set by the boss, as the TVOntario program said. You wouldn't say whether it was appropriate for him to be told not to call the OPP or a lawyer. Why don't you just get on with asking for the independent investigation we all need?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: We've had an independent investigation. The leader of the official opposition may not believe in the integrity of the Ombudsman when it comes to conducting independent investigations, but we do.

Something else that Ontario lottery ticket purchasers should recognize is that from now on, lottery retailers will be permitted to check tickets only for those customers who have been asked to sign the back of their tickets. Again, lottery ticket purchasers now have an option. They can use the terminals themselves through a device to check their own tickets to determine whether or not they've won, or they could turn it over to the retailer, but only on the condition that they first sign that ticket as an additional security measure. Beyond that, customer-facing video screens at lottery terminal locations must now tell players in larger characters than ever before if they've won when they have retailers check their tickets. Those are practical changes, designed to protect the interests of Ontario lottery ticket buyers.

The Speaker: Final supplementary.

Mr. Tory: I can only say that when it comes to a very simple request, like a full, open and independent investigation on the matters that haven't been investigated, people expect their Premier to do the right thing, especially when it's messy and especially when the truth might hurt.

According to the Ombudsman, we apparently have one person with $12.5 million in winnings that she shouldn't have. We have another person who says it belongs to him, and when he calls the very organization that you say is new and reformed, he's told, "Don't call a lawyer. Don't call the OPP." In fact, he's told, "Don't call us; we'll call you."

We have your office and the minister's office all over this: spin doctors and schemers everywhere. What we need to know is, who knew what, when did they know it and what did they do when they found out about it? Don't you think it's time for the minister to resign and for you to call an open, independent inquiry into all the things—and there are lots of them—that have not been looked into by anybody as yet? Why won't you get on with it?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I'll allow the leader of the official opposition to engage in unfounded allegations and innuendo, but on this side of the House at least, we've got to look to substantive approaches to significant policy concerns.

We've had the Ombudsman conduct his own independent inquiry, and that apparently does not satisfy the leader of the official opposition. Beyond that, he says that he has specific knowledge—credible, he claims—about an individual or two or three or four—who knows how many more?—and he won't refer these matters to the Ontario Provincial Police.

I have every confidence in our Ontario Provincial Police. We've turned over any matters to them that we think are appropriate. It's now in their hands to determine whether or not and what actions they think are appropriate in the circumstances. We will continue to do what we need to do to uphold the integrity of the people of Ontario's lottery and gaming system.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora—Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. The OPP commissioner has asked the Toronto Police Service to investigate the potential conflict of interest involving the OPP, because an OPP officer was the head of security at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. as the lottery insider scandal unfolded. Michael Sharland, a senior OPP officer, head of corporate security for the OLG when the OPP decided not to investigate allegations of insider fraud and obstruction in 2004, is at the heart of this potential conflict.

Premier, you insisted that turning the investigation over to the OPP is the best way to deal with the scandal at the OLG. In view of the conflict of interest, do you wish to reconsider your position?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Of course not. Far be it from me to comment on police actions, but it seems to me that Commissioner Fantino is being prudent and responsible. He understands that some concerns have been raised about whether or not they might be conflicted when it comes to the fact that there was a former member of the OPP service who was seconded to OLG, so he has quite appropriately and quite responsibly, I think, referred the matter to the Toronto Police Service and said, "Hey, guys, you take a look at it; give us your best advice on this and tell us how we should go forward with respect to that particular aspect of this investigation." I think that's responsible.

Mr. Hampton: Premier, here's your government's position: When this first unfolded, you tried to treat it as a public relations problem. Then you tried to hand it off to the OPP. The OPP is saying, "No, we're conflicted. Not only is there a lottery scandal, but we're not in a position to examine it." The problem grows larger and larger every day. The question is, when is the Premier of Ontario going to take his responsibility and order a judicial inquiry so that the people of Ontario who have been fleeced can at least get to the bottom of this?


Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Let's see if we've got this straight. Apparently, the problems that have arisen in British Columbia are connected to our government. Apparently, the problems that have arisen in New Brunswick are also connected to our government. The problems that have arisen in Nova Scotia are also connected to our government. Apparently, we cannot trust the Ombudsman, who has reviewed this matter in some detail. Now we hear from the leader of the NDP that we cannot possibly trust the Ontario Provincial Police either. Nobody can be trusted in these matters. There is a plot afoot that somehow has infected the nation as a whole.

I just don't bring that kind of cynicism to bear on my work. There is a specific issue that has been raised. What we will continue to do is follow the specific recommendations put forward. We received 70 recommendations, some from KPMG, some from OLG itself, but the most important ones from the Ombudsman, and we're moving ahead on all those recommendations.

Mr. Hampton: The people who are infected are the McGuinty government, who are trying to cover up a problem which is growing larger every day. Even the OPP commissioner says this is now a problem for him. So, Premier, how large does this problem have to become? The OPP say they're not in a position to investigate. Let's see: Your former chief of staff has his fingerprints all over it. Warren Kinsella, Liberal fixer, has his fingerprints all over it. Your former communications chief of staff has his fingerprints all over it. How large does this have to become, how many Liberals have to be drawn into the circle, before you, as Premier, start acting on behalf of the people of Ontario instead of acting on behalf of your own cover-up? When are you going to call a judicial inquiry so that the people of Ontario will have some confidence that this is being handled honestly and openly?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Again, I think we've got a lot of heat coming there, but not a lot of light.


Hon. Mr. McGuinty: But you missed it the first time. The point I'm making is that while it's in the interest of the opposition to generate a lot of heat and a lot of smoke here, we're going to keep our eye on the ball.

The first documented case goes back to 1993. As I say, there are these kinds of concerns being raised throughout the country today. There have been some very specific recommendations brought forward by KPMG, OLG itself, and the Ombudsman. We embrace those and adopt them wholeheartedly.

I just described in some detail three specific kinds of changes that are going to be made right at the retail front line so that when you go to buy that ticket, some changes are there now to improve your confidence in the integrity of the system. That's what Ontarians look for us to do. In fact, we've adopted those and we will continue to adopt many more changes that are in the interests of Ontarians.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr. Hampton: To the Premier: The only people who are afraid of the light on this issue are the McGuinty government. The light of day would show the people of Ontario who is responsible when literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people were ripped off of millions of dollars because of your lottery fraud. Premier, you've continued to try to treat this as public relations poker while innocent people were fleeced.

My next question is this: Can you explain, when this unfolded, why the people who got called in were all Liberal Party fixers? For example, what would Don Guy, your re-election strategist, be doing called in on this issue? What would Warren Kinsella, sort of the master of dirty tricks in election campaigns, be doing when this unfolded? What would Jim Warren, your former chief of communications, be doing? When this started to unfold, it seems that a whole bunch of Liberal insiders—

The Speaker: The question has been asked. Premier?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Obviously, it's a good thing that the OLG reacted to some of the evidence that was coming to the light of day regarding issues that had dated back to at least 1993. There's no reason to believe that there were not issues before that as well; in fact, possibly since the advent of the system in Ontario in 1975.

I think it's a really important thing that they had the meetings, that they convened meetings, that they invited a number of people to those meetings, but I think what's still more important is what action flowed from those meetings. One of those things was the seven-point action plan, some of which I recently described just a few moments ago in this House, about improving the confidence that a lottery ticket buyer would have here in Ontario at the point of sale to improve their confidence in the system. That also led to the Ombudsman himself taking an active interest in this matter. He conducted a thorough investigation. It was absolutely independent. He has come forward with very concrete, reasonable recommendations, and we intend to adopt each and every one of them.

Mr. Hampton: Three Liberal insider political fixers get called in, and what does the Ontario lottery corporation try to do? They try to discredit poor Bob Edmonds and they try to discredit people who are complaining about lottery insider fraud.

Premier, you have treated this as a game of political—shall we say—public relations poker, rather than dealing with the real, substantial issues. Premier, this is not a communications issue. Thousands of people—hospitals, charities, innocent folks—were cheated out of millions of dollars. Inhibiting the right thing, stopping an investigation, trying to discredit the evidence that's there, is simply not being straight with the people of Ontario. When are we going to have a judicial investigation? What are you trying to hide?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: One of the recommendations which I think is noteworthy that was put forward by the Ombudsman, designed to restore the confidence in our system—I know that the leader of the NDP is eager to undermine that confidence, but fortunately, Ontarians are still buying lottery tickets in good numbers; there has been no drop in sales—one of the important recommendations he made was that we should take the responsibility for the regulatory capacity of OLG, the oversight for ticket sales, away from the OLG and give that responsibility to somebody else. We're going to give it to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission. I've asked Minister Phillips, in his capacity as minister responsible for government services, to take on that responsibility. I know that he has already met with the Ombudsman and gotten some preliminary advice in that regard. He's now moving forward as quickly as possible to take the responsibility for the regulatory oversight of ticket sales away from OLG—who are clearly conflicted—and to assume that responsibility through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission—

The Speaker: Thank you. Final supplementary.

Mr. Hampton: Yes, Premier; you're very good at saying we're going to close the barn door after the problem is out there and after the problem has fleeced people out of a lot of money. The question, and the question you refuse to answer, is: What were you doing, what was your minister doing, while innocent people were being fleeced? We know what your political fixers were doing: They were trying to cover up the problem; they were trying to create a public relations strategy that would deny there was a problem.

Premier, we've asked you to hand over the briefing notes of your minister. You refused to do that. We've asked you to explain what these Liberal fixers were doing at the Ontario lottery corporation. You've refused to do that. What do you have to hide, Premier? Why won't you call a judicial investigation into lottery fraud where people were fleeced out of millions of dollars?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I think I've laid it out pretty clearly in terms of how this has developed in Ontario over an extended period of time. I've indicated that it has, in fact, gone beyond our borders. It's a problem that has been evidenced in other provinces. I've indicated pretty clearly how a number of substantive recommendations have been brought forward—70, in fact. I've talked about how we've moved ahead. There are already, I think, 17 now in place; there will be another 25 by June.

I find it passing strange. What happened to the NDP's passionate concern about children growing up in poverty? Why won't they celebrate our new Ontario child benefit? What about their concern for the minimum wage? Why won't they celebrate the movement we're making on the minimum wage here in the province of Ontario? What about our investments in developmental services? I thought they had a passing interest in that as well. They don't want to talk about those things because they know that on this side of the House we're doing the right kinds of things for the people of Ontario.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr. Norman W. Sterling (Lanark—Carleton): The Premier has just talked about people in need. I want to talk to him about the senior citizen who's talking about this $12.5-million ticket, because I've talked to him probably 10 times over the last 24 hours. Last night, an associate of mine met with him for 45 minutes to talk to him about the particular situation. I talked this morning with the Ombudsman, Mr. Marin. I talked today with the assistant to Mr. Fantino's office.


I just wonder, does the Premier have any feeling for the people who have been gypped, defrauded out of their winnings at the Ontario lottery system? Do you have any feelings for these people at all?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: A couple of points on that front: Of course, we have a genuine concern for anybody who feels they have been unfairly treated by Ontario's lottery and gaming system, but more than just that, because they expect us to do more than just feel for them. They expect us to act, they expect us to improve the quality of the system, they expect us to do things that inspire their confidence in the system, and we've been doing that. They did none of that on their watch. Mr. Edmonds arose on their watch.

The second point I want to make is, it would seem to me that if there's a real issue here, this should be a matter referred to police, that it should come under police investigation, and that Mr. Sterling in that regard would not want to speak to it any further, knowing that the police now have been given responsibility for this and they should be free to conduct their investigation.

Mr. Sterling: It's not only about the particular situation with regard to this lottery, which occurred on December 26, 2003.


Mr. Sterling: I have referred it to the police, as I've said in my opening question.

Hon. Christopher Bentley (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities): Then what are you asking questions about it for?


The Speaker: The member is attempting to place his question. I want to be able to hear the question; other members want to be able to hear the question. It is not helpful when other people feel they need to interject.

The member for Lanark—Carleton.

Mr. Sterling: On March 15, my constituent, a senior citizen, called the lottery corporation. The lottery corporation said, "Do not call the police. Do not call a lawyer. We will phone you back." Nothing happened for a week.

The senior citizen called the lottery corporation again. They gave him a number dealing with his particular case. They asked him where he bought the ticket; he told them where he bought the ticket. He asked them to respond back. They said they would call back; they have never called him back.

Premier, why should we believe the rot is out of the system? Who is running the OLG? Who is in charge? The situation hasn't changed. We've talked about nothing but this in the last—

The Speaker: The question has been asked. Premier.

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: The member opposite makes a very serious allegation. He's speaking on behalf of a constituent who has been defrauded of $12.5 million.

Hon. Greg Sorbara (Minister of Finance, Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): He says.

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: He says. That's a lot of money. That's a very serious allegation, and I think that is best referred to the Ontario Provincial Police. I think we should leave it to them now to do their work. I don't think that it's appropriate for us to discuss what steps we ought to be taking now that this matter has been appropriately and responsibly referred to the Ontario Provincial Police.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora—Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. Premier, a short while ago I met with the Smiths Falls town council, with labour representatives and with local citizens. The people of Smiths Falls are worried that the closing of the Hershey plant will destroy 500 good jobs. They are also worried that your government's plan to close the Rideau Regional Centre will make the situation worse.

Premier, when these workers ask for your government's help so they can keep their jobs and their homes, what is your government's answer?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): We've done a lot of work on this particular matter. When the news first arose, in fact, I phoned the mayor of Smiths Falls and asked for his best sense of what was happening on the ground there. He explained some of the circumstances for me. I arranged then to get hold of the CEO, I think it was, for Hershey's. I contacted them in Pennsylvania and asked if we could begin a dialogue to talk about the future of that particular plant in Smiths Falls. Subsequent to that, I asked my Minister of Economic Development and Trade to fly to Pennsylvania. She met for a couple of hours with representatives there of Hershey's. I believe that dialogue is still ongoing. And we have an ongoing, very strong communication with the mayor of Smiths Falls and we look forward to continuing to work with him.

Mr. Hampton: Meanwhile, Hershey's continues to work away at their plan for closing the plant.

Premier, you've said that losing manufacturing jobs like this is inevitable. New Democrats disagree. But one thing that is definitely not inevitable is your government's decision to close the Rideau Regional Centre. The families of residents want it to stay open. Workers there want it to stay open. The town most definitely wants it to remain open, given the current circumstance.

Premier, how do you justify your government's decision now to close the Rideau Regional Centre when you know that this will further compound the loss of literally not hundreds of jobs, but now into the thousands of jobs, in a community which has very few other jobs to depend on?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: It may be that we have a host of differences that separate the three parties, but we have historically been of one mind with respect to the value of closing down our regional centres and moving people into community-based living. That's something that all parties have supported in the past. We certainly continue to support that policy.

I understand that the community of Smiths Falls, again, is facing some real economic challenges. We will continue to work with the community, and we're looking for specific invitations to see how we might assist with specific kinds of proposals.

We are going ahead with the hospital construction in that community. I know that's very important to the community. As I said, the minister, I know, has an ongoing connection through her offices with the mayor's office, and we will continue to do everything we possibly can to ensure that there's a bright future for the people of Smiths Falls.


Mr. Khalil Ramal (London—Fanshawe): My question is to the Minister of Education. Minister, over the last three and a half years, we have built a strong public education system that is supporting student success and raising student achievement. This is a massive contrast to what we saw in the Harris-Eves government, who broke and battered our public schools and allowed our students to fall behind.

In fact, the federal cousins of the members opposite recently gave a tax credit to students in private schools, something their leader currently supports. This is yet again another example of how the members opposite have no vision. We are being held to account by parents and educators and we are delivering real results. From lowering class sizes in the primary grades straight through to helping our students graduate, we are making student achievement a priority.

Minister, can you please let this House know just how we are protecting Ontarians' interests, addressing their education issues and delivering meaningful results in publicly funded education?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne (Minister of Education): I'm happy to respond to the member for London—Fanshawe. I completely agree with him that on this side of the House, we're protecting the interests of Ontarians, we're addressing their issues, we're delivering meaningful results, and we're not supporting taking $500 million out of our schools through a private school tax credit.

What we are doing—let me talk about some of the results that we're achieving. We've got 12,000 more students graduating from high school over the last two years. The graduation rate has risen from 68% to 73%. We've got 40,000 more grade 10 students passing the provincial literacy test in the last three years; 22,500 more grade 9 students met the standard in provincial math over those three years; 70,000 more grade 3 and 6 students met the provincial standards on the reading, writing and math tests. Some 93% of Ontario's kindergarten to grade 3 classes have 23 students or fewer. That's 450,000 more primary students in smaller classes.

We're delivering results. We're being held to account by the citizens of this province.


Mr. Ramal: While the Harris-Eves government measured failure, we are measuring success. It's through this measuring of success that we can focus our intention to improve student achievement where it's needed most.

I am sure the people in my riding of London—Fanshawe agree with me that we are protecting their interests, addressing their issues and delivering meaningful results in education. Minister, what do these broad results mean at the local level for the people of my riding of London—Fanshawe?

Hon. Ms. Wynne: When we came to office, what was happening was that kids were losing out on extracurricular activities, schools were not being repaired because trustees were having to defer maintenance, and money was being taken from the public education system to give to the private system. What we've done is turn that around.

In the Thames Valley District School Board, which is represented by the member for London—Fanshawe: 325 new teachers; 77% of JK to grade 3 class sizes are capped, up from 33% under the previous government; 97% of JK to grade 3 classes are at 23 students or fewer, while only 67% had 23 kids under the Conservatives; average test scores are up 9%; and per pupil funding is up $1,800.

So overall, the education system in the riding of London—Fanshawe has increased in quality, students are doing better, and the whole system has taken on a better tone.


Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): To the Premier: For several days now, we've been coming here to question period and we've given you an opportunity to just be direct and forthright and tell us the truth about what it is you knew and when you knew the facts about this lottery scandal. You've left us bewildered, because for some reason you're not willing to be direct.

Yesterday was the latest example, when we asked about an August 2006 meeting attended by Wilson Lee, who is now the chief of staff to the minister responsible for lotteries. Ben Chin says that the meeting never happened—no recollection. Ominous words indeed. But Wilson Lee says that it may have happened. Premier, what is the truth? Can you share the truth with us?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): They're doing a lot of grasping over there and they're really reaching, but I think it's really important for us to come back to first principles and focus on those things which are independent, non-partisan and objective.

The Ombudsman's report is very, very thorough. Something I just noticed: If you take a look inside the front cover of the Ombudsman's report, he lists the team of people who were working with him. There is a director of the special Ombudsman response team—one individual. There's a lead investigator—one individual. There are then listed six separate investigators, three early resolution officers, and three separate senior counsel persons. To me, that points to a very thorough, exhaustive examination of the issues that found the recommendations which serve the public interest.

Mr. Klees: Premier, you've just made my point again. I asked you a very specific question about conflicting responses from two senior people in your administration, and I asked you what the truth was. You totally ignored my question. That is why people in this province are beginning to seriously doubt your integrity. Why can you not answer a very simple question? Once, Premier, can you answer a straight question with a straight answer? Can you do that for us?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: It's always interesting to get a lecture in morality from my friend opposite.

We will continue to do what we think best serves the public interest. There are issues connected with these kinds of concerns that predate 1995. They may go all the way back to 1975, for all we know. A number of these stories have recently surfaced, not only here in Ontario but in other jurisdictions across the country. Different ombudsmen, ombudspeople, in various parts of the country are all conducting their own investigations. We've had a thorough examination of our own here, not only by the Ombudsman, but KPMG, OLG itself, but we've taken a step further. We've referred this matter, unlike anybody else in the country, to our police service. We've asked them to comment on this and to take whatever steps they feel are appropriate. I think that serves the public interest.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora—Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. Premier, 240 workers in Sudbury found out on Friday that the Affinia plant, where they work, is going to be closed in June and they will all be laid off. These 240 workers have families, they have car payments and they have mortgages. These workers will be devastated by the closure.

The MPP for Nickel Belt wrote to you earlier this year and asked what steps your government was taking to prevent the closure. Premier, has your government done anything to prevent this closure to help sustain these jobs?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): To the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.

Hon. Rick Bartolucci (Minister of Northern Development and Mines): Thank you very much, Premier, for referring the question. We have been very proactive in creating jobs, not only in Sudbury but in northern Ontario. When in fact there are layoffs or when businesses decide to close, obviously we take that very seriously and we put a plan into action. Certainly we've done that, but I find it passing strange that the party that had a record of 1,000 job losses a week will now talk about our record of creating jobs. In fact, in Sudbury since 2003, through the northern Ontario heritage fund, we have invested over $22 million, which has leveraged an additional $74 million, creating 1,027 jobs.

Mr. Hampton: Minister, you can spin that line wherever you want in northern Ontario and no one will believe you, because what they know is that 400 jobs were destroyed in Kenora, 520 in Dryden, 1,000 in Thunder Bay, 500 in Red Rock, 300 in Longlac, 400 in Smooth Rock Falls, White River, Chapleau, Espanola, Nairn Centre, and the list goes on.

The Premier said that Ontario's manufacturing sector is not in trouble, that it's simply "in transition." I don't think the "transition" line is going to work at Affinia in Sudbury or anywhere else. My question again is this: Can you tell those workers specifically what the McGuinty government has done to help sustain those jobs?

Hon. Mr. Bartolucci: The member opposite, the member from Kenora—Rainy River, the member who purports to be the champion of northern Ontario, wants to compare his record with our record. Let's do a little comparison—and I'm only going to use the northern Ontario heritage fund statistics. I want everyone, especially the people in Kenora—Rainy River, to be reminded that 1,000 jobs a week were lost in Ontario. During their mandate, 5,513 job were lost in northeastern Ontario in the resource sector; 6,100 jobs were lost in northwestern Ontario in the resource sector under their watch.

They have a pitiful record. We have a record we are proud of. We're always, always upset with the job losses.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn (Oakville): I've got a question today for the Minister of the Environment. There are a number of young people in the audience who I'm sure will be interested in the answer.

Climate change has become the single biggest challenge of our generation. I was encouraged to see that our government is now entering into talks with several US states on greenhouse gas reductions. While the Bush administration seemingly ignores climate change, many US states are leading with initiatives like the cap-and-trade regime on emissions. This program puts an absolute cap on emissions for each of those jurisdictions. Those who are under the cap can trade credits with those who are over the cap.


Minister, while states and provinces can do their best, the real leaders in this need to be at the national level. Can you tell us what you would like to see and what Ontario needs to see from a national climate change strategy?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten (Minister of the Environment): I want to thank the member for Oakville for his commitment to his community but, most importantly, for his commitment to the environment and tackling the critical issue of climate change.

I'm pleased to talk about what Ontario has said for a long period of time that we want to see in a federal government plan. We want to see established a national cap-and-trade regime. We want the federal program to be fair to all regions of the country and all sectors of the economy. It must use 1990 as a baseline, because industry in Ontario started working as soon as they were aware of the issues and started doing that good work. It's the internationally recognized baseline, and we want to do what the world is doing.

The federal government must also have real reductions, absolute reductions, not so-called intensity-based reductions where we simply see greenhouse gases rise. We're committed to seeing real reductions, and we want the federal government to move in that direction.

Mr. Flynn: It's surprising to learn that the NDP opposes cap-and-trade as an effective way to combat climate change. In fact, Jack Layton said on his website last month, "Capping pollution and providing domestic carbon exchange markets can help create the change we need.... [T]here is agreement that such a mechanism is effective in making emissions reduction attractive for industry." But the provincial NDP on this issue seems out of step with their federal leader. The critic says that carbon trading does not advance the climate change agenda.

The NDP seems to have as many positions on this as they do on the closure of coal plants. The federal NDP says one thing; the provincial NDP says another. Minister, which NDP should we believe?

Hon. Ms. Broten: I cannot possibly answer for the NDP, and that is a question that Ontarians should ask. What I'm focused on is getting real reductions in greenhouse gases here in Ontario. I was very pleased last week when the Premier signalled our interest as a province to enter into some discussions and potentially join the good work being done by states in the United States.

I would say to Ontarians that some very important voices support the role that cap-and-trade can play in a comprehensive climate change strategy. Those include Ken Ogilvie, the executive director of Pollution Probe, and Dale Marshall from the David Suzuki Foundation. That's where we take our advice from. We want to see a comprehensive strategy, and cap-and-trade is certainly part of that. We will make real reductions in this province, and we want to see the federal government move in that direction as well.


Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke): My question is for the Premier. Premier, I recognized your total failure in answering the question from my colleague from Oak Ridges, but it is Holy Week and I remain hopeful.

You wouldn't explain the discrepancy about the August meeting. Perhaps you can shed some light on the October 29 meeting, a meeting attended by Don Guy, Jim Warren, Warren Kinsella and Bob Lopinski. The only conceivable reason that these four individuals would have to be in the same room would have to be for some kind of Liberal campaign meeting. Will the Premier please explain to the House what he knew about this meeting and what his involvement was, or the involvement of anyone in his office?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): Again, to repeat for the umpteenth time, we're not going to take our eye off the ball here. We're going to do what we think meets the needs and serves the interests of the people of Ontario.

There have been some real, legitimate concerns raised with the integrity of the Ontario lottery system. The Ombudsman has taken a good, long, hard look at that with a very competent team of effective people. He's come forward with some very solid recommendations. We intend to move forward on each and every one of those recommendations.

Beyond that, we've also decided that this warrants a review by the police, so we've turned this matter over to the Ontario Provincial Police, and we now leave it to them to determine whether there are any steps that fall within their purview, which they might want to take.

I think that all those things, and acting on each and every one of the recommendations that have been brought forward, serve the public interest.

Mr. Yakabuski: So much for higher expectations.

Premier, you can't expect anyone to believe the assertion that this was an innocent meeting and that these four just happened to find themselves together by coincidence some Sunday in October.

It's a simple question for you to answer, and your refusal is telling: What did you know about this meeting, what was your involvement, what was the involvement of anyone in your office? Why are you refusing to answer this question, or are you participating in a typical Liberal cover-up?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Again, there's a lot of innuendo over there, a lot of unsubstantiated allegations, a lot of hot air, a lot of heat and a lot of smoke. They may choose to traffic in those particular commodities, but we're going to stay focused on our responsibilities here.

I would have thought the member opposite, for example, would have a passing interest in our previously announced budget, where there's over $90 billion in expenditures. You would think he would want to celebrate the reduction in the business tax. You would think he would want to celebrate the elimination of the capital tax in Ontario. You would think he would want to celebrate the additional investments in health care and education in his own community. But we'll continue to get that good news out to the people of Ontario.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora—Rainy River): A question to the Premier. I was in Hamilton this morning to show my support for the hard-working families at Hamilton Specialty Bar. The steelworkers' union there has fought hard to sustain workers' pensions and EI benefits. Now they are trying to find a buyer to continue to operate the plant. Three hundred and sixty hard-working families are at risk.

The question they want answered is this: Why isn't the McGuinty government at the table fighting to sustain those good-paying Hamilton jobs? Where is the McGuinty government's leadership on this issue?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): To the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Greg Sorbara (Minister of Finance, Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I want to tell my friend the leader of the third party that we now have found the letter that was sent by William Baker, president of Local 4752 of the United Steelworkers. On behalf of the Premier, my office will be getting back to Mr. Baker to talk about what might be done in those circumstances.

I want to reiterate what I said yesterday: This company is now subject to the provisions of the CCAA, the credit protection act, and under those circumstances, I am going to restrict my comments very severely to make sure that I do not in any way interfere with the court process.

Mr. Hampton: This has been going on for some time—this didn't just happen last week—and that's what some of the steelworkers who were there wanted to know.

You see, over Christmas they watched as the McGuinty government was very quick to give the Premier a $40,000 pay raise. These workers have been struggling to sustain these jobs for some time, and so they ask this question: While they've been struggling to sustain and reposition these jobs, where has the McGuinty government been?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: We have been in virtually every community in this province where there is a downturn, particularly in manufacturing, whether it's in Thunder Bay, in Hamilton, in southwestern Ontario or in Smiths Falls.

In particular, we have provided special assistance to the city of Hamilton, because they are having a series of very special problems. In the budget I presented, we provided an additional $12 million in assistance to the city of Hamilton, the only city in the province that received that kind of special assistance.


The city of Hamilton, as well, is going to have the advantage of special provisions for tax reductions under the business education tax. I can tell my friend the leader of the third party that in situations like this, the strength of this government is that it is there to listen and to respond in the best way possible in the interests of the very workers my friend was referring to.


Mrs. Liz Sandals (Guelph—Wellington): My question today is for the Minister of Transportation. As you may know, my constituents depend on Highway 7 both to commute back and forth to work between Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo and just to be able to get around the region. It's a primary corridor. Of course, the Wellington and Waterloo areas have grown dramatically in the last few years. The Highway 7 corridor between Guelph and Waterloo is now up to 21,000 cars per day. As you can imagine, my constituents and also the constituents of the member for Waterloo—Wellington and my colleague from Kitchener Centre—a number of us—have been very concerned about getting this highway rebuilt. In fact, the discussion has been going on since 1980 about where the route should go. Our government has got the route in place. Can you update us on what—

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Minister of Transportation.

Hon. Donna H. Cansfield (Minister of Transportation): I am absolutely delighted to respond. I'd like to thank the member for Guelph—Wellington and also the member for Kitchener Centre for their advocacy on this particular route. We have in fact completed the EA. We have done consultation with the First Nations and with the Mississaugas of New Credit, and we have moved forward. The EA is done, and we are now ready to go into design phase and property purchasing, which means that the route has been determined and we can finally move forward.

This is an incredible region that has an opportunity for economic development within the next 20 to 25 years. It is probably the fastest-growing development in North America. The opportunities that lie there depend very much on their transportation system. So it's our responsibility to work very closely with the municipalities, with the cities and with the region on how we can actually make that happen. This is one of the good examples of—

The Speaker: Thank you, Minister. Supplementary.

Mrs. Sandals: This is absolutely great news, and I know that my colleague from Kitchener Centre, my other colleagues across the floor and my constituents—


Mrs. Sandals: Yes, the member from Waterloo—Wellington is looking very happy. This has been an all-party happiness event, and we're just delighted with the news. I know my constituents, particularly those who live along the Highway 7 corridor, are delighted that the congestion is getting off their front door and on to a new, proper four-lane highway.

But, Minister, you spoke about looking at the opportunities to move forward with transportation in the region and looking at an integrated approach to dealing with the challenge of increased congestion. Could you tell us a little bit about how you're looking at that integrated approach in our region?

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: There is no question we're here at the table at the Kitchener-Waterloo transit project. As you know, in this government we put public transit exactly on the same level as every other form of transit and give it the due that it deserves, which means the money is on the table. We have committed our third toward involvement in the technical process, and we are prepared to sit down, as I said, and work with this incredible region around what they're going to do in the future for economic development.


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): I would bring members' attention to a visitor in the public gallery west: Chris Hodgson, the member for Victoria—Haliburton in the 35th and 36th Parliaments and the member for Victoria—Haliburton—Brock in the 37th Parliament.

Hon. Rick Bartolucci (Minister of Northern Development and Mines): Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: We would also want to point out that Chris Hodgson is now with the Ontario Mining Association. Representatives from the Ontario Mining Association are in the public gallery as well, and we invite all members to meet the miners from 5:30 to 7:30.



Mr. Gerry Martiniuk (Cambridge): "Whereas hundreds of innocent purchasers of lottery tickets have been scammed of their winnings of as much as $100 million; and

"Whereas the Ombudsman has found in a mere 90 days 'to piece together five cases where retailers claiming tickets were liars, they lied about being retailers, they lied about where they got the tickets'; and

"Whereas throughout the Ombudsman's investigation Minister Caplan, responsible for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, has stated that he saw nothing, he heard nothing, he knew nothing and he did nothing; and

"Whereas Minister Caplan, who has failed in his responsibilities in protecting innocent lottery purchases against the lottery corporation, refuses to resign;

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

"We petition Dalton McGuinty to fire Minister David Caplan for his negligence and incompetence in failing to protect the defrauded lottery ticket purchasers of Ontario."

As I agree with the petition, I sign my name thereto.


Mr. Wayne Arthurs (Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge): I have a petition today that I'm presenting on behalf of the member from Niagara Falls:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas over the past 25 years, obesity rates have more than tripled for Canadian children between the ages of 12 and 17; and

"Whereas in Ontario, less than half of students beyond Grade 9 take gym classes, a small fraction are involved in school sports programs, and adolescents who are inactive at school are unlikely to be physically active elsewhere; and

"Whereas Canada's Physical Activity Guide recommends that adolescents get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily; and

"Whereas a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools would result in an increase in adolescents being active;

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

"That the Ministry of Education add a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools."

I sign this petition and add my name to it and send it with page Carolyn.


Mr. John O'Toole (Durham): I'm pleased to present a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads as follows. I might add that I was supposed to have a question today, but this will suffice, I suppose:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan ignored stories of millions in rip-offs within Ontario's lottery system for months, if not years;

"Whereas they acted only after they were caught and their first attempt was to 'spin the scandal' rather than fix the problems;

"Whereas Ontarians have every right to expect leadership from their government; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan have failed to protect the integrity of the lottery system in Ontario;

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

"That Dalton McGuinty start upholding the standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability, make the protection of the interests of all Ontarians a priority, and demand the resignation of David Caplan, the minister currently responsible for the lottery system."

I'm pleased to sign this on behalf of my constituents.


Mr. Jim Brownell (Stormont—Dundas—Charlottenburgh): I have a petition from a number of residents of Stormont—Dundas—Charlottenburgh. It reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Premiers of Ontario have made enormous contributions over the years in shaping the Ontario of today; and

"Whereas, as a result, the final resting places of the 18 deceased Premiers are among the most historically significant sites in the province, but have yet to be officially recognized; and

"Whereas, were these gravesites to be properly maintained and marked with an historical plaque and a flag of Ontario, these locations would be a source of pride to the communities where these former Premiers lie buried, and provide potential points of interest for visitors;

"Now therefore, we, the undersigned, petition the Legislature Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"Enact Bill 25, an act that will preserve the gravesites of the former Premiers of Ontario."

As I agree with this petition, I shall affix my signature and send it with Alex.



Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): I have a petition. Actually, I had a question yesterday, but this will have to suffice:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan ignored stories of millions in rip-offs within Ontario's lottery system for months, if not years;

"Whereas they acted only after they were caught and their first attempt was to 'spin the scandal' rather than fix the problems;

"Whereas Ontarians have every right to expect leadership from their government; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan have failed to protect the integrity of the lottery system in Ontario;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That Dalton McGuinty start upholding the standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability, make the protection of the interests of all Ontarians a priority, and demand the resignation of David Caplan, the minister currently responsible for the lottery system."

I affix my name in full support.


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

"Whereas over the past 25 years, obesity rates have more than tripled for Canadian children between the ages of 12 and 17; and

"Whereas in Ontario, less than half of students beyond Grade 9 take gym classes, a small fraction are involved in school sports programs, and adolescents who are inactive at school are unlikely to be physically active elsewhere; and

"Whereas Canada's Physical Activity Guide recommends that adolescents get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily; and

"Whereas a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools would result in an increase in adolescents being active;

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

"That the Ministry of Education add a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools."

This was brought to me on behalf of the member for Niagara Falls. I agree with it and sign it here for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.


Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton—Victoria—Brock): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan ignored stories of millions in rip-offs within Ontario's lottery system for months, if not years;

"Whereas they acted only after they were caught and their first attempt was to 'spin the scandal' rather than fix the problems;

"Whereas Ontarians have every right to expect leadership from their government; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan have failed to protect the integrity of the lottery system in Ontario;

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

"That Dalton McGuinty start upholding the standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability, make the protection of the interests of all Ontarians a priority, and demand the resignation of David Caplan, the minister currently responsible for the lottery system."

It is signed by many people from my riding of Haliburton—Victoria—Brock.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn (Oakville): I've got a petition here to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the government of Ontario's health insurance plan covers treatments for one form of macular degeneration (wet), and there are other forms of macular degeneration (dry) that are not covered,

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

"There are thousands of Ontarians who suffer from macular degeneration, resulting in loss of sight if treatment is not pursued. Treatment costs for this disease are astronomical for most constituents and add a financial burden to their lives. Their only alternative is loss of sight. We believe the government of Ontario should cover treatment for all forms of macular degeneration through the Ontario health insurance program."

I'd like to affix my signature and thank the member for Niagara Falls.


Mr. Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): I have here a petition that I had the privilege of picking up in my office in Woodstock this morning, where the people are coming in on a regular basis to sign this petition because they do have great concerns about the issue. It's to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan ignored stories of millions in rip-offs within Ontario's lottery system for months, if not years;

"Whereas they acted only after they were caught and their first attempt was to 'spin the scandal' rather than fix the problems;

"Whereas Ontarians have every right to expect leadership from their government; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan have failed to protect the integrity of the lottery system in Ontario;

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

"That Dalton McGuinty start upholding the standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability, make the protection of the interests of all Ontarians a priority, and demand the resignation of David Caplan, the minister currently responsible for the lottery system."

I affix my signature as I agree with the petition.


Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it's signed by several dozen people, all from the Niagara Falls area. I'd certainly like to thank my seat mate, the member for Niagara Falls, for his efforts in collecting the signatures. The petition reads as follows:

"Whereas the government of Ontario's health insurance plan covers treatments for one form of macular degeneration (wet), there are other forms of macular degeneration (dry) that are not covered.

"We, the undersigned, respectfully petition the government of Ontario as follows:

"There are thousands of Ontarians who suffer from macular degeneration, resulting in loss of sight if treatment is not pursued. Treatment costs for this disease are astronomical for most people and add a financial burden to their lives. Their only alternative is loss of sight. We believe the government of Ontario should cover treatment for all forms of macular degeneration through the Ontario health insurance program."

This is an excellent petition. I'm pleased to affix my signature and to ask to page Ashley to carry it for me.


Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan ignored stories of millions in rip-offs within Ontario's lottery system for months, if not years;

"Whereas they acted only after they were caught and their first attempt was to 'spin the scandal' rather than fix the problems;

"Whereas Ontarians have every right to expect leadership from their government; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and David Caplan have failed to protect the integrity of the lottery system in Ontario;

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

"That Dalton McGuinty start upholding the standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability, make the protection of the interests of all Ontarians a priority, and demand the resignation of David Caplan, the minister currently responsible for the lottery system."

I support this petition and affix my name to it.


Mr. Bas Balkissoon (Scarborough—Rouge River): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas over the past 25 years, obesity rates have more than tripled for Canadian children between the ages of 12 and 17; and

"Whereas in Ontario, less than half of students beyond Grade 9 take gym classes, a small fraction are involved in school sports programs, and adolescents who are inactive at school are unlikely to be physically active elsewhere; and

"Whereas Canada's Physical Activity Guide recommends that adolescents get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily; and

"Whereas a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools would result in an increase in adolescents being active;

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

"That the Ministry of Education add a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools."

I support this petition and affix my signature to it. I will have page Jacob deliver it to the table.


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

"Whereas childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past two decades in Canada; and

"Whereas the annual amount of money the health care system uses to mend preventable obesity-related illnesses is $1.6 billion; and

"Whereas the Ontario food premises regulation only provides safety policies that must be followed by the Ontario school boards' cafeterias, but no defined regulations regarding the nutrition standard of the food being served at the cafeterias; and

"Whereas there is a need to encourage nutritious standards in high school cafeterias that support Canada's Guidelines for Healthy Eating; and

"Whereas the private member's bill proposed by Nupur Dogra under Making the Grade and her fellow students at Iroquois Ridge High School will require all Ontario school boards' cafeterias to adopt and abide [by] healthier eating standards (similar to Canada's Guidelines for Healthy Eating) that will govern the food choices;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to pass the private member's bill that will amend the Ontario school boards' cafeteria food guidelines to follow healthier food standards in all Ontario high school cafeterias."



Mrs. Maria Van Bommel (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex): I want to thank my colleague the member from Niagara Falls for allowing me to present this petition.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas over the past 25 years, obesity rates have more than tripled for Canadian children between the ages of 12 and 17; and

"Whereas in Ontario, less than half of students beyond grade 9 take gym classes, a small fraction are involved in school sports programs, and adolescents who are inactive at school are unlikely to be physically active elsewhere; and

"Whereas Canada's Physical Activity Guide recommends that adolescents get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily; and

"Whereas a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools would result in an increase in adolescents being active;

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

"That the Ministry of Education add a second compulsory physical education credit for secondary schools."

I also agree with this and I add my signature to it as well.



Mr. John Tory (Leader of the Opposition): I move, that, in the opinion of this House, the Premier has failed to ensure the highest level of integrity and responsibility for his ministers, the most recent example being when lottery-playing Ontario citizens were ripped off and the minister responsible sat idly by and did nothing;

That, in the opinion of this House, the McGuinty government as a whole has breached the faith of the people of Ontario, has failed to protect their interests, failed to address the urgent issues facing them and their pocketbooks, and failed to deliver meaningful results; and

That, in the opinion of this House, the Premier should start upholding standards of integrity, responsibility, and accountability.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Michael Prue): Mr. Tory has moved opposition day motion number 1. The leader of the official opposition.

Mr. Tory: I could talk to the second paragraph of this motion, with respect to failing to protect the interests of Ontario citizens, and probably cite any one of a hundred different examples. I could talk about failing to address the urgent issues facing them, many of which I did deal with in my response to the budget: no jobs plan, no addressing of the emergency room crisis, more students than ever studying in portables and so on, failure to deliver meaningful results; there are a hundred different things we could talk about there. But what I want to talk about today is really what the Premier has not done with respect to establishing some kind of reasonable standard that the people of Ontario, I think, have the right to expect with respect to what happens when the going gets tough, what happens when things are difficult, what happens when big issues that are of interest to the people of Ontario arise in a kind of crisis environment.

It's interesting, because I heard somebody say last week that when the going gets tough, Dalton gets going. The thing is that he gets going away from the House, away from responsibility, ducking and denying and dithering and blaming somebody else and so forth and so on. What we don't have is any kind of standard at all that I think is the reasonable kind that people would expect in the province of Ontario.

It was interesting to hear the comments of Hershell Ezrin. Hershell Ezrin is a very thoughtful man who's respected in all corners of all parties in politics in this province and in this country. He was on The Agenda on TVOntario the other night and he said something that was very short, very concise but very true: that when you're dealing with a standard like this—in this case, we're talking about that standard of behaviour, that standard of accountability, that standard of taking responsibility, that standard of integrity—the standard is set by the boss. That's what Mr. Ezrin said, and Mr. Ezrin was right.

So what standard do we see from Premier Dalton McGuinty when it comes to these kinds of matters, which I admit are difficult, because they deal with difficult issues? They're not necessarily simple issues. They often involve people and difficult decisions about people. So they're not simple. That's why they're the real test of leadership, because they are difficult.

We can go back to the Takhar matter, the Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. What did we have there? We had for the first time, I believe, in the history of Ontario a sitting cabinet minister who was found in breach of the integrity act—the first time in the history of Ontario. You would have thought that that was an event that required a singular response since it, in and of itself, was a singular event in the history of this province. The Integrity Commissioner found that the minister in question had engaged in egregious and reckless conduct. So it wasn't just one of these inadvertent oversights; it was egregious and reckless conduct. The same minister and the same government made a total sham of the freedom-of-information process, because we attempted to get some information that would help get to the bottom of what really went on in that instance and we were just stonewalled at all turns.

Frankly, Mr. Takhar sits in cabinet today as the Minister of Small Business. He was never asked to leave the cabinet. He never took the decision himself to leave the cabinet, which he should have done. So I think we began to see there what the standard was that Premier Dalton McGuinty would bring to these kinds of things: no accountability, no responsibility, no consequences if you do anything wrong or if anything bad happens on your watch and that the operative directions given to all concerned—stonewall. Stonewall, and if that doesn't work, try stonewalling.

I guess I should say by way of an admission here, we should have known better. When the lottery scandal came up—and none of us knew, of course, it was going to come up, on any side of this House—we should have known better. We should have remembered that a leopard doesn't change its spots.

Let's look at the history of the lottery scandal. The April e-mails—there were e-mails in April, six months before this minister and this Premier and everybody else associated with this said, "We knew nothing; we saw nothing; we didn't ask anybody any questions. We just sat on our cans in our respective offices and we did nothing." As I said in question period earlier today, when they say they did nothing, that's the part that does have the ring of truth about it; there's no question about that. But the operative instructions there, the standard set by the boss: play dumb. I know there are e-mails and they're back and forth with senior people in senior positions of this government tied directly to the minister's office and the Premier's office, but the operating standard: play dumb. I don't know who got those e-mails, who read them—we were all busy that day.

Then we move to the August meeting, where the Premier's office says, in respect to a matter that involved people being ripped off and defrauded of their money across this province, "Don't worry, it's just a communications problem." What do we have there? Well, we have on the one hand Mr. Wilson Lee. He has various people speaking for him now. It's incredible that you have a person who's a chief of staff—after all, what is that? It's just an adviser to a minister—and he's now got an official spokesperson, hired at great expense, in the Premier's office—a defeated Liberal candidate, I might add, who's going to be running again in the next election. He's now the official spokesperson for the chief of staff, and we have two different answers being given as to this August meeting. One is: "I have no recollection," which, by the way, were the same words used by one of the most famous figures in the Watergate scandal, at the hearings that took place back in 1973. The other one is, "I'm not sure if that meeting took place or not." So on the one hand, his spokesperson says he has no recollection. He, himself, says he's not sure if there was a meeting. There is a difference between the two, they don't have their story straight, but anyway, the bottom line is, no accountability, no responsibility, nothing.

In October, after they get caught, what do they do? They convene a meeting of all of their best spin doctors to try to spin a line. "Let's put something out there that explains this away in some way or other: These people win more often because they buy more tickets."

In March, what do they do? Mr. Brown is asked to walk the plank. We have no reports of anybody else who has been asked to pay any price, including, of course, in particular, the minister—the minister, to whom the board reports, who is responsible for the affairs of this. Mr. McGuinty, the Premier, was saying yesterday that this is an arms-length corporation, yet he's standing and in the same breath saying, "We brought in the changes; we told them to do this; we've reformed that," and so forth and so on. As I said yesterday, these are the shortest arms in the history of humankind that this government had wrapped all around this corporation. They've got people in there left, right and centre, sent in by them at all hours of the day and night—summer meetings, Sunday meetings and all the rest.

April—what do they do in April? They take the initiative to actually see that some other outside police service is called in. Did they take the initiative to see that an outside police service was called in when there were apparently some issues the OPP couldn't investigate? No, they didn't. They waited for Commissioner Julian Fantino to do it, and thank God he did; he stood up and did the right thing when this government wouldn't act. I commend the member for Leeds—Grenville and the member for Simcoe North and the others who stood in there with the Progressive Conservative caucus and continued to insist that there was a need for someone else to look at some aspects of this. That's not the fault of the OPP; it's the fault of this government, that lacked the guts to acknowledge that there was a need for an outside police service to be brought in.

So once again the standard is set by the boss: Send in the spin doctors. There's the standard set by the boss, Premier McGuinty.

Develop the diversionary tactics. There's the standard set by the boss, Dalton McGuinty.

Pay people huge sums of money when they leave and hope that they remain silent. There's the standard set by the boss, Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Leave it to the Commissioner of the OPP to show any leadership that's needed when it comes to bringing in an outside police service. There's the standard set by the boss, Dalton McGuinty.

Do nothing whatsoever to freeze or try and get back $12.5 million the Ombudsman says found its way into the wrong hands, even when a man shows up and says that money might belong to him. There's the standard set by the boss, Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Tar every retailer in Ontario with the dirty brush of saying they have all proven to be people who can't be trusted with the lottery or anything else. There's the standard set by the boss, Premier Dalton McGuinty.


Refuse to allow an independent investigation, an open, independent investigation to get to the bottom of all this and investigate things that no one is investigating today, including the role of the Premier's office and the minister's office—refuse to allow that investigation. There is the standard set by the boss, Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Refuse to ask your minister to be accountable and to resign his office, as parliamentary convention would suggest. There is the standard set by the boss, Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Refuse to make available the documents and the e-mails and the briefing notes and the calendars that would show who in the McGuinty government knew what, when they knew it and what they did about it. There is the standard, in refusing to make that information public, set by the boss, Premier Dalton McGuinty.

That is no standard at all. That is no leadership at all. That is weak leadership. That is an abdication of leadership. The standard set by the boss should be better. That's because the people of Ontario deserve better, the people who buy the lottery tickets deserve better, the employees of the lottery corporation deserve better and, quite frankly, the members of this Legislature deserve better than what they are getting from this Premier.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate? Is there any further debate?

Mr. Robert W. Runciman (Leeds—Grenville): It's passing strange that as you call for participation in this debate, the government members sit on their fannies and refuse to participate. I think my colleague just said it right. It's the same as Minister Caplan, who clearly sat on his fanny while everything was falling around his ears with respect to the lottery corporation and the potentially thousands of Ontarians who were ripped off of their winnings through ill-gotten gains—and who knows how? But we've certainly heard the Ombudsman suggest that it may have been through the actions of a limited number of retailers.

I want to talk about standards, and I'd especially like to speak briefly about ministerial responsibility. That's one of the key factors. Our leader, Mr. Tory, talked about Mr. Takhar, an earlier example of the lack of standards within the McGuinty government when it comes to the integrity and the performance of ministers of the McGuinty cabinet. We all know about that situation where he was found guilty of egregious and reckless conduct by the Integrity Commissioner. Yet Premier McGuinty adopted the Jean Chrétien mode of dealing with these crises within government by putting your head down and weathering it, hoping the press gallery loses interest, and if the press gallery loses interest, the opposition will lose interest and the public will lose interest, and we can go on, business as usual.

Regrettably, that's what happened in this situation. Mr. Takhar was moved out of that particular ministry that he was in, the Ministry of Transportation. In fact, this man, found guilty of egregious and reckless conduct, was rewarded with the creation of a new ministry, at taxpayers' expense. And of course, if he's doing anything of significant benefit to Ontarians, we are certainly being kept hidden from it. He sits in here and warms that chair, but beyond that, we're not sure—other than collecting his ministerial salary and driving in his government-paid, chauffeur-driven limousine. Beyond that, we're certainly unsure.

Now we have this situation with Minister Caplan, who has declined to do the honourable thing, and his leader, Mr. McGuinty, has declined to do what should be the responsible thing in his role as leader of the government and leader of the executive council. He has failed completely to require this individual to step aside while this cloud hangs over his head.

I was going through a book called Responsible Government, which was published by the Canadian Centre for Management Development and talks about the convention of ministerial responsibilities. There are a number of tenets here which would apply, but I'll just go through a couple of them. "Ministers are individually responsible to the Legislature for the powers Parliament has assigned to the portfolio each holds," and—this is a key one—"Ministers are individually responsible for their own actions, as well as for the actions" of their subordinates.

We know in this situation that at least six months prior to the revelations on the Fifth Estate television program, Minister Caplan's staff were advised of problems within the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Nothing was done to address this situation. The minister says he didn't know anything about this, didn't know about meetings going on, didn't know his staff were privy to the problems within the corporation that he has responsibility for. All of this begs the question, where was he? If he wasn't doing his job, if the staff weren't doing the job, where does the buck stop? This is a man who has to accept some degree of responsibility, but he does not want to. He comes in here and reads lines prepared by some high-priced Liberal consultant. We have to assume it's someone like Warren Kinsella, who has been party to all of this exercise in trying to cover up what has really been going on here and to minimize the problems and discredit the media that revealed it and, by extension, discredit Bob Edmonds, the senior who, regrettably and unfortunately, just passed away this past week. They made efforts to discredit his claim that he was cheated out of his rightful winnings through the lottery system. That's the kind of effort that has been undertaken by this minister and this government.

My leader talked about the key Liberal insiders. When we talk about insiders, this is key. We look at Don Guy, the former chief of staff to Premier McGuinty and now the head of their re-election team; Jim Warren, the former communications chief in Mr. McGuinty's office; and Warren Kinsella, the highly priced chief spinmeister of the Liberal Party of Ontario. These are the guys who got together on a Sunday and devised a strategy to try to discredit this, to minimize the impact, and to confuse and deceive the people of Ontario through their actions.

This is the sort of thing that we have tried to address as an official opposition. As Her Majesty's loyal opposition, we have a responsibility to raise these issues and draw very clear pictures, if you will, of the linkages with the Premier's office and the minister's office with respect to what has happened here and the attempts to minimize and keep this from public view. This is very important.

The opposition has limited numbers of tools available to it to try to continue to address this issue. The Premier and his ministers refuse to answer our questions in this House. Last night, we rang bells on a police complaints legislation bill before the House to try to get the government to do the right thing about an independent investigation, which they refused to do. During the ringing of those bells, Commissioner Fantino of the OPP agreed there should be an independent investigation. He was the one who responded to it. This government, this Premier, this minister, continually refused to address what was clearly a conflict that should have been addressed by the government.

There are certain things that we've heard over the years about a former Premier. They've tried to demonize Premier Harris. But I just want to talk about three things:

—Leadership: He always showed true leadership, whether you agreed with him or not.

—He kept his promises. Compare that record to Dalton McGuinty's.

—He respected the convention of ministerial responsibility.

I was one of the people who stepped aside when there was a suggestion that a young offender may have been identified when his mother was introduced in this Legislature during a throne speech. As a government, we consistently respected the convention of ministerial responsibility, something that this Liberal government and this Liberal Premier have consistently ignored, insulting the history of this place. It's truly unfortunate.

We are going to continue to press this case. This is a scandal with roots that extend into the Premier's office and the office of the minister of lotteries, and we're not going to let this die. We're going to continue to press and do our job as Her Majesty's official opposition.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean—Carleton): I guess you can't defend the indefensible, and that's why the members opposite aren't getting up to defend their minister right now.

Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke): Where are your notes, Lisa?

Ms. MacLeod: The notes are on their way.

The term "minister" comes from a Latin word meaning "servant," yet it seems to the crowd opposite that it actually means "snake-oil salesman."

I might be the youngest member in the Legislature, but I'm old enough to remember a few names such as Allan Grossman, Frank Miller and Allan Lawrence. Although I did not always agree with these people's policies—like Robert Nixon, Murray Elston, Andy Scott and even Elinor Caplan—they always did the right thing and put the people before their party. These were ministers who led by example. They stood up for the policies they represented and were ministers who were statesmen and spokespeople for their government.

Sometimes being a good minister means standing up, taking responsibility and stepping aside during times of upheaval. When their integrity or conduct is under question, they also step aside. History has shown that, more often than not, those ministers who have the most integrity, who have the guts to step aside during these times, are exonerated and their integrity is restored. On the other hand, ministers and government members who have fought tooth and nail, who resist all public suggestion and who deny and deny, end up on the other side of history. Alfonso Gagliano and Warren Kinsella's former boss David Dingwall come to mind when I think of these people.

Since the fall of 2003, Ontarians have seen ministers of the government, including the Premier, who have broken the law, betrayed the public trust, misled the public, made derogatory comments about northerners—and now a minister who does not seem to know what the word "responsibility" means. Ontarians deserve better, but instead they got Lottogate—not exactly a shining example of ministerial integrity.

I came across this article on Friday from the Toronto Star. It was from Linwood Barclay, and I want to read a little bit of it:

"It's time for an episode of our favourite TV crime drama, David Caplan, Lottery Investigator. In tonight's instalment, beautiful Winona Sultry comes to see Caplan with a problem that's right up his alley."

Sultry goes on to say, "Mr. Caplan? Excuse me, Mr. Caplan?"

Caplan says, "Oh, sorry, ma'am, I guess I nodded off at my desk here for a moment. What can I do for you?"

"... My name is Winona Sultry, and I want to hire you. I believe my $500,000 winning lottery ticket has been swiped by a lottery retailer.

"... Well, that's terrible! Let me just take some notes here so I can ... so I can ..."

"... Mr. Caplan? Hello?"

"... Whoa. Can you believe that? I nodded off again. So, what we need is a plan. We need to catch him in the act."

So anyway, he eventually tells her to start buying more lottery tickets, and so, "$738,000 later, Winona Sultry returns to Caplan's office with a new, winning ticket" of $50.

That's what Mr. Caplan was doing in this little article. Then he takes the side of the lottery retailer and sticks it to poor Winona Sultry.

But the frustration of the people—a minister who has been asleep at the switch, who is standing up sleeping, is very frustrating because, as you know, Mr. Speaker, in the spring of 2005, at least 50 media outlets across Canada reported on Lottogate. That was in the spring of 2005.

If the minister claims he didn't know a thing about Lottogate until October 15, 2006—that's a full 10 months later—we have to ask: Was he asleep at the switch or did he just not care?

It's all too obvious that, unfortunately for the people of Ontario, some members of the McGuinty government are either oblivious to the meaning of integrity or are not choosing to show any.

Since 2003, as I mentioned, we have seen ministers act without the bounds of their public office. Instead of integrity, we have seen the same Liberal advisers who were called in front of the Gomery commission giving public relations advice to the OLG. It seems like an odd choice to me, because Adscam was not exactly a stellar and winning moment for Warren Kinsella's former bosses.

Just as I close—because I know that many of my colleagues would actually like to join the debate, unlike the members opposite—I think John Tory knows a thing or two about integrity, and that's why I'm proud to serve under John Tory and the Progressive Conservative Party. That's why I think today that this debate is very critical for the integrity of this place and the integrity of democracy.

I encourage other members, even the members of the Liberal Party, to actually stand up and debate this motion.

Mr. Paul Ferreira (York South—Weston): It gives me great pride to be able to rise in the House today for what is ostensibly my inaugural speech in this place. Given that, my remarks will be rather personal. I just want my colleagues here in the House to be aware of that.

Over the past two and a half weeks, I've been given a number of opportunities to rise for questions—earlier this week, in fact—and other shorter interjections, which I have tried to use as effectively as possible. I hope that I've been able to fit in with the environment of this place.

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): You're doing fine.

Mr. Ferreira: My learned friend from Niagara Centre says I've been doing fine.

I will say that if there is one advantage to being a member of a small but growing caucus, it's that my colleagues, some of whom have served here for a very long period of time and are in fact distinguished members, have thrown me into the deep end headfirst right from the beginning. For that, I'm immensely appreciative, even when it seems at times that it's a trial by fire.

I'm proud to be in this House for a host of important reasons. I'll expand upon those during my comments, and I ask for the indulgence of my colleagues, especially those from the official opposition, who have tabled a quite important motion here this afternoon. My comments will stray somewhat from that motion, and for that I ask for their understanding.

I want to begin by thanking the good people of York South—Weston for entrusting me with their vote on February 8 and for sending me to this place to be their voice and their champion. I hope to do them proud.

York South—Weston is a very special place. It's a place where men, women and children from all over the world come to start new lives. It's a place with unique, special communities with long, strong histories and traditions that are safeguarded by successive generations. I want to spend some time talking about some of these communities.

One of them that is integral to the health and well-being of my riding is the village of Weston. Yes, despite the spread of urban density, the village has managed to maintain many of its attributes, particularly in its residential section.

For those who do not know, Weston is a place that grew out of the Humber River. In a brief article by Cherri Hurst, of the Weston Historical Society, we learn of the transformation of Weston over the ages. I'm going to read from her article:

"Majestic oak, maple and elm trees stand tall as they line the Carrying Place Trail. Animals such as deer, bear and wolves roam freely and the salmon struggles its way through the powerful waters of the Humber River. Members of the Ojibwa tribe pay their respects to fallen comrades with two burial grounds.

"Then, years later, around 1792, John Countryman, a member of a survey crew sent to map out the Humber River, is so pleased with the oak and pine bush that he builds a sawmill on the west bank. More settlers follow, attracted by the 20-foot drop in the river that affords excellent power for saw and grist mills.

"The days turn into years, and in spite of fires and floods the hamlet is now an incorporated village. Industries owned by generations of the same family thrive. Schools, churches and a handsome two-storey town hall attest to the village's motto, 'Equal justice for all,' After the turn of the century, you can walk down Main Street by the light of the new electric street lamps. You can also peruse the books in the new public library or enjoy a round of four-hole golf" at what would become the Weston Golf and Country Club, a very famous club indeed. "By 1915, the busy and bustling village is now a town. Time marches on, as do the soldiers that go off to two World Wars. Hurricane Hazel releases her fury on the town in such a way as to mark it forever.

"The love and pride that Westonites have for their town, their homes and their neighbourhood has shone through in good times and bad."

That was from an article by Cherri Hurst, of the Weston Historical Society. Indeed, it is that love and pride of Weston that draws many who left years and decades before to return to their home village.

The community of Mount Dennis, located just south of Weston along Weston Road, is another place with a powerful legacy. Mount Dennis was, at one time, a great hub of industry. Perched at the top of a hill centred around Weston Road and Eglinton Avenue West, Mount Dennis features magnificent views and vistas of what has become downtown Toronto.


Unfortunately, many of the industrial jobs have been lost, especially over the past two decades. Most recently, Kodak, which had a sprawling campus at Black Creek and Eglinton, became a victim of technological innovation and shut down its plant in Mount Dennis, a plant that in its heyday employed thousands of locals in very well paying jobs. The Kodak lands will soon be transformed into commercial and retail space and provide a new type of employment—not as well paying but a new type of employment. It will signal the end of one chapter in the history of Mount Dennis but the beginning of another.

Mount Dennis is a place blessed by its proximity to natural beauty. The nearby Eglinton Flats—and I invite all members to come out some day soon—is a vibrant and verdant oasis set smack dab in the middle of the big city. The pond is home to many fish, where young anglers willing to try their luck on a warm Sunday evening cast their lure into the water. It's a place for community picnics, sporting events and quiet reflection among nature's beauty.

South of Mount Dennis is the neighbourhood of Lambton Park, a place where the homes are mostly modest but where residents are house-proud. Local residents see their neighbourhood as a hidden jewel within close proximity to downtown Toronto but with affordable real estate and easy access to the rest of our great capital city here in Ontario.

Somewhat east of Lambton Park is the community of Silverthorn. Silverthorn features an incredible mix of cultural diversity among its snake-like streets, which climb up and down Eglinton Hill in the west end of Toronto. Many of the homes were built by hand by the original owners and inhabitants and passed from one generation to another. You can knock on 20 doors in Silverthorn and speak to residents from 20 different countries of origin. It's that diversity that makes Silverthorn stand out.

North of Silverthorn are residential communities centred around streets like Gulliver, Maple Leaf, Falstaff, Rustic and others, and again, the overwhelming feature is the diversity of the incredible people who call these neighbourhoods home.

These are people who come to York South—Weston to pursue their dreams. Some are descendants of those who came 200 years and 300 years ago, others came in the 1940s and 1950s, and still many others have come more recently. They have come here to contribute and to make a better life for themselves and their children.

My own background speaks to this. I am very proud to be the first member of this House of Azorean heritage. I know that in our community, my victory on February 8 was a momentous occasion. I am the third one of Portuguese origin, and I want to salute my two friends who have been here before me: first, the member from Mississauga East, who was born on the Portuguese mainland, and the former member for Mississauga East, Mr. DeFaria, who also served in the previous government as a minister of the crown and who was born in one of the former Portuguese colonies. We are the three, and as I mentioned, I am the first born in the Azores.

I mentioned that I would get into some personal stories about my own background. I would not be here today if it were not for the tremendous determination of my maternal grandmother, Lourdes Furtado. My grandmother was left a young widow with five young children, and in 1950s Portugal this made life a daunting and difficult journey indeed. The house my grandmother and her children, including my mom, grew up in had a dirt floor, with no running water.

It was from those trying conditions that my grandmother decided she wanted to give her kids a better life. She had a brother who had come to Canada in the early 1950s. He was among the very first Portuguese migrants who came to Canada in the early 1950s who worked away and really helped build our city and our province in the construction sector. My grandmother wrote to her brother, who was here in the west end of Toronto, asking if there was any way that she and the kids could join him and his family here. It was tough. My great-uncle was a labourer. He was supporting a wife and kids of his own. But they got together, I suppose as siblings do, and they devised a plan, and they started to execute that plan.

First, he sponsored my grandmother and her youngest child, who happened to be my uncle Joe, and they arrived in Canada in 1965. They settled in Brampton, a place that would eventually become my Canadian hometown. For the next 14 years, my grandmother Lourdes toiled away as a cleaner of homes and offices; my, how she toiled and struggled to make ends meet. Every two or three years she would have enough money to be able to sponsor and bring over another child. First it was my uncle John, then it was my aunt Connie, and then my other aunt, Dora. Every two or three years, another one would arrive.

By 1979, my mom, Filomena, who was the eldest of the five Furtado kids, was next. By then, she was a 29-year-old housewife, married to a man named Gilberto Ferreira and with two small kids of her own: a four-year-old daughter, and what I would describe as a bright, precocious six-year-old named Paul, who spent most of his days running through the pineapple plantations that his dad's family happened to manage and to run, not knowing at all what would be in his future.

As a result of my grandmother's immense dedication and sacrifice, my mom, my dad, my sister and I left the island of Sà£o Miguel for good in March 1979. We landed at Mirabel airport in Montreal, which we know was a receiving point for many new Canadians from all over the world. I vividly recall stepping off that Air Canada jet, my dad clutching me tightly, with these strange white things falling from the sky. They were snowflakes, and I reached out to try and catch some. I would later learn from my cousins and relatives that that's what we call "snow" in English. Mr. Speaker and my colleagues here, if you can only imagine the sense of awe and wonderment in the eyes of a six-year-old child that day.

Our journey to a new home and a new future would end in Brampton. As I mention Brampton, I think it's important to pay special tribute to one of Brampton's most distinguished and important residents, Mr. Davis, a former Premier who I know played a key role in the career path of the present leader of the official opposition. Mr. Davis is someone who has been described by many as the education Premier, and it is largely as a result of the education system that he built in this province that my sister and I were able to so quickly integrate into our new home.

It wasn't easy. It certainly wasn't easy for my parents, who arrived with very little, aside from a couple of suitcases brimming with a few prized possessions and two little kids. We arrived in Brampton, and for the first year we lived in subsidized housing on Ardglen Drive in Brampton. We were very, very grateful to have a roof over our heads.

One week after arriving, my dad took a job at a steel plant north of Toronto. He became a proud steelworker, and to this day, 28 years and three weeks later, he works at that same steel plant. In what was perhaps my proudest moment on election night, my dad, who was working the night shift that night—he is the maintenance guy at his plant, so if something breaks down, he's got to be there to fix it—was able to get away from his shift to join me at my victory celebration. It's something that will live with me forever, that he was able to partake in such an important moment.

My mom took a job in a poultry plant. If any of you in this House have been in a poultry plant, it is not the most ideal of working conditions, but there she was on the line, working for more than a decade until her back gave out and she became an injured worker and joined the multitudes of injured workers across this province who ask their government for adequate support and protection.


Throughout those years, my parents scrimped and saved and sacrificed. Because of that, within a year or shortly thereafter, they were able to buy their first home in Brampton. Shortly after that, a third child arrived, my youngest sister, Linda. We were able to succeed. Indeed, we flourished and began to see the potential and the rich opportunity provided by this great new country of ours, Canada. To this day, when I speak to my sisters and now to my nephew and my two nieces, life in Canada has become a treasured gift for us. We will never forget the opportunity this country has given us.

My parents worked and upgraded houses, as many immigrants do. They were able to send their three kids off to university. In fact, in my entire family, I was the very first to go and receive a university education. I—


Mr. Ferreira: Thank you, my friend from Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot.

Upon graduating from the Carleton University school of journalism, I felt a very strong impulse to give back, to repay what had been given to me. I embarked upon a professional career, but I also was bitten by the political bug. In fact, my first campaign for public office was in Brampton in 1997 where, as a 24year-old, I became one of the first Portuguese-Canadians to seek federal office. In that election, I was not successful, but I thought I did well enough that I would continue to pursue it. I had been bitten by the bug, and there was no turning back. Politics became a passion, and one which I pursued unwaveringly—some would argue perhaps foolishly, but here I am in any case. I pursued it with much vigour—


Mr. Ferreira: That's right. I think my friend from Niagara Centre looks great after 17 years here, and I think he's got at least 17 more. The intervening—

Mr. Kormos: With medicine today—

Mr. Ferreira: He's got more hair than I do, so he scores on that.

In those intervening 10 years, I ran for office a couple of more times, and I kept getting closer and closer. I was determined to follow my path, and I received an incredible amount of support from my family and loved ones, including my beloved partner, Tim, who has been with me on this journey every step of the way for the past eight and a half years. I know the toll it's taken on our personal lives, and I believe that all members in this place also recognize the toll that running for office and holding elected office takes on our family lives and on our family responsibilities. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our family members for supporting us as we pursue our efforts to serve the public.

My political journey, or at least this chapter in my political journey—and I hope there are many chapters beyond this particular one—climaxed on February 8, when I was elected as the new member of provincial Parliament for the great riding of York South—Weston. I realize that I have some awfully big shoes to fill. My riding is one that has been represented in this place by some great parliamentarians. Indeed it was represented here by the first very leader of the Ontario Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, CCF, a man by the name of Ted Jolliffe. York South was also represented by a member of great stature who served in this place for almost three decades continuously. As he still likes to remind me—he says to me, "Paul, I won nine elections straight and they were all by bigger margins than your margin on February 8." Of course, that's Donald C. MacDonald, who served here from 1955 until 1982, and for most of that time was leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party and indeed has had a profound impact on the life of this province and political discourse in this province.

My party had another leader representing York South. He has decided to pursue his fame and fortune in Rosedale most recently and we wish him well. More recently, the people of my riding—


Mr. Ferreira: Not so much. We'll see how he does. I understand that tomorrow, in fact, the New Democratic Party of Canada will be announcing a terrific, dynamic candidate to run in Toronto Centre—Rosedale, a progressive lawyer named El-Farouk Khaki, who I think is going to give Rosedale Bobby a real run for his money. But that's just my—

Mr. Kormos: I'm giving him a couple of hundred bucks.

Mr. Ferreira: I think I'll raise you $200, Peter. I think you can do better than that, Peter.

More recently, we've been represented by members who happen to sit on the government side. York South—Weston was represented by the former Minister of Education and also capably by the former Minister of Economic Development, who was my immediate predecessor. I know, in fact, that I owe many of their supporters gratitude for supporting me and helping me achieve victory on February 8. Indeed, I had support from a number of voters who considered themselves of the blue persuasion, Progressive Conservatives, and I thank them as well.

So here I am in this House, wanting to be an effective voice for the constituents, for the residents of my riding, and their needs are great. The average household income in my riding—and it certainly has received a lot of column inches and much time on television and on radio—is $45,000 a year. That's the second-lowest in the entire province. These are people, the residents, the constituents of York South—Weston, who look for their government to deliver the tools, the resources, the supports to help them get ahead. I do not believe, and I say this respectfully, that this particular government has delivered in the manner that it should have. We've heard of the budget and the measures in that budget. I think it is unfortunate that the measures that will help the most, the neediest are forced to wait four and five years to receive the full impact of those measures. This government should be held to account for that.

The motion that has been presented here today by my friends with the official opposition is an important one because it speaks to the deficiency of this government. This government promised us a lot, three and a half years ago. Unfortunately, they haven't delivered enough. We've seen, over the past week and a half, a very serious issue emerge that shakes the confidence of Ontarians, and this government has been unwilling to respond, to take responsibility, to be accountable, to be transparent. In my mind, that's unacceptable. That's why I stand here to say that I support the motion put forward by the leader of the official opposition. I believe it is a timely one and it's one that needs to be raised in this House. I sincerely hope that the members opposite listen carefully and listen clearly to this motion because it speaks to the deficiencies, the negligence, the lack of follow-through on their promises. Ultimately, the final word on this motion will be spoken in October, when the people of Ontario have a chance to cast their votes, and I think their decision will perhaps surprise a lot of the members on the government side of this House.


I want to conclude by saying how absolutely privileged I am to be here, but in this day and age, the six-year-old who comes from Bangladesh, El Salvador or Ghana I don't believe is being given the same opportunities to succeed that I was given as a six-year-old arriving from the Azores, and that is not acceptable to me. I believe it's not acceptable to many members of this House. It certainly is not acceptable to my nine colleagues in the New Democratic Party caucus. That's why we have to continue to stand up for the interests of those who are marginalized, who are neglected and who are left behind. That's certainly what I plan to do during my time here, and I hope that will be a lengthy time.

Mrs. Carol Mitchell (Huron—Bruce): I know you're anxious to hear from me, but before I start, I want to congratulate the member from York South—Weston on his maiden speech and the story that you told of your life. I want to thank you for that and congratulate you.

The member from Nepean—Carleton made a comment about Murray Elston. I too support that he was an outstanding member, as he represented the riding that I do—and that's all I support. We'll go with that, and now I shall begin.

It's certainly—I wouldn't want to say "a pleasure," because it isn't, but in a way it is. It really is my pleasure to rise today to talk about the absolutely absurd accusations by the official opposition. One of the things that happened to me when I first took over government—I simply could not believe the mess that everything was in. For the opposite side to sit there, and the comments that they make, I find absolutely ludicrous.

When we took over government, in our constituent offices the state of the government in what we saw with birth certificates, family responsibilities, so many of the services, were simply in a crisis state. Then I hear members of the House stand up, specifically the member from Leeds—Grenville, with absolute pride in his voice when he talks about Mike Harris, what he did. I know you're very fond of sayings across the way. How about this one? "Cut first; worry about the consequences later." Who does that remind you of?

I want to go back to the reference that the member from Leeds—Grenville made to Mike Harris with absolute pride. Those are other things that we could talk about because that was how that government ran: "Fly by the seat of your pants." There's another little saying that one could go by.

Let's talk specifically about the health record, because I know that a lot of Ontarians are very concerned about the health record. The Tory health record: cut $557 million from hospitals over two years; ordered 28 hospitals closed; closed 5,000 hospital beds; fired thousands of nurses. Oh, we're fond of our little sayings. Here's another one for you over across the way: "that nurses were as old-fashioned as hula hoops." Do you remember that saying?

Who was that who said that with the pride in their voice from across the way? The member for Leeds—Grenville, with pride in his voice, when he talked about Mike Harris. He said what he said, and he did say what he said. What did he say? That nurses were as old-fashioned as hula hoops. That's what he said.

Then we can go back to the third party, who absolutely failed to address medical school spaces. Where were we? What did you think was happening in the rural communities when doctor shortages were happening? What were you doing? A number of members across the way who are here today: You were in cabinet. What did you do? I can tell you, from across the way, here's another little saying that we're fond of around our area: You say as you do and you do as you say. That's a foreign concept from across the way.

Since we're going to talk about some other little comments here, let's talk about—


Mrs. Mitchell: Oh, come, come, come now. I didn't interrupt you when you were talking.

The Acting Speaker: Order, please. We've been quite good with each other this afternoon until this point. I understand the spirit in the debate, but if you would give the member from Huron—Bruce your undivided attention.

Mrs. Mitchell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

One of the things that members from this side of the House take a great deal of pride in is that we respect tradition and we would never consider having a budget not brought down in the House. But who did that? The Magna budget. Why would they have done the Magna budget? Let's talk about that. Now we have to go back to our little sayings again from across the way: A leopard doesn't change its spots. That was what the leader of the official opposition—this is another little saying: "A leopard never changes its spots." I can only take from that that I can expect from the opposite side of the House that they would do it again if they had another chance. A leopard never changes its spots. Pride in the voice of the member from Leeds—Grenville when he talks about Mike Harris. So I can only think that the budget would move again.

Why was it moved? When we took over government, there was a $5.5-billion deficit. That's good government. I just want to say, the budget was brought down, and one of my press members said—we were debating and his final comments were, "You know what? The McGuinty government did something neither the NDP nor the Tory government could do." And what was that? We balanced the budget. You never could do that. In the best of economic times—

Interjection: You sold the 407.

Mrs. Mitchell: You sold the 407. Here's another saying: You sold us down the river. That's another saying.

When I think about that, how could that be? In the best of economic times, we couldn't balance the budget. So when we talk about transparency and accountability, who then was—


Mrs. Mitchell: Let's not forget the saying from the heckling across the way—a leopard never changes its spots—as spoken by your leader. So we know that, given half a chance, you'd fire our meat inspectors; you'd fire our water inspectors; consultants back on the table; expenses up 21%—we've worked hard to bring those down but you'd bring those back up—advertising back on again.

Let's just think about this for a minute. I was watching the news. Who do you think was on there and what was his saying? It was a catchy little saying, because we're fond of catchy little sayings. I'm very fond of this one today: A leopard never changes its spots. And when we saw the Prime Minister, he was making an announcement on wait-time strategies and he had a clever little saying, but I can't remember what it was. I know there are other speakers who are anxious to come up and speak and I know they'll think of it.

Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): Reducing the queue.

Mrs. Mitchell: Reducing the queue. Isn't that clever? No, taming the queue. There's another clever little saying from the opposite side over there, because we know how fond you are of them.

One of the things that I also wanted to talk about—



Mrs. Mitchell: Yes. Well, I know there's pride over on the other side there.

One of the other little comments that—I just wanted to expand; I'm very fond of those sayings—we had from the other side was, what standard do we see from the opposite side? Let's think about what standard we see from this side going over there. I can't help but go back to what we saw as a government from the Mike Harris Tory government, because we know how supportive—the member from Leeds—Grenville spoke repeatedly of how supportive he was of Mike Harris.

I represent a rural community, and I know you're all anxious to hear about that. One of the things that I did want to talk about—and I only have a little bit of time left, so I'm just going to have to get onto that. I know you're going to be disappointed that I don't have more time. But one of the things that I do want to talk about is the increased investment in health care and education and also to the agricultural sector.

We understand that at times it has been a difficult period for the agricultural sector. We have committed over $900 million over the last three years and we've also increased the baseline budget for OMAFRA. One of the things that has to be said, because I know that there were comments a number of times from across the way—they talk and they talk, and they talk about the agricultural budget. But where I'm from, they closed agricultural offices: gone. I tell you, they just came in, shut them down. And when we talk about consultation and what can happen, it really doesn't happen: They just come in and they shut down. A leopard doesn't change its spots, as spoken by the leader of the opposition, as Mike Harris, as supported by the member from Leeds—Grenville. We see all the connection.

But the agriculture budget at OMAFRA was not cut. This government increased the budget, and that hasn't happened, we haven't seen that, in the last 15 years. So that's what I have to say. I also want to mention, as a representative from the riding of Huron—Bruce, all of the good work that is happening when I see the budget and the difference that it has made in my riding.

I know that one of the things we have heard about, and this is just one specific thing that I wanted to take just a minute to talk about, was from the energy sector. We produce 25% of the energy from the riding of Huron—Bruce to the province of Ontario. The commitment for the transmission is our highway to prosperity, and that was recognized by the need from our riding in the budget. So once again, we recognize the work that needs to be done, and—well, I just have to say that I've run out of time, unfortunately. I do know that the members opposite are delighted we're engaged, and we're prepared to talk all night if that's what it's going to take.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate. But before I recognize the next debater, the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke is having a good time, but I would ask that he keep it a little lower.

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): I'm pleased to participate in the debate. I'd like to refocus for those who perhaps have just joined the proceedings and remind the House that we're debating John Tory's opposition day motion, which reads in part as follows:

"That, in the opinion of this House, the Premier has failed to ensure the highest level of integrity and responsibility for his ministers, the most recent example being when lottery-playing Ontario citizens were ripped off and the minister responsible sat idly by and did nothing;

"That, in the opinion of this House, the McGuinty government as a whole has breached the faith of the people of Ontario, has failed to protect their interests, failed to address the urgent issues facing them … and failed to deliver meaningful results; and

"That, in the opinion of this House, the Premier should start upholding standards of integrity, responsibility, and accountability."

I find it interesting that we've just had a performance from a member of the Liberal caucus, who I'm sure was very entertaining to some people who were watching these proceedings, but I wonder how many of her constituents were wondering, "Why this show? Why this performance, when we have in front of us in this House a very serious issue; we have a very serious resolution that speaks to the integrity of the government?" Rather than spend the time that she did performing a sideshow, she might, with some integrity, have responded to the resolution that's before the House.

The reality is that people across the province are looking for leadership; they're looking for integrity from their elected politicians. They're not getting it from this Premier.

This Lottogate scandal was an opportunity for the Premier of this province to show his leadership. The role of government should be that of trustee of fairness, of equity and of justice. If we can't count on our government and the leadership of our government to deliver that, then there is true failure. We're suggesting that as the people of this province observe what is happening here, in these circumstances, they are seeing a void of leadership and a deficit of integrity.

All we have to do is look at the most recent demonstration by the Premier of how he is treating this very serious issue, where hundreds of Ontarians were defrauded of millions of dollars through the inefficiencies of a crown corporation and through a minister who, on his watch, allowed this defrauding to take place and now does not himself have the integrity to step aside while the investigation takes place, and the Premier of this province does not have the integrity to ask him to step aside.

I want, just for the record, to point out to the people of this province that not only is the Premier not taking that responsibility, but as recently as yesterday, he shifted the blame for what took place to hard-working Ontarians and, in his own words, blamed convenience store owners and operators in this province for the mismanagement of his own government.

I issued a press release today, the heading of which is, "Dalton McGuinty's Insulting Comments Not Worthy of a Premier." I refer to the fact that the Premier of Ontario has insulted and denigrated the reputation and the character of thousands of people in this province by painting them all with the same brush, and he has said they are not worthy of being trusted; they are untrustworthy. That is the message from the Premier of this province.

I've called on the Premier to issue a formal apology to every single individual who owns or operates or works at a convenience store in this province. These are hard-working people. Many of these people are immigrants who have come to this country, to this province, and have invested their hard-earned money and are working day in and day out. For the Premier of this province to publicly make the statement that they not worthy of trust is unconscionable. If the Premier has any integrity at all, he will issue a formal apology, and we look forward to seeing that. I doubt very much, however, given the performance and the track record of Dalton McGuinty, that we'll see that.

Mr. Kormos: I'm grateful to my colleague from York South—Weston for leaving me 15 minutes in which to speak in support of this resolution.

Look, the problem is that the government has been running a crooked game. That's what the Ombudsman discovered: people ripped off, to the tune of millions of dollars.



The Acting Speaker: Are you objecting to that?

Mr. Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): Yes, I am. I don't think it's appropriate to say that.

Mr. Klees: It was wrong for the government to do that.

Mr. Patten: The government didn't do it, and you know damned well.

The Acting Speaker: Order, please. First of all, if you would withdraw that statement.

Mr. Patten: I withdraw that statement.

The Acting Speaker: I would caution the member to be careful with his language.

Mr. Kormos: Let me put it this way: Back when I was a kid living down in the south end of Crowland on King south, Nick Penkov with his craps game upstairs at Bill's pool hall on Saturday night—and as a kid I watched it many a time. All the Niagara Falls guys came in, and they had names like Joe Mountain and names like that. There were thousands of dollars that passed that table at that craps game upstairs at Bill's pool hall. Let me tell you: not a single bettor ever didn't get paid off when they won. Nick Penkov ran a straight game; everybody knew it. That's why guys were prepared to bet Nick's craps game upstairs at Bill's pool hall. The pool hall's gone now; Nick's gone too. I was a pallbearer at his funeral.

The poker game downstairs at Blackbeard's pool hall: They'd go on from Saturday night, 11 o'clock, down through to Sunday morning, 7, 8, 9 a.m., and let me tell you, at the poker games at Blackbeard's pool hall, thousands of dollars were bet on a given night, but nobody never got paid off on a bet they won.

Louie Gale ran his book out of the pool hall itself. Louie Gale ran book for all the time I knew him. That was a good 25 years, and he'd been running book before that. Louie's dead now too. But let me tell you, Louie always paid up. Nobody who bet with Louie Gale ever got ripped off.

That's not the case with people who bet with the government's OLG. What the Ombudsman is telling us—and it's irrefutable, undeniable, not capable of being debated—is that hard-working Ontarians showing up on a Saturday evening at their convenience store with their loonie or their toonie in hand, knowing that the odds of winning aren't very good—that makes it all the more important that you don't skewer those odds, doesn't it? Those people with their loonie and their toonie, playing the 6/49, the Super 7, the Ontario 49 or whatever else there might be out there would have been better off placing bets on the Fort Erie track with Louie Gale. Those people, those hard-working Ontarians who go to that lottery terminal in the corner store on a Saturday night would have been better off shooting craps up at Penkov's game upstairs.

Those hard-working Ontarians who figured, "If you can't trust a government game, who can you trust?" as things turned out, would have been better off going down to Blackbeard's pool hall and playing some seven card stud, or maybe placing their bets with—remember Ace Ellis over at the Dexter Hotel? Ace used to keep his betting slips, but he kept them on flash paper. Do you know what flash paper is? Flash paper is, when you ignite it, it just goes "poof"; it disappears. There are barely ashes left. But Ace Ellis used to keep his betting slips under his wig. You're too young, Mr. Hudak. Ace was making book in the Dexter, again, for as long as I can remember, and I was probably 14 or 15 years old the first time I was in there watching Ace taking bets at the Dexter Hotel. Ontarians would have been far safer, far better off placing bets with Ace Ellis, with the flash paper betting slips hidden under his wig than they would with the government of Ontario.

We're lucky. Down in Niagara, where Mr. Hudak and I come from, if we want to bet a safe two-dollar lottery, we can just cross the bridge and do the New York state. That's what Ontarians are doing down there. See, people have lost trust, they've lost confidence in Dalton McGuinty's lottery gaming enterprise—big Dalton. Dalton has thrown thousands of Ontarians—maybe more—to the fishes. Dalton and the Liberal government have all but cement-booted thousands of honest Ontarians who simply wanted the odds to be as they were stated.

We're not talking about one incident of an irregularity. We're not talking about one incident of a mix-up. What did the Ombudsman say? Hundreds of millions of dollars being ripped off from hard-working Ontarians. Not only that, but we're also told that hospitals and charities were being cheated—cheated, Speaker. They weren't being cheated by you. They weren't being cheated by the Conservative Party. They weren't being cheated by the New Democrat Party. They were being cheated by the Liberals of Ontario and the Dalton McGuinty government. At the end of the day—you know, the cabinet minister with the high-priced, expensive suit and the Gucci shoes and the big fat pinky rings and the car and driver—the Lincoln Town Car, the long-wheelbase town car—being driven from Bistro 990 to Truffles perhaps up at the corner of Bloor and Avenue Road, maybe a stop by Sassafraz on Yorkville Avenue—I'm sorry, the fire put them out of business for a while; the cabinet minister has been doing without the $18 martinis—meeting with the Duncan Browns and the high-priced CEOs and chairs of boards of directors of places like OLG.

What were they talking about? That's the job of the minister. Do you understand what I'm saying? It's the job of the minister to meet with these people, because at the end of the day it's called ministerial accountability. Where I come from it means that the buck stops there. That's what Ontarians understand. The minister doesn't seem to understand it. The Premier of Ontario, Mr. McGuinty, doesn't seem to understand it.

You see, there's a problem here, and that's because there's no doubt that there's a crooked game being run and that people were being ripped off, to the tune of millions of dollars. There's no doubt about that. That is beyond debate. The issue is, did the minister know about it? And if he did, what did he do about it? Or in the alternative, was the minister not aware of it? And then that begs the question, why not?

Here's the minister, who just makes himself another $30,000 a year with his salary increase, playing—what is it?—hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Come on. The minister wants to say that he was like the piano player in the brothel who didn't know what was going on upstairs. But what we do know as well, and this is irrefutable, beyond debate, not questionable, is that—who's the gaggle of Liberal fixers, Liberal hit men? What's the Liberal SWAT team that gets called in when all hell breaks loose because CBC has got a hold of the Bob Edmonds story? One Jim Warren: Jim Warren and Mr. McGuinty—tight; we're talking about two guys who are tight. Warren Kinsella: Dalton McGuinty and Warren Kinsella—tight; we're talking tight. And then you've got the other hangers-on; you've got the Lopinskis, perhaps. Who are some of the other big Liberal fat-cat players involved in that? Don Guy—


Mr. Yakabuski: Don Guy, Warren Kinsella, Jim Warren.

Mr. Kormos: —Yakabuski says.


Mr. Kormos: Well, I'm sorry. Dalton McGuinty doesn't belch without asking Warren Kinsella for his advice about it first. How true it is. These are people who were tight, and what were they brought in to do? They were brought in to fix the problem, to silence the sources. They were there to whack the story.

And how do they do that? How do they spin it? How does this Liberal gang of four, this Liberal hit team, respond? He's an 80-year-old man, God bless him, Mr. Edmonds, now dead. He'll never see the money. What do they do? Instead of saying, "Hey, let's deal with this issue," they say, "Let's spin this. We will lie; we will lie; we will lie." They did lie. They lied; they lied; they lied—Liberal Kinsella, Liberal Warren, Liberal Guy. Was Liberal Lopinski there as well? Was he part of the lie? "We will lie to the people of Ontario." They concoct a spin that's a lie, and the lie is one of those lies where it's lie big or go home. And it's quite frankly something where they probably should pay their retainer back, because it isn't the smartest lie in the world. It was a rather stupid lie, one that was rather readily exposed. They said, "Oh, well, the reason why retailers are making more money than the general public and winning more of it is because they gamble more."

Well, that's the quintessential illustration of the fallacy around odds. You know the question, don't you, Speaker? Flip a coin 20 times; it turns up heads every time. What are the odds on the 21st flip? The very same as they were on the first flip. The very same as they were on the first flip, right?

Mr. Yakabuski: I've heard that one before.

Mr. Kormos: Yakabuski knows that. The odds are the very same on the 21st time as they are on the first. That in and of itself reveals that the spin around, "Oh, they win more because they play more" is—look, the people of Ontario may want to shoot craps, but they don't want to hear crap from their government, and that's what they got from Warren Kinsella, Don Guy and Jim Warren.

The other question that is begged is this. Duncan Brown is gone. Folks sat down with Duncan Brown and they cut him a sweetheart deal. They said, "Duncan, you fall on your sword. You're going to try to take attention away from some of the other players." Clearly, Wilson Lee, executive assistant, former communications adviser to Mr. Caplan, says that Wilson Lee was advised by Ontario Lottery and Gaming that there was no problem and that the security systems were as secure as anybody could want. Clearly, people lied to Wilson Lee. And if people at OLG lied to Wilson Lee, if they did—as compared to other people lying about what they were told—how come Duncan Brown is the only one to go?

Was Duncan Brown alone? Was he, as has been suggested, some sort of rogue employee of OLG? Not bloody likely, Speaker. Just figure out the odds for yourself. The odds are that you have a government that knew full well that the OLG was running a crooked game. The odds are you've got a minister who knew what was going on, but instead of reacting and protecting the people of Ontario, he sent in the Liberal hit team to try to silence the source and spin it with lies. That's what the odds are, and I'd bet on that one any day; I'd bet the farm. So would the people of Ontario.

Mr. Leal: I appreciate having the opportunity to provide a few comments on this resolution. First of all, I want to say, as a person who's interested in history, that I enjoyed the big speech from the member for York South—Weston. I know that if he had the opportunity, he would have pointed out one other great fact about the Weston Golf and Country Club: In 1955, Arnold Palmer won the Canadian Open at the Weston Golf and County Club, and it was Mr. Palmer's first victory on the PGA Tour. He was there some years ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his victory. So the Weston Golf and Country Club has a great history, and I wanted to get that on the record.

I do want to spend some time talking about this resolution. It's interesting that we talk about integrity, we talk about veracity and we talk about honesty: Those are characteristics that all of us need in this place.

I want to read a letter that was sent to Mr. Tory from D. Paul Ayotte, who was chairman of the Peterborough area flood relief committee in November 2004. Mr. Ayotte now has the distinction of being mayor of the city of Peterborough.

"Dear Mr. Tory:

"As chairman of the Peterborough area flood relief committee, which is administering the ODRAP on behalf of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, I was somewhat taken aback by the comments attributed to you in a recent article in the Peterborough Examiner. The remarks were apparently made at a function at the Kawartha Golf and Country Club here in Peterborough. From your comments you are obviously not aware of the situation here and were either misinformed by your people or someone set you up.

"From my perspective the provincial government has been very supportive of our efforts to provide timely relief to those community members affected by the flood, both in visiting our community to provide moral support, and providing the funds that allowed our committee to advance approximately $2.1 million to local residential, small business, farm and not-for-profit claimants almost immediately. Your suggestion that the government has been slow to deliver flood funding is not accurate at all. I don't recall this advance funding having been provided in previous situations in Ontario where disasters had occurred and certainly not here in Peterborough in 2002.

"Ministry staff have been very supportive of our committee and have responded quickly to our needs and requests. Most recently our committee requested a review of the provincial policy that depreciated furnaces up to a maximum of 50%. We passed a motion requesting that depreciation be limited to up to 25% of the value. The ministry went well beyond that and agreed to fund replacement furnaces up to a maximum of $3,000 and we had our answer in about four days. So I don't know where you are coming from.

"While funding the extreme financial hardship cases 100% they also supported our creating an urgent needs category that allowed us to flow approximately $0.5 million to 279 families on a timely basis. This money will eventually come out of the funds raised by our committee and matched two to one by the province but was funded upfront by the province now. As a person who spent over 23 years in local government I can honestly say this has been the most positive experience I have had dealing with a provincial ministry.

"We expect private sector claims under ODRAP to be in the neighbourhood of $10 million but until we have those 3,802 claims adjusted and we know the results of our fundraising efforts, we don't even know how much we will need from the province. Why would you expect them to flow the money to us now? I can't speak for the municipality, which probably won't know how much damage it has suffered to its infrastructure until the frost comes out of the ground next spring, but I suspect they are in no position to spend millions of dollars until their constituents finish their assessment of the community needs and they meld those with their other works.

"There has also been a great deal of confusion about the $12.2-million-dollar threshold and what the federal government funding actually means to the citizens of Peterborough. Your remarks have perpetuated that. I hope in future your comments will be more founded in fact."

That's from D. Paul Ayotte, who was chairman of our flood relief committee and who is now the mayor of the city of Peterborough. He was clear: Integrity goes both ways when you're talking about a situation.


Let's talk about ministerial responsibility for a moment. I had the opportunity to watch the panel that was on TVO the other evening. That panel was made up of David Cooke, a very distinguished former member of this place; Sheila Copps, a formal federal member; Hershell Ezrin, who was chief principal secretary to Premier David Peterson; the member from Simcoe—Grey; and by satellite they had David Christopherson, a distinguished former member of this place who is now a federal member of Parliament in Ottawa.

It was very interesting what they talked about in terms of ministerial responsibility. They did say that when you're dealing with an arms-length relationship, which is what the OLG is, there's always a grey area in terms of the minister being responsible for the day-to-day operations of those arms-length relationships.

I go back to the ultimate principle of ministerial accountability. It's the Bevin principle from Great Britain. Mr. Bevin of course was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the mid-1950s. As he was preparing to present his budget to Westminster, he was out for a walk with his dog and he, very casually, ran into someone and suggested, "You'd better buy your pipe tobacco this evening because it's going to be increased tomorrow as a result of my budget."

Clearly, in that particular case there was a budget confidence that was broken. There was ministerial responsibility in that he provided information in his budget before it was delivered at Westminster, and that's always become the principle of ministerial responsibility, along with the issue of personal corruption that has been perpetrated by a minister.

Mr. Speaker, when you take the time and I know you have, to look at the Ombudsman's report, this issue of insider trading has been going on since 1993. The Ombudsman clearly identified that. When I hear members opposite—five of them of course were members of the executive council during that period from 1990 to 1995—it appears to me that they took no action, as this situation of insider trading did commence in 1993. The Ombudsman was very clear in identifying that in his report.

We go forward to 2001, when the current member from Erie—Lincoln had responsibility for OLG when the Edmonds case first appeared. He has indicated in a very public fashion that he wasn't aware of the circumstances around Mr. Edmonds's case in 2001. Indeed, as we've come across that, the Ombudsman was asked to do a report. He's made several recommendations, along with KPMG, who have also looked at this situation, to bring integrity back to the lottery gaming situation in the province of Ontario.

I personally don't buy tickets, but I certainly know the men and women in my community of Peterborough who operate convenience stores. I certainly have the utmost confidence in how they run their operations day in and day out in order to provide tickets to the public who want to purchase them, and I know they operate their businesses with the utmost integrity.

I just also want to get a couple of quotes on the record that the Leader of the Opposition made. They were made on November 23, 2006. "Ontario should consider banning lottery retailers from buying tickets in light of mounting accusations that clerks are winning a disproportionate number of prizes."

"Is it more important to let those 140,000 people buy their tickets and have some of the revenue from that than it is to maintain the integrity of the system? I think integrity always comes first."

So it's interesting. Today we've seen a bit of a change in position where the Premier, speaking in his second language, which is en français, I don't believe he was condemning the men and women who operate these facilities across the province of Ontario and are distributing these lottery tickets.

We've gone to great lengths over the last number of years to provide an increasing amount of accountability to the people of Ontario. We've allowed the Auditor General of Ontario to have new powers to look at OPG, to look at Hydro One, to look at universities and colleges and to look at children's aid societies. We've taken the time to lift that veil of secrecy that had been around for a number of years to allow the Auditor General to shine the light on those organizations, which I think is very important. Indeed, after the Auditor General got those powers, he pointed out some shortcomings in those organizations, and we've taken quick action to make sure that the situations that were identified were corrected.

It's interesting—I'll have an opportunity to maybe comment about the budget. We've provided $2.1 billion to the Ontario child benefit, when it has fully kicked in in the year 2011, which will be $1,100 per child to low-income families, whether they're a part of the area in Ontario where people have financial challenges or they're on benefits. I think it will be extremely helpful to those citizens.

I think we've also made some dramatic improvements in the area of assessments, going to a four-year assessment period. Increases will be phased in over that period of time.

I could go on and on, but my time is up.

Mr. Tim Hudak (Erie—Lincoln): I'm pleased to rise and debate the motion standing in the name of the leader of the official opposition.

Certainly, the allegations that have been brought forward in question period and the tone and tenor of the resolution submitted in the name of the opposition leader show very serious issues in debate this evening and during question period. These are not accusations against the conduct of the minister and his office or the Premier and his office that are taken lightly. They're hardly random or scurrilous suggestions. They reflect a pattern of behaviour that became evident in the ministry, in the Premier's office and in their political wing.

I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that in the spring of 2005, some 50-plus media articles were published on the inside win case involving the theft of Mr. Edmonds's ticket. That story was also carried by some dozen-plus television and radio broadcasts. Any time that a minister's office or the Premier's office did a review of the media, that would have stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. I would fully expect that if this kind of media had been around an issue, the first action of those who worked in the ministry and in the Premier's office would be to investigate what had transpired, why these allegations had taken place and why Mr. Edmonds had been treated in the fashion he had. I suspect that in the spring—I guess it was March 2005—there was knowledge within government and within the minister's office, if not the Premier's office, that there was a significant problem at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

In January 2006, Jim Warren, who was Dalton McGuinty's communications director for 18 months, was hired in the newly created position of vice-president of strategic relationships at the OLG. I would fully expect, because of the relationship between Mr. Warren and the Premier—a friendship and a professional relationship that had lasted some time—that there would be, because of Mr. Warren's position, some political connection between the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and the Premier's office, if not the minister's office, in an additional sense more so than the regular reporting relationship between an agency and the ministry.

On April 11, 2006, some six months before the airing of the infamous Fifth Estate—infamous for the government, at the very least—an e-mail was sent to two senior officials and communications director Wilson Lee in Minister Caplan's ministry by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. asking what information should be released to the CBC for their story on inside winners. I think any of us know that it would be a rare occurrence indeed for senior officials and a communications adviser to be contacted on an issue like this without a significant number of alarm bells going off. Tie that to some time recently, in the spring of 2005, when you had 50 media articles about these types of issues, and one would think there was knowledge internally within government of a serious problem afoot.


Once the Fifth Estate program was aired, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.'s first instinct was to fight the report. They commissioned a poll of 380 people to gauge the impact of the media story on their reputation. Then they polled another 344 people. The cost of these polls was reported at $21,000. Mind you, there was a fight, a great deal of resistance from the government in releasing that data through a freedom of information request, and we had to appeal all the way to the Information and Privacy Commissioner to get those facts forward.

On October 29, 2006, McGuinty political adviser Warren Kinsella, Jim Warren, who I just mentioned, as well as Don Guy, who is the Liberal campaign manager and former chief of staff, if I recall the position correctly, gathered together to plot how to fight against the Fifth Estate story. The instincts were to cover it up rather than pursue investigations of problems within the OLGC, to fight back against the whistle-blower and to fight back against the Fifth Estate report. This is no harmless threesome. This is not Jack, Chrissie and Janet from the Three's Company hall of fame, to talk about a classic 1970s TV show. This is the starting line of spin doctors employed on the Liberal team, and it's no coincidence, as my colleague from Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke said today, that they happened to show up at the same place—no doubt an all-out government effort to fight back against the story.

When there is an investigation of this nature reaching senior officials, an ongoing police investigation of fraud and corruption, an investigation potentially of police obstruction of justice with respect to the OPP now bringing the Toronto Police Service report, that is why you see these types of questions in the Legislature today and the high level of volume created in the media.

The right thing for a minister to do at this point in time is to step aside and allow the investigation to proceed, and then, if found to have done nothing wrong, be restored to his position. We certainly saw it when Jim Wilson, as health minister, had the courage to do that, and Bob Runciman as the correctional services minister when the name of a young offender was inadvertently released to the public. We saw Evelyn Gigantes of the former Bob Rae government do this, and Elinor Caplan, a former Liberal minister under David Peterson, did that and followed that process. I think—not Gigantes—the rest were all restored to their cabinet positions.

I have a good relationship with the honourable member. As his critic for public infrastructure—not the agencies—I have a great deal of respect for what he's done in his previous work as a member of provincial Parliament. I hope he will do the honourable thing, because I'm confident, knowing Mr. Caplan, that he'll have the opportunity to be restored to his position. But to save his own reputation and that of the government and satisfy the citizens of Ontario, he should do the right thing and resign.

Ms. Monique M. Smith (Nipissing): I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this resolution today. I believe there is just an air of irony in the chamber today as we hear from the member for Erie—Lincoln speaking so piously on this issue when in fact I believe it was under his watch that much of this all began and legal proceedings were undertaken by the previous government. It just seems ironic to me.

I look at the resolution in the second paragraph and I think if we changed only a couple of words, it would ring so much truer in my riding of Nipissing: "That, in the opinion of this House, the Harris government as a whole breached the faith of the people of Nipissing, failed to protect their interests, failed to address the urgent issues facing them and their pocketbooks and failed to deliver meaningful results."

The people of Nipissing suffered through many years of Conservative representation and, really, there's no legacy there from the previous regime. What we've had to do over the last three and a half years is clean up the mess that was left behind, and we have been doing yeoman service at the task of cleaning up the mess that was left by the previous government.

You simply have to look at the issues that are of greatest concern to my constituents, the people of Nipissing. If you look at education, we see schools right now that are being rebuilt, that are seeing renovations that were long overdue, that are seeing investments in infrastructure that the previous government just let slip and fall. It didn't matter that the schools were falling apart around our students. It didn't matter because they didn't care. They didn't care about the teachers or about our education system, and clearly they didn't care about the kids. We are rebuilding those schools. We are rebuilding the confidence in our public education system, whereas one of the few commitments that the opposition has made going into the next election is that they will fund private schools, which I find incredibly interesting. I'd like to know why they don't want to support our public education system.

I think we only need to look at the investments—or lack of investments—that they made in the public education system to really understand where their commitment was and where their integrity lies. We can look at the reduction in classroom sizes in our primary schools across the province. I've spoken to teachers who once were teaching 32 kids in their classes and now have 18 or 21. They're delighted that they're able to give that one-on-one education to the students who really need it. We're seeing those students' test scores improve; we're seeing those students thrive.

Another area that's very near and dear to the people in my riding is health care. Whereas the previous government, under the Harris-Eves regime, ordered the closure of 28 hospitals, we're actually seeing the rebuilding of hospitals across this province. We're seeing two in my riding that are long overdue. We're seeing hospitals that were left to fall apart, again, around the dedicated staff that we have in our hospitals across—


Ms. Smith: I'm sorry that the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke finds it funny that we have dedicated staff in our hospitals, but I certainly do in my riding and I know across the province—nurses and front-line workers who are working so hard to provide the health care that Ontarians need and deserve. We are seeing them being housed in facilities that are not up to par. But in my riding, we're seeing the construction of new hospitals, as well as in the riding of the member from Peterborough. We're seeing that across the province—investments in infrastructure that is much-needed and that has been left in disarray.

When we talk about integrity and about cleaning up the messes that were left behind, I think it's also ironic that we were the ones who introduced more sunshine legislation to allow the sun to shine in. We are allowing more public scrutiny of our lists of those who are earning larger salaries, allowing us to see, in fact, perhaps what the spouse of the member from Erie—Lincoln was making when she was over at Hydro. These are things that we didn't know prior to our government taking power, and we are now able to see these things and to really address some of the concerns that were raised by many of my constituents, who were very concerned when the Harris-Eves regime was providing us with almost daily partisan literature in the mail that was paid for with taxpayers' dollars. We've cleaned that up.

We've seen just a plethora of activity on this side of the House, cleaning up the government, cleaning up the messes that were left behind, cleaning up the deficit that was left behind. Let's not forget the deficit: $5.6 billion left behind by the previous government that they didn't own up to, that they didn't acknowledge. They actually had to hide their budget by presenting it somewhere other than this House.

We have undertaken to clean up the messes that were left behind. We are returning integrity to this Legislature, to the public services that the people of Ontario—


The Acting Speaker: Member from Erie—Lincoln, order, please.


The Acting Speaker: I'm getting pretty close to throwing somebody out, all right? Order, please.

Member from Nipissing.

Ms. Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate your intervention. I am only too pleased to continue to speak to this resolution.

Under our government, we have cleaned up the messes left behind, and we are investing taxpayers' dollars wisely. Only recently, under our new budget, we introduced the $2.1-billion Ontario child benefit that will deliver up to $1,100 per child to our lowest-income families.

I had the opportunity last evening to visit Lana Mitchell at Low Income People Involvement in North Bay, one of our front-line service providers, who's absolutely delighted with some of the changes we've made, some of the new initiatives we've presented that are going to assist the most needy in my community.

We're continuing to raise the minimum wage, and we will have a minimum wage at $10.25 an hour over the next three years. This is something that Lana thinks is very important for our community.

Our investments in low-income housing—housing that has been left behind, again, over the last 10 or 15 years. We're making investments in those areas. We are addressing the concerns that many of my constituents have, and certainly that those living in difficult circumstances have. We are improving their quality of life.


In the resolution we're debating today, the leader of the official opposition has indicated that "the Premier should start upholding standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability." I would argue that the Premier certainly has upheld standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability. I'm very proud of our record. I'm very proud of what we as a government have done. I'm very proud of the progress we've made in cleaning up the mess that's been left behind by the previous regime and investing in the quality services that Ontarians across the province require and need.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to this resolution today.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh (Halton): This debate is about the standards of integrity of this House, and I guess those standards go back to the way people have acted in this House over their term of office here.

If we go back to November 1999, now-Premier Dalton McGuinty accused then-Minister Tony Clement of corruption regarding a development in the Oak Ridges moraine. It was January 2000 when Minister Clement filed a lawsuit for libel for $1.7 million against now-Premier McGuinty, and it was on April 5, 2001, that the now-Premier apologized to Mr. Clement. I quote directly from the letter: "I wish to apologize to you without reservation for the use of the words 'corrupt' and 'corruption' in two media interviews in November 1999, expressing my views on your action." His letter of apology also says that he "clearly … crossed the line."

Further, in January 2006, the Integrity Commissioner found Minister Takhar, the Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, in breach of the integrity act for egregious and reckless conduct. Minister Takhar is the only minister in Ontario's history to be found in breach of the integrity act and to remain in office as a cabinet minister.

There is also the Joe Cordiano affair. He failed to resign over exactly the same things that Chris Stockwell was forced to resign over.

And today we have this situation centring around Minister Caplan, the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. This isn't about Minister Caplan, as was pointed out earlier; this is about the integrity of this government. This is the party of Mitch Hepburn, Bob Nixon and David Peterson. But this party, under Dalton McGuinty, has lost its moral compass. In fact, for a Premier who has had to apologize for libellous comments, perhaps they never had a moral compass to begin with. It's a sad day for Ontario.

Mr. Ted McMeekin (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot): I'm pleased to follow the member for York South—Weston, whom I want to congratulate—a great maiden speech, by the way—and to enter the debate here.

Martin Luther King Jr. was once asked for his take on politics, and he said that politics is about the kinds of decisions we make about the distribution of goods and services and opportunities. I heard Mr. Tory, the Leader of the Opposition, speak on March 26 in his response to the budget. He said he wanted to start positively, and to his credit, he did. He said, "When you want to take a look at what a government cares about, what a government doesn't care about, whether the government is actually delivering for people, the best place to look is … the budget." I agree. That kind of resonates with what Martin Luther King Jr. said. I heard the words and I was optimistic. I was waiting in breathless anticipation to hear his "I have a dream" speech, for him to climb up to the mountaintop, peek over into the promised land and describe his vision of Ontario. But alas, I was once again disappointed. Instead of a visionary blueprint for Ontario, what we got was the same old political rhetoric and, today, more of the same.

I want to leave the whole issue of the lottery situation to people who are better capable of dealing with that than I am: the Ombudsman and the OPP. I want to talk specifically to the second part of the Leader of the Opposition's motion—about all the things he alleges the government has failed to do. He suggested that we "failed to protect Ontario's interests." I have to wonder just what interests they might be. The environment? Children who dream wonderful dreams and the teachers who used to have to work against incredible odds to make those dreams come true? He suggested that we "failed to address urgent issues." Like what? Like waiting times for surgeries? Like helping those locked in the grip of poverty to break out of that vicious cycle? Like ensuring that our water is clean and safe to drink? Is that what he meant?

He suggested that we "failed to deliver meaningful results." Give me a break. Anyone who has been around for even a few years understands that our progress as a nation can be no quicker than our progress in education. And in education we're making great progress: Class sizes are down; test scores are up; high-school graduation rates are up. Those are real, meaningful results. In health care, we're tracking for 8,000 more nurses; 23% more doctors each year graduating; and over 500,000 Ontarians today who didn't have a family doctor in 2003 now have one.

On the environment, we've protected 1.8 million acres of precious farmland and heritage environmental lands—larger than the size of Prince Edward Island, as we've heard before. On the economy, we've got 327,000 new jobs, and we're the number one producer of automobiles and auto parts in all of North America. We're moving to produce smarter cars, greener cars, lighter cars. The business education tax reductions are being well received by chambers of commerce and small business all across the province.

On the municipal-provincial relationship front: We moved, finally, to fix the municipal property assessment mess—and it's a mess. We've doubled the amount of operating funds available to municipalities in three short years. We're moving forward.

On fiscal transparency: It's appropriate to note some of the progress we've made there. We now have the second-lowest per capita administrative costs of all of the provinces in the country and the lowest debt-to-GNP ratio in this province for the last 13 years. That's real progress.

No one who has watched Al Gore's award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth—even the global-warming skeptics—could help but be moved by the message that we must move, and quickly, if we're going to reverse our ways and rescue our small, fragile planet. There are many truths we must face up to—some convenient and some inconvenient. Here are a few inconvenient truths that Mr. Tory and his colleagues are going to need to own up to.

It's an inconvenient truth that, in the face of Walkerton and the O'Connor report, the current government has moved forward and is continuing to move forward to protect our most precious resource—the water that sustains us—and that the party opposite voted against the Clean Water Act. It's a sad and inconvenient truth that the previous government set out to cause chaos throughout our education system. They denigrated teachers, they lowered morale and they caused a large number of wonderful educators to prematurely exit the system, to retire early. I can recall the 26 million lost school days. Today, we contrast that to schools lining up to engage in the healthy schools program.


It's an inconvenient truth that the previous government fostered a culture that created two classes of people: the lucky and the left out. Their 22.3% cut to social assistance spoke volumes, as did their lack of support for any social housing. Social housing was gone.

Compare that to what the current government has done around the Ontario child benefit, the renewal of social housing projects, the commitment to move on the minimum wage. Those things, when taken together, are going to do more to lift people in my community out of poverty than anything the previous government has done.

I want to quote from an editorial that recently appeared in the Dundas Star. It's called "Passing the Moral Test.

"Former US Vice-President Hubert Humphrey said, 'The moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.'

"In our community and across the province, the care and compassion afforded those facing end-of-life illness is surpassing the 'moral test' with both grassroots and government support for residential hospice palliative care.

"In last week's provincial budget, the Ontario government leaped to the front of the line in this country with this endorsement of the more than 180 community-based volunteer organizations providing high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care for those living with a life-threatening illness, and those who care for them."

I want to mention another inconvenient truth, and that has to do with health care. The previous government had a great way to end waiting lists: They just closed hospitals. So I say to the members opposite, particularly the leader, you're right, budgets are moral statements that inform people about what a government cares about. Indeed, that's true. So, in the upcoming campaign in October, we'll go out and remind the people of Ontario of the progress we've made. We'll focus on how our schools are better places to learn, how our universities and colleges are expanding, how our health care system is both healthy and more responsive. We'll point out that our economy is growing, with a net 327,000 new jobs since 2003, and that our precious, green, environmentally sensitive heritage lands are being protected.

On the fiscal front, we'll highlight that the current budget eliminates Ontario's inherited $5.5-billion deficit and that the government is projecting five consecutive balanced budgets, that we're keeping administrative costs down—the second-lowest in the country—and that our net debt-to-GNP ratio is the lowest in 13 years.

There may well be reasons to consider voting against the current government in the next election, but let's be fair: Those reasons don't include a failure to protect Ontario's interests or a failure to address urgent issues or that this government has failed to deliver meaningful results.

I think that the people of Ontario—when they get a chance to compare the record of our government to the government opposite, we have no fear of trusting their judgment, because the people have built-in crap detectors. They'll have the wisdom to make the kind of choice that will move Ontario forward and to ensure that we can be all that we were intended to be.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr. Kormos: Can he say "crap"?

The Acting Speaker: Member from Niagara Centre: Are you saying someone said something unparliamentary?

Mr. Kormos: He said "crap."

The Acting Speaker: I did not hear anyone say it. Who said something unparliamentary?

Mr. Kormos: I'm not sure.

The Acting Speaker: All right.

Further debate?

Mr. Yakabuski: I'm pleased to join the debate on the opposition day motion today.

My leader talked today about Dalton McGuinty ducking the issues. I remember when Dalton McGuinty became Premier here, and in his throne speech he talked about—and I'm paraphrasing—raising the standard of integrity of this place to unknown heights, places that we've never seen before. What did we get from Dalton McGuinty's new standards of integrity?

Well, we got the Takhar scandal. This was about the first and only person in the history of this province to be cited by the Integrity Commissioner as being in breach of the Members' Integrity Act—the only minister ever. What was this about? This is about a minister who said, among many other things, that he had to meet his wife at the place of business where he was forbidden from going to discuss their daughter's education. I didn't know if they had sold their home or if they didn't live there any more or whatever, but they had to meet at his office—so I wasn't sure if there was another place—and this Premier, who had every opportunity to show leadership then, chose to bury his head in the sand and say, "Oh, not on my watch, because we just can't afford the scandal of a Liberal cabinet minister being thrown out of cabinet in disgrace."

They weathered that storm. Now we're here in 2007, an election year, and we've got a bigger scandal yet where the minister has made a complete mess of this and is so confused in his answers that not a single person in the province of Ontario believes him in anything he says. And this government's talking about trust and integrity?

The Premier has an opportunity. There's only one way to restore the integrity in this system, to allow people to begin to trust the system where they throws down their toonie or their loonie and they takes their chances. For the healing process to begin, the Premier must—must—demand the resignation of the minister responsible for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. That is the genesis, that is the beginning, for this healing to take place.

As I said, the Premier talked about new standards. You must know that it is not my standards of integrity that you will be judged by; it is your own standards of integrity that you will be judged by. The Premier said he raised the bar to new heights. That was just wonderful rhetoric. In fact, what we have seen with the issue of integrity with this Liberal cabinet and this Liberal government is that they have lowered the bar to depths we've never seen in this province because they refuse to resign when it is the only honourable thing to do.

The Acting Speaker: The time now being 5:50 of the clock, the time for debate is now concluded.

Mr. Tory has moved opposition day motion number 1. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard some noes.

All those in favour will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1749 to 1759.

The Acting Speaker: All those in favour will please rise and be counted by the Clerk.


Arnott, Ted

Bisson, Gilles

Chudleigh, Ted

Elliott, Christine

Ferreira, Paul

Horwath, Andrea

Hudak, Tim

Kormos, Peter

MacLeod, Lisa

Martiniuk, Gerry

Miller, Norm

Munro, Julia

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Runciman, Robert W.

Savoline, Joyce

Scott, Laurie

Sterling, Norman W.

Tory, John

Yakabuski, John

The Acting Speaker: All those opposed will please rise and be counted by the Clerk.


Arthurs, Wayne

Balkissoon, Bas

Bartolucci, Rick

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bradley, James J.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Colle, Mike

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Matthews, Deborah

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Qaadri, Shafiq

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Sandals, Liz

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Van Bommel, Maria

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 20; the nays are 41.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion lost.

The time now being after 6 of the clock, this House stands recessed until 6:45 this evening.

The House adjourned at 1801.

Evening meeting reported in volume B.