40th Parliament, 2nd Session

L002 - Wed 20 Feb 2013 / Mer 20 fév 2013

The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Good morning. Please join me in prayer.



The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I have received two notices of intent to raise a point of privilege. I am going to hear both points in the order in which I received the notices, recognizing the member from Prince Edward–Hastings first.

Given that this matter was previously raised and fully put, I would ask that the member furnish us with a brief summary to his point, just to refresh the memory of the House.

Mr. Todd Smith: Mr. Speaker, I rise today, as you mentioned, on a point of privilege for contempt of the Legislature, after providing you with the appropriate notice in accordance with standing order 21(c). In the submission I provided to you, I gave a brief background of the events in this case, so I won’t repeat all of them here as you heard the entirety on October 15, the day that the Legislature was prorogued, and have yet to rule on this because of the prorogation.

Let me remind you that on September 24, 2012, the former energy minister tabled an attestation to the House, attached to 36,000 documents, which stated, “The documents attached to this letter comprise all documents that are responsive to the committee’s request regardless of privilege or confidentiality.” On October 12, 2012, after being told by the Premier, countless ministers and parliamentary assistants that all the documents had been tabled, the opposition parties received an email from the government House leader’s office advising us that 20,000 documents pertaining to the committee’s request were being released.

Misleading the House is a serious charge. It’s one which I don’t take lightly, and I know that other members on this side of the House don’t either. I’m concerned that statements made by the former Premier, former Minister of Energy, government House leader, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Minister of Children and Youth Services and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration could have misled the Legislature regarding the Minister of Energy’s compliance with the Speaker’s ruling to produce all of the documents related to the request from the estimates committee.

As set out by McGee’s Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, in order to establish a prima facie finding that a breach of privilege in contempt has occurred, three elements must be present:

(1) It must be proven that the statements were misleading;

(2) It must be established that the member, at the time, knew that the statement was incorrect;

(3) In the making of the statement, the minister intended to mislead the House.

I won’t go into detail, but I’ll mention that in my written submission I outlined how this case fits all three of the criteria set out by McGee.

In criminal law, the actus reus, also known as the guilty act, includes the omission to act. The former Premier and the former Minister of Energy, through ministerial responsibility, and the other ministers, through their duty to the Legislature, had a duty to immediately inform the Legislature that the documents tabled were not complete. Their omission to inform the Legislature about the remaining outstanding documents from the ministry and the OPA demonstrates intent and, in my opinion, could constitute a breach of our privileges.

A former Speaker of this Legislature, the Honourable Gary Carr, set out the parameters for finding a prima facie case of contempt relating to a charge of misleading the House. In his ruling, back on June 17, 2002, Speaker Carr stated that to satisfy a charge of contempt for misleading the House, there must be “an admission from the member accused of the conduct, or of tangible confirmation of the conduct independently proved.”

In the case before us, the tangible confirmation of all the government members’ conduct is the letters from OPA CEO Colin Andersen and Deputy Minister of Energy Serge Imbrogno. These letters demonstrate that the government knew on September 27, 2012, that all of the documents were indeed not tabled on September 24, 2012.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, you’re the guardian of the spirit of openness, accountability and transparency in our democratic institution here at Queen’s Park. I’m concerned that any ruling other than a prima facie case of breach of privilege in these instances will inevitably lead to even more egregious abuse.

I thank you for your time and look forward to your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I thank the member for his brief synopsis, as requested. I appreciate that very much, member from Prince Edward–Hastings.

The government House leader.

Hon. John Milloy: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to stand today and respond to the point of privilege that has just been raised. I’d also like to notify you and the House that I will be filing a written submission, which, as is the usual practice, I will be sharing with opposition colleagues.

Mr. Speaker, I think it’s important to review the facts of this matter. On May 16, 2012, the Standing Committee on Estimates passed a motion ordering the former Minister of Energy, the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority to produce “all correspondence, in any form, electronic or otherwise, that occurred between September 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011, related to the cancellation of the Oakville power plant as well as all correspondence, in any form, electronic or otherwise, that occurred between August 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011, related to the cancellation of the Mississauga power plant.”

In response to the motion, approximately 36,000 records were given to the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly on September 24, 2012, in both paper and electronic form.

At the time of production, the former minister held an honest belief that the ministry and the OPA had produced all records that were responsive to the motion and in their possession. This honest belief was evidenced by the fact that the records were accompanied by a signed letter to the Clerk attesting to the fact that all responsive records had been produced to the best of their knowledge.

Over the course of the next several days, the House considered the matter of the relocation of these gas plants at length, particularly in relation to the motion moved by the member of provincial Parliament from Cambridge. During the debate, numerous members of the government caucus, including the former minister, stated in the House that all responsive records had been produced.

Contrary to the assertion made by the member for Prince Edward–Hastings as part of this point of privilege, at no time did the former Premier state in this House that all responsive records had been produced. While other members of the government caucus referenced in the member for Prince Edward–Hastings’s submission did make statements in the House in this regard, every relevant statement made by those members, including the former minister, was made on the basis of an honest belief that all responsive records in the possession of the former minister, the ministry and the OPA had been produced.

In the case of the former minister, his honest belief was based on information provided to him by ministry officials that all responsive records had been identified and included in the package of records produced to the Clerk. In the case of all other members of the government caucus, their honest belief was based on the attestation letters, and specifically the attestation that all responsive records had been produced.

In and around the evening of September 27, 2012, the former minister was notified by officials at the ministry that both the ministry and the OPA had determined that their initial search for records may have missed records of certain inactive employees, and that some employees had not used consistent search terms. It’s important to stress that at this time the minister was notified only of the potential that responsive records may have been missed in the original searches.

In response, the former minister instructed officials at the ministry and the OPA to ensure that they immediately took the necessary steps to determine whether any responsive records had been missed. The former minister was aware of his obligation to notify his honourable colleagues in the Legislature, including members of the government caucus who had stated that all responsive records had been produced, in the event that it was determined that his previous statements in the House were incorrect and to ensure those records were produced to the Clerk at the earliest possible opportunity.


Shortly thereafter, I in my capacity as House leader was also notified that both the ministry and the OPA had determined that their initial search for records may have missed records of certain inactive employees and that some employees may not have used consistent search terms. I was also aware of the obligation to notify honourable colleagues in the Legislature in the event that it was determined that previous statements in the House were incorrect and to support the production of those records to the Clerk at the earliest possible opportunity.

Over the course of the following two weeks, officials at the ministry and the OPA conducted an intensive expanded search to determine whether any responsive records had been missed. There was no political involvement or interference by the former minister, myself or political staff with the search process throughout the relevant period.

On October 11, 2012, the former minister was notified by the ministry and the OPA that a large number of additional documents had been identified and that records would be produced to the Clerk the next day, October 12. On the afternoon of October 12, the ministry and the OPA produced an additional 20,000 records to the Clerk.

After learning on October 11, 2012, that additional documents had been identified by the ministry and the OPA and that their earlier statements to the House had been made in error due to an honest and inadvertent mistake, the former minister and I as House leader rose in the House to correct our respective records. This was at the earliest possible moment, Mr. Speaker.

I’d now like to turn to the parliamentary precedents relevant to this case. In recent years, Speakers of this House have made their determination as to whether a prima facie case of contempt exists in relation to a charge of deliberately misleading the House by applying the well-established three-step test set out in David McGee’s Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand. The McGee test is described in the text’s most recent edition as follows:

“There are three elements to be established when it is alleged that a member is in contempt by reasons of a statement that the member has made: The statement must, in fact, have been misleading; it must be established that the member making the statement knew at the time the statement was made that it was incorrect; and, in making it, the member must have intended to mislead the House.”

The McGee test establishes a particularly high threshold for a prima facie case of contempt to be established. Not only must the Speaker find that the member uttered a misleading statement; the member must have known at the time the statement was made that it was misleading and uttered the false statement in a deliberate or intentional matter.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I would like to offer the government House leader the same advice that I offered the member from Prince Edward–Hastings: to be brief, as this has already been put to the House, and we’re using this as a refresher.

Hon. John Milloy: Put in another way, Mr. Speaker, it is not sufficient that the Speaker merely be satisfied that the statements made by the member were incorrect or misleading, nor is it sufficient that the Speaker be satisfied that the statements made by the member were incorrect or misleading and that the member was negligent in uttering false statements.

Mr. Speaker, I will, in my written submission, taking your advice, go through the McGee test and the applications that have been taken here and turn to the matter right here.

I would say that it’s clear, based upon the McGee test and the rulings that have been made both in this Legislature and in other Legislatures, that there is no prima facie case of contempt in this matter. While the former minister and I provided incorrect information to the House, we did so as a result of an honest mistake and shared the belief that the information was true. When the former minister and I stated in the House that all responsive records had been produced, it was our good-faith understanding. As such, we did not utter misleading statements that we knew to be false during this time period. Once the former minister and I were notified by officials at the OPA and the ministry that an additional expanded search was being undertaken, no further incorrect statements were uttered in the House by myself or by the former Minister of Energy. More specifically, at no time after September 27, 2012, as I said, did either I or the minister state in the House that all responsive records had been produced.

The member for Prince Edward–Hastings included a list of other members of the governing party he alleges to have intentionally misled this House. Those individuals had no personal knowledge of these facts and were simply repeating in good faith assertions that had been made by the Minister of Energy. Again, these statements were, at most, the result of honest mistakes.

The additional records were produced to the House on Friday, October 12, 2012. On the morning of the following Monday, October 15, 2012—the next sitting day—the former minister and I rose in the House at the earliest possible moment to correct the record by notifying the House that, as a result of inadvertence and honest mistake, we had incorrectly told the House that all responsive records had been produced. As such, we fulfilled our obligation of notifying the House of our error and correcting the record at the earliest possible opportunity.

Because of this, the point of privilege must fail at both the second and third steps of the McGee test. Incorrect statements were made inadvertently and in good faith, relying principally on the attestation letters. They did not know at the time that their statements were false, which leads to the conclusion that the errors were not made intentionally. In light of a clear correction of the record confirming that honest belief and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I would therefore respectfully submit, Mr. Speaker, that no point of privilege has been made out.

At the same time, I have further comments to make on other points that were made by the member in his point of privilege, but based on your advice, I will do that in writing and, as I said at the beginning, share them with the other parties, as is the usual practice.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I recognize the House leader of the third party, the member from Timmins–James Bay.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Thank you, Speaker. I’m going to be very quick. In just a couple of minutes, I want to make a couple of points.

First of all, what’s clear is that the government stood in this House repeatedly and repeatedly said they had given all the documents, and it turns out that that’s not the case. So you have to decide which of it makes sense.

I think it was part of a strategy. I think the government decided in its defence of what was going on that they had to find some way to try to minimize damage politically to the government, so they decided not to release all of the documents because some of them may have been damning, and so in the end took a position that those documents in fact—that in fact those documents were withheld knowingly is the argument that the member is making.

I just want to make this one point, and the point is that, in your decision, you said, “The right to order production of documents is fundamental to and necessary for the proper functioning of the assembly. If the House and its committees do not enjoy this right, then the accountability, scrutiny and financial functions of Parliament—which go to the core of our system of responsible government—would be compromised.” So the decision you have to make is: Did they know?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): My intent is to show you that maybe things haven’t changed, so I can jump right into recognizing individuals by their riding. My rule still applies: You get a warning; that’s it. Thank you.

I thank the members that have spoken on this issue, and I will reserve my ruling and get back to the member from Prince Edward–Hastings sharply.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Cambridge.

Mr. Rob Leone: I rise today to raise a question of privilege from a previous session after providing you with the appropriate notice in accordance with standing order 21(c). Like my colleague from Prince Edward–Hastings, Mr. Speaker, I’ve provided you with a written submission. I’m only going to provide a synopsis of those points here today.

In summary, on August 27, 2012, I rose on what I believed was a prima facie breach of privilege regarding the Minister of Energy’s and the Ontario Power Authority’s failure to produce documents to the Standing Committee on Estimates. The issue I brought before you was whether the Minister of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority obstructed members and infringed on their privileges when they withheld documents requested by the Legislature. On September 13, 2012, you wrote that a prima facie case of privilege had been established because “the Standing Committee on Estimates was unquestionably entitled to request the documents sought from the Minister of Energy, and in the end the minister had an obligation to comply with the committee’s call for those documents.”

On September 25, I moved a motion referring the matter to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, and after one week of debate, the Legislature passed my motion and sent the prima facie breach of privilege to committee for further study. On October 15, the Legislature was prorogued and the issue was never dealt with by the committee.


Parliamentary precedent supports my position on this issue at hand. On February 6, 2004, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz rose on a point of privilege regarding a prima facie breach of privilege from a previous session. In the case that Mr. Breitkreuz was referencing, the Speaker had found that a prima facie breach of privilege had occurred, and the matter was then referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. However, the session was prorogued and the matter was never dealt with by the committee. Once the new parliamentary session began, Mr. Breitkreuz rose on a point of privilege and asked the Speaker to rule on whether a prima facie question of privilege existed and to allow another motion to be moved referring the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Former Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken ruled immediately that, “As I indicated in the previous session, this was a bona fide question of privilege. Accordingly, in my view, the question remains a question of privilege. The committee did not completely report on the matter, which it is entitled to do. Accordingly, I give the honourable member leave to move his motion.”

Mr. Speaker, I ask that you rule on this matter in the same way that Speaker Milliken did, and allow the Legislature to proceed in a similar fashion. As such, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion to refer this issue back to the committee of the Legislature at your will. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The third party House leader and member from Timmins–James Bay.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Speaker, I don’t want to repeat everything that was said; I think the point has been made. I think essentially where we’re at is that the committee requested documents; those were not given on May 16, when requested. On September 13, there was a prima facie case of contempt that was found, and on October 2, a motion was passed by this House. The House was prorogued, and I want to just state what standing order 49 says—I would just draw to your attention: “Prorogation of the House shall not have the effect of nullifying an order or address of the House for returns or papers.” So it’s pretty clear that the matter is not dead as a result of prorogation.

Speaker, the point I just want to make is that a decision had been made by you, a committee was to be struck to look into the details of it, it’s clear that prorogation cannot nullify that, and I ask you to maintain the decision that you made earlier.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I rise in support of the words put forward by our House leader. Speaker, you were here for this whole process. We demanded documents; we demanded hearings. We were given some documents. Upon receipt of those documents, people in our caucus, people in the opposition caucus went through them, and it was obvious to any person who went through those documents that there were substantial gaps. We raised this with the government, and we were met with a chorus of denial, that in fact everything had been put out and that we were just playing games in this House.

I have to say, Speaker, that if those ministers who spoke at the time saying that all the documents were released had actually looked at those documents, it would have been as apparent to them as to us that there were gaps. Thank you, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Forgive my rolling, but that was to another issue. I need to bring us back to this point.

On September 13, 2012, in response to a point of privilege raised by the member from Cambridge on August 27, I ruled that a prima facie case of privilege had been established. On October 2, the House adopted a motion to refer this matter to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. The session was then prorogued on October 15, before the committee even had its first meeting to consider this issue.

Careful research has revealed that the circumstance of a privileged matter in one of our committees being interrupted by a prorogation has not occurred in the Ontario Legislature. Moreover, it is a strikingly rare occurrence in the senior Parliaments of the Commonwealth. However, a similar instance was found to have occurred in the Canadian House of Commons in 2004.

Speaker Milliken decided that a matter of privilege that had already been ruled on and referred by the House to a committee, but left unfinished because of an intervening prorogation, could be renewed in the new session. Speaker Milliken found that the committee was entitled to conduct its review on the matter and make its report to the House. He confirmed his previous ruling that a bona fide case of privilege existed and that he permitted the member who initially raised that matter to move his same motion to refer the matter to the committee again.

Similarly, in the matter raised by the member from Cambridge, it is true that the fact is that the October 15, 2012, prorogation terminated all business of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, including the referral of the matter of my September 13, 2012, ruling. In that ruling, a prima facie case of privilege had been established and, as Speaker Milliken found, a prorogation does not nullify such a finding.

I therefore reconfirm my ruling of September 13, 2012, and invite the member from Cambridge to renew his motion to refer this matter to committee.

Mr. Rob Leone: Mr. Speaker, I move that this House directs the Minister of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority to immediately table with the Clerk of the House all remaining documents related to the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants ordered by the Standing Committee on Estimates on May 16, 2012; and

That the matter of the Speaker’s finding of a prima facie case of privilege with respect to the production of documents by the Minister of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority to the Standing Committee on Estimates be referred to the standing committee on justice, which is hereby reconstituted as it existed on September 9, 2012; and

That the committee shall be authorized to meet at the call of the Chair, concurrently with the House or when the House stands adjourned, to meet notwithstanding prorogation of the House; and

That the committee shall report back to the House its findings and recommendations within 90 calendar days, and if the House is not sitting, release with the Clerk of the House its report, except that if the committee determines that more time is required, it shall issue an interim report at the 90-day mark and then take such reasonable time as it considers necessary to complete its final report.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Mr. Leone moves that the House directs the Minister of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority to immediately table with the Clerk of the House all remaining documents related to the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants ordered by the Standing Committee on Estimates on May 16, 2012; and

That the matter of the Speaker’s finding of a prima facie case of privilege with respect to the production of documents by the Minister of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority to the Standing Committee on Estimates be referred to the standing committee on justice, which is hereby reconstituted as it existed on September 9, 2012; and

That the committee shall be authorized to meet at the call of the Chair, concurrently with the House or when the House stands adjourned, to meet notwithstanding prorogation of the House; and

That the committee shall report back to the House its findings and recommendations within 90 calendar days, and if the House is not sitting, release with the Clerk of the House its report, except that if the committee determines that more time is required, it shall issue an interim report at the 90-day mark and then take such reasonable time as it considers necessary to complete its final report.

The member from Cambridge.

Mr. Rob Leone: Mr. Speaker, I want to be very brief here and to not hold up the proceedings of this House. We’ve dealt with this matter in the previous session of this Legislature. I don’t wish to repeat all that I’ve commented with respect to that, but we do have a case of privilege that has been established. We need to set up the committees immediately to investigate the reasons behind what we feel is an obstruction of this Legislature’s work. We wish to proceed as soon as possible on this matter, Mr. Speaker, and report back to this House, where it may be dealt with.

I’m not going to take any more time dealing with this matter or debating this matter. I hereby suggest and urge this House to adopt this motion so we can get to the bottom of what happened with the cancellation of the two power plants.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Further debate?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I rise in support of the motion that is before this House. As New Democrats made clear several weeks ago, we thought there was perhaps another solution to this situation. We had asked the Premier to consider taking this matter out of the House and having it dealt with independently. We thought that was a good way to make sure the House doesn’t become overly seized with this matter. We were very careful to indicate that a public inquiry would be something that wouldn’t necessarily be extremely expensive, because many of the documents are already out. It would not require travel in terms of moving around the province. In fact, we put a time frame on it of about six months to make sure that the people of this province weren’t unduly burdened with the cost of a public inquiry—making sure, however, that the people of this province get the answers that they deserve when it comes to not only how the decision was made, but how the information was determined not to be necessary to be released.


At this point, we are in a position to support this motion, because we understand that this needs to be dealt with. We had hoped that we could have gotten it done outside of the chamber through the public inquiry process, but New Democrats certainly do look forward to getting the answers that the people of this province have deserved for far too long.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Further debate.

Hon. John Milloy: I stand to speak on this matter with a spirit of disappointment and sadness. I think all members in this Legislature and those who are watching it would realize that we have a new Premier and a new government which has come to power with an interest in nothing less than full co-operation with the—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order, please. There was quiet throughout, up until this moment.

Mr. John Yakabuski: He’s inflaming the opposition with those comments.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): And those comments are not helpful.

Hon. John Milloy: This government has come to power, with this new Premier, in a spirit of co-operation with the opposition. There have been numerous meetings, members know, on the public record, between the Premier and both opposition leaders. Yesterday’s speech from the throne contained many ideas that had been put forward by both parties and was an attempt to find a middle ground and make sure that this Legislature works.

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege, of course, of being reappointed as House leader. As House leader, the direction I received—the marching orders, so to speak—from the Premier was to work with the opposition and be as constructive as possible to make sure that this Legislature, this House, worked as we move forward. I was asked to reach out to the opposition, for example, and find a way that we could reinstate standing committees as quickly as possible, and I’m pleased to report that those discussions are going well.

There has been a full acknowledgement on this side of the Legislature of the concerns that exist over the cancellation of gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville. I would remind members that the Premier, in fact, asked the Auditor General to expand his investigation so that he would take a look at the Oakville situation and report back to members of the Legislature. Recognizing this concern, there was no attempt made by this government to somehow put it on the back burner. Instead, we sat down with the opposition and we outlined what we saw as two possible paths forward.

One was the appointment of a select committee, with a broad and responsible mandate, which would look into a variety of issues related to decisions around the gas plant and, at the same time, would be able to take a broad look and report back to this committee and, I would hope, find lessons for this government and future governments on the whole issue of locating gas plants. We also made it very clear that such a select committee would be in no way hampered to look at a variety of issues, including the production of documents, and, once again, perhaps come forward with what we would say would be very responsible recommendations to this Legislature on how to deal with requests for large quantities of documents, and sensitive documents.

The other option that we had was to move forward with Mr. Leone’s motion—the member from Cambridge. What it is, Mr. Speaker, is nothing short of a mean-spirited and vindictive motion aimed at the former Minister of Energy, who, I would remind you—and, through you, members of this Legislature—is an individual who had an outstanding career here in the Legislature, has since resigned from politics and is no longer a member of the Legislature.

These were the two choices we put forward to the opposition. I felt that we had very good discussions with the opposition, and I was quite frankly surprised yesterday, through the press conferences that were held, to learn that they had rejected the idea outright of a special committee to look into this matter, and instead we’re moving forward with Mr. Leone’s motion, targeted against a private citizen whose only goal, when he was Minister of Energy, was to try to balance two competing interests.

I think it’s important that we look at the facts. I’m going to take a second to review what is at the base, or what is at the heart, of the motion that we’re discussing today.

Between May 9 and July 11, 2012, the then Minister of Energy, Mr. Bentley, appeared before the Standing Committee on Estimates for the purpose of answering questions regarding the estimates of his ministry. While the minister answered questions relating to a number of issues, committee members from the official opposition spent considerable time asking the minister questions relating to the two gas plants which were to have been built in Oakville and Mississauga, respectively. The members of the opposition will know all about those gas plants, Mr. Speaker, because they vigorously opposed those over and over again, and in fact campaigned against them, as did the Liberal Party.

The minister of the day was repeatedly asked to answer questions relating to these facilities. The overwhelming majority of the questions related specifically to the ongoing outstanding legal proceedings and confidential negotiations that were occurring at that time. The former Minister of Energy attempted to strike an effective balance between the committee’s authority to ask those questions and request those documents and the need to protect the public interest in the midst of highly sensitive commercial negotiations and litigation.

Mr. Speaker, I think we all recognize that the former minister had a responsibility as a minister of the crown, and that is a different responsibility than what we have as members. The Chair of the committee at the time, the member for Beaches–East York, recognized the precarious situation of the Minister of Energy. In fact, he repeatedly ruled that while committee members were permitted to ask such questions, the minister was able to exercise his discretion and respond to them in a matter that protected the interests of the province.

I’d like to quote from the committee Hansard of May 16. Mr. Prue, the Chair, said, “The minister has the right to decline either giving that documentation or giving voice to that documentation during his answering of the questions.”

I further quote from Mr. Prue: “I would advise that I’m going to allow the motion to proceed, but I would also advise—and I think the minister”—that’s Mr. Bentley—“being a lawyer himself, knows full well that he may choose to answer the question in such a way as not to prejudice the province in any way, and I would expect him to do so. That would be my ruling.”

The minister relied on the Chair’s repeated statements and rulings that he was permitted to respond to questions and document requests from committee members in a manner that protected the interests of the province. As a result, Mr. Speaker, the minister wrote to the committee on May 30 and advised it that he was exercising his discretion and would not be able to produce the requested documentation, as they were confidential, subject to solicitor-client privilege, litigation privilege or highly commercially sensitive. Unfortunately, the official opposition ignored the flags that were raised by the minister. They showed no restraint, and they pushed forward with the opposition.

The official opposition and the third party, in their attempt over the past couple of months to vilify the former Minister of Energy, have told this House that he hid or concealed these records. It is simply not true. The record shows that the Minister of Energy at all times was trying to balance two important yet competing public interests: supremacy of Parliament versus the protection of taxpayers’ interests. I think the best proof of all was on July 10, when the then minister announced that the OPA had reached an agreement with Greenfield to relocate the Mississauga facility and that the government had accepted the OPA’s recommendation to relocate the Mississauga facility at the Lambton station in Sarnia. In addition, the minister announced that it had settled the related civil proceedings in the state of New York.

The legal matters relating to the Mississauga gas plant having been settled, the minister directed his ministry to provide the committee with all correspondence related to the Mississauga facility that was responsive to the motion of May 16, except for records that were subject to solicitor-client privilege. Those documents were provided to the committee.

As the negotiations with TransCanada regarding the Oakville plant were still ongoing, the then minister was not in a position to produce these documents prior to your ruling. On September 13, 2012, the Speaker—you, Mr. Speaker—ruled that, while a prima facie breach of privilege had been established, he would set aside the matter and ask the three House leaders to “take it upon themselves to find a path that can satisfy the request of the estimates committee.”


The traditional procedure when the Speaker apprises the House that a prima facie breach of privilege has been found is that the member raising the matter is immediately allowed to move a motion. In this matter, however, Mr. Speaker, you exercised your discretion to follow the approach adopted by Speaker Milliken in the Afghan detainee matter by setting aside his ruling in order to allow the House leaders to “devise a means where both their concerns are met.”

This approach was taken for two reasons, as evident in your ruling. First, you recognize that there were two competing public interests at play: the interest of the committee in exercising its parliamentary privileges and the interest of the Minister of Energy in temporarily refraining from the disclosure of sensitive information in the midst of commercial negotiations and related proceedings. You also, Mr. Speaker, recognized an opportunity for the three parties, through “frank communication,” to settle the matter in a way that satisfied the request of the estimates committee. Your ruling, Mr. Speaker, clearly laid out that this was a unique situation, unlike other cases of privilege, that warranted a unique solution.

Mr. Speaker having turned the matter over to the House leaders, members will be aware that the House leaders met on four separate occasions to determine whether a solution could be found. On this side of the House, we had high hopes that the parties would ultimately reach a solution which balanced these two competing interests, between the rights of the committee to ask for information and at the same time commercial and solicitor-client confidences. The government tabled two separate proposals that would have facilitated the public release of the records while accommodating our concern about the ongoing commercial negotiations and related proceedings. Mr. Speaker, I remember back to those discussions, and I’m sad to say that the opposition rejected both of these out of hand. They were more interested in personal attacks than getting to the bottom of the issue.

We are now many months later, and much has changed. We have a new Premier in government, who has consistently spoken about our willingness to co-operate with the opposition. Minister Bentley is not only no longer Minister of Energy; he in fact is now a private citizen and has resigned his post as a member of provincial Parliament. But, Mr. Speaker, what hasn’t changed is the mean-spirited nature of the opposition in moving forward with this motion and rejecting our idea for a select committee that would look into all aspects of this and come forward with rulings or with recommendations which we think would be of value to all members of the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, we will not be voting for this motion. I would also like to say that, other than the comments that I have put on the record, we will not be participating in the debate. We want to move forward with the business of the people of Ontario.

What I am hoping for is that members of this House, and I’m particularly thinking of the New Democratic Party, will see their way forward to reject the motion that has been put forward by the member for Cambridge and at the same time that they will, by rejecting it, move forward with the select committee, which will have an opportunity to look at all aspects of this and make a responsible report moving forward.

Mr. Speaker, I must confess that I’m not hopeful of that. I believe that the fact is that we’re going to see the opposition come together to support this motion, which is aimed at a private citizen who did nothing more than try to deal with the precarious problem of balancing two interests. As a result, I would like to move an amendment to the motion. As I say, Mr. Speaker, I have little hope that it’s not going to pass. So in closing, in order to make sure that the committee’s work is done in the most responsible fashion, I move that the motion be amended to add the following paragraph after the second paragraph:

“That, in exercising its authority throughout the committee proceedings, the committee shall adhere to the minimum standards of procedural fairness and the principles of fundamental justice, as required by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Mr. Speaker, I think at a minimum that will protect the rights of the former Minister of Energy as well as other members that will come forward, so I’d like to move that motion.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The government House leader moves that the motion be amended by adding the following paragraph after the second paragraph of the original motion:

“That, in exercising its authority throughout the committee proceedings, the committee shall adhere to the minimum standards of procedural fairness and the principles of fundamental justice, as required by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

I now offer an opportunity for further debate on the amendment.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I’ll be speaking to the amendment and the context within which the amendment has been made.

As the House leader said, he’s disappointed with what’s happening in the chamber this morning, as are we with the response of the government. Speaker, it is as if the talking points from last fall have simply been taken out of the closet, put back on the page and read into Hansard. We are not seeing an approach by this government that recognizes that it’s going to have to work with the opposition. When Andrea Horwath made a very reasonable suggestion that a public inquiry be held so that this House would be able to do other work as well, that was spurned by this government. What we heard again today, what we hear now, is again the defence of the indefensible.

Speaker, unfortunately, the government did not support the thrust of a public inquiry. We have Mr. Leone’s motion. We intend to support that motion. We intend to have the hearings here at Queen’s Park. Obviously, those hearings have to be held within the context of constitutional guarantees and natural justice. Would anyone argue with that? I believe not—none. But for the government to suggest that all the documents have been provided, that all has been done that is necessary, stretches credibility to the breaking point.

You, Speaker, were here when you heard this House leader last fall attack us on this side of the House for questioning the completeness of the documentation that was provided. As I had said earlier, you do not have to be a lawyer to go through those documents and see that documents were missing. Clearly, either the House leader had not looked at the documents or the then Minister of Energy had not looked at the documents or others on the government side had not looked at the documents—which I find personally very hard to believe—or they were not representing what was the case. That will be determined through discussions and hearings and testimony in committee.

Speaker, there are substantial matters that have to be addressed in the course of those hearings at committee—substantial matters. One of the things that has struck us is that there are far more leads going into the then Premier’s office than seem to have come out in the documents. We put forward a request for information under freedom of information to the Premier’s office for any documents related to Project Vapour. In fact, Speaker, some of those documents from the Premier’s office were included in the second bundle that we were provided with. The response from the Premier’s office was that no such documents exist, although I have them in my hand.

We have appealed the response of the Premier’s office, and in part the response of the Premier’s office was, “We’re not required to hold onto documents.” We need to determine—and it is an open question at this point—if documents were destroyed in the course of this matter. And if they were, the seriousness of the matter before us is substantially heightened.


Speaker, as you are well aware, documents were presented in a media conference showing that a staff person from the Ministry of Energy attended at a meeting with staff from the Ontario Power Authority and told the staff from the Ontario Power Authority which documents to release and which documents not to release. The question arises, and must be answered: Who directed that staff person from the Ministry of Energy? What were her instructions? And why did a vice-president of the Ontario Power Authority listen to those instructions on what could and could not be released?

I think any reasonable person should look at the motion before us and understand the situation in which incomplete provision of documents was at first denied, then admitted, and then when further documentation, relevant to this case, tied to this case, was asked for, then further denied.

This Legislature has the legal right to demand documentation, demand that it not be withheld, and that those who were responsible for making the documentation available must answer for that, must provide the documentation and let us know—legislators standing in for the public, the people we represent—who made the decisions to hold back documents and for what reason. Because without that, Speaker, we don’t have rule by a democratically elected Legislature; we have rule by a very narrow group of people who are not open with the public, who are not accountable to the public.

It is critical that these committee hearings go forward, that the matter be put before us, and that the people of Ontario have an opportunity to understand fully what is at stake.

Speaker, it is my hope that if the Liberals will not vote for this resolution, that they will at least not continue the script of last fall and filibuster against this resolution. We have heard the arguments; we understand what’s at stake. I believe everyone in this House has had that opportunity to review them. I urge that we have a speedy debate, that we resolve it this morning, and that we go into committee and get to work.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Further debate on the amendment?

The government House leader, Mr. Milloy, has an amendment to the motion:

“That, in exercising its authority throughout the committee proceedings, the committee shall adhere to the minimum standards of procedural fairness and the principles of fundamental justice, as required by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

All in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed?

The amendment carries.

Further debate on the motion?

We now have the motion on the floor, as amended.

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

So moved.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.



Consideration of the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Ms. Soo Wong: I move, seconded by my colleague the member from Ottawa–Orléans, that an humble address be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant Governor as follows:

To the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:

We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has been pleased to address to us at the opening of the present session.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Ms. Wong, seconded by Mr. McNeely, moves that an humble address be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant Governor as follows:

To the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:

We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.

Ms. Wong.

Ms. Soo Wong: I’ll be sharing my time with the member from Ottawa–Orléans.

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride and humility that I accept the honour of presenting this motion and responding to the throne speech. Likewise, I am honoured and humbled to serve the residents of my riding of Scarborough–Agincourt and to serve in this second session of the 40th Parliament of Ontario.

Scarborough–Agincourt is a riding of diverse people, diverse needs and diverse ambitions, and it is through these many different talents, cultures, experiences and convictions that the residents of Scarborough–Agincourt maintain a strong, robust and caring community. It is a growing community committed to working together and helping each other.

The riding of Scarborough–Agincourt is much like all parts of Ontario. It is strong, it is growing, and it is a place to celebrate diversity of all citizens. I’m very proud to represent such a vibrant community. I’m thankful to all those who have come before me.

I’m especially grateful for the contribution of my predecessor, the Honourable Gerry Phillips, who represented Scarborough–Agincourt in this Legislature from 1987 to 2011. Mr. Phillips was a lifelong advocate for the people of Scarborough. Elected as a trustee, he served 11 years in the Scarborough Board of Education and the Metro Toronto School Board.

Our predecessors have laid a foundation for our continued success, not only in this Legislature but also for Ontarians from all parts of this province. A community cannot exist without visionaries, nor can it develop without the hard work of the dedicated citizens.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I would suggest that it’s pretty loud in here, and I can’t hear the member. If we want to do 52 sidebars, you want to take them outside, please. I’d appreciate it. I can’t hear a word she’s saying, so due diligence is in order. Thank you.

Ms. Soo Wong: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We are all truly fortunate to be a part of such a progressive province, and I’m honoured to serve the wonderful people of Scarborough–Agincourt.

Speaking of our histories and those visionaries who have led our province, yesterday His Honour took time to recognize one of his predecessors, an Ontario hero. He overcame personal adversity to be recognized nationally and internationally as a great Ontarian and a great Canadian. Of course, I’m speaking of the Honourable Lincoln Alexander. Before I continue, I would like to take a moment to honour this Ontario hero and tell a story dating back to my personal early experiences and interactions with the Honourable Lincoln Alexander.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Toronto, I spent much of my time volunteering and fundraising for cystic fibrosis. I was involved in organizing a city-wide fashion show and competition, with proceeds going to the Toronto chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I wrote to His Honour, inviting him to the inaugural fashion show and competition. He responded to my letter personally, and he was keen to support both cystic fibrosis and young designers across the city of Toronto. His Honour attended the entire event and made sure every young designer was recognized for their contribution to the fashion show.


My other encounter with the Honourable Lincoln Alexander involved St. John Ambulance. I was a certified CPR and first aid instructor and participated in the annual St. John Ambulance first aid responders’ competition. His Honour attended this event. When he saw me across the room, he quickly came over and had a long conversation with me. I remember fondly his kind words, his sense of humour and caring nature. His Honour made sure that everyone who participated in the competition felt comfortable and have a role to play in saving another person’s life.

My family came to Ontario from Hong Kong in 1970. I was eight years old. My dad came to Canada earlier, in the early 1960s. Both my parents faced many challenges, such as learning a new language and adapting to a new way of life. I myself had to adapt to a new school system and learn how to make new friends. Yet despite the many challenges our family faced in the early years, we always knew Canada and Ontario would be the place of our new home.

My parents valued the importance of knowledge, duty, hard work and a need to help others. Hence, my sister, my brother and I have all pursued careers in health care. I’m here today because my parents pushed me to learn, but I’m also here today, Mr. Speaker, because our public education system provided me with the opportunity to learn and to grow.

As a graduate of Danforth technical institute, I was given many opportunities to excel, to get involved in various extracurricular activities and, most importantly, to contribute to my school community. I was first elected as a student council member but also was the first student council president and yearbook editor. I also had many great teachers, like Mr. Power, Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Calder and Vice-Principal Davidson, who all encouraged and challenged me with many ideas and thought processes.

During my undergraduate days as a nursing student, I saw the many challenges of vulnerable patients and their families. I learned very early in nursing school of the need to advocate for children, youth, seniors, women and new Canadians. What I learned is that education is a key social determinant of health, for success and, most importantly, Mr. Speaker, for opportunity, and is an essential element for improving the lives of new Canadians.

It is with this in mind that I tell you that Scarborough–Agincourt is home to some of the best public schools in Ontario, schools that support many students from Canadian families who are new to this country. Many of these families face financial challenges, and many of them are learning English as a second language. Yet with the leadership and guidance of strong principals, I know we will continue to improve students’ learning experience.

For the past 10 years, this government has understood the need to build a strong public education system. As a former school board trustee, I have seen the positive results of the investments we have made in our schools. For example, we know that when kids eat healthy, they have a better learning experience and will therefore have a better chance to succeed. That’s why I’m very proud that this government passed the Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act. I was very proud to raise this issue in the House last year, when we passed the motion that designated May as healthy active month, and I’m very proud to be a member of the Healthy Kids panel, to develop a report that will help us to reduce childhood obesity by 20% over five years.

My riding of Scarborough–Agincourt also has great libraries, like the Bridlewood library, Agincourt library and Steeles library. For the past seven years, I have worked collaboratively with local youth and residents to create one of the most successful community-based reading programs, the reading circle. On most Saturdays, Mr. Speaker, you’ll find me participating in this weekly reading program supporting literacy in early years and providing opportunities for young people.

My riding of Scarborough–Agincourt is also a riding that looks after itself. For many years, Agincourt Community Services Association, better known as ACSA, has assisted those most in the need, providing food banks, job fairs and outreach. ACSA is a non-profit, multi-service agency at the heart of Agincourt, addressing needs and empowering children, youth, newcomers, homeless and underserved communities to build a better tomorrow. From providing youth with employment services, to establishing food banks, to stopping forced marriages, ACSA is one of the many organizations in my riding tailoring specialized services towards the specific needs of our diverse communities.

It is this most important aspect of my riding, Mr. Speaker—diversity—that Scarborough–Agincourt prides itself on. My riding has young people, seniors, Chinese, South Asians, Koreans, Japanese, Tamils, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists. Scarborough–Agincourt is also the first home of many new Canadians. That’s what’s great about Scarborough–Agincourt. At a time when countries like the United Kingdom and Germany have called multiculturalism a failure, my riding, like so many others in Canada, has shown that we can move forward together to build a strong community that respects and embraces diversity.

Together, Mr. Speaker, Scarborough–Agincourt has built a strong community, and I know we can do the same to continue to build a stronger Ontario. My proudest moment as an MPP is seeing our young people succeed, and this speech from the throne lays a foundation for the youth of Scarborough–Agincourt and across Ontario to grow up, to continue to succeed and to prosper.

Ontarians and the residents of Scarborough–Agincourt want to know that they and their families will be able to prosper as Ontario moves forward. They want assurances that their children will receive the best education available. They want to feel secure that they will continue to have an excellent post-secondary education system to further enhance knowledge and understanding and that Ontario will remain a leader in research and development. They want to feel confident that there will be jobs and opportunities for this generation and the next. And they want to know that when they need it, Ontario’s health care system will provide them with excellent and timely care.

The vision laid out yesterday in the throne speech outlined what is needed for the next generation, Mr. Speaker. When we’re talking about the economy, education, transit, health care, safety and jobs, we are really talking about a better province for our children and our children’s children.

Our government is committed to be fiscally responsible. Ontario’s finances are in steady hands. Our government will introduce a balanced approach to balancing the budget and will continue to implement the recommendations from the Drummond report, including the work to evaluate corporate tax compliance. The throne speech also outlined the government’s commitment to working collaboratively with the opposition and small businesses to explore an increase in the employer health tax exemption threshold.

Our government plans to renew partnership with businesses, educational institutions, not-for-profits and labour to build a modern, competitive and dynamic economy.

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to education, Ontario has seen significant improvement, and I’m pleased that we will continue to work to protect these gains. As a former school trustee, I know that education is the key to a progressive and prosperous province. Test scores are up, dropout rates are down, Ontario’s class sizes are smaller and graduation rates are higher than ever.

This throne speech also highlights this government’s commitment to keep building early childhood education, including the successful extension of full-day kindergarten. This is providing our children with the head start they need to be successful in a competitive global economy. In the throne speech, our government spoke about respecting our teachers, support staff, principals and school boards.

Our government also recognizes that young people must be given an opportunity to be literate in the languages of tomorrow so that they can pursue the paths of their choosing and prepare for the challenges ahead. Our government is determined to support, nurture and respect our young people. Through the new creation of the permanent Premier’s Youth Advisory Council, our youth will be given an opportunity to work together, to believe in themselves, to be creative, to critically think and to support their entrepreneurial spirit. Ontario’s youth are among some of the brightest innovators in the world and we need to put them to work.

In Scarborough–Agincourt last year, a couple of high school students received international recognition. Together, two young teenagers from Scarborough’s Agincourt Collegiate Institute in my riding successfully sent a Lego-man to the edge of space, and they have video to prove it. Using a weather balloon, some Lego, a video camera and some imagination, these young people captured stunning images and captured the interest of viewers from around the world, proving that when supported with necessary resources, Ontario’s young people are ready to innovate and change the world.


Our government believes our First Nation, Métis and Inuit children must share in every opportunity. In the throne speech, our government indicated our commitment to close the gap with their peers so that First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and youth can live, learn, play and prosper.

The jobs of the future require a workforce educated for the future. The way forward is an accessible post-secondary education system that recognizes the necessity of mobility and affordability. That is why this throne speech continues to commit to the 30% off tuition fee grant for students from families earning less than $160,000. This is an investment we must continue to protect and that will ensure that youth in Ontario are among the most highly educated in the world.

Our government is committed to expanding the availability of French post-secondary programs in central and southwestern Ontario. That’s the right thing to do.

We also recognize that young people need to find jobs, good jobs—not just any jobs; good jobs. Youth unemployment is a serious problem. We need to do better. I have worked with business leaders in my riding to find new and innovative ways to create jobs for young people. This past Saturday I hosted a job fair at a local mall in my riding, and brought together employers, employment services, self-employment and entrepreneur opportunities and job seekers. Nearly 1,000 people participated. I know that this exciting and successful event will mean that many young people in my riding will be able to find part-time and summer employment. It is with this type of new thinking and collaboration that we can move forward.

We will need to help youth and the unemployed find a new path into the workforce. By joining forces with educators, colleges, universities, training partners and employers, we will develop new opportunities for young people and the unemployed to find employment and develop skills. We will commit to creating partnerships, co-op placements and programs that bring students from the classroom into the workforce, developing skills and preparing for the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs, nurses and educators. Our government believes in establishing opportunities for young people to enhance their skills and find placements in other co-op programs which will enable them to gain valuable, real-world experiences.

In Scarborough–Agincourt, we have many co-op and internship opportunities for our young people to have experiential learning and internship. But our government believes that young people need to prepare with the appropriate tools for the right time.

We also believe that an educated, skilled and diverse workforce is Ontario’s greatest strength. This is something that I see every day in Scarborough–Agincourt: The many different talents of residents result in a creative, caring society and a viable workforce for almost any company in any sector. We will use this diversity to bring new investment to Ontario. By visiting emerging markets such as Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America, our government will develop meaningful partnerships with foreign enterprises and governments as well as focusing on creating good jobs for Ontarians.

Capitalizing on creating trade corridors and expanding our infrastructure where necessary will make Ontario even more attractive to global markets. Our government is committed to facilitating the smooth transfer of goods through important hubs like Windsor, across the Detroit River international crossing. The improvement of this important international crossing will open new opportunities and expand the network of our possibilities with valuable international partners.

We also believe in looking within our own borders to explore new economic terrains. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the backbone of our communities. This government will ensure that these entrepreneurs and community leaders receive the capital they will require to grow, and growth means jobs. For young Ontarians, this will mean the ability to create their own jobs.

Debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I’d like to thank the member, and I’ll reassure the member that once debate begins again this afternoon, she’ll have the floor. It is now 10:15; this House stands recessed until 10:30 this morning.

The House recessed from 1015 to 1030.


Mr. Monte McNaughton: I’d like to welcome to the House my wife, Kate Bartz, and my brother-in-law, a University of Laurier student, Harrison Bartz.

Mr. Jonah Schein: I’d like to welcome Laura Van Harmelen, who’s a student in my office and a student at Ryerson University.

Mr. Kim Craitor: I’m extremely pleased to introduce to the House Doug and Linda Reid, who are on my right in the members’ gallery. They are sitting in the gallery for a special reason. They’re here because they’re grandparents; they’re the grandparents of one of our pages, Lauren George, who is a page from my riding of Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie. Welcome.

Mr. Peter Shurman: It gives me great pleasure to introduce today our page captain from Thornhill, Daniella Mikanovsky, and her family in the west members’ gallery: Moshe Mikanovsky, Hagit Mikanovsky, Abigail Mikanovsky and Talia Mikanovsky, all with us. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: It’s my pleasure to welcome the family of page Justin O’Brien from my riding of Pickering−Scarborough East to the Ontario Legislature today. We have his parents, Anne-Marie and Paul O’Brien, in the members’ gallery and brother Adam O’Brien. His grandparents were here earlier: Annette Spahn and Jack O’Brien. Justin is serving as page captain today. Welcome, Justin.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): During the recess, vacancies have occurred in the membership of the House by reason of the resignation of Christopher Bentley as the member of the electoral district of London West and Dwight Duncan as the member of the electoral district of Windsor–Tecumseh, both effective February 14, 2013. Accordingly, I have issued my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for these by-elections.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): During the recess, the following reports of parliamentary officers were tabled:

—on October 19, 2012, the 2010-11 annual report of the Chief Electoral Officer and the 2011 general election post-event report from the Chief Electoral Officer;

—on October 24, 2012, a report entitled In the Line of Duty from the Ombudsman;

—on October 30, 2012, an annual report, 2011-12, open meeting law enforcement team from the Ombudsman;

—on November 15, 2012, financial statements from the year ended March 31, 2011, and March 31, 2012, from the Auditor General; and a report regarding the privacy breach of Elections Ontario from the Chief Electoral Officer; and the Chief Electoral Officer’s Report on Privacy at Elections Ontario;

—on December 4, 2012, the 2012 annual greenhouse gas progress report from the Environmental Commissioner;

—on December 12, 2012, the 2012 annual report of the Auditor General;

—on January 3, 2013, the 2011-12 annual report from the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth;

—on January 8, 2013, the annual energy conservation progress report, 2011, volume 1, from the Environmental Commissioner; and

—on February 6, 2013, the 2011 annual report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

It is now time for question period.



Mr. Tim Hudak: Let me first say on behalf of the Ontario PC caucus: We want to extend our congratulations and best wishes to the now 25th Premier of the province of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne. It was, Speaker, a special moment to see—

Interjection: Put that in an ad.

Mr. Tim Hudak: “Put that in an ad”—to see Jane here and the grandkids behind—a very special moment. So, congratulations.

Speaker, I have the very simple and direct first question for Premier Wynne. Premier, why did you leave the concept of a wage freeze out of your throne speech altogether?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It’s a pleasure to rise in this House, in this role, and an honour.

Thank you very much for the question from the Leader of the Opposition. I made it clear in our throne speech—we made it clear that our priority is to make sure that we are fiscally responsible. We have worked over the past months to negotiate with the broader public sector to make sure that wage constraints were in place. But Mr. Speaker, we are not in the business, on this side of the House, of making decisions that will constrain us in the future. We’re not in the business of slashing. We’re not in the business of disrespecting or denigrating the people who deliver the services that are so important to the people of Ontario. So, working with employees, working with the people who deliver services, is the tack that we will take, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: Well, obviously, Speaker, that gives us grave concern that the Premier is signalling that all bets are off when it comes to controlling spending in the province of Ontario. We have a view of a stronger province of Ontario, an Ontario that leads Canada again, that leads us in job creation and to make sure that we don’t mortgage the future of our kids or grandkids by running up the debt.

The Premier said in her throne speech that she thinks it’s essential that the OPS is treated with respect. The point that I have is, it’s the taxpayers who have not been treated with respect by the previous Premier—or this one. I want to make sure we’re absolutely clear to the Premier: Are you telling us today that the wage freeze is now off the table altogether?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I just want to examine what the premise of this question is. I think the premise of this question is, there is only one way to be fiscally responsible. I reject that, Mr. Speaker. I reject the notion that the only way to be fiscally responsible is to do it the way that the Leader of the Opposition is suggesting.

As MPPs, we have led the way by taking a five-year wage freeze, Mr. Speaker. We have put in place program spending restraints to reduce Ontario’s debt-to-GDP. We’ve said we’re going to eliminate the deficit by 2017. We have said that we are going to put those constraints in place, and we’ve been doing it. We have worked with the public sector. We have brought in 0% increases. We have put that wage constraint in place. That’s what we will continue to do, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Mr. Tim Hudak: Respectfully, Premier, let me just examine the premise of my question. Are you in favour of a public sector wage freeze or are you opposed to a public sector wage freeze?

When public sector wages make up at least 55% of public sector spending, it seems to me obvious that the first step you need to take to control spending is to freeze wages across the board. That will save us $2 billion a year.

You had moved to do that at least with teachers, but what we saw was a government that then threw that legislation overboard and demoted the cabinet minister who was responsible for the wage freeze at the time.

Premier, your first decision was to increase the size of your cabinet by 25%. I think I’m hearing today that you’re also abandoning a wage freeze goal in the province of Ontario.

I’ll ask you again: Clearly, yes or no, are you saying that a province-wide, across-the-board wage freeze for the public service has been abandoned by the Liberal government?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Just specifically on the wage freeze, Mr. Speaker: The current 12-month average annual wage increase for the broader public service is 0.2%. Wage constraint is in place. We have been working on that and we are having success.

But here’s what I support: I support fiscal responsibility, I support economic growth and I support increased employment in the context of a fair society. That’s who we are. That’s what the people of Ontario expect. We are going to do everything in our power to move forward on that fiscal responsibility and that fair society. That is what we stand for, Mr. Speaker and I believe it is what the people of Ontario expect us to do.



Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Premier: The Premier references a fair society. Fairness also means that those in the private sector need to get a break as well. They’ve had higher taxes, they are paying more and more, and they’ve seen their wages stagnate or drop. You now are indicating that the floodgates are open for increased spending in the public sector; the wage freeze is now off.

The Fraser Institute put out a study today, Speaker, that shows the disparity between the exact same job in the private sector compared to the public sector. I think an issue of fairness is that if you do the same job in government as in the private sector, the pay should be equal. The opportunities should be there. You shouldn’t have this kind of dichotomy that the McGuinty Liberals drive.

So cabinet is larger; the wage freeze is off. I understand why the public sector union leaders were all smiles yesterday. It looks like spending is going to continue.

Can the Premier identify in the throne speech what particular McGuinty government programs she is going to reverse or eliminate?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The work that we’ve been doing over the past few months and the work that my colleague the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care has been doing is exactly the work that has to be done to make government sustainable, to make the health care system sustainable, to transform the way we deliver services that actually will meet the needs of the people of the province, Mr. Speaker.

It is very easy to stand up and to use a sound bite that sounds reasonable but actually would not lead to the kind of change that has to happen. So if we look at health care spending, and I know the Minister of Health will want to address this because it is the biggest budget item, the changes that we’re making are changes that will put the health care system on a sustainable footing, that will take people out of costly acute care beds and deliver service in the community and at home, Mr. Speaker. That’s the kind of intelligent change that needs to happen.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: On the issue of competitiveness and support for the private sector, Mr. Speaker, we are a competitive jurisdiction. If you look at our neighbouring jurisdictions, we are competitive, and that’s why jobs are coming to the province.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Mr. Tim Hudak: If I follow the Premier’s argument, she seems to indicate now that a public sector wage freeze is not a reasonable proposition. She seems to be backpedalling from that. I guess they’re now joining the NDP in opposing a public sector wage freeze.

I guess the good news, Speaker, is that if you believe that Ontario is on the right track, you now have two parties to choose from: the Liberals and the NDP. But if you think Ontario is on the wrong track and we need a better approach, a better plan to get Ontario back on top, the choice is clear: The PC Party has that plan.

Let me ask the Premier directly again my second question. Premier, can you point out, in your throne speech—aside from banning the wage freeze, can you tell me one Dalton McGuinty program that you’re going to reverse, one Dalton McGuinty policy that you’re not going to implement? Or is the new Premier a lot like the old Premier?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Mr. Speaker, let’s talk about how we are going to make the services that we deliver to the people of the province sustainable, because I think that should be the objective of all the parties in this House. How are we going to create conditions that will allow business and will encourage business to come to the province to create jobs?

To the question about competitiveness, since 2007 we have got seven examples here of how we have reduced taxes, created an environment for the private sector: the accelerated elimination of capital tax; the cutting of the capital tax rate by 21% retroactive to January 1, 2007; budget cut taxes, $750 over four years; enhanced tax credits for businesses that hire apprentices; extended Ontario Innovation Tax Credit to more businesses. The HST, which, as we know, was a Conservative policy that they abandoned when we brought it in, brings $500 million annually in savings for businesses. We cut the corporate income tax rate from 14% to 12% in 2010.

Those are all policies and decisions that we made, Mr. Speaker, that have made us more competitive and that I would have expected the Leader of the Opposition to support, and that’s the kind of work that we’re going to do going forward: creating the conditions for business to come to Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: I think we all found it rather concerning when the Premier, after winning the Liberal leadership, indicated she wanted to continue the Dalton McGuinty legacy. I sense that Ontarians are looking for change. They’re looking for a bold new path that says Ontario can actually lead again, that we can be the leaders in Canada, but I’m hearing a lot of the same Dalton McGuinty talking points that we heard four months ago when we last met.

I want to ask the Premier again, to make sure that I understand—you’ve abandoned the wage freeze. Can you point out, specifically in your throne speech, one policy from Dalton McGuinty that you reject, one Dalton McGuinty spending program that you are going to reverse or eliminate? How are you going to balance the budget if you keep going down the Dalton McGuinty path?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I’m going to say what I’ve been saying publicly for the last couple of weeks: I have been a proud member of a government for the last nine years that has repaired damage that was done by the party opposite, a party that closed hospitals, a party that—


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Thank you. There’s so much to say here—a party that undermined our publicly funded education system, a party that undermined our public health system, and a party that did not pay attention to the needs of the people in this province.

I am not abandoning the work that our government has done for nine years. We are now at a point where we are going to move forward. I am going to build on those strengths and I am going to make sure that our education system, our health care system and our care of the vulnerable are part of a fiscally responsible government going forward.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: Let me first, on behalf of New Democrats—if I can get a second—congratulate the Premier. Premier Wynne, congratulations on your victory and on taking your place in this House for question period.

Now to my question: Ontarians have been waiting a long time for us to get back to business here, and one of the biggest challenges that’s facing many of them is finding a job. We’ve made it clear that we prefer to reward companies when they put young people to work and not when they shift profits out of the province. We heard a lot of promises in the throne speech, but can the Premier explain what tax loopholes she plans to close, when she plans to close them and whether there will be new programs to tackle youth unemployment or just more of the same old status quo that’s left 16% of our young people out of work?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Thank you for the question from the leader of the third party. I am, as I have said consistently, looking forward to working with the opposition. I had hoped that we would be able to work with both parties, and I still hold out that hope. Hope springs eternal.

To the question about the corporate tax compliance issue that we raised in the throne speech yesterday and the youth unemployment programs: As you know, Mr. Speaker, I believe the budget consultations are beginning tonight, and we are going to be talking with people across the province about their concerns and about the specifics that they would like to share with us about how we need to go forward.

We’ve laid some very clear directions. We’ve said very clearly that we want to look at those corporate tax compliance issues. That’s what’s happening now. We’ve also said that we want to work on youth unemployment. And the specific programs, Mr. Speaker? That’s the stuff of the discussion going forward.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: For people looking for work, the details actually matter. They matter quite a lot. The throne speech indicated that the Premier is ready to increase the employer health tax exemption to help small business. Is the Premier ready to actually close the loophole, however, that allows some of the largest corporations in the province to use an exemption that, in fact, was designed for small business?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I think the issues that the leader of the third party raises are issues that need to be looked at. That’s part of the discussion that we need to have going forward. What I know, if we talk about youth unemployment—to go back to her first question—is that young people are looking for jobs and there’s often a mismatch between the labour force and the labour market. I want to make sure—and I think the leader of the third party does as well, and I would hope the Leader of the Opposition—that young people have a pathway into work, whether that’s through an internship or whether it’s through a co-op or a placement of some kind, and that we can work with the colleges, with the universities, with the skilled trades, with labour and with business to provide a systematic way to provide those opportunities for young people.


That’s the kind of discussion that I would like to have going forward with the members of the opposition, but also with the people of Ontario, because I know that there are ideas out there. There are people who already know programs that exist, and we need to tap into those ideas.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We need a little less discussion and a lot more action—a little less conversation and a lot more action. Young people are not going to be young forever, Speaker, and that’s the reality.

But the Premier’s current fiscal plan also includes a new loophole that’s about to take place in 2015. That’s going to hand Ontario’s largest corporations a tax break when they expense meals and entertainment. All told, these loopholes will cost the public over $1 billion.

We’ve been pretty clear: When thousands and thousands and thousands of young people are out of a job, tax breaks for wining and dining clients should not be the priority here in Ontario. Is the Premier going to stick with her planned giveaway for 2015 or is she ready to offer some real change that will create jobs for youth?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: In terms of what’s needed right now, I think we actually do need to make sure that the people of the province have the opportunity to have input on the throne speech and on the run-up to the budget. I would have thought that the leader of the third party would have wanted that, would have wanted us to have an opportunity to talk with the people of Ontario about the specifics.

I recognize that there are young people who are looking for jobs. I recognize that we need to get on that file. It’s something that is a high priority for me.

The other issue that she’s raised about the corporate tax compliance—those are the things that the Minister of Finance is looking at. We’ve already said that we are interested in looking at those concerns and we are engaged in that.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, my next question is to the Premier as well. The people who make this province work every day have been waiting a long time for MPPs to get back to business here. Now that we’re here, we owe it to them to deliver some positive change and some results. We’ve put forward a very achievable plan that will help companies that want to help put young people back to work instead of handing tax breaks to companies that want to shift taxes out of the province or want to write off the sales tax on dinners and drinks.

Is the Premier ready to move beyond the conversation and take some action for the people of this province?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Yes, I am. I’m willing to move beyond the conversation, but I think we have to have the conversation.

I’m so pleased to be back in the House, and we got here in record time. I know that there was an eagerness to get back. They said that we couldn’t get back in three weeks, and here we are.

I am committed to working; I am committed to moving into action. But we need to have those pre-budget discussions. We need to make sure that we hear from the people of the province on specifics. We need to make sure that the suggestions that are being put forward by the opposition and suggestions that are being put forward by my caucus can be fine-tuned and that we can make sure that we come up with the right answers and the right programs. That’s why we’re going to take some time, as we lead up to the budget, to have those discussions.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Gee, I don’t know who the heck the Liberals have been talking to for the last four or five years, but New Democrats have been talking to Ontarians who want some real action on jobs and fairness in this province. Young people are looking for work or being forced to wait years to start their career. They don’t want vague promises; they want a job.

We’ve put forward an achievable plan that will start putting people back to work this spring. Is the Premier ready to implement it, or can we expect the same old status-quo ideas that have left 16% of our young people in this province out of work?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Since the recession, we have more than 400,000 net new jobs in this province. That is a very, very strong record of achievement. So the work that we’ve been doing over the last few years has actually created jobs. Whether we talk about infrastructure spending or the Second Career Program, we have put in place very, very strong supports for helping people get into the job market.

But there’s more to be done. We absolutely acknowledge that there’s more to be done, and youth employment is a very specific targeted area. So those are the things that we are going to work on. We’re going to work on putting programs in place for youth employment. We’re going to work with small business, and the leader of the third party has talked about the employer health tax exemption. We’re going to work on that. We’re going to put in place new venture capital that will allow small and medium enterprises to have access to capital to create jobs. And, Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to invest in infrastructure and transit. Those are all things that are going to continue to create jobs, and I look forward to working with the opposition on that.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I really do appreciate that the Premier has not been on the job all that long, but the people of Ontario have been waiting a very long time. We owe it to them to go beyond the vague promises and get down to actually delivering results ASAP. That means the Premier is going to have to make some real decisions and some real choices. Is she going to move forward with plans to open tax loopholes to help corporations with entertainment expenses, or is she ready to move forward with plans to open opportunity for young people and reward the companies that are ready to work with us to do that?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Mr. Speaker, we’re going to be looking at all of those issues, and I think that the leader of the third party understands that. The directions that we laid out in the throne speech yesterday made it very clear that those are all issues that are of concern to us and that we are going to develop plans to implement changes in those areas because we know that people do need to know that there’s action coming. They need to know that we’re going to take action in the budget on those very issues, and between now and the budget there are things that we can do.

I have already said, Mr. Speaker, that we are ready to make an investment in the venture capital fund. I have already said that we are going to be working on issues around the Ontario Brain Institute and that we are going to be making those investments. So we will not wait for the budget, Mr. Speaker, to take some action, but we will move to action as we move into the budget discussions.


Mrs. Christine Elliott: My question is for the Premier. On February 14, Premier, you publicly announced that you were prepared to call a select committee to get to the bottom of the gas plant scandal. Premier, can you inform this House whether you had asked for any strings to be attached to this committee?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the opposition has made another choice, that they have chosen to send the issue that was raised this morning to a standing committee. So my hope is that they certainly will support the establishment of all of those standing committees.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mrs. Christine Elliott: Mr. Speaker, we still don’t really have an answer. The Premier has publicly committed to getting to the bottom of the gas plant scandal by striking a select committee. However, there’s a discrepancy between what the Premier is telling Ontarians and what she’s telling the opposition. Publicly, the Premier is saying she wants to strike a committee, but privately she’s telling us that she wants us to withdraw our privilege motion before she does that.

Premier, you can’t bargain your way out of this mess. You can’t compromise the interests of taxpayers in a partisan way with this, and neither will we. Premier, can you tell Ontarians you’re serious about getting to the bottom of this scandal by striking a select committee with no strings attached?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. I was listening carefully, and I was deciding whether or not to interrupt immediately. I will caution all members of making comments around the way in which one might be called to order by the Speaker regarding what you say about another member in the House. So I think I went around the same way you went around it, and hopefully we will refrain from doing so.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I will certainly let the House leader, in future questions, deal with this because, obviously, the House leader has been part of these conversations.

But I just want to make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that I have said that the questions that are being raised by the opposition need answers. I have said that we will do everything in our power to provide opportunities for those questions to be answered. I have said that I will appear before committees if I am asked to appear before a committee. I have said that we offered to set up a select committee.

The opposition has chosen a different route. The opposition has chosen to take another route and to have the discussion in a standing committee. I offered a select committee; they took a different route. I hope they will at least support the establishment of all the standing committees when that motion is raised.



Mr. Jagmeet Singh: My question is for the Premier. Does the government have a plan to give safe drivers in Ontario a break by actually ensuring that insurance rates in Ontario are cut?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Charles Sousa: Thank you. Before I begin, I’d just like to congratulate the Premier on a well-run campaign and on putting forth a positive vision for the province of Ontario, which brings me to your question.

We want to continue remaining positive in terms of what we need to do going forward. We’ve implemented the recommendations of the anti-fraud task force on auto insurance, and that’s essential. We need to get to the root cause of the problem. Certainly in Ontario things are much more expensive than they are in other parts of Canada, so we have to ensure what we do going forward enables us to reduce the overall cost so that we can again provide better rates going forward.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Well, the issue is this: For two years, drivers in Ontario have been told that rates will be coming down. For two years, they’ve been told that rates would be coming down. But what has happened is that rates have gone up instead. Industry figures have shown that we’ve already addressed the costs. In fact, from 2010, policy changes by this government have saved insurance companies in this province $2 billion in the year 2011; $2 billion of savings have already come forward. But the issue is that at the same time, our premiums have gone up by 5%. So the issue is this: We are now being told that we have to wait for more reforms—more reforms—until drivers can see some savings and their premiums coming down. That’s simply unacceptable. It’s time for results.

At a time when millions of Ontarians are struggling to make ends meet, will this government act to ensure that rates actually come down and that those savings—those $2 billion of savings—are passed on to drivers in Ontario?

Hon. Charles Sousa: Well, the fact is that in 2012, rates decreased by 0.2%, and our plan has started to work.


Hon. Charles Sousa: But it has. What we do need to do going forward is to ensure that we do protect our ratepayers. We know that things have been difficult, but something is wrong in that there’s so much that appears to be excess cost in our system. We have to get at that root cause, and the report brought forward talks about how to do just that. We can’t make this a band-aid solution. We have to get at the issues, and I welcome your input to enable us to get at that resolve. So I will commit to doing just that going forward, and I do say that some of the transformations we’ve put forward have already resulted in the stabilization of some of those rates, but more needs to be done.


Mr. Bob Delaney: This question is to the Minister of Education. New parents in western Mississauga are concerned about the education of their youngest children. To compete in the knowledge-based economy of the future, we have to be innovative in our approach to education and early learning. Parents need their children to have access to a high quality of education as soon as possible, and parents need to know their children are in the best possible environment to ensure their future success.

Minister, please tell this House what your ministry has done to ensure that young Ontarians will be able to compete in the highly competitive global economy of the future.

Hon. Liz Sandals: I want to thank the member from Mississauga–Streetsville for his question—my very first question—and thank him for his advocacy on behalf of the students and schools in his riding.

I just want to assure everyone that part of the Wynne government’s commitment to the parents of Ontario is that we will continue the rollout of full-day kindergarten. We know that’s the most important transformation in our school system in a generation and we know it’s working. In fact, Speaker, there’s an initial study from the University of Toronto looking at those first enrolments in full-day kindergarten, and it says they are succeeding.

I want to say to everyone, I am so pleased to be in this role, coming full circle with my history in education, and I look forward to working with everybody here in the House, including my critics.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you very much, Minister. I’m sure the minister, as did I, watched President Obama’s State of the Union address last week in which the United States realized that for their own youngest learners, they need full-day kindergarten. So as the United States copies Ontario, we realize that full-day kindergarten is an important step in long-term education planning, and we are at the forefront here in Ontario.

Minister, moms and dads want their children to become life-long learners, and some people are concerned about the immediate impact full-day kindergarten will have on child care. Many parents have been accustomed to leaving their children at daycare centres or at other facilities. Minister, what will full-day kindergarten mean for child care in neighbourhoods in western Mississauga such as Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville, and across Ontario?

Hon. Liz Sandals: As the member correctly notes, full-day kindergarten will in fact have an impact on other parts of our early education system. We recognize that FDK will have an impact on child care, and that’s exactly why we have already announced additional funding to support the transition to a modernized child care system here in Ontario.

Full-day learning is the best start that we can give our 4- and 5-year-olds, and what we’re going to continue to do is to roll it out, which is in contrast to the official opposition, which can’t quite decide whether they’re for it, whether they’re against it, whether they’re cancelling it. We’re not quite sure what they’re going to do from day to day.

But we know what we’re going to do, and because we are committed to rolling out full-day kindergarten, that also means that we need to work on child care. We will be working on child care with our partners. We put in place new funding, last year, this year, next year, all of it focused on making sure the child care system can adjust.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock, please. I want to make a comment about the decorum. It’s a concern that I have and I’m going to state it now. Some people, when they stand to speak—I’ve heard, because I’m trying to pay attention to the question but also pay attention to what’s going on in the House, personalized comments about someone’s position or someone’s place in this place and their abilities. That does not help this place. I want it to stop and I will deal with it if I hear it again.

New question.


Mr. Victor Fedeli: Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Premier, may I begin by offering my congratulations to you as well.

This morning, we heard two point-of-privilege motions. According to our standing orders, Speaker, they had to be brought out at the first possible opportunity or become null. They dealt strictly with the contempt issues pertaining to ordered documents not being turned over to this Legislature.

Premier, at this point, I’d like to speak about a completely separate matter: the issue of the actual cancellation of the gas plants. In your letter to our leader, you promised to strike a select committee to “get to the bottom” of the gas plant story. Premier, when will you strike this committee?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I think I’ve already answered this question, Mr. Speaker. What I said was that we were offering to strike a select committee. The opposition chose a different route, and they are going to have this discussion in a different venue. I would have thought that a select committee would have been a very good way to answer the questions that have been raised by the official opposition. As I say, they’ve chosen to take another route. That is their prerogative, but it is their choice and they have made that decision, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Victor Fedeli: I fail to see how one has to do with the other, so let me reiterate: The two point-of-privilege motions are to determine who ordered the documents not to be produced.

Speaker, in your original ruling, you stated, “The right to order production of documents is fundamental to and necessary for proper functioning of the assembly.” That is one issue.

The issue I’m now referring to is a completely separate issue. It’s the Premier’s promise to investigate the actual gas plant scandal through her promise to form a select committee. So I repeat my question: When will you form that select committee to investigate the gas plant scandal?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the House leader, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order, please.

First of all, let’s just keep it down. Second of all, I’ll do my job. I don’t need other people to tell me when it’s too loud. You can all hear when it’s too loud.

Government House leader.

Hon. John Milloy: I think it’s important that we put on the record there’s no surprise here. In fact, if members opposite had heard my comments this morning, I made it very clear. We sat down with the opposition, we acknowledged the concern over the gas plants issue, and we said there were two possible ways to go forward. One was through a select committee of the Legislature which would have a wide berth and could come back to the Legislature with what we felt was a useful report. The other, Mr. Speaker, was to follow up on what, quite frankly, was a vindictive and mean-spirited attack on a private citizen, a former member of the Legislature.

The choice was left with the opposition, Mr. Speaker, and this morning, a little after 9 a.m., they made their choice.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Well, actually, that’s perfect timing for the question, but I will tell the member from Simcoe–Grey to come to order.


Mme France Gélinas: Ma question est pour la ministre de la Santé et des Soins de longue durée.

I have a simple question this morning: Will the minister and her government take the needs of more than 6,000 Ontarians seriously and implement a five-day home care guarantee so that timely care can be delivered in every community of Ontario?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I am delighted to have that question from my critic from the third party. Enhancing home care is a foundational and key part—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Minister of the Environment, come to order.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: —of the transformation of health care. We have made difficult decisions within our health care budget so that we can invest more in home care. We know that there are too many people in hospital who could be at home with appropriate care. We know that too many people are moving into long-term care before they really need to, that they could be supported at home.

So our seniors strategy and our action plan have as foundational elements the enhancement of home care. We are clearly moving in that direction. We’ve reduced wait times from 13 days to nine days for people being discharged from hospital. We are moving in that direction, and I’m delighted to have the support of the NDP in that initiative.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mme France Gélinas: Yesterday in the throne speech, we saw reference to the problem, but for people waiting for home care, they need to see solutions. Today, some Ontarians have to wait up to six months for home care. I think that this is unacceptable.

Can the minister assure Ontarians that yesterday’s reference in the throne speech, as well as the importance that they have given home care, will translate into results, and that the result would be a home-care warranty to ensure people get home care within five days?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I think it’s important to clarify that there is no wait time for people who have acute needs and who are being discharged from hospital. They will get home care immediately.

I referenced a statistic, and I’ll clarify it right now: If they’re already in the community, the wait time has gone from 13 days to nine days. And because of our enhanced investments in home care, we will continue to see that number decline.

It’s very important that we provide the right care in the right place at the right time. We need to get people back home when they are ready to go home, with the right supports, and as I said earlier, I am delighted that the NDP and our party are on the very same page when it comes to enhancing supports.


Mr. Steven Del Duca: My question today is for the Minister of Labour. I want to begin by congratulating the minister on his recent appointment to cabinet. I know he’ll do a fantastic job for the people of Ontario.

Minister, it seems to me that the new labour policies that have been developed in Michigan recently have stirred up quite a bit of trouble. I’ve heard that their state Legislature and the grounds of their Legislature were full of protesters warning of the terrible trouble that these policies would have on that state’s economy.

Now, I understand that the Ontario PCs have issued multiple papers outlining their thoughts on various policy issues and that they’ve actually introduced one on this particular subject. It is this PC labour scheme that has my constituents in Vaughan worried. When they hear phrases like “right to work,” they are concerned that the extreme right-wing policies of the United States are making their way to Canada, and they’re reminded of President Obama’s wise comment that workers are actually being given the right to work for less.

My constituents tell me that they’re worried that these schemes will lower their wages and have an adverse effect on their families and on our economy. Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, how does our government’s approach differ from the official opposition’s interest in the right to work for less?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Stop the clock. I will use this as an opportunity to provide somewhat of a warning regarding policy questions directly. The preamble was setting the table for a possible question and it’s very edgy as to whether or not it was a direct response to government policy, so I’ll remind all members that your question should be based on government policy.

Minister of Labour.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Thank you very much, Speaker.


Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Thank you. I want to thank the member for Vaughan for asking a very important question and thank the member for Vaughan for his work on occupational work and safety and safety of our workers and for progressive labour relations in our province.

And the member is right, Speaker: Michigan has taken drastic steps against labour, and with great controversy. In doing so, they are jeopardizing fair wages, health and safety and quality of life for their workers.

We have seen similar proposals from the opposition in that regard, and changes are being articulated to the Ontario Labour Relations Act through this party. Speaker, I have to say that their position is disturbing, in a sense, because instead of talking about collaboration, working with our labour partners, what we’ve seen is a “divide” policy—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. While I said that about the question, the same holds true about the answer. Get focused on policy, please.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Thank you, Speaker. And I think it is important that the policies they’re talking about are policies that are in place in our laws and our rules and regulations, policies around the Rand formula, which was implemented province-wide in the 1980s by the Progressive Conservative Premier Bill Davis.

Speaker, these policies ensure that we have fair wages in our province, that we are not having a race to the bottom. We need to ensure that that continues. Thank you very much, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Now that I’ve given that warning I’ll be listening intently to both the question and the answer for policy.


Mr. Steven Del Duca: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, through you, to the minister for that answer.

I do certainly find it very interesting that there are people in Ontario currently who seem to be calling for the reversal of some important legislation that had been previously implemented by a Progressive Conservative Premier, Bill Davis.

Minister, it seems to me and it seems to the people of my community that we here in Ontario are in a very good position. Our economy has recovered more than 100% of the jobs lost during the last recession. Our minimum wage has increased—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I have to hear the question.

Mr. Steven Del Duca: —by almost 50% since 2003 after nine consecutive years of zero increases—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): And I don’t like to have to say it again.

Mr. Steven Del Duca: —and our government has built up and maintained a high standard of living for all Canadians.

Again, some seem convinced bringing in certain types of schemes will increase wages and bring jobs to the province, but I understand that the preferred option for those individuals would actually do the opposite.

Minister, in general, what has the experience been for states that have implemented such regressive policies?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): That’s not acceptable.

New question.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod: If I may first congratulate the Premier and let her know I’m wearing a pantsuit in her honour today. The women in this chamber are allowed to do that.


My question is to the Premier. On September 25, you told this chamber that the opposition had all the documents pertaining to the cancelled gas plants. Your House leader told us we had the documents, your community safety minister told us we had the documents, your new Minister of Energy told us we had the documents, but the OPA proved that we didn’t. They engaged in an elaborate scheme of hide-and-seek to withhold documents from this side of the assembly, and now this Premier is paying lip service to the very transparency that she told us she was going to give us with a select committee. There must be explosive information in those documents.

My question: Will she cut the strings that are attached to her promise and her commitment? Will she release the documents, and will she tell us what she knew and when she knew it with respect to these cancelled gas plants?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: At any particular moment when I have stood in this Legislature or I have stood in public and I have made a statement about what I know or what I don’t know, I have told the truth as I understand it. I have honestly given all the information that I have, and I have said that I will appear before the committee if I am called on.

We have said repeatedly that the decisions that were made early on—I have said that I regret that we had not been able to make a different decision at the front end of that decision around the placement of the gas plants. I regret that that process was not better, leading up to the placement of those gas plants. But I have also said—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew, come to order—second time.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: —that any questions that the opposition is asking, we are going to do everything in our power to provide the answers to those questions, to provide the documents that they’re asking for. We’ve said that we will do that. That’s why I offered a select committee, Mr. Speaker. They’ve taken another path—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Speaker, if she wanted to provide the documents, she’d do that right now. If she wanted to provide transparency, she’d have that select committee struck this week. If she cared about telling Ontarians the truth, she’d do it right now. But she hasn’t.

There are five indisputable facts. This member, this Premier, was a Liberal MPP for nine years. For seven years, she sat in the McGuinty cabinet. She rose quickly to become the campaign chair of the campaign team that decided to cancel those power plants to a cost of a billion dollars to our taxpayers, and she hand-picked the biggest beneficiary of that cancelled power plant, made him her finance minister and sat him beside her. Mr. Speaker, that’s not all. She came to this assembly telling us she’d work with us, and now all we see is further obstruction.

Will she cut the strings for that select committee? Will she call it this week? And will we get the answers to know what she knew and when she knew it, so Ontarians can finally put this issue to bed?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.


Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I have every faith in our House leader’s ability to negotiate the waters of this discussion. But because this is the first day in the Legislature, and because these questions are coming at me today, I want to establish my approach to this, which has been to say from the beginning that I am committed to being open and transparent. I am committed to providing the information in the documents. That’s why I asked the Auditor General to look at both cases. That’s why we offered a select committee. That’s why I said I would appear before the committee.

I will do everything in my power, but we cannot do that alone. We have to have a partner to work with, and the opposition has to make choices that will allow us to get to the bottom of the questions that they’re asking. If they really want the information, then they need to provide the opportunities for that information to come out.

They’ve made a choice; it’s not a choice that I understand. I thought that they would have wanted to have a select committee, but they’ve made another choice, and I don’t think having redundancy is valuable. They’ve made a choice, and so they will have to—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.

New question.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is for the Premier. Two weeks ago, families in Windsor learned that they will be losing 30 beds at the Windsor Regional Hospital, and 58 much-needed new beds, which the government promised for Windsor families more than a year ago, will never open. Furthermore, 34 nurses are going to be losing their jobs. The hospital CEO said this wouldn’t be necessary if the Liberal government would deliver the funding that they had already promised.

Is the Premier serious about keeping her word, or are families in Windsor who need care in the hospital simply going to have to deal with another Liberal broken promise?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: The earlier question from the health critic of the third party referred to enhanced spending on home care. We are absolutely committed to spending more on home care. What that means, however, is that we’re having to hold the line in other parts of our health care system. So whether it’s physician compensation—I’m very pleased that we achieved a ratified agreement with the OMA to hold physician compensation in line. I was very pleased that we were able to reduce the price of generic drugs so we could spend more on home care.

Hospitals are also doing their part. We have held hospitals to a 0% base funding increase. That does mean that hospitals right across this province are making choices about what services they can provide in the hospital and what can be provided in the community.

There is a transformation under way in health care; it will result in better health care for all.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, Speaker, I guess that was a yes. The Liberal word is as good as it’s ever been here in the province of Ontario.

Only last week, families in London learned that services at St. Joseph’s health care centre would be cut. Wait times for MRIs, PET scans, CTs and ultrasounds will go up, and 59 health care workers will lose their jobs.

And while the throne speech made promises to increase accessibility to mental health services, 80 people with mental health challenges will lose job training programs in St. Thomas.

Making promises is easy, Speaker, but keeping them is the real hard work. Will the Premier keep the promises she made only yesterday in the throne speech, or will families in London, Ontario, face longer wait times and more broken Liberal promises?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I think it’s important that all of us in this Legislature understand that there are decisions that are being made in our health care system that will result in programs moving from hospitals to the community.

The leader of the third party has discussed withdrawing of services for mental health patients. That is simply not accurate, and I think it’s important that we all get our facts right. Will those services be provided to patients? Yes, they will. Will they be provided by the hospital? No, they won’t. It’s more appropriate that they’re delivered in the community by organizations that do a very, very fine job, Speaker.

I think it’s important to note that we’ve increased hospital funding province-wide by 50% over the past 10 years. We’re spending a lot more on our hospitals. We are at a time of transformation now, where more services are moving to the community, where they belong.


Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I rise in this inaugural question period to pose an important question to the Minister of Children and Youth Services on a subject that is not only important for my riding of Etobicoke North but across the GTA and beyond.

I appreciate and sense on the ground that our government has made significant progress with regard to crime and youth engagement. Two measures illustrate this: The overall youth crime rate in Ontario is 23% lower than a decade ago; and number two, the youth violent crime rate is also down by 17% over the same period—better than the national rate.

However, many youth continue to face significant challenges and barriers to success, gainful employment and engagement. The recent tragic shootings of our youngest Ontarians, in my riding and elsewhere, compel us, urge us and inform us that there is more work to be done.

This past summer, our government announced the Youth Action Plan to give youth the support they need to make positive life choices. Speaker, I ask on behalf of my community and others: What are the results of this plan?


Hon. Teresa Piruzza: I thank the member from Etobicoke North for his question. Before I go on with respect to the Youth Action Plan, let me say that my heart truly goes out and I’m saddened whenever I hear of the stories and read the stories in the media of youth who have lost their lives to violence in their neighbourhoods.

Speaker, we have made significant progress since the announcement of the Youth Action Plan. We worked with community, business and youth leaders to recommend actions to make communities safer and provide opportunities. We are giving youth the support and opportunities they need to make positive choices. The plan provides for a wide range of programs and initiatives that improve outcomes in education, employment, health and well-being.

To that end, Speaker, we have created 17 new parenting and literacy centres across the province. We are providing approximately $1 million in funding to 32 community projects. We are providing after-school programs in Toronto and other neighbourhoods in York, Halton, Peel and Durham. With these initiatives—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: Merci, monsieur le Président. Je voudrais vous remercier, madame la Ministre, pour votre réponse. I know that these initiatives which involve centres, projects, after-school activities and supervision will have a positive impact on youth across this province. I know we strive to provide the opportunities they need to make more salutary choices in their lives.

But the tragic events that we are unfortunately forced to witness and see unfold in our communities, especially over these last few weeks, are an urgent reminder to this Parliament. The question of youth engagement, crime and better futures is multi-factorial. There are no easy answers or explanations about the youth violence that we have witnessed. I ask the minister: What more will be done moving forward with the Youth Action Plan to tackle the roots of youth violence?

Hon. Teresa Piruzza: I again thank the member from Etobicoke North for his continued advocacy on this issue.

Speaker, I agree with the statement that he made, and that is that there’s more work to be done. As we continue to implement our Youth Action Plan, the number of youth outreach workers in the province will increase from 62 to 97, including 29 additional workers in Toronto and the GTA. Our Summer Jobs for Youth Program will expand to provide over 440 additional new part-time, after-school jobs.

The plan also calls for sustained commitment. We are committed to continuing to engage and listen to valuable feedback from our communities. As we indicated in the throne speech yesterday, we will be establishing a Premier’s Youth Advisory Council. The Premier’s council will be a new, permanent body that will advise government on how to better target existing programs and any new directions that could be pursued.

Through our Youth Action Plan, we are helping to make a real difference to youth across this province, and we will continue to work with our partners to keep our communities safe and support our children and youth.


Mr. Todd Smith: My congratulations as well to the new Premier.

My question is to the new Premier. One hundred and twenty-eight days ago seems like a long time ago now, but it’s the last time we had question period in this House. Only two of your ministers did the honourable thing. They rose to correct their record about knowingly false statements that they made here in the House. We know—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): That is not factual, and I’ll ask the member to withdraw that.

Mr. Todd Smith: I withdraw that.

However, Minister, you and countless of your ministers, including the Deputy Premier, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, the Minister of Consumer Services, the Minister of Research and Innovation, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and many, many others have yet to do the honourable thing and correct their record.

Premier, a new House—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock for a second. As I did with the other members about policy, as we now have an active point of privilege taking place, the question needs to be germane to policy. I’ll listen carefully that it gets done that way.

Mr. Todd Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m just wondering if anything has changed on the other side of the House. They talk a lot about change on the other side of the House, but Minister—sorry, Premier—will you be holding your ministers to account or will you allow such inexcusable conduct to continue, as the last government did?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: To the House leader.

Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the first part of the member’s question has been dealt with by a point of privilege. This morning, I had the opportunity to provide an explanation to the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, I think it’s a little more than passing strange that today, on the first day of the return of the House, when there are issues in this province about health care, about education, about jobs and the economy, that instead what we’re hearing from the opposition are mean and vindictive attacks, attacks against a former member of the Legislature, and raising a point of privilege of which an explanation has already been provided to this Legislature.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Todd Smith: I can’t believe that this Premier is going to allow this unaccountability to continue. We’re seeing the same dog-and-pony show that we saw from the previous government, where the Premier would kick questions over to the House leader.

Clearly the House leader has brought up some good points. Yes, there are serious concerns in all of our ridings, whether it comes to green energy, whether it comes to our health care or our hospitals. I have serious concerns in Prince Edward County, as we’ve just heard from Windsor and London as well. But when a government is wasting $1.3 billion on a scandal, and then has strings attached to how they’re doing deals behind the scenes—we want openness and accountability from that side of the House, and we’re not seeing it right now. Instead, you’re kicking questions over to the government House leader, just like your predecessor did.

Will you require the ministers who stood in the House after September 27, when the OPA clearly told the ministry—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Question.

Mr. Todd Smith: —that they knew they hadn’t turned over all the documents, yet all of these ministers—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Government House leader.

Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, I think the best explanation is the letter from the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Energy. It was sent at the time when additional documents came forward, and I quote from that letter: “The ministry’s search to identify and produce all documents responsive to the May 16, 2012, motion was conducted in good faith with every intention to comply with the committee’s motion. No responsive information or documents were deliberately withheld from the September 24 package.” Mr. Speaker, an error was made. Individuals operated in good faith, and the additional documents were brought forward.

But again, I think when we look at the province of Ontario and the issues that I hear about from constituents in terms of health care, in terms of education, in terms of jobs and the economy, I think most of them will be shocked to know that the official opposition is on a combination of a vindictive, mean-spirited fishing trip—the combination of the two here in the Legislature—instead of dealing with the issues which are of concern to my constituents and to the people of Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): We have a special guest in the west members’ gallery in the name of former member of provincial Parliament David Turnbull from York Mills, 35th and 36th Parliaments, and Don Valley West, 37th Parliament. Welcome.

There are no deferred votes. This House stands adjourned until 3 p.m. this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1138 to 1500.



Mr. Rick Nicholls: I rise today, but I cannot say that I’m pleased to do so.

Eugene Whelan, a former Minister of Agriculture and senator, passed away Tuesday evening in his home in Amherstburg, alongside family and loved ones, at the age of 88.

Mr. Whelan always made time for his constituents, so let us take a moment to give our respects to a man that made such a profound impact on his community and country.

The man beneath the trademark green stetson was first elected to the local school board at age 21. He later became reeve and warden of Essex county before entering Parliament in 1962.

He then managed to win seven consecutive re-elections—I think we can all appreciate just how difficult that achievement was. It also demonstrates how much Mr. Whelan meant to his community. He knew many constituents by name, was blunt and honest, and deeply cared for all members of his riding. He served many and will be missed by many.

As Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Whelan carved out his legacy. In an article written in Maclean’s magazine back in 1974, he was described as a man instinctively, firmly and forever on the side of the farmer. He would serve in this role from 1972 to 1979 and, after a brief interruption, again from 1980 to 1984.

At a time when the Liberal government’s relationship with rural Canada was less than ideal, Mr. Whelan became a constant voice of the farmer and for all rural Canadians.

His years of work demonstrated that, regardless of political stripe, we’re all here to serve. A representative incarnate, it is to Eugene Whelan’s standard that we should all measure ourselves.

I speak on behalf of our entire PC caucus when I say: Thank you, Mr. Whelan, for your dedication and service to the people of Essex. You were an inspiration to us all in this House, and you will be missed.

My sincere condolences to the Eugene Whelan family.


Mr. Taras Natyshak: I, too, rise today on a solemn note to pay tribute and my respects, through this chamber on the recent news of the passing of former member of Parliament for Essex South, Minister of Agriculture and senator, Eugene Whelan.

Senator Whelan was the quintessential people’s politician who brought local issues to the national stage with his hometown charm and his friendly demeanour. Always donning his trademark green stetson, Eugene was easily identifiable in a crowd, approachable and generous with his time.

His political career spanned over four decades, having served at both municipal and federal levels in a variety of capacities, most notably as a voice for rural Canadians as the Minister of Agriculture.

During the era of the Trudeau Liberals, Whelan was their guy in rural and small-town Canada. Gene spoke the language of farmers. During his career, he would meet Queen Elizabeth, help Canada beat US President Richard Nixon to the punch in opening up China, and play a catalyzing role in the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War. As a federal cabinet minister, he helped successive Liberal governments usher in medicare and repatriate the Constitution. He also played an instrumental role in developing Canada’s agricultural supply management system and sat on the UN’s world food committee.

Mr. Speaker, I offer my deep condolences to Eugene’s family: his wife, Elizabeth; daughters Theresa, Susan and Cathy. I want to thank them, on behalf of the Ontario New Democratic Party, for sharing him with Canadians for so long. We are indeed a better country because of his service.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Every year on January 1, thousands of people descend on Coronation Park in Oakville. The crowds are there to cheer on hundreds of people who have decided that the best way and the only way to ring in a new year is to jump into the ice-cold waters of Lake Ontario. The polar bear dip for World Vision is a growing community tradition. It’s been organized by the Courage brothers, Todd and Trent.

The first dip was organized by the brothers 28 years ago and it actually started out as a simple suggestion from their mother, whose name is Gaye. She was tired of hearing Todd and Trent complaining they had nothing to do on New Year’s Day, so Gaye suggested that they simply go and jump in the lake, which they proceeded to do. I don’t think she knew what she was starting. Her suggestion now has led to Canada’s largest polar bear dip and the brothers now have partnered with World Vision to build clean water projects all around the world.

This year’s dip saw 700 people jumping in. It helped raise more than $120,000 for projects in Africa. This year’s success helped the dip surpass the $1-million milestone for World Vision.

I’d like to extend my congratulations to the Courage brothers for organizing a fun community event that helps thousands of people in some of the world’s less fortunate areas.


Mr. Michael Harris: Today I rise to remind the environment minister of the need to conduct a more extensive review of Hydro One’s project to construct a transformer station on the pristine and environmentally sensitive countryside of the Oak Ridges moraine. This project, like any other, needs to be guided by science. As such, my colleague John O’Toole and I have written to the minister and met with officials from Hydro One to express a number of concerns with the project’s proposed location on top of a critically important aquifer that supplies drinking water to 200,000 Ontarians.

The principal concern that the member for Durham and I have raised is that the site’s water table is, on average, 1.8 metres below grade, while the proposed cut to install the transformers is seven metres. I would like to remind the minister that when the water table is higher than the proposed cut, there is the potential for significant environmental damage in the event of a chemical spill, similar to the one that occurred at the Cherrywood transformer. And when we’re dealing with a source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Ontarians, we should be taking all precautions necessary.

Now, I have not received a response to my letter about this matter but I would like to again call on the minister to do the right thing by approving a part II order request for a full individual environmental assessment of the proposed site for the Clarington transformer station.


Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to share with the members of this Legislature an amazing awards event I attended in my community: the Pillar Community Innovation Awards.

Firstly, I want to congratulate Pillar Nonprofit Network for their dedication to supporting the non-profit organizations in my city of London. While they support the non-profits of London, I want to ensure they know that we appreciate the work they do.

The Pillar Nonprofit Network actively engages London’s non-profit community by supporting the hard work achieved by our non-profit groups. Supporting non-profits is challenging work, especially in London, where we are facing record-high unemployment and very hard economic times.

Throughout it all, Pillar Nonprofit Network strives to facilitate equitable workplaces that are diverse, inclusive and accessible to everyone. They promote best practices and policies, and also help non-profit organizations to connect with each other as well as the public and private sectors.

The Pillar Community Innovation Awards nominees were individuals who taught students about empowerment, highlighted the need for social responsibility and revitalized our neighbourhoods. I congratulate this year’s nominees for their passion and dedication, along with the award winners. People like this make London a better place to live and I, for one, am so proud of their achievements.

Lastly, I thank the Pillar Nonprofit Network for their long-standing commitment to our community.


Mr. Joe Dickson: Religions and cultures around the world celebrate and worship special times throughout the year, including the holy season of Lent. Other important religious holidays include Eid and Ramadan, celebrated by the Muslim faith; Thai Pongal, celebrated by Tamil Hindus; and gurpurbs, which are festivals marking the birthday or martyrdom of a guru, celebrated, of course, by the Sikhs.


The holy season of Lent has commenced this month for Christian religions, whether Catholic, Protestant or other. It is the penitential season, the time for penance. Lent starts informally with Shrove Tuesday and officially with Ash Wednesday, with the crucifix on your forehead in ash; Holy Thursday and, of course, Good Friday, which is the crucifixion and death of our Lord; and Holy Saturday, and then Easter Sunday, the resurrection of our Lord. It the celebration of his life and atonement for sins.

The Feast of the Ascension follows 40 days after Easter. Many of my colleagues from all three parties in this House share this holy time.

Lent is a time of self-denial, with most people not eating between meals and reducing their eating amounts. It is a time also of prayer and almsgiving. It is a time for us in Ontario and Canada to remember those who are hungry and destitute in other parts of the world.


Mr. Jeff Yurek: I rise today to pay tribute to a community advocate, beloved family man and dedicated public servant. On January 9, 2013, Canada lost a venerable political figure with the passing of Elgin MP the Honourable John Wise.

John was born on December 12, 1935, and was a successful dairy farmer by trade. However, John was the kind of person who was driven to constantly better his community. This led him to initially enter the world of municipal politics, where he served as councillor and reeve for Yarmouth township and ultimately as warden of Elgin county.

In 1972, John decided to run for and was elected as MP for the riding of Elgin. His knowledge of, and dedication to, agricultural business led Joe Clark to appoint him agricultural minister in 1979, a position he would again serve under Brian Mulroney’s government from 1984 to 1988.

John’s dedication to public service had a large impact on my own political ambitions. He was a politician that everyone, from all political stripes, respected. He considered public service a duty and took his role as the people’s representative very seriously. This outlook has inspired and taught me much about what it means to serve one’s community. It is a philosophy that I try to live by every day.

After retirement from politics, John continued to be a tremendous source of advice and guidance to area politicians. I would like to thank Ann, his wife of 54 years, and their daughters Susan and Elizabeth, for sharing John with our community.

Although John was a federal member, his contribution to Elgin county, Ontario and Canada needs to be acknowledged in this chamber. Our country is a better place for having been served by John.


Mr. Bob Delaney: Last night, our province and our country lost a great Canadian with the passing of the Honourable Eugene Whelan. He was a wonderful man who spent his life in public service, devoting himself to bettering, particularly, the lives of Ontario’s and Canada’s farmers.

First elected in 1962 to the House of Commons, Eugene Whelan served 10 years and five elections before finally getting the job that he sought after above all others, that being Minister of Agriculture. Eugene will be remembered for the way that he embodied the hopes and the dreams and the ideals of Canada’s farmers and championed their cause, who stood up for Canada’s agricultural community and made sure that their dreams and their needs were reflected in national policy. He opened up international markets to Canadian agricultural products.

Eugene Whelan never forgot his roots, and he helped educate generations of Canadians on the importance of farming and of agriculture. He passed away in his home area of Windsor-Essex at the age of 88.

We will also remember Eugene Whelan for his run for the federal Liberal leadership in 1984.

I know Eugene Whelan will be missed dearly by a family that loved him very much, by his many, many friends and neighbours in Essex county, and by countless generations of farmers whose voices he embodied so ably for so many years.


Mr. Monte McNaughton: I’m pleased to rise and to share with my fellow members of provincial Parliament a great story from my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex.

In December, at a local arena in Mount Brydges, not far from where my wife and I live, Gary Smits, a teacher at Medway High School, was playing a game of pickup hockey. About halfway through the game, Gary felt a little bit of chest pain and, despite this, he tried to push through and continued to play.

A few seconds after Gary skated back o nto the ice for another shift, he passed out. Dale Blanchard, an off-duty Middlesex-London EMS paramedic who was playing the game, obtained the nearby defibrillator, while teammates phoned 911, and began performing CPR. Using the arena’s defibrillator, they got Gary’s heart beating again.

At age 47, Gary had suffered a heart attack. Doctors told Gary that one of his arteries was almost 80% blocked, and without the quick actions of his teammates, he may not have survived.

On behalf of the people of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex and all of the MPPs here today, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Dale Blanchard and his teammates for their bravery and quick action, which undoubtedly saved Gary Smits’s life.

I’m very proud of the people in my riding and the people of Ontario, who do their best to help their fellow neighbour and contribute to the good of our province and the good of our local communities.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I thank all the members for their statements.



Mr. Wilson moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 2, An Act to amend the Planning Act / Projet de loi 2, Loi modifiant la Loi sur l’aménagement du territoire.

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

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member for a short statement.

Mr. Jim Wilson: The bill amends the Planning Act to reverse the effect of the amendments made to the act by schedule K to the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009. Those amendments exempted renewable energy undertakings from the normal application of the Planning Act, including policy statements, provincial plans, official plans, demolition control bylaws, zoning bylaws and development permit regulations and bylaws.

The urgency of this bill is that wpd Canada is proposing the Fairview wind project, that consists of eight turbines in Clearview township on a flight path of the Collingwood airport.

Given that the Premier recently visited the area and has been briefed on the ridiculousness of putting industrial wind turbines as tall as the TD tower near an airport, I trust that the government will take the bill seriously and move to bring it into law.

FOR ALL ACT, 2013 /

Mr. Yakabuski moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 3, An Act to amend the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act with respect to matching rebates of gasoline tax that the Minister provides to municipalities / Projet de loi 3, Loi modifiant la Loi sur l’aménagement des voies publiques et des transports en commun à l’égard des remboursements de la taxe sur l’essence similaires consentis aux municipalités par le ministre.

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

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member for a short statement.


Mr. John Yakabuski: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

This is not the first time that the bill has been introduced by me; in fact, it’s several.

This bill amends the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act. If the minister, under section 116 of the act, enters into an agreement with a municipality to provide a rebate of tax under the Gasoline Tax Act to the municipality for the purpose of constructing, maintaining or operating a rapid transit or public transportation system, the minister shall not refuse to enter into an agreement to provide a rebate of tax under that act to any other municipality for a purpose related to public highways under the jurisdiction of the latter municipality. The amount of the rebate that the latter municipality receives shall be based on the number of inhabitants in the municipality and the total distance of public highways under the jurisdiction of the municipality.

I want to thank the new Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment for already stating that he will be supporting this act.



Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding private members’ public business.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Request for a motion without notice: Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. John Milloy: I move that, notwithstanding standing order 98(a), private members’ public business shall not be considered on Thursday, February 21, 2013; and that, notwithstanding standing order 98(g), notice for ballot items 1 through 6, inclusive, be waived.

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

Motion agreed to.


Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to move a motion without notice considering the appointment of standing committees, and that the Speaker shall put the question without debate or amendment.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. John Milloy: You’ll have to be patient with me, Mr. Speaker; this is a long one.

I move that, notwithstanding standing order 108 and pursuant to standing order 113, the following standing committees be appointed and that the membership of these committees be as follows:

The Standing Committee on Estimates: Vic Dhillon, Grant Crack, Kim Craitor, Bill Mauro, Michael Harris, Rob Leone, Rick Nicholls, Taras Natyshak, Michael Prue;

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs: Dipika Damerla, Steven Del Duca, Kevin Flynn, Soo Wong, Victor Fedeli, Monte McNaughton, Peter Shurman, Catherine Fife, Michael Prue;

The Standing Committee on General Government: Bas Balkissoon, Rick Bartolucci, Donna Cansfield, Mike Colle, Laurie Scott, Todd Smith, Jeff Yurek, Sarah Campbell, Rosario Marchese;

The Standing Committee on Government Agencies: Laura Albanese, Lorenzo Berardinetti, Joe Dickson, Phil McNeely, Jim McDonell, Randy Pettapiece, Lisa Thompson, Paul Miller, Monique Taylor;

That, notwithstanding the order of the House dated February 20, 2013, the membership of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy shall be as follows: Laura Albanese, Bob Delaney, Steven Del Duca, Shafiq Qaadri, Jack MacLaren, Rob Milligan, Frank Klees, Teresa Armstrong, Jonah Schein;

The Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly: Bas Balkissoon, Mike Colle, Kevin Flynn, Bill Mauro, Steve Clark, Garfield Dunlop, Lisa MacLeod, Gilles Bisson, Cindy Forster;

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Dipika Damerla, Helena Jaczek, Phil McNeely, Shafiq Qaadri, Jerry Ouellette, Norm Miller, Toby Barrett, France Gélinas, Jagmeet Singh;

The Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills: Margarett Best, Joe Dickson, Vic Dhillon, Monte Kwinter, Randy Hillier, Rod Jackson, Bill Walker, Peter Tabuns, John Vanthof;

The Standing Committee on Social Policy: Lorenzo Berardinetti, Margarett Best, Helena Jaczek, Amrit Mangat, Ted Chudleigh, Ernie Hardeman, Jane McKenna, Cheri DiNovo, Michael Mantha; and

That, notwithstanding standing order 118, committee meetings be in accordance with the meeting schedule established for the 40th Parliament on February 27, 2012, with the first meeting of each committee being at the call of the Chair on a day specified in that schedule; however, that the first meeting occur within the first six sessional days of the passage of this motion for the purposes of organization and planning, regardless of whether or not the committee has any formal business to conduct.

That, notwithstanding the prorogation of the House, the following motions for the production of documents passed by a committee in the first session of the 40th Parliament that had remained outstanding at the date of prorogation shall be dealt with under the “Terms” outlined further below:

—May 9, 2012, committee Hansard page 199, motion by MPP Frank Klees, Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

—June 13, 2012, committee Hansard page 361, motion by MPP Frank Klees, Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

—June 13, 2012, committee Hansard page 361-362, motion by MPP Frank Klees, Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

—July 19, 2012, committee Hansard page 289, motion by MPP Michael Harris, Standing Committee on Estimates;

—August 1, 2012, committee Hansard page 643, motion by MPP Liz Sandals, Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

—August 1, 2012, committee Hansard page 643, motion by MPP Liz Sandals, Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

—August 2, 2012, committee Hansard page 672, motion by MPP France Gélinas, Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

—August 29, 2012, committee Hansard page 699, motion by MPP France Gélinas, Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

—August 29, 2012, committee Hansard page 700, motion by MPP France Gélinas, Standing Committee on Public Accounts.


—The order shall be deemed to be made on the first day the committee meets in the second session;

—The time period for compliance with any such order shall be deemed to be seven sessional days from the first day the committee meets;

—The documents shall be tabled with the Clerk of the Committee; at least one copy of each shall be a paper copy for the permanent record; additional copies of each may be provided electronically, along with an explanation of the search terms, parameters and process; and

—That the committee may exercise its authority pursuant to standing order 110(b), where applicable, to order any further records or request any further search it considers relevant to the committee’s terms of reference; and

That, notwithstanding any standing order, no government bill shall be referred to the Standing Committee on Estimates or to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Mr. Milloy moves that, notwithstanding—

Interjection: Dispense.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Dispense? Agreed? Agreed.

All in favour of the motion? Agreed? Agreed.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. John O’Toole: I’m pleased to present another petition from my riding of Durham and from my constituent [Inaudible] Rutherford, who is one of the people who gave me these petitions.

“Whereas industrial wind turbine developments have raised concerns among citizens over health, safety and property values; and

“Whereas the Green Energy Act allows wind turbine developments to bypass meaningful public input and municipal approvals;

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

“That the Minister of the Environment revise the Green Energy Act to allow full public input and municipal approvals on all industrial wind farm developments and that a moratorium on wind development be declared until an independent, epidemiological study is completed into the health and environmental impacts of industrial wind turbines.”

I beg the government and the new Minister of the Environment to heed the warning in this petition, and I sign it on behalf of my constituents.



Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I have a petition signed by a great number of people in my municipality.

“Whereas many of the resources of this planet are finite and are necessary to sustain both life and quality of life for all future generations;

“Whereas the disposal of resources in landfills creates environmental hazards which will have significant human and financial costs for;

“Whereas all levels of government are elected to guarantee their constituents’ physical, financial, emotional and mental well-being;

“Whereas the health risks of the community and watershed increase in direct relationship to the proximity of any landfill site;

“Whereas the placement of a landfill in a limestone quarry has been shown to be detrimental;

“Whereas the county of Oxford has passed a resolution requesting a moratorium on landfill construction or approval;

“Therefore be it resolved that we, the undersigned, humbly petition the Legislative Assembly as follows:

“To implement a moratorium in Oxford county on any future landfill construction approval until such time as a full review of alternatives has be completed which would examine best practices in other jurisdictions around the world;

“That this review of alternatives would give special emphasis on (a) practices which involve the total recycling and composting of all products currently destined for landfill sites in Ontario and (b) the production of goods which can efficiently and practically be recycled or reused so as not to require disposal in landfills.”

Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to present this petition, and I affix my signature to it.


Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the tick-borne illness known as chronic Lyme disease, which mimics many ... illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritic diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue ... is increasingly endemic in Canada, but scientifically validated diagnostic tests and treatment choices are currently not available in Ontario, forcing patients to seek these in the USA and Europe; and

“Whereas the Canadian Medical Association informed the public, governments and the medical profession in the May 30, 2000, edition of their professional journal that Lyme disease is endemic throughout Canada, particularly in southern Ontario; and

“Whereas the Ontario public health system and the Ontario health insurance plan currently do not fund those specific tests that accurately serve the process of establishing a clinical diagnosis, but only recognize testing procedures known in the medical literature to provide false negatives at 45% to 95% of the time;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to request the Minister of Health to direct that the Ontario public health system and OHIP include all currently available and scientifically verified tests for acute and chronic Lyme diagnosis, to do everything necessary to create public awareness of Lyme disease in Ontario, and to have internationally developed diagnostic and successful treatment protocols available to patients and physicians.”

I agree with this petition and I affix my name.


Ms. Sylvia Jones: My petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas residents of Ontario want a moratorium on all further industrial wind turbine development until a third party health and environmental study has been completed; and

“Whereas people in Ontario living within close proximity to industrial wind turbines have reported negative health effects; we need to study the physical, social, economic and environmental impacts of wind turbines; and

“Whereas Ontario’s largest farm organization, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario have called for a suspension of industrial wind turbine development until the serious shortcomings can be addressed, and the Auditor General confirmed wind farms were created in haste and with no planning; and

“Whereas there have been no third party health and environmental studies done on industrial wind turbines, and the Auditor General confirmed there was no real ‘plan’ for green energy in Ontario and wind farms were constructed in haste;

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

“That the provincial government call for a moratorium on all industrial wind turbine development until a third party health and environmental study has been completed.”

I, of course, support this petition and am pleased to affix my name to it and give it to page William.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Further petitions? The member for Elgin–Middlesex–London.


Mr. Jeff Yurek: Thank you, Speaker. It’s a pleasure to see you again.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the WSIB has mandated that effective January 1, 2013, all independent contractors and small business owners operating in the construction industry must have WSIB coverage;

“Whereas many of these business owners have their own private workplace insurance that in most cases is more affordable, more efficient and provides more extensive coverage;

“Whereas mandatory WSIB premiums add significant costs to small businesses and adversely affects their growth prospects and in some case their solvency;

“Whereas the government provided minimum notice about the change to businesses with WSIB sending out an official letter dated November 25, 2012;

“Whereas at a time when Ontario is facing a jobs crisis with 600,000 people unemployed, the government and its agencies should not be discouraging private sector job creation and growth by levying additional, unnecessary costs;

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

“To direct the Minister of Labour to issue an order in council eliminating the requirement that mandates compulsory WSIB coverage on all independent contractors and small business owners in the construction industry.”

I agree with this petition and I affix my signature to it.


Mr. John O’Toole: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to present another petition from my constituents in the riding of Durham, and really, it’s talking about why the Drive Clean program should be scrapped. It reads as follows:

“Whereas collecting and restoring old vehicles honours Ontario’s automotive heritage while contributing to the economy through the purchase of goods and services, tourism, and support for special events; and

“Whereas the stringent application of emissions regulations for older cars equipped with newer engines can result in fines and additional expenses that discourage car collectors and restorers from pursuing their hobby; and

“Whereas newer engines installed by hobbyists in vehicles over 20 years old provide cleaner emissions than the original equipment; and

“Whereas car collectors typically use their vehicles only on an occasional basis, during four to five months of the year;

“Therefore, be it resolved that the Ontario Legislature support Ontarians who collect and restore old vehicles by amending the appropriate laws and regulations to ensure vehicles over 20 years old and exempt from Drive Clean testing shall also be exempt from additional emissions requirements enforced by the Ministry of the Environment and governing the installation of newer engines into old cars and trucks.”

I’m pleased to sign and support this and would encourage the Minister of the Environment to have a second look at the Drive Clean program completely.


Mr. Jim McDonell: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the Auditor General confirmed in his December 2012 report that the Champlain CCAC had the longest wait time in Ontario in which 90% of their clients were placed; and

“Whereas the region requires a comprehensive plan assessing the future long-term-care bed needs of the region, as well as the provision of community care for independent and semi-independent seniors; and

“Whereas the number of Ontarians over 75 years of age is projected to increase by 30% by the year 2021, the year the baby boomers start to turn 75, putting even more demand on the number of available LTC beds;

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

“That the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care immediately conduct a study to identify the current and future requirements for long-term-care beds and community care for independent and semi-independent seniors in our region of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, including the city of Cornwall;

“That such a study also identify future solutions for the current and future demand and the possible short- and long-term role the Cornwall General Hospital could play in fulfilling these requirements;

“That the Cornwall Community Hospital be funded to retain the Cornwall General Hospital until such a study is conducted and the role of this building is assessed as a solution of the LTC bed crisis.”

I agree with this petition, I will be signing it and giving it off to page Angela.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Durham—very busy today.

Mr. John O’Toole: Yes, well, there’s no one else reading petitions. I’ve always stood up for my constituents as effectively as possible.

“Whereas the United Senior Citizens of Ontario has expressed its concerns over the high costs of parking at hospitals in Ontario on behalf of its more than 300,000 members; and

“Whereas thousands of Ontario seniors find it difficult to live on their fixed income and cannot afford these extra hospital parking fees added to their daily living costs; and

“Whereas the Canadian Medical Association Journal has said in an editorial that parking fees are a barrier to health care and add additional stress to patients who have enough to deal with” with their illness;

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

“That Ontario’s members of provincial Parliament and” Dalton McGuinty, the former Premier—nothing has changed here, really—“take action to abolish parking fees for all seniors when visiting hospitals.”

I’m pleased to present this petition on behalf of Muriel Lanigan, Barb Sheehan, Peggy Webb and many other people from my riding who are very concerned about these added costs of being in the hospitals in Ontario: the Dalton McGuinty tax.



The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Nipissing.

Mr. Victor Fedeli: Thank you, Speaker, and good afternoon.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the”—these are older petitions, Speaker, so it still says, “Whereas the McGuinty government has mismanaged negotiations with Ontario doctors; and

“Whereas” the government “has unilaterally imposed fee cuts that could negatively impact patients; and

“Whereas these changes will affect the ophthalmology, cardiology and radiology services that are currently crucial to many Ontarians’ quality of life;

“We,” the 12 pages of undersigned, “do hereby petition the government of Ontario as follows:

“[To] reach a negotiated settlement with the Ontario Medical Association that puts the needs of patients first and maintains a proper level of care for Ontarians.”

I agree with this petition and I’ll sign my name.


Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: “Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas” the Premier “has imposed fee schedule cuts to family physicians and proposed wage freezes unilaterally, she has therefore alienated the province’s family doctors. These actions threaten the future of health care in Ontario and will compound the existing family physician shortage. As wait times for primary care will inevitably increase, so will the frustration of millions of Ontarians;

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

“We ask that the Premier reconsider her decision and return to the negotiating table with the Ontario Medical Association and the province’s doctors, thereby working alongside patients and their primary care providers.”

I agree with this petition and affix my signature.


Mr. Jim McDonell: “Whereas families are concerned about the proposed changes to the Special Services at Home Program (SSAH) and the Passport Program under the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act (2008); and

“Whereas the system should allow for the seamless transfer of benefits to the Passport Program when the person turns 18 years of age, and not the current unacceptable cancellation of benefits and reapplication process that puts the person with an intellectual disability on a huge waiting list for months for the re-establishment of their benefits; and

“Whereas on September 20, 2012, the Legislature passed a motion by Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott to immediately strike a select committee to develop a comprehensive developmental services strategy for Ontarians that addresses the needs of children, youth and adults in Ontario with an intellectual disability or who are dually diagnosed with an intellectual disability and a mental illness;

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

“The government immediately strike a select committee to develop a comprehensive developmental services strategy for Ontarians that addresses the needs of children, youth and adults in Ontario with an intellectual disability or who are dually diagnosed with an intellectual disability and a mental illness and coordinates the delivery of developmental programs and services across many provincial ministries;

“To declare a moratorium on any changes until the select committee reports back to the Legislature and its recommendations are acted upon.”

I do endorse this and will be signing it.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I beg to inform the House that, pursuant to standing order 98(c), a change has been made to the order of precedence on the ballot list for private members’ public business such that Mr. Shurman assumes ballot item number 1 and Mr. Hardeman assumes ballot item number 15.



Resuming the debate adjourned on February 20, 2013, on the motion for an address in reply to the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Scarborough–Agincourt.

Ms. Soo Wong: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

For young Ontarians, we know the throne speech will make a difference in terms of job creation. As indicated in the throne speech, our investment of $50 million towards a new $300-million venture capital partnership with the federal government and the private sector will create the environment necessary for the expansion of small businesses and to help start-ups get off the ground. This initiative will invite a new generation of successful business owners and innovation.

In my riding of Scarborough–Agincourt, residents can find comfort in this government’s vision to support small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups. Growing the economy and creating jobs, as outlined in the throne speech, are how this government will work to make a better future for the next generation.

To build a dynamic and a competitive economy, Ontario needs to stimulate productivity in all sectors. From manufacturing to financial services, automotive to agriculture and food processing, to film, music and digital media, this government is committed to forming new partnerships and charting a strong way forward, Mr. Speaker.

As a health care professional for almost 30 years, much of that time working in the community and in public health nursing, I know that we have a strong commitment to the promotion of health for the people of Ontario. We know that healthy people mean healthy communities. Our government has worked to tackle smoking and obesity and has advanced patient-centred care and evidence-based health policy. We are expanding support to people in their homes and addressing the needs of men and women across the province currently waiting for the home care services they require.

As outlined in the throne speech, Mr. Speaker, we will also continue to expand access to mental health services and support efforts to reduce stigma for men and women coping with mental illness. With healthy minds and healthy bodies, we can move forward and create a healthier tomorrow for our children.

In thinking about our children, we must also remember our respected seniors. We will move forward with a Seniors Strategy to best respond to the needs of an aging population. By promoting partnership between health care providers—from hospitals and long-term-care homes, to community support services and front-line medical providers through community health links—our government will ensure that care for our loved ones and our most vulnerable citizens is constant and cohesive.

In order to ensure the best treatment for our children, our parents, our grandparents and our friends, the research community must be supported in its work. The throne speech also announced renewed support for the Ontario Brain Institute through a funding partnership with the private sector. Every dollar our government contributes will leverage four additional dollars from its partners by 2018.

To ensure the health and happiness of all Ontarians, our government continues to build the strongest and most innovative health care system in the world. We are committed to establishing international standards and saving innumerable lives.

Our government is committed to building healthy communities across Ontario, and this requires strong doses of compassion, forethought and collaboration, and having serious conversations about the needs of our communities.

In the throne speech, Mr. Speaker, the government signalled its intention of working collaboratively with our partners from all sectors. We also believe that communities must be involved and connected to one another. They must have a voice in their future and have a say in their integrated, regional development. Our government recognized local communities need to have a voice and to be involved if there is any creation or development of a gas plant, casino, wind plant or quarry in their hometown.

Our government believes that everyone must have the same firm footing. We look to strengthen the earning potential of all men and women in this province, whether they live in a city or in a small town, in the north or the south, and enable everyone to have a good job and secure paycheque. Our government is committed to following the recommendations of Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh. This includes helping the unemployed to find a job. And our government is committed to ensure that those who are on social assistance get to keep more of what they have earned.

The government continues to strive to protect both the privacy and pocketbooks of all Ontarians. We’re committed to helping the province’s nine million drivers by continuing to implement the recommendations of the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force, protecting individuals against fraud and working to reduce auto insurance rates across Ontario.

Mr. Speaker, as I conclude my remarks, I want to remind everybody in the House that our government believes that Ontario is a place of great possibilities. For the benefit of the entire province, our government is committed to working with the opposition parties and our community partners. Our government understands the importance of relationships—the relationship between us as citizens but also relationships between individuals and the whole. When Ontarians work together, regardless of their background, location or political leanings, this province can grow and prosper.

I want to conclude my remarks by challenging our colleagues opposite to work together for a better Ontario—because the throne speech challenged each one of us to be enthusiastic in supporting this throne speech, but more importantly, to build a better Ontario today and tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you for this opportunity.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Ottawa–Orléans.

Mr. Phil McNeely: I want to thank MPP Soo Wong, the member for Scarborough–Agincourt, for starting us off this morning and this afternoon with her part. I’m pleased and honoured to be back in the House today as we convene the second session of the 40th Parliament.

I’d like to begin by congratulating our new leader, Premier Kathleen Wynne. Premier Wynne is a remarkable woman; Ontario’s first female Premier, no less. I believe that she will be able to lead Ontario forward to prosperity with fiscal responsibility, efficiency and fairness. In fact, Premier Wynne has been hard at work for three weeks now, meeting with opposition parties, appointing our new cabinet, addressing the pressing stakeholder issues in education, and hosting a jobs round table in Toronto. This Friday, she will be doing the same in Ottawa, in my area. She has hit the ground running. Later this week I will be pleased to join her for the next jobs round table.

I also want to congratulate all members of cabinet on their appointments, and I sincerely look forward to working with all of you. I’m proud of the team that we have. It is a truly talented and diverse group.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment now to recognize and thank our Premier and leader for nine years, Dalton McGuinty. For the past nine years, the Liberal government, led by Mr. McGuinty, has accomplished so many things for Ontario. Our education system is the best in the world, our wait times the shortest. In addition to these milestones, I would like to thank Mr. McGuinty for the accomplishment that is closest to my heart: the closing of coal-burning power plants in Ontario.

In his recent inaugural address, United States President Barack Obama said the following: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”

In the same vein, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, spoke in Davos and identified the threat of climate change as a more significant economic threat than global economic instability. I believe that the military of the United States has made similar comments. She said that climate change should not take second place to the economic problems that the European Union was suffering.

Members of this House know that pollution and climate change are long-time interests of mine and that I feel strongly that governments at all levels must take responsibility and address these issues before it is too late. I was lucky enough, late last fall, to attend the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators’ Great Lakes forum in Chicago. The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators was organized to provide environmentally progressive legislators with opportunities to coordinate their activities and to share ideas on environmental issues. This includes Republicans and Democrats and, normally, people from Quebec and Ontario.

There, I was fortunate to run into my colleague Mr. Michael Harris, the member for Kitchener–Conestoga. In the spirit of co-operation and common ground we have seen in the throne speech, I look forward to meeting with Mr. Harris as well as the member for Davenport, Jonah Schein, who I believe is still the critic for the third party for the environment, to discuss climate change and the environmental issues we face. This year, as we get out of coal—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I hate to say anything, but there are like 14 little groups of discussions going on in the official opposition. Maybe we could cut it back to half at least and take the heavy ones outside, please. I’m having trouble hearing the member. Thank you.

Mr. Phil McNeely: Thank you, Speaker. In the context of Obama’s speech, I’m especially proud of our Liberal government for getting Ontario out of coal. I’m pleased to recognize Dalton McGuinty for fulfilling the incredibly important promise we made to our province and our future generations.

Ontario was recently praised by the federal government in their response to the ambassador from the United States and the XL pipeline by saying that the United States could learn a lot about getting out of coal from Canada. He had to be looking at the record of Ontario to say that. Those were remarks by Minister Baird.

Yesterday was a great day for our government, and for Ontario, as we listened to the Lieutenant Governor deliver the speech from the throne. Yesterday’s speech from the throne outlined priorities and a vision for Ontario. This vision is in line with the concerns of the opposition parties. Our new Premier made a concerted effort to fulfill her promise and met with the opposition leaders as soon as she took office. The direction outlined in the speech from the throne reflects those conversations and delivers common ground.

Members of the Legislature must work together to serve Ontario; it is what the public expects. Yesterday the Lieutenant Governor told us that our new government believes that Ontario is a place of endless possibilities, where we have different backgrounds and views, but share the same hopes. I think that this is an important message to all of us here in the Legislature as we move forward together, that we share the same hopes of efficiency and fairness and of prosperity for our great province.

Our new government will focus on fiscal responsibility, economic growth and increased jobs. We know that a strong economic foundation is built on these principles and it’s what Ontario needs to move forward.

Our new government will eliminate the deficit by 2017-18, while investing in our greatest strength, our people:

—enhancing the skills of our workforce, helping our youth find jobs, reforming social assistance; and increasing the number of people with disabilities in the workforce so we can confront our shared challenges together, building a strong, prosperous province;

—recognizing that innovation and technology is the key to winning the future, investing $50 million in a new venture capital fund in partnership with the federal government to build the businesses of the future;

—working with aboriginal communities to make sure they get the tools and training they need to fully participate in economic development opportunities, including those related to our natural resources and education, training and employment;

—strengthening our earning potential, enabling everyone with a secure job and paycheque to create a workforce that will be Ontario’s greatest strength, recognizing that with a youth unemployment rate at 15.7%, it is crucial to the long-term prosperity of Ontario that we address this issue.

I was pleased to see how serious our new government is about addressing this issue of youth employment. We’ll partner with high schools, educators, colleges, universities, training partners and employers to establish opportunities for young people to enhance their skills, find placements, internships, co-op programs and valuable real-world experience.

Speaking of our youth, we must address the current education issue and what our new government has done and will do to address the concerns of our education partners. The speech from the throne outlined our plan for moving forward and treating Ontario’s labour fairly and with respect.

The government will sit down with its partners across all sectors to build a sustainable model of wage negotiation and will be respectful of both collective bargaining and a fair and transparent interest arbitration process.

Hearing the reaction of the presidents of the OSSTF and the ETFO, Ontarians can feel confident that this new direction is the right one. Ken Coran, president of Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said, “The new government has shown that the tide has turned and I know the Premier believes very much in collaboration and in setting forward discussions that are positive. What I heard from today’s speech was a willingness to collaborate, a willingness to discuss; a willingness to be fair that is what we want to pursue.”

Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said, “It was nice to hear in the throne speech from this government there will be respect, transparency going forward with collective bargaining. I was glad to hear continued commitment to full-day kindergarten and education overall as a priority for this government. I can say that this government, under the new Premier and the new Minister of Education, has taken a giant step in the right direction in terms of respecting the process, respecting us as parties and partners.”

For Ontario to prosper, our individual communities must prosper. There’s not one member in this chamber today who can argue the importance of infrastructure in the role of community prosperity. Whether it is gridlock here in Toronto or access to the Ring of Fire, our government will hear the needs of all Ontarians who work to keep us moving.

I can tell this House how important this issue is, having dealt with serious gridlock issues in my riding of Ottawa-Orléans. I worked with the government for several years to increase accessibility and mobility for my constituents. We are fixing the split now, an important interchange for commuters accessing jobs in Ottawa. But the work has just begun, and congestion will only increase with our population growth.

I support the notion that infrastructure needs must be addressed and can no longer be mired in political rhetoric, and admire the recognition of the need for new revenue tools and dedicated revenue streams.


All parties must agree on this if significant progress is to be made. Carol Wilding, president and CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade, said, “Toronto Region Board of Trade is encouraged to hear the government is committed to addressing our region’s infrastructure challenges. As the government said in the throne speech, we can no longer be mired in political rhetoric nor waste our time stuck in traffic. The question today is not if we need new revenue tools, but which ones. Toronto Region Board of Trade supports the government’s view that co-operation is needed between all orders of government, and the public, and looks forward to participating in this discussion which is so vital to ensuring our economy remains globally competitive.”

Geoff Wilkinson, executive director of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association, said, “The Ontario Road Builders’ Association is encouraged by Premier Wynne’s understanding of the need to push forward on building modern transportation infrastructure as a means for promoting economic development in the province. We are ready and willing to work with the government, municipalities, and … other stakeholders, to address the unique transportation needs of our province and to help realize Premier Wynne’s vision for Ontario.”

Our new government knows that if we invest in and help people now, the return on our investment will be immeasurable in the future. A fair society is an important part of the way forward for Ontario, and there are several ways that our new government will work toward this goal: We will help the unemployed find jobs; we’ll ensure safe, affordable housing; protect users against auto insurance fraud; strengthen consumer rights; combat smoking and obesity.

I’d just like to say how far we’ve come on the smoking part. I worked on the Smoke-Free Ottawa bylaw. I worked on the Smoke-Free Ontario legislation. In 2005, we made a decision to get the advertising out of retail. I worked on that project, and I’m glad to say that nobody today would ever tell me we should have advertising to get our kids to smoke, so I’m just mentioning that one. We’ll continue on the anti-smoking work.

Dr. Doug Weir, president of the Ontario Medical Association, has said, “We are encouraged to see that today’s throne speech renewed the government’s commitment to health care initiatives long advocated by Ontario’s doctors”—


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Okay, this is the second call. The members in the official opposition are making a lot of noise, particularly over there. Last warning.

Go ahead.

Mr. Phil McNeely: Thank you, Speaker. I’ll start over what Dr. Doug Weir said: “We are encouraged to see that today’s throne speech renewed the government’s commitment to health care initiatives long advocated by Ontario’s doctors. Ontario’s doctors are pleased that the government has pledged to increase access to mental health services and support efforts to reduce the stigma of mental illness. The government’s commitment to focus on health promotion initiatives such as combating smoking and obesity is also a step in the right direction.”

So we will continue expanding home care—something that is really working in our communities—and access to mental health services, while making sure Ontario is the best place to grow old in with our seniors’ strategy, healthy home renovation tax credit and partnerships with health care providers, so our loved ones get the care they deserve.

We are moving forward with giving our youngest students the best start by continuing to roll out full-day kindergarten while maintaining lower class sizes, higher test scores and higher graduation rates. This we thank our teachers for.

We’re also ensuring post-secondary education is affordable with the 30% off tuition grant, providing undergraduate university students with $1,680 and undergraduate college students with $770 each and every year.

I know that these priorities reflect not only the government’s hopes but those of the opposition. With these goals, we have found common ground.

Ensuring that Ontario’s francophone communities are recognized for their culture and contributions in so many important ways across our province: In my own constituency of Ottawa–Orléans, Carol Jolin, de l’Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, a dit : « Ce qui me frappe dans le discours du trône, c’est que le gouvernement va se pencher sur l’accès aux programmes postsecondaires dans le centre-sud-ouest de l’Ontario. Il y a un besoin indiscutable dans cette région et je suis content que le gouvernement ait pris conscience de cet enjeu. C’est un bon signe. »

François Boileau, du Commissariat aux services en français, a dit : « Je suis très enthousiaste que le gouvernement s’engage de façon claire et sans équivoque à offrir aux francophones, aux francophiles et aux nouveaux arrivants de l’Ontario un accès aux études postsecondaires en langue française qui réponde à leurs besoins, notamment dans le centre-sud-est de la province. »

Une communauté qui m’est chère et qui est très présente dans ma circonscription électorale est la communauté francophone. Vous me permettrez cette parenthèse aujourd’hui dû à un triste événement qui a frappé la communauté francophone ontarienne en fin de semaine, que j’aborderai un peu plus loin.

Je tenais à mentionner l’importance de l’apport des Franco-Ontariens à notre province. Le gouvernement de l’Ontario a toujours travaillé à maintenir, à développer, à prioriser et à s’assurer que notre province soit une société juste qui respecte ses minorités linguistiques. Nous constituons la plus grande communauté francophone hors du Québec, avec plus de 600 000 francophones. La région plus à l’est d’Ottawa compte près de 200 000 francophones lorsqu’on englobe les comtés de Glengarry–Prescott–Russell, Ottawa–Orléans et Ottawa–Vanier.

Je représente la merveilleuse communauté d’Ottawa–Orléans depuis 10 ans maintenant, avec ses 35 % de francophones. Je suis fier de ce que notre gouvernement a accompli pour l’ensemble des Ontariennes et Ontariens. On nous envie de partout pour notre système d’éducation et pour nos services en santé. Et, c’est vrai, les étudiants dans le système francophone s’arrangent très bien chaque année avec les tests qui sont pris dans les écoles. On nous envie de partout pour notre système d’éducation.

Les efforts ont été accomplis et les gestes nécessaires posés pour faire de la province de l’Ontario une des meilleures provinces au Canada. Mais je suis surtout très fier du respect que notre gouvernement a démontré envers la communauté francophone en accord avec nos responsabilités de niveau provincial.

Le gouvernement provincial a indéniablement une responsabilité envers les francophones—les Franco–Ontariennes et Franco–Ontariens. Nous avons posé plusieurs gestes au cours des dernières années pour assurer la viabilité de la communauté francophone. Ma collègue, la ministre responsable de la francophonie, est intervenue à maintes reprises auprès de cette Chambre et du gouvernement pour garantir l’épanouissement des francophones. Nous avons la chance d’avoir une communauté francophone dynamique, organisée et qui a su se donner des outils pour assurer leur visibilité en situation minoritaire.

Je ne ferai pas l’énumération de tous les organismes et associations francophones qui interviennent en leur nom à travers notre province, il y en aurait trop. Mais je ne peux passer sous silence l’héritage d’une grande dame de la francophonie qui nous a malheureusement quitté de façon précipitée samedi dernier, le 16 février. Il s’agit de Mme Claudette Boyer. Mme Boyer était la preuve parfaite de la persistance et de l’importance de défendre les droits linguistiques en situation minoritaire. Elle a marqué l’Ontario et notre Parlement en devenant la première femme francophone élue à l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario en 1999.

Notre province, la communauté francophile et principalement la communauté franco-ontarienne perdent une alliée de taille. Femme d’action hors pair, Mme Boyer a toujours su rassembler la communauté francophone et ce, peu importe leur origine. Elle prêchait l’inclusion et a toujours reconnu l’apport des francophiles à la défense de la francophonie, et je la remercie grandement.


Mme Boyer laissera certes un vide à Ottawa, tout comme dans le coeur des Ontariennes et Ontariens. À nous tous de lui prouver que ce qu’elle a apporté à la francophonie de l’Ontario est là pour rester et pour avancer vers le futur. Elle était de celle à crier haut et fort, à qui voulait bien l’entendre, qu’il fallait continuer à lutter pour renforcer les minorités.

La loi canadienne sur les langues officielles est claire : il faut assurer la vitalité de nos communautés de langue officielle en situation minoritaire. Le gouvernement fédéral en a la grande responsabilité, tout comme notre gouvernement et les gouvernements municipaux. Il ne faut pas poser des gestes ou prendre des décisions à l’encontre de cela.

Il faut continuer d’encourager la vitalité francophone et prendre les décisions qui s’imposent, mais surtout prendre les actions nécessaires pour assurer le maintien de cette vitalité linguistique. Nous devons tous être vigilants, et je sais que notre gouvernement assurera cette vigilance et verra à agir en conséquence pour protéger la communauté francophone et éviter son exode vers des localités plus anglophones. Je ne vous apprendrai rien en vous disant que les décisions prises par un palier gouvernemental ou autre ont un impact direct sur la communauté concernée.

Nous avons une législation fédérale, des droits constitutionnels, et aussi provinciale qui, si respectées, protègent les communautés linguistiques vivant en situation minoritaire.

Le plus grand allié de la francophonie ontarienne est l’union de ses forces pour la protection de ses droits linguistiques.

The approach of our new government to our economy will be creative and co-operative under the leadership of the new Premier, who is principled, positive, direct and collaborative.

Every step of the way, our new government is committing to working with the opposition to achieve these new goals because we do share the same concerns and, more importantly, the same hopes and dreams for our province.

I support this speech from the throne. I encourage all members of this Legislature to support it as well and to recognize the common ground that we can find together as we move forward.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate? Leader of the official opposition.


Mr. Tim Hudak: Thank you, Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. Wait till after the speech and see if you still like it. Let’s see how it goes.

First, Speaker, it’s great to see you back in the chair after some absence. The position becomes you. I would also ask that you pass on my thanks to His Honour for reading yesterday’s speech from the throne.

Speaker, I want to let you know, too, that I do intend to share my time by splitting it with my finance critic, the honourable member from Thornhill.

First, I’d like to extend my congratulations formally to Premier Wynne, as I did in question period today and as I respond to the speech from the throne, for being sworn in as Ontario’s 25th Premier. It is indeed an incredible honour. I wish her well. It was great to see Jane here and the grandkids and the family during the swearing-in ceremony a week or so ago. And to all the newly sworn-in ministers, all the best, too. Congratulations.

I fondly remember, Speaker, back in 1999, being sworn in under Premier Mike Harris as Minister of Northern Development and Mines. At the time, I think I sat sort of in the back corner back there, and it was tremendously humbling. It was a great honour, and I saw many of the same emotions on the faces of the new cabinet ministers last week. I wish them every success.

Ontarians know that we can do better; we can do a lot better, and we must be bold in our pursuit of a better Ontario. We are now facing the biggest jobs and debt crisis of our lifetime. Anyone who’s ever been faced with a crisis or an emergency knows that being cautious, being incremental, taking small steps, that’s not going to save you. You have to do the opposite. The only way forward is to move swiftly and decisively in the direction you know in your gut is right, and right for this province. It is going to take a comprehensive and integrated plan to put Ontario back on the right path, but I am proud to say that the Ontario PC caucus and I have put forward such a plan—a positive vision that means Ontario will be a leader in Canada again, the kind of province that sees a government that spends within its means, that offers more value for less money, that focuses on the core priorities and gets the big things right.

A government that respects the people who elected it, the people who pay the bills—that is the vision I have for a government that leads a province like Ontario, that the world marvels at again.

An Ontario where everybody can wake up in the morning and know they’ve got a good job to go to and a steady income, and if they don’t, they’ve got a good chance at getting that job really soon, where we proudly design, build, invent, grow, harvest, forge and mine things that are in demand from a global exporting powerhouse—that’s the kind of Ontario I see.

An Ontario with the best health care system that does justice to the skilled professionals within it and, most importantly, puts the patient at the centre, so that you no longer have to fight like hell to get something done for a loved one, that respects the patient and professionals in our system—more front-line decisions and less from health bureaucrats, like we see at the LHINs.

An education system that properly prepares our children to succeed in an increasingly competitive world, that will raise the bar in math, in science and in literacy, and does a lot more in the skilled trades—that’s the Ontario that we all want to build.

For more than a year now, my colleagues and I have spent every day proposing bold ideas on just how to do that. We put forward a series of detailed white papers. We call them Paths to Prosperity, that courageous vision to strengthen Ontario. You can see the whole list at ontariopc.com. Speaker, I know you’ve probably had a chance to check them out—and those listening in—but the Paths to Prosperity cover every dimension of the urgent action we need to turn our economy around and refocus government on the things that matter most.

The Premier had a lot of resources at her disposal. She had a chance to similarly put forward a comprehensive and integrated plan to reduce government spending and to grow the economy. I mentioned the 11 PC white papers that were at her disposal. Certainly, members of the third party brought forward their own ideas. We think, importantly, the 2012 report from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, also known as the Drummond commission—you may remember them, 362 ideas to get us out of this hole—and also several pieces of legislation from the PC caucus, including an across-the-board public sector wage freeze and needed arbitration reform. They had a lot of resources at their disposal.

Quite frankly, Speaker, we’ve waited 16 months since the last election. We had a four-month prorogation of the Legislature. It has been almost a month since Premier Wynne was named the leader of her party. The 600,000 women and men who woke up this morning with no job to go to, who have no job to go to tomorrow morning either, simply cannot afford to wait one more day. We need to restore hope to those who have lost hope, and tell them that there is a better day coming tomorrow, that Ontario can and will bounce back again.

Yesterday’s speech from the throne was a moment of truth for Ontario. Ontarians were counting on all of us to come through for them, to put our province back on the right path, but regrettably, when they came to that fork in the road, Premier Wynne chose the easy path. She chose to entrench the McGuinty agenda, the same failed policies that brought us the worst jobs and debt crisis of our lifetime.

Let me describe the economic and fiscal realities that confront our province in 2013. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business tells us that public sector workers earn 27% more in wages, pensions and benefits than their counterparts in the private sector for the very same job. It’s not fair, it’s not equitable and it’s certainly not affordable.

Over the past decade, Ontario lost 300,000 good jobs in the manufacturing sector that helped to strengthen our middle class in communities like you represent in Hamilton–Stoney Creek, and I do, as well, in Niagara—300,000 good jobs gone in manufacturing, but at the same time they added 300,000 more jobs to an already-bloated government payroll.


Last month alone, Speaker, we lost 48,000 jobs in the private sector in the province of Ontario. That’s the greatest number of job losses since the recession. But while we lost 48,000 jobs in the private sector, we added an additional 9,000 jobs in the public sector. It exacerbates the problem. You cannot continue down that track. What that means is you have fewer people working outside the government paying for more and more working inside the government with higher wages, benefits and pensions than those who are paying the taxes in the first place.

Sadly, Speaker, we did not see any initiatives yesterday in the throne speech to reduce the size and cost of government. We see now the Liberal government backing away from any concept of a wage freeze whatsoever.

All this spending has meant that our debt has doubled in the last nine years and it’s actually on track to tripling. We owe currently one third the size of our entire economy in debt. Everything our province produces, from Fort Erie to Ottawa to Kenora, Timmins—one third of that we owe every year in debt, Speaker.

Economists Jason Clemens and Niels Veldhuis compared Ontario recently to deteriorating jurisdictions like California and Greece. It’s very sobering to see their proof that Ontario is actually in a worse position than California in every measure of indebtedness. It usually epitomizes the worst state, when it comes to debt and job losses, of the 50. Veldhuis and Clemens point out that Ontario is actually in a worse position when it comes to debt, and we’re on our way to becoming the Greece of Canada. This is all fuelled, Speaker, like gas thrown on a fire, by government spending at triple the rate of inflation.

Yet not a single initiative to reduce spending came up in the speech from the throne. In fact, there were more promises, multiple new spending commitments, that we simply cannot afford if you can’t find the savings to pay for them.

None of the taxpayers watching today, those that pay the bills, can afford to run their household that way. No single business can stay in business when they’re running up the debt at that pace. We simply cannot continue to run this great province of Ontario that way. It’s running us into the ground. We’re spending more, and we’re getting less, on the things that are most important to us.

Let me give you a few examples. In education alone, the government has increased spending by $8.5 billion—per year, Speaker. That’s not in the aggregate; per year: $8.5 billion more for 250,000 fewer kids in our schools, so a lot more money for fewer kids. And what are the results? A lot of kids can’t count on playing on the hockey team after school, the school play, the drama club, extra help from teachers, because of their mishandling of the education file. But also, as we saw recently, math scores and science scores have actually gone downhill. So we’re spending more and getting less and failing to prepare our children for the challenges of the 21st-century economy.

In health care, similarly, we spend 40 cents of every dollar on health care—tremendous, dedicated talent in the system. We saw the government waste now $2 billion in the eHealth scandal. We still have no system of electronic health records in our province. People are waiting up to two years for mental health services. Imagine that, Speaker. We have met with people who have said that their child is considering committing suicide, ending their life at a young age, and the parents hear back that they’ll be on a wait-list for two years.

Mrs. Christine Elliott: Heartbreaking.

Mr. Tim Hudak: It is heartbreaking. It’s not the kind of Ontario we want to see, not the Ontario we grew up in and not the kind of Ontario we want to see for our kids and for our grandkids.

In energy, as much as $1.3 billion, according to outside experts, and possibly more, was wasted on the politically motivated cancellation of two gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga to save Liberal seats in the last election. And, I might add, $1.3 billion more, Speaker, for not a single new kilowatt of power to power our economy.

We continue to spend more and get less in return. As a result, for all this spending, now Ontario is first in debt and last in jobs.

We have a plan, Speaker, to turn that on its head. Ontario has done it before. We’ve dusted ourselves off. We’ve ushered in a new era of prosperity. We’ve been bold and courageous to say, “Here’s the kind of Ontario we want to build.” But it won’t be easy. Every close call, every decision the government makes and every argument needs to be resolved on the basis of what will it do to grow our economy and to create jobs—to make deliberate choices, bold choices, but the right choices.

So far, we have not seen this Premier or this government make the right choices. The first act of this Premier was to increase the size of cabinet by 25%, a deliberate choice that’s adding $3 million more to our debt—but it also shows a lack of focus. Twenty-seven more ministers looking for more ways to spend money: That’s not going to resolve our debt and jobs crisis.

A deliberate choice to hand the keys and the chequebook over to the union bosses at the expense of our students and parents in our school system; a deliberate choice to continue the expensive Feed-In Tariff program and enforce wind farms that are dividing communities down the middle at the expense of local decision-making; a deliberate choice to park the Drummond commission’s 362 recommendations permanently on the shelf; and a deliberate choice not to reverse a single one of Dalton McGuinty’s damaging, job-killing policies.

Speaker, if we do not start to change the way we spend, to resist this temptation to overspend and pay for it with borrowed money, we may very well be soon at a point where we cannot even pay for the things that we hold dear, that we care about the most, and this is the irony of those who oppose our bold ideas. They talk about the need for compassion, but their approach has robbed us of the ability to be compassionate in the first place.

We need a new approach, and it starts with only as much government as we can afford. And anyone who stands in this place and tells you they can balance a $12-billion deficit without reducing spending is either naive or they think that you are. We actually have to reduce spending. It needs to be done.

We cannot measure government success by the number of employees, the amount of money spent, the number of programs delivered. We must approach government the same way that Ontarians would approach their own businesses. If bureaucrats are not needed, if they’re redundant, if they’re not doing their jobs, well, they should no longer be on the government payroll. We must focus on the core services that matter most and create a leaner public service that delivers more value for less money.

Government is in too many businesses we have no business being in, so we should look to get out. We cannot keep a massive bureaucracy to dictate the size and shapes and shelving for alcohol bottles while rationing life-saving medicines that could bust cancer—keeping them off our formulary. The priorities are backwards, Speaker.

We shouldn’t have government employees on the government payroll who serve drinks or deal blackjack—that’s a private sector function—while over a million people in Ontario go without having a family doctor.

We must focus on growing the economy. Jobs should be job number one for the Premier, and job two and job three. If businesses and entrepreneurs do well in our province, then Ontario as a whole does well. That’s why we need to lower taxes on businesses, so they can invest again and create good jobs in our province. More people working again means more revenue coming into the treasury, more businesses who invest in new equipment and new product lines. They innovate and they hire more people.

We must lift the heavy hand of government and reduce the 300,000 government regulations that stand between businesses and success. And we must treat energy as an economic fundamental, not double down on failed and expensive industrial wind farm experiments.

Businesses need to make tough decisions. They will choose to locate in jurisdictions where business costs are lower, approvals happen faster and the government treats them with respect, not suspicion. That’s the kind of Ontario we want to build.

Looking back on yesterday’s speech from the throne, there was no relief for businesses who are struggling today to keep afloat. It provided no help for those 400,000 people on welfare, the 600,000 who are unemployed—no hope for them for landing a good job to climb their way up to provide for their families. There was not an initiative to reduce spending so we can protect the things we actually care about.

There’s no doubt, Speaker, the Premier took the easier road, but it wasn’t the right approach. That’s why we have become convinced that the only way to change the direction of this province, the only way to put Ontario back on track, the only way that our great province of Ontario can lead again, is to change the team that leads this province.


The politically easy thing to do would be to let the throne speech pass. I know my colleagues in the third party are choosing to do exactly that. But I have a responsibility to demand a plan that brings about the change in direction that we desperately need. Supporting this throne speech would be the political equivalent of looking the other way when someone else is in trouble, pretending not to notice because it’s the easier thing to do. Well, we in the Ontario PC Party are not going to look the other way any longer. We will lead the debate. We will prepare for the people of Ontario a much better course forward.

We have a vision of the province of Ontario that is confident, that is prosperous, that is a leader in Confederation again; a magnet for people from all across the world who want to come here for a safe harbour to get a better start, to build a business, to see it grow; an Ontario that will lead the world again in quality of life, the best-quality public services and private sector innovation, and foster entrepreneurship.

So I’m putting faith in the idea that Ontarians are ready for an honest message. It is not going to be easy. We face some difficult decisions to balance the books and become attractive for investment and job creation again. But if we make those calls, if we rise to the occasion, if we pull ourselves back on to our feet, there will be benefits for every Ontarian in every corner of this great province.

Our choice is clear. We will not run from the difficult decisions. We will protect the things that we care about. We will pursue bold ideas with an agenda to inspire that will return Ontario to prosperity again. We will do what needs to be done. And only with the will, the leadership and the courage of our convictions can we set Ontario on a new path.

Our province, Speaker, is at a crossroads: right direction or wrong direction, change or status quo, prosperity or further decline? It is time to choose our path. My choice—our choice—is clear. I will stand with Ontarians and choose a better path for Ontario. Our Ontario, Speaker, will lead again.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The Leader of the Opposition is finished? The member from Thornhill will continue.

Mr. Peter Shurman: Thank you, Speaker. I walked into this place yesterday, I’d like to say at the outset, with a renewed sense of optimism. I gave what I thought was an open mind to hearing what the Lieutenant Governor would read on behalf of the new government of Premier Wynne, whom I congratulate on her new position.

The more I heard, the less enthusiastic I got. And the less enthusiastic I got, the more my mind began to wander. I found myself thinking about Miss Buckingham. None of you here know who Miss Buckingham is, so I’m going to tell you. She was my grade 9 history teacher. She had a great proclivity for administering exams that required essay questions to be answered full of facts. She was one of the great teachers of my life, in terms of making sure I had facts at the tip of my tongue, or at the very least, at the tip of my pencil—because I wrote an awful lot in those essay question responses that didn’t contain facts. What would come back to me, like many of you, was a returned test with a big blue pencil across the top that said, “You talk a lot, but you don’t say much.”

The throne speech reminded me of Miss Buckingham, because if I had the throne speech, I’d write across it in great big blue pencil, “You talk a lot, but you don’t say much.”

The throne speech is called The Way Forward but more accurately should have been called The Tax and Spend Manifesto. Ultimately, the throne speech was very large on rhetoric, very short on details.

I talked about grade 9. I could go back even further to kindergarten and discuss fairy tales for a moment. Yesterday reminded me of Hansel and Gretel. It was almost as if they were here. The Liberals were sprinkling bread crumbs everywhere, a crumb here and a crumb there. They threw a bread crumb at the Progressive Conservative Party, our party, with a passing reference to home care, which we have said should be increased in the province of Ontario, and a little crust over at the NDP, to my left, with something about automobile insurance, but surely not what the NDP wants, not what any of us want. You nodded in our direction. That’s what you did, Liberals. Congratulations on doing that.

But take a closer look, Speaker, and the crumbs begin to disappear, because, in fact, in that speech, there is no substance. Like Hansel and Gretel, Ontario is stuck in a dark forest and it’s desperately trying to find a way out of the woods, but Ontario has no compass. We are not in a fairy tale. We are without a plan. And without a plan and a drastic change in direction, there will be no light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m saying this to the camera so that people at home can understand I’m talking to you. This is what we call the McGuinty-Wynne government, and we call it that because, in Ms. Wynne’s own words, on the day that she became the leader of the Liberal Party, she said—and I’m paraphrasing—that she would continue the Dalton McGuinty legacy. That’s what she would do. And indeed, if we can take the speech from the throne and what we’ve seen in just one question period this morning as any example, that’s exactly what she intends to do.

The Liberal government does not have a plan to take us out of Ontario’s financial disaster. There is no clarity. There is no substance. There is no clear direction. There is no plan. And as you’ve heard from the Leader of the Opposition, my colleague Tim Hudak, we do, and she does not.

Ontarians are left wondering when exactly the budget is going to be balanced, and when the economy is going to be restored and jobs are going to be created. Some 600,000 people are wanting right now, and I’ll have more to say about that a little later on. Ontarians want and need to see their government with a clear path. We did not get this from the Liberals yesterday; we did not get it in question period this morning. That’s why we cannot and we will not support this throne speech.

There is no path apparent to increase jobs in Ontario. There is no path apparent in terms of working towards paying down the debt. Interest is at $11 billion this year. The Liberals—you people—celebrate the fact that you’ve got a $12-billion deficit instead of a $14-billion deficit. You think that’s a good thing. You talk about balancing the budget and you talk about doing it by 2017. Ontarians deserve better.

Again, I want to address people at home. When I go out and I talk to ordinary people—smart people, educated people, working people and sometimes people who aren’t working—and I talk about debt and I talk about deficit, they say, “Well, those are not really our concerns. Those are the concerns that we delegate to you, by electing you to go and represent the people of Thornhill, and 106 other people from various parties to represent their constituencies. Debt and deficit are not my problem.”

Yes, debt and deficit are your problem, because when you have a deficit of $12 billion, you compromise the ability of the province to direct itself financially on to the right course. You compromise the province’s ability to create jobs in a necessary way. When you pay $11 billion in a year towards interest, you take away the ability to buy, on a program spending basis, the things that you really need.

Ontarians indeed deserve better. We need to create jobs. We need to increase revenues. We need to restore hope to some 600,000 unemployed Ontarians. It is vital that we control our ballooning $12-billion deficit and our burgeoning debt of around $250 billion, that is the highest in Ontario’s history—$411 billion, by the estimate of the Liberal government’s own economist, Don Drummond. You do that—you control that—and you’re on track. We see no sign of anybody trying to control that.


Again, to talk to ordinary people in an ordinary way: When we talk about debt and we talk about deficit, we talk about numbers with a huge number of zeros on them, and we talk about the effect on your kids and on your grandkids. The fact of the matter is, to bring it down to regular-people talk, we’re talking about you having a credit card that has a limit of $10,000, and you’ve managed to meet the payments. Then you talk the bank into letting you go to $15,000, and you max that out. All you can do is meet your interest payments and hope that some way, somehow, someday, you’ll have money come in to retire that principal debt, but you know you won’t. So, at some point, you won’t be on this earth and somebody’s going to have to pay that.

That’s precisely what we’re talking about, on a grand scale, when we talk about Ontario and the Ontario that we’ve got now. We owe $16,900 in today’s real money; every man, woman and child in Ontario owes that money. Can you imagine what would happen if we decided to retire the debt and everybody had a demand-to-pay? Of course, that is fantasy, but the fact of the matter is that’s how it breaks down.

As outlined by Don Drummond in his report, the province’s deficit could balloon to as much as $30 billion by 2017, and our debt load, already worth 35% of annual economic output, could soar to 51%. The throne speech set a target of 27%. How? When? This is 2013 right now. How are they going to get into balance by 2017? Ontario’s net debt is now forecast by the C.D. Howe Institute, no less, to peak at 41.6% of GDP by 2014-15. And 2014-15 leaves them two years to bring it down to the 27% target set in that throne speech by Premier Wynne.

The McGuinty-Wynne government’s actual legacy is and will be debt and lost jobs and excessive spending without any plan. Throne speech interpreted: “We will keep the money tap turned on, and we will not control.” That, Speaker, is what they intend to do, and that, Speaker, is what we intend to stop.

During the tenure of Dalton McGuinty, the Premier increased program spending by an average of 6.1% annually, nearly twice the combined rate of inflation and population growth of 3.1%. That statistic comes from the Fraser Institute, based on StatsCan figures. This is a very quick route to financial ruin. It is clear that Premier Wynne is continuing along the same path of reckless spending without a plan.

These are serious times, Speaker. We talk about a crisis. We talk about a debt crisis; we talk about a deficit crisis; we talk about a jobs crisis. We’re not making this stuff up; we’re not inventing it. When I talk to the people who are watching us on television, looking for some hope in a Legislature that’s now in day 2, after almost a five-month hiatus, I say to you that there is hope, because there is a party here with a plan, but it’s not the party in power, Speaker.

It is clear that this McGuinty-Wynne government is responsible for accumulating the largest debt in Ontario’s history. This is a remarkable legacy. Ontario is saddled with a $12-billion deficit this year; more, according to projections, next year. Ontario has become a have-not province. The throne speech did not address this in any meaningful way.

Businesses that used to be the pillars of our province, let alone our country, have now packed up and left or are considering doing just that.

This morning in question period, the member for Vaughan tried to ask a question. He was shot down by the Speaker in midstream. He tried to ask a question that related to the right to work that was established recently in the state of Michigan, our neighbour, and called it into question by relating it somehow or other to a proposal that this party made.

I don’t think the right to work has anything to do with what we’re talking about, but the fact of the matter is, one thing that we do know is true is that there is a production line in the city of Oshawa that produces Camaros, and that production line is moving to the city of Detroit, in Michigan. There is a reason why that’s happening, and the reason is that somebody at General Motors thinks—General Motors, I might add, the company that was bailed out in no small degree by money that came from the taxpayers of Ontario. Somebody thinks that Michigan can produce those cars just as well as Ontario, at a lower cost. We have to find a way to compete. The McGuinty-Wynne legacy is going to end up hurting future generations to an even greater extent than the generation that we live in now. There is, as somebody wiser than I has said, only one taxpayer. Ultimately, it will end up hitting our pocketbooks even harder than it is now.

The first move of Premier Wynne’s was to instantly increase the size of her cabinet, which again costs taxpayers money.

Yesterday, there were many union leaders addressing the media outside the chamber. Ontario cannot afford to have unions continue to control the agenda as they have with the Liberal government in the past. It was rather interesting to me, walking around outside in the antechamber to this room, after the speech from the throne. The cameras were not on the finance minister; he was walking around looking for something to do. They weren’t on the Premier; she was nowhere to be found. They weren’t on, really, any opposition members. They were on four people, and the four people were names you know—the Fred Hahns and the Sid Ryans of the world. I guess they feel, if you take a look at the reports last night, that there’s some hope because of the establishment of this government.

The McGuinty-Wynne government wants to get back what we estimate to be about $9 million in free advertising that comes from a coalition of unions called the Working Families Coalition to help it get elected, and you can see that that massaging is starting already. Premier Wynne has to realize that the financial impact that pandering to union bosses has on our pocketbooks is incredible.

The Fraser Institute says that public sector wages at this point are about 13.9%, on average, higher than equivalent private sector wages, and that doesn’t include the benefits that are inherent in the system. If you take a look at figures that have come from the CFIB, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, that number is about 27%. They’re probably comparable if you take a look at the pensions. Pensions, by way of example, in the public sector—75% of people are covered by some kind of registered pension plan. In the private sector, it’s about a third of that—25% of the citizenry of Ontario have access to a pension. So there’s a great disparity.

When we talk about that and we talk about—as you’ve heard my leader say—the concept of beginning to control spending by looking at the largest single budgetary item we’ve got, which is salaries, at $55 billion of a total of about $130 billion in budgetary spending, you’ve got to consider some kind of a freeze, and they say that they won’t. So the concept that we express, that they’re going to continue the ways of Dalton McGuinty, is not just conceptual; it’s real. Billions of taxpayer dollars were thrown out the window by the McGuinty-Wynne government over things like eHealth and Ornge and the power plant fiasco. So many other things jump into my mind: Cancer Care Ontario, the Windsor Energy Centre, things that this party has raised, the other party has raised, and many, many more that I could name.

The cancellation of the power plants, or Project Vapour, was an elaborate scheme for the Liberals’ political gain that has cost taxpayers some number. We’re not sure what it was. Maybe $1 billion; maybe more. The Premier won’t even strike a special committee to investigate and labels the opposition parties, for even suggesting that idea, as mean-spirited.

This led to the prorogation of Parliament to attempt to cover up that mess. In fact, one of the prime beneficiaries of this political gain sits right across from me in the person of the new finance minister, Charles Sousa.

While the PC caucus has been working for Ontario, the Liberals have been busy working to find a new leader. We on this side of the House have a plan. We can address these crises. You on the other side cannot, and you have proven you will not.

We have heard a lot about this—and I’m quoting from yesterday at least nine times—“new government.” New in name, yes; new in practice, no way. It’s just a different day. Ontarians are not going to be fooled by the McGuinty-Wynne government trying to pass any of this nonsense off as new. There’s nothing new about this. We have a carbon copy of Dalton McGuinty who just wears different shoes—the same players and the same story as the past almost 10 years. God help us.

We all know that you cannot increase government spending and be in debt without going into financial ruin. Something has got to give. Don’t take my word for it, Speaker. Don’t take my word for it, Ontarians. Look across the ocean, look at Europe, and you see the future of a McGuinty-Wynne Ontario. Don’t let it happen.

For a robust economy and to attract jobs to Ontario, we must continue to invest in our infrastructure and a regional transportation system. The Toronto Region Board of Trade has calculated that the GTHA loses about $6 billion every year due to labour that’s lost via productivity because we’re so stuck in gridlock.

And you know what? I was pleased, Speaker, that this was mentioned in the speech from the throne. Unfortunately, there was no fix involved, just the fact that it existed. But the fact of the matter is that this government has a lot of experience in gridlock, because Ontario, under its tutelage, is itself stuck in gridlock.

The Premier alluded to different revenue tools to fund transportation but failed to give Ontario any details. What do we know about details, Speaker? The devil is in the details. All talk, little action; McGuinty-Wynne, Wynne-McGuinty—interchangeable.

Because of our increasing debt and the government’s lack of a credible plan to eliminate it, global credit rating agencies downgraded Ontario’s credit rating last year. In April 2012, Moody’s downgraded Ontario’s credit rating, and it said, “reflects the growing debt burden and the risks surrounding the province achieving its medium-term fiscal plan given the subdued growth outlook, extended time frame back to balance and ambitious expenditure targets.” That’s a quote.

And Moody’s pointed out that there are “significant risks surrounding” their “ability to achieve their medium-term fiscal targets and stabilize and then reverse the recent accumulation in debt....expense growth targets appear particularly ambitious.”

Even these credit rating agencies are begging the Liberal government to get Ontario back on track to create jobs and to bolster our economy.

We urgently need a plan to forge ahead with a clearly charted path. We Progressive Conservatives have a plan. We have a jobs plan; we have a cost reduction plan; we have a plan to balance the budget. You Liberals do not.

We need to send a serious signal to investors that Ontario is ready to tackle its economic challenges, to get our finances in order. We need to attract more jobs here to Ontario. We need to attract business to Ontario.

The government desperately needs to get us on the path to job creation and fiscal responsibility. We need a government that is actually committed to helping Ontario’s economy and to the creation of jobs.

Again and finally, quoting my grade 9 teacher, “You talk a lot, but you don’t say much.” The throne speech, to me, is very disappointing. The PCs will definitely not support it. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: I move adjournment of the debate.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Ms. DiNovo has moved adjournment of debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Debate adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Orders of the day.

Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The government House leader has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

This House stands adjourned until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1654.