L019 - Tue 14 Aug 2018 / Mar 14 août 2018

 

The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Let us pray.

Prayers.

Orders of the Day

Government policies

Resuming the debate adjourned on August 1, 2018, on the motion regarding government priorities.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Ms. Donna Skelly: It is an honour to be standing in the Legislature to continue to deliver my inaugural address.

I represent residents in the beautiful riding of Flamborough–Glanbrook. Although I have had the privilege of calling Hamilton my home for over three decades, I was actually born in northern Ontario—in Sudbury—and raised in the nearby town of Capreol.

I had some amazing role models in my life. Two of the most influential were women. My mother taught me humility and the value of hard work. At the age of 37, I watched her swallow her pride and walk into our local high school and sit in a classroom with kids the same age as my older sister. She had always wanted to get her high school diploma, and she had the courage to do it. It wasn’t easy. She was often teased, but the kids who chided her soon showed up at our home in the evening, and she began to tutor them. She went on to teach some of those kids and then became the executive assistant to the senior manager at a local hospital, and then at Hanna Mine. Her efforts were the catalyst for the first adult education program that was launched in our town.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my grandmother was the first feminist in my life. She was a tiny, gentle soul who raised 10 children, including my mother. During the 1930s, at the height of the Depression, my grandmother took in boarders and ran a postal outlet from her home, while at the same time operating a restaurant and a gas station. I was certainly blessed to have these two strong women as role models, and I recognized how much they have influenced many of the decisions that I have made in my life.

I left home when I was 17 years old. I really didn’t have a choice because, as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a broadcaster, which meant leaving the security of a small town and heading out on my own. I had managed to save about $300 from my summer job, which was enough to get me to Toronto. I had applied and was accepted to the radio and television program at Seneca College, but beyond that, I really had no idea what direction my life would take. I had no place to live and I had never really even been on public transit, but some-how I figured it out.

After college, I was hired at Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa to work in the public relations department. My boss was a big guy, with an even bigger heart. His name was Des Smith. He was a former NHL player who had won the Stanley Cup when he played for the Boston Bruins. His son Brian, a sportscaster for CJOH in Ottawa, an Ottawa television station, was later murdered in a tragic, unprovoked shooting outside the television station.

From Ottawa, I headed to Fort-Coulonge, Quebec, and a job at a small community radio station. When I say small, I mean small. We didn’t even have a washroom. To get a washroom break, I would put on a very, very, very long record, run home to my small apartment, use the washroom, and get back to start the next record. I am so proud to say that I never missed a beat.

Broadcasting was my passion. It gave me a front-row seat to living and breathing history. My career afforded me opportunities that most people could never imagine. I have covered murders and murder trials, fires and fund-raisers. I have worked in front of and behind the camera—reported, produced, hosted, and anchored. I’ve in-terviewed some pretty incredible people: Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Paul Martin; the president of Israel, Shimon Peres; and actress Sophia Loren, just to name a few.

I travelled deep into the jungles of El Salvador with volunteers from World Vision.

I flew to Doha, Qatar, during the First Gulf War, where I interviewed members of the Canadian military at our base, Canada Dry One. I also tried to interview Qatari government officials and was given a cold, hard lesson on the rights of journalists in the Middle East. But while I was there, I visited a racetrack where rich sheiks bet on million-dollar camels. On the backs of those camels were children, tied or Velcroed to a saddle: kids four, five, and six years of age who had been sold into slavery or kidnapped from India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.

Before I moved to Hamilton, I lived and worked in Kingston. When Canada’s federal government announced it was going to be closing P4W—the Prison for Women—I called and asked if I could spend a couple of days, and perhaps even a night, in prison. They said yes, and I did. I’ve done a lot of things in my career, but that night truly changed me.

Until then, there had only been one federal prison in Canada for female inmates, but the federal government was embarking on a program to expand into other provinces. Most of the women had been transferred out of P4W, except for 15 who were considered the highest security risks.

I remember arriving at the prison. I was searched and asked for my identification, specifically my driver’s licence. They were checking for traces of cocaine. I spent the day and evening talking to a number of inmates. They willingly shared their stories.

One woman told me she had been living in Kanata, just outside of Ottawa, and had been working with a gang member selling drugs. She heard that the police were going to arrest them, so they fled and headed out west. She said it wasn’t long before they ran out of money, so they stopped a car driven by a 19-year-old girl and forced her to drive them back to Ontario. Along the way, they drained her bank account. Then, when they arrived in Ottawa, they attacked her and left her for dead. But that young woman survived.

That story, as horrific as it was, wasn’t all that unusual among that group of women. Their crimes were ugly and violent, much like the atmosphere of the facility where they were housed.

That night, I slept in a cell in the infirmary. I remember looking out the window. The walls were solid stone, about a foot thick, and they were topped with barbed wire. A guard stood watching from the tower. I didn’t sleep at all that night, it was just so surreal.

Years later, while sitting in my office watching CBC News, I recognized a young woman on television. She was one of the inmates I had spent the evening with at the Prison for Women. I remember her, how tiny she was. She was just a waif of a woman. She was quiet, one of the few who didn’t talk openly about her story. Her name was Tammy, and she was serving a life sentence for murdering her son. But the day I watched her on television was the day authorities announced that she was being released because she had been wrongfully con-victed. Tammy was one of the many victims of disgraced pathologist Charles Smith, whose questionable practices triggered a judicial inquiry. Not only had Tammy spent over 10 years behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit, she had lost custody of her two surviving children.

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I’ve always been inquisitive—it’s my nature—but I also love to take on new challenges. In 2000, I launched my own company called News 4 Hamilton. It was a cutting-edge online local news and information service. I had taken a huge risk at a time when high-speed Internet service was in its infancy. My company, News 4 Hamilton, was one of the first such local news sites of its kind. It had been written up in business and industry magazines worldwide.

I worked at CHCH television in Hamilton for almost 30 years. It was more than a job; it was an incredible experience. Friendships were forged and, in many cases, colleagues were closer than families, often sharing late evenings and celebrating many, many holidays together.

In 2009, CHCH was threatened with closure after Canwest Global, the station’s owner at the time, went bankrupt. I led a successful campaign to help save CHCH-TV. I travelled to Ottawa in order to appeal directly to the Canadian radio and television commission to do something to save the station. In many ways, I became the face of the station in the media. I simply could not accept the fact that CHCH, the oldest independent television station in Canada, with its storied history, could go black. But then new owners came forward, and I supported their bid to purchase the station.

Business carried on as usual, until the darkest day of my professional career, December 11, 2015. That day, I along with more than 100 of my colleagues were herded into a studio and blindsided by the news that CHCH was filing for bankruptcy. We were being terminated. We discovered that our owners had set up a series of numbered companies. The assets were placed in one company. It was fine, but unbeknownst to all of the employees, they had been working for another company with no assets. With the stroke of a pen, that company was declared bankrupt, and we were all out of work, with no severance—not a penny—and Christmas just two weeks away.

I was shell-shocked. I had no job. I was devastated. I asked myself, what was I going to do? I had two sons and no job. But it was my sons who gave me strength. I remember that night that we all lost our jobs and my oldest son, Dane, hugging me, saying, “You know what, Mom? If we have to sell the house and move into an apartment, then that’s what we will do. I’ll quit school, and I’ll get a job. Cole can quit school, and he can get a job. But we’ll get through this.” Well, they didn’t quit school, and we didn’t sell the house, but we did get through it.

I started looking for work immediately and was hired by our local all-news radio station to cover the Tim Bosma murder trial. Dellen Millard and his co-accused, Mark Smich, were being tried in a Hamilton courtroom for the senseless murder of the Ancaster father. For the next few weeks, I reported on that case.

Around the same time, a seat opened up on Hamilton city council. A by-election was going to be held in the spring, and I had to make a decision: Would I run? I love journalism; it’s in my DNA. But there was something about the political arena that kept tugging at me. I’m a veteran campaigner. I had been a candidate in two previous provincial elections. I entered the race against 22 other candidates, and I won the by-election in Ward 7 by less than 100 votes.

I can tell you that my journey to Queen’s Park was a seven-year struggle that actually began during an inter-view on Square Off, a television show that I co-hosted with Mark Hebscher. I was interviewing a Liberal pol-itician about Dalton McGuinty’s Green Energy Act, and I thought, “This plan is crazy, and this government has to be stopped.” Well, fast-forward 15 years, folks, and now we see what has happened. And the green energy policy is being stopped.

I’ve always been moved by perceived injustices. I served a term as union president at CHCH. I fought for fairness. I fought for better wages for those employees at the bottom of the wage scale. I stood up for the people who felt they didn’t have a voice, and I intend to give that same voice to my constituents in Flamborough–Glanbrook.

It truly is an honour to be able to stand in these hallowed chambers every day with my friends and my colleagues. It took seven years to get here, but I’m so proud to be able to say that I’m now a member of this Legislature, a member of provincial Parliament for Flamborough–Glanbrook.

As I mentioned, the journey to get here takes the support of a loving family and, truly, an army of volunteers. To all of the men and women who knocked on doors in the middle of the winter and in the middle of the summer, on cold winter days and hot summer nights, to all of the men and women who helped me raise money—who begged for money—and in particular, to all of the men and women who stood by my side, in particular my campaign manager, Grant MacLean, and my dear friend Barb Webster, who, as I said, were by my side every step of the way: to all of you, a sincere thank you.

To my mother; my father; my stepfather; my brother, Doug; my sister-in-law, Kaew; and my sister, Sharen, thank you for believing in me. To my sons, Dane and Cole, and my daughter, Maddison, I hope to make you as proud as you have made me.

Finally, to the people of Flamborough–Glanbrook: You believed in me. You believed in the Conservative government’s promise to make life better for you and all of the people of Ontario. I am proud to stand here today, and every day, to be able to say, “Promises made; promises kept.”

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mr. Joel Harden: Thank you for the opportunity to address this chamber this morning. I want to thank the member from Flamborough–Glanbrook for those re-marks. They were very moving. I had no idea that you were connected to the CHCH bankruptcy and closure. That was an event we followed from Ottawa with a lot of sadness for the families involved, so congratulations to you for working through that. It’s a story of resilience and it was a pleasure to hear it.

I rise this morning, Speaker, to talk about this motion that the government has put before us. As we’ve heard so often, there is a notion that the government is with the people and for the people. But what I want to try to do in the time I have this morning, as our friends appear to be hastening for a summer exit, is impress upon them that this is a worthy goal. It has been my goal personally—and I know for everybody in this caucus and I’m going to make the assumption that it’s for everybody in the House—to work for the people.

But in the way in which it’s happening in this summer sitting of the Legislature, what I see from my standpoint are people whom I work really hard to represent and fight for—I actually see a lot of people who continue to suffer. And inasmuch as I see people who are continuing to suffer—where I’m from and where I’ve seen across the country—I also see people who are doing very, very well—too well, in fact. I actually think it’s incumbent upon all of us to figure out a way to bring more equality to this province and to talk about ideas in such a way that delivers that equality for people, not as a handout and not as some sort of nanny-state gimmick, which I know my Conservative friends wouldn’t like; I’m talking about creating equality of opportunity so everybody in this province has an opportunity to succeed, as our friend from Flamborough–Glanbrook did in the wake of a tragedy, in the wake of that workplace closing, that bankruptcy.

I want to segue to a comment that I made in the last speech I was privileged to give in this place, where I talked about the reverse-Robin-Hood problem we’ve got in this province. We have a situation where a small minority of people in Ontario are being subsidized by the rest of us. They are being subsidized by the rest of us because in this province we continue to put up with ideas that shrink the capacity of the province to generate revenue.

My reputation in this chamber with my friends across the aisle appears to be as a flaming socialist, and I’ll own that. I love the democratic socialist history of my party; I identify with it. But you may be surprised to learn, Speaker—and I know that my friend from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell knows this—that I’m from a business family. The Hardens actually own and operate real estate. That’s who sent me to school.

What I learned in my father’s business growing up is that there are two components to a business. Minimizing and having mindful caution about your expenses is one part, and I hear that a lot from my friends on the other side: “Doing the most with the taxpayers’ money.” What I don’t hear from my friends on the other side—which is absolutely integral to any business operation—is revenue: having a capacity to make sure customers are coming through the door and growing an enterprise. I don’t hear a lot about revenue.

Do you know what we have in this province, Speaker? We have a revenue crisis. Decade after decade, governments of all political stripes, if I am honest, have been willing to reduce taxes on the wealthiest among us. The state has suffered as a consequence.

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If you look federally, in 1997 there was a 31% corporate tax rate. It put us in about the middle of the pack for developed democracies. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, that’s what they said. Fast-forward to 2014, that tax rate was cut in half—16%. I know what we’ve heard from my friends across the aisle. They’re prepared to reduce taxes on corporations by a further 1% in Ontario, to 10.5%. What that will do, effective immediately, is take a billion dollars of revenue out of the coffers of the province of Ontario. Inasmuch as you want to help, particularly the most marginalized, people who are struggling right now—everywhere in Ontario, on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program—you are making due with a billion dollars less in revenue.

What’s the business case for that? Let me climb out of my own political mind in a second and ask you in your own language: What’s the business case for shrinking the revenue of the state? I think the only feasible case one can make is that you feel we can do more with less. So, I’ll fast-forward to two stories—when I think about doing more with less and people I know in Ottawa Centre who are suffering. I want to ask you if you think they can do more with less, Speaker.

I think about Bobbi Assoun, who I spoke about in this chamber last week. Bobbi, the weekend before last, con-tacted our office. She’s a woman who lives with multiple sclerosis. She’s in a wheelchair. Her daughter moved out of her apartment. She draws upon the Ontario Disability Support Program. Because of her illness, she is unable, physically incapable to work. When her daughter moved out, she had to do with $428 less per month in income—a massive hit to her ability to house herself. What happened? She became homeless. It became the job of local reporters, my office and other crisis workers to find Bobbi a place to live. She’s in a temporary housing shelter on the east end of Ottawa.

Think about that, and think about the people in the province of Ontario on Ontario Works who have to live on $722 a month—individuals. Think about that $1 billion of revenue that my friends have been willing to forgo, as governments of all political stripes—as I’m trying to be honest and acknowledge—have been willing to forgo. Who pays the price? I’m going to make the claim this morning that Bobbi Assoun pays the price.

It’s not as if Ontario has a wealth problem. What Ontario has is a wealth distribution problem. We see this in another person’s case, Mayo Schmidt, the Hydro One executive this government fired. I think there’s a lot of case for firing Mr. Schmidt and the self-indulgent, nar-cissistic management that ran Hydro One. I get it.

But, when Mayo Schmidt was fired, what we have learned through the press—thanks to our friends who coursed through the tea leaves and tried to figure out what’s actually going to come out of this for the public, in the firing of Mr. Schmidt and that board of directors. His compensation package allows him, because of stock options, to draw down a salary in 2018 of $9 million; or, if you believe research from the University of Western Ontario, $11 million; or, if you believe research from the University of Toronto Rotman school, $12 million.

I ask you, Speaker: I understand my friends wanted more accountability at Hydro One. But what’s the unintended consequence of firing an indulgent executive, who has been gorging at the public purse and creating a financial incentive for him to buy another yacht or another Ferrari, while someone like Bobbi is struggling to feed herself at home, struggling to have access to medicinal cannabis for her pain, which is not covered under the Ontario Disability Support Program?

So I’m going to caution my friends, because inasmuch as I respect the “for the people” rhetoric, what I see happening in this case is a massive rewarding of certain people working for the public. These people aren’t working for the private sector, creating their own enterprises, raising their own capital. They’re working for us. Because of Mayo Schmidt’s contract—and he’s not the only one; I could spend the entire morning going over executive compensation contracts at universities, municipalities, hydro utilities and colleges. It’s disgusting.

I’m actually looking to my Conservative friends to help rein this in. That’s what I hope to be part of your legacy in the next four years. What is the ethical case for anybody working for the public to make more than the Premier of his province? Do any of my friends in the government caucus believe that somebody working for a public utility, a university or a college works that much harder than the Premier of this province? I think we have to begin with a different set of values.

I want to pivot to another story in my riding, Speaker, from somebody who has suffered a great deal too. His name is Norm Traversy, and I’ve spoken about him during the summer sitting before. He’s a firefighter. He’s one of Ontario’s most decorated firefighters. He started his career in Mississauga, and he contracted post-traumatic stress disorder 12 years ago in the course of helping someone in a highway traffic accident, a truck wreck, off-duty. What Norm told me is that, for him, his code of ethics as a firefighter and first responder is that it doesn’t matter if his uniform is on or not; his job is to help people. That’s my partner’s attitude too. She’s a physician. If someone were to have a heart moment on a plane and we were there, my partner’s goal in life would be to try to help that person, as Norm’s was to save that person.

That person was saved, but in the course of that action, Norm suffered a grievous, grievous injury that doesn’t get recognized because it’s not a broken limb or a huge flesh wound, but it’s a serious wound all the same. It destroyed his marriage, it liquidated his assets, and for 12 years Norm has not been able to be covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in this province. Like other first responders I’ve met, he’s had to suffer in silence, making appeal after appeal to the Human Rights Tribunal, to the ombudsperson’s office, and to the WSIB itself. Constantly, he’s been told that his condition is not a medical condition. It’s not about post-traumatic stress; it’s about socio-economic concerns. That’s what Norm has been told: “You’ve lost your income, and that’s why you’re suffering.” He has five medical diagnoses—five—from clinical professionals who attest to the fact that his post-traumatic stress was acquired in the course of help-ing this person at that roadside.

Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s real.

Mr. Joel Harden: It’s a real thing.

What saddens me is that the WSIB has its own investigators who all too often—and I’ve heard this before, because I’ve spent a lot of time in the labour movement—explain away people’s injuries. We can’t allow that to happen.

I’ve brought this case forward to my friend the Minister of Labour. I want to work with this government to make sure that Norm and every other first responder in this province, who work day in and day out, selflessly making sure that we’re safe, who put themselves on the line every single day, when they hurt themselves physically or through mental health injuries, we’ve got their back.

Because I have to say right now, Speaker, that Norm ended up in Ottawa Centre. His marriage fell apart. He had an apartment. He called me in the middle of the election campaign. He sat me down, and his comment to me was, “Joel, I’ve got the story of the century for you. You’re not going to believe what has happened to me.” I forsook my door-knocking that morning, because he told me a little bit about himself, and I listened to his story. We sat in a Tim Hortons, and I listened to his story. I think we have to do a lot more for people like Norm.

I also think we have to do a lot more for climate change. This is my opportunity to read into the record my actual thoughts on climate change. I know my friends and I have had a fun time in the last few weeks debating positions I may or may not have taken in my past. I think I’ve been called the carbon tax king, Speaker. I enjoy it. I enjoy the cut and thrust of this place; that’s fine.

But let’s be clear how far up the notion of needing to raise appropriate revenue goes to mitigate the effects of climate change. I ran for this party in the provincial election on a platform to maintain a cap-and-trade regime, not because I thought it’s a perfect regime, but it’s a realistic way in which we can raise revenue to create the green infrastructure that we need for energy, transportation, housing and jobs. It was an actual plan. Was it perfect? No, but it was a plan. It involved, at the residential level, a carbon price of $13 per tonne.

Speaker, I know I’m not allowed to use props, so I’m going to try to be careful with this.

What I want to remind my friends is, inasmuch as they see in that act, that cap-and-trade carbon tax that Minister Phillips always talks about, the imminent threat of socialism, I want to remind them that the World Bank ranks that cap-and-trade regime in the bottom 10% of current initiatives worldwide at pricing carbon and rais-ing revenue to meet the imminent threat of climate change.

The top carbon tax is Sweden’s, at $139 a tonne. Sweden happens to be one of the top-performing economies in the EU. It happens to have child care and elder care and university and college and skilled trades training at no tuition cost for residents. It has the cleanest cities, the cleanest rivers, and they somehow have avoided economic catastrophe. But the scourge of socialism reaches much higher, I warn my friends.

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At the World Economic Forum—you may have heard about it; it’s the yearly gathering of the rich and famous—Kurt Van Dender, who’s an economist who works for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, said, “Carbon prices should range between €40 and €80”—that’s $60 to $100—“in 2020 for the Paris Agreement targets to have a chance of being met.” What that is a reference to is the fact that Canada and other countries from around the world came together in 2015 and said that we must prevent global temperatures from rising more than an additional 1.5 degrees. In order to prevent that, we have to take real, tangible steps to stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.

As I said earlier, the strength of the cap-and-trade regime is that it raised money for green infrastructure. It raised money to fix schools. It raised money to retrofit homes and give jobs to skilled tradespeople. It raised money to invest in cycling infrastructure that now my city, Ottawa, is going without, and I’m sure other towns and cities are too.

What it didn’t do is raise a requisite amount of money to get out of the 10% club worldwide. It was “very small potatoes,” Speaker, to quote my grandmother.

If we want to meet the threat of climate change, at some point we’re going to have to look the public in the eye and say, “You can’t get something for nothing”—particularly the large polluters and particularly the wealthiest among us, who are being subsidized by the rest of us through low taxes and through tax havens, which I could go on about for 45 minutes, if you would like—the people named in the Paradise and Panama Papers. We are choosing to subsidize the already affluent instead of taking steps to make our economy and make our society fairer and make it more robust.

I want to wrap up my time in the last five minutes by naming a couple of things. They are important for me personally and, I think, for our caucus—and, I would hope, for this chamber. The elementary teachers of this province are going to be visiting us on the lawn of this place at noon. They are bringing a message here that we do not consult on people’s inalienable human rights. Queer and transgendered kids matter. They need to be told at a young age that they matter.

In my son’s school, Hopewell school in Old Ottawa South, where I live, he had last year a transgendered child in his class. Without the curriculum, they were told that Toby’s life mattered. She may have been born with one form of genitalia, but Toby identified as a girl, and she was to be addressed as a girl. That wasn’t a big issue. They had a conversation about it. It didn’t ruin anybody’s perceptions of themselves or the world. It didn’t break the sanctity of the family and the notion of our core human rights.

What it did is make Toby feel valued, special and safe. That’s what our teachers have told this government in a press release they sent out yesterday: that if any teacher teaches under the 2015 health and sexual education cur-riculum, the union will defend them to the best of their ability, to the ultimate limit.

I am here to also say that if anybody in this province or if anybody in Ottawa Centre wants to have access to the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum, it will be on my MPP website. You can look at it. And if the government doesn’t like that, you can take it up with me. You can tell me to sit in a cell somewhere. You can slap my hand because I don’t mind that, but you cannot take the human rights of kids away.

You cannot forsake the right for us to, particularly, teach young men at a young age the value of consent and what a healthy relationship looks like. We have a generation of teenagers in this province being raised on pornography, and their understanding of what maleness is, in how we treat people. We have to stop that. That starts in the public school system. So I am so proud that school teachers are showing up today to deliver that message to the government.

I am also proud to deliver a message today from advocates for harm reduction. We heard the Minister of Health say that she was inclined to extend the London safe injection site after my friend pressed the point, and I’m so glad you did. But in Ottawa, we have had this problem for a long time. I want to make very clear for those of you who visit Ottawa—and I’m sure that this is true in St. Catharines where I know you’ve been doing advocacy—and other places: It’s not a downtown Ottawa thing. The problems with drug addiction and overdose go across the income ladder. It goes into the suburbs; it’s downtown. And I invite you to remember the community organizers at the heart of your government.

The Ford family has experienced this personally, and my heart went out to that family in 2014 because it’s a matter that my family has dealt with too. It’s not some-thing to make light of.

Harm reduction services and safe injection sites save lives. My friends in the Conservative government: It saves money. Think about it. What’s more expensive? An ambulance, an emergency room, a police officer en-gaged repeatedly in helping someone struggling with addictions issues and paramedics, or affordable housing, safe injection sites? There’s a Conservative case for harm reduction.

I invite you to turn away from advice you may or may not be receiving from anywhere that asks you to turn your back on drug addiction because it will go away, or advice that tells you that queer and trans kids will be fine with the curriculum that was written in 1998. They won’t be fine. They won’t be fine.

In Ottawa Centre, Speaker—I’m so proud to end on this note—Lyra Evans, who ran for our party in Ottawa–Vanier as the first transgender candidate, a 23-year-old trans woman, is running for education trustee in my ward. She is a survivor of the 1998 sex and health education curriculum. She felt ignored. She became homeless, estranged from her family and addicted to drugs. She’s running to change that. I hope what that story and today’s rally on the front lawn can do for you is invite you to change your minds and open your hearts.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mr. Norman Miller: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and congratulations on your position as Speaker.

I’m going to be sharing my time with the member from Sarnia–Lambton, who would also like to speak to this motion, government order number 2: “That, in the opinion of this House, the current government is a government for the people with a clear mandate to pursue policies that put more money in people’s pockets; create and protect jobs; address the hydro crisis; reduce hospital wait times; and restore accountability and trust in government.”

It’s my pleasure to be able to speak to that, and certainly, we’ve talked a lot about these issues in the election. Obviously, a lot of people in the province identified that these were important issues, because of the results of the June 7 election.

I thought I’d start by talking a bit about the “create and protect jobs” part of that. I really do feel there’s a lot of room for improvement in the regulation we often call red tape, part of the structure in the province of Ontario in terms of making it harder for businesses to create jobs, just succeed, make some money, employ people, pay taxes and all those good things.

I think about examples around my riding. Of course, my history, I ran a lodge resort for 30 years and dealt with lots of different government inspections over that time. I certainly saw it change over 30 years, as government seemed to become much more prescriptive and less helpful to the business operator.

I recall, in the 1970s, when the first fire inspector ever showed up at my lodge at the time, the Patterson-Kaye Lodge. The inspector’s name was Glen Medland. To that point, there just had never been a fire inspection. He showed up. We had a lodge with wood cedar everywhere in the main living room. It looked great and everything, but from a fire hazard perspective, it probably wasn’t that great a situation. But over the next 20-odd years—I think we had the same inspector for 20 years—Glen Medland was very helpful in terms of helping the business adjust to the new rules that came along and be able to accomplish the goals of making the place safer and still being able to stay in business.

For example, the main lodge building had a big stone fireplace, but there were a number of guest rooms in it as well. So, we had to put a big fire door up, we had to put up five-eighths fire code gypsum up and we had to put, eventually, a complete alarm system in and emergency lights.

As we went through these various stages, he knew we were, at that point, pretty much seasonal. He would inspect in September, knowing that we closed October 15. He would call me or say, “By the way, the new rules are that you’re going to have to put this five-eighths fire code gypsum up.” He knew it was going to be a big job, so he would inspect in September. At that point, you had six months or something to comply, so we would do the job over the wintertime and then he’d come and inspect in the spring, and it was all done. It worked pretty well. We did what was required to keep the place safe. We were able to stay in business and create wealth, and everything worked out pretty well.

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As time went on, it became that he had less and less leeway. At the end, he basically could inspect and write a ticket out for a fine, and that was it. He couldn’t warn you about anything. He couldn’t provide any advice. That’s kind of the way it has gone with other ministries as well—I know as well with the Ministry of the Environment.

At one stage, we were looking to build a new septic system for half a dozen cottages. At that point there was an office in Gravenhurst. I went down to Gravenhurst to fill out the form to get a new septic system. The Ministry of the Environment actually came on-site, walked around and looked at the six cottages. I assumed that I was going to have to clear a bunch of forest and build this huge septic system. The Ministry of the Environment representative said, “What about this area behind the cottages?” It seemed like a pretty small area to me. I said, “Well, it’s not big enough.” He said, “What about a Whitby bed?” I said, “What is a Whitby bed?” He said, “It’s special filtration sand.” So I went in and filled out the form. Myself and another gentleman who worked at the lodge built the septic system in about 1985. It’s still operating, and it works perfectly. They were actually pretty helpful.

To that end point, when I was, I think, employed here, in the last couple of years that we owned the resort, for the last septic system we did, we couldn’t even fill out the form. We had to hire an engineer to fill the form out, with no assistance from the Ministry of the Environment at all.

That brings me to a current issue. A local operator in Parry Sound–Muskoka just called me up last week. He owns 13 housekeeping cottages. I won’t tell the name of the business, but he’s trying to upgrade the 13 cottages because they were built in the 1950s and they need to be upgraded for his business. He wants to make them 10% bigger. He’s been upgrading the septic systems. There were initially 13 small septic systems built for the 13 cottages. Under MOE rules, he’s considered to be a larger system. They look at it as one large system be-cause it’s over 10,000 litres per day. He wants to upgrade the individual systems. All he needs from the MOE is a letter saying that things are okay so that he can go to the local building department, so that he can get a building permit and upgrade these cottages. His plan was to do one every other year so that he would be able do it with cash flow. That way, he’d be able to have something that the travelling public would probably find more appealing and would meet the current market demands.

He built a brand new septic system for one of the cottages, including a septic tank etc. The MOE won’t give him the letter that he needs to go to the local building department. He’s basically stuck. He can’t upgrade his cottages, despite having built a new septic system, I think probably because the MOE doesn’t want to assume any responsibility that everything is perfect in this new septic system that he built.

It’s a case where the operator has done the right thing, and he’s trying to do the right thing for his business. He has built the new septic system, he wants to build new cottages to be able to succeed, and it’s a simple letter from the MOE to be able to go to the local building de-partment to get a building permit. It’s not happening. I think that’s a good example of how, really, just a different state of mind, a different approach by government, would make this possible. It has nothing to do with making the environment better or worse; it’s just a different approach by government. I think that’s something we need to look at. There are thousands of different cases. This is but one small example.

I know that the member from Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill, who is the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, is looking at the regulation red tape, trying to improve the environment for business so that they can create more jobs. Certainly, to that end, I’ve just put to-gether a survey that I’m going to be sending out to all businesses in Parry Sound–Muskoka in August—I guess we’re midway through August, so hopefully in the next week or so—to get feedback on specific examples, like the one I just gave, of ways that government can make a change that won’t reduce safety or lessen protection of the environment or anything else but will make it easier for business to go about doing their business and thereby create the jobs and the wealth that will pay all the taxes to make it so that we have all the things we need, in-cluding health care.

I see I only have a minute and 33 seconds left, so I will briefly talk—one of the other things, of course, we’re talking about is reducing hallway health care or reducing hospital wait times. I was pleased to see, local-ly, in Parry Sound–Muskoka, that the task force that was looking at Huntsville and Bracebridge hospitals just this past week recommended that there be, in the long-range plans, a full-service, acute care hospital in both Hunts-ville and Bracebridge. I’m pleased to see that’s the recommendation.

I’m also very pleased to see that the board of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare has made it their wish to have that situation as well: fully functioning, acute care hospitals in Huntsville and Bracebridge. I know it’s something I have advocated for. I’ve had thousands and thousands of petitions that I have presented here in the Legislature. This is just the beginning, because it’s a long road to actually—the capital costs of new buildings and repairs to old buildings, and also the challenge of sustainable funding for not just Bracebridge and Huntsville hospitals, but right across the province; those medium-sized hospitals that have been struggling the past number of years.

With that, I will pass it over, seeing as I have used my time, to the member from Sarnia–Lambton. I thank you for your time this morning.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I recognize the member from Sarnia–Lambton.

Mr. Robert Bailey: Thank you, Speaker, and it’s a pleasure to see you in the chair, of course. Thank you to my colleague from Parry Sound–Muskoka for agreeing to share his time with me.

To speak to this bill that the House leader moved, I wanted to speak a little bit about our commitments. A lot of it relates back to the campaign that took place back in the months of May and June—a lot of our commitments and things we heard at the door from different people and at all-candidates meetings. We had five core commit-ments that we made to every Ontarian, especially in my riding of Sarnia–Lambton, such as we would put more money in people’s pockets by scrapping the carbon tax, number one; reduce gas prices by 10 cents per litre; and giving real tax relief to lower- and middle-class families. That I heard at the door. I still hear it continually, whether it’s on radio talk shows back in my riding or from people I meet on the barbecue circuit.

We also made a commitment that we would work—and we’ve made some steps in that direction already—to clean up the hydro mess. We replaced the CEO and the board of Hydro One and made a commitment to lower Ontarians’ hydro bills by a minimum of 12%. I think there’s a lot of work to do there yet, whether it’s the global adjustment—I just met with some industry representatives the other day and they’ve got some real concerns that we’re going to raise and bring back here to Queen’s Park from my riding of Sarnia–Lambton to the new energy minister and the powers that be in cabinet.

I look forward to making some other substantive changes there to encourage, not just in Sarnia–Lambton, which would be parochial on my part, but in the rest of Ontario, to bring jobs back—good jobs and industry. I know many ridings across Ontario have been hit by the loss of jobs and manufacturing jobs, so we want to see that change.

We have some real, positive things taking place in Sarnia–Lambton. We not only have our old industry, which was based on the petrochemical and refinery aspect, but we also have a new biotech, bioculture and biodiversity industry that’s growing on the sites of the former Polysar and the Lanxess. TransAlta also owns a lot of property that used to be Dow Chemical. Those sites have been cleaned up. They are sitting there. What they’ve done is marketed themselves around the world and across North America as a site where you can go in Sarnia–Lambton and you can get the construction expertise of some of the greatest tradespeople in North America, some of the best shops to manufacture and fab-ricate industrial facilities.

We also have great engineering facilities and great safety training. The industrial training centre, which is based in Sarnia–Lambton, is kind of unique to the province. It’s a tripartite system. It’s like a three-legged stool. We have industry, which says what they need as far as skills. We have the labour movement, all unionized, basically, in Sarnia–Lambton, which co-operate. A num-ber of their members now, instead of having to leave Sarnia–Lambton to go to different trade schools to finish their apprenticeships, can actually do that in Sarnia–Lambton, so they don’t have to leave. A number of people come there, actually, to get their training.

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The third part is working with industry and with aca-demia, which is Lambton College in this case. The three of those work together, and it works very fine there and very well in Sarnia–Lambton. I think it’s an example. I know former labour ministers, before our government even, in a different stripe of government, said that they wish that they could emulate what takes place in Sarnia–Lambton across the province as far as safety standards. You’re 25% safer, I think it is, in Sarnia–Lambton on a construction project than anywhere else in—I’ll say Ontario, but I think it’s North America. But I’ll say Ontario; I don’t want to gild the lily too much.

Those are the kinds of things that I’m working with in my riding, with industry, with labour and with, of course, the college, which I spoke about for a few minutes there. The college is making a major investment in our health centre. Nova Chemicals stepped forward, along with a lot of other individuals in our community, and made a major investment there. This is the first major expansion of the footprint of the original college in over 50 years. There is the industrial excellence centre, which is named after Polymer/Polysar, a long-time industry in Sarnia. That’s being produced right now, to be opened any time soon. The major health centre facility is under expansion right now, so we’re leading there.

We also have another thing I’ve very proud of. On the old Dow Chemical world headquarters site, we have a research park in conjunction with the University of Western Ontario. A lot of new companies that have come to Sarnia over the last number of years have come there. They’ve got engineering. They’ve got construction facilities. They’ve got the scientists. You can go in there and you can do a pilot project. They provide you the place to work in there. They’ve got facilities where you can actually build a pilot program and work with engineering and their staff. A number of projects have come to Sarnia. They’ve hosted people from Australia, from all around the world.

I’m proud to say that a number of the projects that have taken place down in the former—what we call the brownfields in the Chemical Valley. The old Lanxess, Polymer/Polysar and TransAlta sites have now been emulated. Just a few months ago, prior to the election, I journeyed with our Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Honourable Steve Clark, down to his riding, in the area of Maitland, Ontario. They’re going to emulate some-thing similar there. They’ve got some sites that are closed, property that’s underused. They’ve got facilities there, and they’re going to pilot and do something similar to what’s taking place in Sarnia–Lambton on those sites there.

What they basically do in that case is that the pilot projects that are still operating there, like Lanxess and TransAlta—they provide anything you need, from steam to electricity to water treatment facilities. They’re all there in place already. The services are underground. If somebody wants to go in and only open up an operation for 40 or 50 people, that’s fine. They’ll provide every-thing up to human resources, security—whatever you need, you can buy from them.

That’s something that we piloted in Sarnia–Lambton, because we’ve seen over, say, the last 20 years, that our workforce had shrunk as businesses pulled back, especially in the 1980s. I was in the industry at the time, and in the 1990s. Anyway, that’s worked very well there. We intend to see and work with those employers, the labour movement, the research park and the college to continue that kind of work.

Ontario being open for business, as we talked about in the election a lot—that, to me, is a good example. In Sarnia–Lambton, Ontario is open for business. We’re going to stabilize hydro bills and cut job-killing red tape. My colleague talked about a lot of red tape that he’s seen in the tourism industry; I certainly have seen a lot of it in the industrial in our area, whether it’s the college of trades, going in and impacting work schedules—we’re going to take another look at that.

We want to restore accountability and trust through the commission of inquiry that’s going to do a line-by-line audit of government spending in order to end the culture of waste and mismanagement in government. Of course, we talked a lot about ending hospital wait times and ending hallway health care by creating those 15,000 new long-term-care beds over the next five years and adding over $3.8 billion, in partnership with the federal government, for mental health and addictions and supportive housing.

I just spoke with the folks from Bluewater Health the other day. We’ve got seven mental health care beds in place right now that are in line to get the funding to establish a minimum of 24 beds for people who have got mental health and addictions issues.

Those things are all positive things that are going on in Sarnia–Lambton. I see only better outcomes now that we’ve got a government that’s going to listen to those people involved back in Sarnia–Lambton. I found the ministers to be very receptive. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a number of them on different issues, whether it’s health care, whether it’s infrastructure or whether it’s agriculture or municipal affairs. I haven’t worked my way through all of them yet; I’m going to get to labour before I’m done.

Hon. Monte McNaughton: Colleges and universities.

Mr. Robert Bailey: Colleges and universities, yes. I don’t see the minister here right now.

It’s been very interesting, what’s going forward. We’ve got a change in government; we’ve got a change in attitude. As we’ve said numerous times in this House, I think what we have done for the people of Ontario and for the people of my riding as well is that we have made a number of commitments, so we’re able to say, “Promise made, promise kept.”

With that, I’d like to close my remarks and say what a pleasure it is again to stand and speak in this House. It’s an honour and a privilege to represent the people of Sarnia–Lambton here. I’m going into my 12th year here. I never take it for granted; I always appreciate it.

Again, Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to rise today to speak to this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Ms. Sandy Shaw: It is an honour to rise today. I also want to say how proud I am to represent my riding of Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas.

I would also like to acknowledge the member from Flamborough–Glanbrook. I’ve known you for many years, but it was very interesting to hear your story this morning. Thank you for sharing that with me.

I rise to speak to the motion today. This government talks a lot about priorities and about knocking on doors. I, too, as have all the members in this House, knocked on tens of thousands of doors during the campaign, and I heard priorities, too. Unfortunately, I don’t see the priorities that I heard reflected in what the government has been putting forward in the last few weeks of this House.

Specifically in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, we have a lot of health care services. We have Hamilton Health Sciences, which is a teaching hospital, we also have St. Joseph’s hospital, and we have, with McMaster University, a substantial school of nursing as well. So we know health care in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas.

This issue of hallway medicine and health care that’s collapsing is an issue that is very near and dear to the hearts of everyone in Ontario, particularly in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas. We do hear many stories of hallway medicine and how it’s affecting people’s lives.

I would say that I also share a personal story regarding this. My father had a stroke and, happily, he’s quite recovered; but during that time, he spent four days and nights in a hallway in a hospital while he was trying to recover from that incident. The front-line workers, the paramedics—everyone was phenomenal and did their best to look after my father in this instance, but they were working in a substandard environment. It’s something we’ve been talking about and talking about, and the time for talk is over. We need action and we need action now, because this continues to go on.

In fact, in Hamilton, there have been many, many instances of what we call code zero events. These code zero events are specific outcomes of a health care system that is in crisis. Really, a code zero event means that at any given time, if you call for an ambulance to take you to the hospital for an emergency, there are no ambulances available to serve you. So you can call for an ambulance, but there is not one available.

Health care is a system—a broken system, if you will, but it is a system. When an ambulance gets to an emergency, they need to offload their patients before they can be back on the road. When that emergency room is filled, patients cannot be offloaded. Sometimes in Hamilton, we’ve seen as many as seven or eight ambulances lined up in the driveway of the emerg, trying to offload their patients. Why can’t they get those patients off? Because emerg is overflowing, and the people in emergency can’t get up to the wards because the wards are overcrowded.

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People talk about beds. It’s not just about beds. We’re talking about the people and the staff: the nurses, the support staff we need to attend those beds. They are not available. When people are in the wards, they cannot get discharged. And why is that? Because the system con-tinues to be broken. They can’t get discharged because they shouldn’t be there. This is about alternative level of care. What that means is, if you are in a ward in a hospital, perhaps you need now to go to long-term care—and that’s a whole other system that needs to be addressed. There are no beds available. There’s a huge waiting list for people to go into long-term care. They stay in hospitals when they shouldn’t be there.

There are instances where people can’t get discharged to their homes because they don’t have support services and they don’t have the personal support workers available so that they can be reasonably and responsibly dis-charged into their homes.

There are also instances where people are literally homeless. They don’t have anywhere to go. There’s not affordable housing, and they don’t have anywhere to go. Hospitals have become a refuge of last resort for some of the many social problems that we need to be addressing and we need to be supporting. That should be a priority for this government.

In Hamilton, the impact of code zero has been fatal, in fact. We had a grandmother who called for an ambulance in Hamilton while she was suffering from a heart attack. She called for an ambulance and the ambulance did not arrive. She waited up to an hour for the ambulance to ar-rive and she died before the ambulance got there. There’s an inquiry going on right now into this incident, but this is a perfect example of why we need to be addressing this issue of hallway health care and we need to be doing it immediately. We know that this is a crisis, and there don’t need to be further studies, further delays. We need to be addressing this right away.

In fact, an example of how this continues to linger and is not being dealt with is what we had in the hospital in Sudbury. Currently, it has had layoffs. They’re laying off nurses at a time when what we need is nurses. But this is a budgetary crisis and this needs to be addressed as soon as possible so that we can ensure—not just in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas—that all people in Ontario, that all the grandmothers in the world, when they call for an ambulance, they can be assured that they will get to the hospital and get the treatment they need to save their lives. In a place like Ontario, there’s no excuse for this. We have the resources, we have the training and we have the equipment. We just need to make sure that we are budgeting this correctly.

The second priority that I heard clearly—and we’ve talked about this in the House quite a bit—is the hydro crisis. I heard loud and clear from the residents of Hamilton that they were, at the very least, disappointed with the previous government. I heard that they were angry that our publicly funded hydro system had been sold off. In fact, this is the bricks and mortar of our community that was bought and paid for by hard-working taxpayers like our parents and our grandparents. We built this public hydro system that was the envy of the developed world. It has been credited with being the system that allowed Ontario to be the kind of manufacturing centre that it is known around the world for. The selling-off and privatizing of hydro is something that we are still continuing to suffer the impacts of—not just industry, not just small business, but clearly people who are just trying to heat their homes. We hear quite often people saying, “We have to make the choice between heating and eating.” That is quite literally a problem for the people in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, and we hear those stories all across Ontario.

This government keeps talking about fixing the hydro mess. But I would suggest that this hydro mess is just getting messier. The small step that this government has purported to make: firing the CEO of Hydro One, Mayo Schmidt, and allowing him to walk away with—some say $9 million; the member from Ottawa Centre said it could be up to $11 million in incentives. It’s kind of a flam-boyant—

Mr. Wayne Gates: He feels our pain.

Ms. Sandy Shaw: He feels our pain. Not in his wallet, but he feels our pain.

Mr. Guy Bourgouin: That’s good pain.

Ms. Sandy Shaw: It’s good pain.

But really, when it comes right down to it, it is not going to fix the hydro mess. It, in fact, is just a flam-boyant gesture that has not got anything to do with rolling up our sleeves and addressing why that hydro system is a mess.

Currently, this government purports not to change anything that the previous Liberal government did. This hydro privatization started with the Conservatives under Harris. In fact, Mike Harris is on record as saying that the only regret he had during his tenure was that he didn’t complete the sell-off of Hydro One. So the privatization of Hydro One is a complete Conservative fait accompli, and now that they are in government again—and they railed against this hydro mess—they have no intention to undo or change anything that the Mike Harris regime, the Dalton McGuinty regime or the Kathleen Wynne regime had done. They’re going to leave the hydro borrowing schemes in place.

The very fact that there is such a profit motive in the hydro system is precisely why people have these sky-rocketing rates. It’s one thing to talk about wanting to save the little guy money, but really, you need to look at the core of why the hydro system as we have it now is failing individual Ontarians. It is that we have introduced profit into the system. We have a system that used to be public, that used to work in the best interests of Ontarians—individuals, small business and corporations—but now it works in the best interests of a select group of shareholders.

I would suggest that the actions of this government aren’t making those shareholders particularly happy. It has recently been reported that even the US regulators are concerned with the action that this government has taken. The firing of Mayo Schmidt and the firing of the board has caused some of the regulators in the States who have an investment in Avista—they’re quite concerned that this action will raise the rates because of the way that we’re handling this file. If you are a shareholder—a private shareholder or a corporate shareholder—you will have seen that the share value has depleted, has gone down, has decreased since this government has taken those actions.

This government is purporting to fix the hydro mess. In my opinion, and I believe this opinion may be shared by my caucus, this file is only going to get messier, not better. Punting the borrowing scheme and punting the increases down the road to another government or another generation is precisely what the Liberal government had done—

Interjection.

Ms. Sandy Shaw: Absolutely, and this government has no intention to change that.

I think eventually people in my riding of Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas—they see through this. They see through the theatre of what this government has done and they realize that nothing of substance has changed to ensure that the hydro file and their bills will be affordable for years to come.

The last thing I want to address and which was a priority for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas is the issue of social assistance. Hamilton has a significant poverty issue, as many communities in Ontario have and as in-creasingly, unfortunately, is the case. The previous Liberal government initiated what was called the Basic Income Pilot, and one of the locations of this pilot was in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, the city of Hamilton.

This government, during its campaign, actually promised to continue this pilot. Many of the people in my riding were reassured that they would be able to continue on the path that this Basic Income Pilot had put them on. For those of you who are not aware, most of the people who were registered and enrolled in this Basic Income Pilot were, in fact, in the workforce. They were working low-wage, part-time jobs, or they could have been working full-time at a minimum wage, which still kept them way below the poverty line.

There are many, many examples that I know of per-sonally in Hamilton where people made decisions based on a promise that this government would continue this Basic Income Pilot. A woman I know had a minimum wage job, but she decided once she was enrolled in this Basic Income Pilot that she was going to go back to school. She was going to go back and complete her degree at Mohawk College. She quit her job and was enrolled to go back to school in September. Now she’s in a position where she does not have a job, because she quit that job on a promise that this income would continue—and she can no longer go to school. Throwing this woman out like this, her hopes and her ambition, is irresponsible. Frankly, it’s just blatantly cruel. It is a cruelty that no government should be able to stand be-hind. This woman now has to go look for a job. It’s not even quite clear whether, in fact, she can get her money back from not being able to go to school. And the fact they were given less than a month’s notice is nothing but a callous, cruel gesture on the part of this government.

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For many years I worked for the Social Planning and Research Council and this is not a new issue. This Basic Income Pilot offered hope to people, not only to people who were living in poverty, but it offered hope to people who have worked their entire lives trying to come up with solutions to address the cycle of poverty and how they would break the cycle of poverty.

Hugh Segal, a respected Conservative senator, de-signed this program. He himself said that he is ashamed of the actions of this government because they did not even have the integrity to stand behind their promise that they would continue it. And they did not have the integrity to respect the research that has been done around the world, and to see this pilot through, to see how it could contribute to addressing and ending the cycle of poverty.

This government talks a lot about saving money. I would suggest that the costs that were already invested in this pilot project have gone to waste. We haven’t even taken the time to learn and to understand from the impacts of that pilot project.

I’ve worked with a gentleman by the name of Jeff Martin. He’s done extensive research on the basic income model. He recently published an article in Biz Magazine. It was called “Bridging the Gap.” I would suggest, if anyone on the other side of the aisle is actually interested in learning about this issue, this is a pretty great article to read, and you can judge the actions of your government through the lens of this article. I would actually suggest, as we are legislators and we are supposed to make wise decisions, the article in Biz Magazine might be some-thing you’d want to peruse.

Jeff Martin spent many years working with low-in-come people and he also, as part of his research, inter-viewed many basic income participants. Their stories are all compelling. They are not stories of people who do not have incentives to get back to work. They are not stories of people who are sitting on the welfare rolls. They are stories of people who are trying to improve their lives and trying to break the cycle.

There’s a woman named Jodi Dean, who has been a single mother for the past decade. She has three children; two of them have special needs. She said she had a job. She worked in an after-school program at St. Matthew’s House for many years until that program itself lost its funding. Then she started to work part time on a contract, which was essentially precarious work, the kind of work that we’re seeing that most people are engaged in. That’s the reason people are continuing to live in poverty.

One of her daughters has epilepsy and she couldn’t get her daughter into daycare; she was a special-needs client. So she decided that it was almost impossible for her to find decent work, and she was struggling for a very long time. Jodi said that when she was approved for the Basic Income Pilot—and she was among the first participants—her life was improved immediately. And some of the simple things that we all take for granted, like buying her daughter her first new winter coat in five years, was something that gave her the kind of dignity and the kind of security that many of us take for granted. It was also about the fresh avenue of opportunity that the Basic Income Pilot afforded her. She was going back to school and she was looking to complete her degree.

But pulling out the rug from underneath these Basic Income Pilot participants is nothing but an act of callous indifference. It’s left many of these participants devastated, not only emotionally and financially, but it leaves them with an uncertain future. These are people who made significant decisions. They made significant changes in their lives based on a promise that this pilot project would continue, based on good faith that they had trust in government, that they would keep their promises. The fact that this government says they’re going to push the pause button on this pilot project is nothing but a callous, indifferent comment that will be part of the legacy of this government.

We had visitors here in this Legislature from Hamilton who are determined to continue to fight. These are the brave folks who have managed to endure many years in a cycle of poverty. It’s my feeling that they’re not going to sit quietly and accept this abrupt and callous decision to end the Basic Income Pilot. So—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Thank you. I’m sorry, the time for debate has expired this morning.

Debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The time on the clock is such that we have to—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Point of order, the member for Ottawa Centre.

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): In order to make a point of order, you have to be in your own seat, and you’re not in your own seat.

We are in recess now until 10:30 this morning, when we’ll start up again with question period.

The House recessed from 1016 to 1030.

Introduction of Visitors

Mr. Wayne Gates: I’d like to welcome Shannon Mitchell, who is one of my staff from Niagara Falls, also her son, Owen Mitchell, who’s here as well, and auntie, Alyson Crawford. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Thornhill.

Mrs. Gila Martow: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It’s hard to hear sometimes with all the clapping.

I’m just so happy and excited to say that I have some friends here from Florida—my friend Eric Hersh, former commissioner and mayor of the city of Weston, and his wife, Laurie Hersh—and, of course, my very patient and understanding husband, Jeff Martow.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: It’s my pleasure to welcome the family of our page Ryan-Michael Harding. We have Karl-Scott Harding, Olympia Morfetas and his grand-parents Paula and James Harding. Just a note: James Harding, Ryan’s grandfather, is a retired chief of police for Halton Regional Police Service and was the Sergeant-at-Arms’ first and most revered chief of police. Thank you, and welcome.

Hon. John Yakabuski: I’d like to welcome to the gallery today Gord Rennie, who is working with us through the transition period, and also Lindsee Perkins, who is my new office manager. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Chris Glover: I’d like to welcome Dewan Afzal from ClimateFast in the members’ gallery today.

Mr. Stephen Crawford: I have the honour today of having four guests. I have two individuals that worked very diligently on my campaign in Oakville who are now staffers. I’d like to introduce Christopher Warren and Cameron Doherty. For those members that don’t know, I have two sets of identical twin girls. If I wasn’t in the chamber I think I’d be on a reality TV show. But I made it here, so I’m honoured to be here. I have my two older girls, Monica and Michelle, here as well.

Ms. Suze Morrison: I’d like to give a warm welcome to Susan Gapka, who has joined us in the members’ gallery. She’s a long-time trans activist in my riding of Toronto Centre. Welcome. Thank you for coming.

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: It’s my honour to welcome some guests to the west gallery today: from my riding of Scarborough–Guildwood, Jalani Groves; someone who came today to support my private member’s bill on ending gun violence, Fitzgerald Reid; and also Camesha Cox, who has worked with my constituency office over the last two years. Today is her last day, so I’d like to welcome her to Queen’s Park as well. Welcome.

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I’d like to welcome to the chamber my good friend Melissa Lantsman. Melissa has been an incredible supporter of our government and our Premier. She has done great work on behalf of the people of Ontario.

Mr. Bill Walker: Mr. Speaker, not to steal your thunder, but I’d like to introduce Norm Sterling, a former member who served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 2011, in the members’ gallery.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Welcome, Mr. Sterling.

Mr. Dave Smith: I’d like to introduce my constituency staff and my executive assistants. I have Julie Chatten as a constituency assistant. I have Emily McCullough as my EA, and Jordan Mercier, whose daughter I introduced two weeks ago, is also with us today.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: I’d like to introduce Danny Chang, who is with us here today. Danny is the vice-president of the University Students’ Council at Western, which is the best student experience in Ontario. He is also president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, representing over 100,000 students. Danny, thank you so much for your leadership. Welcome to the Legislature.

Hon. Rod Phillips: It’s my pleasure to welcome Jordan Sinder and Sarah Farb. They’re two CJPAC interns. It’s their first visit to the Legislature today.

Mr. Vincent Ke: I would like to welcome my campaign manager, Christina Liu. Additionally, I would also like to welcome my good friend, my university class-mate, Mr. Qide Chen and his lovely wife, Ye Min, and their daughters, Baihe and Helena. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Michael Parsa: This morning, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome and introduce the “incredible five” to this House. These individuals seemingly disguise themselves as regular everyday teenagers; however, one quick glimpse into my campaign and you would quickly see that they are anything but. Before they head off to bigger and better adventures, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Sevda, Deniz, Melani, Shayan and James. Thank you for all your help, and welcome to the Legislature.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: I want to introduce a wonderful friend of mine from North Bay: Lisa Rennie.

Ms. Donna Skelly: I would like to introduce two members of my very hard-working, dedicated staff: Christine Wood and Dan Muys.

Mr. David Piccini: I’d like to introduce a constituency assistant of mine. I’m pleased that I was able to tear him away from Boots and Hearts down to the Legislature today and would like to welcome him to Queen’s Park and to my staff: Michael Elliot, who is here from Norwood.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We welcome all the other visitors who are here today as well.

Oral Questions

Municipal elections

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My first question is for the Premier. With Bill 5, the Premier has rewritten the rules for Toronto’s municipal election, even though we are already halfway through the campaign. Why does the Premier think it is democratic to rip up election rules in the middle of a campaign?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: We’ve been talking about this over and over again. The Leader of the Opposition just doesn’t understand what the people want. The people want smaller government. They want lower taxes. They want lower hydro rates. They want to make sure that they have good-paying jobs, and they want a city of Toronto that is functional, a city of Toronto that can build transit.

The Scarborough subway has been switched eight times. The people of Scarborough are suffering. They’re suffering because there is a two-tiered transit system: one for one part of the city and then one for our friends out in Scarborough. I can tell my friends in Scarborough, sub-ways are coming to Scarborough.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Members will please take their seats.

Restart the clock. Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Back to Bill 5, Speaker: Re-gardless of their politics, Toronto voters expect their election to follow the rules. The Premier can’t just rip up the election rule book in the middle of a campaign be-cause he wants a particular result. This isn’t a PC nomination contest where the leader can get away with break-ing his party rules so his favourite candidate wins.

Will the Premier withdraw Bill 5 and allow the Toronto election to proceed under the rules that were in place when the campaign officially began?

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Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: The council, without any consultation, went ahead and wanted to increase the number of politicians from 44 to 47—with zero consultation from the people.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order on the opposition side.

Hon. Doug Ford: My friends, they want an efficient government. As I’ve said over and over again, we have 25 MPs, 25 MPPs, and we’re going to have 25 councillors.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: That simply wasn’t the case, Speaker, but the Premier and his friends looked high and low for a candidate in Peel region to run against Patrick Brown. When they didn’t find the one he wanted, the Premier cancelled the election.

Now, let’s be honest about Bill 5: It’s about an in-secure and vindictive Premier looking to settle scores and control local democracy. Will the Premier just admit it and repeal Bill 5?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: The people in the regions around the GTA and southern Ontario want an efficient government. They don’t want layers and layers and layers. The mayor of Mississauga wrote numerous letters to the former Premier that were totally ignored. The city of Mississauga council voted unanimously to make sure that they don’t have another layer of government. People are sick and tired of politicians and layers of government wasting their money, not being efficient.

We’re going to respect the taxpayers and put money back into their pocket instead of a bunch of politicians’ pockets.

Curriculum

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier. Today, teachers, parents, students and other concerned groups will rally outside this building to protest the Premier’s scrapping of the 2015 sex education curriculum. This follows another massive rally on July 21, which was organized by high school students who do not want to start the school year with a sex ed curriculum that’s older than they are.

One organizer, 16-year-old Rayne Fisher-Quann, pointed out that the curriculum wasn’t just for her, but for the 284 boys on her Instagram block list who need this curriculum to teach them the meaning of the word “no.”

Will the Premier listen to teachers, to parents and to students like Rayne and keep the modern 2015 sex education curriculum in place?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: There was zero consultation; 1,668 people online after the curriculum was done. So the parents—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The opposition will come to order.

Hon. Doug Ford: The NDP believe the parents should have no say at all. They feel we should ram this bill through without any consultation whatsoever.

But what the Leader of the Opposition is missing, Mr. Speaker—I’m not too sure if she read the Globe and Mail today. The number one issue in the province is our children’s math scores. Grade 6 students are failing math.

We have some of the greatest teachers in the world right here in Ontario. They haven’t been given the tools to even learn math themselves. One third of teachers at teachers’ college have failed grade 6 and grade 7 math, because they are only getting 36 hours of teaching, compared to a teacher in Quebec—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Members will take their seats. Order.

Start the clock. Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The Premier’s backward move on sex ed will likely face a human rights challenge. This is because the Premier has put the interests of Tanya Granic Allen, Charles McVety and other radical social Conservatives—

Interjection: Boo!

Ms. Andrea Horwath: —ahead of LGBTQ kids and their families. I’m booing that as well. I agree. That’s a move that needs to be booed, Speaker.

Why has the Premier bowed to radical Conservatives like Charles McVety, and what message does this send to LGBTQ+ kids and to the schoolyard bullies who want to harass and hurt them?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: We’re going to have the largest consultation right across this province. In all 124 ridings, we’re going to do something that the NDP doesn’t believe in. We’re going to consult with parents, we’re going to consult with teachers and we’re going to consult with experts. We’re going to get the parents’ opinion, and from there we’re going to move forward.

But what’s more concerning is that they just want to ignore—they don’t care about our kids, grade 6 math students who are failing—50% of them are failing. They don’t worry about those kids.

They don’t care about the teachers. They don’t worry that they’re only getting 36 hours of teaching at teachers’ college. We’re going to give the teachers the tools they need to be better math teachers than what they have right now.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Order.

Start the clock. Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, if they have been raped or bullied, math won’t matter very much to them, will it?

Again, this Premier’s diatribe is not the case. It is unconscionable to erase the LGBTQ+ kids and their families, as well as—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government side will come to order.

Hon. John Yakabuski: Get a grip. Get a grip.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of Transportation will come to order.

I apologize to the Leader of the Opposition. She’ll put her question.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: —as well as consent and on-line safety from the school curriculum just to appease his radical conservative allies—

Interjections.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: A number of them sit in this House, apparently.

Sex ed saves lives. Sex ed helps keep kids safe. The health and safety of children comes before the wishes of the Premier’s radical friends, or at least it should.

Will the Premier listen to Ontario’s parents, teachers, students and health care professionals and say no to transphobia, homophobia, sexual violence and ignorance, and make sure LGBTQ+ kids and families as well as consent and online safety are included in the school curriculum this year?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: The NDP leader, the Leader of the Opposition—some of the comments she said were outrageous, but I’m going to ig-nore those outrageous comments. We’re going to focus on what matters to parents, and what matters to parents is that their kids start passing math. That’s what matters to parents.

Again, we have the greatest teachers around, but one third of the teachers who are teaching our students are failing grade 6 and grade 7 math. How can you teach your students when one third of the teachers are failing math? I can assure you, we will give them the tools and we will give them the hours they need in teachers’ college to be able to teach our kids, to make sure our grade 6 students are at the highest level in the country.

Opioid abuse

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My final question of my questions is actually to the Premier as well, but I can assure all of us in this chamber that we certainly do know who and what is outrageous around here.

The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care made some very confusing remarks yesterday. She agreed that overdose prevention sites save lives, but then she refused to open new sites and even said she might close down existing sites.

Why would the Premier close down overdose prevention sites if his minister agrees that they save lives?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Social Services.

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Thank you to the member for the question, and thank you to the Premier for the referral.

The Minister of Health was clear yesterday that this government is committed to fighting the opioid crisis that has been allowed to fester for too long in the province of Ontario. We are going to get people who are struggling the help for their addictions that they need. We are reviewing the latest data. She was very clear that the evidence, current supervised injection sites and overdose prevention site models will be looked at, but in the com-ing weeks we will also be speaking and consulting with experts and reviewing reports from organizations to en-sure that people struggling with an addiction get the help that they need.

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This side of the House—and that side of the House, by the way; there are so many of us here—have been very strong and committed to ensuring that we fight this opioid crisis and that we invest $3.9 billion into mental health, addictions and housing support in the province of Ontario.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Members will take their seats. Start the clock.

Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, you don’t fight an opioid crisis by cutting the mental health and addictions funding by $330 million a year. That’s not how you fight an opioid addiction crisis. In fact, it is a public health emergency.

Overdose prevention sites have already been reviewed and reviewed and reviewed. The overwhelming con-sensus of medical experts says that they save lives. Yesterday the minister agreed that they save lives, but instead of opening more sites and saving more lives, she wants even more review.

Will the Premier just admit that the only purpose of this so-called review is to fabricate an excuse to shut down these life-saving overdose prevention sites?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I’ll withdraw, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Response? Minister?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: This member opposite knows that there has not been one person in this Legislature in the past 12 years who has spoken more about the opioid crisis than this member, this minister right here, and that is a fact. There has not been one person who has called on the previous administration to initiate a task force as much as this member has right here.

I will stand in my place and I will defend the Minister of Health for her compassionate commitment to this issue. We know, as members of this government, that we are going to continue to work with our experts. We are going to continue to work with organizations to make sure that we are rehabilitating people in the best possible way that we most certainly can. We are currently re-viewing the latest data. They may not like that, but that’s the case. We are looking at evidence-based models, and we are looking at supervised injection site and overdose prevention site models.

But let me be perfectly clear: When that member and her party suggest that we’re cutting mental health money, they’re wrong. They’re not telling the truth.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I ask the minister to withdraw.

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Withdraw.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The House will come to order.

Next question?

Municipal elections

Miss Christina Maria Mitas: My question is to the stellar Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Our government for the people believes in standing up for the taxpayer by fixing government so that it works for them, unlike the NDP, who believe in a socialist government that works for them and their friends. The people told us that they want a government that costs less and makes quick decisions that address the problems they face in their daily lives.

The people of Scarborough Centre, for example, have faced transportation issues for years thanks to the shenanigans at city hall. They have seen the Scarborough subway reality get pushed further and further back. But the people of Scarborough Centre can finally rest assured that their voices will be heard, and we are bringing them the much-needed Scarborough subway extension. This is because we understand that a fundamental part of democracy is that everyone’s vote should carry weight.

Minister, can you explain how we’re not only reducing the size and cost of Toronto council, but making it more fair to voters across the GTA?

Hon. Steve Clark: I want to thank the member for Scarborough Centre for the question, and for the kind words as well. The problem with big government is that it only works for the politicians. The 47-ward system the NDP defends is wrong. It costs more and it creates more dysfunction. But it also wasn’t fair, because large variances in ward population meant that over one million Torontonians’ votes would count for less. One OMB member who heard the appeal said, “Such variances do not meet the conditions of effective representation.”

Speaker, members of this House can give all Toronto residents the effective representation they deserve by supporting Bill 5. I again call on the opposition to support what we’re doing. It’s good for the city of Toronto.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Miss Christina Maria Mitas: Thank you, Minister. I would also like to see the opposition put the people ahead of politicians for once, but based on their behaviour and questions, I think I’m going to be disappointed for the next four years.

To ensure Toronto has a fair election on October 22, all they have to do is support our legislation. I can’t think of anything more anti-democratic than refusing to fix a system that is so obviously imbalanced. If we do not act now, not only will one million people’s votes count for less on election day, but their voices will carry less weight on every council decision that is made from thereon in.

Can the minister explain why it is so imperative that Bill 5 pass in time for the upcoming election?

Hon. Steve Clark: Again, I want to thank the member for the question. Unlike the opposition, we refuse to let democracy take a back seat to keep a bunch of incumbent councillors on the payroll. We can create voter parity now, not eight, 12, or 16 or more years down the road. We can adopt those 25 boundaries that Toronto uses for federal and provincial elections.

An OMB member who heard the boundary review appeal said that this model “would result in a fair election in 2018” and “provide the basis for future elections that are fair.”

We’ll know very soon where the NDP will land on this. Do they stand up for a fairer election and effective representation or are they going to stand with their political friends in the NDP at city hall?

Curriculum

Ms. Marit Stiles: My question is for the Premier. Outside this building today, thousands and thousands of people are marching with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, representing 83,000 teachers from across Ontario. These are educators, health experts and human rights advocates, many of them parents and grandparents themselves.

They’re calling on this government to act in the best interests of Ontario students and keep the modernized sexual education curriculum. They’ve seen first-hand how crucial it is to keeping students safe and helping them learn. As our leader said, if you’re being bullied or harassed, you’re not thinking about math in the class-room.

Will the Premier listen to reason and keep the modernized curriculum in classes throughout the consultation this September: Yes or no?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Education.

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you very much, Premier. Speaker, through you to the member opposite: I would just like to share with you that we are listening to thousands and thousands of parents across this province. We have made it very clear that we’re going to respect their right to be heard.

I am so looking forward to kicking off this comprehensive consultation that will allow every person who wants to have their voice heard to have an open door to our ministry to help shape the manner in which we go forward with the health and physical education curriculum.

I have to tell you, in tandem with this, as teachers go back to the classroom, I have every confidence in their ability, as they work through their classroom and get to know their students, to use the curriculum that was last used in 2014. I believe in our teachers in Ontario and I believe they will do a great job utilizing the curriculum that was last used in—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

Restart the clock. Supplementary?

Ms. Marit Stiles: Mr. Speaker, it is shocking to hear the minister respond like that, as if nothing is happening out there. In what, two weeks, students are back in the classroom. Teachers don’t actually even have a clear directive to the board from this government to know what they’re supposed to be teaching.

You know what? We are not that stupid as people of this province, believe it or not. We understand that the 2014 curriculum is actually the 1998 curriculum, which was created before the students who are in classrooms right now were even born.

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What does the Premier—the Premier—have to say to the teachers of Ontario who, unlike himself, refuse to compromise the safety and well-being of Ontario students and who will continue to keep teaching the modernized 2015 curriculum come Labour Day?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you very much, Speaker. I have to share with you and remind the opposition party that so many people are lining up in support of us.

For instance, yesterday, I shared that former Liberal House leader John Milloy thinks that the Liberals got it wrong. We all know where the former deputy leader stands on this as well.

I’d just like to share with you that on durhamregion.com, an actual teacher said—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Premier will please come to order. The member for Waterloo will please come to order. We’re in question period. Everybody has a chance to raise questions.

The Minister of Education can finish.

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: As I said, people are lining up in support. For instance, there was a letter to the editor in the Pickering News from a teacher that said, “The notion of consent/refusal is not an innovation of the Wynne government or of the McGuinty government.”

Speaker, I have to tell you that people understand what we mean. Teachers embrace the ability to teach their students based on the 2014 curriculum. We’re going to focus on supporting our teachers, giving them tools and ensuring that we focus as well on the needs, such as—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. The members will please take their seats.

Start the clock. Next question.

Ontario history

Ms. Lindsey Park: My question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Yesterday, the minister told us about our government House leader’s offer to make a home for the city of Victoria’s statue of Sir John A. Macdonald. This was after Victoria decided to tear it down and attempt to erase our history. While the city refused the offer, I’m glad to see our government is taking steps to preserve the monuments of those who had a hand in building our country.

Can the minister tell us the government’s plans to ensure that Ontarians are taught about the history of our great province and country?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Thank you to the member for Durham for this important question. As I outlined yester-day, history is complicated. There are historical figures who served in this House from across the political spectrum, frankly, whose views would not be viewed very appreciatively now.

We cannot let extreme political correctness dictate what people can learn and see in our communities. Using that logic, there would not be a museum open in the province of Ontario today.

Our government provides support and program fund-ing to teach the unique and complex history that has shaped this country and province we know. The most important thing we can do to ensure that future generations learn about the contributions made by our historical figures throughout Canada’s history—flaws and all—is to make sure people understand and learn from them.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Ms. Lindsey Park: Through you, Mr. Speaker: Thank you to the minister for that answer. I agree that while many of our historical figures were not perfect, we must examine them through a lens that recognizes they lived in vastly different times.

Sir John A. Macdonald is an important historical figure. He was also the founding father of our country. Instead of condemning his statue to collect dust in storage, people should be able to learn about his life and contributions to Canada and Ontario.

What is our government doing to make sure that people can learn about the waves of Ontario’s history?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Thank you again to the member from Durham. Our government has several initiatives that allow for Ontarians to learn about figures like Sir John A. Macdonald, John Graves Simcoe and Joseph Brant, along with many other important historical figures. Our ministry oversees the curation and preservation of statues and monuments throughout Ontario—and a future monument honouring veterans of the war in Afghanistan that was announced by Premier Ford in June.

Our ministry also operates interpretive historic sites throughout Ontario, like Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Midland and Fort Henry in Kingston as well as supporting museums like the ROM down the street.

We understand the important role that history plays and the sites and statues that contribute to our history. It’s important that we understand the historic and complex part of what history—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The House will come to order. Stop the clock.

Start the clock. Next question.

Indigenous affairs

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Remarks in Oji-Cree.

This question is to the Premier. Last week, I asked the Minister of Indigenous Affairs about what his government was doing to clean up Grassy Narrows and also Wabaseemoong First Nations of the mercury contamination in the river system. One of the things that he said was that he met with senior officials in his ministry about this important issue.

Will the minister provide the details of what was discussed with the senior staff in those briefings?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Rod Phillips: Through you, Mr. Speaker: Thanks to the member for the question.

Of course, I’m not the minister, so I won’t be able to report specifically on those conversations, but as you would know, the government is committed to the clean-up of the area. The leakage from the Dryden plant, which goes back many, many years, and the concerns about ongoing leakage are the subject of what my ministry, the Ministry of the Environment, is looking at currently; $85 million dollars has been set aside in a trust. That is in discussion now with a tripartite group, which includes both First Nations, in terms of the best application of that.

I’ll be pleased to continue to report to the House and to the member about the progress in that regard.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Again, a question to the Premier: I ask because Chief Rudy Turtle from Grassy Narrows indicated to me that there has been no outreach whatso-ever since the election of this government.

Yet yesterday, we learned about how this government fired off a letter to the city of Victoria council, offering to take the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald off of the city’s hands in very short order after the city decided to take down the statue. This government was quick to act for the statue from BC but so far hasn’t demonstrated a commitment to reconciliation with our people, First Nations people, here in Ontario.

My question is: In today’s era of reconciliation, which First Nations leaders did this government consult with about this matter that will affect the relationship between peoples before acting quickly on behalf of the statue?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.

Response?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member: As I mentioned and as I’m sure he knows, the English and Wabigoon Rivers Remediation Trust, which was established in 2018 with $85 million, is a tripartite discussion.

You have my commitment in terms of a reach-out, and we will obviously be working at my level but probably more importantly at the officials’ level in terms of con-versations with the groups involved. It’s an important, long-standing issue, and you have the commitment of the government that we’ll continue to work with the First Nations involved.

Government spending

Mr. Mike Schreiner: My question is for the Premier. From ripping up business contracts to forcing a Human Rights Tribunal complaint by throwing out the modern sex ed curriculum to a hopeless lawsuit against the federal government’s plan to make polluters pay, the Premier seems to be running an employment agency for lawyers. As a matter of fact, the Premier will spend more money suing the federal government in the next few months than he supposedly will save over the next four years by undermining local democracy in Toronto.

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Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier: Why is the Premier wasting taxpayer dollars on lawyers instead of spending it on services that benefit the people?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, I know he has a deep, deep interest in and understanding of this issue. As we’ve said before in this House, we got a very clear mandate. People were very clear about the cap-and-trade system. They were very clear as well about the carbon tax and what the carbon tax will mean to Ontario families. Getting rid of cap-and-trade will mean $260 per family per year. Reducing gas prices by 10 cents, which is part of that program, will mean 14,000 jobs for Ontario. These are important things that Ontario families and Ontarians care about.

I will repeat: We will take all of the steps necessary, including using the courts, to defend Ontario’s interests, defend Ontario families and defend Ontario jobs, and to put money back in the pockets of Ontarians.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Mr. Speaker, my question was about wasting money on lawyers, not necessarily about carbon taxes. But if the minister wants to talk about climate change, then I think the minister owes the people of Ontario an explanation of why they are spending $30 million to fight climate action at a time when we have spent $696 million in insurable losses due to extreme weather events in the first half of this year alone. Climate change is nature’s tax on everything; even insurance brokers understand that.

So I ask again, through you, Speaker, to the minister: Why is the government opposite choosing to spend money on lawyers instead of solutions for the people of Ontario?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member—and again, I recognize his interest and passion about this issue. But we’re passionate as well about not just the environment but the economy. When it comes to the environment, this government will do what’s necessary: a plan that works, not a plan that sounds good; a plan that will actually make a difference for the environment, improve conservation, improve the environment and improve air quality.

But when it comes to protecting taxpayers and protecting Ontarians’ pocketbooks, we’ll do that as well, and we’ll take whatever steps are required, including the courts. We will not see the federal government overstep its bounds and tax Ontarians unfairly. We will do what it takes to stop a carbon tax in Ontario.

Cannabis regulation

Ms. Jane McKenna: My question is to the Minister of Finance. Minister, yesterday, you and the Attorney General announced the government’s plan to prepare Ontario for cannabis legislation in October. I was pleased to see our government is making the safety of our children and youth our top priority. There is no question that we must have the best interests of Ontario’s children and youth top of mind, and I’m not the only one who agrees.

Yesterday, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a statement supporting the government’s commitment to develop a private retail model. The chamber said that they “would like to stress that safety and social responsibility must be the first and overwhelming priorities of any distribution system.” I wholeheartedly agree.

Minister, could you please explain to this House how yesterday’s announcement on cannabis retail and distribution will ensure the safety of Ontario’s children and youth?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you to the member from Burlington for the question. The member is right, Speaker. It was our responsibility to develop a retail and distribution system that protects youth and combats the illegal market. That is exactly what we are proposing.

On October 17, the Ontario Cannabis Store retail website will provide a safe, secure and reliable outlet for consumers aged 19 and over to purchase cannabis. A verification system will ensure that nobody under the age of 19 will be able to purchase cannabis.

At the same time, we are beginning consultations with stakeholders across the province to determine the best and the safest way to proceed with a privatized retail system. Speaker, we will consult with municipalities, Indigenous communities, law enforcement, public health officials and businesses to determine the best path for-ward. Again, our retail—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Supplementary?

Ms. Jane McKenna: Thank you for your thoughtful response, Minister. As I’m sure all members will agree, it’s important that the requirements to legalize cannabis are met safely and responsibly. I am happy to hear this is exactly what we will be doing.

Although I am confident our approach will not tolerate anybody sharing, selling or providing cannabis to children, I am concerned about players in this illegal market continuing to target our children and youth. Minister, can you please provide more information on how the government’s plan will combat the illegal market?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you again for the question. As I said earlier, protecting our youth and combatting illegal markets are our top concerns. Currently, there is no legal way to access recreational cannabis anywhere in Canada. The illegal market is driven by a small number of users. Ontario government research has previously found that 70% of those users prefer a private retail model for cannabis distribution.

With this in mind, the private retail model, then, is the best way to drive people away from the illegal market. By consulting with municipalities, Indigenous communities, law enforcement, public health officials and businesses, we will develop a plan for the private retail of cannabis which will make the illegal cannabis market unsustainable. Make no mistake: Nobody under the age of 19 will have access.

Carding / Fichage aléatoire

Mr. Kevin Yarde: My question is to the Premier. Last week, I introduced a motion that would ban carding once and for all in the province. The Minister of Community Safety’s reply was to say, “We will not be bringing back carding.”

Of course, you can’t bring back what never went away. Carding, or street checks, was regulated but not banned.

Est-ce que le premier ministre peut nous garantir qu’il va bannir le cardage et les vérifications dans la rue?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Community Safety.

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Thank you for that question. As we’ve stated in the past, public safety is of utmost concern to all of us in the province and especially in this government. The Premier has been very clear on this matter, that we’re not bringing back carding. I believe in giving our law enforcement officers the tools to get the job done, and with the announcement last week of the $25 million, I think we are moving in that direction.

I will listen to our front-line officers about the resources they need and I will make sure that we’re working with communities to ensure that we’re building trust between our police and the communities that they serve. Mr. Speaker, our government continues to be for the people and committed to enhancing and ensuring that public safety for all Ontarians is of utmost concern.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Kevin Yarde: That wasn’t my question, but I will say it in English for him this time. This one is a two-part question.

Will the Premier please tell this House what, to him, is the difference between carding and street checks? That’s the first part. The second part: Will he ban the use of carding and street checks, as well as commit today to order the destruction of records obtained through street checks and carding?

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Again, Mr. Speaker, our message has been clear: We’re not bringing back carding. Public safety is of utmost importance to us and we will continue working to ensure our front-line officers have the tools and resources they so desperately need to do their jobs.

Our government has kept its promise by taking the vital first step towards tackling the problem of gun and gang violence in the city of Toronto. We will continue meeting with our community partners and public safety people in the coming weeks to identify what other steps we have to take. The program’s initiatives and strategies will be announced so that we can ensure public safety throughout this great province.

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Réglementation du cannabis / Cannabis regulation

Mme Natalia Kusendova: Ma question s’adresse à la procureure générale.

Hier, la procureure et le ministre des Finances ont annoncé que l’Ontario entamera un processus de consultation qui éclairera le gouvernement sur la possibilité de créer un modèle de vente de cannabis au détail pour la consommation à des fins récréatives en Ontario. Je sais que les municipalités, les organismes de maintien de l’ordre, les entreprises et les collectivités autochtones auront beaucoup à apporter à ces conversations, et j’ai été ravie d’apprendre que le gouvernement va s’entretenir avec eux.

Monsieur le Président, j’ai également été ravie d’apprendre que le principe directeur de ces consultations sera la sécurité de nos enfants et de nos jeunes. C’est pourquoi je souhaite inviter la procureure générale à partager avec nous les plans du gouvernement visant à assurer la sécurité des enfants et des jeunes.

L’hon. Caroline Mulroney: Je tiens à remercier la députée pour sa question. Je veux commencer par dire que la députée a tout à fait raison. La priorité numéro un de notre gouvernement dans le cadre de la légalisation du cannabis le 17 octobre prochain est de veiller à la sécurité de nos enfants. Nous présentons un certain nombre de mesures afin de la garantir.

Pour pouvoir acheter, consommer ou posséder du cannabis, les Ontariens et Ontariennes devront être âgés de 19 ans ou plus. Si ces règles sont enfreintes, la police, les procureurs et les tribunaux pourront orienter les jeunes vers des programmes de prévention et d’éducation afin de les tenir à l’écart du système judiciaire. Dans les magasins, les produits ne pourront être visibles aux enfants et devront être vendus au comptoir. Les promotions ne pourront être attrayantes aux jeunes, et les commandites et les endossements ne seront pas autorisés.

Permettez-moi d’être très claire, monsieur le Président, notre gouvernement ne tolérera jamais que quiconque offre ou vende du cannabis à des personnes de moins de 19 ans, ou leur en fournisse de quelque manière que ce soit.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mme Natalia Kusendova: Merci à la procureure générale pour sa réponse. Monsieur le Président, je sais que de nombreux parents de ma circonscription de Mississauga-Centre et de tout l’Ontario seront heureux de savoir que le gouvernement prend la sécurité de leurs enfants au sérieux. Il ne fait aucun doute que ce dossier doit être traité de manière responsable et je sais que le gouvernement travaille fort pour que l’Ontario soit prêt pour la légalisation de la consommation du cannabis à des fins récréatives ce 17 octobre.

Monsieur le Président, je sais aussi que beaucoup de gens se demandent des questions sur l’impact de la légalisation sur la sécurité routière. La ministre pourrait-elle nous expliquer plus en détail ce que le gouvernement compte faire pour lutter contre la conduite avec facultés affaiblies?

L’hon. Caroline Mulroney: Le 1er juillet dernier, l’Ontario a adopté des lois encore plus rigoureuses en matière de conduite avec facultés affaiblies par la drogue, notamment une politique de tolérance zéro pour les jeunes conducteurs, les conducteurs novices et les conducteurs de véhicules utilitaires aux facultés affaiblies. Les forces de l’ordre disposeront des outils et des ressources dont elles auront besoin pour veiller à ce que les lois en matière de sécurité routière soient appliquées.

À compter du 1er janvier prochain, l’Ontario imposera également des sanctions plus strictes en cas de conduite avec facultés affaiblies, notamment des amendes plus élevées, des suspensions de permis, l’installation éventuelle d’antidémarreurs, et des peines d’emprisonnement éventuelles en vertu du Code criminel fédéral.

Mr. Speaker, again, I cannot stress this enough: Our government’s top priority is ensuring that our kids are protected and our communities and our roads are safe.

Opioid abuse

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: My question is to the Premier. Safe injection sites save lives. There were over 1,200 Ontarians who overdosed last year. That’s 1,200 lives that could have been saved.

The Deputy Premier has already confirmed that no safe injection sites will be opened—despite the calls for new life-saving sites in communities like St. Catharines—but this government has also left the future of existing sites up in the air. Is this government planning on shutting down all safe injection sites in this province?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Community and Social Services.

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Thanks very much for the question. I appreciate the opportunity to respond on behalf of the Minister of Health. Let me be very clear: The super-vised injection site in London, Ontario, has been extended until September 30, so that the site can continue its work as we review the latest data, evidence and current models.

We want to look at the evidence to make sure that the continuation of any supervised injection site will be to the benefit of the people who we are here to serve and protect, and ensure they get on the right path. We want to make sure that we benefit all of the people, that we save lives and that we help to introduce people into rehabilitation.

In the coming weeks, we will also be speaking to and consulting with experts and reviewing reports from organizations to ensure that people struggling with addiction get the help that they need.

But let me be clear—let me be crystal clear—that the people on both sides of this House who represent the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario will stand for those—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Supplementary?

Mrs. Jennifer (Jennie) Stevens: Mr. Speaker, this government talks a big game about consultation when it suits them, but rides roughshod over the public’s input when they know they won’t get the answer they are looking for.

Public health experts, addiction counsellors and users have all said loud and clear that safe injection sites save lives. They are the best—I repeat, the best—way to connect users with the services they need to get their lives back on track.

Why won’t this government heed the advice of public health and addiction experts who can provide a huge, huge body of evidence in support of safe injection sites, including St. Catharines’?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Look, Speaker, the Minister of Health was abundantly clear yesterday that at this point in time, we are going to pause the three overdose prevention sites.

Interjections.

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: If the members opposite wanted to listen to the response, I’d be happy to provide it to them, but they don’t want to, because they have their own ideological way of doing things. They don’t want to talk about evidence, they don’t want to talk about research, they don’t want to talk about consultation, because they are so rigid and ideological.

We are going to review the latest data, the evidence and the current supervised injection sites and overdose prevention models. We want to look at the evidence to make sure that the continuation of any supervised in-jection sites is going to benefit people, that it’s going to save lives and get people back into rehabilitation. This side of the House and that side of the House want to make sure that we lift people up, that we get them back on track, that we make them healthy again, that we deal with their mental health and addiction challenges. Unfortunately, the other side doesn’t want to have that conversation.

Refugee and immigration policy

Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: My question today is for the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services with responsibility for immigration. Minister, I want to commend you for your input to the ad hoc federal committee on the border crisis. I want to use the word “crisis” with great confidence. I see it with my own eyes every night on the news, and I have read the Angus Reid polling results that say that a majority of Canadians see it that way.

I understand that you have once again provided the federal government with details on the $200-million bill that has resulted from federal inaction during the border crisis. I also understand that more federal ministers are being thrown at this problem, likely because they have made no progress in a year.

My question is related to the committee meeting. During the crisis committee meeting, did the five federal ministers assigned to this crisis provide you with any confidence that an end to this crisis is near?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Thanks very much for the question. It was very clear yesterday and for the last two months that we are dealing with a crisis at the border, particularly in Quebec, but also to a lesser extent in the province of Manitoba.

I am heartened that all provincial Premiers joined our Premier, Premier Ford, in saying that for any strain that we’re feeling in the provinces as a result of this crisis, the federal government should compensate us.

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Unfortunately, yesterday, when I attended the ad hoc meeting, not only did we have five ministers on that call, but it was really just about musical chairs more than getting any actual results of what’s happening at the border.

I am pleased to say that Quebec joined on with us yesterday in calling for additional compensation. This is rapidly becoming a half-a-billion-dollar crisis in the province of Ontario and the province of Quebec as a result of our social assistance costs, education costs, temporary shelter costs and Red Cross costs as well as legal aid costs.

I will speak more in the supplementary, but let me be perfectly clear: We on this side of the House stand with all of those Ontarians—Canadians—67% who agree with us.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: Thank you very much for that answer, Minister.

I am shocked that this crisis has been boiling for a year and just now the federal ministers have figured out that they have a real problem on their hands. Thank you for continuing to press this issue.

I, like you, think it’s good news that Minister Hussen has been removed from the committee. Hopefully, Ministers Blair and LeBlanc can bring solutions instead of rhetoric and name-calling.

I have a supplemental question for the minister, again focused on immigration: While the crisis at the border continues, federal inaction increases the wait time for refugee claimants. I read that it takes two years to process claims that should take two months. This leads me to believe that the crisis at the border with illegal border crossers is creating a crisis at the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Minister, does the flood of illegal border crossers cause a crisis at the Immigration and Refugee Board, and does that—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Response, Minister?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Of course, we do have a crisis at the border. It has cost our Ontario taxpayers $200 million and growing: $90 million in social assistance costs alone, $74 million in shelter accommodations in the city of Toronto alone and growing, $12 million and growing in the city of Ottawa as well as $3 million to the Red Cross, in addition to the children’s aid and legal aid support that we’re requiring.

I am happy to report that the federal government has removed the federal immigration minister from this so that we can have a more positive step forward, working with Ministers Blair and LeBlanc, who have both reached out to me right away.

But let me be perfectly clear: Federal inaction has caused delays and a strain on resources and decisions relating to legal immigration.

I would just like to point out that we are a welcoming and open society here in Ontario. I am proud that my ministry contributes $110 million in settlement funding for programs like language training. In addition, yester-day, I offered to encourage the federal government to provide us with 1,000 more economic immigrants than we normally have. It used to be 6,600; now it’s 7,600.

Climate change

Mr. John Vanthof: My question is to the Premier. Forbes published an article on the impact of this government’s wrong-headed decision to dismantle cap-and-trade. This is Forbes; not Ontario News Now, paid for by the PC taxpayer.

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Give him the two thumbs up on that one.

Mr. John Vanthof: I could give you a half-thumb, Lisa.

Forbes said: “By backsliding on climate, Ontario may have just cost businesses billions, added millions in consumer costs, eschewed thousands of jobs and muddied its investment outlook.”

Why is the Premier risking the health of our economy to stick to his radical climate-change-denying ideology?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Rod Phillips: It is something to hear our colleagues across quoting Forbes magazine, but good reading.

We’ve been clear, even the Auditor General was clear—let’s go back to that. The Auditor General was clear that cap-and-trade was going to cost $8 billion from Ontario families and have a minimal impact in terms of affecting GHG emissions.

This is a government that is committed to making a difference when it comes to climate, and we understand the problem. But we’re not going to do that with an in-effective system, regardless of what Forbes magazine says. We’re going to listen to the people of Ontario. We’re going to listen to the voters who gave us a mandate to come here to make sure that we have a solid environmental policy that makes a difference for this environment but that also protects Ontario families and puts, in this case, $260 back in their pocket every year.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. John Vanthof: At least Forbes publishes real news.

Cancelling cap-and-trade in the way this government decided to go about it has left Ontario vulnerable to multi-million-dollar lawsuits, every cent of which taxpayers will be on the hook for. This government decided to waste more money by spending $30 million to challenge the federal government in court. Again, it will be taxpayers picking up the tab, and after all those wasted millions, Ontario will be no closer to cleaner air and cleaner water than we are today. In fact, we will be worse off, losing thousands of green economy jobs and undermining investor confidence.

So I ask you: Why is this government’s climate-change-denying ideology more important than the health of our economy and our environment?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will take their seats.

Minister?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Again, hearing the NDP standing up for big business, standing up for the big oil companies—when they talk about dismantling the cap-and-trade program, they talk about $4 billion. Remember when we heard about that, Mr. Speaker, $4 billion in costs? But when we looked at it in a businesslike way, that included free credits. Would you like us to be paying for free credits? Would you like us to be paying the big oil companies for the credits they have? Would you like us to be paying polluters for the pollution they make? No.

We’ve taken an approach that makes sense, an approach that minimizes the effects on taxpayers, gets rid of an inefficient cap-and-trade program and puts the environment at the front of an agenda, but lets the economy also prosper, lets Ontario families also prosper. The era of the carbon tax is over, and no, we won’t be pandering to big business.

Community safety

Mr. Vincent Ke: My question is for the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. On Saturday, there was a daylight shooting in my riding of Don Valley North, here in the greater Toronto area. The Toronto Police Service reported that multiple shots were heard, vehicles were damaged and shell casings were found in the area. In this violent incident, two people were shot and are currently being treated for their injuries.

Mr. Speaker, my question is, what is our government doing to address this senseless violence in my riding of Don Valley North?

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: I thank the member for Don Valley North for the question. As I’ve stated previously, public safety is of paramount importance to our government. Today there are too many people in too many neighbourhoods who continue living in fear due to the threats imposed by guns and gang violence.

The time for talk is over. Our government is listening to our front-line officers and is investing real money to help them keep communities safe from guns and gang violence. Our government for the people is committed to keeping Ontario’s communities safe, and the $25 million we are investing in our police services will ensure that we get to the root causes of gun and gang violence in this great province. We are now calling upon the municipal and federal governments to also step up and be part of the solution.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Vincent Ke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his detailed response. I, along with the residents of Don Valley North, condemn this brazen and indiscriminate act of senseless gun violence. We know that we live in a safe community and that the criminals who committed these violent acts will be punished. I know the minister will continue his hard work in tracking gun and gang violence in my riding of Don Valley North and throughout this great province.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister please elaborate on the measures our government will take against the people who try to make our communities unsafe?

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Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Once again, thank you to the member for Don Valley North for the question. Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to providing our brave front-line officers with the tools and resources they need to get the job done. Our recent announcement $25 million in new funding will provide our police with cutting-edge digital, investigative and ana-lytical tools that our police need to fight gun and gang violence in 2018.

We’re committed to taking a whole-of-government approach, however, to tackling gun violence in Ontario. I will continue to meet with community safety partners over the coming weeks as well as my colleagues from the Ministries of Health and Children, Community and Social Services as well as the Attorney General so that we can address the root causes of gun and gang violence within this great province.

Mr. Speaker, solving guns and gang violence involves more than just enforcement. Our government is committed to finding real solutions to keep our communities safe.

Notices of dissatisfaction

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Pursuant to standing order 38(a), the member for Kiiwetinoong has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks concerning mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows.

And, pursuant to standing order 38(a), the member for Brampton North has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services concerning carding and street checks.

Both of these matters will be debated today at 6 p.m.

Legislative pages

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It is now time to say a word about our legislative pages. These fine young people are indispensable to the effective functioning of this chamber. They cheerfully and efficiently deliver notes—

Applause.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): If you’re trying to cut the Speaker off, I’ve got more to say.

They cheerfully and efficiently deliver notes, run errands, transport important documents throughout the precinct and make sure our water glasses are always full. We are indeed fortunate to have them here.

Our pages are smart, trustworthy and hard-working, and they depart having made many new friends, with a greater understanding of parliamentary democracy and memories that will last a lifetime.

Each of them will go home and carry on, continue their studies, and no doubt contribute greatly to their communities, their province and their country. We expect great things from all of them. Maybe some of them will someday take their seats in this House as members or work here as staff. We wish them well.

This group of pages has given up their summer holidays on short notice to help us in this special summer session. Please join me in showing our appreciation for this group of legislative pages.

Applause.

Legislative staff

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): As members know, this House has sat since July 11 in a special summer session. For the past six consecutive weeks, we have met to discuss and debate some of the important issues facing the province. While I obviously want to thank members for their participation in this sitting, I think it’s quite appropriate that we all extend our sincere appreciation to the staff of this Legislature.

There are hundreds of people who work here, not including the members. The hard work and dedication of our staff are not always recognized or publicly acknowledged, but without their efforts, this House would not be safe, it would not be clean, and it would not be maintained. Our words in the chamber would not be recorded. Our proceedings would not be broadcast. Our standing orders, parliamentary traditions and conventions could not be upheld. Our standing committees could not func-tion. Our finances would not be managed. Our library would be closed. Our visitors would not be greeted. Our IT would soon shut down. In short, this place would soon cease to function and the light of parliamentary democracy in this province would soon flicker and wane.

On behalf of the House, I want to express my sincere thanks to all the staff at the Legislature, many of whom have put their holiday plans on hold for the exemplary public service that they have performed this summer to the benefit of the people of Ontario.

Applause.

Deferred Votes

Time allocation

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We have a deferred vote on the amendment to government notice of motion number 4 relating to allocation of time on Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

Call in the members. This is a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1145 to 1150.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I would ask the members to please take their seats.

On August 9, 2018, Mr. Bisson moved that government notice of motion number 4 be amended by deleting everything after “ordered” in the first paragraph and replacing it with:

“... to the Standing Committee on General Government; and

“That the Standing Committee on General Government be authorized to meet on Monday, August 20, 2018, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday, August 22, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the purpose of public hearings on the bill; and

“That the Clerk of the Committee, in consultation with the committee Chair, be authorized to arrange the following with regard to Bill 5:

“—Notice of public hearings on the Ontario parliamentary channel, the Legislative Assembly’s website and Canada NewsWire; and

“—That the deadline for requests to appear be 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15, 2018; and

“—That witnesses be scheduled to appear before the committee on a first come, first served basis; and

“—That each witness will receive up to nine minutes for their presentation, followed by six minutes for questions from committee members divided equally amongst the recognized parties;

“That the deadline for written submissions be 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22, 2018; and

“That the deadline for filing amendments to the bill with the Clerk of the Committee shall be 9 a.m. on Monday, August 27, 2018; and

“That the committee be authorized to meet on Wednesday, August, 29, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the purpose of clause-by-clause con-sideration of the bill; and

“That on Wednesday, August 29, 2018, at 5:30 p.m., those amendments which have not yet been moved shall be deemed to have been moved, and the Chair of the committee shall interrupt the proceedings and shall, with-out further debate or amendment, put every question necessary to dispose of all remaining sections of the bill and any amendments thereto. At this time, the Chair shall allow one 20-minute waiting period pursuant to standing order 129(a); and

“That the committee shall report the bill to the House no later than Thursday, August 30, 2018. In the event that the committee fails to report the bill on that day, the bill shall be deemed to be passed by the committee and shall be deemed to be reported to and received by the House; and

“That, upon receiving the report of the Standing Committee on General Government, the Speaker shall put the question for adoption of the report forthwith, and at such time the bill shall be ordered for third reading, which order may be called that same day; and

“That when the order for third reading of the bill is called, one hour of debate shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill, with 30 minutes apportioned to the government, 20 minutes to the official opposition, seven minutes to the independent Liberal Party members and three minutes to the independent Green Party member. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

“That, except in the case of a recorded division arising from morning orders of the day, pursuant to standing order 9(c), no deferral of the second reading or third reading vote shall be permitted; and

“That, in the case of any division relating to any pro-ceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes, except that the division bell for the vote on the motion for third reading shall be 15 minutes.”

All those in favour of Mr. Bisson’s motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Des Rosiers, Nathalie
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be counted by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 36; the nays are 69.

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

We now move to the vote on the main motion.

Mr. Smith, Bay of Quinte, has moved government notice of motion number 4 relating to the allocation of time on Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard some noes.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

Same vote reversed? No. We have to continue with the vote.

The division bells rang from 1158 to 1203.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be counted by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Des Rosiers, Nathalie
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 70; the nays are 38.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): This House stands in recess until 1 p.m.

The House recessed from 1207 to 1300.

Introduction of Visitors

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: I have the pleasure and honour of welcoming a good friend and former colleague of mine to the House today, Justin DaSilva. Welcome.

Members’ Statements

Government policies

Ms. Marit Stiles: On August 7, the day after the long weekend, nearly 200 people jammed into the New Horizons seniors’ centre in my riding of Davenport. It was the middle of the summer when many people are out, perhaps enjoying dinner on a patio, some time with their kids or some vacation, which I’ve heard of.

These people came to a community meeting in my riding, and they were there because they are worried about the impact of this government’s policies on their families, their neighbours and their city. They wanted to know why, in 2018, their children will be taught a health and physical education curriculum from 20 years ago. They wanted to know why, when so many in our community are struggling to get by on ODSP or Ontario Works, those rates are being cut. They wanted to know why the Premier is using the power of his office to interfere in the democratic elections of their city councillors. Most importantly, Mr. Speaker, these residents wanted to know what they could do to help fight back and stand up for the people who will be most affected by the mean-spirited agenda we have seen so far.

This government may be banking on the fact that summer is a time when a lot of people aren’t paying attention to this place but, at this town hall, our Davenport community proved once again that they are anything but complacent. I’m proud to bring their voices into this chamber and to stand with them as we work to win back the kind of Ontario we know is possible.

First Nations policing

Ms. Judith Monteith-Farrell: In my former career, I had the privilege to represent the officers and civilian staff of Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, Anishinabek Police Service and Treaty Three Police Service. I worked with them over the years to improve their working conditions and make for better community policing.

The officers of Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service serve over 35 very remote First Nations communities, and it is the largest and most challenging. There is a film called A Sacred Calling, and I urge the members to watch it and increase their understanding of this issue.

The work of all police officers is essential and it’s challenging, but these women and men face exceptional circumstances, often working alone, being single front-line emergency staff on fires, drownings and other critical medical emergencies. The bravery and dedication I observed in all three services still inspires me.

Our party, during the campaign, made a commitment to First Nations policing of $30 million, and I urge the present government not to become entangled in jurisdictional arguments and properly support culturally appropriate First Nations policing in the province of Ontario—services integrally engaged in the fighting of guns and gangs, the opioid crisis and ensuring safe communities.

HERstory

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: I’m happy to rise today to speak about a wonderful event I attended recently in my riding of London–Fanshawe. Fanshawe Pioneer Village hosted a delightful and educational event called HERstory, celebrating women’s histories.

This was a celebration of HERstory rather than his story. The event was planned to coincide with the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote federally. Ontario celebrated the 100th anniversary of the right to vote provincially last year. Earning the right to vote was an important step for women’s emerging role in the public sphere and gaining a public voice.

As a woman in politics, I’m always humbled to learn about those who have come before me and have helped shape a country that allows me a voice and to represent others, like the Famous Five: Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards.

The event also looked at women beyond the suffrage movement. There are so many women that inspire us as innovators, leaders and pioneers of their time. Educating men and women of all ages on these important contributions and accomplishments is incredibly important given the current era of reflection on women’s issues and gender equity. This event offered a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come but also to think about how much further we have to go.

I would like to thank the staff and the volunteers at Fanshawe Pioneer Village for providing us with such an amazing experience, and the Warrior Womyn of Positive Drum for their performance.

Acromégalie / Acromegaly

Le Président (L’hon. Ted Arnott): La députée d’Orléans.

Mme Marie-France Lalonde: Merci, monsieur le Président.

I’m pleased to rise today to bring awareness regarding a rare disease called acromegaly. I was made aware of this rare disease by a constituent of mine. Madame Dianne Sauvé was diagnosed with acromegaly in 2012.

Je tenais aujourd’hui à sensibiliser cette Chambre et l’ensemble des Ontariens sur cette maladie rare appelée acromégalie.

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that develops when your pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood. Statistics show that three in a million people are diagnosed each year with this disease, and currently, there are just over 2,000 Canadians affected by acromegaly, with more still undiagnosed.

Although the signs and symptoms vary from patient to patient—persistent headaches and migraines, sleep apnea and, more commonly, enlarged hands, feet and facial features—the slow progression of the disease often makes it difficult to diagnose. However, a simple blood test, IGF-1, can quickly identify acromegaly. The patient’s family doctor can then do a referral to an endocrinologist for further testing along with a treatment plan, which is crucial to ensure improved health of the patient.

I am pleased to say that Dianne formed a support group in Ottawa and has a Facebook group, Acromegaly Ottawa Awareness and Support Network, to help raise support and bring awareness to this disease.

Je veux donc remercier Mme Sauvé pour son courage et sa ténacité et pour avoir partagé son expérience avec nous tous.

Fort Erie Race Track

Mr. Wayne Gates: I’m really pleased to rise today to talk about an event that happened in Fort Erie on the weekend. It was called the Wiener Dog Races. Some 12,000 people attended the Fort Erie Race Track to watch these little wiener dogs run. Now, you couldn’t bet on them in Ontario, but they did run. There were six races and 72 wiener dogs.

I think next year I’m going to try and have a race against the wiener dogs to see if the politician is quicker than the little wiener dogs. But we’ll have to figure that out later.

The track was booming. This is what is important here, as we try to continue to work the keep the track open. Wagering on the traditional horse races was way up. Beverage sales were double what they normally are on a Sunday. The track had more people to watch the wiener dogs than the Prince of Wales Stakes, so I’m suggesting that next year we call it the Prince of Wiener Stakes.

Mr. Speaker, every time this track holds an event, the community comes out and supports it. It’s time this government supported the community by bringing back slots to Fort Erie. When there’s an attractor at the Fort Erie Race Track, people come, and the track will thrive. We get lots of Americans who come. The community is standing behind it—the mayor and everybody is standing behind it.

I’ll continue to ask this government: Again, reverse the wrong-headed decision by past governments and bring the slots back to Fort Erie. At the end of the day, we’re going to create hundreds of good-paying jobs as our track thrives.

Introduction of Bills

Fighting Back Against Handguns Act (Handgun Ammunition Sales), 2018 / Loi de 2018 ripostant aux armes de poing (ventes de munitions pour armes de poing)

Ms. Hunter moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 30, An Act to amend the Ammunition Regulation Act, 1994 with respect to the sale of handgun ammunition / Projet de loi 30, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1994 sur la réglementation des munitions en ce qui concerne la vente de munitions pour armes de poing.

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

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Scarborough–Guildwood can give a brief explanation of her bill.

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: The Fighting Back Against Handguns Act (Handgun Ammunition Sales), 2018, amends the Ammunition Regulation Act, 1994, to give municipalities the power to ban the sale of handgun ammunition within their boundaries, and stiff penalties for violating the act. It also gives the minister regulation-making authority to create exceptions to the ban so long as they are made public through a report tabled with the assembly.

Motions

House sittings

Hon. Todd Smith: I move that when the House adjourns today, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 24, 2018.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Mr. Smith, Bay of Quinte, the government House leader, has moved that when the House adjourns today, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, November 24, 2018.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Okay, I’d better re-read that. That was a Freudian slip.

The government House leader moves that when the House adjourns today, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 24, 1918—2018.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1312 to 1342.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): All members will take their seats, please.

Mr. Smith, Bay of Quinte, has moved that when the House adjourns today, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 24, 2018. All those in favour will rise one at a time until recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): All those opposed will please stand one at a time until recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Andrew, Jill
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Des Rosiers, Nathalie
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lalonde, Marie-France
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Miller, Paul
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 68; the nays are 38.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to.

Petitions

Municipal elections

Ms. Suze Morrison: I’d like to present a petition to the assembly entitled “Stop Doug Ford from Interfering in Municipal Elections.”

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Doug Ford’s decision to reduce Toronto’s wards from 47 to 25 was made without any public consultation;

“Whereas Doug Ford’s meddling in municipal elections is an abuse of power;

“Whereas Doug Ford is cancelling democratic elections of some regional chairs;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately reverse Doug Ford’s unilateral decision to dismantle Toronto city hall and cancel regional chair elections; to maintain the existing Toronto municipal boundaries; and ensure that the provincial government does not interfere with the upcoming Toronto municipal election for Ford’s political gain.”

I have more than 250 signatures on these petitions already today. I will be delivering—

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Petitions? The member for Waterloo.

Midwifery

Ms. Catherine Fife: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas midwives provide expert, women-centred care before, during and six weeks following birth; and

“Whereas midwifery is a female-dominated profession, with women comprising over 99% of the field; and

“Whereas midwives have been providing cost-effective care since 1994, despite not receiving a pay increase until 2005; and

“Whereas a 2016 report found that the health care industry in Ontario has a 37% gender wage pay gap, contributing to this provincially systemic issue; and

“Whereas the final report and recommendations of the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee recommend, ‘the government should consult with relevant workplace parties on how to value work in female-dominant sectors using pay equity or other means’;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to work with the Association of Ontario Midwives to reinstate a pay equity lens for the profession of midwifery, and compensate midwives appropriately for the expert, women-centred, continuum of care that they provide to pre- and post-natal mothers and infants.”

I fully support this petition and will give it to page Justin.

1350

Municipal elections

Ms. Jessica Bell: This is a petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

“Do not change the number of councillors in the city of Toronto without consulting the people of Toronto.

“Whereas the Better Local Government Act, 2018, was introduced in the Legislature while the city of Toronto is already in the middle of a municipal election process; and

“Whereas the existing ward structure was adjusted after lengthy public consultation with the citizens of Toronto in order to ensure effective representation and in particular voter parity based on expected population growth; and

“Whereas reducing the number of city councillors will double the number of constituents per councillor, making government less accessible to the individual citizens of Toronto and put decision-making power in fewer hands;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to oppose any attempt to change ward boundaries in Toronto without a full and thorough process of public engagement and consultation and ensure that the provincial government does not interfere in the ongoing municipal election in Toronto.”

I will be giving this petition to Ryan-Michael and I will be affixing my signature to it.

Curriculum

Ms. Marit Stiles: It gives me great pleasure on behalf of my constituent Rory Ditchburn to present a petition entitled “Protecting Children: Forward, Not Backward, on Sex Ed.”

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the health and physical education curriculum empowers young people to make informed decisions about relationships and their bodies;

“Whereas gender-based violence, gender inequality, unintended pregnancies, ‘sexting,’ and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose serious risks to the safety and well-being of young people;

“Whereas one in three women and one in six men experience sexual violence in Canada, and a lack of age-appropriate education about sexual health and healthy relationships leaves children and youth vulnerable to exploitation;

“Whereas one in five parents reported their own child being a victim of cyberbullying; and

“Whereas Doug Ford and the Conservative government is dragging Ontario backward, requiring students to learn an outdated sex ed curriculum that excludes information about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexting, cyberbullying and safe and healthy relationships;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Education to continue the use of the 2015 health and physical education curriculum in schools and move Ontario forward, not backward.”

This is in addition to the 1,200 names I’ve already presented on this petition. I’m proud to affix my signature and I’ll hand it to page Sullivan.

Curriculum

Miss Monique Taylor: I have a petition reading “Protecting Children: Forward, Not Backward, on Sex Ed.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the health and physical education curriculum empowers young people to make informed decisions about relationships and their bodies;

“Whereas gender-based violence, gender inequality, unintended pregnancies, ‘sexting,’ and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose serious risks to the safety and well-being of young people;

“Whereas one in three women and one in six men experience sexual violence in Canada, and a lack of age-appropriate education about sexual health and healthy relationships leaves children and youth vulnerable to exploitation;

“Whereas one in five parents reported their own child being a victim of cyberbullying; and

“Whereas Doug Ford and the Conservative government is dragging Ontario backward, requiring students to learn an outdated sex ed curriculum that excludes information about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexting, cyberbullying and safe and healthy relationships;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Education to continue the use of the 2015 health and physical education curriculum in schools and move Ontario forward, not backward.”

I fully support this petition. I’m going to affix my name to it and give it to page Ryan-Michael to bring to the Clerk.

Municipal elections

Ms. Rima Berns-McGown: I have a petition containing hundreds and hundreds of signatures collected by my constituents in Beaches–East York.

“Stop Doug Ford from Interfering in Municipal Elections.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Doug Ford’s decision to reduce Toronto’s wards from 47 to 25 was made without any public consultation;

“Whereas Doug Ford’s meddling in municipal elections is an abuse of power;

“Whereas Doug Ford is cancelling democratic elections of some regional chairs;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately reverse Doug Ford’s unilateral decision to dismantle Toronto city hall and cancel regional chair elections; to maintain the existing Toronto municipal boundaries; and ensure that the provincial government does not interfere with the upcoming Toronto municipal election for Ford’s political gain.”

I completely agree with this petition, will be affixing my signature to it and passing it to page Ryan-Michael to give to the Clerk.

Affordable housing

Mr. Faisal Hassan: “Whereas for families throughout much of Ontario, owning a home they can afford remains a dream, while renting is painfully expensive;

“Whereas consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments have sat idle, while housing costs spiralled out of control, speculators made fortunes, and too many families had to put their hopes on hold;

“Whereas every Ontarian should have access to safe, affordable housing. Whether a family wants to rent or own, live in a house, an apartment, a condominium or a co-op, they should have affordable options;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately prioritize the repair of Ontario’s social housing stock, commit to building new affordable homes, crack down on housing speculators, and make rentals more affordable through rental controls and updated legislation.”

I support this petition, put my signature to it and give it to page Sullivan.

Employment standards

Ms. Jill Andrew: I’m presenting this petition today on behalf of Wychwood Barns’ petitions.

“Petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly:

“Don’t Take Away Our $15 Minimum Wage and Fairer Labour Laws.

“Whereas the vast majority of Ontarians support a $15 minimum wage and better laws to protect workers; and

“Whereas last year, in response to overwhelming popular demand by the people of Ontario, the provincial government brought in legislation and regulations that:

“Deliver 10 personal emergency leave days for all workers, the first two of which are paid;

“Make it illegal to pay part-time, temporary, casual or contract workers less than their full-time or directly hired co-workers, including equal public holiday pay and vacation pay;

“Raised the adult general minimum wage to $14 per hour and further raises it to a $15 minimum wage on January 1, 2019, with annual adjustments by Ontario’s consumer price index;

“Make it easier to join unions, especially for workers in the temporary help, home care, community services and building services sectors;

“Make client companies responsible for workplace health and safety for temporary agency employees;

“Provide strong enforcement through the hiring of an additional 175 employment standards officers;

“Will ensure workers have modest improvements in the scheduling of their hours, including:

“—three hours’ pay when workers are expected to be on call all day, but are not called into work;

“—three hours’ pay for any employee whose shift is cancelled with less than two days’ notice; and

“—the right to refuse shifts without penalty if the shift is scheduled with fewer than four days’ notice;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to honour these commitments, including the $15 minimum wage and fairer scheduling rules set to take effect on January 1, 2019. We further call on the assembly to take all necessary steps to enforce these laws and extend them to ensure no worker is left without protection.”

I am proud to present this petition. I’m going to sign my signature on this because I believe in this petition, and I’m going to hand it to Emmanuel. Oh, the hundreds of petitions.

Firearms control

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: I have a petition.

“Gun Violence Must End Immediately.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the number of gun-crime-related incidents has increased in the city of Toronto and surrounding areas;

“Whereas the Conservative government is not introducing real solutions that would tackle gun violence in our communities;

“Whereas the Conservatives’ agenda to fund the police will not result in the protection of our youth and building safer communities;

“Whereas Ontarians have a right to know about—and have a say in—government decisions that affect them;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to work with the municipal and federal governments to tackle gun violence in Ontario. When different levels of government work together in collaboration with the communities affected, gun control policies are likely to be more effective.”

I will sign this petition and give it to page Sullivan.

1400

Curriculum

Mr. Terence Kernaghan: I’m proud to present a petition entitled “Protecting Children: Forward, Not Backward, on Sex Ed.” It reads:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the health and physical education curriculum empowers young people to make informed decisions about relationships and their bodies;

“Whereas gender-based violence, gender inequality, unintended pregnancies, ‘sexting,’ and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose serious risks to the safety and well-being of young people;

“Whereas one in three women and one in six men experience sexual violence in Canada, and a lack of age-appropriate education about sexual health and healthy relationships leaves children and youth vulnerable to exploitation;

“Whereas one in five parents reported their own child being a victim of cyberbullying; and

“Whereas Doug Ford and the Conservative government is dragging Ontario backward, requiring students to learn an outdated sex ed curriculum that excludes information about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexting, cyberbullying and safe and healthy relationships;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Education to continue the use of the 2015 health and physical education curriculum in schools and move Ontario forward, not backward.”

I am pleased to sign my name to this petition, as I fully support it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further petitions? The member for—it’s coming. I’m sorry. Scarborough Southwest.

Ms. Doly Begum: Thank you, Speaker. I have a point of order. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce two special guests. Amber Bowen is an executive officer from Elementary Teachers of Toronto. I also have my dear friend, who was actually my tutor a long, long time ago and has been a kindergarten teacher for 18 years, Betty Lynn Orton. Welcome.

Social assistance

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: I have a petition.

“Scrapping the Basic Income Pilot Project is Not Being ‘Compassionate’ nor ‘for the People.’

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the priorities of the Conservative government are dragging Ontario backwards leaving people with no basic income to those living on low income;

“Whereas the Conservative government is breaking their promises by scrapping a program they said they would keep;

“Whereas cancelling the Basic Income Pilot project will leave 4,000 people living in Thunder Bay, Lindsay, Hamilton, Brantford and Brant county with no basic income, further deteriorating their health, well-being and living conditions;

“Whereas reducing poverty in the province of Ontario does not work by decreasing the rates for Ontario’s most disadvantaged and marginalized people on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program;

“Whereas Ontarians have a right to know about—and have a say in—the government decisions that affect them;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services to continue the Basic Income Pilot project, and to reinstate the regulatory changes that would allow people to keep more of their part-time earnings. If this government is truly for the people, then it should be for all people, including the poor.”

I will sign this petition and give it to page Emmanuel.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The time for petitions has expired.

Orders of the Day

Better Local Government Act, 2018 / Loi de 2018 sur l’amélioration des administrations locales

Resuming the debate adjourned on August 8, 2018, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 / Projet de loi 5, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2006 sur la cité de Toronto, la Loi de 2001 sur les municipalités et la Loi de 1996 sur les élections municipales.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Pursuant to the order of the House dated August 14, 2018, I am now required to put the question.

Mr. Clark has moved second reading of Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

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

All those opposed to the motion will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1405 to 1410.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Order, please.

Mr. Clark has moved second reading of Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be recorded by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fee, Amy
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): All those opposed to the motion will please rise and stand until recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Andrew, Jill
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Des Rosiers, Nathalie
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lalonde, Marie-France
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Miller, Paul
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 68; the nays are 40.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I declare the motion carried.

Second reading agreed to.

Better Local Government Act, 2018 / Loi de 2018 sur l’amélioration des administrations locales

Mr. Clark moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 / Projet de loi 5, Loi modifiant la Loi de 2006 sur la cité de Toronto, la Loi de 2001 sur les municipalités et la Loi de 1996 sur les élections municipales.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Mr. Clark has moved third reading of Bill 5.

I recognize the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Hon. Steve Clark: Thank you, Speaker. I rise today for third reading of Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act.

If passed, this legislation would deliver on our government for the people’s commitment to respect the hard-earned tax dollars of Ontario residents. This is what we were elected to do by the great people of this province, and we intend to honour that commitment. This bill, if passed, would amend existing municipal legislation so that Ontario voters can be confident that their municipal governments are working efficiently and effectively to meet their needs.

I want to begin today by addressing how our bill would help improve the way Ontario’s largest city is governed. Very simply, Bill 5, if passed, will align the city of Toronto’s municipal wards with provincial and federal electoral districts. It will make it simpler for voters, who could look at a map and see the same electoral boundaries for all three levels of government. It would make it easier for them to say, “I know who my federal member of Parliament is, I know who my member of provincial Parliament is, and I know who my municipal councillor is.” This proposed ward boundary change would mean that Toronto will have 25 councillors, which matches the city’s 25 federal MPs and 25 provincial MPPs. It will save Toronto taxpayers at least an estimated $25 million over four years.

The truth is, Toronto city council has become increasingly dysfunctional and inefficient. With 44 councillors plus a mayor, conducting council business is time-consuming and costly. The city was planning to increase that to 47 councillors—47, Speaker. That’s 47 people debating at council meetings and 47 councillor salaries paid by the hard-working Toronto taxpayers. The city doesn’t need more councillors. That will just make the problems we see in Toronto’s council chambers even worse.

For too long Toronto has been hampered by an oversized council. It’s so large that they have trouble making important decisions. Just take the last council meeting: It lasted six days. That’s six days of 44 councillors going back and forth with endless debate, each of them pursuing their own political agenda, making meetings longer and, in many cases, unproductive. The matters under debate are important to the fine citizens of Toronto—matters that councillors should be acting swiftly to address.

Bigger isn’t better when it comes to government. That’s why we’re taking this decisive action today. When Torontonians vote on October 22, it will be for councillors that will sit in a streamlined, more effective council, a council that’s ready to work more quickly and put the needs of everyday people first, because, as the province’s and the country’s economic engine, the city of Toronto must run more smoothly and not be mired in bureaucracy and wastefulness.

We are proposing to help the largest city in the province run like a well-oiled machine, one that puts the interests of taxpayers first. Right now, council debates, discusses and argues. They ask for reports and more reports. They drown themselves in a sea of paper and red tape. But a streamlined council would make decisions effectively and efficiently and get on with the important work that they have to end gridlock. It could take on the task of building more housing. It could undertake the need for repairs of infrastructure. By doing this, it would create jobs, which our government feels is extremely important in getting Ontario open for business. A streamlined council is not just good for Toronto taxpayers; it’s good for taxpayers in Ontario.

Candidates for municipal councillor are not the only names on the ballot come election day; voters will also elect school board trustees for the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, le Conseil scolaire Viamonde, and le Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud. Our proposed changes will pave the way for the redistribution of Toronto-area school-board-trustee electoral areas to align with the proposed new ward boundaries. It would not change the number of school board trustees in Toronto. As I’ve said before in this House, I’ll be working with my colleague the Minister of Education on this matter.

We are making it straightforward and we’re making it simple for prospective councillors and school board trustees to determine which of the new wards they wish to serve. That is why this legislation, if passed, would extend the nomination period for both prospective Toronto councillors and trustees to September 14. This would allow both incumbents and candidates who are new to the municipal arena to consider what community they feel they can best represent.

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We also plan to provide clear guidance on spending limits and reporting to help candidates transition into the new structure.

Speaker, a recent opinion piece published in the Toronto Star calls our proposed legislation—and I want to quote this—“a move toward better democracy.” It underlines, as we have said countless times over the past few days, that waiting four years and letting council expand to 47 councillors would be the wrong move. We can’t wait another four years until the next municipal election. It would be too costly for the people of Toronto, and it would mean four more years of endless debate and lack of action by Toronto city council. In fact, this opinion piece highlights that transforming council to 25 wards would distribute the population more evenly among councillors. This important issue is one that I will expand upon more closely later on in my remarks.

Sue-Ann Levy of the Toronto Sun also weighed in on our proposed changes. She called Toronto city council a “theatre of the absurd” and described how councillors spent six and a half hours arguing about this proposed legislation. And then they asked for a staff report, Speaker. It’s the perfect example of why these proposed changes are needed and reinforces what our Premier has said.

I want to quote the Premier; this is a very, very important quote: “For too long, the people of Toronto have watched city council go around and around and around in circles and fail to act on the critical issues facing the city, and as a result, infrastructure crumbles, housing backlogs grow and transit isn’t built.” That’s the Premier’s quote, Speaker.

More politicians are not going to solve this problem. Even the politicians at Toronto city hall agree. Last week, a group of councillors came forward to support the proposed changes we have, as legislators, before us. They came to this very building and they congratulated our government on doing the right thing for taxpayers. They spoke of the endless hours of pointless debate only to see the same councillors voting the same way all the time. These are wasted hours, Speaker, and the people of Toronto cannot afford to see this pattern continue again.

Councillor David Shiner said he is 110% supportive of this proposed legislation. He says 25 councillors can do work the city needs. Our government for the people, Speaker, agrees with Councillor Shiner.

Councillor Stephen Holyday pointed out that, “At the federal and provincial level, we have a single representative in an area of that size. They seem to get” things “done.” Our government for the people agrees with Councillor Holyday.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said, “I think it’s quite clear that most of us” on council “have either made speeches or have moved motions in the past that very clearly pointed to cutting ourselves in half because we are so frustrated with the system.”

Councillor Frances Nunziata said, “When Mel Lastman was mayor ... we had 57 councillors. And at that time, there was a motion to reduce the councillors and we reduced it down to 44. And then when David Miller was mayor, we moved a motion to cut the council to 22.” That’s Speaker Frances Nunziata’s quote.

It’s clear the current council at Toronto city hall has not worked for Toronto for a long time. That’s why many people who have talked for so long about reducing the size and cost of council were so disappointed in the outcome of the Toronto ward boundary review process. Instead of streamlining a system that had grown dysfunctional and was failing the taxpayer, the recommendation was to make council bigger and more expensive. To no one’s surprise, the councillors around the table agreed because they knew a smaller council meant competition for their jobs, and they sure didn’t want that, Speaker. They sure didn’t want that competition. I happen to believe more competition among politicians would make for a healthier democracy.

Interjections.

Hon. Steve Clark: I want to take some time regarding this boundary review—I don’t care that the opposition wants to howl over there. I believe that the process by which the 47-member council came into being—it’s very, very important to have that. Listening to some, you’d think the process was above reproach and that it was almost the work of divine intervention. Certainly it took a long time, but everything does at city hall—everything does; it always takes time.

We know the decision by council to accept the recommendation to increase the number of wards to 47 was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, and it’s unfortunate that very little public attention has been given to that appeal. I say that because reading the witness statements and dissenting opinion by board member Blair Taylor reveal that the process was actually deeply flawed. Too few of those defending the 47-council model are aware of these details, which I’m going to highlight for people today.

First, the evidence presented absolutely refutes the notion that there was broad consultation. The reality is there were a mere 192 appearances at 12 public meetings, but submissions at the OMB hearings show that no one kept a record of how many of those 192 people showed up for multiple meetings. Likewise, the online survey conducted as part of the process garnered only about 600 responses. Again, Speaker, no record was kept to indicate if individuals submitted more than one response.

Andrew Sancton, a professor emeritus at Western University and a recognized expert in local government, provided a detailed witness statement that was highly critical of the process. I’d encourage members of the opposition to take time and read it because it demonstrates why reducing the size of council is definitely the right thing to do.

In terms of public participation in the boundary review, Sancton said, being charitable, there were maybe 2,000 people who participated, which he points out is about 0.1% of the city’s 1.8 million electors in 2014. In the words of Professor Sancton, that means the recommendation to increase the size and cost of Toronto council is based on the views of “a tiny and self-selecting group of engaged citizens and city councillors.” That’s his quote, Speaker. With so few members of the public engaged, you can guess which group controlled the process and helped to steer it towards the outcome that best suited them. In Sancton’s words, “the interests the consultants ended up advancing were those of incumbent councillors and not the public interest.” That is the professor’s quote.

It’s the interests of those same incumbent councillors that the opposition stands up for day after day after day in this House with their drive-by smears. On the other hand, Speaker, on this side of the House, we’re standing up for the people. That’s who we’re standing up for.

Members of the opposition forget that our Premier, Premier Ford, spoke to thousands of Ontarians and thousands of Torontonians. The opposition can howl all they want, but that’s a fact. Premier Ford is a Premier for the people. He listened to people during the campaign. He’s listening to people, and that’s what we’re doing with this legislation.

You know what, Speaker? No one said that to me during the campaign. No one said that we need more politicians during the campaign. They said it to the Premier—no one said that to the Premier; no one said it to me.

On June 7, Ontarians gave our government a clear mandate: To reduce the size and cost of government, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this piece of legislation. That’s exactly what we’re doing.

Interjections.

Hon. Steve Clark: It’s exactly what we’re doing. They can howl all they want, but this is exactly what we’re doing.

Let’s get back to the OMB appeal where Professor Sancton devotes a great deal of his witness statement to the power of incumbency. He describes it as the most important winning attribute for a candidate seeking a seat on municipal council. The statistics bear that statement out. We know that in the 2014 Toronto municipal election, 36 of 37 incumbents who sought re-election were successful. In fact, over the last four city of Toronto elections, 93% of incumbent councillors were re-elected. So if you’re an incumbent, knowing you’ve got those kinds of odds to keep your job, the last thing you’re going to want is a reduction in the number of wards.

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It’s for that reason that council, despite repeated attempts over the decades, has refused to act to reduce its numbers. The only way it was going to get done was if someone acted on behalf of taxpayers and did it for them. The power of incumbency is a stranglehold on the wards, according to Sancton, and the consultants who conducted the boundary review gave no indication that they understood “the debilitating effects of such strangleholds on the health of a municipal democracy.” In other words, as I said earlier, real competition is good for democracy.

Do you know what else is good for democracy, Speaker? Voter parity, the concept that every ballot carries equal weight. This is not some abstract issue, but one that the Supreme Court of Canada itself addressed in the Carter decision. In that decision, the court held, “Deviations from absolute voter parity ... may be justified on the grounds of practical impossibility or the provision of more effective representation.... Beyond this, dilution of one citizen’s vote as compared with another’s should not be countenanced.” That’s the quote.

The court was very clear: Parity must be a priority. Yet the recommendation from the review created a 47-ward system that was anything but equal. In assessing parity, anything 10% above or below the average population of a ward is considered the gold standard; 10% to 15% above or below is considered acceptable. Anything beyond that should only be used in special circumstances where balancing the population size of electoral districts, as the Supreme Court described, is a practical impossibility.

Under the 47-ward system, there would be four wards at 15%, one at 20% and two above 30%. That is a staggering one million people, 39% of the city’s population, that fall outside that 15% standard.

Interjections.

Hon. Steve Clark: Again, I’m not surprised that the NDP don’t want to listen to the facts. I’m not surprised that facts don’t matter to the NDP. I believe that’s unacceptable.

Was there something that made achieving voter parity in the 2018 election a practical impossibility? No. There was a model in place. In fact, to the members of the Legislative Assembly, it’s the one that we’re proposing in Bill 5, using the 25 federal and provincial boundaries. We’re using that model. In this model, there would be three instances where a ward is plus or minus 10% of the average population, so we’ll have voter parity now, not in eight, 12, or 16 or more years if we had maintained the 47-ward system.

It was largely as a result of the inherent unfairness of the 47-ward system that one of the three OMB members dissented on that appeal. I would note that the fact that one member of the OMB panel dissented was described by the Toronto Star as a rare move. Again, I want to encourage the opposition to take time to read that dissenting report from OMB member Blair S. Taylor. Taylor maintained that the key issue in the appeal wasn’t how many wards or where the boundaries were drawn; it was about equality of the vote.

Here is what Blair wrote—

Interjection.

Hon. Steve Clark: Blair Taylor. You’re right.

He wrote, “It is an appeal with regard to the restructuring of the city’s wards to ensure that each citizen’s vote is (relatively) equal to another citizen’s vote, not just for the 2018 election, but for every decision that city council will make during that four-year term.”

Speaker, it is important because it’s not just on election day when one million citizens’ votes count for less; it’s every time a vote takes place at Toronto city council. It takes place every time.

Interjection.

Hon. Steve Clark: I know that the member for Hamilton was talking, so she might not have heard me, but it’s every time a vote takes place at Toronto council.

After the city considered the variances in ward size that I referred to earlier, Taylor found, “Such variances do not meet the conditions of effective representation that are set out” by the Supreme Court “inasmuch as the first criteria is relative parity of voting power and this member finds that relative parity is lacking in the revised 47-ward option, affecting the fundamental Charter-given right to vote for thousands of citizens of the city.”

What did Taylor recommend? He wrote, “I find that the use of the” federal boundaries “would result in a fair election in 2018, that the continued use of the” federal boundaries “would provide the basis for future elections that are fair, that they will result in boundaries that are derived from regular, thorough, arm’s-length, open public processes”—

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Order, please. Order.

This cross-aisle banter isn’t doing anybody well. I know it’s like the last day of school and everybody is anxious to get out of here, but please, the members of the opposition who aren’t in their designated chairs should either return or remain quiet; the same with the member from Sault Ste. Marie. None of this cross-aisle banter is helping anybody.

I return to the minister, please.

Hon. Steve Clark: Thanks, Speaker.

I wanted to do that quote from Mr. Taylor again. He wrote, “I find that the use of the” federal boundaries “would result in a fair election in 2018, that the continued use of the” federal boundaries “would provide the basis for future elections that are fair, that they will result in boundaries that are derived from regular, thorough, arm’s-length, open public processes and which can be quickly, reliably, and relatively inexpensively adjusted and adopted by the city on an ongoing basis.”

That sounds a lot like the conclusion that Professor Sancton reached in his compelling witness statement. His statement was, “Toronto’s 2018 municipal election should be conducted such that there are 25 wards whose boundaries would correspond to the current federal boundaries which had been adopted by the province of Ontario for the 2018 provincial election”—in other words, the system I’m proposing right here in this proposed legislation, Bill 5.

Speaker, when you look at the Better Local Government Act in the context of the arguments presented by the OMB appeal, it’s clear that, if passed, it would not only save taxpayers over $25 million over four years, but it would also streamline council to make better decisions faster.

This legislation will also improve local democracy and representation by bringing over one million Torontonians into voter parity. I hope the members of the opposition will set aside their angry rhetoric and take a closer look at the compelling reasons to support this bill.

Throughout my time in public life, one thing has remained: I serve the people. As our Premier has said—and again, I want to make sure the NDP hears this quote from my Premier, Doug Ford: “Every politician at every level in every region needs to remember ... that we all share the same boss. We all work for the people.” That’s a fantastic quote, Speaker.

That means people all over the province, and that’s why we’re also taking the opportunity to press the pause button on the regional government model and look at what works and what doesn’t work. This model has been in place for almost 50 years. The people no longer wear bell-bottom jeans or drive wood-panelled station wagons. Styles and vehicles have changed over that time, and I am certainly thankful that they have.

Regional municipalities have changed as well over that time. Take Peel region—and I know some members will agree with me. In Mississauga, Square One was surrounded by lush green fields when it was built in 1973. It’s a far cry from today, with condo towers and businesses within walking distance from that shopping centre. The population has grown, infrastructure pressures have increased, and taxpayers’ dollars are being stretched even further. We need to revisit the issues that the regions are facing, and the regional government model as a whole. We want to know what works in 2018 and what doesn’t, and we need to know what to do to make sure we have a model that works for the next 50 years.

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Next week, I’ll be at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa. It’s a wonderful opportunity to speak with local government representatives from all over the province. I’m honoured to be able to attend as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. That’s where we’ll start the—

Interruption.

Hon. Steve Clark: There you go. My minister is calling me.

At the AMO conference, we’ll start that informal dialogue with our municipal partners about the regions, because local representatives understand communities and they really have ideas to make regional government work harder, work smarter and more efficiently.

I know that many of our members from this side of the House—and again, I encourage members from the opposition and other members in this House to attend the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference. I remember my first conference in 1983, after my election. I really enjoyed the interaction, not just with my municipal colleagues, but I also appreciated the fact that we had direct access to not only ministers but parliamentary assistants and members of the opposition. During my time at AMO, both as a member of their board and also as the president in 1989, I valued the discussion we had both with members of the government and members of the opposition.

Interjections.

Hon. Steve Clark: Again, regardless of the heckling or the rhetoric across, I encourage members to come to that conference and really feel the pulse of what is happening with our municipalities.

Speaker, I want to reiterate here that the proposed changes in the legislation before us will make Toronto council more efficient and more effective. Aligning Toronto’s ward boundaries with provincial and federal riding boundaries makes sense. It simply makes sense.

As I look around this chamber, I see people who are passionate about their communities and who do an excellent job representing their constituents. I urge each and every one of you to support this bill.

Our federal colleagues share the same riding boundaries. I have no doubt, Speaker, that those same boundaries that our federal colleagues represent and that we represent as provincial colleagues—I’m sure that those Toronto councillors will represent those same riding boundaries in the same way we do.

Thank you, Speaker. I appreciate the third reading debate.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I want to start by saying that Bill 5 is yet another example of the Conservative government in Ontario, the newly elected Conservative government, dragging our province backwards and taking us from bad to worse here in Ontario. It is incredibly disappointing to see a government, newly elected, ram this bill, Bill 5, through the House without consultation and without going through the committee process.

We all know what Bill 5 is. Bill 5 is a vindictive law and a blatant abuse of power by this new Premier. New Democrats are very, very proud to have fought for public hearings on Bill 5, but we are deeply saddened that this government chose to deny Ontarians the right to be heard.

Not only is Bill 5 meddling with elections that are already under way, something that is completely outrageous and completely foreign to a long-standing democracy like we have in Ontario and like we have in Canada—I mean, it is really quite shocking that a government thinks that its responsibility is to take away the power of voters in the midst of an election campaign. It is absolutely astounding. But we are proud to have done what we can do on behalf of Torontonians and people in Peel and people in York and people in Niagara and people in the Muskoka region to be able to have some control over their local democracies, because this anti-democratic bill does exactly that. We were able to delay that a little bit, but the Premier and his team decided that shutting down the voices of the people and shutting down the democratic right for people to participate in not only their local democracy, but in this place, in this chamber, by ramming this bill forward without any public debate—it’s something that will be a negative mark, an ugly mark on this government for its entire four years in office, because that’s all it’s getting. Every day, more and more Ontarians are filling up the inboxes, mailboxes and voice mails of our MPPs here on the opposition benches—and if it’s happening to us, it’s happening to you too—with their opposition to this bill.

New Democrats are proud to stand with the citizens that oppose Bill 5 because Bill 5 is absolutely an assault on local democracy. The people of Ontario actually care about democracy. We jealously protect our democracy. We have respect for voters, and that’s not something that the Premier has indicated that he has. He disrespects democracy and he disrespects the voters. But we do. We respect them. We respect Ontarians, regardless of their political stripes.

It’s interesting that New Democrats, Liberals and even long-time Conservatives alike care passionately about the independence and autonomy of our local governments. People of all stripes are very concerned with this anti-democratic measure that is coming through the Legislature—swift, swift, swift—because this government has decided to shut down any kind of discussion or debate.

That’s why the Premier’s actions are so shocking and outrageous. This bill strikes at who we are as Ontarians. It strikes at the very heart of who we are as Canadians. It strikes at the values that we have collectively held for 151 years. That is what this bill does. It is a shame on this government that they would bring this kind of maneuver forward. So we are proud to stand up with the people of Toronto and with the voters across Ontario to demand that the Premier start showing some respect to voters and to all of our communities.

The way that Toronto is governed, the size of city council and the number of wards in this city are decisions that belong to the people who live here. Those are decisions that belong to the people who live here, or they should be. The people of Niagara, of Peel, of York and of Muskoka deserve the right to elect their regional chairs. In fact, the Conservatives used to believe that, too. They believed that, actually not too long ago, but now, all of a sudden, they have power, and there’s an initiative that the Premier was more interested in. That initiative has to do with some enemy of his that he really wanted to kneecap. That’s why this legislation includes pulling away the right of people to elect their regional chair in a municipal election.

Talk about going backwards. Talk about dragging us backwards, taking away people’s right to vote for their regional chairs. Really? That was an advancement that was a long time coming and should have happened a long time ago, but this government gets elected and takes away people’s right to vote for their regional chair. It’s absolutely, absolutely backwards. It steals that power away from people and it puts that power in the hands of the Premier: the power to decide what these councils look like, particularly the city of Toronto’s council, but also what’s happening at the regional level.

Bill 5 is not about helping the people of Ontario. It is the most anti-democratic action that we have seen in this province for many, many years. It is a move, plain and simple, to make it easier for—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member for York Centre will return to his designated seat, please. Thank you very much.

Continue.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: It is a move to make it easier for a drunk-on-power Premier to control the city of Toronto, to control city hall. It is an act of political revenge against the Premier’s political opponents and it is an act designed to punish the people of Toronto, the city that has rejected this Premier time and time again.

There are so many reasons to oppose this legislation. New Democrats are very, very proud to stand in opposition to this bill. We stand opposed to this bill because the Premier has no mandate to pass this legislation and steal power away from voters. He cooked up this plot in a backroom. He consulted nobody about it. He hid it from the people of Ontario during the entire election campaign. That whole 28 or 29 days the Premier could have been upfront and honest about his plan to shrink Toronto city council and to take away the democratic rights of voters to vote for their regional chairs but he didn’t say a word and now he pretends that he was talking about it all along. Well, that’s just balderdash, I would say. Anybody who paid attention during that campaign knows that it’s balderdash. He hid it from the people for the entire campaign.

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This is, by definition, a hidden agenda, Speaker. By keeping it secret from the people of Ontario, this Premier has absolutely no mandate to impose it. He has no mandate to impose his will on the people of Toronto or on the people of Niagara, Peel, York or Muskoka.

We stand opposed to this bill. The Premier has no right to abuse the powers of his office and interfere in municipal elections in the middle of a campaign without any consultation.

Now, there are many countries around the world that struggle to find the path to democracy. Our Premier is taking us off the path to democracy. Our Premier is taking away the rights of people to vote. It is unbelievable, Speaker.

We stand opposed to this bill because the Premier should not be using his office to take revenge on his political opponents. The idea that we can have a Premier newly elected and one of his first acts is to take his political opponents down—your first act is to take your political opponents down—is a very chilling thing and it speaks a lot about the integrity of this Premier.

We stand opposed to this bill because the Premier should not be making it harder for voters to voice their opinions. The bottom line, Speaker, is this: The Premier wants to control city hall from Queen’s Park, something he couldn’t do by getting elected there. So instead he’s pulling—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member for Markham–Stouffville will come to order. Thank you.

Please continue.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Instead he’s pulling the power into his office here at Queen’s Park. Why, Speaker? Well, I think there might be another hidden agenda afoot and we’ll see it play out very, very clearly. He’s meddling in the elections because he wants to make it easier to cut the services that families in Toronto expect to be provided. He wants to privatize the TTC, so the best way to do that is to take control of city council and privatize the TTC. He wants to meddle in local planning and give his developer friends the farm. He wants to privatize Toronto Hydro. He wants to—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Point of order?

Mrs. Robin Martin: Point of order, Mr. Speaker: The member opposite, the Leader of the Opposition, is imputing motive contrary to standing order—

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): It may be, but I can’t hear her because of the noise from the government bench. Thank you for your point of order.

Please continue. You have a few more seconds.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: He wants to pave over the greenbelt. In this case, Tory friends are going to get rich instead of Liberal friends and we have no change for the better for the people of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: I do want to acknowledge I’ll be sharing my time with the member from Don Valley West and the member from Ottawa–Vanier.

Mr. Speaker, today is a sad day. This bill, Bill 5, is an affront to democracy. We know that the people of Toronto elected their mayor and council to represent them, to duly represent the people and the concerns that they have. We are concerned about the government moving forward without consulting the people who have elected their representatives.

I submitted my reasoned amendment that really does demonstrate the lack of consultation and asked the government to consider consulting with the people of Toronto on the impact of this drastic decision of slashing their council in half. That has been categorically rejected by this government. In fact, they have created ways of accelerating this process to stifle debate and to silence people so that they can ram through their own agenda on their own time.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Toronto will not forget this action. The people of Toronto will remember this Conservative government for not listening to them, for not consulting them and for really—many people ask me, “Why is this being done?” Frankly, they have no memory of the government even suggesting this during the course of the election, because they didn’t suggest it.

They have come up with this overnight decision that is affecting the lives of almost three million people. The people of Scarborough–Guildwood have elected me to this Legislature for five years, Mr. Speaker. I just passed my fifth anniversary on August 1, 2018, and that was Emancipation Day. So I don’t take democracy lightly. It is something that was hard fought for and it has meaning. It has purpose.

Yesterday I asked a question of the Premier, and in a very demeaning way he said to me, “You were only elected by 60 votes.” Mr. Speaker, I was actually elected by 74 votes, and do you know what? I am humbled to be given the opportunity to serve the people of my riding for another term, for a third term, because this is a privilege. This is not to be taken lightly. The people elect us to serve in the best interests of the people, not of themselves and each other.

So I say to the Premier: Respect democracy. Respect each and every single voter who takes the time to cast a vote for the person that they choose to represent. Respect the city of Toronto when an election is in process, since May of this year. When candidates have signed up and registered, you ripped the rug from under them and insert your own process that is ill-defined and everybody is sent scrambling.

Look at the school boards. Look at the chaos that it’s going to create by not having appropriately balanced and distributed representation at that level, and the complexity of our separate school boards with our Catholic school board, as well as our French-language school board. How are we going to reconcile fairness for the resources and the allocation that are needed, when everything is being done in a rushed manner over the course of this summer because this government has an agenda that they have not shared with anyone? They have not consulted with anyone, and they have rushed the legislative process to achieve their own objectives.

Mr. Speaker, I respect local democracy. I respect each and every voter who has sent us here to represent their interests. I expect that the government of the day should do the same. It is a sad day when we have to sit in this Legislature and vote down local democracy. It is a sad day.

I want to make sure that my colleagues have an opportunity to speak, but I want the people of Toronto to know that their voice matters, that we’re here to represent them and we will never stop fighting for their interests and to support their causes and their concerns despite a government that has turned their backs on Toronto today with this Bill 5.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne: I just wanted to add a couple of words to what my colleague has said. The common assumption is that because I was elected in 2003, I have been a representative in government since that time until this previous election. But in fact, I feel as though I did an eight-year term in opposition when Mike Harris was the Premier, because I spent more time in this House arguing against the anti-democratic imposition of policies of that government than I would have even if I had been a member. There’s a “déjà vu all over again” aspect to this, Mr. Speaker.

The toxic relationship that developed between the provincial government and municipalities in those years, between 1995 and 2003, has taken years to undo. The imposition of amalgamations of school boards and municipalities, the downloading of costs onto municipalities, all of that had to be undone when we came to office.

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What really disturbs me about what is happening today is that this vendetta, this vindictive attitude towards Toronto that has come up—again, out of the blue, because as the Leader of the Opposition and my colleague from Scarborough–Guildwood have said, there was no mention of this in the election campaign. Trust me, Mr. Speaker; I spent a lot of time with Mr. Ford in debates. There was no mention of this in the election campaign.

Mr. Speaker, we—we as a society, we as a government—should have learned from what happened when Mike Harris broke that relationship between municipalities and provincial government. He broke it so that it didn’t work. Infrastructure didn’t get built. Good practices in that relationship were gone because of the bullying of the provincial government, and we worked very hard to undo that.

I stand with my colleagues in support of the people of Toronto. This is a vindictive act, but more concerning, this is an example of chaotic, erratic governance that is not based in evidence. It’s not based in good relationships and it’s not based in solid policy. We are in dangerous waters here, and what I will say is that I will continue to stand, as I have since 1995, against this kind of erratic, broken relationship with municipalities. It doesn’t work. We should have learned from it, and it’s very, very wrong.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: I want to make three quick points after my two colleagues. In 2001, AMO signed a memorandum of understanding with the province of Ontario. It further added a new protocol in 2004, and in 2005 the Municipal Act was amended to provide that the province of Ontario endorses the principle of ongoing consultation between the province and municipalities in relation to any matter that affects a municipality. My point as critic for municipal affairs—that’s the first thing I read, the act, and I thought, “Oh, well, they can’t do that.” You cannot go ahead and change something without consulting the municipality that is affected.

Second point: I had the legislative library do a little bit of research for me. I asked them, “Has it ever been done in Ontario or in Canada to change the rules, to introduce a bill changing the rules on elections, while an election has been called?” The answer? Never. It had never been done in Ontario. They looked at every province, and this has never been done.

My last point, Mr. Speaker, is this: My message to the government is simple. It’s not because you can that you should do it. Democracy is a fragile thing. All around the world, people look to Parliaments around them to see what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. You did not campaign on this. You did not consult on this. You’re not having committee on this. You should not do this. New governance and voter parity may be a good idea, but this is not the way to do it. I urge you to continue to respect municipalities, to respect Torontonians, to respect Ontarians and to respect our democratic traditions. It’s a sad day for democracy.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I rise today to ask members of this House to join me in voting against Bill 5. I think members opposite will agree that serving people is the most important job we have as elected—I emphasize “elected”—representatives. As a matter of fact, it’s what elected representation is all about. It is why we actually have budgets for constituency offices, so that we can help the people who we serve.

I believe in putting service above self and above party. In fact, serving people is one of the core values of the Green Party. We also believe deeply in local democracy, and Bill 5 fails on both accounts. It is undemocratic for the Premier to interfere in local elections after campaigns have already begun. It’s undemocratic for the Premier to cancel local elections in Peel, Muskoka, Niagara and York regions. It’s a slap in the face to the people living in Toronto and the regions to have their local elections interfered with in the middle of the campaign. It’s a slap in the face to people all across this province to make such a major change to our democracy without holding any consultations. And it’s a slap in the face to our democratic traditions to ram this through this House without holding committee hearings on such a significant piece of legislation.

So, Mr. Speaker, why is the Premier refusing to hold committee hearings on this bill? Why is the Premier refusing to consult the people of this province? Why is the Premier afraid to hear from the people on this bill, the people that we were elected to serve?

The Green Party believes that people must have their voices heard on how local democracy works and how government can best serve them. When the Premier interferes with local elections, he recklessly and dangerously departs from our democratic traditions.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the members opposite to think long and hard about the precedent they are about to set. Are they comfortable opening the door to other intrusions in local elections? The members opposite may be supporting radical change in Toronto today, but what if the next Premier turns his or her attention to the municipalities they work in? Think about a future majority government interfering in local elections in Brockville, Ajax, Whitby, Vaughan, North Bay or any number of municipalities across the province.

I know the members opposite have their marching orders, but now is the time to stand up for democracy, and I know there are members opposite who care deeply about democracy. I invite them to do the right thing. Put the people you were elected to serve, the people you were elected to represent, before your leader’s political games.

The motto of “Service before self” guides me. I believe that every member in this House recognizes that serving people is our highest job priority. Much of that work of helping people never makes it into the headlines: helping a family find a long-term-care bed for an aging parent, or helping a person with disabilities navigate the bureaucracy to get the services they deserve. This kind of personal service places even greater demands on municipal councillors because local service affects people’s everyday lives more directly.

Just the other day, I was talking about this with a councillor friend of mine in Guelph. He told me the story of a young mother who was on social assistance. She had a toddler and new baby twins, and was having to push them with a stroller onto the municipal bus in Guelph. She was told that she had to fold the stroller up for safety reasons. I don’t know about the rest of you; I’ve had to juggle kids, and the thought of having a toddler and two twins and trying to fold the stroller seems about impossible. This is especially important for somebody without a car. So she called transit. She talked to the bus driver. She talked and talked and talked with city staff and got nowhere because she was told that those were the rules. So she reached out to her municipal councillor, who took the time to meet with her, who took the time to meet with transit staff, who took the time to form meetings with city staff until they all worked out a solution so this woman could ride on the bus with her children.

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It’s that kind of personal service that transforms people’s lives, and it’s that kind of personal service that is very hard for councillors when they have 60,000 residents whom they serve. Imagine trying to do it with 120,000. It’s going to be near impossible to deliver that kind of service.

I want to remind the members opposite that it was actually the Premier’s own brother who rode to the mayorship of Toronto delivering that kind of public service to his constituents, and it will be incredibly difficult for any Toronto city councillor to ever deliver that kind of public service given the changes this government is about ready to make. I ask the members opposite: Will they stand up for local democracy? Will they stand up for putting their constituents first?

People in communities across Ontario expect a high level of customer service. There is a reason that there is no municipality in Ontario that will have council ward sizes as large as what the government is proposing here. It’s because they know that that level of service will not be able to be provided. I ask, is this what the members opposite really want?

What will have to happen is that in order to deliver service, there will have to be more bureaucrats hired. So what the Premier is actually proposing is replacing elected representatives with bureaucrats. I know there’s been a lot of talk about knocking on doors, but I don’t think I’ve ever knocked on a door where a person has told me they want more bureaucracy and fewer elected representatives to serve them. But that’s exactly what’s going to happen with Bill 5.

I believe Bill 5 is a bad bill. I believe Bill 5 is undemocratic. I believe Bill 5 undermines customer service. And I believe Bill 5 should be rejected.

This vote is a test. The Premier has a habit of putting ideology over evidence in the decisions he makes. Whether it’s ripping up contracts or repealing curriculums or scrapping climate action or cancelling social programs, this Premier’s leadership style is to cut first and think later. But I believe the people of Toronto deserve better. The people of the regions deserve better. They do not deserve to permanently lose half of their elected representatives. They do not deserve to have their local democracy upended after the campaigns have already started.

I will ask one final time: Will the members opposite put people before party? Will they put their constituents before their leader and will they vote against Bill 5?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Pursuant to the order of the House dated August 14, 2018, I am now required to put the question.

Mr. Clark has moved third reading of Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 15-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1515 to 1530.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Mr. Clark has moved third reading of Bill 5, An Act to amend the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

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

Ayes

  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mitas, Christina Maria
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): All those opposed to the motion will now stand one at a time until recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

  • Andrew, Jill
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Des Rosiers, Nathalie
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lalonde, Marie-France
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Miller, Paul
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • Singh, Gurratan
  • Singh, Sara
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Vanthof, John
  • West, Jamie
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 71; the nays are 39.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I declare the motion carried.

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

Third reading agreed to.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Orders of the day. I recognize the government House leader.

Hon. Todd Smith: Speaker, as much as we all want to stay, I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The government has moved adjournment of the House. Is it in favour that the motion carry? Motion carried.

This House stands adjourned until 10:30 a.m. on September 24, 2018.

The House adjourned at 1535.