42nd Parliament, 1st Session

L064 - Wed 19 Dec 2018 / Mer 19 déc 2018


The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We will begin this morning with a moment of silence for inner thought and personal reflection.



Mr. Sheref Sabawy: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Mississauga–Erin Mills.

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: I would like to take the opportunity to welcome my son David Sabawy. He is visiting from Ireland. He is studying medicine there, and he’s with us today for question period as well. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Orders of the Day

Time allocation

Hon. Steve Clark: I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 67, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act, 1995, that the order referring the bill to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy be discharged, and the bill be ordered for third reading; 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 20 minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government; 20 minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition; 10 minutes to the independent Liberal members, and 10 minutes allotted to the independent Green member; and

That, 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, notwithstanding standing order 81(c), the bill may be called more than once in the same sessional day; 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 third reading vote shall be permitted; and

That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to 10 minutes.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Mr. Clark has moved government notice of motion number 29. Further debate?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Mr. Speaker, I’m not pleased to participate in this debate, to be blunt. It is yet another time allocation motion. I want to speak to the motion and to what the motion is trying to do.

First of all, I just find it highly ironic that the Conservative members, especially those who served in a previous Legislature under the Liberal government, are here using time allocation on absolutely every bill that the government brings forward. I remember the speeches. We used to have speeches from the other side, from the Conservatives, about how time allocation was a horrible thing. It was a guillotine motion. Oh, my God, I think that that desk over there is broken because of the speeches the current minister of MNR gave on this particular issue.

Here they are, a mere six months after they become the government, and they have time-allocated pretty well every bill out of second reading. I just think it’s really what makes people cynical about politics and politicians. You stand in the House, you say, “This is my value. This is what I believe in. I would never do that. I would be different,” and then you get on the other side of the House and you guys are worse than the Liberals.

I thought that would have been pretty hard to do. Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals, they were an act that was tough to follow. There’s no question about that. Did they make mistakes? Horrible mistakes. They made some decisions—they helped their friends by doing all kinds of things that landed them in trouble. They messed up the hydro file. They messed up the air ambulance file. There was thing after thing that the Liberals did that proved two things: that Liberals govern for themselves and their friends more than they like to govern for the people of Ontario.

The Tories, when you listened to them in opposition, there they were. They were going to be different. They were going to be the bright lights that would shine in the government benches once they get on the other side. What do we find with the Conservatives? God, they’re worse than the Liberals. Not that the Liberals were good; the Liberals were bad. But my God, here we are, we have a government that uses time allocation on each and every bill when they said they wouldn’t do that. What are they doing? It’s the same type of thing.

You look at what’s happening with Mr. Taverner in regard to the appointment of the OPP commissioner. It’s all about the Premier trying to appoint one of his good friends into a position that, quite frankly, I think he’s in a conflict to do. I think it’s pretty dangerous stuff when you have an appointment to a position like the Ontario Provincial Police that mixes politics in with policing, because as you know, Mr. Speaker, there’s a long convention in the British parliamentary system. It’s the same in most other systems across the world. There’s a division between the three branches. You have the parliamentary legislative branch, the executive branch, and policing and courts. They can’t mix with each other. The courts can’t interfere with us, and we can’t interfere with them. We write the laws; they interpret them. Policing is the same thing: We write the laws, but they’re there to enforce them. We cannot be seen as interfering with the police as it executes its duties that it has been given to do.

So we have a Conservative government that, essentially, is acting like the Liberals. They’re making the Liberals look—my God, the Liberals are blushing over there. I watch them often when the government gets up in question period and are answering questions. The Liberals are going, “Oh, my God, they got our briefing books. Did you see that? Tom, look, look. They got our briefing books. They’re reading right out of them. It’s almost line per line.” And this government is trying to say they’re different and they’re for the people? No, the Tories are for themselves and their friends. That’s what this is all about.

Governments, at times, have got to make tough decisions. We all understand that. There’s not a government that sat in this Legislature in the history of this House where you didn’t have to make tough decisions. You’re measured by those decisions, and sometimes you’re at the losing end of the measurement. Sometimes governments have to do things that are pretty tough to do, and the public says, “I don’t like that,” and they throw them out of office. But you know what? That’s the democratic system we live in.

But you get elected to make those decisions, and when you see the Conservatives continue, essentially, what the Liberals did, there’s no difference between the Liberals and Tories and how they’re behaving at government. It’s pretty well the same thing. They were supposed to be different, and they’re not.

I’ve got to tell you, Andrea Horwath New Democrats would be different. We would not be doing the things that this government is doing. We would be focusing on the things that matter to people. And as for time—

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Shutting down nuclear plants—

Mr. Gilles Bisson: I’ll get to that in a second, my good friend, the finance minister.

But the point I want to make is, as for time allocation, I’m of the firm belief that if you’re going to use time allocation, it should be on a very rare occasion. I understand, at times, governments may get themselves in a spot where they may need to use it, but with the rules of today that we have in our standing orders, you can get the question called by about eight and a half hours of debate.

In other words, you can have a second reading debate, go eight and a half hours, and if you decide to do a night sitting, you can get it all pretty well done in one day, because they count as two different sessions. Then you’re into committee, and guess what, the government has a majority in committee. They can control what the committee is going to do when it gets there. So it’s not as if the government needs a time allocation motion to deal with any bill that happens to be in committee, because they get to decide what the business of the committee is. Yes, the opposition can certainly suggest and move motions and can be deleterious at times if necessary, but in the end, the government has a majority on committee, so they can get done what they’ve got to get done.


I understand at times governments will use time allocation. I’ve been in this House, as have our current Speaker and Mr. Wilson, for some 28 years now. I understand there will be times where governments may not want to but have to, but it should be the rare occasion. What really marks this government is that they’re no different than the Liberals. The Liberals were time-allocating absolutely everything up until about the last four months of their government because they were trying to look a little bit different going into that campaign. The Tories promised they would never do so, and they did exactly the same thing.

So on time allocation, I just want to say, this is not a good practice. I’ve said it before, and I’m not going to get into this point for very long, but it needs to be said again: The current rules of this assembly allow the government to be able to pass its legislation in sufficient time, if it manages its way through the House and committee. It’s not difficult. You have a debate that would last two or three days in the House. That’s not the end of the world; just know when to introduce your bill. If you need a bill passed by a certain date, make sure you introduce it far enough in advance of time that you’re able to get the bill through the second reading process. Once you get to a point that you think you’ve reached a threshold, you can call the question and the Speaker will rule in your favour. Then the bill gets referred to committee, where you have a majority, and you’re able to order the business in the committee by simply using your majority to do what you need to do.

Now, I would argue a government would be well served to utilize committees to strengthen its bills, to be able to have the public come in, not just here in Toronto but go to Whitby, go to North Bay, go to Brampton, go to different places in this province in order to make sure that we touch base with the public, because this is their assembly. This is their legislation. These are their dollars that we appropriate by way of bills that we do in this House, such as the budget. It only makes sense that we actually consult with the people who sent us here and consult with the people who pay to run this place, because it is their tax dollars that we’re spending. I think it would serve a government well and would serve the assembly well and would serve the public well, to be able to go out and do the work that needs to be done on committee.

So time allocation, if you use it, should be a very rare thing. I just say to the government across the way, I really, really am somewhat surprised that the Conservatives are as bad on this issue—and worse, I would argue—as what the previous government was doing. My God, they even use a notwithstanding clause.

Even if you look at this particular bill that’s subject to this time allocation motion, it’s an interesting one. I’m not going to predict what lawyers will or won’t do, if there even is a court case, but we’re ordering people back to work who are not yet on strike. It’s kind of an interesting one. Normally you have to wait until there’s a strike action in order to deal with it, but that’s a whole other thing.

To the bill here, I just want to make this point. The government argues, “Oh, my God, the lights are going to be off. The Christmas tree is going to be dark this Christmas because the NDP is holding up”—we’re not holding anything up. We told you at the beginning on Monday, “You’ll have your bill by Thursday”—

Hon. John Yakabuski: Yes, you are. You could have given us unanimous consent right away.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: So here we go. Here we go. Our good friend the Minister of MNR is yelling, “We should have just”—

Hon. John Yakabuski: I’m not yelling.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Well, yeah, you’re yelling. It’s the only way I can hear you.

The point is, my good friend the MNR minister—and I say this in all due respect, because he is a friend—says that we should have given you first, second and third reading all in one day on Monday. You know yourself that they have to give a 21-day notice, and that doesn’t start until after Christmas—it starts on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, one of the two—so there’s no danger of lights being turned off this week. There’s no danger of lights being turned off this weekend.

Even when it comes to December 25, even if we were in a position where they served notice, the lights aren’t going to go off right away. There’s a process by which you shut things down. A nuclear plant is not an on-and-off switch. A nuclear plant, you’ve got to bring it down, you’ve got to ramp it down; and then you’ve got to bring up the natural gas component of the generation system, you’ve got to bring up the hydroelectric, you’ve got to bring up the wind and the solar.

Now, would there be a problem in the longer run? Absolutely. I think there is an issue in the longer run. If we were in that situation, then, yeah, there would maybe be a problem, but at this point there’s no imminent crisis.

I listened to the Minister of Energy yesterday in this House speak to this, and then I listened to the Premier speak to it. They were really trying to fearmonger. I thought the deputy leader of the NDP, the member for Timiskaming–Cochrane, Mr. Vanthof, made some very good points, along with Mr. Tabuns, the member from—

Mr. Joel Harden: Toronto–Danforth.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Toronto–Danforth, our energy critic. They both made good points, that here was Minister Rickford and the Premier pressing the button trying to tell people that there was an imminent crisis and that somehow or other the lights were going to go off if we didn’t pass this bill in this minute.

Well, I’m the official opposition House leader, and along with my friends here in the caucus and others on the House team, we said to the government at the beginning, “You’ll get your bill by Thursday.” But as with all legislation, you need to table it. You need to read it. You know, that’s a really good idea, when you get a bill and you actually pick up the bill and you read it. I’m not, as a New Democrat, and none of our colleagues in the NDP are going to pass a bill that hasn’t even been read. How do we know what is in it? “Oh, trust me,” says the government, “it’s all about this.” And then all of a sudden you find out, “Oh my God, they’ve changed the ratios of the amount of people in daycares,” or they’ve done something else.

We don’t know what you’re going to do, so you’ve got to be able to see the bill. So, yeah, you table it. It gets printed; there’s a day. Then you get an opportunity to read the bill, which we did. Then you make up your mind and say, “No, we will not support it for the reasons that were put out in the debate yesterday.” Then you put on the record your thoughts and explanations as to why.

The debate wasn’t held up in any particularly long debate. I think—what did we do?—maybe two hours of debate yesterday on Bill 67, the bill in question. So it wasn’t like the NDP was trying to hold things up. The NDP was doing its job. We are all sent here as representatives of our ridings to be able to come to this Legislature to do our jobs—yes, as constituency people, but also as legislators, which is the other part of the job. If I’m passing legislation without ever having read it, then I think there’s a real problem.

So yeah, New Democrats will not allow you to pass legislation that we haven’t read. Hello? No, we’re not going to let you do that. Any party or any individual who’s prepared to do that, I think, is sorely mistaken when it comes to what they think their jobs here are in the Legislature. I’m surprised that my good friend the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Finance are there saying, “Oh, you should have passed this on Monday, sight unseen.”

Would you buy a car sight unseen? Would you buy a house sight unseen? Would you sign a loan sight unseen?

Mr. John Vanthof: But they’re learning, because we found out it’s a used van they wanted to buy.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Oh, yes, but if it’s a used van you can—it’s a whole other thing. That’s actually a good point. But seriously, who out there—I have to say to the finance minister across the way from me, who do you know would go into a bank and sign a loan without looking at the document to make sure that the numbers are right? You may not read all the fine print, but if you’re making a loan for $10,000 for a car or whatever, you’re going to make sure that the payment coming out at the end of the month is correct, that the amount of money you’re borrowing is correct before you sign anything. If you’re out there buying whatever it is, buyer beware. You’ve got to make sure that you read what you’re about to sign because once you put your signature on it, you’re done.

This government is proposing that this Legislature should pass the legislation on Monday without having read it. My God, who does that, except for—

Miss Monique Taylor: “Just trust us.”

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Yes, “Just trust us.” Well, trust us; this is the thing that’s so ironic with the Conservatives. The thing that’s so ironic with the Conservatives is that they say, “We’re the big breath of fresh air. We’re coming in and we’re going to make things different.” We find out that Mr. Ford wanted to have—what do you call it again?

Mr. Taras Natyshak: Shaggin’ wagon.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: No, I’m not going to use that word. It’s the mini—what was that—

Mr. Taras Natyshak: The magic mystery tour bus.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: The Magical Mystery Tour bus. He wants to have—


Mr. Gilles Bisson: Or “cannabus,” as somebody else said. He wants to have a van—and there may be good reasons why he wants a van. I don’t know. I’m not going to get into why he needs it. But the point is, he says, “I want to have a van”—okay, fair enough, you want to have a van; that’s his choice. But then he says, “Hide it in the books. Don’t tell anybody we’re buying it, and we don’t want to see it in the books. Do you get it?”

Holy jeez, guys, you’re Conservatives. Can you believe that the Conservatives are there going, “Quiet. Make sure that it doesn’t show up in the books.” Come on, you’re Conservatives. You’re supposed to be fiscal conservatives. It takes New Democrats to tell you to be responsible, and yet you don’t do those things?


You know, buying the van is one thing; we can have that debate. I remember a debate some years ago when the Liberal Premier of the day, Mr. Peterson, was using the OPP helicopter to fly home every weekend at taxpayers’ expense. It became a debate in this Legislature; fair enough. Should he have used it? Well, that was for the Legislature to decide. Eventually, the Premier thought it was a bad idea, so he stopped. But if Mr. Ford wants to have—what do you call it? The rolling magical mystery tour or something? The cannabis bus.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: The personal pleasure wagon.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: He’s dangerous to sit next to, I’ve got to say.


Mr. Taras Natyshak: Are you allowed to talk without Doug next to you moving your lips?


Mr. Gilles Bisson: People should pick up all this heckling; it’s actually pretty hilarious.

But anyway, my point is, Conservatives—

Hon. Victor Fedeli: You’re embarrassing yourself.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: No, you’re embarrassing yourself as a finance Conservative. You’re saying, “Go out and buy something sight unseen and hide it off the books.” If that isn’t embarrassing, I don’t know what is. So I’m saying to the members across the way, you, as Conservatives—of all parties—are supposedly the ones who are better at handling money, and it takes New Democrats to say to you, “You don’t put stuff off the books and you don’t try to hide it.” My God.

We’re going to do our job as the official opposition. We will, at times, work with the government where it needs to be—

Hon. Victor Fedeli: You’re embarrassing yourself.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: No. Again, here—I was going to stop, but I’ve got to continue now, only because I’ve been taunted by the Minister of Finance. I want to repeat what he says—

Hon. Victor Fedeli: You’re embarrassing yourself.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: He says that I’m embarrassing myself. What else do you want me to say?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: The people of Timmins should be ashamed.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: The people of Timmins should be ashamed. It’s funny—

Interjection: I’m sure they are.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Wow. Talk about the hubris over there. Oh, my Lord. I’ve got to say, wow, 60% of the voters of Timmins were wrong? Is that what you’re saying?


Mr. Gilles Bisson: Oh, they should be ashamed of having voted. Oh, my God. Listen, I think that’s a pretty sad comment to make, but I won’t go there.

My point is, to the Minister of Finance, are you saying it’s okay—Minister of Finance, I’m asking you a question. Are you saying it’s okay—

Mr. Lorne Coe: Point of order.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Excuse me. Point of order: I recognize the government whip.

Mr. Lorne Coe: We’re debating back-to-work legislation—

Mr. Taras Natyshak: We’re debating time allocation.

Mr. Lorne Coe: —and a time allocation motion. Very little, in my hearing, is related to that legislation.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Thank you very much. I’ve been listening carefully and the member has been walking a very fine line. I would ask that he revert back and ignore some of the other comments he might be hearing on your side or the other side. Let’s stay focused on what we’re here for. We’re debating time allocation.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Thank you very much, Speaker. I really appreciate that because I am saying that time allocation, I think, is overused by this government. But I say to the government as well that you cannot do things in the dark. You cannot, in this legislative system—


Mr. Gilles Bisson: Turn the lights on—I was going to end, but I’ve got to continue now. Mitch, I didn’t want to go any longer, but your members are encouraging me to continue. Come on. I can’t believe you guys.

They’re saying, “Oh, yes, but you’ve got to leave the lights on.” Let me go back to what I said at the beginning: The process of them shutting down the nukes doesn’t start until after Christmas.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Oh, so it’s okay to put Ontario in the dark later?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Oh, my Lord. Listen to these guys. They’re just unbelievable. You don’t know how a nuclear plant works. You don’t know—this is about the debate.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I recognize it may be about the debate—to the member from Timmins. However, so that we can stay focused—more specifically, so that you can stay focused—I would ask that you address the Speaker with your comments as opposed to going off the Speaker, because that’s when you start to colour outside the lines. I would ask that you stay focused and let’s stay within the lines.

Back to the member from Timmins.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Through you, Mr. Speaker, as I’m being heckled—through you back to me—I have to say to you, Speaker, that it’s really interesting to listen to the government talk about Bill 67 in a way that the lights are going to have to turn off as of today because we’re having a debate here Wednesday. I remind the government, quite clearly: They understand the process is that they have to serve notice, and they don’t start the wind-down until after Christmas. So you have this week to be able to deal with the legislative; it’s as simple as that.

Yes, we, as New Democrats, said that we will not take a bill and pass it without a reading. That would not be responsible. We are not utilizing more time than we need to in order to debate this. We want to put on the record our thoughts as to why we thought that bill was problematic. Our colleagues and the deputy leader of our party and our energy critic got up and spoke to those issues. We didn’t debate it any longer than a couple of hours. Normally, bills in the House stand around for two or three days, but we understood. We let it happen.

We’re in a time allocation debate today. I’ve already indicated to the government House leader that we wouldn’t be taking all of our time in the debate. I think that my good friend the deputy House leader may want to have a few words. But we said that we wouldn’t take all our time. But the government just can’t help themselves, Mr. Speaker. They know they’re in an indefensible position. They understand that. They’ve been trying to spin all week that this is a crisis the NDP has created. People understand that the government is creating its own crisis. They’ve tried to buy a van off the books so that it doesn’t show up. The government is creating another crisis in regard to the hiring of Mr. Taverner as the OPP commissioner.

We’ve got the Premier yesterday—my God, his 18-minute press conference was something else to watch. He doesn’t come to press conferences often, but God, there’s more stuff in there that you can run five question periods on.

It’s the government creating their own crisis. If the government is criticizing the official opposition because it says, “I’m not passing a bill until I read it— as I said to you, Mr. Speaker, who is going to walk into a bank without looking at how much the bank loan is and how much money they’re borrowing before signing? If you sign that document and don’t read it, who knows what you would be agreeing to? If that’s what Conservatives are suggesting New Democrats should do, then I would say that Conservatives have their priorities misplaced, because that is not a Conservative principle; that’s a silly principle. You have to read it before you decide to pass legislation in this House, and there has to be some form of debate. You at least owe it to the constituents you represent and the people of this province. Why is it that the government is doing this? The government did that. They gave their speeches, and we have to, as the official opposition, tell people what our position is. That’s exactly what we did.

I say to the government across the way, this is a crisis of their own making. This is something that they’ve managed to manage up themselves. It’s nothing that, quite frankly, had to be, but this government decided that even though they knew we had an agreement on Monday—my God, we agreed on Monday how this legislation would go through, and they were still out there trying to spin that the NDP were trying to hold things up. Well, Mr. Speaker, the NDP will always stand for shining a light on things so that we know, in the full view of the public, what’s going on, that we read legislation before it’s passed and we give our reasons why we vote for or against a particular bill.

When it comes to time allocation, Mr. Speaker, you’ve heard me and you’ve heard me often in this House on time allocation: I am not a fan. I came to this House back at a time when there was no time allocation, back at a time when there was no limit on how long a member could speak. The rules were very different when Mr. Arnott and Mr. Wilson and I got into this Legislature. But guess what, Mr. Speaker? The place worked. It actually worked better than it does now; I look at my friends at the Clerks’ table.

Back then, because the opposition had an ability to hold the government up, the government had to deal with the opposition and the opposition had to be responsible for how it discharged its duties. In other words, you couldn’t hold up the entire government agenda. You had to pick your fights. If the government had 10 bills it wanted to pass in the session, the opposition had to decide which one or two bills they really wanted to put up a fight on and have more public hearings on, or whatever it was that they wanted, as a trade-off. The government would negotiate with the opposition, and guess what, Mr. Speaker? They passed legislation. It passed through the House. Government always got its way.

The public was more informed. People felt more connected to the government than they certainly do today, because now people, I think, are frustrated with politicians because of all of those things that we just talked about. They’re mad at governments that say one thing in opposition and do completely the opposite when they go to the government side. They’re mad at keeping them in the dark. They get mad at things like, yes, trying to off-book an expense for a wagon that who knows what the purpose was. I have no idea.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: You’re making that up.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: I’m not making that up. It’s the Premier himself who said it. Did you hear the scrum yesterday, Mr. Speaker? Oh, it wasn’t a new van; it was a second-hand van now. Just like, “Oh, it was a van.” The point is, I’m not going to argue, Mr. Speaker, if it was or wasn’t.

Mrs. Robin Martin: Point of order.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: My learned friend has a point of order.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Yes. I recognize the member from Eglinton–Lawrence on a point of order.

Mrs. Robin Martin: I think, again, the member opposite is straying off of the subject at hand, which we’re debating, and going back to the same thing that he’s gone onto before, which is not the subject before us.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Okay. Thank you very much.

Again, to the member: Stay within the lines.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Thank you, Speaker. It’s connected to what I’m saying. I’ve got to say to my good friend in the government House leader’s office, Mitch, I’m going to go for a little bit longer now, okay? But don’t blame me. Talk to your members. That’s all you’ve got to do.


The point I’m trying to make as it relates to time allocation is that when the government uses the heavy hand of the rules of the House such as time allocation, it turns people off over the longer term. It’s the same thing as purchasing the wagon from the OPP and trying to off-book it. It’s the same kind of thing. It says to the public, “Well, can I really trust those people? Are they out there to protect my interest? What’s this all about? Is this some kind of shenanigans?” The public doesn’t like that.

So I say to my friends across the way, it’s not the way that this place should run. As I said before, we ran this House for over a hundred and some odd years before I got here. Actually, we were the 100th anniversary—how many years is the House open now?


Mr. Gilles Bisson: One hundred and twenty-five. Jeez, I’ve been here longer than that. I was going to say there were 100 years when they got here, but we weren’t—okay. That scared me for a moment there, Mr. Clerk. But my point is that for over 100 years, this House operated quite easily without time allocation, without limiting debates, and the threshold for the question was a lot longer than it is now. Things got done because you had a culture in this House where members had to work together.

The other point I want to make, though, in regards to time allocation and the rules—and I don’t think very many people in this House have experienced this. But when committees did travel—the only one that travels now is the finance committee that does pre-budget consultation, but we used to travel bills. So, for example, a bill like Bill 66 that whatever minister has put forward—the government House leader—bills like that typically would travel for two or three weeks in the intersession.

But what it did is, it didn’t only give the public a chance to have a say on the bill; it allowed members to work together. So you developed relationships, Liberals with Conservatives, Conservatives with New Democrats. You got to know each other on committee, because you’re on the bus, you’re on the plane, you eat at the same restaurant, and you start developing the relationships that you need to make this place work. Part of the difficulty that we have now is you don’t have committee structure in the way you used to, and it means the members don’t have an opportunity to work together.

I’ll make an admission: There are a whole bunch of really fine people on the other side of the House whose names I don’t even know. Unless they’re up regularly in the House or I happen to see them as I’m walking around the building, I don’t know who they are. I bet you it’s the same with a lot of the members and a lot of the members on the other side, because committees are where we interact as members on a one-on-one basis. So with committees, it’s not just a question of giving the public its say; it’s also the ability for members to get to know each other. Those relationships are what makes the House work. I would argue, if this House is somewhat dysfunctional today, it’s exactly because of that.

The other thing, and this is the interesting part about time allocation: Back when we didn’t have time allocation—we didn’t have limits on speeches, all of that, and the standing orders were quite different—you very seldom had a bill at third reading for more than an hour. You never had to time-allocate third reading. Once you had your fight at committee and you had your fight at second reading, I don’t remember bills, when I first got here, being at third reading very long. They weren’t, because you had worked it out before it ever got to third reading. It was an agreement between the House leaders.

I hear the government members argue across the way why time allocation is so precious, because the time in the House is so much needed to get things done. We used to resolve a lot of the committee work of bills in Committee of the Whole. Most people won’t even know what Committee of the Whole is. The Committee of the Whole hasn’t sat since the years of Mike Harris; mid-1990s, I think, is the last time we sat with Committee of the Whole. But my point is, the reason I say Committee of the Whole—if this House without time allocation, without limits on debate, could find the time to utilize the House as a Committee of the Whole, that suggests that in fact things were working, because we weren’t holding stuff up unnecessarily.

Yes, the Conservatives held up the NDP government on a budget bill in 1991. I remember it well. Mr. Harris, the then-leader of the third party, got up and read names of lakes into the—it wasn’t a bill that he did. Was it a bill he did it as? I can’t remember—anyway, bill after bill, as I did last summer on another issue.

But back then, the rules allowed him to do it and to continue doing it. There was no limit on how long routine proceedings were. But that tool is what gave him the ability to force the then-NDP government to put the bill out on the road, and the committee process for that particular bill, that budget, I think was three weeks on the road.

Did we want to do it as government? No. We wanted to get our budget passed like every other government does. But that afforded the opposition an ability to be able to force committee hearings on something they had objection to. It also meant that they didn’t debate other bills ad infinitum. They didn’t use all of the legislative agenda of the government to make their point. They picked their spot, they were very effective at finding a fight, and they got a good fight with the then-NDP government, and the government had to give way. It was the same when the Liberals were in power, and it was the same when Davis was in power as the Conservatives. The NDP would do it to them as well, and I’m sure the Liberals did it on occasion as well.

So time allocation is not the be-all and end-all that people think it is. What it does is it short-circuits members, and we, as members, are the ones who are supposed to be running this House. When you’re constantly time-allocating, that’s the hand of the Premier’s office who’s reaching into the Legislature and telling members on both sides of the House what we should and shouldn’t do as naughty little boys and girls. I think that is really wrong on the part of the power of the executive. Yes, the executive, being cabinet and the Premier, have a different role than members on the legislative side when it comes to what we do in this House, but when we use time allocation it’s a direct signal by the Premier’s office that they’re running this Legislature from the corner office, and I resent that.

As all members here, we believe our jobs as legislators—first of all, it’s a job that we respect, it’s a job that we fought hard to get, and we want to do our jobs in this Legislature. When you’ve got the government across the way utilizing time allocation because the Premier has decided to control the House, I think it’s a disservice to all members.

With that, I know my good friend the deputy House leader would like to say a few words, and that ends my time in this debate.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate?

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: It’s always a pleasure to be here in this Legislature when we’re debating all kinds of issues. Today, of course, the member from Timmins is talking about time allocation, and it feels like it’s Groundhog Day. As he mentioned, legislation after legislation—most of the bills that have been presented in this House have been time-allocated. Why is that? Why is this government not allowing the members on this side of the House, the official opposition, the respect to debate issues that are very important to the public?

They say that they’re the government for the people, but I think you have to be a government to the people. That’s the difference. Time allocation is not a government for the people, it’s a government for themselves. It’s serving their own interests when it comes to legislation. That’s what time allocation is about. If you’re a government to the people, then you’re serving their interests. You’re doing things for them.

Part of that time allocation piece isn’t giving members the time to debate bills. As the member from Timmins said, the House leader, business can go through this Legislature very smoothly, but there is a working relationship that has to be obtained and substantiated in this Legislature out of mutual respect for the work that we do on both sides of the House, and that doesn’t happen very often, as we know.

This government—Premier Doug Ford has, I think, a management issue when it comes to legislation and how government works, because he is allowing his corner office to dictate what happens here in the Legislature, and that is not going to help the people. It’s a government, like he said, for the people, but it’s not working that way. It’s a government that needs to work for people. Time allocation doesn’t accomplish that. Time allocation actually inhibits members from getting their voice on legislation that is extremely important to their constituents.

I know the member from Ottawa Centre is very passionate about many issues and has wanted to debate legislation, like Bill 66. That’s one of the bills where we know there are things that have been stripped away that are going to cause problems in the child care piece, in the midwifery piece. There’s also the fact that this government time-allocated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it came to the “notwithstanding” clause when we talked about the Toronto legislation and the municipal election. These things do not serve the public. A government for the people—not a government for people, but a government that actually works for the people.


Time allocation, again, we know is sometimes necessary, but it is to be used on a rare occasion. But this is a pattern of behaviour that is repetitive for this government. They think it’s an everyday mechanism to use in this Legislature. It’s not. It’s meant to really focus on legislation when you want to get it through and when there is an urgency, perhaps, to make it happen; then you would utilize time allocation. But this government seems to think that they can push and control legislation through this House just by constantly assigning time allocation to every piece of legislation. That’s wrong. That’s wrong, and it doesn’t serve the public.

Then we come back to the piece: What’s the perception that the public has? People are apathetic when it comes to politics. There’s apathy out there, and the reason is because we aren’t allowing them to have the representation in this Legislature that they deserve. Time allocation makes things worse in the way the House operates, not better. When we continually resort to this kind of strategy in order to prop this government up constantly, it really, truly doesn’t serve the public.

This government continually says, “Work with us, work with us,” and then they slap a time allocation on legislation. You know, “We want to stand with you, shoulder to shoulder.” We go to committee, and they vote down every amendment. Your messaging, what you are saying, doesn’t reflect your actions. I hope, at some point in time, that you will actually say what you mean, instead of pretending that you are here for the people and you do the complete opposite.

When we’re talking about time allocation, that means a message about having workers go back to work when they’re not even on strike. That is the wrong message. That doesn’t reflect what’s really happening. Spinning things like that—that’s when people start getting disengaged. That’s when people don’t want to hear it anymore, because they can’t believe what is really being said and what is really happening in this Legislature. The truth be told, there is no action. The power workers are not on strike. There is a process that could be followed to allow them to get to that point, but this government has called back the Legislature on an emergency basis again. I mean, in six months, we’ve been called back here how many times on an emergency basis? Get your act together. Start forecasting what those things are.

The member from Toronto–Danforth talked about how this issue was on the table back in March, and it was ignored. You can’t ignore what you can do now to prevent these critical things that you claim are in crisis. I urge this government to start paying attention to what is being said on this side of the House, because we can actually work together and accomplish things, like legislation that is important to all of us. There can be negotiations. You don’t have to always use a hammer like time allocation to get what you want.

I know some of the members that we’ve worked with before in the opposite party, the Conservatives, who are very reasonable on that side of the House. I don’t know where that reason has gone since they became government, but I call on them to bring those reasonable measures back into how they operate this Legislature and how they work with the official opposition. I wave to them right now, because there are three of them that I know from the time I got elected.

Again, I don’t know what’s going on, but I speculate that a lot of this is happening from the corner office, and that’s why. They’re being soldiered and manoeuvred into what they’re supposed to do instead of actually thinking about what’s reasonable, what they can do, and working with the opposition, because I know that’s really what their intent is. But I guess when you have a boss that wants to work from the corner office and dictate, you’re kind of forced to do that. But I hope the next time we’re back that they will get some legs under them and stand up to the corner office and say, “No. You know what? We need to do things differently so that the public is engaged, we restore some respect in this Legislature and we can get things done in a way that we work together instead of constantly being at odds.”

In saying that, Speaker, I think it’s time that I would like to say to the government that we’re here to work with you, but you’ve got to actually walk the walk when you ask us to work with you. That means, in committee, listening to reasonable amendments to really important legislation. That means, in this Legislature, when we have House leader meetings, being transparent with what you’re bringing forward—when and how long—instead of surprising everybody. It truly gets, I guess, old to us. We need to have that working relationship. If you’re not prepared to do that, at least be up front about that, instead of playing these political games and spinning things and making this out to be a crisis and that people are on strike and the power is going to go out. That’s not happening.

We all know that we’ve agreed to pass this bill in a timely fashion so that we can get things accomplished around this power bill.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Further debate? Further debate?

Mr. Clark has moved government notice of motion number 29, relating to allocation of time on Bill 67, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act, 1995. 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. A recorded vote being required, it will be deferred until after question period today.

Vote deferred.

Private members’ public business

Mr. Doug Downey: I seek unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding the scheduling of private members’ business for this week.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Unanimous consent is agreed? Agreed.

Mr. Doug Downey: I move that, notwithstanding standing order 98(a), the House shall not meet to consider private members’ public business on Thursday, December 20, 2018.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): The member has moved that, notwithstanding standing order 98(a), the House shall not meet to consider private members’ public business on Thursday, December 20, 2018. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Motion agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Orders of the day. I recognize the Minister of Housing.

Hon. Steve Clark: No further business, Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): There being no further business, this House now stands recessed until 10:30 this morning.

The House recessed from 0948 to 1030.

Introduction of Visitors

Mrs. Robin Martin: I rise today to welcome to the House a friend and volunteer in my campaign, Zachary Zarnett-Klein, who is visiting today at Queen’s Park.

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: It’s my pleasure to welcome my son David El Sabawy, who is visiting from Ireland. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Also, we have Middlebury Public School from my riding, who are going to be arriving soon in the gallery.

Ms. Sara Singh: I have the distinct honour of introducing a dear friend, Janet Rodriguez, who is also a disability rights advocate across the province of Ontario.

Mr. Jeremy Roberts: They have yet to arrive, but I’m told they’re en route: I have one of my Oxford classmates, a good friend, Teddy Kuhn, joining me today along with his wonderful better half, Rocío. They’re visiting all the way from Geneva. It’s wonderful to have them here a little bit later in question period.

Shooting in Spadina–Fort York

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I understand the member for Spadina–Fort York has a point of order.

Mr. Chris Glover: I’d just like to inform the House that, last night just after midnight in my riding, there was a shooting. A man and a woman were shot. The man succumbed to his injuries, and he has passed away. I would just like the House to take a moment to reflect on the 95th homicide in the city of Toronto this year and also for everybody in this House to vow to bring an end to gun violence in this city.

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

It is now time for oral questions.

Oral Questions

Government accountability

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Deputy Premier. Yesterday, the Premier stated that he intends to appoint his good friend Ron Taverner to the post of OPP commissioner, regardless of the serious controversy around this appointment and, it seems, regardless of what any independent review may or may not find.

Ron Taverner has admitted that he can’t assume command under the cloud of suspicion created by the Premier. Why is your Premier so committed to proceeding?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: The members of the NDP continue to bring forward unsubstantiated allegations about someone who, frankly, has a stellar 50-year career in the city of Toronto. I think it’s shameful that we are not allowing the Integrity Commissioner to do their job, do the investigation and have the report. Then I will be the first to stand in line to congratulate Ron Taverner as he takes his role as the OPP commissioner.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: It looks like the problem with this government is endemic to its entire cabinet, Speaker.

Yesterday, I wrote to the Integrity Commissioner asking him to use his power under the Members’ Integrity Act to conduct a full public inquiry into this matter. Given the importance of the OPP commissioner’s position, only a full public inquiry can ensure full public confidence and give the public the answers they deserve. Will the government support this request?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: It is beyond comprehension that the NDP do not consider the independent officer of the assembly, the Integrity Commissioner, to be independent, to have the ability to put forward and do this investigation and bring that report forward.

I have full confidence in the Integrity Commissioner. I am happy to wait for his report. I find it fascinating that we are here to talk about ensuring the power stays on in the province of Ontario, and yet the NDP continue to filibuster and choose to ignore the real issues that are facing the province of Ontario, which are heat and hydro for our people.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Final supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, this is no longer about the Premier standing up for his buddy. It’s about maintaining the integrity of our police forces and confidence in this assembly. Instead of working to restore that, the Premier has spent the last two weeks defending the indefensible and attacking the integrity of decorated police veterans who had the courage to speak out.

Enough is enough, Speaker. Will the Premier and his government do the right thing and tell the Integrity Commissioner that we need a full public inquiry today?


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


Hon. Sylvia Jones: Mr. Speaker, respectfully, the NDP can’t take “yes” for an answer. We have an independent inquiry going on right now. Let the independent officer do his work, let him do his report, and then we can move forward on this very important appointment of the OPP commissioner.

Government accountability

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, my next question is also to the Deputy Premier, but I think that the minister responsible just acknowledged that the government was happy to have a public inquiry from the Integrity Commissioner. We’re very pleased about that.

Look, the Premier stated that he played no part in the hiring process and that it’s a complete coincidence that one of his closest friends, who was not even qualified for the position described in the initial job description, somehow ended up with the job.

Is the Deputy Premier aware if, at any point, the Premier discussed this career opportunity with his friend?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I understand that in this chamber we have immunity, but it does not mean that we should be dragging people who have stellar careers of over 50 years of serving the people of Ontario as a front-line police officer—dragging them through the mud.

Let the Integrity Commissioner do his job, let us have the report, and let us move forward with appointing as the OPP commissioner the best person for the job.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Perhaps this minister should provide the same advice to her Premier, who has dragged Mr. Blair through the mud quite consistently for a number of weeks, Speaker. In fact, yesterday the Premier took issue with Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair’s letter to Ontario’s Ombudsman and to any suggestion that he may have met with Taverner during the appointment process.

Is the Deputy Premier aware of whether the Premier has had any meetings with his old friend where this job was discussed?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Unsubstantiated allegations, sullying people’s careers and, most importantly, not allowing the Integrity Commissioner to do the work that you asked for a week ago, so which is it? You asked for the Integrity Commissioner to review the hiring process. He has agreed to do that. I am willing to let that work go ahead because, frankly, he is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly. Why won’t the NDP?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Once again, I’ll remind members to make your comments through the Chair.

Start the clock. Final supplementary.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: This government might not like it, but this official opposition will use every tool in our tool box to get the people the answers that they deserve in a public forum—


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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Through a freedom of information request, we have learned that the Premier met with then-OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes on July 25. Is the Deputy Premier aware of the Premier’s discussion with Mr. Hawkes and whether or not the plans for his retirement were discussed at that meeting?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I hope you understand how many people the Premier meets over the course of a week. I hope you understand that it is part of his job, as the Premier of Ontario, to meet with everyone in the province of Ontario who requests those meetings. To suggest that there is something untoward because the Premier meets with the OPP commissioner—I can’t understand your argument there.

We have a Premier who is actively engaged in ensuring that the people of Ontario and the front-line officers get the support and tools they need to do their job. Why isn’t the NDP behind that?

Government accountability

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is to the Deputy Premier. Five days after his meeting with then-Commissioner Vince Hawkes, according to our freedom of information request, the Premier found time to have dinner with Ron Taverner. This dinner meeting was not on the Premier’s public agenda.

Can the Deputy Premier tell us whether she is aware of the Premier’s discussions and if there was any discussion at that meeting with Mr. Taverner of the OPP commissioner’s job that was becoming available?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Again, I understand that you can say whatever you want in this chamber with immunity, but that doesn’t mean it’s right to tear someone apart and to bring someone down who has 50-plus years of policing in the province of Ontario. After 50 years of policing, to suggest that you can take that public service and tear it down for partisan purposes I think is shameful.

Why aren’t we talking about why we are here this week? Why aren’t we talking about the fact that we have a Power Workers’ Union that has said they want to go on strike and we are trying to avoid that to make sure that the people of Ontario have heat and light in the coming days?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: For weeks the Premier has insisted that he had absolutely nothing to do with Ron Taverner’s appointment. With each passing day, new facts erode that claim: The Premier didn’t recuse himself; the hiring committee included a friend of the applicant; the job description was altered. Now we learn that the Premier was out having secret meetings with his preferred applicant days after meeting with the then OPP commissioner.

Will the Premier continue to defend the indefensible? Will his cabinet and this government continue to defend the indefensible? Or will this government join us in urging the Integrity Commissioner to use his powers for a full public inquiry?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I understand the NDP want to spin a different tale than what is the reality.

That is the purpose of the independent inquiry. That is why the independent inquiry is happening through the Integrity Commissioner. I am happy to let that work commence. I am happy to await those reports and see what the Integrity Commissioner finds out about the independent hiring process. But in the meantime, I remind the NDP that we have pressing issues in the province of Ontario that need to be dealt with today, right now.

I’m happy to wait for the report, but we need to deal with the heat and hydro in the province of Ontario today.

Labour dispute

Mrs. Robin Martin: My question is for the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. Mr. Speaker, 50% of this province’s power generation is threatened if there is a strike at OPG. That would mean rolling brownouts throughout the province, including some of our most remote areas.

Across the province and in northern Ontario, many people rely on electricity to heat their homes. Imagine what it would be like for a family to wake up Christmas Day without power. How could anyone risk subjecting their constituents to a cold winter? That’s exactly what the members of the opposition are fighting for by voting against Bill 67.

Can the minister please explain why it is so critical that the power stays on this winter?

Hon. Greg Rickford: I want to thank the member for Eglinton–Lawrence for her outstanding work in this place for her constituents. It’s a privilege to work with her and for her to focus on the issues that matter.

Mr. Speaker, it’s day five. We are almost 48 hours away from a stage, a critical window, where OPG will have to act on starting to wind down nuclear units, compromising the supply of electricity. This is—

Interjection: That is not accurate.

Hon. Greg Rickford: This is completely accurate. It’s a fact.

New Year’s is just on the horizon, and I see the NDP have already started with their fact-free diet. But the truth of the matter is that in a couple of days, OPG and the Power Workers’ Union will start the process to wind down those generators, interrupting the supply of electricity, compromising electricity for families and business. We’re not going to stand for it. We’re going to stand for the people of Ontario—


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

Restart the clock. Supplementary?

Mrs. Robin Martin: Back to the minister: Apparently, the opposition thinks they know more about how to run power plants than OPG.

We have been warned that this could result in rolling blackouts and brownouts, and that’s just for the GTA. Who knows what will happen if northern Ontario faces a blizzard where the power might go out? Under these circumstances, the results could be catastrophic.

The minister is from northern Ontario, and I’m sure he knows what kind of weather winter can bring. I’m seriously concerned that our northern and remote communities will face dangerous consequences. The opposition is also aware of this. In fact, last year, their leader stated, “We know already that there are people who are taking extreme measures. For example, hooking up their appliances to gas power generators, which is not very safe. People are desperate and they should not be cut off of hydro, particularly with winter coming.”

Through the Speaker, I ask the minister: What are Ontarians in remote communities to do?

Hon. Greg Rickford: I just thought of this, Mr. Speaker. The NDP: not delivering power—not delivering power to the families and businesses of this province, putting their ideology ahead of the needs of families, communities and businesses.

It’s not just to celebrate Christmas, but us northerners will plunge into the heart of winter. It’s 10 below in Timmins, 15 below in Kenora. The wind chill factor is even colder. This is serious business.

We’ve convened in this place to ensure that the people of Ontario have hydroelectricity through the holidays and on into the winter. We are getting dangerously close to a critical window where they’re going to have to take action on interrupting that supply. It needs to stop, so the NDP have got to stop filibustering this, quit with the delays, stand up for the people of Ontario and keep our hydro—


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

Start the clock. Next question.

Government accountability

Mr. Taras Natyshak: My question is for the Acting Premier. Yesterday, the Premier defended his chief of staff’s demand that the OPP buy a personal pleasure wagon for the Premier and keep the costs off the books. The Premier suggested that the OPP could easily have acquired a used recreational camper van, probably off of Kijiji or something.

Can the Acting Premier share with the assembly exactly where someone can buy a used, off-the-books, customized pleasure—pleasure wagon. Let me say that again: a customized personal pleasure wagon.


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

Deputy Premier?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.


Hon. Sylvia Jones: The question is so laughable even the member opposite couldn’t spit it out without breaking up. To suggest that there is anything wrong with the Premier suggesting that he’d like a used van because he wants some space to work so that he can call constituents and he can continue to work—I will never understand why the NDP choose the questions they do. What I do understand is that I am here this week to ensure that the power stays on in the province of Ontario. That is my job as a legislator. It is very, very unfortunate and almost laughable that the NDP do not have that same sense of responsibility.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Taras Natyshak: Yesterday, the Premier defended his chief of staff’s demand that the OPP buy a personal pleasure wagon for the Premier and keep the costs off the books. Speaker, the Premier’s chief of staff demanded that this personal pleasure wagon be off the books, and the acting commissioner raised serious concerns about this request. Instead of thanking the acting commissioner for his honesty and integrity, the Premier launched into an unsubstantiated smear campaign against him, and he pushed the appointment of a man who shrugs and tells the Toronto Sun it’s okay because “he’s a big guy.”

Speaker, when will anyone on that side of the bench stand up to this Premier and tell the Premier that providing an off-the-books personal pleasure wagon is not the job of the Ontario Provincial Police?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I think the member opposite has missed his calling. He clearly would rather be a headline writer than a legislator. I know why I’m here. I’m here to defend the people of Ontario, to make sure that we have power come Friday. I’m here to make sure that the people of Ontario have heat so that the seniors who are living in their homes know that they are going to be safe and secure in the coming weeks and days. I think the member opposite from Essex should probably look at career counselling because he clearly would rather write headlines than legislate.

Labour dispute

Mr. Amarjot Sandhu: My question is for the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. Mr. Speaker, the members of this House are well aware of the risks facing our province’s energy supply. The Power Workers’ Union voted to reject a collective agreement with Ontario Power Generation and are now in a strike position.

This is the season of giving and celebration and we cannot let the threat of rolling brownouts hang over the heads of our constituents. It’s our job as elected representatives to do what is right for our constituents, the people of Ontario, especially during a time of year that is supposed to be one of celebration.

Ontario Power Generation contributes a huge amount to our electricity system, and if its assets were to be shut down it would be catastrophic. Can the minister please explain why Ontario Power Generation is such an important piece of our province’s electricity system?

Hon. Greg Rickford: I want to thank the member from Brampton West for his great question and the important work he does in his constituency. He’s a fantastic colleague.

I’ll put my glasses on here and read a few quotes, but before I do that, Mr. Speaker, this is very serious. Notably, the Independent Electricity System Operator, otherwise known as IESO, has stated that it would not be possible to replace all electricity generation once all OPG energy production was shut down. We are just over 48 hours from that becoming a reality. This is very serious. I’m calling on the northern MPPs. We get our hydro from dams up there, Mr. Speaker, and it appears that the no-dam party doesn’t want electricity to be sourced across our communities as we plunge into the heart of winter. It’s time to stand up for northern communities. It’s time to stand up for northern families and ensure we have uninterrupted—


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

Start the clock. Supplementary?

Mr. Amarjot Sandhu: Thank you to the minister for his continued leadership on this file. In my riding, seniors are worried they will be spending their winter months cold and in the dark. Old-age communities in my riding and across Ontario rely on power to keep warm and to remain in communication with loved ones. Hospitals, retirement homes and long-term-care facilities depend on safe and reliable power for their livelihood.

The opposition makes the claim that these vulnerable populations have to choose between heating and eating, though by opposing this legislation, they are ensuring seniors will not do either.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister please inform this House as to how seniors in my riding of Brampton West and across Ontario will be able to keep their lights on this winter?

Hon. Greg Rickford: The member has a right to be concerned about seniors, about families, about businesses, and their homes, Mr. Speaker.

We heard a familiar refrain from the Leader of the Opposition today about using every tool in the toolbox. That was the statement the NDP issued before the ink had dried on the notice to strike from the OPG workers. Now they’re filibustering this legislation.

They have an opportunity—boy, have the times changed. Last year, the Leader of the Opposition stood in this House and asked the member for Don Valley West, under the serious threat of power being disconnected, “why political credit is more important than stopping people from having their hydro cut off?” Why, Mr. Speaker?

Education funding

Ms. Marit Stiles: My question is to the Minister of Education. We’re still learning the full impact of this government’s rash decision to cut $25 million from education programs. Every day more details are coming out, and it’s clear that school boards will be out of pocket covering for this government’s mismanagement. Yesterday, the minister refused to provide any research or information used to support her case to cancel this program.

Now the Toronto Catholic District School Board has announced that these cuts are going to result in an immediate loss of 95 student jobs. This is just a drop in the bucket. That’s only one school board reporting so far. There are going to be many more students left without employment.

Speaker, the Premier said no jobs would be lost because of his cuts. Will this government reverse their cold-hearted decision and reinstate these important programs?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: You know, this is an interesting time, because this party opposite, the opposition party, is absolutely tone-deaf when it comes to the fiscal crisis this province is in. We’re spending $40 million more in expenses than we’re bringing in in revenue.

Hon. Todd Smith: Every day.

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: That is every day. Thank you, House leader. Every day we’re spending that. That is not sustainable—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’d ask the member to take her seat. Both sides of the House have to calm down so that I can hear the member who has the floor.

Minister of Education?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: When we went through the line-by-line of education programs and other funding, we were taking a very responsible approach. It’s important to recognize that when it came to this particular education program, the previous government had set up expectations but there was no transfer payment agreement in place. It was a program that the previous government set up as matching dollar for dollar, so the boards are very much in a position—

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

Supplementary? The member for Kitchener Centre.

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: Back to the minister, Mr. Speaker. The education programming that the government cut was put in place to level the playing field for vulnerable youth. Students most impacted by these callous cuts are racialized and Indigenous youth and youth from low-income families. These cuts are examples of racism and classism being embedded in the educational system in 2018. These students are not efficiencies. They deserve every chance at success like their white peers and those in more affluent neighbourhoods.


Students in my riding and across Ontario are again speaking out against the impact of these reckless and immediate cuts. The minister has said, “The decisions that we made regarding EPO reflect our priorities.” If the minister would listen, students would tell her that they are being set up for failure.

Can the minister please explain to racialized and Indigenous youth and youth from low-income families why their access to an education that will set them up for success is an efficiency that she has no problem cutting?


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


Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: You know, the funding decisions that we made were geared and through a lens that, if there were other programs in place, when times are tight, why on earth would we continue with redundant or duplication of programs?

Let me tell you what we’re doing for racialized students. The Lincoln Alexander awards will continue. Those awards recognize young people who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in eliminating racial prejudice or discrimination.

We are also continuing with access to post-secondary education. This is to establish a network of universities, school boards, schools and community organizations to design and pilot on-campus activities for Black youth to think about their post-high-school years and conceive of universities and colleges as possible options, Speaker.

Another thing we’re doing is continuing to support funding for the Black Business and Professional Association National Scholarships specifically for Black university entrants.

And, Speaker, we’re doing so much more. We’re actually investing in new investments of $20 million for mental health workers in—

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

I recognize the member for Ottawa South.

Government accountability

Mr. John Fraser: I seek unanimous consent, Speaker, to ask a question on behalf of the member from Thunder Bay–Superior North.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa South is seeking unanimous consent of the House to ask a question on behalf of the member for Thunder Bay–Superior North. Agreed? Agreed.

Mr. John Fraser: My question is for the Deputy Premier. Speaker, it’s important that we take stock of the last six months. The government has cancelled contracts, sending the message to investors that Ontario is not open to investors. It ended a plan for climate change with no real plan in its place. It cut the independent French Language Services Commissioner, the child advocate and the Environmental Commissioner. It scrapped important labour protections and the minimum wage. It cut social assistance. It cancelled funding to the college of midwives and for after-school programs for youth at risk.

The Premier had time, though, to find jobs for his friends, get a few fired, and ask for a camper van to be kept off the public books. And all that we have under the tree is a downgrade from Moody’s.

So, Speaker, through you—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. I apologize to the member for Ottawa South. The House will come to order.

Put your question.

Mr. John Fraser: Speaker, through you: When will the Premier stop being the chief conductor on the gravy train and focus on improving Ontario’s economy?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: I have to say how shocked I am that this member would talk about the financial situation that he and the Liberal government have put us in. You know, when you think about the fact—as I look over there, I look at the government that spent $40 million a day more than they took in and somehow they thought that was responsible. So, Speaker, when—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It’s passing strange that I can’t hear the Minister of Finance because of the heckling that’s coming from the government side. Think about that.

Start the clock. Minister of Finance, please conclude your answer.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you, Speaker. That gives me a chance to repeat what I had said: $40 million a day they spent more than they took in. How irresponsible you were to the people of Ontario. How irresponsible you were. Look at what you’ve done to the province of Ontario. You ruined the province of Ontario’s credit rating. That’s what you did—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Once again I had to stand up and interrupt the Minister of Finance because of the noise coming from the government side.

Start the clock. Supplementary.

Mr. John Fraser: I’d like to thank the Minister of Finance for that answer. When he gets a signature of some account on the public accounts, an attestation, that would be great.

But, Deputy Premier, Ontarians are concerned about the Premier’s office’s influence and interactions with the Ontario police forces. Of deep concern is the appearance of a conflict with the Premier appointing a close personal friend to the head of the OPP. The changing stories and the wild accusations of the Premier and others don’t help this at all.

The Premier’s chief of staff has tried to direct the Toronto police service to arrest people. He has also requested that the OPP provide a special sole-sourced vehicle for the Premier and for it to be kept off the books and out of public scrutiny.

Speaker, we have requested from the AG that she appoint a special investigator to look at the Premier and his office’s interactions with police. We know that we need—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): These are two different questions.

The Minister of Finance can respond.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you very much, Speaker. It’s interesting that the member talks about the government’s books because the Liberals had a set of books that purposely didn’t include the billions of dollars they spent on the hydro scheme just to present a budget that appeared to be balanced. But the billions of dollars they spent were all part of a scheme put on a different set of books.

Speaker, I find it, to use your expression, passing strange that he would bring up the books. Let me remind this government: They were spending $40 million a day more than they brought in. They should be ashamed of what they did to the people of Ontario. We, on the other hand, returned $2.7 billion of relief back to the people of Ontario, and we’ve saved the government $3.2 billion in savings.

Labour dispute

Ms. Christine Hogarth: My question is for the Minister of Labour. Late last week, our government was advised that the members of the Power Workers’ Union had voted to reject a new collective agreement with Ontario Power Generation. In other words, the PWU is now on strike. Talks between the PWU and the OPG have broken down.

Since that strike began, our government has been closely monitoring the situation. A strike at OPG would greatly impair the stability of Ontario’s electricity supply and have a significant adverse impact on public interest, including the health and safety of Ontarians. Our government must ensure that Ontario has a steady, uninterrupted supply of electricity. Any labour disruptions at OPG would lead to an electricity shortage in Ontario.

Can the minister assure the people of Ontario that the electricity supply will be maintained over the coming winter months?

Hon. Laurie Scott: I want to thank the member from Etobicoke–Lakeshore for her great representation of her constituents in this Legislature. The people of Ontario elected our government to put their interests first, Mr. Speaker. That’s why I introduced legislation to send this dispute to arbitration and protect Ontario’s businesses and homes. The legislation was tabled on Monday, and if this legislation is passed, it will terminate any strikes or lockouts between OPG and the Power Workers’ Union for the current round of bargaining. This will make sure that Ontario’s electricity supply is not disrupted. If the legislation does not pass, families, seniors and all Ontarians face the possibility of no lights and no heat during the winter months. Such an outcome would be unconscionable. That’s why we urge the party opposite to join us in keeping the lights and heat on this winter. It’s imperative.


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

Start the clock. Supplementary?


Ms. Christine Hogarth: Thank you very much to the minister for that answer.

OPG could not continue operations without PWU workers. This means that they could shut down all energy production within weeks of a strike. A safe shutdown of our nuclear reactors could take as long as seven days. Restarting those reactors could take approximately 14 days. This would seriously affect the operation and stability of the grid.

Again, we are facing a potential provincial emergency. Action is required now. This is not the time for ideological posturing. The official opposition refuses to vote in favour of this legislation, thereby suggesting that the people of Ontario should be without heat and power this winter. Can the minister please explain to this House why this legislation is so vital to Ontarians?

Hon. Laurie Scott: The member is correct: OPG is responsible for approximately 51% of all electrical generation in Ontario. A 51% reduction in the power supply is not something the province’s families, seniors and businesses can handle during the winter months.

My colleague the honourable Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines has already discussed the potential impacts of this reduction: rolling blackouts across the province and families and seniors without heat or light during the Christmas season. Government should only intervene when the public interest and public health and safety are at risk and a resolution is not possible. This is the situation we are now facing. Our proposed legislation would prevent a severe disruption in Ontario’s electricity that could greatly endanger our population.

My honourable colleague is right that it’s not a time for ideological posturing or political games. This is the time to band together and to take action. Again, we ask the NDP—


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

Start the clock. Next question.

Government accountability

Mr. Kevin Yarde: My question is to the Deputy Premier. Deputy OPP Commissioner Brad Blair is a police veteran with more than three decades of service. Yesterday, the Premier made the serious claim that this decorated and respected public servant broke the law.

Have the Attorney General or the Deputy Premier forwarded these serious concerns to the appropriate police force for investigation?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Ron Taverner also has a stellar 50-year career as a front-line police officer in the province of Ontario.

I am going to remind the member opposite that if he had been in Brampton a number of Christmases ago, he would remember that there was a very severe ice storm that for three days shut down southern Ontario. It meant that people didn’t have heat. They didn’t have light. The reason we are here this week is to ensure that that does not happen again. But then, I guess you would have to live in Brampton to know that.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government benches, come to order.


Mr. Kevin Yarde: I thought I would get an answer to that question, but obviously—it has cost me some money, so there you go. This is to the member for Kiiwetinoong. Hopefully, I don’t lose any more.

The question, again, is back to the Deputy Premier: The Premier’s relentless attacks and insinuations against decorated police veterans aren’t just unbecoming of a Premier; they’re baseless. They’re cowardly attempts to undermine public servants who have done nothing but offer the truth. First, the Premier attacked the integrity of former commissioner Chris Lewis, and then he implied that the current deputy commissioner of the OPP broke the law when the only thing he broke was the wall of silence surrounding the Premier’s plan to install a friend at the head of the OPP.

Does the Deputy Premier support the Premier’s claim, or is she ready to admit that the Premier is making baseless accusations?


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


Hon. Sylvia Jones: I think I’ve just seen everything. We have the NDP gambling inside the legislative chamber, playing with people’s lives and making jokes while we try to pass legislation that is actually going to ensure that people have light and heat in the province of Ontario. I think I’ve seen everything. The NDP throwing money around doesn’t surprise me. Gambling with people’s lives? That’s gone too far.

Climate change

Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: My question is for the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Our government has been clear: We have committed to meeting our share of the Paris agreement, without imposing a job-killing carbon tax on the people of Ontario.

Last month, the minister released our government’s made-in-Ontario environment plan. This comprehensive plan laid out a clear path to ensuring that Ontario continued its progress toward our target.

But Speaker, the work doesn’t stop there. Yesterday, as part of the minister’s next steps, he announced part of our plan to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions for public comment in January 2019. Can the minister elaborate on what our government will do to ensure greenhouse gas emissions are reduced?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member from Scarborough–Rouge Park: Thank you to the member for the hard work he does on behalf of his constituents.

Part of our made-in-Ontario plan was to make sure that polluters pay. That’s why we are putting in place clear emissions standards for industrial emissions. We know that industry creates 29% of the emissions, so part of our plan, which will deliver on the Paris 2030 targets of reduction, will include those standards.

We will be consulting on these emissions standards in January and February. We did, as the member pointed out, notify the public that those consultations will begin, and most importantly, we will meet those 2030 targets. We will have a plan for the environment that is comprehensive, and we will not have a carbon tax.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam: I know that the minister has been working hard at moving forward with the next steps of their plan. It’s good to hear the next phase is well under way.

Back to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks: As the year comes to an end and Ontarians prepare for another holiday season, for many, money becomes a concern. Ontarians have finally been able to feel some relief with the cancellation of the Liberals’ cap-and-trade program, relief at the pumps and lower hydro bills. However, many are concerned that more costs could be on their way. Ontarians cannot afford another tax. They cannot continue paying higher costs on everything. Can the minister assure us all that this emissions performance standard will not impact the hard-working people of Ontario?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Unlike the federal government, unlike the NDP, we have been clear: We will not be taking money out of the pockets of hard-working Ontarians with a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system that punishes commuters and treats them as the polluters, when we know that high-emission polluters need to pay their share, and they’re willing to pay their share. Some 29% of emissions come from those polluters.

Mr. Speaker, our made-in-Ontario plan will not have a carbon tax. It will not have the highest carbon tax in the world, which the Ontario NDP have advocated for. It’s a fair plan. It’s a common-sense plan. It’s a plan that doesn’t punish Ontarians. It’s a plan that will meet our Paris targets, and it’s a plan that will have no carbon tax.

Arts and cultural funding

Ms. Jill Andrew: My question is to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Last week, we learned that the Ford government made an in-year cut to baseline funding to the Ontario Arts Council by $5 million. It also cut the Indigenous Culture Fund at the Ontario Arts Council by $2.25 million, suspending the program and causing a layoff of four women Indigenous staff.


The Ontario Arts Council had not received a funding increase to their base budget since 2009, and the new Indigenous Culture Fund was a significant part of the government’s commitment to upholding the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Why is this government intent on dragging this province backwards in its support for the arts and Indigenous culture?


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

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Thank you for the question. First off, this government believes that professional artists and arts organizations play an important role in building a strong, prosperous economy while making valuable contributions to the quality of life in our province’s communities.

This government was elected on a commitment to restore trust and fiscal responsibility to the province. As such, every area of government shares a commitment to spending taxpayer dollars responsibly and efficiently, and all agencies are finding savings. Therefore, we will continue to invest in the Ontario Arts Council at the 2017-18 level of $64.9 million.

Ontario is reviewing the Indigenous Culture Fund to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly and efficiently to maximize the impact of Indigenous cultural support.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Ms. Jill Andrew: It is rather disgusting that Indigenous arts would be the place where the PC government would be looking for efficiencies.

We know that the arts are a key economic driver in this province. However, cuts to the Ontario Arts Council will mean hundreds of unfunded cultural projects that would have created jobs and training and education opportunities, boosted tourism, generated revenue, engaged community wellness, and revitalized Indigenous culture throughout our province.

Arts communities in Ontario, and in particular Indigenous communities, deserve better. However, all we have seen from this government is cuts and no clear plans for arts and culture in the province, especially within vulnerable, marginalized communities.

Why is this government so committed to squeezing out Indigenous culture over and over again? What more senseless funding cuts to the arts, and to Indigenous culture in particular, should we expect?

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Mr. Speaker, what’s disgusting is the fact that we’re spending $40 million a day more than we’re bringing in, and the fact that we have to find efficiencies to ensure that Indigenous people and all people in the arts have funding today and for the future.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Toronto–St. Paul’s, come to order.

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Mr. Speaker, the arts council is not organizationally part of the ministry, and they’re responsible for their own staffing decisions—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Toronto–St. Paul’s, come to order.

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: I also want to bring to light the fact that, through support from our government, the Ontario Arts Council currently offers support to Indigenous artists through the following grants programs: Curatorial Projects, Dance Training Projects, Indigenous Artists in Communities and Schools Projects, Indigenous Arts Projects, Indigenous Presenters in the North: Music Projects, Indigenous Visual Artists’ Materials—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. The minister will take his seat.

I’ll remind members that when the Speaker stands, your microphones shut off.

Next question.

Ontario economy

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: My question is for our fine Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. Our government is committed to making Ontario the best place in North America to do business and make investments. I know that the minister has been working diligently to create a better, more competitive business environment by fighting for lower taxes, lower hydro rates and cutting suffocating red tape.

Yesterday the Premier and the minister were at an announcement in downtown Toronto about new jobs that are coming to Ontario. Can the minister inform the House of the details of this announcement and how our government for the people is bringing good jobs back to Ontario?

Hon. Todd Smith: I want to thank the member from Mississauga Centre for a great question this morning. The Premier and I had a great morning yesterday. We were in downtown Toronto at the headquarters for Amazon and they were introducing 600 new jobs in the heart of downtown Toronto as part of their headquarters building there and their tech hub that they are implementing. They’ve got a lot going on in Ontario. They’re building two new fulfilment centres to add to the four that they already have here in Ontario. These are good, well-paid, full-time jobs in Ontario.

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to get a demonstration of Alexa. I’m sure a lot of you have heard about Alexa. You can ask Alexa to turn down your television, turn up the radio station, turn on the lights, turn off the lights. Yesterday, I had an opportunity to ask Alexa to turn on the lights. I asked Alexa, “Alexa, why would the NDP not support us in turning on the lights in Ontario?” They said—

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

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: I welcome Amazon’s creation of 600 new jobs, good-paying and stable jobs, in Ontario, and I know that the minister does, too. I also know that Amazon does welcome keeping the lights on over the holidays.

Amazon gave a number of reasons for their investment in Ontario, which will almost double the number of employees at their Toronto Tech Hub. Our government’s commitment to making sure that Ontarians have the skills to match the job market is crucial for attracting more companies like Amazon to Ontario, as we make Ontario open for business and make our province the economic engine of Canada once again.

Can the minister tell the House what our government for the people is doing to attract companies like Amazon to Ontario to create good, stable jobs?

Hon. Todd Smith: We are doing a lot. Thanks again to the member from Mississauga Centre.

One of the things that Amazon highlighted during our visit yesterday was the highly skilled workforce that we have here in Ontario and our public education institutions like the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. There were a lot of grads working there yesterday. That’s why our government has put such an emphasis on training people for the need that we’re going to have in this high-tech market.

One of the first things we did was get out of that out-of-date, special-interest-driven apprenticeship ratio that we had with Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. We eliminated that 1-to-1 ratio now across the board. We introduced Bill 66 a couple of weeks ago, which is going to pave the way to ensuring that we get these great jobs locating here in Ontario.

We’re going to make Ontario open for business. As a matter of fact, Amazon would tell you and they told us yesterday: Ontario is indeed open for business. Six hundred new jobs. Merry Christmas.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Once again, I’m going to remind members that interjections are always out of order. Secondly, we have a custom and a habit of not making reference to the absence of any member, for obvious reasons. I shouldn’t need to continue to explain that.

Start the clock. Next question?


Mr. Terence Kernaghan: My question is to the Acting Premier. In September, over 40,000 students walked out in protest of the curriculum repeal, but the government didn’t listen. Educators, health care providers and school boards all warned about the increased risks to students’ health and safety, and still this government didn’t listen. Just this week it was revealed that the overwhelming majority of parents who participated in the online consultations want to keep the modern sex ed curriculum, but the Premier refuses to listen to and respect Ontarians. Instead of acknowledging real concerns, he pushed back by saying that “certain groups” skewed the results in parent consultations.

Can the Acting Premier tell us specifically who the Premier was referring to when he said “certain groups”?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Education.

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Thank you to the deputy. I’m very pleased to address this question. This has been an absolutely wonderful opportunity over the last three months to reach out across Ontario and deal with a situation that’s very near to parents, students, teachers and the broader community alike.


The fact of the matter is, we have an amazing system in which we’ve heard from tens of thousands of people. There’s so much data, and I’m so looking forward to crunching through it through the month of January to determine the best path forward.

I need to remind everybody that when the health and physical education curriculum is referenced, it’s important to recognize that the high school curriculum was not touched. We are moving forward, and teachers are supportive in terms of participating as equally as parents and children in our consultation.

This is going to be one for the history books, and I’m very proud of how it has been facilitated.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Mr. Terence Kernaghan: Speaker, since the minister can’t, or won’t, answer the question, my question is back to the Acting Premier. We have a word over here for the people the Premier calls “certain groups”: “Ontarians”. Ontarians have spoken, and they want a modern sex ed curriculum reinstated right now. Ontarians don’t want divisive and regressive politics. Ontarians want students to learn about consent, and to use a curriculum that recognizes the existence of LGBTQ people. Ontarians want students kept safe. This government didn’t need a consultation process to show them that, but now the Premier doesn’t like the results and uses divisive language and poisonous politics.

The Premier’s friend, former PC leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen, who strongly opposes the modern sex ed curriculum, used robocalls urging Ontarians to participate in the consultations and skew the results.

Can the Acting Premier tell us whose feedback the government is listening to since the Premier wants to—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member will take his seat.

The Minister of Education will respond.

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Let me be perfectly clear: We, as the PC government, stand together with Premier Ford in ensuring that our classrooms right across Ontario are the safest and the best learning environments ever. We are absolutely committed to moving the bar forward.

Our consultation has been so rich in the data that we’re receiving, I can tell you that it’s going to form education policies for years to come. Again, I stress the fact that we’ve had tens of thousands of people come forward, sharing and talking from their hearts.

We are absolutely committed to making sure that we clean up the mess that the previous Liberal government thrust and forced upon Ontario students, teachers and parents. Mr. Speaker, we are getting it right, and we are basing everything going forward on the results of that data that we received in the consultation.

Public transit

Mr. Mike Harris: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Earlier this week, the minister was in Kitchener making a very important announcement. As a representative of this area, I know that transit is a very important topic for Waterloo region. Our government for the people is committed to fixing the gridlock in the city of Toronto and other cities across the province. We are committed to getting the people of Ontario moving so they can spend more time with friends, family and loved ones.

It is unfortunate that under the previous Liberal government, they were fiscally irresponsible and out of touch with the transportation issues that Ontarians continue to face. Can the Minister of Transportation inform this House how his announcement in Kitchener earlier this week will assist in getting people moving across the province?

Hon. Jeff Yurek: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to thank the member for Kitchener–Conestoga for that question. I really want to thank the members from Kitchener South–Hespeler and Cambridge and, of course, my PA, Kinga Surma, for also working hard on this issue. I can tell you that all three members of this caucus continually discussed transit in the Kitchener region.

I’ve been pushing for all-day GO delivery of transit, and with our announcement last week, we have moved forward with new trains going to and from Kitchener to Union Station. Starting on January 7 of this year, a new 5:40 a.m. trip out of Kitchener will serve all stops between here and Union Station, arriving at 7:43 a.m., with a train later in the day arriving in Kitchener at 5:43 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly proud of the work this government has done with regard to transit. We’re going to do a lot more for this province. We’re going to get Ontario moving again. I look forward to the supplemental because I have a lot more to share.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Mike Harris: I want to thank the Minister of Transportation for the great response. This announcement is fantastic news for the people of Waterloo region and it is an important step in our government’s plan to deliver two-way, all-day GO train service between Kitchener and Toronto. This means 25% more train service for the people in Kitchener and around Waterloo region.

It is clear that our government for the people is transforming the way Ontarians move around our province. We’re also growing our economy and creating jobs and the high quality of life that people in Ontario deserve.

Our government is finding better and smarter ways to work with our partners and current infrastructure to deliver more transit rides faster and at a lower cost to the people. Can the Minister of Transportation elaborate further on the expanded GO rail service in the Kitchener region?

Hon. Jeff Yurek: Thanks again for that question. By working with our partner CN, we were able to significantly accelerate our timetables to introduce new services to the Kitchener line. This means we’re speeding up negotiations to free up track time so that we can deliver on two-way, all-day GO train service on the Kitchener line as soon as possible.

I can confirm that we are extending morning service to Toronto from the Brampton Mount Pleasant GO station. New GO train service will give people more flexibility in their busy workdays, helping them to spend more time with their families and away from their commutes.

Our government is committed to continuing growth of transit in this province. I would hope the members on the other side—

Ms. Catherine Fife: Waterloo.

Hon. Jeff Yurek: —the member from Waterloo stops being a barrier and works with us, like our other colleagues have done in the Niagara region—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes question period for this morning.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill has a point of order, I understand.

Mr. Michael Parsa: I would like to welcome to the Legislature Imam Dr. Saeed Faizi of Al Nadwa Educational Islamic Center; and visiting us from India on his educational tour from the University of Lucknow, Professor Musheer Husain Siddiqui. Welcome to Ontario and welcome to the Legislature.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’ve been advised the member for Timmins has a point of order.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move a unanimous consent motion without debate that a select committee be appointed to investigate and report on the practices and process related to the appointment of the OPP commissioner.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timmins is seeking unanimous consent of the House to move a motion with respect to the establishment of a select committee. Agreed? I heard some noes.

Notice of dissatisfaction

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Pursuant to standing order 38(a), the member for Ottawa South has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of Finance concerning the controller signature on public accounts. This matter will be debated today at 6 p.m.

Deferred Votes

Time allocation

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We have a deferred vote on government notice of motion number 29 relating to the allocation of time on Bill 67, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act, 1995.

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

The division bells rang from 1139 to 1144.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Will the members please take their seats.

On December 19, 2018, Mr. Clark moved government notice of motion number 29 relating to allocation of time on Bill 67.

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


  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Babikian, Aris
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Calandra, Paul
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • 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
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Parsa, Michael
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Rickford, Greg
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Triantafilopoulos, Effie J.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

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


  • Andrew, Jill
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Begum, Doly
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Burch, Jeff
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Kernaghan, Terence
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mamakwa, Sol
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Miller, Paul
  • Monteith-Farrell, Judith
  • Morrison, Suze
  • Natyshak, Taras
  • Rakocevic, Tom
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Shaw, Sandy
  • 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 65; the nays are 39.

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

Motion agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): This House stands in recess until 3 o’clock this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1148 to 1500.

Members’ Statements

Government’s record

Ms. Jill Andrew: The holidays are a time for reflection. I ask the Conservative government to reflect on its actions of these past six months. Even if they were to reflect on the last 13 days, that would demonstrate some propensity towards a conscience.

In these last days, Conservatives have stripped critical funds from our arts communities, Indigenous communities, schools and our Ontario college of midwives. Your government keeps letting my community down over and over again. Ontarians have spoken, and you’re not listening. Ontarians deserve better. What about their right to democracy, to fair and equitable consultation? Does Conservative power taste that good?

These cuts are direct attacks against some of our most vulnerable: First Peoples, Black, racialized and Indigenous children and their families; artists, who are often amongst the most precariously employed; low-income workers; and women. What do the Conservatives have against these marginalized groups? People are not efficiencies, yet it appears that these groups are always the first on the Conservative chopping block.

You’ve taken pride in stomping on the rights of power workers before the strike has even begun. In essence, you’ve poisoned their collective bargaining, and you’ve lied to Ontarians about your motives.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order.

First of all, I’ll remind the member that she needs to make her comments through the Chair. Secondly, she needs to withdraw her unparliamentary comment.

Ms. Jill Andrew: Withdrawn.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to give the member another opportunity to withdraw her unparliamentary comment.

Ms. Jill Andrew: Withdraw.

Jason Cripps

Mrs. Amy Fee: It is my honour to rise in the House this afternoon to tell you about a very special Christmas tradition in my riding of Kitchener South–Hespeler.

For the last 24 years, on the weekend after Christmas, we’ve had a hockey tournament called the Jason Cripps Memorial Christmas Tournament. Children from across the area come and take part. The possibility of a hydro shortage over the Christmas holidays not only would affect these children at home but also in their chance to take part in this tournament—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. We can do better than this.

Restart the clock. I recognize again the member for Kitchener South–Hespeler.

Mrs. Amy Fee: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Jason was a Triple A hockey player in Kitchener who died tragically 30 years ago this past summer. It happened when his father’s car was rear-ended by an impaired driver outside of their Kitchener home. Jason was the only one injured in this accident, when luggage came through from the trunk and hit him in the head. He died two days later in hospital at just 14 years of age.

Jason is not only remembered in my community as a great hockey player, but as a respected one. He won the most sportsmanlike award multiple times and was loved by everyone in our tight-knit hockey community.

This tournament is not just an annual tradition for families but a reminder of just how precious life is and about the dangers of drinking and driving. In an article in the Record from a few years ago, the then president of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving local chapter, Jolene Knott, said the weekend is “an amazingly positive thing to come out of a horrible tragedy.”

Mr. Speaker, I’m looking forward to taking part again in this tournament with my two daughters, and again, like I do every year, I’ll be talking to them about the dangers of impaired driving.

Services en français

M. Guy Bourgouin: Suite à l’adoption du projet de loi 57, l’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario a annoncé l’embauche des avocats Ronald Caza et Mark Power. La mission de ces deux juristes est d’analyser un potentiel recours judiciaire contre le gouvernement conservateur. Pourquoi? Vous le savez très bien : parce que vous avez éliminé le financement de l’Université de l’Ontario français et vous avez transféré le commissaire aux services en français à l’ombudsman de l’Ontario.

C’est vous et votre gouvernement qu’on doit blâmer pour cette crise linguistique et pour cette potentielle démarche judiciaire. C’est à vous que les francophones, les Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes demandent des explications pour avoir mis en péril notre héritage, notre culture et notre langue. Êtes-vous capables de regarder les francophones dans les yeux et de nous dire que vous préférez entreprendre une bataille juridique que de nous redonner ce que nous méritons?

Un article de Radio-Canada vous cite en disant que vous travaillez présentement sur une « nouvelle structure » de la gouvernance de l’université. En tant que francophones, nous n’abandonnerons pas cette lutte et nous ne laisserons pas ce gouvernement conservateur supprimer ce qui nous a pris des années et des années de lutte. Comme on dit : nous sommes, et nous serons.

Seniors’ Light Tour

Mr. Doug Downey: This is the season of light. Recently, I was grateful to be welcomed aboard a bus that took me and a group of seniors on a Seniors’ Light Tour. This event, funded by the Barrie-Huronia Rotary Club and the Senior Wish Association, with volunteers like Barb Richards, welcomed seniors from all the retirement homes in the community and others onto the buses. Barrie residents are asked to turn on their Christmas lights for the event.

Seniors who might otherwise have been left out get to experience the magic of Christmas. There’s Santa, there’s singing of carols and cookies, and the true spirit of Christmas really does feel to be all around.

While another beautiful Seniors’ Light Tour has passed, I’m reminded of the isolation seniors can face at this time of year and the opportunity we have to bring seniors or others who may find the holidays challenging just a little bit of light. I’m moved by the good residents of Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte who volunteer with the Barrie-Huronia Rotary Club and the Senior Wish Association, and the amazing seniors who reminded me that we reach an age where we see, hear and perceive things, and sometimes wish, differently.

I will certainly be booking a spot on the bus again next year. These amazing constituents of mine inspire me to use what resources I have, either through time or my voice here in this House, to bring a little more light.

I’m glad to be back in the House the week before Christmas, not only because the House sitting truly delights my OLIP intern, Clara Pasieka, but of course to ensure that the lights stay on for all Ontarians. Even when we don’t agree, which is occasionally the case, and even when the opposition slows us down, which is currently the case on Bill 67, I will look for the light.

To close, my friends, let there be light, and a merry Christmas.


Mr. Kevin Yarde: Just over a week ago, the federal Liberal government put out a public safety report that stirred up a lot of emotions in my community. My constituents from Brampton North and members of the Sikh community felt that they were unfairly blindsided by this report that labelled Sikhs in Canada as a current terrorist threat to Canada, without providing a single shred of evidence to back up that claim.

I rise today in this House to unequivocally speak out against this public safety report. First, it is unfair and wildly irresponsible for the government to label and malign a whole community without any evidence, and especially without considering the consequences of such a reckless decision.

You know what? This should concern all of us, not just the Sikh community. This is not only about this report and just one community; this is about the protection of minorities and their civil rights.


Let me tell you that as a person of colour, I have first-hand experienced the negative consequences when a community is branded and labelled negatively. This creates fear and divide in our communities, and creates an atmosphere in which the protection of minorities and their civil liberties are threatened. That is unacceptable.

Every Canadian deserves to feel safe. Such irresponsible action by the federal government has real consequences on the everyday lives of racialized communities in Canada. The federal government therefore must act now and remove any unsubstantiated claim in the report against either the Sikh community or any other community.

Arts and cultural funding

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: I rise in this House today to stand in solidarity with artists and arts organizations across this province who are experiencing cuts by the Ford government to their funding.

The Ontario Arts Council has seen $5 million cut from its budget. The Indigenous Culture Fund has seen a $2.5-million cut from its budget. This sends a clear message to the artist community that your funding is on the chopping block.

The Indigenous Culture Fund was specifically put in place as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It’s a fund that helps to fund grants and to support our Indigenous artists. We have seen success in the first year. To see this funding cut is devastating—to see that this marks the third year of the TRC and the funding is cut at this time.

As soon as I became the critic for tourism, culture and sport, I met with artists. They expressed fear that their funding would be cut, and they are experiencing that fear. It has become a reality.

I don’t know if the Premier believes this, but our artists are the heart of this province. With these recent cuts, we’re saying to creators that what they’re doing is not valued.

The role of government should be to support our artists, who rely on this funding—like what we did as the former Liberal government by providing $14 million to the Ontario Music Fund that saw the creation of 1,800 jobs from this investment, including in my riding of Scarborough–Guildwood, where artists like The Weeknd and Stephan James hail from.

We must recognize and support Ontario’s artists who create and tell the stories of this province.

Labour dispute

Mr. Deepak Anand: My message is very simple and clear: Electricity is an essential part of our lives. Residents across Ontario need and deserve a reliable and uninterrupted power supply, we all agree, especially over the winter months. Right now, that’s at risk.

Around 6,000 members of the Power Workers’ Union, employed at OPG, have threatened to go on strike. If the strike goes ahead, Ontario will not have a stable and safe power supply. This fact has been confirmed by IESO. In case of strike, the people of Ontario could experience rolling blackouts over the holidays and throughout the winter. We have patients in home care units that will be affected. We have seniors in seniors’ homes that could be unsafe for seniors to live in. We have families in northern Ontario without a safe power supply. They won’t be able to heat their homes.

OPG accounts for 51% of the power generated in Ontario, and without PWU workers, these facilities cannot operate, and that’s a grave situation.

The NDP says they’ll do everything to stop our effort to pass this bill. Our government won’t let that happen. We have called back the Legislature to make sure that people across Ontario have a reliable power supply. This is not about politics; it’s about the safety and security of Ontarians.

We hope that my fellow friends the NDP caucus will join us in passing this legislation quickly and ensuring that everyone across Ontario has access to stable power.

Parkdale Community Legal Services

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: For almost 50 years, Parkdale Community Legal Services has been fighting the good fight against illegal evictions, against wage theft, against unjust denial of social service programs. Now Parkdale Legal’s landlord is attempting to evict them against the terms of the agreement that is in place. And Legal Aid Ontario, their main funder, has yet to agree to enter into a long-term lease in the community.

The forces of corporate greed and displacement from gentrification are stronger than ever. The austerity regime against the poor continues. These forces have already been pushing out workers and tenants, and now, to ramp things up, they’re pushing out the very services that working-class people rely on. They’re cutting access and funding for the core services that working-class people count on.

Moving Parkdale Legal Clinic out of Parkdale is removing access to justice, a charter-protected right. We need Parkdale Legal to stay in Parkdale because tenants can go to sleep better knowing that their community legal clinic is there for them, because workers can rest assured knowing every last dime of their hard-earned wages that were stolen will be fought back for, because those who are on social assistance know that they have someone on their side fighting the system that is designed to deny them basic services.

Speaker, anyone who may think that the future of Parkdale Legal is uncertain doesn’t know Parkdale and underestimates our fighting spirit. We are organized. We will resist. We’re not going anywhere. We’re here to stay.

Labour dispute

Mr. Roman Baber: Speaker, I’m proud to represent the riding of York Centre. Located in the very northeast corner of my riding is a seniors’ building named 6250 Bathurst. Just like many other York Centre buildings, 6250 Bathurst houses low-income seniors. Many of them survived World War II but struggle with health and the high cost of living in Ontario caused by the former Liberal government.

Nonetheless, during this festive time of year their spirits are high. Many of them meet almost daily in the social hall on the ground floor, be it for a Saturday synagogue, a Sunday luncheon or the nightly chess game.

This vulnerable population sent me to Queen’s Park to protect their health, safety and well-being. They’re counting on me, they’re counting on all of us to keep the lights and the electric heaters on. And I will sit here on Christmas Eve if I have to, and none of our government members are going anywhere until we pass this legislation to make sure that the lights and the heaters are on at 6250 Bathurst. The people sent us here, and we will do what’s right. Unlike the new darkness party, we will vote and pass Bill 67.

Speaker, in the time I have left, I’d like to wish all the members of the House and yourself a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Labour dispute

Ms. Jill Dunlop: For the past two weekends, my team and I have been serving hot meals at the Orillia Square Mall as part of our Fill Your Plate Holiday Fundraiser, a fundraiser centred on raising money for the Sharing Place food bank in Orillia and combatting food insecurity this holiday season.

Next weekend is our last weekend to collect donations, and we are all very excited to do our part to help the community, but when we heard of the potential Power Workers’ Union strike, we weren’t sure if we would be able to finish our community work. As part of our fundraiser, we rely on electricity to keep the meals hot and fresh. The local restaurants that are graciously donating their food to the fundraiser need power to prepare and cook the meals. And the businesses that are donating their space to us need electricity so they can continue to open and run their businesses.

Not only am I proud to be part of a community where members across the riding come together to help out residents in need, but I’m also proud to be part of a government that is working hard for the people of Ontario and fighting to ensure that people across Ontario have a reliable source of power this holiday season.

I look forward to finishing up the work we’ve been doing for our Fill Your Plate fundraiser, and I want to take a moment to thank my tireless and dedicated volunteers for donating their time, as well as thank the restaurants and businesses for graciously donating their goods and services in order to help us work to end hunger in our community.

I’m grateful to be a resident of Simcoe North, where we work together to look out for one another, and I’m proud to be part of a government that has taken swift and decisive action to keep the lights on for Ontario families, seniors and businesses.

I’d like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and all the best for 2019.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes our time for members’ statements.

Reports by committees? Introduction of bills? Motions?

I recognize the member for King–Vaughan.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: I seek unanimous consent that, notwithstanding standing order 47(d), the debate on third reading of Bill 67 be called during orders of the day today.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for King–Vaughan and deputy government House leader is seeking unanimous consent of the House that, notwithstanding standing order 47(d), the debate on third reading of Bill 67 be called during orders of the day today. Agreed? I heard a no.

Point of order, the member for Timmins.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: I would just like to point out to the government that they’ve already time-allocated the bill for debate tomorrow morning.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That’s not a point of order.


Eating disorders

Ms. Jill Andrew: This is a petition for eating disorders week in Ontario.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas as of 2016 there are an estimated one million people suffering from eating disorders in Canada;

“Whereas the mental health system in Ontario is fragmented and is failing to provide the necessary supports to those suffering;

“Whereas eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any mental illness;

“Whereas an estimated 75% of young people suffering from mental illness in Ontario do not receive treatment;

“Whereas the morbidity of eating disorders is extensive and as of 2016 the life expectancy of individuals with anorexia nervosa is 20 to 25 years less than would normally be expected;

“Whereas the 2016 Ontario’s Auditor General reported that the past Liberal government spent $10 million sending 127 youth to the United States for services not offered in Ontario;

“Whereas that $10 million could have helped more than 500 people suffering from eating disorders here in Ontario;

“Whereas factors like food and income security, access to housing, health care and mental health supports and experiences of systemic violence like sexism, racism and homophobia can contribute to the development and treatment of eating disorders;

“Whereas public portrayals often depict one type of body as an ideal over other diverse or different bodies;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to pass Bill 61, Eating Disorders Awareness Week Act, 2018 that would make the week beginning February 1 in each year Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW).”

I proudly support this petition. I affix my signature and I hand it to Georgia.

Guide and service animals

Mrs. Amy Fee: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the Ontario Regulation 429/07 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 indicates, ‘If a person with a disability is accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal, the provider of goods or services shall ensure that the person is permitted to enter the premises with the animal and to keep the animal with him or her unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises;’ and

“Whereas the Ontario Human Rights Code speaks to the ‘duty to accommodate persons with disabilities ... in a manner that most respects the dignity of the person;’ and

“Whereas, despite these provisions, many who require, have been medically recommended for and own professional, trained service dogs, including children with autism, PTSD sufferers and others, continue to be denied access to public places; and

“Whereas service dogs perform a series of vital tasks to support those living with disabilities, including serving in guidance, seizure response, mobility assistance, autism and PTSD support, among other medically acknowledged services; and

“Whereas there are cases where children who rely on a service dog are not allowed to bring them to school; and

“Whereas ongoing denial of access means those requiring service dogs are continuing to face further hurdles beyond the impacts of disability to be allowed the public accommodations they deserve;

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

“Open access to registered service dogs and owners:

“Reintroduce the Ontario Service Dog Act, to end continued discrimination and ensure those requiring service dogs are no longer denied the essential public access they should already be guaranteed.”

I fully support this petition and will be affixing my name to it and giving it to the page.

Injured workers

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: “Workers’ Comp is a Right.

“Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas about 200,000 to 300,000 people in Ontario are injured on the job every year;

“Whereas over a century ago, workers in Ontario who were injured on the job gave up the right to sue their employers, in exchange for a system that would provide them with just compensation;

“Whereas decades of cost-cutting have pushed injured workers into poverty and onto publicly funded social assistance programs, and have gradually curtailed the rights of injured workers;

“Whereas injured workers have the right to quality and timely medical care, compensation for lost wages, and protection from discrimination;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to change the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to accomplish the following for injured workers in Ontario:

“Eliminate the practice of ‘deeming’ or ‘determining,’ which bases compensation on phantom jobs that injured workers do not actually have;

“Ensure that the WSIB prioritizes and respects the medical opinions of the health care providers who treat the injured worker directly;

“Prevent compensation from being reduced or denied based on ‘pre-existing conditions’ that never affected the worker’s ability to function prior to the work injury.”

I fully support this petition and give it to page Kidan to give it to the table.

Injured workers

Ms. Mitzie Hunter: I have a petition here: “Workers’ Comp is a Right.

“Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas about 200,000 to 300,000 people in Ontario are injured on the job every year;

“Whereas over a century ago, workers in Ontario who were injured on the job gave up the right to sue their employers, in exchange for a system that would provide them with just compensation;

“Whereas decades of cost-cutting have pushed injured workers into poverty and onto publicly funded social assistance programs, and have gradually curtailed the rights of injured workers;

“Whereas injured workers have the right to quality and timely medical care, compensation for lost wages, and protection from discrimination;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to change the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to accomplish the following for injured workers in Ontario:

“Eliminate the practice of ‘deeming’ or ‘determining,’ which bases compensation on phantom jobs that injured workers do not actually have;

“Ensure that the WSIB prioritizes and respects the medical opinions of the health care providers who treat the injured worker directly;

“Prevent compensation from being reduced or denied based on ‘pre-existing conditions’ that never affected the worker’s ability to function prior to the work injury.”

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

Fish and wildlife management

Mr. Mike Harris: With roots in northern Ontario, I’m very proud to bring this petition to the Legislature today.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the ban on hunting and trapping in sections of Ontario to protect the eastern hybrid wolf was put in place without regard for the overall ecosystem;

“Whereas this ban has adversely affected the ability of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry..., hunters and trappers to properly manage animal populations and Ontario’s ecosystem;

“Whereas this ban is no longer needed and is in fact causing more damage to Ontario’s ecosystem and increasing unnecessary encounters between wildlife and Ontarians;

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

“That the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry immediately lift the ban on hunting and trapping set in place to protect the eastern hybrid wolf.”

I fully support this petition. I affix my name and present it to page Vincent.

Northern health services

Mme France Gélinas: I would like to thank Doreen Merkas from Garson in my riding for those petitions. It reads as follows:

“Save the Breast Screening and Assessment Service.

“Whereas Premier Doug Ford promised that there would not be cuts to nurses’ positions; and

“Whereas in Sudbury we have already lost 70 nurses, and Health Sciences North is closing part of the Breast Screening and Assessment Service; and

“Whereas cuts to the Sudbury Breast Screening and Assessment Service will result in longer wait times, which is very stressful for women diagnosed with breast cancer; and

“Whereas cuts to the Sudbury Breast Screening and Assessment Service will only take us backwards;”

They petition the Legislative Assembly as follows:

“Provide adequate funding to Health Sciences North to ensure northerners have equitable access to life-saving programs such as the Breast Screening and Assessment Service.”

I support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask page Samara to bring it to the Clerk.

Arts and cultural funding

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: This petition is entitled “Petition to Restore Arts Funding and the Indigenous Culture Fund at the Ontario Arts Council.”

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the Ontario government has cut its level of base funding to the Ontario Arts Council ... by $5 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year, from $69.9 million to $64.9 million;


“Whereas the Ontario government has also cut its funding to the Indigenous Culture Fund ... at the OAC by $2.25 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year from $5 million to $2.75 million;

“Whereas the ICF will not accept new grant applications this year while the program is under review, entailing the layoff of Indigenous staff in permanent positions;

“Whereas the arts are essential to the quality of life, cultural identity, social and community well-being, creativity, innovation, and economic prosperity of Ontario;

“Whereas the ICF was part of the Ontario government’s response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada;

“Whereas the ICF supported traditional culture, languages, teachings, protocols, knowledge, youth and elder-led and engaged community cultural projects;

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

“(a) Restore OAC’s funding to $69.9 million this year and maintain this level moving forward;

“(b) Restore the ICF’s funding to $5 million this year, retain all ICF staff positions, and commit to funding the ICF at this level in the years moving forward.”

I fully support this petition and will be affixing my signature to it as well.

Fish and wildlife management

Mr. Dave Smith: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the ban on hunting and trapping in sections of Ontario to protect the eastern hybrid wolf was put in place without regard for the overall ecosystem;

“Whereas this ban has adversely affected the ability of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), hunters and trappers to properly manage animal populations and Ontario’s ecosystem;

“Whereas this ban is no longer needed and is in fact causing more damage to Ontario’s ecosystem and increasing unnecessary encounters between wildlife and Ontarians;

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

“That the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry immediately lift the ban on hunting and trapping set in place to protect the eastern hybrid wolf.”

I fully endorse this petition, will sign my name to it and give it to page Vincent.

Sport martial arts

Mr. Joel Harden: As a strong supporter of the martial arts, I’m very proud to stand in this place and present this petition to the Legislature. It’s entitled “Protecting Our Right to Safe Sports Martial Arts.” It reads:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas sport martial arts is a safe method for adults and children to learn combat sports, practise in a welcoming and supportive environment and maintain a healthy lifestyle;

“Whereas participating in friendly tournaments of sport martial arts builds a sense of community and allows participants to improve their sparring skills;

“Whereas Order in Council 1087/2017”—enacted under the previous government—“mandates that sparring competitions be” endorsed “by a provincial sports organization..., which restricts sport martial arts from hosting tournaments due to different sparring styles and rules; and

“Whereas for hundreds of sports martial arts schools in Ontario who fall between the two styles allowed by the PSO” model, this “Order in Council ... makes it nearly impossible to obtain sanction for their events;

“We, the undersigned, petition the government of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to rescind or amend Order in Council 1087/2017 to permit sports martial artists to host legal tournaments in the province.”

I’m very proud to sign this petition. I will be giving it to page Honora for the Clerks’ table.

Public transit

Ms. Jessica Bell: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas, as of September 2, York Region Transit (YRT) will no longer drop off passengers on campus, instead ending their bus routes at Pioneer Village station at Steeles Avenue, then forcing commuters to spend over $1,000 per year in additional transit fees;

“Whereas GO Transit (Metrolinx) will no longer be dropping commuters off at York University Keele campus,” starting from January 5, 2019, “instead moving to the 407 station, imposing an even higher transit cost, affecting and expanding commute times and creating even more mobility issues for commuters living with disabilities;

“Whereas York University is known as a commuter school and the capacity to access our campuses using various transit providers is under threat;

“Whereas allowing York University students, staff, faculty and community members to access our campuses in the most efficient and affordable methods is essential;

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

“(1) That the YRT/Viva come back to their original on-campus stops immediately and that GO Transit stays on campus past January 5, 2019;

“(2) That all transit providers”—TTC, YRT, Brampton and Metrolinx—“at York University commit to maintaining on-campus bus routes and access to the York University Keele campus;

“(3) That the provincial government ... commit to working towards fare integration between all transit providers.”

I fully support this petition. I’ll be affixing my signature to it and giving it to page Hannah.

Veterans memorial

Mr. Sheref Sabawy: “Whereas over 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in the war in Afghanistan including the 159 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice; and

“Whereas the Premier made a commitment to the people of Ontario to build a memorial to honour the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces; and

“Whereas, by remembering their service and sacrifice, we recognize the values and freedoms these men and women fought to preserve; and

“Whereas the memorial will show our gratitude to our veterans, their families and to their descendants; and

“Whereas the memorial will be a place of remembrance, a form of tribute, and an important reminder to future generations of the contributions and sacrifices that have helped shape our country;

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

“That the government of Ontario immediately construct the memorial to honour the heroes of the war in Afghanistan.”

I will sign this petition and give it to Lillian, the page.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Thank you very much. Unfortunately, the time for petitions has expired.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I recognize the member on a point of order.

Mr. Deepak Anand: I’d like to acknowledge and welcome Mr. Baljinder Singh Sohal and Gursewak Sohal from Brampton, along with their brother, who has come from India, municipal councillor Mr. Gurmukh Sohal, from the same city where I lived in my childhood, Mohali. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): I thank the member from Mississauga–Malton for that point of reference.

Orders of the day?

Mr. Stephen Lecce: I move adjournment of the House.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): The member has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: On division.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Rick Nicholls): Carried on division.

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

The House adjourned at 1538.