39th Parliament, 1st Session

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO

ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L'ONTARIO

Tuesday 1 December 2009 Mardi 1er décembre 2009

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION

ONTARIO LABOUR
MOBILITY ACT, 2009 /
LOI ONTARIENNE DE 2009
SUR LA MOBILITÉ
DE LA MAIN-D'OEUVRE

VOTING

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

WEARING OF RIBBONS

VISITORS /
VISITEURS

ORAL QUESTIONS

USE OF QUESTION PERIOD

VOTING

DEFERRED VOTES

TIME ALLOCATION

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

TAXATION

FUNDRAISING

TAXATION

LABOUR MOBILITY

MUNSEE-DELAWARE FIRST NATION

WORLD AIDS DAY

APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING

TAXATION

ROMANIA

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
GENERAL GOVERNMENT

STANDING COMMITTEE
ON SOCIAL POLICY

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

962 BLOOR STREET WEST
LIMITED ACT, 2009

MOTIONS

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS

HOUSE SITTINGS

CONDUCT OF HOUSE PROCEEDINGS

PETITIONS

TAXATION

ERAMOSA KARST

WATER QUALITY

TAXATION

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

TAXATION

HOSPITAL FUNDING

TAXATION

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

PUBLIC TRANSIT

TAXATION

SOCIAL SERVICES FUNDING

TAXATION

HISPANIC COMMUNITY

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION


   

The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Good morning. Please remain standing for the Lord's Prayer, followed by a Baha'i prayer.

Prayers.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Hon. Brad Duguid: I'm pleased to once again resume debate on what is a very important bill before the House. This is a time allocation bill. We've been forced to time allocate this bill because the opposition are expressing some great opposition to this.

We recognize that in some ways they're doing their job, but in other ways, they're standing in the way of tax cuts for the people of Ontario.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I ask the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition to come to order.

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Hon. Brad Duguid: Thank you very much, Mr. Speakerâ€"

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): This House stands recessed.

The House recessed from 0903 to 0919.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Two hours having elapsed, pursuant to standing order 47, I'm now required to put the question.

On November 30, Mr. Duguid moved government notice of motion 162. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will say "aye."

All opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

This vote stands deferred.

Vote deferred.

ONTARIO LABOUR
MOBILITY ACT, 2009 /
LOI ONTARIENNE DE 2009
SUR LA MOBILITÉ
DE LA MAIN-D'OEUVRE

Resuming the debate adjourned on November 25, 2009 on the motion for second reading of Bill 175, An Act to enhance labour mobility between Ontario and other Canadian provinces and territories / Projet de loi 175, Loi visant à accroître la mobilité de la main-d'oeuvre entre l'Ontario et les autres provinces et les territoires du Canada.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Pursuant to the order of the House dated November 30, 2009, I am now required to put the question.

On September 16, 2009, Mr. Flynn moved second reading of Bill 175, An Act to enhance labour mobility between Ontario and other Canadian provinces and territories. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the "ayes" have it.

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

The division bells rang from 0920 to 0925.

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

Ayes

Aggelonitis, Sophia

Albanese, Laura

Balkissoon, Bas

Bradley, James J.

Brown, Michael A.

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Carroll, Aileen

Chan, Michael

Colle, Mike

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoskins, Eric

Jaczek, Helena

Jeffrey, Linda

Johnson, Rick

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Mitchell, Carol

Moridi, Reza

Naqvi, Yasir

Pendergast, Leeanna

Pupatello, Sandra

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Smith, Monique

Sousa, Charles

Takhar, Harinder S.

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Zimmer, David

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

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: Point of order.

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

Nays

Gélinas, France

Hudak, Tim

Miller, Norm

Prue, Michael

Witmer, Elizabeth

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 44; the nays are 5.

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

Second reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Pursuant to the order of the House dated November 30, 2009, the bill is ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

Mr. Runciman rose on a point of order during the vote. Mr. Runciman, on your point of order?

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: My point of order later, Speaker.

I'm giving you notice of a point of privilege for at least two members in this Legislature who were refused their right to vote. We will be filing that point of privilege with you. I think that was unprecedented.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Orders of the day.

Hon. Jim Watson: I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing orderâ€"

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition will come to order. The member for Leedsâ€"Grenville will come to order. The member for Nepeanâ€"Carleton will come to order. The member for Halton will come to order. The member for Simcoeâ€"Grey will come to order.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): This House stands recessed.

The House recessed from 0931 to 0956.

VOTING

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I want to briefly comment on the event that transpired during the vote on Bill 175. It is the responsibility of each member to be in his or her own seat for a recorded vote in the House. Failure to be standing in your place equates to an abstention, which is acceptable under our rules. That members of your own caucus, with your apparent permission, occupy your seats leaves me little sympathy and virtually no choice but to consider that you are abstaining. In short, you cannot contrive a breach of your own privileges.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I do not wish to challenge your comment, although that is not a ruling as such; it's just giving your reaction to what occurred. But, I think, from our perspective, the vote on Bill 175 is invalid. We have not had an opportunity to go back and look at a number of precedents, but just quickly looking at Beauchesne's, on page 76, it indicates that a member who wishes to participate must be in his own seat or cannot participate in the vote.

What I'm indicating to you, Speaker, is that the members who were denied the opportunity to vote because their seats were occupiedâ€"it's not their responsibility, in our view, for those seats to be available to them. They were elected to occupy those seats. It is the Speaker's responsibility to ensure that those seats are available and that those members are allowed to participate in the votes. So we consider the vote to be invalid, Speaker.

Hon. Monique M. Smith: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would support your comments earlier with respect to this particular issue. I would also indicate that in fact the two members involved are part of a party. They are not independent members and they are not strangers to this House, occupying seats, but are members of a party that have a leader and a House leader and have the ability to govern themselves accordingly. I would just point out to you that they do have the ability to do this.

Mr. Gerry Martiniuk: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I was sitting in my seat. I did not have the privilege of voting on behalf of my 200,000 constituents. I was denied the right to vote, though I was sitting in my proper seat ready to vote. I take strong objection to that. I realize there was a great deal of confusion. However, I have been denied and my constituents have been denied the right to vote in this chamber, and that has never happened before. It is a precedent that I hope is never followed.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I would just remind the honourable member that I did call twice for those opposedâ€"not once, but twice.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: On a similar point of privilege that the member from Cambridge noted, my colleague who represents the riding right next to mine, adjacent to mine, from Carletonâ€"Mississippi Mills, was denied a right to vote in this chamber, and in doing so, each one of my colleagues who were sitting in their seats in this chamber were denied the right to vote.

Likewise, my constituents in Nepeanâ€"Carleton expect me to come to this place to vote on matters of public importance. Unfortunately, today they were denied the right when they sent me here, the right that was a historic granting and protected by people who fought and died, who fought for our right to vote, who fought for our freedoms in this nation, which were denied today to my colleague, who is adjacent to me in the city of Ottawa, from Carletonâ€"Mississippi Mills. I follow the lead of our House leader in saying that we consider this to be an invalid vote, and I urge you to reconsider.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Once again, I remind the honourable member that I twice called for those opposed to the vote. Some of your members did rise and were recorded by the table; others chose not to rise, and they were considered as an abstention within that vote.

I would also say to the honourable member that you recognize that there are two individuals that sit in this House that have been named and that have been asked to leave the chamber. As I said yesterday, I am reluctant to use force to remove those members, and I would encourage you, as an honourable member, to encourage your members to leave the chamber.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would ask you respectfully to consider taking another brief recess to reconsider this, in the view that it is not the member's responsibility; this is a responsibility of the Speaker. I understand your reluctance to act in this situation, but ultimately, the decision to make sure the seats are available so those members can participate in a vote is yours, Speaker. That is your ultimate responsibility, and I urge you to reconsider the decision and reinitiate the vote for Bill 175 so these members can participate as they were elected to do.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I thank the honourable member. I am certainly prepared to recess. I would ask that all three government House leaders join me in the side office to deal with this situation.

I will say to the honourable member from Leedsâ€"Grenville that your assistance in ensuring that the members would leave willingly and without force would be appreciated, because a Speaker having to engage the use of force is going to reflect badly on all of us within this chamber, and your co-operation would be appreciated.

This House stands recessed, and I would ask the House leaders to join me in the side office.

The House recessed from 1003 to 1017.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): This House stands recessed until 10:30.

The House recessed from 1017 to 1030.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer: I am very pleased to introduce the family of my page: his father, Kevin Crowley; his mother, Catherine Thompson; his sisters Hélène and Elizabeth; and of course, my page is the wonderful Simon, right here.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: It's my pleasure to welcome students from the City Adult Learning Centre from my riding, who are seated in the Speaker's gallery. Welcome.

Mrs. Carol Mitchell: It's my pleasure to introduce the parents of Valerie Steckle, Cam and Kathy Steckle, and grandparents Paul and Kathy Steckle. Paul Steckle is our former member of Parliamentâ€"for many yearsâ€"from the riding of Huronâ€"Bruce. Uncle and aunt Mike and Carolyn Regier, and cousins Bradley, Colin, Nolan and Monique, and cousin Emily Hamptonâ€"welcome all.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): A special welcome to the Ontario Legislature to Paul Steckle.

Mr. John O'Toole: It is my distinct pleasure to introduce some very special guests who are here today in support of our troops. They would be Cecile Bowers, Jim Connell, Cliff Wells, and my staff person Cheryl Greenham, from Branch 178 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Welcome to Queen's Park.

M. Gilles Bisson: J'ai le plaisir d'introduire quelqu'un qu'on connaît tous ici assez bien, M. Stewart Kiff, qui revient de Patagonia. Bienvenue.

Mr. Phil McNeely: I would like to introduce people from the OSSTF who are here todayâ€"there is a reception at 4 o'clockâ€"Sue Rabb, Cindy Dubué, Carol Crocker and Lucille Allaire. Welcome to Queen's Park.

Mr. Robert Bailey: In the gallery today is Dennis Van Decker, father of page Vanessa Van Decker, who is with us this session.

Mr. Paul Miller: I'd like to welcome from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, Hamilton chapter, Anthony Marco, Jack Bruce and Bob MacDonald. Welcome.

Mr. Charles Sousa: I would like to acknowledge in the members' gallery Mr. Emran Ghasemi, a foreign student originally from Tehran, who recently completed his undergrad studies in England and will soon be attending Concordia University in Montreal. Welcome to Queen's Park.

Mrs. Liz Sandals: I'm delighted to introduce Colin Hunter and Chris Dixonâ€"we lost one along the way; oh, there you areâ€"who are president and vice-president of the OPFFA branch of the Guelph Fire Department. Welcome.

WEARING OF RIBBONS

Hon. Monique M. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I believe we have unanimous consent that all members be permitted to wear red ribbons in recognition of World AIDS Day.

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

VISITORS /
VISITEURS

Mme France Gélinas: I did not have time to introduce my guests. Ça me fait extrêmement plaisir de vous présenter Mme Anne Amyotte, de la Fédération des enseignantes-enseignants des écoles secondaires de l'Ontario, and it is my pleasure to introduce to you, from OSSTF, Sandy Bass, Mike Page and Bill McGilles. Welcome to Queen's Park.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: On a point of order, Speaker: Are the red ribbons referred to by the leader available to all members?

Interjections.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: No objection to people wearing them; it's just that all members should beâ€"

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): They are to be distributed.

ORAL QUESTIONS

USE OF QUESTION PERIOD

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): As I indicated to the House leader of the official opposition prior to question period this morning, I have requested of him that the two suspended members move from the floor, and I give the two honourable members the opportunity to leave the chamber at this time.

I think it's important that the opposition have the opportunity to keep the government accountable during question period, and this is the opposition parties' only opportunity. So I will ask once again that the honourable members leave the chamber.

Seeing that they're not prepared to vacate the chamber, I'm going to be prepared to let the clock run.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: On a point of order: I think it should be clarified for everyone who's viewing these proceedings that we have attempted to resolve this impasse, I think, in a significant way by conceding in terms of public hearings to the point where we were prepared to live with one day of public hearings outside the city of Toronto to resolve this issue, but the government has denied even one day of public hearings outside the city of Toronto.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I just want to clarify that I am not prepared to continue with question period while these two members are occupying the front benches, and I am prepared to let the clock run.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Nepeanâ€"Carleton is out of order.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Renfrewâ€"Nipissingâ€"Pembroke on a point of order.

Mr. John Yakabuski: This Legislature is not being held up because of the presence of the member from Bruceâ€"Greyâ€"Owen Sound or the member from Lanarkâ€"Frontenacâ€"Lennox and Addington. It is being held up by the intransigence of this government.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): That is not a point of order.

This House stands recessed.

The House recessed from 1041 to 1135.

VOTING

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Just a while ago we were denied the right to vote on an important piece of government legislation. Standing order 28(c) is very clear. Standing order 28(c) says, "When the members have been called in, the Speaker shall again put the question and, subject to standing order 12, every member present at that time who wishes to vote shall rise and record his or her vote."

The members of our party wanted to vote on Bill 175, which was recorded just prior to the recess, and we were denied that right. Mr. Speaker, I would like to know which order in the standing orders allowed you to take that decision.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I remind the honourable member again of the comments that I made earlier today: It is the responsibility of each member to be in his or her own seat for a recorded vote in the House. Failure to be standing in your place equates to an abstention, which is acceptable under our rules. That members of your own caucus were occupying your seats leaves me with no choice but to consider that you're abstaining, in short, and you cannot contrive a breach of your own privileges.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I want to thank the honourable member from Halton for his point of order.

I would say to the member for Carletonâ€"Mississippi Mills: If it is your intention to vote for this division, in that caseâ€"currently you do not have the ability to occupy your own seat, and I would allow you to occupy the seat for the member from Simcoeâ€"Grey and I will allow you to vote from that seat.

I would say as well to the member from Simcoeâ€"Grey: If it is your intention to vote, in that case, for this division, I am prepared to allow you to vote from the seat from the member from Lanarkâ€"Frontenacâ€"Lennox and Addington.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I think we're looking for clarification from you with respect to this decision that you've made. It seems to be in contradiction of the standing orders in terms of the requirements to be in your own seat, to be in your own place. We would look for clarification from you with respect to precedents to allow this to occur.

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The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The honourable members appear to have expressed a desire to vote. I'm prepared to accommodate their wishes and will do so in this manner.

The member from Halton on a point of order.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: Speaker, I was in my seat for the vote called on Bill 175. I was in my seat, and Iâ€"

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I have ruled on that. I gave all membersâ€"twiceâ€"an opportunity. I called for those opposed. We had a vote to proceed with. Twice I gave the members the opportunity. If members do not rise, they are marked as an abstention.

The member from Leedsâ€"Grenville on a point of order.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: Speaker, I raised a point of order earlier with respect to the vote on Bill 175 and indicated that, from our perspective, that vote was invalid because two of our members were not allowed to participate. Now you are indicating with respect to this matter that you are going to allow them to occupy seats that are not theirs and participate. I would respectfully request, if you are going to continue along that line, that we do a revote on Bill 175. That is necessary based on the decision that you have taken now.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): In response to the point of order from the member from Leedsâ€"Grenville, the vote has been taken on Bill 175.

DEFERRED VOTES

TIME ALLOCATION

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): We have a deferred vote on the allocation motion on Bill 218. Mr. Duguid has moved the vote.

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

The division bells rang from 1143 to 1148.

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

Ayes

Aggelonitis, Sophia

Albanese, Laura

Arthurs, Wayne

Balkissoon, Bas

Bartolucci, Rick

Bentley, Christopher

Best, Margarett

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brown, Michael A.

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Carroll, Aileen

Colle, Mike

Craitor, Kim

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dickson, Joe

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duncan, Dwight

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoskins, Eric

Jaczek, Helena

Jeffrey, Linda

Johnson, Rick

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Matthews, Deborah

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Mitchell, Carol

Moridi, Reza

Naqvi, Yasir

Orazietti, David

Pendergast, Leeanna

Phillips, Gerry

Pupatello, Sandra

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Smith, Monique

Sousa, Charles

Takhar, Harinder S.

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): All those opposed will please rise one at a time.

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Bailey, Robert

Barrett, Toby

Bisson, Gilles

Chudleigh, Ted

DiNovo, Cheri

Elliott, Christine

Gélinas, France

Hardeman, Ernie

Horwath, Andrea

Hudak, Tim

Jones, Sylvia

Klees, Frank

MacLeod, Lisa

Martiniuk, Gerry

Miller, Norm

Miller, Paul

Munro, Julia

O'Toole, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Prue, Michael

Runciman, Robert W.

Savoline, Joyce

Shurman, Peter

Sterling, Norman W.

Tabuns, Peter

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 56; the nays are 29.

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

Motion agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The bill is therefore ordered to the finance committee.

This House stands recessed until 3 this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1153 to 1500.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Mr. John O'Toole: I would like to introduce guests of mine who are soon to arrive: Ms. Marg Maskell and her husband, Dan, and Cheryl, who are here today to raise a flag in support of the Canadian troops.

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

TAXATION

Mr. Norm Miller: I rise again today to bring to this Legislature the voices of all Ontarians who are concerned with the McGuinty harmonized sales tax.

Martha from Loring wrote: "I'm opposed to the Liberal government trying to introduce the HST into Ontario. It seems to be that every dollar that they can squeeze out of the public is the only way to go to cover up their overspending. The rest of us have to abide by our budgets, and we are certainly not able to charge other people more money to make ends meet. I would appreciate it if you would show this to Dalton McGuinty and his party to let them know that not all of us are in agreement with his plan."

A senior wrote: "Harmonized tax will make me lose my home and will make living on a disability senior's income impossible. I've been told that maintenance fees on my condo may increase by about $100 a month. You are attempting to squeeze blood from a stone. My retirement savings investments were devastated by the recent economic problems. Where am I expected to reside after I lose this place?"

Bill writes, "Norm, can anyone sane propose doing this to our economy in its current state? Does the government not read its own unemployment figures? How are these people going to fare with all these increases? They certainly won't have a lot of discretionary cash to spend the economy out of the recession."

I say again to the Premier, you have an obligation to hold public consultations across this province, to hear from Ontarians directly about the impact of your tax. Do the right thing and hold public hearings.

FUNDRAISING

Mr. Yasir Naqvi: I rise today to share with the House and my constituents in Ottawa Centre a tremendous fundraising drive undertaken by students in my riding at Nepean High School and Lisgar Collegiate Institute.

I was privileged to join with these young people to help raise much-needed funds for the United Way of Ottawa and the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre by serving delicious pancakes at each of these pancake breakfasts.

On November 6, Nepean High School hosted 400 people, raising $3,000 for United Way and the David Smith centre. Not only pancakes made this possible; it was also the generous support of local businesses who donated raffle and door prizes that made this such a success.

Celebrity guests included Ryan and Race from new Hot89.9; Joel and Kathie from CTV's Regional Contact, and CTV sports anchor Terry Marcotte.

Lisgar Collegiate held their pancake breakfast on November 20 where almost $1,500 was raised for United Way by 300 hungry participants.

I would especially like to recognize the student organizers at Nepean High School: Alexandra Tighe, Melanie Judges, Alli Davis and Veronica Green. At Lisgar Collegiate: John Ryan, Jennifer Erskine, Shannon King, Ivy Xuâ€"and many other volunteers at both schools who helped make it such a success, many of whom were flipping pancakes, starting at 5 a.m.

Well done to all the students. I'm very proud of these young people for their hard work to help those in our community who are less fortunate and their peers who suffer from substance abuse issues.

TAXATION

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I appreciate the opportunity today to talk about the need for public hearings into the HST bill, or Bill 218, as we refer to it here in this chamber.

As you know, the Liberals have used every loophole they could possibly find to ram this legislation through the Ontario Legislature, and they're going to continue to do that at committee.

I have one piece of correspondence of thousands that have come into my office that I want to read into the record to signify the discontent among Ontarians with this tactic. This comes from the Barrhaven BIA chair, Ken Ross:

"It is certainly a common view that the public in general are very 'unaware' of the implications of this harmonized tax 'HST.'

"It is really quite disturbing to those in attendance as to the way and haste this tax is being pushed through.

"It is also not realistic to coordinate those who are most affected to come to Queen's Park this Thursday to speak on this issue. 'Does Dalton realize that it is less than three weeks to Christmas ... the time of year that either makes or breaks it for most businesses!'"

I need to say that I agree with Mr. Ross, and that is why I and my colleague in the NDP have called for the committee hearings on Thursday morning to start at one minute after 12. We expect the Liberals to support us. We want to sit round the clock, and we'll do just that.

LABOUR MOBILITY

Mr. Rosario Marchese: The government yesterday killed the debate on Bill 175, the labour mobility act, and quickly dispatched it for hearings on Thursday, something we have not seen ever by this government or any previous government: You kill the debate on a Monday and demand hearings on a Thursdayâ€"one day of hearings.

Under Bill 175, municipalities and the various regulatory colleges that govern trades, occupations and professions will be put under tremendous pressure to license out-of-province workers, including those with inferior credentials and training. New Democrats believe that forcing Ontario regulators to recognize trade and occupational standards in provinces with lower standards will lower Ontario's standards and will lead to less-qualified workers, which will negatively affect the welfare and safety of Ontarians.

Bill 175 is not about labour mobility. It's about losing our power as a province to determine what work will be done in Ontario and who will do that work.

The real threat, however, is the degree to which legislation like this will ultimately put Ontario at the mercy of international trade agreements and eliminate the province's ability to control its own economic future.

We've had an agreement done between Quebec and Ontario, and there was absolutely no debate. We now have Bill 175 before us and there's virtually very little debate and hardly any hearings. We demand long hearings on this bill.

MUNSEE-DELAWARE FIRST NATION

Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Munsee-Delaware First Nation in my riding of Lambtonâ€"Kentâ€"Middlesex to see first-hand what dedication and perseverance can accomplish in a community.

Construction of a small business and community centre began in 1998, but construction was halted due to financial constraints. In January 2008, the residents identified the necessity for a community centre and a small business centre that would fill a host of important needs for the Munsee-Delaware nation. After identifying these needs, the community followed that up with action by holding extensive consultations with various entrepreneurs and organizations.

Through the aboriginal community capital grants program, Munsee-Delaware will now complete construction of the centre by the summer of 2010, using a First Nations construction company and local labour. Already, businesses and organizations have expressed interest in renting commercial space in that small business centre. And the community centre will provide for the local people, especially the youth, a place to come together for social activities and for the teaching of Munsee-Delaware traditions and beliefs.

I want to congratulate the Munsee-Delaware First Nation on their commitment to their community, and I look forward to joining them at the opening ceremonies at the new centre in 2010.

WORLD AIDS DAY

Mrs. Julia Munro: I'm pleased to rise in the House today in recognition of World AIDS Day. There are 33.4 million people across the globe living with AIDS. That's 31.3 million adults, and 2.1 million children under 15.

The first cases of HIV/AIDS in North America were recognized nearly 30 years ago, and there is still no cure.

I would like to take a quick moment here to note a staggering statistic that was brought to my attention today, which is that right here in Canada, over 50% of grade 9 students wrongly believe that there is a cure for AIDS. Awareness campaigns, like the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research's red ribbon campaign, work to dispel these types of myths among young people and among Canadians in general.

1510

Today, over 100 youth volunteers from the United Youth Initiative are on the streets of Toronto handing out red ribbons to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that 125,000 red ribbons will be distributed across the country today, as the red ribbon campaign has a presence in nearly every province.

I would like to offer my support and congratulations for a successful World AIDS Day campaign to all those awareness groups who have dedicated many hours and dollars towards this worthy cause, including the AIDS Committee of Toronto; Toronto People with AIDS Foundation; Black CAP; Canadian AIDS Societyâ€"they partner with Scotiabank for Walk for Life; Ontario AIDS Network; Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention; Ontario HIV Treatment Network; and Casey House. Thank you for all of your honourable work.

APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING

Mr. Bill Mauro: We all know that Ontario's workers are some of the most productive and skilled in the country. Apprentices are essential for this continued contribution, and the McGuinty government is committed to helping these apprentices succeed. In the global economy, the McGuinty Liberals are giving new apprentices the skills and training to succeed in skilled jobs closer to home, creating a stronger economy and stronger communities.

Supporting apprentices is an investment in Ontario's future, and the McGuinty government's financial investments will help them fill the high-skill, high-quality jobs of the future. This includes providing grants of up to $2,000 to apprentices upon successful completion of training, and additional grants of up to $1,500 to help offset the cost of school. This $8.3-million investment is in addition to our government increasing the apprenticeship training tax credit to $10,000, making it the most generous tax credit of its kind in Canada.

These investments mean that apprentices can stay in Ontario and gain the skills they need for the future they want right here. We are putting students first, and the McGuinty Liberal support of skilled workers will help us build a stronger Ontario together.

TAXATION

Mr. Bas Balkissoon: I've been listening to the debate about tax harmonization for the past seven months and have been shocked by the volume of incorrect information. For example, yesterday I heard the member for Nepeanâ€"Carleton suggest that a senior with a fixed income of $40,000 a year would be paying $2,100 more in taxes each year. To pay $2,100 more in taxes, a senior would need to spend $26,000 per year on items that were not previously subjected to the PST. That is 65% of their income. With over 80% of purchases not affected by HST, this is simply impossible.

The seniors of Scarboroughâ€"Rouge River deserve to hear the facts. What seniors need to know is that their income tax is being reduced by $360 per year permanently, and their property tax refund will be increased by an additional $250 annually. Also, a senior would receive a $300 tax-free credit by way of transitional benefits.

Ontario's government members have been speaking about the benefits of tax reform with seniors since the budget was introduced in March. During that time, we've been providing detailed explanations rather than the half-truths and fear mongering of the opposition.

ROMANIA

Mr. Tony Ruprecht: On December 1, 1918, an important event took place in the history of mankind: the establishment of the Republic of Romania. On December 1, Romanians all over the world celebrate this independence of the great union of 1918, when, by freely expressing their will, Romanians from all historical provinces previously under foreign domination proclaimed their union with the motherland, thus accomplishing the centuries-long dream of their ancestors: creating the great Romania.

As you probably know, Romanians paid a very heavy price for this independence and the desire to be independent. In 1948, the revolution didn't last very long because the great powers did not support Romanians to be independent. A military struggle took place for this independence in 1877, when King Carol fought against the Ottoman military might. The king won the battle, but he lost 10,000 men.

Today, Romanians are able to dream again. They're part of a united Europe and also part of NATO. When we raised the flag this morningâ€"we also want to celebrate one other item. We want to celebrate the contribution that Romanians have made in Canada, because we find them in every aspect of life.

Representing the government of Romania and Consul General Valentin Naumescu is Mr. Jerry Avram, and we wish the community very well. Congratulations.

REPORTS BY COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I beg to inform the House that today the Clerk received the report dated December 1, 2009, of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.

Pursuant to standing order 108(f)9, the report is deemed to be adopted by the House.

Report deemed adopted.

STANDING COMMITTEE ON
GENERAL GOVERNMENT

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

The Clerk-at-the-Table (Ms. Lisa Freedman): Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill 187, An Act to amend the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 and the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act, 1996 / Projet de loi 187, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2000 sur les normes techniques et la sécurité et la Loi de 1996 sur l'application de certaines lois traitant de sécurité et de services aux consommateurs.

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

All those in favour will say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1516 to 1521.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Will the members please take their seats.

To the member from Simcoeâ€"Grey: Is it your intention to vote in this division?

Mr. Jim Wilson: Yes.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. In that case, for this division I'm prepared to allow you to vote from the seat that you currently occupy.

Mr. Orazietti has moved the Standing Committee on General Government report regarding Bill 187. All those in favour will please rise one at a time and be recorded by the Clerk.

Ayes

Aggelonitis, Sophia

Albanese, Laura

Arthurs, Wayne

Balkissoon, Bas

Bartolucci, Rick

Bentley, Christopher

Brown, Michael A.

Chan, Michael

Colle, Mike

Craitor, Kim

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Dickson, Joe

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoskins, Eric

Jaczek, Helena

Jeffrey, Linda

Johnson, Rick

Kular, Kuldip

Kwinter, Monte

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Moridi, Reza

Naqvi, Yasir

Orazietti, David

Pendergast, Leeanna

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Ramal, Khalil

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Van Bommel, Maria

Zimmer, David

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

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Bailey, Robert

Barrett, Toby

Bisson, Gilles

Horwath, Andrea

Miller, Norm

Miller, Paul

Munro, Julia

O'Toole, John

Prue, Michael

Runciman, Robert W.

Savoline, Joyce

Tabuns, Peter

Wilson, Jim

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 43; the nays are 15.

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

Report adopted.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Pursuant to the order of the House dated November 19, 2009, the bill is ordered for third reading.

STANDING COMMITTEE
ON SOCIAL POLICY

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I beg leave to present a report from the Standing Committee on Social Policy and move its adoption.

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

All those in favour will say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1524 to 1529.

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

Ayes

Aggelonitis, Sophia

Albanese, Laura

Arthurs, Wayne

Balkissoon, Bas

Bartolucci, Rick

Bentley, Christopher

Bisson, Gilles

Brown, Michael A.

Chan, Michael

Colle, Mike

Craitor, Kim

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Dickson, Joe

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoskins, Eric

Jaczek, Helena

Jeffrey, Linda

Johnson, Rick

Kular, Kuldip

Kwinter, Monte

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Miller, Paul

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Moridi, Reza

Naqvi, Yasir

Orazietti, David

Pendergast, Leeanna

Prue, Michael

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Ramal, Khalil

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Sousa, Charles

Tabuns, Peter

Van Bommel, Maria

Zimmer, David

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

Nays

Arnott, Ted

Bailey, Robert

Barrett, Toby

MacLeod, Lisa

Miller, Norm

Munro, Julia

O'Toole, John

Runciman, Robert W.

Savoline, Joyce

Wilson, Jim

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 48; the nays are 11.

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

Report adopted.

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

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

962 BLOOR STREET WEST
LIMITED ACT, 2009

Mr. Ruprecht moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr29, An Act to revive 962 Bloor Street West Limited.

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

All those in favour will say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1533 to 1538.

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

Ayes

Aggelonitis, Sophia

Albanese, Laura

Arnott, Ted

Arthurs, Wayne

Bailey, Robert

Balkissoon, Bas

Barrett, Toby

Bartolucci, Rick

Bisson, Gilles

Brown, Michael A.

Chan, Michael

Colle, Mike

Craitor, Kim

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Dickson, Joe

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hoskins, Eric

Jaczek, Helena

Jeffrey, Linda

Johnson, Rick

Kular, Kuldip

Kwinter, Monte

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Miller, Norm

Miller, Paul

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Moridi, Reza

Munro, Julia

Naqvi, Yasir

O'Toole, John

Orazietti, David

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Pendergast, Leeanna

Prue, Michael

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Ramal, Khalil

Rinaldi, Lou

Runciman, Robert W.

Ruprecht, Tony

Savoline, Joyce

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Sousa, Charles

Tabuns, Peter

Van Bommel, Maria

Yakabuski, John

Zimmer, David

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Opposed?

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 58; the nays are 0.

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

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Pursuant to standing order 86, this bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.

MOTIONS

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I seek unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding private members' public business.

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

Hon. Monique M. Smith: It's that notice for ballot item 56 be waived. It's just a waiving of notice.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would ask the House leader to defer until we can have a brief discussion. This didn't come up at the House leaders' meeting, did it?

Interjection.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: It did come up? All right, we will agree.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Would you please reread the motion?

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I move that, notwithstanding standing order 98(g), notice for ballot item 56 be waived.

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

Motion agreed to.

HOUSE SITTINGS

Hon. Monique M. Smith: I move that, pursuant to standing order 6(c)(ii), the House shall meet from 6:45 p.m. to 12 a.m. midnight on Tuesday, December 1, 2009.

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

All those in favour will say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1543 to 1548.

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

Ayes

Aggelonitis, Sophia

Albanese, Laura

Arnott, Ted

Arthurs, Wayne

Bailey, Robert

Balkissoon, Bas

Barrett, Toby

Bartolucci, Rick

Brown, Michael A.

Chan, Michael

Colle, Mike

Craitor, Kim

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Dickson, Joe

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hampton, Howard

Hardeman, Ernie

Hoskins, Eric

Jaczek, Helena

Jeffrey, Linda

Johnson, Rick

Kular, Kuldip

Kwinter, Monte

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Miller, Norm

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Moridi, Reza

Munro, Julia

Naqvi, Yasir

O'Toole, John

Orazietti, David

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Pendergast, Leeanna

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Ramal, Khalil

Rinaldi, Lou

Runciman, Robert W.

Ruprecht, Tony

Savoline, Joyce

Sergio, Mario

Smith, Monique

Sousa, Charles

Van Bommel, Maria

Wilkinson, John

Yakabuski, John

Zimmer, David

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

Nays

Bisson, Gilles

DiNovo, Cheri

Miller, Paul

Prue, Michael

Tabuns, Peter

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 57; the nays are 5.

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

Motion agreed to.

CONDUCT OF HOUSE PROCEEDINGS

Mr. Gilles Bisson: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: This morning, as you know, question period did not go forward on the basis of a decision you made, which said that question period would not go ahead provided that the two members who had been named by you stayed in the House. Clearly, you made a decision in order to enforce your ruling in regard to what you decided regarding those two members.

Here we are, we're all the way into motionsâ€"you're allowing motions to go forward as things progress in this Houseâ€"and I've got to assume that we're going to get into orders of the day.

It seems to me that what is happening now is that the opposition is being penalized and the government is being allowed to get its business, and I don't think, quite frankly, that serves the purpose of this House.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I thank the honourable member for his point of order. I recognize that my role is to protect the interests of members, and I very much would have liked to have protected the interests of the third party for question period.

I did pose a request to the House leader of the official opposition, stating my hope and my intention that those members would not be present in the House. That was not complied with by the honourable members. When that action was taken by those honourable members, in refusing to comply with the request to remove themselves from the House, I felt it was in my interest that action had to be takenâ€"and it was as a result of the disruption caused by the opposition that that decision was made to allow the clock to run during question period.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: On the same point of order, Mr. Speaker: You did not respond to my point, which is that question period was withheld this morning as a result of what happened because of the members being here, and all of a sudden, here we are, we're going into orders of the day, and the government is going to get what it wants and the opposition has been penalized. You can't rule on the one side and not on the other. I want to understand your logic.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I would say in response that, as the honourable member is aware, on past occasions when there have been disruptions, you know what the practice of the Speaker has been during question period: If there is a disruption that comes from the opposition side, I have allowed the clock to run. If there are interjections that come forth from the government side, the clock is stopped.

In the case this morning, because of the disruptions that have been taking place within the House, I made the decision to allow the clock to run through the whole of question period.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): My decision has been made.

PETITIONS

TAXATION

Mr. John O'Toole: It's with some reflection that I rise to read a petition from my riding of Durham, and it reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Premier McGuinty is increasing taxes in Ontario yet again with the proposed new 13% combined sales tax, at a time when families and businesses in Ontario can least afford it; and

"Whereas, by 2010, Premier McGuinty's new tax will increase the cost of all goods and services that families and businesses buy and use every day." Just a few examples will include coffee, magazines, car, gas, home heating oil, electricity, haircuts, dry cleaning, personal grooming, health needs, home renovation, home services, veterinary care, pet care, legal services, the sale and resale of homes and funeral services.

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty promised he wouldn't raise taxes in the 2003 election. However, in 2004, he brought in the health tax, which costs upwards of $600 to $900 per individual. And now he," Premier McGuinty, "is raising our taxes again;

"Therefore we, the undersigned petitioners from the riding of Durham, request the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That the Dalton McGuinty government wake up to Ontario's current economic reality and stop raising taxes on Ontario's hard-working families and businesses."

I would like to add: Please have public hearings. Let the people's voices be heard.

ERAMOSA KARST

Mr. Paul Miller: This is a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"We, the people of Ontario, recognize the need to protect the Eramosa Karst and its feeder lands, Ontario's first provincially significant area of natural and scientific interest;

"Whereas approximately 36 hectares of feeder lands east of the Eramosa Karst are at risk of being sold for development. The development of the feeder lands would damage the environmental and scientifically significant features of the Eramosa Karst;

"Whereas the 36 hectares of feeder lands represent a unique and beautiful part of Ontario's landscape, and are an important educational tool for people of all ages;

"Whereas the 36 hectares of feeder lands need to be protected for future generations;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to protect the 36 hectares of feeder lands surrounding the Eramosa Karst by passing into law the Eramosa Karst Feeder Land Protection Act, 2009."

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

WATER QUALITY

Mr. Jeff Leal: "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas North America (and the world) have become continuously drier; and

"Whereas life does not exist without water; and

"Whereas the most pristine water with necessary minerals lies in aquifers for over 10,000 years; and

"Whereas leaching of toxins can occur;

"We, the undersigned citizens of Ontario, request that aquifer water be preserved only for drinking."

I agree with this petition, will sign it and will give it to Vanessa.

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TAXATION

Mr. John Yakabuski: Gosh, I hope that we don't run out of time here. We're running out of time to even table these petitions. It's sad. The government's intransigence is awful.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas residents in Renfrewâ€"Nipissingâ€"Pembroke do not want the McGuinty Liberals' new sales tax, which will raise the cost of goods and services they use every day; and

"Whereas the McGuinty Liberals' new sales tax of 13% will cause everyone to pay more for gasoline for their cars, hydro, heat, telephone, cable and Internet services for their homes, and will be applied to home sales over $400,000; and

"Whereas the McGuinty Liberals' new sales tax of 13% will cause everyone to pay more for meals under $4, haircuts, funeral services, gym memberships, newspapers, and lawyer and accountant fees; and

"Whereas the McGuinty Liberals' new sales tax ... will affect everyone in the province: seniors, students, families and low-income Ontarians;

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

"That the McGuinty Liberal government not increase taxes for Ontario families."

I support this petition, affix my name to it and send it down with page Christopher.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Mr. Bill Mauro: I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that reads as follows:

"Whereas we currently have no psychiatric emergency service at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to support the creation of a psychiatric emergency service in emergency at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario."

I support this petition and will affix my signature to it.

TAXATION

Mrs. Joyce Savoline: "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas residents in Burlington do not want the McGuinty 13% sales tax, which will raise the cost of goods and services they use every day; and

"Whereas the McGuinty 13% blended sales tax will cause everyone to pay more for gasoline for their cars, heat, telephone, cable and Internet services for their homes, and will be applied to home sales over $400,000; and

"Whereas the McGuinty 13% blended sales tax will cause everyone to pay more for meals under $4, haircuts, funeral services, gym memberships, newspapers, and lawyer and accountant fees; and

"Whereas the blended sales tax grab will affect everyone in the province: seniors, students, families and low-income Ontarians;

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

"That the McGuinty Liberal government not increase taxes for Ontario families."

I agree with this petition, I will affix my name to it and I will give it to page Valerie.

HOSPITAL FUNDING

Mr. Bob Delaney: I have a petition addressed to the Ontario Legislative Assembly. I would like very much to thank the brothers and sisters at the Islamic Society of North America, and particularly Arshad Shaikh of Brampton, for having collected the signatures. It reads as follows.

"Whereas wait times for access to surgical procedures in the western GTA served by the Mississauga Halton LHIN are growing despite the ongoing capital project activity at the hospitals within the Mississauga Halton LHIN boundaries; and

"Whereas 'day surgery' procedures could better be performed in an off-site facility. An ambulatory surgery centre would greatly increase the ability of surgeons to perform more procedures, reduce wait times for patients and free up operating theatre space in hospitals for more complex procedures that may require post-operative intensive care unit support and a longer length of stay in hospital;

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

"That the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care allocate funds in its 2009-10 capital budget to begin planning and construction of an ambulatory surgery centre located in western Mississauga to serve the Mississauga-Halton area and enable greater access to 'day surgery' procedures that comprise about four fifths of all surgical procedures performed."

I am pleased to sign and support this petition and to ask page Alana to carry it for me.

TAXATION

Mrs. Julia Munro: "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty said he wouldn't raise taxes in the 2003 election, but in 2004 he brought in the health tax, the biggest tax hike in Ontario's history; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty will increase taxes yet again with his new 13% combined sales tax, at a time when families and businesses can least afford it; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty's new 13% sales tax will increase the cost of goods and services that families and businesses buy every day, such as: coffee, newspapers and magazines; gas at the pumps; home heating oil and electricity; postage stamps; haircuts; dry cleaning; home renovations; veterinary care; and arena ice and soccer field rentals;

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

"That the Dalton McGuinty government wake up to Ontario's current economic reality and stop raising taxes, once and for all, on Ontario's hard-working families and businesses."

I have affixed my signature, as I am in agreement.

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

Mme France Gélinas: I have a petition from the people of Val Caron and Hanmer, in my riding of Nickel Belt, and it goes as follows:

"Whereas the Ontario government is making … PET scanning a publicly insured health service...; and

"Whereas by October 2009, insured PET scans will be performed in Ottawa, London, Toronto, Hamilton and Thunder Bay; and

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

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

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

PUBLIC TRANSIT

Mr. Mike Colle: "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas too many innocent people are being victimized by acts of violence while using public transit; and

"Whereas too many public transit employees are being victimized by acts of violence while working to serve the public; and

"Whereas we need to send a strong message of zero tolerance for violence on public transit; and

"Whereas anyone harming or carrying a weapon on public transit should be dealt with by the full force of the law; and

"Whereas public transit riders and workers have the right to ride and work on public transit free of violence, intimidation and harm;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to put an end to violence on public transit and totally support MPP Mike Colle's private member's bill to crack down on violence on public transit."

I support this petition and affix my name to it.

TAXATION

Mr. Ted Arnott: I was sent this petition by constituents who live in the riding of Perthâ€"Wellington, and it reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty said he wouldn't raise taxes in the 2003 election, but in 2004 he brought in a brand new tax on income that they inaccurately claimed was going to 'health care'; and

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty will increase taxes yet again with his new 13% combined sales tax, at a time when families and businesses can least afford it;

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty's new 13% sales tax will increase the cost of goods and services that families and businesses buy every day, such as: coffee, newspapers and magazines; gas at the pumps; home heating oil and electricity; postage stamps; haircuts; dry cleaning; home renovations; veterinary care; and arena ice and soccer field rentals;

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

"That the Dalton McGuinty government wake up to Ontario's current economic reality and stop raising taxes, once and for all, on Ontario's hard-working families and businesses."

I support this petition as well.

SOCIAL SERVICES FUNDING

Mr. Bob Delaney: I have a petition addressed to the Ontario Legislative Assembly. I'd like to thank the many parents from ErinoakKids for signing this, and particularly Cyrena Fernandez of Strata Court in Erin Mills. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the population in Peel has tripled from 400,000 residents to 1.2 million between 1980 to present. Human services funding has not kept pace with that growth. Peel receives only one third the per capita social service funding of other Ontario communities; and

"Whereas residents of Peel cannot obtain social services in a timely fashion. Long waiting lists exist for many Peel region service providers...; and

"Whereas Ontario's Places to Grow legislation predicts substantial future growth, further challenging our already stretched service providers to respond to population growth;

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

"That the province of Ontario allocate social services funding on the basis of population size, population growth, relevant social indicators and special geographic conditions;

"That the province provide adequate growth funding for social services in Peel region; and

"That Ontario develop, in consultation with high-growth stakeholders, a human services strategy for high-growth regions to complement Ontario's award-winning Places to Grow strategy."

I am pleased to sign and support this petition, and to ask page Simon to carry it for me.

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TAXATION

Mr. Norm Miller: I have more petitions with regard to the McGuinty sales tax. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the McGuinty government is planning to merge the 8% provincial sales tax and the 5% federal sales tax; and

"Whereas the new 13% sales tax will be applied to products and services not previously subject to provincial sales tax such as gasoline, home heating fuels, home renovations, haircuts, hamburgers, television service, Internet service, telephone and cell services, taxi fees, bus, train and airplane tickets, and dry cleaning services; and

"Whereas rural and northern Ontarians will be particularly hard hit by Mr. McGuinty's new sales tax, as will seniors and families;

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

"That the McGuinty government should eliminate the new sales tax."

I'm pleased to support this and give it to Christopher.

HISPANIC COMMUNITY

Mr. Mike Colle: I have another petition. It's in support of proclaiming April as Hispanic Heritage Month.

"Whereas Canadians of Hispanic" heritage "have made outstanding contributions" to building this province;

"Whereas the Hispanic population is among the fastest-growing ... in Ontario;

"Whereas the Hispanic population in Ontario represents 23 countries...;

"Whereas Hispanic Heritage Month would give Ontarians the opportunity to participate in various cultural and educational activities that would strengthen our diversity;

"Whereas the proclamation of April as Hispanic Heritage Month in Ontario is an opportunity to recognize and learn about the contributions Canadians of Hispanic heritage have made to Canada and to the world in music, art, literature, films, economics, science and medicine;

"We, the undersigned, call upon the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support proclaiming April of each year as Hispanic Heritage Month in Ontario."

I support this petition and affix my name to it.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

TIME ALLOCATION

Hon. John Gerretsen: I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 185, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act with respect to greenhouse gas emissions trading and other economic and financial instruments and market-based approaches, when Bill 185 is next called as a government order, 45 minutes shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill, apportioned equally among the recognized parties. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

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

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

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Debate?

Hon. John Gerretsen: I'm pleased to rise today to lead off debate on a time allocation motion for third reading of Bill 185, our government's proposed environmental protection amendment act on greenhouse gas emissions trading. I would like to begin my remarks by discussing the reasons why we are introducing this motion.

From the beginning, Ontario has been committed to real leadership in tackling climate change. Leadership demands that we keep up the pace we've set and build on the steps we've already taken. This is no time to falter and take a wait-and-see attitude or lag behind other jurisdictions.

I'm proud to say that we've been building momentum on this crucial environmental situation since 2007, when Premier McGuinty first introduced our climate change action plan. Our progress is real and measurable. We are on track as we move toward achieving our greenhouse gas reduction targets.

We've been first in Ontario on many fronts. We are the first jurisdiction to regulate a phase-out of coal, one of the boldest climate change initiatives of any place in the world. I can tell you that anywhere I speak, people are always impressed by the fact that we are going to phase out coal-fired energy in this province and we're on the way to doing that.

We also introduced the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which was described by Al Gore recentlyâ€"last week, as a matter of factâ€"as the single best green energy program on the North American continent. Let me say that once again: It is regarded as the single best green energy program in North America. He also mentioned specifically Premier McGuinty's leadership on the whole climate change initiative.

We have made historic investments in transit, as you well know: a commitment of over $10 billion for over 52 projects in the GTA alone.

Our 1.8-million-acre greenbelt has received international recognition and accolades. We are protecting vast amounts of our boreal forests, particularly in the north; and we are supporting the important research and development of innovative technologies that will be the foundation of a new green economy.

Over the past year, we've been working with like-minded jurisdictions on developing a cap-and-trade approach that would work for Ontario, provide a fair and level playing field for Ontario's industries and allow us to link with the other emerging North American trading systems. Getting the timing right on cap-and-trade is absolutely urgent. We need a fair and effective system that is harmonized with other emerging systems; one that allows Ontario control over its own destiny and future prosperity; one that stays in step with broader North American initiatives.

Bill 185, therefore, if passed on the timetable that we are proposing in the motion, would allow us to move forward with consultations in the spring of 2010 on a detailed design for cap and trade, including regulations.

It is absolutely imperative that we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. That's what the discussions and the meetings in Copenhagen next month are going to be all about. We in Ontario have been doing our job, and we will continue to be leaders in that regard.

These, then, are vital pieces of a plan that would allow Ontario to be a significant player in an emerging North American cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. Being a leading jurisdiction on the ground early on with cap-and-trade, as was shown in this bill, will help inform the rules and ensure that Ontario is in a stronger position to protect our interests, our jobs, as well as the affected industries.

You may be interested in knowing that, as of 2007, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that were emitted here in Ontario was roughly 200 megatonnes: of that, approximately 25% comes from industry, and about 80% of that from the larger industries that would be subject to this cap-and-trade legislation, as well as the electricity industry.

Let me remind the House once again that cap and trade is a key step to meeting the greenhouse gas reduction targets in our climate change action plan, which has always been, ever since we first put it out, a 6% reduction below 1990 levels by 2014 and a 15% reduction by 2020.

To compare that to the federal scheme, you may be interested in knowing that the federal scheme talks about a 20% reduction by 2020 over the 2006 emission levels. That, in effect, only translates to about a 3% reduction over the Kyoto 1990 base year rates. So the federal government is proposing a 3% reduction based on Kyoto; we in Ontario have always said we want to propose at least, and be able to reduce our emissions by, 15%.

These targets are tough, no doubt, but they are achievable. When they were announced, as a matter of fact, they were assessed by the World Wildlife Fund of Canada as "a welcome and important signal that tangible action on global warming must start in earnest."

Developing an effective and equitable cap-and-trade system is a critical piece of our strategy to meet our targets, while at the same time strengthening our economy and establishing Ontario as a competitive player in the lower-carbon world that undoubtedly will come and we want to be leaders in. But in order to do that, we have to act decisively now, to be ready for a broader system and to do our part in Ontario to address the difficult and complex challenges of climate change.

We want future generations to thrive because of the measures that we took and not suffer because we failed to act. I always say that what we're talking about here will not affect us in the next five, 10, 20 years, but it's certainly going to affect future generations if we don't do anything.

Our government has taken a leadership role on the environment, and tackling climate change is our most critical environmental policy. It's also our most critical economic policy. We introduced our climate change action plan back in 2007 when many governments were still in the denial phase. We saw the urgency of this challenge at that time, and we took action.

Ours is a wide-ranging approach that recognizes that tackling climate change does not depend on one single action but instead demands a multi-faceted, collaborative approach that, to be successful, must be sustained on many different levels.

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We've taken significant steps to achieve real greenhouse gas reductions that will protect and improve the environment. Ours is a comprehensive plan founded on a commitment to leading with strong, decisive measures. We are showing real leadership by being the first jurisdiction to regulate the phasing-out of coal-fired energy generation, as I mentioned before. In effect, that action alone will reduce emissions by up to 30 megatonnesâ€"the greatest single reduction of greenhouse gases in Canada.

We are on track to phase out the province's coal-fired energy plants by 2014. As a matter of fact, by 2010â€"next yearâ€"four additional units will be phased out. We've already made significant progress on this front. Between 2003 and 2007, Ontario reduced emissions from its coal-fired energy generating stations from 35 megatonnes to 28 megatonnes. We're on the way to make it happenâ€"

Interjections.

Hon. John Gerretsen: â€"and I know the Conservatives don't like to hear this, but they know it has to happen for the benefit of future generations.

In 2008, coal-fired generation was down 27% compared to 2003. That's significant progress, and I realize full well that some of the reductions were as a result of the lower economic activity. We simply need to keep building on this positive forward momentum.

Our Green Energy and Green Economy Act is another milestoneâ€"an absolute first. It will expand Ontario's use of clean and renewable energy, whether it's wind power, solar power, hydro, biomass or biogas, and promote a culture of conservation in our industries, our businesses and our homes. Doesn't it make sense to take those natural powers that are out there, whether it's wind, solar, biomass or biogas, and utilize them rather than keep endlessly burning fossil fuels that will increase the carbon dioxide that's in the air?

Our forward-thinking Green Energy and Green Economy Act is another key pillar in our climate change action plan and will help our province bring it into a 21st-century infrastructure through smart power grids to support the development of renewable energy projects. The act includes a comprehensive feed-in tariff program, or, as it's commonly known, the FIT program, for renewable energy projects, which offers guaranteed long-term and attractive prices to developers of renewable power projects and will help get clean, green energy projects online more quickly.

There's also the MicroFIT program, which people around this province are taking advantage of on a daily basis by putting up small wind turbines and solar panels on their roofs all over this province. As a matter of fact, there's nothing that dictates what's happening in that regard more than the fact that people themselves want to be involved on an ongoing basis. The returns on those projects are very lucrative for those individuals that are taking those progressive actions as well.

More renewable energy projects in Ontario will simply mean more jobs and economic development for Ontario communities. As a matter of fact, at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, just this past Friday I was at an opening of a wind turbine technician program which will see about 40 wind turbine technicians being trained on an annual basis to make sure that those wind turbines that are out there in the province of Ontario and will grow over the next number of years will be properly maintained. These are the kinds of jobs that we need in our new green economy.

We are making landmark investments in clean energy and transit that will boost our competitiveness and create jobs, and we are supporting the research and development of green technologies that are also an integral part of preparing Ontario for a lower-carbon future. Our action plan does not overlook the fact that climate change is already here and impacting people and the environment.

We've all seen the changing climate patterns. One of the most moving things that I saw a couple of months ago was when the president of the Maldives, which is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, was pleading with the rest of the word to start doing something about greenhouse gas emissions so that the polar caps would not continue to melt, so that sea levels wouldn't rise and so that two of the islands would not in effect have to be evacuated within the next 10 years because of rising sea levels, that that would not be necessary. Those people are seeing on a daily basis what kind of effects the lack of dealing with the climate change agenda can have on them. We haven't perhaps seen that quite as dramatically here in Ontario, but we will be seeing that if we don't take the kinds of actions that are contained within the bill that's before us today.

While we need to do everything we can to mitigate climate change, we must also begin to adapt to the future and current impacts. We have appointed, as you may know, Ontario's expert panel on climate change adaptation to help us plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change in the coming years. That expert panel is headed up by Dr. David Pearson, who, as a matter of fact, was one of the Nobel Prize winners with the IPCC a couple of years ago on the kind of work that they've done with respect to climate change: true experts in every field. That panel has recently delivered its report, and we are carefully considering the advice that we have received, because it's going to impact all ministries. It's going to impact our way of life, the way in which we do business and the way in which we renew and build new infrastructure in our province.

As well, Dr. Ian Burton, the panel's other co-chair, will be accompanying me when I travel to COP15, the international climate change conference beginning in Copenhagen in just over a week's time.

We are already actively engaged in several adaptation actions, such as developing a climate change adaptation strategy for Lake Simcoe and its watershed. We are also working to protect at least 225,000 square kilometres of Ontario's boreal forest region, an area that absorbs approximately 12.5 million tonnes of carbon each year. We want to make sure that is protected so that the forest can continue to do the very positive work in getting carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere. This is also a very important adaptation measure to increase the resilience of our forest ecosystems.

These are just a few of the many ways we are working to help protect our environment, our ecosystems and our economy from the impacts of climate change.

We will very soon be releasing the second annual report on our climate change action plan. It will show where we are on the journey to meeting our plan's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target, and that's really what all of this is about: methods by which we can reduce those greenhouse gases that are providing us with the largest worldwide environmental challenge of our times.

Developing a cap-and-trade system is a key building block in the foundation we're creating to make Ontario cleaner, greener and more prosperous in the future. That's why passing this important enabling legislation is an essential step in meeting our action plan's greenhouse gas reduction targets. We staked out our ground early by establishing our targets relative to the 1990 baseline, which is the accepted international baseline, and we would only wish that the federal government would accept that baseline as well. That's the Kyoto principle that was signed on to by this country back in 1997, and it's unfortunate that we've created an awful lot of confusion out there by us in Ontario using the accepted Kyoto baseline whereas, unfortunately, the federal government keeps referring to a 2006 baseline.

Coming out of the previous UN climate change conference in Bali in 2007, we were faced, quite frankly, with the absence of strong leadership from the federal governments both here and in the US. That's why subnational governments, like here in Ontario and Quebec and states like California, have recognized the urgency of climate change and the need for real action. As a result, for more than a year and a half now, we have been working with like-minded jurisdictions to develop such a cap-and-trade system.

Last year, we signed a memorandum of understanding with Quebec to collaborate on a system that is consistent with emerging North American systems. We also joined, together with Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba, the Western Climate Initiative. As members of this House will recall, the WCI is targeting a regional cap-and-trade system for 2012 and is helping inform the federal governments in both the United States and Canada of the need for a cap-and-trade policy development process.

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This is the template, quite frankly, that is being used to shape a broad, linked system that is equitable and transparent for all of those jurisdictions that are going to be involvedâ€"a model where the same rules and pricing schemes are applied consistently in every jurisdiction.

We need to be ready for 2012, and passing Bill 185 will help us get where we need to be. It will allow us to implement a cap-and-trade program that would ensure broad access to tradingâ€"international trading, cross-boundary tradingâ€"of the allowances that will be available. It will establish a level playing field for industry. The one consistent message that we've heard from industry over the last year at numerous meetings that I've had is the fact that they want to make sure the playing field we're establishing for them with respect to greenhouse gas emission reductionsâ€"and they all realize that it's coming. They want to make sure that there's a level playing field with jurisdictions across North America. That's what they're building on within the WCI. It will also help protect Ontario from the real risks of potential punitive border measures on Ontario exports to the US if we don't develop a system like this.

Make no mistake about it, cap and trade is coming to Ontario. This first step under the WCI will form the basis for what we hope will eventually be a broad-based trading system nationwide.

President Obama, since his election, has been very clear in his direction, which is very similar to this. We know the Obama administration is determined to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and has indicated that it will do so through their clean air act, in the absence of new federal legislation.

Also, the proposed Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer bills, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, will cover approximately 85% of the economy. Those bills will include not only industry and electricity but also fuels.

While the federal government has indicated that it wants to align with the US and is waiting for final US legislation, we are actively engaging our US counterparts at the subnational level, through the WCI, to inform the development of a consistent approach across North America.

We're simply not going to wait for others to come late to the game and then set the rules for us. We want to be part of setting those rules for a North American system.

We need to be able to successfully compete in the global green economy. No doubt, we need to protect Ontario's interests, Ontario's industries, as well as Ontario's jobs, and to do that we must be at the table when this emerging cap-and-trade system rolls out in North America.

I remind the House that we recently released a draft reporting regulation, a vital step toward the implementation of a cap-and-trade system, and that reporting regulation is on the EBR. The draft reporting regulation would require Ontario facilities that emit 25 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases to report their emissions each year. That would probably mean somewhere between 200 to 250 different industries, different organizations, that emit more than 25 kilotonnes per year would be reporting to us.

The proposed requirements are closely aligned with new US reporting rules. An effective and useful cap-and-trade system must exist within a harmonized and broader North American context. Ontario's system needs to be sufficiently broad and flexible to ensure that we're able to respond to fast-moving developments both here and in the US, maximize our ability to link with a broader North American system, and protect against potential border measures on Ontario exports if we don't do so.

Bill 185, the bill that we're discussing here today, will provide the foundation to implement such a system. We received valuable input based on our extensive consultations on Bill 185 that have gone on for over a year, and it is strongly reflected in the proposed legislation. We have been consulting broadly with like-minded jurisdictions, our stakeholders, the industries that will be affected by the system, environmental groups and other partners to ensure that Bill 185 will allow us to implement a cap-and-trade system that gets the fundamentals right. There is widespread agreement on many elements, like alignment with the US, preventing duplication of requirements, and providing certainty and clarity for industry. These are the key elements to our approach.

I should indicate right now that in the federal system that currently operates in Canada, those facilities that emit more than 100 kilotonnes per year have to report. We want to bring that down to 25, because that's what the requirements are going to be initially under the WCI that later on will be reduced to those facilities that are emitting 10 kilotonnes or more.

We have also received valuable feedback through the Environmental Registry in response to our discussion paper, Moving Forward: A Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade System for Ontario. In addition, we heard many constructive comments from the standing committee hearings that were held last week and the week before. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who responded for their contributions, including our colleagues from all sides of the House; my parliamentary assistant, Helena Jaczek; and particularly the members of both the government side and the opposition side; and the critics in this particular area, Mr. Tabuns and Mr. Barrett, who were quiteâ€"not supportive, perhaps, in all respects, but whose inputs were very much needed and welcomed as well.

The collaborative nature of this approach is not coming to an end. As we move forward, we will maintain an ongoing dialogue with all interested and affected parties. We are committed to keeping this process open and transparent, and we will continue to seek input over the winter months on what that cap-and-trade system design will look like.

A significant amount of the feedback we have received to date involves the revenues that would be generated from such a cap-and-trade system. We heard loudly and clearly that there is strong support for using the auction revenues from cap and trade to support greenhouse gas reductions in the sector covered under those systems.

I would like to read a quote from the Cement Association of Canada. As a matter of fact, they were here yesterday on their annual lobby day. They sent in an EBR submission in response to our discussion paper, and this is what they said: "Ontario cement manufacturers believe strongly that any revenues arising from the auction or otherwise distribution of allowances must be recycled into the development and deployment of new technologies capable of further reducing greenhouse gas emission within the sectors covered by the cap-and-trade system."

Now, people may be somewhat confused by what an allowance actually is. Allowances are those units of emissions that, in effect, are not required by a certain industry once caps have been placed. They will be allowed to sell that to other industries that need that extra allowance in order to operate their businesses. As the caps come down, obviously the amount of greenhouse gas emissions will come down as well over time, but that's one way in which businesses that have new modern technology, that do not have to use all the allowances that are allocated to them, can take advantage of those allowances, those emissions levels, that they don't need and sell them to other organizations that perhaps are not as technologically advanced as they are. That's what allowances really are all about.

Industries would need to develop infrastructure, transformative technologies and other programs that would help them reduce their emissions and transition successfully into the new green economy. The passage of this bill and the regulations that will follow that will allow this to happen. And once Ontario's cap-and-trade program is up and running, auction revenues would be distributed in a fair and transparent manner.

We are also looking at providing support to capped industries through a greenhouse gas reduction account to be set up by using revenues generated through cap and trade and the auctioning of credits. Of course, at what level you start auctioning these credits and allowances is still something that remains to be seen, and obviously, they're going to be very much influenced by what happens to other like-minded jurisdictions as well in that regard.

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Revenues from the auctioning of allowances would be used to defray the costs of the program and to support greenhouse gas reductions within sectors covered under the cap-and-trade system through initiatives such as research, development and deployment of lower greenhouse gas emitting technologies, as well as programs, infrastructure and equipment.

We should never, ever lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That's what it's all about. We simply cannot go on in the future the way we have. This would help sectors covered by the cap-and-trade system reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a lower cost, while maintaining competitiveness with our trading partners. So the allowances, the auctioning revenue, will be used within this entire system. The resulting innovations would mean reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the creation of new jobs, and help boost our global economy.

If passed, this bill will allow us the flexibility to identify additional greenhouse gases. It would mean that we could adapt to new cap-and-trade developments that may occur in the US and other jurisdictions over time. This flexibility would also help us protect Ontario industries from carbon-related border measures.

Now, I fully appreciate that there's widespread interest in exactly how a cap-and-trade system will work for Ontario. If this bill is passed, it in effect would allow us to write the detailed regulations required for the design and implementation of such a system so that it can be linked to other systems that would protect Ontario's interests and help us further along the green path we are taking. Working with like-minded jurisdictions, we will continue to lay the groundwork for a fair and effective approach that is both economically and environmentally sound.

Ontarians know that climate change presents a critical challenge to our health, our well-being and our future. All one has to do is look at the media reports on a daily basis as a lead-up to Copenhagen, as to how crucial these issues are and how much agreement and disagreement there is as to how exactly to effect this system on a worldwide basis. We in Ontario want to be among the leaders, if not the leader, within North America. We want to be part of the system right from the ground level on up.

Ontarians expect that their government take real and substantial actions in response to this challenge. When I and others travel to the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, I'll be sharing the measures that Ontario has already been taking to fight climate change, including our plans for a cap-and-trade system.

We are committed to speaking up for Ontario at COP15. Given the current lack of progress on the federal front, it is more important than ever that we continue to move forward with purpose and real concrete action. Our efforts through the Green Economy and Green Energy Act, our investments in transit and green technologies, and our work to implement a cap-and-trade system are going to open up new avenues for growth through investment, innovation and new green jobs. We are serious about fighting climate change while building a stronger and greener economy for the province. I think we can all be proud of the progress we've already made in the province of Ontario and the leadership that Ontario has already played in that regard.

In the last few minutes I have, I just want to refer once again to the chart I referred to earlier as to the actual makeup of our greenhouse gas emission situation in Ontario, because there seems to be quite a bit of confusion about it among the general public. You may be interested in knowing that the transportation industryâ€"by that I mean, freight transportation, automobiles, airplanes, truck transportation, obviously, and train transportationâ€"accounts for almost a third of all the greenhouse gases that are emitted in Ontario; it's about 31%, actually. As I mentioned before, industry is about 25%, so it's roughly 50 megatonnes that are being produced in Ontario. About 80% of that is being produced by the 200 to 230 industries that I talked about earlier, which we want to start reporting to the province of Ontario as to what their emission levels are starting on January 1 of next year. There are some statistics available through Statistics Canada which are, at best, best guesses as to what is being emitted, but there isn't any really hard-core evidence as to what is actually being emitted by these different industries. So the first thing we want to do next year is to get a much better handle on what is actually being emitted by those industries that emit more than 25 kilotonnes per year.

The building environmentâ€"the buildings that we're in here, our homes, our institutions etc.â€"produces about 17% of the greenhouse gas emissions in this province, which worked out to almost 34 megatonnes in 2007. Now, you may recall that we made some significant changes as a province within the last three or four years, building in, quite frankly, the most energy-efficient standards in new builds and in renovations for any buildings being constructed starting, I believe, on January 1, 2011. There are already many builders, particularly builders of residential homes, that are already advertising the fact that they are building to the highest possible LEED standards. LEED basically is a very energy-efficient and environmentally conscious system of building.

The kind of thing, quite frankly, that 20 years ago wasn't even thought about is now becoming the standard for people who are buying new homes today. Of course, the big advantage is that the more energy-efficient your home is, the less you spend on a day-to-day or a year-to-year basis for your energy costs, so usually the extra amount that you may have to put into a home right now more than pays for itself in the long run.

Electricity itself produces about 17% of our greenhouse gas emissions, and most of that is through coal-fired energy. The one advantage of nuclear energyâ€"and about half of the energy that's being produced in Ontario is from nuclearâ€"is that there are no greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear.

Interjections.

Hon. John Gerretsen: There may be other arguments as to why you're for or against nuclear, but the reality is that 50% of the electricity that's being produced in the province of Ontario does not have a greenhouse gas component to it. But 20% of it is through coal-fired energy, and that's exactly what we want to phase out. Pretty well all of the 17% that is produced by the electricity sector comes from coal-fired energy, which is something like 30 megatonnes per year, as I mentioned before.

The balance, of course, is through renewable. As you know, we have lots of renewable being built right now, but the reality is that of the total amount of electricity that's being produced in Ontario, renewableâ€"between all of the wind farms, solar farms, biomass and biogas, methane flaring from landfill sites that may be produced into electricity in some cases, or is startingâ€"is still only about 1%. So if we're going to meet that coal-fired energy phase-out by 2014, we really have to get much more actively involved in the whole renewable energy field. That's exactly why the Green Energy and Green Economy Act was passed: in order to bring projects on-stream a lot quicker.

Agriculture produces about 6% of our greenhouse gas emissionsâ€"roughly 11 tonnesâ€"and waste, basically landfill sites, produces another 4%, which is eight megatonnes. Of course, we have also put regulations in place to allow a lot of the methane that's contained in our landfill sitesâ€"which, by the way, is about 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide, believe it or not; the methane that's in our landfill sites adds 20 times more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere than anything else, so that's why it's so important to flare off our landfill sites. We put regulations into effect, but what's even more important is to take the energy that's contained in those landfill sites and turn that into electricity, and that's what's happening.

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So you can see that we've got a long way to go. We've already taken some very dramatic steps over the last four to five years to make it happen, but we need the kind of legislation that we have here in order to set up a system of cap and trade, which is all about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in an organized fashion, in a fair fashion to our industries, so that our industries will be able to continue to compete with the rest of North American industries. That's why we need this bill to be passed as soon as possible.

I know the government is not in favour, normally, of passing time allocation motions. We are a democratic government; we want to make sure that people have a right to their say. But we also realize that there comes a time when we simply have to act and we simply have to get going. If we're going to implement this kind of a system, which has had lots of public debate over the last year and a multitude of consultations with all of the sectors that are involvedâ€"I can tell you, I've had at least a dozen meetings over the last year or so with stakeholders of all kinds that have some direct interest in this, environmental, the companies that are involved. Last December and November, on successive nights, I met with all sorts of different industries to hear their points of view.

What they were saying consistently was, "Make sure that whatever system you implement is fair to us and can be linked to systems that will also be operating in North America."

That's why we joined the WCI, so we could have a stake in developing that system and so we could ensure, particularly in the larger provinces in Canadaâ€"British Columbia, Quebec, and ourselves, as well as Manitoba, which is also part of the WCIâ€"that we could have a stake in developing the ultimate system that will be operating in North America.

It's good to see that the federal governments in both the US and, to a limited extent, in Canada are now thinking along those same lines. We want to be right there at the forefront so that the kind of system we implement will not only be good for industry, will not only be good for the economy, but will be especially good for future generations.

We owe it to them to reduce those greenhouse gas emissions that we're all subjected to, that have dramatically risen in the last 50 years. We owe to it future generations to do the right thing today to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This bill and regulations will do that.

So I implore members on all sides of the House, whatever your normal differences are: Support this bill because it's good for all of us and for the future generations to come.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you. Point of order?

Mr. Jim Wilson: I'd just like to introduce, in the west gallery, a good friend of this Legislature and an expert on WSIB, Mr. Les Liversidge. We can't see him because he's got a broken foot.

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

Mr. Toby Barrett: I appreciate the opportunity to address this government initiative, basically not much more than a made-for-TV initiative with respect to climate change.

Committee deliberations have wrapped up, with virtually no changes to the legislation, and I think that's predictable with this particular government. That's too bad, because there are a number of flaws in this legislation. I feel the minister has gotten in over his head on this one.

What we see here is basically a local approach to a global issue. Just to set the table a bit, we heard mention of Copenhagen, and we know that global leaders will be putting this issue where it belongs during the big meeting in Copenhagen. They're going to set the stage for global answers to what is a global issue.

In all due fairness, the minister made mention of a Lake Simcoe climate change initiative; I don't think that's going to get the attention of anybody in China. It may be all well and good, but I don't know to what extent that will have any impact on the global concentration of carbon dioxide.

So from December 7 of this year through to December 18, environment ministers and national leaders will meet for the UN climate conference. The primary goal is to thrash out a successor to Kyoto. I understand there are about 192 countries that have signed on to the climate change convention. I don't know whether the Lake Simcoe contingent will be there and will be voting, but so far they've identified about 15,000 officials, advisers, diplomats, protesters, of course, and journalists.

Those among the attendeesâ€"well, we've heard President Obama has agreed to attend, as well as China's Premier Wen Jiabao. Closer to home, federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice has booked tickets and, more recently, Stephen Harper will be making his presence known.

We have what's been described here as a comprehensive approach to tackling climate change, even though it's a local approach. We've just heard that Minister Gerretsen will be hopping into his hybrid to share the Lake Simcoe approach, the provincial approach to what is truly a global issue.

Perhaps Mr. McGuinty has reserved a seat; this is unknown. Now, when I say "Mr. McGuinty," I'm not referring to the Premier, I'm referring to his brother David. MP David has quite a different perspective on answers to climate change. While to David McGuinty, like his brother Dalton, no tax is a bad tax, there are some differences when it comes to plans for emissions. David, it seems, has long been a champion of a carbon tax. His brother Dalton has rejected this idea in favour of the well-known cap-and-trade approach that we're debating today. In fact, in February, Dalton vetoed the idea of a carbon tax. I don't mean to add fuel to any family disagreements around the Christmas table, but you see within that family that somebody's playing politics. Quite frankly, playing politics seems to be stock in trade or, should I say, cap and trade with respect to the fellows I see opposite.

So, back to Copenhagen: Will Dalton be there? Will David be there? That's the question in my mind this afternoon. Will they have a say with respect to the Harper, the Prentice plan? I'll just quote from federal Environment Minister Prentice. This relates to targets.

By the way, has anyone found any targets in this legislation?

Mr. Jim Wilson: No.

Mr. Toby Barrett: It's only one and a half pages long. Contrast that to the House of Representatives' bill we just heard of; it sets targets. Take a look at the Senate bill; it sets targets. Take a look at the replacement to the Senate bill; it sets targets. You had at least a page and a half in this bill to at least give us some targets. In contrast, our national leaders have come up with a 2020 target. It's not an intensity target. It's a target to reduce absolute emissions to 20% below 2006 levels; that's by 2020. In contrast to a targetless bill presented opposite, this target is realistic. It's ambitious. When we consider Canada's growing population and our energy-intensive industrial sector, it is similar to those of our key trading partners, including the United States.

That's coming from our federal government, a government that represents the Dominion of Canada, where 87% of our economy is based on fossil fuels. That's a reality. Come down to US Steel at Lake Erie; come down to Nanticoke. I asked the guys questions down there: "Is it possible to run a steel mill with windmills? Can you run a steel mill that size with solar panels?" Harper realizes this; the Dominion of Canada realizes this. We are based on fossil fuels. I know we focused on Lake Simcoe even in this legislation, as we've just heard, but you've got to get beyond this provincial approach. You have to think globally.

Just to go on, the federal approach includes absolute caps on all sources of major industrial emissions. Prentice indicates he's been working with provincial and territorial governments to develop this system. I hear no mention of this. There must be secret meetings going on with somebody on this side of the House and the federal government. No mentionâ€"nothing in the paper. I do recognize that the minister crowed about having 12 meetings in the past year, so I give him credit for thatâ€"12 meetings with 12 companies, I assume.

I'm very concerned that there seems to be very little direction as far as harmonization with either Obama or Stephen Harper. We'd like to know what was discussed. I don't know whether the provincial minister understood what was being discussed. I really question why we are now talking about what I consider a picayune provincial approach that will have little impact on global emissions when we have to consider far beyond a North American cap-and-trade approach; we have to consider a worldwide approach.

No targets: I just want to repeat that. A page-and-a-half bill: I just want to repeat that as well.

I will mention as well that apparently two thirds of Canadians, it's reported quite recently, feel that with respect to what's described as a defining crisis, people have not heard about this page-and-a-half piece of legislation, the one with no targets. They're going to find out about it down the road when the regulations come in, something that is not being debated in this Legislature. They have not been given any figures on costs. We have received reports with respect to the cost to Canadaâ€"more specifically to Alberta. That question is out there: How much is this going to cost?

I'm very disappointed in this legislation. This is a very important issue. There are conflicting views on this issue; we heard this during committee. I recognize this legislation is a sham. It's a local law to deal with a global responsibility. There's really nothing in here. That House of Representatives bill is well over 1,000 pages.

I think we're just play-acting in this House. That's what I see across the way here. I came in here with a one-hour speech. It has been time-allocated. For that reason alone, I move adjournment of the debate.

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

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1703 to 1733.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Mr. Barrett has moved the adjournment of the debate. All those who are in favour of the motion will please rise and remain standing until counted by the table.

All those opposed will rise and remain standing while counted by the table staff.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 7; the nays are 45.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion lost.

The member for Haldimandâ€"Norfolk still has the floor.

Mr. Toby Barrett: Just to wrap up, we know Alberta is going to be paying $15 billion to $24 billion annually for the cap-and-trade proposals coming federally. We know that in the United States it's the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by 15%. American taxpayers will be paying up to $200 billion a year.

The question remains before this government: How much will this scheme cost? Has this not been costed out? If we can't get an answer on how much this is going to cost taxpayers in Ontario, why should we support this particular piece of legislation?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments? Further debate?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: For clarity's sake, questions and comments?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): No. You had the floor. The member for Torontoâ€"Danforth.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: That's very clear.

I will give the Liberals credit for this: They are brilliant marketers. But I have to say that in terms of the issues before us and the questions that face this society, the questions that face the people in Ontario and in this country, they are not presenting a serious move forward. They are not presenting a serious program. They are leaders only in their own estimation. They are followers, in a very, very slow and uninventive way, of what's going on in the rest of the world. In fact, what we face here in Ontario is a vacuum of leadership and a situation in which a profound problem that this society faces is not being taken on, even in the terms that this government believes or says it believes should be taken on.

I've been involved in this issue relating to climate change for almost 20 years. I've had an opportunity to be part of debates at city council here in Toronto. I had an opportunity to be a delegate at the climate negotiations in Bonn in 2001. I had an opportunity to go to the Earth Summit at Johannesburg in 2002. So I have had an opportunity to see these matters debated at a local level and at an international level, and I have to say that the performance that I've seen in those contexts is not one that most Canadians would want to see.

At the negotiations in Bonn, the Canadian delegation was voted, on a regular basis, fossil of the day for its obstructive approach to actually taking on climate negotiations. At the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, the Canadian delegation was no better. At the end of that summit, Jean Chrétien, then Prime Minister of Canada, appeared and spoke about his commitment to actually ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. And I, for one, did not believe that Jean Chrétien would ratify the Kyoto Protocol becauseâ€"and this was a mistake on my partâ€"I thought if he ratified it, he would actually implement it, and thus I didn't think he would ratify it. I was wrong. He was quite happy to ratify it and ensure that it was not implemented.

I had an opportunity to actually go through, in some detail, the planning that was done by Stéphane Dion for the Paul Martin climate plan. I talked to those consultants who were doing the background work for Environment Canada at the time. I saw their initial drafts, and I saw ultimately what was produced by Stéphane Dion, a plan that, if implemented, would have gotten Canada no closer than one quarter of the way to the Kyoto targets that Canada had signed on to honour.

I have to say that, having seen that, I see much the same going on before me in this Legislature. We have a government that brought forward a climate plan in 2007, after it had been in power for four yearsâ€"a plan that was not costed, did not have the backup policies behind it, did not have a clear path forward, did not have the numbers attached that had to be there and didn't have the budget necessary to carry it through. So what we had was an announcement of some targets but not a vehicle to get Ontario to achieve those targets.

The Minister of the Environment talked earlier today about the gravity of the climate situation. I don't think that I need to go on for an extremely long time on this, but I will just say, having watched the climate and the climate reports over the last decade, there's no question in my mind that what we saw in the late 1990s, what we expected in the late 1990s, is very different from what we have. Things have changed much more rapidly; the rate of change is accelerating even now.

1740

If you have recently read articles in the Globe and Mail and the Star about change in Arctic sea ice, you're well aware that the loss of the Arctic ice cap is going at a rate much faster than most climate scientists would have expected. We're already aware that there's ongoing disruption to the monsoons of south Asia, which is of consequence in terms of feeding billions of people.

We face a situation environmentally in terms of our climate that is very graveâ€"very grave. If there were no other considerations, on its own the condition of our climate would call on us to act with the greatest speed and with the greatest effectiveness to actually change things. But there are other dynamics going on, other areas of policy where, in fact, we should be moving very quickly because they on their own would also compel action.

In the economic context, Ontario is very late coming to the renewable energy game. Quebec has been ahead of us on wind turbines. A number of years ago, they were the ones who brought in domestic production requirements, so they have wind turbine assembly in that province. Manitoba is far ahead of us on geothermal. That's just to talk about North America.

Clearly, European jurisdictions are way ahead of us, and increasingly, Asian economies are establishing themselves as major players in the renewable energy field and are moving very quickly forward. In the United States just recently, there was a major controversy because a proposed wind farm in Texas was going to be set up primarily with wind turbines manufactured in China. That is not an anomaly; that is not some odd happening. China has invested very heavily in wind, becoming one of the major world players in wind turbine technology. It isn't just because of low labour costs but because they have a conscious national policy of investment and development. Frankly, it's as if, at the beginning of the steam era, England and western Europe decided that they were going to take a pass on this and let other parts of the world actually develop that industrial capacity.

The centre of gravity in world development for new technologies is shifting out of North America, and that's of consequence for us. It's of consequence for us here in Ontario. It's not a surprise, or it shouldn't have been a surprise, that this government was talking with Samsung industries about investment in renewable power in Ontario. Why Samsung? Because Korea has decided to invest very substantially in the development of renewable energy. They have decided that that's where the future is and that they are going to invest tens of billions of dollars over the next five years to ensure that they are a substantial player.

I would ask in this House, which Canadian industrial player is actually invested in renewable energy at that level? I'm not aware of one. In the United States, only General Electric is a real player in wind energy. The whole centre of economic development has been moving into Asia, and we are again laggards, very, very late coming to this.

The Minister of the Environment cited the Green Energy Act, and it is a useful act, but it is substantially constrained in what it's going to do and what the government is going to let it do, given its commitment to nuclear power and given the fact that it is focused on electricity, and electricity is less than 20% of the energy mix here in Ontario.

If you actually want to build a new economy, one based on renewable power, you have to look at the whole energy mix. That reality of needing to be part of the renewable energy game in this century is one that, again, should drive us very rapidly to substantial change in how we generate energy and where we invest industrially so that we're a player. So the climate and environmental issues alone should be driving us, the economic issues should be driving us, and then, thirdly, the whole question of availability of fuel in these next few decades is one that should be driving us very rapidly to conversion.

There's a lot of talk about carbon constraint, about the need to reduce emissions of carbon. That's correct. There's another reality, and that is that the availability of carbon-based fuels is changing. Western Canadian natural gas production, on which we depend for our home heating, for much of our industry and increasingly for production of electricity, has been dropping since 2006; it's down 21%. The International Energy Agency sees an overall decline of Canadian natural gas production of a little less than 1% every year between now and 2030. The easily accessible oil and natural gas that we have depended on to fuel the economy of this province is going to be harder and harder to get at.

That is why increasingly in Canada we depend on oil from the tar sands, because that is a resource that's now being newly exploited. Conventional oil is harder and harder to get at. When you look at the major announcements about oil finds and exploration, there is the one in Brazil, very far offshore and technically very difficult to get at. So we're entering into an era when the availability of oil and gas is more and more in question, when its cost will be more volatile, where the political unpredictability of accessing it becomes a larger and larger question. We're entering an era of peak oil and gas production, and whether that's an era that comes to a sharp crisis in the next few years or by 2030 ultimately doesn't change what has to be done.

So we have three very substantial reasons for moving quite quickly to transform our economy, and that brings me to the bill before us. I was a member of this Legislature when the announcement was first made about Ontario being part of the Western Climate Initiative. I was in this Legislature when the Premier announced the agreement with Quebec for a cap-and-trade regime. We were told at the time that it could be in place as early as 2010. When I listened to the Minister of the Environment today, he was talking about consultations in 2010, with implementation in 2012 or further out. That is a very slow rate of implementation. That is not a sense of urgency. If you're going to look at this bill, first of all, you have to talk about: What is the timeline for implementation? That's one element.

The second element: I asked, in the course of these hearings, "What exactly is the target for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from this bill?" No figure was provided. No figure was provided in numbers for the megatonnes of reduction in the course of debating this bill. If you look at the climate plan that was brought forward by the Liberals in 2007, there's a reference to reductions from the federal cap and trade, and so I have to ask: Is this supplementary to the federal cap and trade? Is this in place of the federal cap and trade? I have to say that that lack of specifics in the bill is of consequence.

In the course of debating the bill, I put forward a number of amendments to make the bill more effective. I moved a resolution based on the recommendations from the Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute that all of the permits be auctioned so that we weren't repeating the mistakes of the European Union and giving away large numbers of permits; so that we would ensure that the funds that were raised came back to the government of Ontario for distribution; so that we weren't in the situation where we were allowing a number of companies to harvest windfall profits that, for us, would undermine the actual necessity of making that transformation. The bill is weak in that area.

1750

I asked, in the course of debating this bill, that offsets not be part of this bill. An offset is a mechanism that allows a company to essentially buy absolution for sin. It can give money to a body that is creating what is called a greenhouse gas reduction credit without actually reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burned. I don't think that that works well for us and certainly neither does the Suzuki Foundation or the Pembina Institute, because at the heart of what has to happen is a move away from fossil fuels.

To the extent that the bill allows companies to continue buying low-cost credits for growing trees, for tillage practices, without actually switching away from fossil fuels, we don't address those three large problems that this society faces. When you look at the Waxman-Markey bill, the American cap-and-trade legislation that this government says that it wants to be very close toâ€"that, in fact, it is saying that it is followingâ€"in that bill the offsets are so large that there wouldn't actually need to be any reduction in fossil emissions between now and 2020. In fact, the reality of the transformation is pushed back quite dramatically. What that says to me is that those other issues around economic development, around peak oil, around climate are not going to be addressed in the way we need them addressed.

In the course of discussing this in committee, I noted that if you were to buy offsets for a forest that didn't get logged, you would have no way of knowing whether or not the lumber company simply moved over to another patch of forest and logged it instead. There are huge problems with reliability of offsets. In Europe, two major companies that audit offsets have been called on the carpet for offsets that were not, in fact, valid and real. There are very substantial problems with the quality of the offsets.

That is a big problem with this bill. Offsets were not ruled out. In fact, they're clearly part of where the government wants to go, and that means its ability to actually move the agenda to deal with those three big problems is not going to be there the way it has to be there.

This bill will allow the appearance of moving forward without actually making sure that the transformation that we need in this province takes place. For that reason alone, this bill has a substantial flaw. In the course of our debates, the one thing that may be useful out of this, if any money is generated, is a commitment to put money back into industries that are part of the cap-and-trade system to allow them to make the transformation. That is useful.

I tried, during the committee hearings, to move changes that would have allowed some of that money to go to industries to help people make a transition from one industry to the other, because there's a simple reality: There will be some labour dislocation in this. Frankly, if you want to have buy-in from the population as a whole, you have to make it possible for people to move very effortlessly from one industry to another.

I had also moved that there be an allocation of funds to deal with those people whose lives have been disrupted by climate change, as inevitably those lives will be disrupted. We will see more drought. We will see more forest fires. We will see problems with fisheries. In all those areas, funds will have to be available to help people adjust. It's unfortunate that the government didn't see fit to make an allocation of funds for those ends part of this bill.

In the course of discussion, the minister talked about the need to move forward with historic investments in transit, and in this city, the city of Toronto that this Legislature is in right now, the transit system is looking at an increase because, in fact, this government did not restore the funding to transit that was there prior to 1995, prior to 1990, prior to 1984. The failure to properly invest in transit is going to mean higher fares and is going to mean more people not taking transit. It will encourage the use of cars.

If we want to take on climate change, then we have to take on sprawl. The simple reality of this government's greater Golden Horseshoe growth plan, according to a variety of analysts, was that it could not be distinguished from business as usual, so our concern about the growth of greenhouse gases from that sector continues. A cap-and-trade bill will not deal with that very significant problem.

The minister said that industry was responsible for about a quarter of the emissions, and transportation was responsible for about 30%. Transportation, a very significant cost to our climate, is not being addressed through sprawl regulation in the way that it has to be addressed.

The minister has said that in 2007, this government came forward while other governments were in denial. Well, I have to say that it's almost 2010, and when I have sat through estimates hearings, I have asked ministers of infrastructure what their ministries are doing to deal with climate adaptation, and I do not get from those ministers any clarity or even an understanding of the need to have a plan in place to deal with adaptation.

Now, Speaker, you're looking like you want to raise something. You're not.

Mr. Jeff Leal: He's on the edge of his seat.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: He is on the edge of his seat.

Interjection: Time's up.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Time's up? No? Thank you, Speaker.

So the reality is that there is not in place a plan to adapt, there are not in place regulations requiring infrastructure investment to reflect the change in our climate that our 50-year investments are going to have to deal with, and that is a substantial problem. I don't buy what the Minister of the Environment says. We are not ready for adaptation, and we are not ready, frankly, to take on the climate problems before usâ€"not with this bill and not with the program of this government.

The minister speaks about the coal phase-out. What's interesting to me is that this government was elected in 2003 with a commitment to phase out coal by 2007. It was very clear within a year or two of that election that it was not making the investments necessary to actually bring about the phase-out. It was not happening.

When the minister talks about the reduction in emissions from coal, he doesn't at the same time talk about the increase in emissions from gas-fired power plants that are being built in very large numbers. There's a plus and a minus. The increased emissions from the gas-fired power plants need to be factored into any calculation showing whether this government is contributing or not contributing. That needs to be corrected. There'sâ€"

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much.

Debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): It being 6 of the clock, this House stands in recess until 6:45 p.m.

The House recessed from 1800 to 1845.

Evening meeting reported in volume B.