42nd Parliament, 1st Session

L105A - Mon 13 May 2019 / Lun 13 mai 2019



Monday 13 May 2019 Lundi 13 mai 2019

Introduction of Visitors

Wearing of hockey jerseys

Order of business

Order of business

Theresa Lecce

Peter Adams

Oral Questions

Public health

Municipal finances

Climate change



Job creation

Government fiscal policies

Correctional services

Transportation infrastructure

Government fiscal policies

Indigenous affairs

Government fiscal policies

Highway safety

Services en français

Police services

School facilities

Tibet Day reception

Member’s comments

Members’ Statements

Arts and cultural funding

Artists in Momentum

Government policies


Government accountability


Bill Patchett

Myalgic encephalomyelitis

Children and Youth in Care Day

Orillia Perch Festival

Introduction of Bills

Ministry of Correctional Services Amendment Act (Limits on Solitary Confinement), 2019 / Loi de 2019 modifiant la Loi sur le ministère des Services correctionnels (limitation du recours à l’isolement cellulaire)


House sittings


Veterans memorial

Municipal government

Education funding

Climate change

Veterans memorial

Long-term care

Climate change

Municipal government

Climate change

Waste reduction

Climate change

Library services


Opposition Day

Climate change / Changement climatique

Orders of the Day

Getting Ontario Moving Act (Transportation Statute Law Amendment), 2019 / Loi de 2019 pour un Ontario en mouvement (modifiant des lois en ce qui concerne le transport)

The House met at 1030.

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


Introduction of Visitors

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask for the members’ attention and ask the members to please join me in welcoming the family and friends of the late Peter Adams, MPP for Peterborough during the 34th Parliament, who are seated in the Speaker’s gallery: daughter Michèle Adams and her husband, Kevin; grandson Aaron Robertson; granddaughter Marie Robertson and her partner, Eric; and friends Cathy and Alan Brunger. Welcome.

Also in the Speaker’s gallery are Mr. Steve Mahoney, MPP for Mississauga West during the 34th and 35th Parliaments; Mr. Jeff Leal, MPP for Peterborough during the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Parliaments; and Mr. Lou Rinaldi, MPP for Northumberland during the 38th Parliament and MPP for Northumberland–Quinte West during the 39th and 41st Parliaments. Welcome to the Ontario Legislature. We’re delighted to have you here.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Introduction of visitors.

Ms. Suze Morrison: It’s a great privilege today to welcome Séamas de Faoite, who is a Belfast city councillor for the SDLP. Welcome to Ontario’s Legislature. It’s a pleasure to have you today.

Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I would like to welcome Stephen Andrews and Harvey Cooper to the Legislature this morning. Stephen and Harvey are two board members with the Public Affairs Association of Canada. PAAC is a non-profit association of public affairs professionals. They have been providing valuable services to their members, MPPs and the public for over three decades. I encourage all MPPs to attend the Public Affairs Association of Canada’s reception to be held in rooms 228 and 230 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Miss Monique Taylor: Again, we are welcoming back Michau van Speyk, Faith Munoz, Crystal Burningham, Kowthar Dore, Amanda Mooyer and Harold Indoe. Welcome back to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Jeff Yurek: I would like to introduce some members here from the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders: Art Ash, their president, Bill Watson and Jaime Kowitz. Welcome.

Mr. Tom Rakocevic: I would like welcome my amazing constituency assistant and friend Alida Troini.

Hon. Bill Walker: I would like to introduce Grant Burns and Gail Garland, CEO of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization. They’re here for an advocacy day. I want to welcome everyone participating in OBIO’s advocacy day.

Ms. Sara Singh: It gives me great pleasure to introduce members of my all-star team: Suzanne Nurse, Laura Casselman and Bhani Wadhwa.

Mr. Will Bouma: It is my pleasure to welcome to our House today Mr. Justin Brown, Mr. Doug DeRabbie and Dr. Joshua Smith from the Ontario Association of Optometrists, celebrating Vision Health Month. Welcome.

Ms. Donna Skelly: I’d like to welcome the grade 8 students of Rehoboth Christian School from Copetown in my riding who are visiting Queen’s Park today. I look forward to meeting with them after question period. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: It’s my pleasure, on behalf of the NDP caucus, to welcome OBIO to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Vincent Ke: I would like to introduce my guest upstairs, the CEO of the Easy Group education system, Jack Zhang, and his colleagues. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Ms. Rima Berns-McGown: It’s my enormous pleasure to welcome the parents of today’s page captain Wolfgang Wai-Hahn to Queen’s Park from the great riding of Beaches–East York: Carolyn Wai, Tyson Hahn and Tristan Wai-Hahn. Welcome to your House.

Mr. David Piccini: It gives me great pleasure to welcome the newest all-star member of my constituency team, Tory Pearson, who joins my staff. She’s a graduate of Queen’s University and a proud resident of Port Hope. Welcome to the team. Welcome to the people’s House.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I’d like to welcome all of the health science industry CEOs who are here for OBIO’s Queen’s Park advocacy day. I look forward to meeting with you later today.

Mr. John Fraser: I’d just like to welcome again my colleagues Jeff Leal and Lou Rinaldi to the Legislature here today.

Wearing of hockey jerseys

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa West–Nepean.

Mr. Jeremy Roberts: Point of order, Mr. Speaker: This morning, unfortunately, the member for Ottawa South and myself both have to eat a healthy helping of crow, having lost the OHL championships. The Ottawa 67s were defeated by the MPP for Guelph’s Guelph Storm, so congratulations to the MPP for Guelph.

I seek unanimous consent for myself, the member from Ottawa South and the member from Guelph to be allowed to wear Guelph Storm jerseys today in the House, which will be the only time I will be wearing this jersey in the foreseeable future.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member is seeking unanimous consent to allow himself, the member for Guelph and the member for Ottawa South to wear hockey jerseys in the House this morning for question period. Agreed? Agreed.

Order of business

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa–Vanier on a point of order.

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: I’m also seeking unanimous consent to be able to speak this afternoon for five minutes during opposition day motion number 5.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I would ask the member, is it within the time that’s already allotted or—

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: It’s within the time.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I didn’t hear your answer. In addition or within?

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: Yes, it is. It is within the time already allotted.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Is there unanimous consent to allow the member for Ottawa–Vanier five minutes during the debate this afternoon within the time allotted? Agreed? Agreed.

Order of business

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Guelph on a point of order.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Yes, I have a point of order as well. I’m seeking unanimous consent for the Green independent member to be allotted five minutes to speak during the opposition day motion later today as well.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Guelph is seeking unanimous consent of the House to be allowed to speak for five minutes during the opposition day motion this afternoon. Agreed? Agreed.

Theresa Lecce

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I recognize the member for King–Vaughan on a point of order.

Mr. Stephen Lecce: Speaker, a point of order: I just wanted to rise to express, on behalf of my family, our heartfelt gratitude for the show of support and compassion over the past days as we celebrate the life of my mother—the calls, the letters, the presence at the visitation and the service, the moment of silence observed in this House and the moving comments by the House leader and by the leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition. All members of all parties underscore the real humanity that is befitting of those who serve this chamber.

I just want to thank all of you for showing such love and respect when it was needed most for my family. Not ironically, we’ve honoured my mother in a way that captures her greatest legacy, which is a unitive spirit that will endure through the ages.

Thank you. Thank you all.


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


Peter Adams

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to recognize next the government House leader on a point of order.

Hon. Todd Smith: Speaker, I believe you will find that we have unanimous consent for tributes in honour of the late Peter Adams, member for Peterborough in the 34th Parliament, with five minutes allotted to Her Majesty’s government, five minutes to Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes to an independent Liberal member.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader is seeking unanimous consent of the House to allow a tribute to the late Peter Adams, former member of the Legislature. Agreed? Agreed.

We’ll start with the member for Peterborough–Kawartha.

Mr. Dave Smith: At many memorials, I have heard reference to “the dash” when talking about someone’s life. We have the date of birth, the date of their passing, and it’s separated by a line, or “the dash.” It’s a small and simple symbol used to represent all that makes up someone’s life. In Peter’s case, I’m not sure that a line or a dash is an adequate descriptor. Perhaps “pathway,” “progression” or “meandering routeway” is a better descriptor.

Peter was born in the United Kingdom. He immigrated to Canada and moved to Quebec, then finally settled in Peterborough, where in 1968 he founded the geography department at a fledgling university named Trent. At only 32 years of age, Peter was about to play a pivotal role not only in the development of Trent University but also in helping to mould future leaders of our community, our province and ultimately our country.

I would love to be able to tell great stories about his time at the humble beginnings of Trent or speak with authority on all of his accomplishments that ultimately led to his election in the 34th government, but I didn’t know Peter back then, and I think that I would be doing a disservice to himself and to his family if I spoke outside of my own experiences with him.

I first met Peter in September of 1989. At the time, I didn’t know that he was the MPP for the riding that I had just moved to or that he was the parliamentary assistant for the Minister of the Environment. At that time, Peter was simply another sports enthusiast from Trent University greeting students at our culmination of the introductory week for first-year students. Here was a man who had already accomplished so much in his career, and yet his humility, his passion for his community and his love for running was what he portrayed to us that day.

For those of you who don’t know, in the 42 governments that Ontario has had, the people of Peterborough have elected the representative from the party that would go on to have the most seats in that election in 40 of the 42 elections. As well liked and respected as Peter was, he was not able to change that trend. In 1990, when the NDP swept the province, they also won the seat in Peterborough. Peter, though, came very close to changing that, losing by only 185 votes.

Peter’s routeway was about to meander in a different direction yet again. In 1993, he was elected to represent us on the federal stage for four consecutive terms.

Peter remained a lifelong learner throughout his life, and even found time while he was in politics to continue this. I believe he holds the distinction of being the only sitting MP to embark on a research tour of the Arctic. He was passionate about the environment and continued throughout his life with his research.

He was instrumental in helping the city of Peterborough begin its blue box recycling program, a legacy that will continue to have a long-lasting effect on our community.

Peter was more than just politics, research and environmentalism, though. He was also an avid runner. He is the only person I’ve ever met who actually ran the Boston Marathon, and he did this on three occasions.

“Running,” “learning,” “leading,” “inspiring” and “contributing” are all words I can use to describe “the dash.” But none of those truly describes the most important: “family.” From everything I’ve spoken about, those words are simply a small snippet of his life. Peter was well known in our community as a family man. I’ve heard the stories of camping trips together, of how he would light up when he was given the opportunity to speak with his children and then, later in life, his grandchildren. I know there’s a story about Peter teaching someone how to ride a bike, but since there are so many stories of Peter teaching his children and his grandchildren how to ride that bike, I’ll leave it as an opportunity for those involved to sit back and smile at that memory.

There are so many things that I could go on and talk about, and fill an entire day with examples of how good a man he was. Peter inspired multiple generations. All who had the opportunity to meet him and spend time with him were blessed and enriched. Thank you, Jill, for sharing your husband with us for as long as you did.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Next we have the member for Oshawa.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: It is always an honour to stand in this proud Legislature, and today it is my honour, on behalf of Ontario’s New Democrats, to pay tribute to Peter Adams. I am pleased to welcome Peter’s family and friends today to the Legislature. Peter is survived by his wife, Jill; his four children, Joanne, Michèle, Annette and Will, and their spouses; as well as his nine grandchildren and family in England and around the world. Today we welcome his daughter Michèle Adams and her spouse, Kevin Robertson, along with Peter’s grandchildren Aaron and Marie Robertson, joined by Eric Dykstra. And welcome to Peter’s friends Cathy and Alan Brunger.

When we pay tribute to former MPPs, it is a special chance to discover the legacy of someone who worked to shape the world we live in. Peter Adams started his adventure in 1936 in Ellesmere Port, a small village on the River Mersey in England. He grew up during World War II, attended the University of Sheffield, found his way to Montreal to complete his PhD in geography and glaciology at McGill, and began his lifelong passion for northern research on snow and ice, working in the Arctic with Fritz Müller on the Axel Heiberg Expedition.

He was the founding chair of the Trent University geography department in 1968, a department he chaired through 1977. Also, after more than 40 years connected to Trent, in 2010 he received an honorary degree. Apparently, according to his university colleagues, his glaciological work on Axel Heiberg Island in Nunavut and his body of published research “is of incomparable value in understanding climate and climatic change in that polar region.” We can only imagine that Peter Adams would be actively following the climate change discussions and decisions closely. We are grateful that his body of work is available to guide understanding as our climate changes.

Speaker, it is hard to imagine the work and research that Peter Adams did. However, High Arctic adventure wasn’t the only adventure Peter was destined for. Peter Adams first served as a school board trustee, then from 1987 to 1990 as an MPP in David Peterson’s Liberal government, and later, from 1993 to 2006, as a federal MP under Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, also serving as a member of the Privy Council of Canada.

Peter Adams was a prolific writer. We have heard about some of his research and know he was well published, but he also wrote a yearly report, written to his community and constituents, accounting for all of his efforts and accomplishments while in office. He described his role as a member of Parliament as this: “It’s a sort of balancing act ... my work in Ottawa and Peterborough are not really separate. They are two intricately linked sides of the same coin. They are completely related in my mind and in my schedule. I do national business in Peterborough and local riding business in Ottawa.”

He was actively engaged and always appreciated serving. He was always an environmentally conscientious leader. Something we would all recognize: As an MPP, Peter helped bring the Blue Box Program to Ontario.

I found this Legislature’s February 1991 transcripts from the Ontario in Confederation select committee. Peter was presenting to the committee as a concerned citizen, no longer elected, but his words continue to be relevant:

“All parts of the global system are inextricably linked and ... environmental problems do not recognize political boundaries....

“We have the awesome responsibility for a huge and sensitive part of the Earth’s surface, land, rivers, lakes and parts of three oceans, and responsibility for the air above that territory. We have a unique decentralized system of government which has the potential to act locally while also acting at as near a global scale as any nation can, while thinking globally....

“Of course, these concepts which the environmental movement has adopted are simply bases for good government of any sort.”


Peter’s service did not end when he retired from politics in 2006. He joined his wife, Jill, in her international volunteer work in Bangladesh, Uganda, Honduras, India and Guatemala.

But Peterborough was Peter’s home. By all accounts, including his own, Peter Adams loved Peterborough and was always very active and connected. He was named Citizen of Year in Peterborough in 1981. He was active with local events and organizations. The list of those connections is long and filled with joy and gratitude. He volunteered to help establish Casa de Angelae, or Home of Angels, a home where women with developmental disabilities can live independently in Peterborough.

He was a member of many associations, including the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Association of Canadian Universities of Northern Studies. He was made a member of the Order of Ontario in 2012.

Oh, and Speaker, as we’ve heard, throughout Peter’s life, Peter Adams was an avid runner, completing many marathons including the Midnight Sun on Baffin Island and the Boston Marathon.

Peter Adams didn’t only leave behind a lifetime of service, research and learning; he left a legacy. Peter’s commitment to his community, province, country and planet would have been something that his family grew up with. We all learn from our parents; some things they teach us purposefully, but often we learn by example. Peter Adams, as his children have shared, set an authentic and enthusiastic example for living life. Ontarians are grateful to his family for sharing him with them.

Peter Adams passed on September 28, 2018 at 82 years old, 82 years that he filled to the brim with learning, service and passion. It is a testament to Peter’s commitment and convictions that he was not only a model for others to follow, he was a model that others did follow. He was inspired by the world around him. He was inspired by the whole world. He learned from it, cared for it, shared it and served it. He was inspired by others, and in turn, we have been inspired by him.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Now I’ll recognize the member for Ottawa South.

Mr. John Fraser: It’s truly a privilege to pay honour to Peter Adams, who represented Peterborough as its MPP from 1987 to 1990. He, of course, went on to be the MP from Peterborough from 1993 to 2006. His is truly a record of distinguished service to his community, his province and his country.

I did not know Peter well. I probably met him a dozen times over the last 25 years. My recollections of him were that he was enthusiastic and energetic and, most importantly, that he was genuine and authentic—a comment that is echoed by friends, former staff, colleagues, just about anyone you talk to about Peter.

I asked a friend, Darlene Warner, who worked for Peter when he was an MP about him. Here’s what she said: “I think the thing that is nearest and dearest to me about Peter is that he is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met and that it didn’t matter to him at all. He was so down to earth, such an approachable and likeable person. He treated all his staff like we were family, and he was respected by all.” That was something that he earned because of the person he was.

Peter’s whole goal in office was to make life better for all he served, and he was deeply respected by all for that. Peter, of course, served as a parliamentary assistant to the Minister of the Environment while he was here and he cared very deeply about the environment. Here are some quotes from Hansard:

“We must view Earth Day for what it is: a chance to see that men, women and children of all ages, all occupations, all nationalities and races share this planet with other living creatures, savour the fascination of nature and reflect on the mystery of that blue and white globe hung in the dark sky.”

“When young and old ... combat environmental issues, there is hope.”

Peter also cared about democracy. Federally, in 2005, he became the minister responsible for democratic renewal. Here’s what he said in this Legislature, and it’s something we should all remember:

“While every Parliament is representative in the sense that every individual and group in the province is involved in the electoral process, no Parliament has ever been a true cross-section of the people it represents. It is healthy for a Parliament, from time to time, to think about its makeup so that members become more conscious of biases which might develop in it.”

Peter, of course, loved Peterborough, and we can hear that in both members’ comments. If you go through his Hansard, he never missed an opportunity to champion an event or an organization or anyone in his community of Peterborough.

He also loved to run. My friend Darlene said that when she worked for him, he would exercise in the morning. He would come in, and what he would say about the bells for votes was: “Don’t bother me when the bells ring. Just give me a two-minute warning. I’ve timed myself and I know I can get up there.” And she said that he did. It didn’t matter what the weather was. She would give him a two-minute warning and he would get up for the vote, and he never missed a vote. So he brought his athleticism into his work, which some of us could learn from as well, too, notably this person here.

Peter’s authenticity gave him success at the ballot box. More importantly, it gave him success at life. And what a remarkable life: a husband, father, grandfather, friend, academic, athlete, author, community leader, community champion, teacher, mentor, parliamentarian.

I know that some of Peter’s family is here today, and I would like to say a few words to them. MPPs and MPs are often called upon to travel for our work and to attend community events, and your father and grandfather was no different. Our work requires us to be present wherever and whenever we’re needed to be there. We spend a lot of time away from our families, and it’s hard. It’s especially hard for those families. So thank you for supporting your father and your grandfather and, to Jill, your husband. Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that he could represent his community and his country and his province. He couldn’t have done it without you.

I would like to acknowledge, again, Jill, his wife of 58 years; the children, Joanne, Michèle, Annette and Will; and grandchildren John, Matthew, Nathan, Anne, Marie, Adam, Aaron, Amélie and Sofia. Of all the things that I’ve mentioned, you’re his greatest legacy. Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I want to thank all of the members for their eloquent tributes to the public service of Peter Adams and, in doing so, reminding all of us that in the final analysis, we are colleagues, not adversaries.

I want to once again thank the family and friends of Peter Adams for joining us today as we in the Ontario Legislature celebrated his life. Thank you so much.

Oral Questions

Public health

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My first question this morning is to the Premier. This morning, Toronto Public Health issued an alert about two confirmed cases of measles in Toronto. Can the Premier provide an update on the nature of these cases and how the government is responding?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Health.

Hon. Christine Elliott: That is correct: Toronto Public Health did issue an advisory this morning indicating that they are investigating two lab-confirmed cases of measles in adults that are travel-related. Toronto Public Health is following up on all known contacts who may have been exposed. The intent will be to those who may have been at Pearson or in the hospital during those times to be aware that they may have been exposed to measles. Toronto Public Health is working with the ministry, Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada to make sure that people are informed and they are tested and treated appropriately.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, Speaker, this alert from Toronto Public Health comes on the heels of a study from Public Health Ontario that raises concerns about the number of Ontario children who have not been vaccinated for measles. A lack of vaccination of the kind provided by public health units has been cited as one of the reasons for recent outbreaks in the US.

Investments in public health are more important than ever, Speaker. Can the Premier tell us how Ontario is dealing with the threat of measles, in light of his government’s funding cuts to public health?


Hon. Christine Elliott: Measles outbreaks are very rare in Ontario due to high vaccination rates, but of course we need to continue to be vigilant on that count. We have been advising people for months that they need to be vaccinated. That is something that Toronto Public Health will continue to do, as will the public health units across the rest of the province.

We are confident that, with the arrangements that have been made for the next few years with respect to funding to public health units, they will continue to focus on the most important issues in public health. Vaccination rates are one of the most important issues; making sure that they continue with children’s breakfast programs and others is also important; and making sure that children with special needs are supported.

I am confident that, with the funding they will be receiving, they will be able to focus on and continue with those very important programs.

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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: So in effect, it’s a “just trust us” answer. The last time this party was in office, people couldn’t trust that they were making the right priorities at the front of the agenda. Vigilance requires resources; that’s the bottom line.

Families worried about their health and the health of their children are coming to appreciate the importance of vaccinations and the important work that public health units do. In light of measles and public health challenges, is the Premier willing to reconsider his significant cuts to public health?

Hon. Christine Elliott: Speaker, through you, I would like to say that it is very concerning to me that the official opposition would use this case to raise—unnecessarily—alarm bells and to scare people.

What we want to do is to make sure that people focus on the issues that are most important in public health. We were elected in order to be careful stewards of public funds. We would expect that the municipalities would do the same. I am confident that Toronto Public Health is focusing on this measles outbreak. It does happen from time to time, but again, I am confident that, with the money they will be receiving over the next few years, if they focus on priorities—and vaccination is certainly one of them—we will be able to contain this and make sure that people receive the vaccinations that they receive now and into the future. That is their role. That is what they should be doing; that is what they are doing.

Municipal finances

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is to the Premier, but I have to say: Those who don’t remember their history are destined to repeat it, and that will hurt Ontario families.

The mayor of Ottawa is the latest municipal leader asking the Premier for some reprieve from his retroactive cuts to everything from public health to flood prevention.


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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: On Friday, he asked the Ford government—this, by the way, is the mayor of Ottawa; I’m not sure if people could hear that, with the noise coming from the other side of the chamber. On Friday, the mayor of Ottawa asked the Ford government to, at the very least, give municipalities some time to implement the cuts, which were imposed retroactively. Is the Premier unwilling to do that?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: We have great representation up in Ottawa. We have great ministers up in Ottawa. As a matter of fact, if you look at the jurisdiction, we have more ministers from the Ottawa area than anywhere in Ontario.

We have a great relationship with the mayor in Ottawa. We have open conversations. We talk frequently; I, not to mention the ministers, talk to him all the time. He was quite pleased to accept the over $1 billion—

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: It’s $1.2 billion.

Hon. Doug Ford: —$1.2 billion for transit. We’ve supported that area as much as or more than any other area in all of Ontario. So he’s quite pleased with our performance.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, Ottawa is not the only city asking the Premier to rethink his cuts to programs and services that families rely on. The city of Toronto has pegged the Ford government’s cuts at $178 million for this year alone, retroactive. That’s $24 million cut from transit, meaning more delays on the TTC; that’s $65 million cut from Toronto Public Health, making it harder for them to respond to events like measles outbreaks; and that’s $85 million cut from child care, putting over 6,000 child care subsidies in jeopardy.

How can the Premier justify cuts to programs and services that are going to hurt his own constituents?

Hon. Doug Ford: It looks like the city of Toronto is using the same calculator that the opposition is.

Let me just remind the Leader of the Opposition and maybe the city of Toronto—they’re saying we cut $24 million in transit? You’ve got to be kidding. We put over $20 billion—we took off their books. That’s with a “B;” $20 billion off their books for backlog repair for transit. We’re investing $28.5 billion in transit. The vast majority is going into Toronto, getting people from point A to point B in a lot more rapid fashion.

As for Toronto health, you know something? I sat down there for years, and it’s just a bastion of lefties who sit on that committee. As a matter of fact, we put them there. Guess what? Mayor Tory took the same strategy we did: Put all the lefties in one corner in Toronto health. They say they can’t find savings in 2011. We asked them to find 10%; they found it overnight. But going out and spending money, just absolutely ridiculous amounts of money—

Interjection: Watering tree stumps.

Hon. Doug Ford: Watering tree stumps is one, but having a competition for—

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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: People deserve so much better than this, Speaker. The Ford government cuts to municipalities are going to hit families hard. That’s the facts. If the Premier wants to pretend that operating and capital costs are the same thing, that’s his decision to make. But whether the municipalities rely on school breakfast programs, child care or they’re counting on the province to help mitigate flooding, municipal leaders across this province have asked the Ford government to sit down to discuss the impacts that the cuts are definitely going to have on families in their constituencies, and the Premier’s response is to sit in the Legislature the other day reading from his itinerary that his staff produced for him. People deserve a lot better than that, Speaker.

Will the Premier start doing his job and listen to these municipal leaders?

Hon. Doug Ford: I’m glad the Leader of the Opposition—


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

Hon. Doug Ford: I’m glad the last word of the Leader of the Opposition was “jobs.” We created 47,000 jobs—unprecedented in Ontario—last month. Mr. Speaker, we’ve created 175,000 jobs. In 11 months, that’s 175,000 families who are able to put food on their table, able to pay a mortgage, able to get out there and feel great about themselves because of our government. Our government created the environment to create 175,000 jobs.

For 11 months, all we’ve heard from the opposition is “increase taxes, increase spending.” Do they even understand how the system works, Mr. Speaker? Do they believe in just continuously spending us more into bankruptcy? We already came in here with a bankrupt province.

But we’re turning it around. Through the great budget through our finance minister, we found savings of 8%. We’re putting money back into the taxpayer’s pocket instead of the government’s pocket. But the NDP, all they want to do is spend the taxpayers’ money—

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

Climate change

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier. Later today, we’re going to be debating a resolution to officially declare a climate emergency in Ontario. We know that naming and framing this issue is the first step to taking real action to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change that we’re seeing unfold around our province. Will the Premier support our motion to declare a climate emergency in Ontario?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of the Environment.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the government, we look forward to debating that motion. We look forward to an opportunity to speak about our made-in-Ontario plan. We also look forward to our ability to talk about what we’ve done for Ontarians in terms of eliminating programs that weren’t working, programs like the cap-and-trade program of the previous government. We put $260 back into the pockets of Ontarians by eliminating that program and have presented a program that will meet our targets of reducing greenhouse gas by 30%.

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to the debate. We look forward to talking about this important issue, and we look forward to hearing the new ideas that the Leader of the Opposition will bring to the table about her plan for fighting climate change.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The Premier has admitted that the government believes climate change is real and that the flooding we’re seeing across Ontario is likely one of the effects of it. What this resolution does is affirm our commitment as legislators to act in the best interests of Ontarians to take decisive steps to fight against climate change.


If the government already believes that climate change is an issue and it’s a real issue, will they stand with us this afternoon and support our resolution? It’s a simple question. I would ask for an answer.

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to spoil the surprise so I’m going to make the honourable member wait for the debate.

In addition to our plan around how to support the fight against climate change, we are also supporting Ontarians by fighting Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. I know that the Leader of the Opposition, being a member from Hamilton, will be concerned—because she likes to talk about health care—about the $2.1 million that Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is going to cost the Hamilton Health Sciences Corp., or the $696,000 that Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is going to cost St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

In addition to fighting climate change, in addition to making sure we do what’s best for the environment, we’re also going to do what’s best for things like health care. I guess the question back to the member from Hamilton is: Are they going to be supporting Justin Trudeau’s approach, or are they going to come with their own ideas?


Mr. Jim McDonell: My question is for the Premier. For several weeks we have dealt with flooding in communities across the province, and it is having a profound impact on many Ontarians as high water levels put people and properties at risk while disrupting businesses and the economy. Thankfully, our Premier has been demonstrating strong leadership and is acting decisively by meeting with our municipal partners to determine what can be done to prepare for future flood events.

Last week, the Premier committed to a task force to look at opportunities for watershed management in the Muskoka and Ottawa regions that can be applied to watersheds throughout the province. Can the Premier update the House on what progress has been made?

Hon. Doug Ford: I want to thank the member from Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry—what an incredible member. We were up there not too long ago—another loved MPP, part of our caucus.

We’ve been up in Ottawa; we’ve been all over Muskoka. Actually, I was over in Muskoka again this weekend looking at the flooded area.

First of all, my heart goes out to every single person dealing with this flooding disaster, because that’s what it really is. It’s flooding into their homes. Once again, I want to thank the communities for helping out, but I also want to thank our Canadian military. They’re absolute champions.

I mentioned that we had put a task force together not much longer than a week ago. We’ve already assembled a task force headed up by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, who is doing a great job—not only in the Muskoka area but the Ottawa region and any other regions that have been flooded, Mr. Speaker. Our government for the people is taking this situation seriously.

Again, when we’re up there visiting it rather than just sitting back here and talking about it or criticizing it like the opposition—we’re in there. We’re in the communities talking to the people. Our government—

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

Mr. Jim McDonell: Thank you to the Premier for the response. Mr. Speaker, I am sure that my constituents and Ontarians everywhere will be reassured as to how seriously our government and our Premier are taking the situation. I know that the Premier has been working hard alongside the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Solicitor General as we respond to the situation on the ground.

I also want to thank the volunteers, first responders and the Canadian military, who have come together to help all those impacted by the flooding. This continues to be a trying time, but together we will get through this.

Speaker, can the Premier provide us further details on the task force on watershed management?

Hon. Doug Ford: Again, I want to thank our all-star MPP—

Mr. Paul Miller: Another all-star.

Hon. Doug Ford: We’ve got tons of all-stars; unfortunately, you don’t have the same.


Hon. Doug Ford: Are you done? Okay, good.

As I’ve said previously, we’ve reached out to municipal leaders asking for their input, asking them to put people on the task force. We’re holding sessions, and hopefully the NDP won’t get their union buddies to protest these sessions like they do every other place we go. We’re holding sessions in Muskoka on May 17, in Pembroke on May 23, and in Ottawa on May 24. We’re there to listen. We’re there to support these communities. We’re there to put resources into the communities and help rebuild their homes, rebuild the businesses, get it back to normal and prevent this from ever happening again.


Ms. Suze Morrison: My question is to the Premier. Last week, three of the Premier’s members—the member for Niagara West, the member for Brantford–Brant and the member for Scarborough Centre—all spoke at a rally against reproductive rights held on the lawn of Queen’s Park.

In his remarks, the member for Niagara West said, “We pledge to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime.”

The Premier was given the opportunity in the Legislature to distance himself from these comments. Instead, he deferred the question to the Minister of Energy who, inexplicably, talked about the federal carbon tax.

The Premier has another chance today, and it’s important that the answer come from him. Will he say that he refutes his MPPs’ comments and supports a woman’s right to choose?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: We have a big tent here. I don’t dictate to anyone what their beliefs are. We are not—I’m going to repeat—we are not reopening any abortion issues here in this Legislature. It’s very simple.

Can any of my members speak their mind? Yes, they can speak their mind, because not everyone in this Legislature thinks the same. But I’ll tell you what we do think the same: We think the same when it comes to cutting taxes, respecting taxpayers, creating jobs and lowering energy costs. That’s what we believe in, Mr. Speaker.

But I’ll be very clear again: We’re not reopening anything.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Ms. Suze Morrison: The Premier needs to be very clear here. We know that women across Canada have fought hard for their rights to their own bodies. The remarks made by these three members of his team are a direct threat to those rights. We also know that the Premier is making sweeping cuts to Ontario’s health care system that could impact women’s reproductive rights.

Do the remarks made by the member from Niagara West reflect the priorities of this government, and will Ontarians see any changes to abortion services in Ontario?

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

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: I appreciate the opportunity to respond to this. This Progressive Conservative Party is a big tent. But let me be perfectly clear, to echo what the Premier of Ontario has said: This party, this government, will not be reopening the abortion debate. This member right here stood in support of the bubble zone in Ottawa to protect women’s right to choose. This government will continue to stand up for women’s rights across this province, despite the rhetoric from the members opposite.

If the members opposite think that we should have a homogenous thought process within the government as we represent 73 different ridings across this great province, they must think again. We respect debate internally within our caucus. But let me be perfectly clear: This party, this government, that Premier will continue to stand for women’s rights across this province, and we will not be reopening the abortion debate.

Job creation

Ms. Jane McKenna: Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. Our government came into office on a commitment to create an environment where businesses can thrive and create great jobs. Because we know that when businesses thrive, people thrive; and when people thrive, communities thrive. Our plan is working. Last month, Ontario led the way as Canada posted record jobs growth: 47,000 jobs in April, more than any other province in this country. More people are working in Ontario than ever before, which means more people have the opportunity to thrive and get ahead. I know these job gains are in large part thanks to the policies our government has pursued since taking office.

Speaker, could the minister please outline for the House how we are making Ontario an engine for job creation?


Hon. Todd Smith: Thanks to the member from Burlington, our outstanding member from Burlington, who does such a great job at promoting job growth in her riding.

So far this year, Ontario has created 115,000 jobs. That’s on top of the 47,000 jobs that were created last month. That’s over half of the jobs created in Canada in 2019. We’re leading the way because of our open-for-business policies that we’ve been able to implement here in the early days of our government in Ontario: cutting red tape, making sure we’re cutting taxes, starting to deal with the Liberals’ electricity mess.

Job creators want to invest. They want to create jobs here in Ontario and they understand that in Ontario we have a Premier and we have a government who understand exactly that. That’s getting out of the way of government and ensuring that they have the environment where they can create jobs.

Our 2019 budget introduced new measures to support our job creators like the Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive, which has also been a huge hit for job creators. We’re just getting started, Mr. Speaker: more jobs to come.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Ms. Jane McKenna: Thank you so much, Minister, for that response. You sure can’t argue the facts here.

I know my constituents are excited that Ontario’s economy is booming. People are coming back into the labour force. Workers and families who gave up after 15 years of Liberal mismanagement are seeing opportunity again. We promised to create an environment where businesses can grow, thrive and create good jobs, and we are doing exactly that. I know the Premier, the minister and our entire team have been working to make Ontario a better place to invest, and when companies invest, they hire more people. From our auto plan to making it easier to hire apprentices to the Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive and cutting red tape, we are introducing policy after policy aimed at creating good jobs.

Could the minister outline for the House the importance of continuing to create good jobs for the good people of Ontario?

Hon. Todd Smith: Speaker, I just want to make it abundantly clear that in the calendar year 2019, Ontario has created 115,000 jobs; and since we’ve been the government of Ontario, 175,000 jobs. We’re doing it, though, in spite of what’s happening on Parliament Hill with the federal government. They’re implementing a carbon tax. In spite of their tax hikes and in spite of their failure to resolve the steel and aluminum tariff situation that we find ourselves in, Mr. Speaker, we’re doing everything we can in Ontario to ensure that Ontario is open for business.

I’ve been criss-crossing this province, as has the Premier as well, and I can tell you that people from Windsor to Brockville and all points in between want good jobs. And every step of the way, Mr. Speaker, whether it was cancelling the Liberals’ costly cap-and-trade system or reducing the overregulation that the Liberals piled on us or closing the skills gap, the NDP have fought us every step of the way. Why won’t they get on board and help us create jobs in Ontario?

Government fiscal policies

Miss Monique Taylor: My question is for the Premier.

The estimates came out last week and it shows this government is gutting the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services by nearly $900 million for this year alone. But what it doesn’t show is the Premier’s promised $600 million for the revamping of the Ontario Autism Program.

Will the Premier explain why he has decided to backtrack on the promise to properly fund the Ontario Autism Program?

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

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Thank you very much, Premier. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

As the member opposite would know, not only did we invest $1.2 billion extra in health care, $700 million more in education but also an additional $300 million in the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. What wasn’t in the estimates—because the enhancements were made after the document was prepared—is the additional $300 million that we’re adding on top of the $321 million that has already been committed by our government.

I’ll be pleased to talk a little bit more about it in the supplemental, but make no mistake: The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has one in 10 Ontarians who rely on this ministry. They range from children in custody to children in care, to those with developmental disabilities and autism, to people on social assistance, whether that’s Ontario Works or Ontario disability supports. It’s women fleeing domestic violence and sex trafficking, and it is veterans who rely on us for a second hand up.

So, Speaker, we’ll always continue to defend the people who rely on this ministry and we’ll continue to defend the people of the province of Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Miss Monique Taylor: Back to the Premier, but what I have to say to the minister is that every group she just named is part of the vulnerable sector that this government has attacked, as we have seen in this past budget.

Speaker, families with children with autism are upset. Their childhood budgets are not flowing. The telephone town halls are frustrating, and PC members are refusing to hold round tables. The estimates show that the promised new funding for the Ontario Autism Program does not exist.

Why will the Premier not deliver on the promise to families of children living with autism?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: The telephone town halls have been very well attended across this great province. MPPs—I know a member of her own caucus, Catherine Fife, shared with me a round table discussion with her just last week; I’m happy to include that. I spoke with the Minister of Government Services, who’s hosting a round table himself. I’m very pleased that this is happening right across the province.

But make no mistake: Over 500 letters have gone out for the childhood budgets. We are moving people off of the wait-list and into service—service, by the way, where they have more choice than ever before. As we do this, Speaker, we are investing an additional $300 million for a needs-based program. The spend for this program in Ontario autism will be the biggest spend of its kind in the history of this province, in the history of this government. We’re going to continue to consult with experts, and I’ll be releasing the expert panel later on, either this week or early next week.

But let me be perfectly clear: The opposition continues to sow the seeds of division, and I think it’s time we started working together. I’ve invited them to do that—


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

Start the clock. Next question.

Correctional services

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: Ma question est pour la solliciteure générale. Late last year, the Court of Appeal of Ontario recognized that prolonged solitary confinement is unconstitutional because it violates section 12 of the charter. It is cruel and unusual treatment.

While Ontario’s average prison population has decreased over the last 10 years, more and more people are put in segregation. The vast majority of them are in administrative segregation, not disciplinary, and there’s no legislative limit to the length of their stay. Many are on suicide watch or suffer from mental health.

There was a bill proposed by the former government that was introduced and passed by this House, one which would bring amendments that are necessary to limit solitary confinement. Speaker, since last June, the bill has been collecting dust; it has not been enforced. I’m asking the minister today: Can she tell us when she’s going to implement the bill to ensure that Ontario complies with its constitutional obligations?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I understand the member opposite has a particular interest in this file, as do I as Solicitor General. But I think she’s taking a very narrow view of the issue. We have an obligation—and, to your credit, you did raise it in your question—where less than 5% of the individuals who are currently in segregation are actually there because of a disciplinary matter. In fact, many ask for it, because they are concerned about their safety. We need to make sure that correctional officers and staff have a number of tools available to them. This is partly about ensuring the safety of our staff, but also, frankly, ensuring that we don’t have an increased incidence of inmate-on-inmate interactions.

I want to make sure that the changes that we make are going to be positive both for the corrections staff as well as the individuals serving in our institutions. I will work with my ministry to make sure that happens.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?


Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: This afternoon, I will be tabling a bill that seeks to end the practice within five years, but in the context of obviously wanting to protect inmates and guards similarly. Mr. Speaker, I want to make sure that we are responding adequately to the Court of Appeal decision. I think it is important to all of us—not just me—that we comply with the charter. My interest here is simply to ensure that the government deals with this question promptly so that we are in compliance with the Constitution.

Can the minister indicate whether she’s prepared to act on this file quickly and maybe take some lessons or some ideas from my private member’s bill?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: While I’m interested in reading the member opposite’s private member’s bill, I want to assure the members of the House and the people of Ontario that we are already making some proactive changes that are improving safety and security in our corrections facilities. It was less than a month ago that my friend and colleague—we were able to announce in Thunder Bay that we are moving ahead with the new corrections facility in Thunder Bay, which will lead—


Hon. Sylvia Jones: Thank you. The investments that the Minister of Infrastructure and I are making will lead to safer jails and will lead to stronger and safer work environments for our corrections officers. I want to make sure that, as we are making these investments, we are doing it in a measured and reasonable way. One of those changes was clearly the investment in Thunder Bay, and there will be more in the months ahead.

Transportation infrastructure

Mr. Robert Bailey: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Recently, the Minister of Transportation tabled a comprehensive bill with a number of measures that, if passed, will cut red tape, reduce burdens and make our roads, bridges and highways safer for everyone.

This past Friday I was pleased to join the minister in a very important announcement about our highways. Our government’s number one priority is keeping the people of Ontario safe, whether it be at home, work or during their commute. That’s why we are working to ensure that the people of Ontario have a safe and efficient highway network. In the mid-1970s, posted speeds on our provincial freeways were reduced in response to the energy crisis. Most provincial highways have a designed speed of 20 kilometres an hour above the posted speed limit.

Speaker, can the minister share with the Legislature the important announcement he recently delivered for improving Ontario’s highways?

Hon. Jeff Yurek: I thank the member for Sarnia–Lambton for that great question. It’s right. Just last week, I was in the Delaware region of the province with the member from Sarnia–Lambton, Bobby Bailey, as well as road safety partners Elliott Silverstein from the CAA in south-central Ontario and Brian Patterson from the Ontario Safety League.

We were pleased to announce that the government is moving forward with a pilot program to explore the new way of improving our transportation network by increasing the speed limits to 110 kilometres an hour on select highways. We’ll be utilizing Highway 402 from London to Sarnia, the QEW from St. Catharines to Hamilton, and Highway 417 from Ottawa to the Ontario-Quebec border.

Public safety on our roads and highways is, of course, our number one priority. That’s why we’re taking the time to prepare pilot locations to begin in mid-September. The pilot will be conducted safely for over two years. I look forward to speaking more on this in my supplemental.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Mr. Robert Bailey: Thank you to the Minister of Transportation for sharing the details of our government’s new speed pilot. Our government is acting fast to improve, expand and build new public transit and to invest in making our roads and highways more efficient and safer. We know that when we get communities moving, people will have access to new jobs and new opportunities. It’s part of our plan to ensure that our transportation system works for the people of Ontario.

In southwestern Ontario, we know that our provincial highways, especially Highways 401 and 402, are both gateways to our US markets. Highway 402 is especially important for commuters going to London and for people visiting friends and family in Sarnia–Lambton. Highway 402 is also vital for large and small businesses exporting products to Michigan and the states beyond. Can the minister share more about the need for this pilot and to get the people of this province moving?

Hon. Jeff Yurek: Thanks again to the member for Sarnia–Lambton for that question. As I mentioned earlier, the pilot is going to run for two years, and we are going to monitor its effectiveness. Our government believes that increasing speed limits will bring posted limits in line with other jurisdictions and how people are currently driving. The pilot is the first step as we move forward to gather information for a permanent decision. We are launching province-wide public consultations in the next few weeks that will be part of our final decision-making process. We will be engaging our enforcement and road safety partners every step of the way to ensure that our highways continue to rank among the safest in North America.

This pilot, along with our consultations, will allow the province to monitor changes in average speed, traffic volumes and other factors that determine the effects of an increased posted speed limit in these pilot areas.

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on safety, our government is focused on getting people moving, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Government fiscal policies

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: My question is to the Premier. We’ve all heard that famous quote that the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats the most vulnerable members. Speaker, I believe that to be true, so when this Conservative government rips $900 million from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, I think it’s evident to Ontarians across the province that this government is doing irreparable damage to our society. Children, people with disabilities, those living in poverty: They are the ones that will suffer the most.

How can the Premier possibly justify these cold-hearted cuts? Why is the Premier targeting the most vulnerable people in Ontario?

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

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: As I mentioned in the response to her colleague, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is actually increasing its budget this year by an additional $300 million. She doesn’t have to take my word for it; she can actually look and read the estimates. In addition to that, we know that the members opposite try to suggest that we’re cutting education, when the Minister of Education is investing an additional $700 million into our education system. They try to suggest that we’re cutting money from public health and health care, when we know the Minister of Health is investing an extra $1.2 billion into health.

Now, these don’t fit the narrative of what the members opposite want, but we were very clear in our budget, in our message to Ontarians: We are protecting what matters most to Ontarians. That means we want to end hallway health care. That’s why we want to invest in student and schools. And that’s why we want to have a sustainable social assistance program to support children with autism, to support children in custody, to support children in care, and to ensure women escaping violence and—

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

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: I actually did look at the estimates. Perhaps the minister should too, because the Conservative government’s estimates reveal a lot in terms of what they value and what they don’t. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services was cut by $900 million; the Ontario Disability Support Program was cut by $222 million; Ontario Works was cut by $300 million; and the Family Responsibility Office was cut by $3.3 million. That office, that cut, hurts mostly women and children.

If the Premier took the time to listen to Ontarians impacted by these cuts—and the minister, frankly—what they would hear is the overwhelming fear and anxiety about the future from people in this province. Does the Premier understand that he is putting people’s lives and livelihoods in jeopardy with these callous cuts?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: There’s a fundamental difference between us in the government and them in the official opposition. There’s a difference between us appreciating the fact that we have—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. I’ll ask the member to take her seat. I ask the opposition to come to order. The same rule applies: I have to be able to hear the member who has the floor.


Hon. Lisa MacLeod: The Minister of Finance and the Treasury Board president made sure that we had a budget that protects what matters most. The minister responsible for economic development has been able to announce 116,000 new jobs. What does that mean, Speaker? It means more people on Ontario social assistance are eligible for employment. That means they’re moving off of the rolls. Unfortunately, the members opposite would rather have people rely on a government cheque than the dignity of a job.

I have said repeatedly in this House, and I remain steadfast: The best social program is a job. This government will continue to fight for that. That’s why we’ve created 116,000 new jobs since January alone, and we’ll continue to create an environment where we will lift—


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

Start the clock. The next question.


Indigenous affairs

Mr. Norman Miller: My question is for the Minister of Indigenous Affairs. Our Indigenous peoples play an important role in creating a strong and enriched province. This is especially true in northern Ontario.

Our government is focused on creating economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples all over Ontario. We are already making progress, and the mining sector has responded by investing again in this province. The mining sector is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples, and we are excited for the new projects that will create great new jobs.

Can the minister please tell us more about how our government is making a real difference for Indigenous peoples in the province?

Hon. Greg Rickford: I want to thank the member for Parry Sound–Muskoka for the extraordinary work that he does for his constituents.

We’re very pleased to have had the opportunity to move forward on some initiatives that were long overdue for the benefit of Indigenous communities across this province.

We moved forward with the implementation of indexing the pensions for Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations people suffering from mercury contamination.

We implemented the English and Wabigoon Rivers Remediation Trust.

The Indigenous Internship Program will start this summer to give Indigenous youth an extraordinary opportunity. We understand there are challenges, but there are opportunities.

The Williams Treaty: I was joined by the members for Simcoe North and Northumberland–Peterborough South for a long-overdue signing of this treaty.

The Six Nations, the Anishinabek Nation and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation have all held receptions here to build powerful relationships with this government and, in fact, all members of this place. We’re proud of that record, Mr. Speaker. We know there’s more work to be done and we’re working on it.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Mr. Norman Miller: I would like to thank the minister for being a strong advocate for Indigenous peoples in caucus and in the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, everyone in this House is aware of the challenges Kashechewan First Nation faces every year. Each spring, when the ice melts near this northern community, families are forced to evacuate their homes in fear of flooding. Rising water levels have been threatening this community for far too long. Our government has acted quickly to help the people of Kashechewan evacuate, but that’s not good enough. The families of Kashechewan deserve a place to build new roots, a place that’s safe for future generations.

Can the minister please tell the members of this House about a recent announcement that is finally going to provide Kashechewan First Nation with a long-term solution?

Hon. Greg Rickford: Remarks in Cree.

In just under 10 days, as Chief Friday from Kashechewan said in his own language, we mobilized the resources and the leadership of Kashechewan First Nation, Chiefs of Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald and Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler from Nishnawbe Aski Nation to move forward not just with agreements that have not served Kashechewan fairly over the years. Efforts had been made. Documents had been signed. Some efforts to move that community to higher ground had little or no effect. Here we were, 15 years later. I had visited the community in my previous role as a member of Parliament and was plenty familiar with this.

We signed a framework agreement that is a work plan summary that is going to move that community in the coming years. We’re proud of our accomplishments and we thank the leadership of the community and other leadership from Indigenous organizations for the important—

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

Government fiscal policies

Mr. Kevin Yarde: Last week, the government released more details about their cuts to the programs and services that families rely on. On the chopping block is the OPP, which will see their budget—

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Who is this to?

Mr. Kevin Yarde: This question is for the Premier.

On the chopping block is the OPP, which will see their budget slashed by over $46 million this year.

One of the vital public safety services the OPP provides is to keep drivers safe on our provincial highways, but the government has just announced it is considering increasing speeds on those very highways while cutting the OPP’s budget.

Why is the Premier asking police officers to do more with less?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Solicitor General.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: When the NDP are trying to suggest that three—three—pilot projects across Ontario are in some way going to be devastating impacts for the people of Ontario when all we are talking about is three pilot projects of 110 kilometres an hour, I have trouble with that, Speaker.

We have excellent OPP officers in this province. We have a leadership that understands that you cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. We have some very creative, proactive things that the OPP are doing, like a very simple basic thing of adding more oil changes to our fleet of cars that will allow them to stay on the road longer.

I have great faith in the leadership of the OPP to be able to manage these challenges within their existing allotment, because they have done it and they understand that we need to bring Ontario’s fiscal health—

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

Mr. Kevin Yarde: Back to the Acting Premier: In addition to cutting over $46 million from the OPP’s budget this year, the government is ripping over $35 million out of correctional services. That means our correctional facilities will continue to experience dangerous levels of understaffing, putting correctional workers and inmates at risk.

Why is the government refusing to listen to front-line correctional workers who say they can’t afford to see any more cuts?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Let’s be clear here, Speaker: Later on this afternoon, my friend and colleague the minister and I will be making an announcement of another OPP detachment that is going to be opening in the province of Ontario. We’ve already announced a new facility in Thunder Bay. We have made improvements in our corrections facilities where there is a body scanner in every single corrections facility, bar one, in the province of Ontario. We are making changes that are actually improving the lives of the corrections officers and staff who work in our facilities and the OPP officers who serve our communities so well, and we will continue to do that. But we will do it in a way that is fiscally prudent and, frankly, fiscally responsible, which has been far too lacking in the province of Ontario for the last 15 years.

Highway safety

Mrs. Gila Martow: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. The minister recently tabled a comprehensive piece of legislation that, if passed, will bring much-needed change to Ontario’s roads and highways. Many of the measures found in this piece of legislation will assist Ontarians by changing regulations to exempt individuals with personal trailers and pickup trucks from burdensome annual inspections and protecting front-line roadside maintenance, construction, tow truck and recovery workers from careless and dangerous drivers.

My community of Thornhill is very pleased to hear of our proposed measures aimed at keeping our children safe by allowing a new administrative monetary penalty framework that gives municipalities the tools they need to target drivers who blow by school buses and threaten the safety of our children when they cross our roads.

Can the minister share more about the Getting Ontario Moving Act?

Hon. Jeff Yurek: I thank the member from Thornhill for that great question. As she has stated, our commitment to safety is reaffirmed in many of the proposed changes in the Getting Ontario Moving Act. In addition to the proposed changes the member outlined, we also want new drivers to know that it’s never safe to drive under the influence, so we’re introducing a new offence for any driving instructor who violates a zero-blood-alcohol or drug presence requirement.

We’re also focused on improving traffic flow and enhanced road safety on our highways by introducing tougher penalties for driving too slow in the left-hand lane.

Additionally, we’re looking to allow motorcyclists to use high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, which is a much safer part of the road for them.

Mr. Speaker, I have much more to share regarding safety in the next supplemental.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question?

Mrs. Gila Martow: Thank you to the Minister of Transportation for that great response. The Getting Ontario Moving Act clearly has many measures that will increase the safety of our roads, highways and bridges while cutting red tape and reducing regulatory burdens for all Ontarians.


No matter the service, regulation, program or policy, we want to hear from Ontarians and put the experience of real people first. At the centre of our decision-making, we ask ourselves how the people of Ontario will benefit.

The policy measures the Minister of Transportation is proposing will give long-needed relief to commuters, help make our communities safer and make Ontario open for business and open for jobs. It’s unfortunate that the NDP chose to vote against these measures in the first reading, but I’m confident that they’ve now read the bill and they’ll be supporting it.

I look forward to hearing more from the Minister of Transportation when he elaborates further on the proposals found in the Getting Ontario Moving Act.

Hon. Jeff Yurek: I was puzzled two weeks ago when I introduced my legislation and the opposition voted against it, without even reading the legislation. It wasn’t that long ago, when we were in opposition and they were the third party, that they used to make fun and make talking points about our party voting against the budgets that were disastrous to this province without reading them. What’s changed over there, with that government over there? Are they against safety? Are they against moving forward? Are they against reading legislation and working with other parties and making Ontario a better place? It’s simply puzzling that they chose to go down that road.

Second reading’s around the corner, and I hope they change their mind and join us in supporting this bill for safety. But this bill is not only about safety; it’s about speaking with Ontarians. We’re launching two province-wide consultations, one to review speed limits, which I announced last week, and another one to look at the rules around bicycles, e-bikes and scooters. We want to make sure the road is safe for all users on our roads and highways throughout this province. I look forward to this consultation process—

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

Services en français

Mme France Gélinas: Ma question est pour le premier ministre. Depuis l’élection du premier ministre et son gouvernement en 2018, en juin, les francophones de l’Ontario l’ont eu dur. Notre université franco a été annulée. Notre commissaire aux services en français, un officier indépendant de l’Assemblée, a été renvoyé de ses fonctions. Nous venons de découvrir que, caché dans les prévisions du Conseil du Trésor de 2019-20, le budget du ministère des Affaires francophones va être diminué, réduit de 15 %.

Quand est-ce que les francophones de l’Ontario verront la fin des compressions dans les services aux francophones?

Hon. Doug Ford: Attorney General.

L’hon. Caroline Mulroney: Bien, je demanderais à la députée opposée de corriger ses propos. Évidemment, elle a peut-être des problèmes à suivre les chiffres qui ont été écrits dans les « estimates ». Mais les changements du côté du ministère des Affaires francophones ont été du côté administratif et ont été moindres.

Peut-être que le NPD a cru aux promesses électorales du gouvernement libéral précédent, qui faisait des promesses vides aux Franco-Ontariens et aux Ontariens et Ontariennes. Mais nous, nous savons bien sûr que les Ontariens et les Ontariennes n’ont pas cru les libéraux et leurs promesses vides. C’est pourquoi nous avons été élus avec un mandat électoral large et c’est pour ça que nous sommes ici avec plus de 70 députés pour représenter les intérêts des Ontariens et des Ontariennes. Notre gouvernement va continuer à promouvoir les intérêts des Franco-Ontariens et des Franco-Ontariennes de manière durable, d’une façon complètement différente du gouvernement précédent.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Mme France Gélinas: Le ministère des Affaires francophones coordonne la prestation des services en français dans l’ensemble du gouvernement. Ces services affectent toutes les interactions entre le gouvernement et les francophones de l’Ontario. L’été dernier, lors des incendies de forêt, ce gouvernement n’a même pas pu coordonner les notifications d’urgence en français dans la communauté de la Rivière des Français. On aurait pensé que ça aurait été pas mal évident, la Rivière des Français, mais non.

Compte rendu de sa relation déjà pauvre avec les francophones de l’Ontario, pourquoi est-ce que le premier ministre croit que les services en français peuvent continuer d’être réduits?

L’hon. Caroline Mulroney: À titre de ministre des Affaires francophones, je travaille étroitement avec le premier ministre en vue d’améliorer l’accès aux services en français et l’accès aux services de première ligne et pour protéger les acquis des Franco-Ontariens. Notre priorité est la création et la rétention d’emplois francophones dans cette province. Nous avons offert dans notre budget, par exemple, l’élargissement du PAFO en termes des organismes qui ont accès au financement du gouvernement. Nous avons aussi adopté des changements législatifs qui vont permettre, finalement, aux caisses populaires, aux coopératives financières de l’Ontario, de participer dans des prêts syndiqués provenant des banques fédérales.

Aussi, monsieur le Président, j’ai annoncé, en tant que procureure générale, un plan d’action pour améliorer l’accès aux services à la justice à Sudbury. Notre gouvernement travaille pour améliorer l’accès, et nous continuons à le faire.

Police services

Mr. Logan Kanapathi: My question is for the Solicitor General. Ontario’s government for the people was elected with a mandate to improve public safety across this province and to provide the brave men and women of our police services with the tools and resources they need to perform their duties safely and effectively.

This week is Police Week, which focuses on raising awareness and recognition of the great work of our police services in keeping our communities safe.

Mr. Speaker, can the Solicitor General please explain to this House how our government for the people is supporting the brave men and women in uniform of our police services in Ontario?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I want to thank the member from Markham–Thornhill. He’s blessed in York region to have an excellent service led by Chief Jolliffe, so I know that you appreciate and understand how important it is that we support and mark Police Week across the province. We believe it’s important that we take time to collectively acknowledge and honour the work police personnel do each and every day. Their dedication to their profession is outstanding, and their contribution to our society is invaluable. We owe them our gratitude.

Since being elected in June of last year, we have shown that in very clear ways by making changes so that police officers who use naloxone to save a life are actually not going to be under an unnecessary SIU investigation. We made changes to the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act to ensure that we had achieved the appropriate balance between integrity with our police and transparency with their operations. We will continue to do more—

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

Mr. Logan Kanapathi: I thank the Solicitor General for her response.

Ontario is home to some of the finest police officers anywhere in the world. It is an honour to be part of a government that recognizes their contributions to our communities and is willing to stand up for front-line police officers. Our communities are more safe when the police, the people and their government are empowered to work together.

Mr. Speaker, could I ask the Solicitor General to please share more about how our government is supporting the police and public safety in Ontario?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I couldn’t agree more with the member from Markham–Thornhill: Public safety is and always will be a priority for our government. Our commitment to provide our front-line police officers with the resources, equipment and supports they need to protect our citizens is unwavering.

It’s very exciting that within a few hours, I will be making an announcement with my friend and colleague the Minister of Infrastructure to open a groundbreaking for an additional OPP detachment.

We continue, as a government, to give the police the resources and the tools they need to keep our communities safe, because at the end of the day, that is one of our most sincere priorities as a government. We will continue to do that.

As we mark Police Week, I hope that members from all sides of this House take the opportunity to engage in a conversation with their police and their chiefs and understand the important value that they play in our communities. It is critical that we acknowledge this work, and I appreciate the work that they are doing.

School facilities

Mr. Faisal Hassan: My question is to the Premier. A devastating six-alarm fire broke out at York Memorial Collegiate Institute in my riding of York South–Weston last Tuesday. For 92 years, York Memorial has served as a pillar of the Keelesdale community and as a tribute to the city of York’s fallen soldiers. York Memorial offered specialized programs to hundreds of students across York South–Weston and beyond, including advanced placement courses and the RUSH program.

The Keelesdale community is concerned about both the immediate needs of the youth and business owners affected by this fire, as well as the long-term future of York Memorial as a historic structure and community hub. The people of my riding, Mr. Speaker, want assurances from this government that their school will be rebuilt. Will the Premier commit to rebuilding York Memorial collegiate: yes or no?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Education.

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: To the member opposite: Absolutely, we’re committed to working with the school board to make sure that that community hub, if you will, is absolutely restored.

Coming back from Skills Ontario last Tuesday or Wednesday morning, when it was on fire again, we actually drove by and it’s a heartbreak, what has happened to that community. I understand it’s under investigation. We certainly will be working with the school board, and I look forward to working with you to make sure we get it right.

Tibet Day reception

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes question period for today. This House stands in recess—

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Just a second; there’s a point of order. Member for Parkdale–High Park.

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: Thank you, Speaker. My apologies for the delay. I’d like to welcome all members of the House to the seventh annual Tibet Day lunch reception in room 230 that’s hosted by various different organizations in Ontario.

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

The House recessed from 1202 to 1300.

Member’s comments

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’m going to ask for the House’s attention. On May 13, 2019, the member for Don Valley East, Mr. Coteau, submitted a notice of his intention to raise a question of privilege. I am now prepared to rule on the matter without hearing further from the member, as standing order 21(d) permits me to do.

The notice alleges that the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services provided false information to the House regarding the government’s funding for services for children with autism. The member points to incongruences between the program funding published in the ministry’s expenditure estimates and numbers cited by the minister in the House as evidence that the minister deliberately misled the House. The member alleges that this amounts to a contempt of the House.

The member references the McGee test for determining whether a member has deliberately misled the House, which has been cited by previous Speakers of this House. The McGee test, as set out on page 775, fourth edition, is as follows:

“There are three elements to be established when an allegation is made against a member regarding the member’s statement: the statement must, in fact, have been misleading; the member must have known that the statement was inaccurate at the time the statement was made; and the member must have intended to mislead the House.”

As Speaker Carr elaborated on June 17, 2002, at page 102 of the Journals, and as I reiterated in a ruling on March 28 of this year: “The threshold for finding a prima facie case of contempt against a member of the Legislature, on the basis of deliberately misleading the House, is therefore set quite high and is very uncommon. It must involve a proved finding of an overt attempt to intentionally mislead the Legislature. In the absence of an admission from the member accused of the conduct, or of tangible confirmation of the conduct, independently proved, a Speaker must assume that no honourable members would engage in such behaviour or that, at most, inconsistent statements were the result of inadvertence or honest mistake.”

McGee, on page 776, fourth edition, elaborates on the high threshold required for a finding of misleading the House: “The serious nature of the allegation demands that it be properly established. Recklessness in the use of words in debate, although reprehensible and deserving of censure, falls short of the standard required to hold that a member deliberately misled the House....

“For a misleading of the House to be deliberate, there must be an indication of an intention to mislead. Remarks made off the cuff in debate can rarely fall into this category, nor can matters of which the member can be aware only in an official capacity.”

In making his case, the member for Don Valley East cites numbers taken from the 2017-18 public accounts and compares them to the estimates for the coming year, which I believe the member inadvertently referred to in his submission as “the government’s recently released public accounts.” However, the difference in these documents is crucial to his accusation. The public accounts are an audited statement of the province’s actual expenditures. The estimates are simply a forecast of the government’s proposed spending at a moment in time. They are open to fluctuations and amendments as circumstances change. These two documents report financial information in different ways from each other and are not cross-referential. It is for this reason I cannot find that the requirements for a finding of misleading the House have been met, and a prima facie case of contempt has not been established.

I thank the member from Don Valley East for his submission.

Members’ Statements

Arts and cultural funding

Ms. Jill Andrew: Ontario’s arts and culture sector is under attack through ruthless Conservative government funding cuts. They slashed $15 million from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and $5 million from the Ontario Arts Council budget. They cut the Indigenous Culture Fund, the only grant for Indigenous cultural revitalization and transmission, and Indigenous women arts administrators lost their jobs as a result.

The education minister also isn’t an ally to arts. Instead, she has minimized the impact of cuts on arts education and doesn’t see its career potential.

The cancellation of arts classes and underfunding of community arts disproportionately impacts Black, racialized, queer and disabled people—children and adults—who often use the arts to confront, grapple with and offer solutions to systemic injustices this government doesn’t have the courage to admit, let alone solve with real equity-minded legislation.

You cut the Ontario Library Service–North budget in half and slashed funding for the Southern Ontario Library Service by more then 50%. Funding to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport dropped by $58.6 million, and the Ontario Music Fund’s budget was slashed over 50%. Music has provided the soundtrack to the most revolutionary of social movements. And now, with budget estimates revealed, the Ontario Arts Council is facing another cut of $10 million from its budget.

This is more than an attack. It is a wretched dismantling of our arts and culture sector, which is a significant employer and generator of revenue, tourism and our social conscience. Ontarians deserve better.

Artists in Momentum

Mr. Kaleed Rasheed: Last month, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of phenomenal women from my riding of Mississauga East–Cooksville. They were a part of Artists in Momentum. I want to welcome Nomana, Azra, Vrunda, Sania, Ginelle, Maria, Saima, Sirisha, Ann, and the founder, Anna Silgardo, to the Legislature.

Artists in Momentum, also known as AIM, is an organization committed to empowering, nurturing and sustaining the spirit of the individual. AIM believes in the therapeutic value of the arts and uses it as the foundation to promote mental well-being one life at a time. AIM encourages self-reflection and stimulates the imagination while building self-esteem through creative self-expression.

Anna, the founder of Artists in Momentum, in two programs, Under the Shade—Minding Me, Minding You, and GIFT—Growing “I” From Today, used key components of engagement, vision, building out emotions and connections, while reflecting on identity, identifying strengths and finding out roads from stress.

This group of women presented their thoughts on art while talking about their individual journey. Through their art, they freely expressed their cultural views and expressions, which were accepted and embraced without judgment. I was proud of the work AIM is doing. The art pieces represent their obstacles, hopes and dreams while being deeply rooted in their strong cultural values.

Please keep up the great work, and welcome to Queen’s Park.

Government policies

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: It’s always an honour to rise in the Legislature on behalf of my constituents of London–Fanshawe. Today I would like to talk about Charlaine. She says she doesn’t usually contact her representatives but she has always voted. She says she has been motivated to write all MPPs because, “I have never been so embarrassed or frustrated by living in Ontario. I don’t know what is happening to our province.”

Charlaine has a message for this government and I’d like to read it on her behalf:

“Is there no way to stop the Ford government from turning back the clock on our province and affecting the lives of so many people on so many levels?

“As a parent of two university students who are both pursuing careers in health care I am so incredibly disappointed in all the changes the PC Party is making.

“We will be directly affected by the cuts to OSAP and future changes in health care once they graduate.

“I also have elderly parents who I am worried about with all the health care they require and a brother who has recently developed several serious health issues.

“I have family members who are teachers and know people with special-needs children who are being affected by all the changes as well.”

Charlaine’s letter is not uncommon. The majority of people feel the same way she does. This Ford government needs to understand that we work for real people like Charlaine, and these callous cuts are wrong and are making people’s lives worse.


Mr. Will Bouma: I rise today to bring attention to an important initiative. May is Vision Health Month. As an optometrist, this initiative is very important to both my patients and I.

Optometrists are Ontario’s most accessible primary eye care professionals: more than 2,000 professionals located in over 200 communities, where they are often the only providers of comprehensive general eye care.


Some 90% of optometrists can see patients with eye-related emergencies the same day, which can help take the pressure off emergency rooms and provide better access to care. Optometrists can help solve some of the challenges facing the health care system, while also increasing efficiencies, reducing red tape and improving patient care.

Optometrists can also help improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction, and use public resources more effectively. Moreover, Ontario’s optometrists want to be a part of the solution by collaborating with the government to help modernize the system of eye care to provide high-quality, sustainable services Ontarians can depend on now and in the future.

Speaker, I wish all optometrists and all Ontarians a happy Vision Health Month.

Government accountability

Mr. Ian Arthur: It was a strange day last Thursday to be in the Legislature, a place I hold in such high esteem, and watch a government elected with a false majority give up all pretense of being answerable to members of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition or the public of Ontario. Question after question was responded to with a self-flatuating list of perceived accomplishments of this government. A question about ambulance services was responded to with nonsense about buck-a-beer, an answer apparently deserving of a standing ovation.

When asked to clarify his position on the government’s abortion policy, the Premier deferred to the Minister of Energy—and here I’m going to quote Martin Cohn from the Toronto Star—the member from Kenora–Rainy River, “a defeated Harper minister who is the Legislature’s most unctuous bloviator, in love with his own voice and enraptured by his own body language. Rickford chops the air with his hands as he speaks not of abortion, but ‘protecting seniors ... no matter where they live....’”

Then this morning in finance committee, upset that I was criticizing the government’s forced-on-business Scheer campaign gas stickers—I used the term “propaganda,” and a government member said that it was unparliamentary. What better indication of the state of our democracy could there be than a government so deeply offended at having their own propaganda called what it is, who cry foul at legitimate criticism?

I pray that I am in the Legislature long enough to see it in some way return to its former stature.


Mr. Randy Hillier: Speaker, I’ve always believed that elected members must practise in government what they preach while in opposition. Otherwise, they can look like a fabulist on an infomercial.

Over the last 12 years, I’ve heard and spoken with many local realtors in Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston. I was proud to be in a caucus that advanced policies which would have improved the real estate industry. On four different occasions, a bill had been advanced by PC members, including the member for Quinte who is now the Minister of Economic Development, allowing real estate salespersons to incorporate their businesses as a personal corporation. In the past, we even saw all-party support for his Tax Fairness for Realtors Act.

I, along with many others, was surprised to see that the recent provincial budget was absent of these reforms, particularly because it was such a prominent issue for the PC caucus while in opposition, as well as for the minister.

What I and realtors in my riding are wanting to know is this: While it’s undeniable that the minister will advocate for tax fairness, the question is, will he ever do it while he’s in cabinet or will he wait again until he’s in opposition?

Bill Patchett

Mr. David Piccini: It is with great sadness that I announce that our community of Northumberland–Peterborough South lost a true hero and a true leader: Bill Patchett.

Bill’s generosity was immeasurable. His impact touched so many in our community. Bill’s advocacy and leadership moved mountains throughout my riding—his work on Northumberland Hills Hospital, Rotary, United Way and Habitat for Humanity, just to name a few—but it was some of his lesser-known work that touched so many and whose impact was profound and ever-reaching.

He was a man of boundless energy and infinite knowledge. I think back fondly to my first few days seeking election and the meetings I had with Bill and the other elderly gentlemen who call themselves the “senate” over a nice breakfast in the morning. I learned a great deal from Bill and I’ll be forever a better member because of it.

A friend recently told me that Bill would always greet her with a smile on his face and say, “How are you doing, kid?” It was my first office in Cobourg where I was greeted with the same.

When Bill saw a need in our community, he’d make things happen. Our community is a much better place, thanks to Bill.

I’d like to offer my condolences and those on behalf of our government to his wife, Delphine, his other family members, and to everybody in our community whose lives were impacted by Bill.

Bill, thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your advocacy in our community. Rest easy, my friend.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis

Mme France Gélinas: On Wednesday, May 12, the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario, MEAO for short, will be at Queen’s Park to mark International Awareness Day for myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, environmental sensitivities/multiple chemical sensitivity.

MEAO is a registered charity that supports 600,000 Ontarians afflicted by these medical conditions.

The Task Force on Environmental Health completed its final report and submitted to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care back in December 2018. Together with the interim report of the task force, the final report contained a set of concrete recommendations to improve care for those patients, their families and their caregivers.

I urge the minister of Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to:

(1) publicly release the final report of the Task Force on Environmental Health;

(2) create an implementation committee to start the work of the final report;

(3) implement the recommendations of both the interim and the final report; and

(4) create a specialized clinic—a centre of excellence—for care, research, and academic work for these patients.

Most of the people afflicted are too sick to speak up. They have been waiting very patiently for a very long time for action. I implore the Minister of Health to show goodwill and release the final report publicly before Wednesday.

Children and Youth in Care Day

Mr. Deepak Anand: Often, on one hand, we say our children are our future or that we live for our children; on the other hand, we have children who experience abuse. Tomorrow, we recognize the strength, bravery and resilience shown by young people who have faced adversity in their lives. May 14 is Children and Youth in Care Day. It is an opportunity to provincially raise awareness about children and youth in care.

Our children’s aid societies help to protect infants, children and youth who experience abuse or who are at risk. There are 47 children’s aid societies in Ontario alone, with almost 12,000 children in need.

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to recognize Peel Children’s Aid, who work to ensure the safety and well-being of children and strengthen families, and who have their office in my riding of Mississauga–Malton. So thank you for that.

Established in 1912, Peel Children’s Aid last year served 11,300 families and has worked with 190 kinship families and more than 120 foster families. At Peel Children’s Aid, the success of youth leaving care is the highest priority. They have actually collected, with the generosity of donors, more than $230,000 so that they can help 60 youth involved with the Peel Children’s Aid Society receive education bursaries.

I would like to say to anyone and everyone: If you can, join the Peel Children’s Aid Society on May 30 for their annual gala. With them, I know our youth and our future is safe and bright.

Orillia Perch Festival

Ms. Jill Dunlop: This past Saturday, I had the great honour of speaking at the closing ceremonies of the 2019 Orillia Perch Festival. Over the past month, anglers from across Ontario have joined together in celebration of our community and province’s most prized and cherished pastime: fishing. Starting April 20, hundreds of participants competed to win daily, weekly and grand prizes.


For 39 years, hundreds of Ontarians have participated in the festival, which is one of the largest fishing derbies in the nation.

For centuries, the commercial and familial act of fishing has bound our community together. It has allowed us to explore our region’s backyard, has kept many businesses alive and thriving, and has ensured that our communities were fed and healthy.

On Saturday, I assured every devoted fisherman and fisherwoman in the audience that the government of Ontario supports them through and through. The Ontario government recognizes and champions the great cultural, economic and social worth of fishing. We are committed to ensuring that our lakes are clean, our commercial fishing companies are able to feed our province, and our constituents can spend their summer weekends doing what they love most.

I want to thank the organizers of this year’s fish festival and pay special attention to the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce, which has championed this event and tourism in the Sunshine City for many years.

I know that you have some beautiful lakes teeming with perch in your riding, Mr. Speaker, so I would like to invite you to attend next year’s perch festival in Orillia for some friendly fishing competition.

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

Introduction of Bills

Ministry of Correctional Services Amendment Act (Limits on Solitary Confinement), 2019 / Loi de 2019 modifiant la Loi sur le ministère des Services correctionnels (limitation du recours à l’isolement cellulaire)

Madame Des Rosiers moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 113, An Act to amend the Ministry of Correctional Services Act with respect to solitary confinement / Projet de loi 113, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le ministère des Services correctionnels en ce qui concerne l’isolement cellulaire.

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

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I want to invite the member for Ottawa–Vanier to make a brief explanation of her bill.

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: The bill amends the Ministry of Correctional Services Act with respect to the humane treatment of inmates and ending solitary confinement within five years. It prohibits any cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment and prohibits holding an inmate under overly rigorous physical constraints or surveillance. It requires a superintendent to ensure that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is complied with. Violation of these rules is an offence.

It requires the creation of a plan to phase out solitary confinement over five years. At the end of those five years, the bill prohibits solitary confinement. There’s also a provision for reviews of cases of inmates held in conditions that are highly restrictive but are not solitary confinement.


House sittings

Mr. Stephen Lecce: I move that, pursuant to standing order 6(c)(i), the House shall meet from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday, May 13, 2019, for the purpose of considering government business.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Mr. Lecce has moved that, pursuant to standing order 6(c)(i), the House shall meet from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday, May 13, 2019, for the purpose of considering government business. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

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

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Mme France Gélinas: On division.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Carried on division.

Motion agreed to.


Veterans memorial

Mr. Percy Hatfield: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas during the war in Afghanistan, Canada lost 159 military personnel;

“Whereas those brave souls were driven along the Highway of Heroes between CFB Trenton and the coroner’s office in Toronto;

“Whereas since Confederation, 117,000 Canadian lives have been lost in military conflict;

“Whereas there is a recognized and celebrated plan to transform the Highway of Heroes into a living tribute that honours all of Canada’s war dead;

“Whereas that plan calls for the planting of two million trees, including 117,000 beautiful commemorative trees adjacent to Highway 401 along the Highway of Heroes;

“Whereas this effort would provide an inspired drive along an otherwise pedestrian stretch of asphalt;

“Whereas the two million trees will recognize all Canadians who have served during times of war;

“Whereas over three million tonnes of CO2 will be sequestered, over 500 million pounds of oxygen will be produced and 200 million gallons of water will be released into the air each day, benefiting all Ontarians in the name of those who served our country and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice; and

“Whereas there is a fundraising goal of $10 million;

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

“That the current government of Ontario put its financial support behind this fundraising effort for the Highway of Heroes Tree campaign.”

I fully support this, Speaker. I’m going to sign this and give it to Maria to bring down to the table.

Municipal government

Ms. Effie J. Triantafilopoulos: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the government of Ontario has announced a review of Ontario’s eight regional municipalities, the county of Simcoe, and their lower-tier municipalities, including Halton region and the town of Oakville; and

“Whereas municipal governments are responsible for funding and delivering the important local services residents rely on every day; and

“Whereas Halton region has maintained a AAA credit rating for 30 consecutive years due to effective governance and prudent fiscal policies; and

“Whereas the town of Oakville is recognized as Canada’s best place to live;

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

“That the town of Oakville remain a distinct municipality within a two-tier region of Halton municipal governance structure.”

I will affix my signature and pass this on to legislative page Mary.

Education funding

Mr. Chris Glover: It’s my pleasure to read into the record petitions signed by students from the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier University, York University, Queen’s University and the Toronto Film School. The petition is entitled “Increase Grants, Not Loans. Access For All. Protect Student Rights.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas students in Ontario pay some of the highest tuition fees in the country and carry the heaviest debt loads, even with the recently announced 10% reduction; and

“Whereas many students will now be forced to take on more loans rather than previously available non-repayable grants; and

“Whereas the Ontario government has failed to take action on the chronic underfunding of colleges and universities; and

“Whereas students must have an autonomous voice that is independent of administration and government to advocate on our behalf; and

“Whereas the proposed ‘Student Choice Initiative’ undermines students’ ability to take collective action;

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

“—provide more grants, not loans;

“—eliminate tuition fees for all students;

“—increase public funding for public education;

“—protect students’ independent voices; and

“—defend the right to organize.”

I fully support this petition. I will sign it and pass it to page Romeo.

Climate change

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: “Petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly:

“For a Meaningful Climate Action Plan.

“Whereas our planet is undergoing significant warming with adverse consequences for health, for agriculture, for infrastructure and for our children’s future;

“Whereas the costs of inaction are severe, such as extreme weather events causing flooding and drought;

“Whereas Canada has signed the Paris accord which commits us to acting to keep temperature rise under 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius;


“We, the undersigned, call upon the government of Ontario to develop GHG reduction targets based on science that will meet our Paris commitment, an action plan to meet those targets and annual reporting on progress on meeting the targets. We call on the government to commit to providing funding through carbon pricing mechanisms for actions that must be taken to meet these targets.”

I agree with this petition and put my signature to it, and will give it to Rishi.

Veterans memorial

Mr. Toby Barrett: Speaker, these are signatures I picked up at Royal Canadian Legion 379 in Port Rowan. It’s entitled, “Petition in Support of Constructing a Memorial to Honour Our Heroes....

“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 agree with this petition and affix my signature.

Long-term care

Mme France Gélinas: I would like to thank Andrea Fechner, who is from Chelmsford in my riding, for this petition. It reads as follows:

“Time to Care....

“Whereas quality of care for the 78,000 residents of (LTC) homes is a priority for many Ontario families; and

“Whereas the provincial government does not provide adequate funding to ensure care and staffing levels in LTC homes to keep pace with residents’ increasing acuity and the growing number of residents with complex behaviours; and

“Whereas several Ontario coroner’s inquests into LTC homes deaths have recommended an increase in direct hands-on care for residents and staffing levels and the most reputable studies on this topic recommends 4.1 hours of hands-on care;”

They “petition the Legislative Assembly to:

“Amend the LTC Homes Act (2007) for a legislated minimum care standard of four hours of hands-on care per resident adjusted for acuity level and case mix.”

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

Climate change

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I have a stack of petitions to the Legislative Assembly.

“For a Meaningful Climate Action Plan.

“Whereas our planet is undergoing significant warming with adverse consequences for health, for agriculture, for infrastructure and for our children’s future;

“Whereas the costs of inaction are severe, such as extreme weather events causing flooding and drought;

“Whereas Canada has signed the Paris accord which commits us to acting to keep temperature rise under 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius;

“We, the undersigned, call upon the government of Ontario to develop GHG reduction targets based on science that will meet our Paris commitment, an action plan to meet those targets and annual reporting on progress on meeting the targets. We call on the government to commit to providing funding through carbon pricing mechanisms for actions that must be taken to meet these targets.”

I support this petition. I will sign it and ask the page to bring it to the table.

Municipal government

Mr. Stephen Crawford: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the government of Ontario has announced a review of Ontario’s eight regional municipalities, the county of Simcoe, and their lower-tier municipalities, including Halton region and the town of Oakville; and

“Whereas municipal governments are responsible for funding and delivering the important local services residents rely on every day; and

“Whereas Halton region has maintained a AAA credit rating for 30 consecutive years due to effective governance and prudent fiscal policies; and

“Whereas the town of Oakville is recognized as Canada’s best place to live;

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

“That the town of Oakville remain a distinct municipality within a two-tier region of Halton municipal governance structure.”

I will pass this petition to page Emily to forward to the Clerk.

Climate change

Ms. Jill Andrew: I rise proudly on behalf of Lyn Adamson, co-chair of ClimateFast, who is also a constituent of mine, to present this petition.

“Petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly:

“For a Meaningful Climate Action Plan.

“Whereas our planet is undergoing significant warming with adverse consequences for health, for agriculture, for infrastructure and for our children’s future;

“Whereas the costs of inaction are severe, such as extreme weather events causing flooding and drought;

“Whereas Canada has signed the Paris accord which commits us to acting to keep temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius;

“We, the undersigned, call upon the government of Ontario to develop GHG reduction targets based on science that will meet our Paris commitment, an action plan to meet those targets and annual reporting on progress on meeting the targets. We call on the government to commit to providing funding through carbon pricing mechanisms for actions that must be taken to meet these targets.”

I sign my signature and I hand it off to Tabitha for tabling.

Waste reduction

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas plastic bags and polystyrene are so lightweight that they get blown into trees, streams, lakes and oceans. Only 11% of all plastic in Canada gets recycled annually...;

“Whereas Canadians use 2.86 billion plastic shopping bags per year...;

“Whereas plastic bags and polystyrene are made from petroleum, and mining it adds greenhouse gases to the air, and pollutes the ground and streams;

“Whereas plastic bags and polystyrene break down into microplastic bits and get ingested by marine life and birds making them sick, as well as entering the food chain;

“Whereas ... one million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals and countless fish die each year from ingesting plastic...;

“Whereas plastic bags take 10-1,000 years to decompose and polystyrene never biodegrades and can be fatal for wildlife...;

“Whereas stores can sell reusable plant fibre bags, and takeout food and drinks can be served in cardboard or reusable containers;

“Whereas the students of Ms. Jerreat’s grade 4/5 class, and all grade 5s from Elginburg District Public School in Kingston ... and all children in the province of Ontario want and need clean lakes to swim in, clean air to breathe, and a healthy planet;

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

“To ban plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam ... packaging used for drinks and food from being manufactured, or commercially distributed, in the province of Ontario.”

I agree with this petition, put my name to it, and will give it to Jedd.

Climate change

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: I’d like to thank my constituents who signed this petition for ClimateFast. This petition is titled “For a Meaningful Climate Action Plan.

“Whereas our planet is undergoing significant warming with adverse consequences for health, for agriculture, for infrastructure and for our children’s future;

“Whereas the costs of inaction are severe, such as extreme weather events causing flooding and drought;

“Whereas Canada has signed the Paris accord which commits us to acting to keep temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius;

“We, the undersigned, call upon the government of Ontario to develop GHG reduction targets based on science that will meet our Paris commitment, an action plan to meet those targets and annual reporting on progress on meeting the targets. We call on the government to commit to providing funding through carbon pricing mechanisms for actions that must be taken to meet these targets.”

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

Library services

Mr. John Vanthof: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas, according to the statement of public library funding dated Thursday, April 18, 2019, by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport ... we appreciate that base funding for public libraries will be maintained, we call into question the statement that the Ontario Library Service agencies ‘have no involvement in day-to-day operations of Ontario’s public libraries’;

“Whereas Ontario Library Service–North and Southern Ontario Library Service provide the support for interlibrary loans, staff and board training, bulk purchasing, collaborative programming, technological supports, our shared electronic book collection and our shared catalogue database...;

“Whereas we question how involved the agencies need to be in order to be considered crucial for the day-to-day operations of all provincial libraries, but even more specifically for small, northern and rural libraries...;

“We, the undersigned, therefore petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“—for the reinstatement of funding to the Ontario Library Service (north and south) agencies to, at minimum, the 2017-18 ... levels, in order for these agencies to continue the day-to-day support of Ontario public library services;

“—to continue to maintain base funding for Ontario public libraries.”

I wholly support it, along with hundreds who signed this, and give it to page Tarun.



The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Parkdale–High Park, I know, has a point of order.

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: I’d just like to take the opportunity to welcome my good friend and mentor and the former MPP for Parkdale–High Park, Cheri DiNovo, in the members’ gallery. I also spot Rita Bijons from Green 13. And I would also like to welcome everybody in the galleries who have come here to witness the debates this afternoon.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): On behalf of the entire Legislature, I want to welcome Cheri DiNovo back to be with us this afternoon as well.

Point of order: the member for Toronto–St. Paul’s.

Ms. Jill Andrew: I’d like to formally welcome to the House today Lyn Adamson, who is a constituent of Toronto–St. Paul’s, as I said earlier, and co-chair of ClimateFast. She’s a great champion of a People’s Climate Plan for Ontario.

I’d also like to welcome Dr. Rose A. Dyson, present on behalf of JustEarth, as well as Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, who is a mentor to many, including myself.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Beaches–East York on a point of order.

Ms. Rima Berns-McGown: I’d like to welcome Michael Polanyi and Murray Lumley from the citizens’ climate coalition, as well as Cheri DiNovo. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I believe the member for Davenport has a point of order.

Ms. Marit Stiles: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I’d just like to briefly welcome those who are here today to listen to the climate emergency discussion, but in particular, my constituent Cassie Norton, who’s a musician and a music teacher. She’s representing all of the young people and students—on behalf of the young people.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We’ve already introduced guests. Are these more guest introductions?

Interjection: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Just one more.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Okay. York South–Weston.

Mr. Faisal Hassan: I would like to welcome my constituent Rick Cicceralli, who here is joining us this afternoon. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Spadina–Fort York.

Mr. Chris Glover: I’d like to welcome to Queen’s Park my friend and climbing buddy James Snetsinger.

Opposition Day

Climate change / Changement climatique

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I’d like to move the following motion:

Whereas climate change is currently harming human populations in Ontario through tornadoes, floods, forest fires and other environmental disasters, generating threats to human life through illness, injury and displacement; and

Whereas marginalized people, including working-class people, Indigenous, Black and other racialized peoples, young people and women have suffered the most and benefited the least from the conditions that have led to the climate crisis; and

Whereas climate change is currently endangering the survival of many species of plants and animals in Ontario as well as jeopardizing the health of our natural environment; and

Whereas climate change is currently contributing to massive property and infrastructure damage across Ontario through tornadoes, floods, forest fires and other environmental disasters; and

Whereas the increasing frequency of 100-year storm events have threatened the insurability of properties across Ontario; and

Whereas the cost of inaction is projected to be far higher than the cost of action, and credible research indicates the need for immediate, decisive action on climate change in order to avoid harmful impacts on our society, environment and economy;

Therefore, the Legislative Assembly calls on the government of Ontario to declare a climate emergency in order to officially recognize climate change as a real threat to our environment, our people and our economy, and develop provincial strategies and an action plan that will mitigate these threats and preserve our province for future generations.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Ms. Horwath has moved opposition day number 5. I recognize the leader of the official opposition to lead off the debate.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I’m honoured to rise and speak to this motion; although I think, like all of us, I wish we wouldn’t have to be here to debate this type of a motion. I think all MPPs now agree—I certainly hope so—that climate change is real, and what we are asking this House to support today, Speaker, is a motion to take action now, to make the fight against climate change a priority and to start winning it.

We don’t need to look any further than the flooding still threatening cities and towns across this great province—in Ottawa and Pembroke, Bracebridge and communities in the Muskoka region—or the recent devastating tornadoes in eastern Ontario, the flooding in the southwest and forest fires in the north. We’re not talking about some distant threat. This is not a problem we can punt down the road and leave for our successors, our children, to tackle.

Climate change is happening now and it is an emergency—full stop. The fight against climate change is the fight for our generation, and the direction we choose today will impact our families and communities imminently, and forever impact those who come after us.

Everywhere I travel in Ontario, people are doing their part in the fight against climate change. They want to live in a world where the climate is stable and predictable, where flooding, forest fires, tornadoes and hundred-year storms are the rare exception, not the rule. They imagine a province where biodiversity flourishes, and native plants and animals aren’t threatened by rising temperatures and invasive species. They imagine a world where we actually take animals off the endangered species list each year rather than declaring more and more species to be at risk. They imagine a province in which clean drinking water and plentiful food sources are there to sustain future generations and a province where we can spend our collective time, money and efforts building new bridges and schools rather than responding to natural disasters, forced to rebuild what the storms took from us again and again and again.

Today we’re asking every MPP in this House to make a choice. I’m asking every member of this assembly to help Ontario become the first province in the country to declare a climate emergency. For too long, climate change was viewed as tomorrow’s problem; or worse, some flat-out denied its existence despite irrefutable science and mounting evidence year over year, going back decades. And because of this inaction, things have gotten so, so much worse.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects continued global warming and increased frequency of heavy precipitation events in the years to come. They say Canada is warming faster than the global average, and experiencing more frequent and severe weather events. In fact, Environment Canada projects that the number of days above 30 Celsius in the city of Toronto will nearly double by 2050. Toronto Public Health projects that by the 2050s, about 240 people every year in this city will lose their life to heat-related illness.

Flooding, forest fires and extreme weather are already happening more frequently. The human costs of inaction are unthinkable. But the dollars are piling up too. From 2009 to 2015, disaster-related compensation to provinces and territories was greater than all the previous 39 fiscal years combined. So in just six years the compensation to provinces and territories was greater than the 39 years previously combined. Over the last several decades, wildland fire management costs have been rising by about $120 million every decade in Canada and are now costing us a billion dollars every year.

Inaction will cost us everything. Inaction will cost us absolutely everything. But after just a year in office, Speaker, it’s clear that this Premier is dragging us backwards. He’s eliminated the 50 Million Tree Program, walking away from a proven flood mitigation tactic that also prevents soil erosion. Trees are also the lungs of the planet. He cut funding for flood management programs by 50% and is forcing conservation authorities to get by with so much less. He’s eliminated $350 million from environmental and conservation funding, amounting to nearly half of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ annual budget.

This government also scrapped the Office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, the person whose job it was to help us stay on track when it comes to dealing with climate change.

It tore up incentives to help people buy green vehicles. It eliminated rebates on high-efficiency and energy-efficient home improvements that help people do their part. The Premier even went so far as to rip electric vehicle charging stations out of parking lots. Everybody knows those stations are necessary to have a proper network of available energy source for electric vehicles.


Right off the bat, this Premier threw up a white flag on the war on climate change. He ended Ontario’s participation in the cap-and-trade market, a proven polluter-pay method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, he opted for a scheme that shells out hundreds of millions of dollars to the biggest polluters. This government chose the federal carbon tax instead, only to spend even more of Ontario’s public money—tens of millions of dollars—on advertising and lawyers to then fight it.

Scientists have been warning governments that they need to take unprecedented action to limit warming to 1.5 degrees; otherwise, we’ll be failing to prevent massive devastation to the planet and human health. This government started their term in office by admitting that they won’t rise to the challenge. They watered down emissions reduction targets to 30% below the 2005 levels by 2030. While the rest of the world is acknowledging that the target won’t be enough to stop the climate crisis, this Premier has acted as if he doesn’t believe it’s his job to protect our province from climate change.

But I believe it’s not too late, Speaker. Today, let’s all agree that climate change is in fact real and that it is an imminent threat to our province and our planet and a threat to the health of Ontarians. Let’s declare that a climate emergency is in fact upon us. This is an opportunity to change direction and take real action on the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced. This is an opportunity for each of us, regardless of our party or political stripe, to do the right thing for our families and communities right now and for our children and for our grandchildren and for generations of Ontarians still to come. This is an opportunity to respond to the youth of today, who are standing up and speaking out and urging political leaders around the world to act. It’s an opportunity to tell them that we actually hear them and that we see them. It’s an opportunity to say that we know that they will in fact inherit this earth and that we know that the actions we take now will determine the rise of the water levels on their shores, how hot their cities and towns will become, and whether or not they will have to go through the torment, time and time again, of natural disasters that rip their communities apart. This is an opportunity to say, together, that we’re making climate a priority so that the actions and decisions of this assembly will help families live, grow and flourish in our beautiful province, now and for years to come.

Thank you, Speaker. It’s an important job we have this afternoon. I hope we’re up to the task.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Be seated, please.

Further debate?

Hon. Rod Phillips: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for providing the opportunity for this debate.

When we were elected, we were elected on the basis of three key priorities, priorities that were very important to the people of Ontario and that were the basis of the successful campaign that led us to have a significant majority in this Legislature. The priorities included affordability—affordability for families. This is something that all the parties in the Legislature chose to address. It was a priority in terms of all of the campaigns and all the platforms by all four of the parties that are here today, but the people of Ontario chose our party and our approach in terms of dealing with affordability.

We also focused on competitiveness—not competitiveness for the sake of competitiveness, but competitiveness because a competitive economy, I think we’ll all agree, is the kind of economy that creates jobs and opportunity for people, for families in our province.

We chose to focus, as well, on balance, on returning what we saw as an imbalance—on a balanced approach to dealing with all matters that affect government, and, in the case of my portfolio of environment, conservation and parks, the idea of balance when it comes to the issue of how we preserve and protect a healthy environment while also having a healthy economy.

That’s why our government moved quickly on the affordability issue to eliminate the previous Liberal government’s cap-and-trade carbon tax program. There were numerous reports from our Auditor General and from others that said that that approach was going to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to other jurisdictions, in particular California. It also said that it was not going to be effective in terms of addressing the core issue of climate change.

In removing that cap-and-trade program, though, we acknowledged and said quite clearly, as we had before, that climate change is a critical issue that we must deal with. We promised to bring forward a plan and we promised to set targets that would demonstrate to the world and to others that Ontario was serious about attacking climate change and serious about protecting our environment.

In November, we brought forward that plan, our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. In that plan, we committed to targets—real, tangible targets that would align with what not just this Prime Minister, Prime Minister Trudeau, had agreed were the right targets, but also what Prime Minister Harper, the previous Prime Minister, had agreed were the appropriate targets, and that was a 30% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. These were also the targets that the world had discussed. So we aligned Ontario with clear targets and objectives that were focusing on what two previous Prime Ministers, two previous governments and the world had agreed were the appropriate targets.

In that plan, there are a number of very pragmatic and straightforward approaches to making sure that we get to those targets, but we also started from a perspective of what Ontario and Ontarians had already done. The most recent report from the national inventory—which is where we take our measure as far as how we are progressing as a country, as a province, with regard to the reduction of greenhouse gases—has shown, as we have said in this Legislature, that Ontario and Ontarians have done more than any other province or jurisdiction. In fact, most of the progress that we’ve made in terms of reducing carbon emissions has been paid for and supported by the people of Ontario. That report is recent, but I’ll remind the members of what it said, which is that Ontario has reduced emissions by 22% against that 30% target at the same time as the rest of Canada has increased emissions by 6%.

So in light of those facts—and I think they’re facts that we all agree with in this Legislature—we built a pragmatic plan, and we built it against the targets that, as I said, Prime Minister Harper, Prime Minister Trudeau and in fact the world had aligned around, to reduce greenhouse gases to that 30% level, and we did it with a pragmatic, straightforward approach that demonstrated how we were going to make those reductions. We talked about renewable natural gas. We talked about ethanol fuel standards. We talked about how we would manage emissions from our largest polluters. We talked about our carbon trust—$400 million that would support investments that reduced carbon and carbon emissions. And we put all of those pieces together into a pragmatic and straightforward approach. So that is our plan.

Our plan is aligned—and I’m sure all the members have had a chance to read it. It’s 53 pages. It doesn’t just deal with the issue of climate change, which is so important; it deals with a broader range of issues related to the environment: clean water, clean air, plastics and other issues that we’re currently dealing with as well in this Legislature.

Madam Speaker, that is our plan and that is our approach. We’ve been very open with Ontarians, we’ve consulted on this plan, and, frankly, we’ve received a great deal of positive feedback on it. We’ve heard from people that they want to do their part and they understand the importance of this issue. They understand the threat that climate change poses to Ontario and to the rest of our country. They understand not just the idea of focusing on mitigation or the reduction of greenhouse gases, but also focusing on how we prepare communities so that they can adapt.

In that vein, one of the important parts of our plan—and I mentioned there were a number of parts of our plan—was a specific study that would be done, a review that will talk to and determine what are the impacts of climate change in Ontario, a study and a review and an assessment that I was surprised to find hadn’t been done in the past. I know that the opposition has had one opportunity to vote on our budget, and I know that they know that that assessment is in that budget. I can’t imagine that they don’t think the right place to start in terms of how we make sure that communities and families are able to prepare is to do that assessment, so I hope that in some way they’ll be able to at least signal their support for that assessment and that understanding that everybody agrees is so important.

Madam Speaker, we have our plan; we’ve laid out our plan. The NDP’s plan—and I refreshed my memory when I looked at their platform from the campaign—talks to a cap-and-trade system, essentially returning to the Kathleen Wynne strategy. And you know what, Madam Speaker? That is an approach. It is an approach, and I respect that they stand up for a cap-and-trade program. We eliminated a cap-and-trade system and put $260 back in the pockets of Ontarians. If they have a plan and they want that plan to focus on cap-and-trade, then please let them bring that plan forward today.


Madam Speaker, we’re not going to say that you should declare a climate emergency. Our government doesn’t support that, but our government does support putting forward actual plans and approaches that will reduce climate change, and I’m sure the opposition, including the member from Elgin, would agree that if there’s an emergency, if the opposition is so convinced that this is a serious issue, they’ll bring forward their plan and perhaps some of their later speakers will talk to the details of that plan.

When they talk about cap-and-trade as opposed to a carbon tax, we know, and they know—and their members have been quite honest about this—that to be effective, the economists that they rely on for that advice know that a cap-and-trade or carbon tax system needs a price per tonne of carbon that is at least 10 to 15 times higher than Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. If that is their plan, then speak about 50-cent-a-litre gasoline, speak about 70-cent-a-litre gasoline and stand up for it and support it and then we can debate the approaches that you have. But we haven’t heard that plan yet, and I hope that we’ll hear that plan later today.

Madam Speaker, we have laid out a very straightforward approach, and we’ve focused not just on the mitigation of greenhouse gases, we’ve focused not just on what Ontario has done and what Ontario is going to do but on how we prepare our local communities.

We’re partnering with industries, like the insurance industry, who have a deep understanding of the effects of climate change and in fact have been leaders through things like the Intact Centre and others in terms of identifying these kinds of issues. We focused on very practical issues, like flooding of people’s basements. This is an important symptom of the challenges we’re facing with extreme weather, and we think it’s important to talk about that. We think it’s important to focus on that.

We’ve talked and looked to how we will use the tax system to provide incentives in that regard. We have a number of very practical solutions that say, “What is the problem? What is the scale of the problem? What are we doing to do our share and to continue to do our share?” As I said, Ontarians have done more than any other province and in fact made some of the biggest contributions in North America today, but it’s not just about that; it’s how we adapt and how we make sure that our communities are prepared to respond.

Madam Speaker, I’ll close in saying our plan is clear. It is a plan that sets targets, as we said it would. It is a plan that lays out very practical strategies that will be measured. It is a plan that deals specifically with the effects of adaptation and the need to focus on adaptation, and it is a plan—getting back to where I started—that does not put an unaffordable burden on individual families, does not put an unaffordable burden on individual businesses. It’s a plan that understands the importance of climate change but also understands the importance of having a competitive business environment where it could create jobs and opportunity for people today and for people in the future.

It’s a plan that brings back a sense of balance. It brings back a sense of balance about the idea of a healthy economy and a healthy environment—that those two are not mutually exclusive, that we can make decisions that support jobs, support housing, support important things for everyday families but also protect our environment so it can be there for all of us to enjoy in the future.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Ian Arthur: It’s hard to know what to say, really. We have 11 years—11 years for the most important battle we will face. In his book Carbon Ideologies, William Vollmann opens with this passage: “Someday, perhaps not long from now, the inhabitants of a hotter, more dangerous and biologically diminished planet than the one on which I lived may wonder what you and I were thinking, or whether we thought at all.”

Sadly, the approach of this government is little different than all previous governments have taken for over 40 years. Canada is warming at three times the global rate. Flooding has quadrupled since 1980. I don’t know how to do this without this. It’s our world, Speaker. It’s our world.

There were 1,325 forest fires last summer in Ontario, 275,000 hectares, and 70 people dead in Montreal from a heatwave. We cannot feign ignorance. The signs have been there for decades.

In 1977 James Black warned that burning fossil fuels would lead to global warning and in 1998 the chief NASA climate scientist, James Hansen, told the American Congress that climate change was real and caused by humans—1977 and 1998. We have lost a generation we are never going to get back. We are beyond the time for incrementalism, past the time for the middle ground, and we are desperately trying to make up for lost time.

A month before the UK became the first country on the planet to proclaim a climate emergency, Greta Thunberg spoke to the members of Parliament in the UK and said, “Do you understand that by 2030, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will ... lead to the end of civilization as we know it. That future was sold so that a small group of people” could be unimaginably rich. “It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once.”

In Ontario, no such leadership has been shown as in the UK. The government is ignoring global warming to the point of criminal negligence. What it is doing is unforgivable. It has dismantled what few environmental protections we had. The minister’s climate change plan is a sham. It is nothing short of a dereliction of duty, and he will be remembered for overseeing the most regressive environmental policies of this century.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Be seated, please.

Mr. Ian Arthur: There is something remarkable happening, though, without the leadership of this government and so many others. Through the voices of a few, there have been many who have found the courage to add their voices to a growing cacophony. They will be heard and they will not be silenced.

Climate change is the great challenge, the greatest of challenges, and we must not despair. We must try to continue to see this as opportunity. In few tasks can there be found such meaning or opportunity to be part of something greater than oneself. We cannot control the wind, but we can adjust our sails, and few times in history has there been such a clear direction to sail in.

These challenges are seen by the government as a burden and impossible, but they are possible, because we can do whatever we have the courage to see, to quote another great climate advocate. We can build a provincial smart grid, we can retrofit every single building we have, and we can help workers transition into green jobs with the same salaries and benefits that they had before.

It is hard to imagine an issue that is more pressing, or that should have the ability to bring everyone on all sides of the political compass together. Its implications are both local and global, personal and societal. This should affect every single decision made. Every policy decision, every business decision and every social decision must be informed by the climate emergency.

For once, show some leadership. Make Ontario a leader in Canada and the world and declare a climate emergency. Please. I beg you.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Andrea Khanjin: I am pleased to rise in the House today. I want to thank the member opposite for his remarks.

I was listening attentively to the Minister of the Environment, Parks and Conservation about some of the plans we have—tangible plans in order to help the environment here in Ontario.

That was why it was so important to communicate to Ontarians that we are creating a made-in-Ontario plan, a plan that actually helps not just all of Ontario, but for the most part, we’re carrying most of the load for the entire country of Canada. If you look at how much we’ve reduced greenhouse gas emissions and how far Ontario has gotten, we’ve quite the legacy we have sent to all of Ontario. So we have a very proud legacy here in Ontario, whether it’s the Living Legacy fund, whether it’s reducing the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, getting us onto a stable target to reduce our global greenhouse gases—that’s right. As of 2013, to state the facts, Canada is responsible for 1.6% of greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario is responsible for less than 0.4% of those global emissions. In fact, because of Ontario’s leadership, we’re actually on track to reaching our Paris accord targets.


What are some of those tangible things to talk about? When we ran in the last election, it was a lot about affordability. How do we restore affordability in Ontario but also empower Ontarians on what they can do for their local environment, and help residents in their own backyard to be proud Ontarians? In our platform, we had put a stake in the ground. We had mentioned the environment in our platform. We had mentioned things like the emissions reduction fund. We had mentioned things like we really have to tackle things like litter by establishing a national day of litter. We talked about, in our platform, how we have to be responsible for clean drinking water—make sure we have clean water, clean air and clean land. Madam Speaker, not only did we mention that in our platform—but in our last budget that we just introduced.

It was interesting to note that when I was running to be the representative for Barrie–Innisfil, my constituents had asked me, “Your platform mentions climate change. What about the opposition members who are running against you?” As someone who had read the NDP platform—and I mentioned this often—I was surprised to see that in their platform they mentioned climate change, you know how many times, Madam Speaker? Zero—zero times. It was very surprising. In fact, global warming was only mentioned—wait for it—zero times, and an adaptation was only mentioned for it—wait for it—zero times.

So when it comes to action on combatting climate change, I urge everyone to read our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, because it establishes a balanced approach—not only how do we create our clean water, clean air and clean land, but it’s a balanced approach of both our economy and our environment, things that people can do.

When I talk to student groups in my local riding, they often ask, “What are the things that I can mitigate and get ready for?”—whether it’s the rainfall we’re currently getting. It’s important to educate individuals.

If the members opposite had read our platform, and if they were keen on resiliency and our environment plan—


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): The opposition will come to order.

Ms. Andrea Khanjin: If they read our environment plan, they would see, unlike their platform where resiliency is only mentioned once, that the things that we mentioned were things like educating individuals on flooding in their basements, things that they can do to be prepared. I would highlight that to the members opposite.

I would also highlight the impacts of things like the carbon tax. We did mention in our made-in-Ontario plan—a plan where we do mention climate change and resilience and the impacts many times. In fact, in our environment plan we do mention climate change 60 times, and in our budget it’s over 17 times.

In our budget, they will note that we did talk about what matters most. We have a growing deficit in this province. The fourth item in our budget is the interest on the debt alone. Ontarians can’t afford to pay more.

One of the things that we did mention in our budget, in terms of protecting what matters most, is our environment, Madam Speaker. On page 152 of our budget, we do mention the environment, and so we are mentioning it in every part of the way—not only just in our platform and in our made-in-Ontario plan, but also in our budget. Why? Because we take the matter seriously. We’re offering constructive solutions—solutions that will help Ontarians get ahead while supporting their environment.

The member from Kingston had mentioned some of his criticisms, but I would ask what the plan opposite would be, what their made-in-Ontario plan would be, and what the member from Kingston would say to, say, Queen’s University in his riding, which is paying almost $2 million because of the carbon tax. What do you tell those professors, teachers and students at Queen’s University? How is your plan going to be helping them sustain the environment while paying this $2 million in the carbon tax alone? That’s just for the university; I’m not talking about our hospitals. That’s the concern amongst Ontarians—that when you are coming up with a plan that helps the environment, how are you mitigating those costs? What are your solutions? They often want to know what their solutions are.

I’ll tell you what our solutions are, Madam Speaker. One of the things that I had the opportunity to go to with the Minister of the Environment was to the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council, where we spoke to members of the First Nations, the Métis, municipal leaders. Academia was there, people from the agricultural sector, industry, environment and conservation. It’s forums like this that provide an important role in identifying priorities that we share—priorities like helping our water quality and our ecosystems in the Great Lakes. After 15 years of inaction and not monitoring the amount of sewer water that goes into our waterways, we’re taking strong action, and we mention the action in our environmental plan: how we’re going to get to the bottom of this and how we’re going to be working with our communities. I was just in Thunder Bay—in fact, to be specific, I was in Red Rock—on Friday, announcing $17 million for their water treatment plant. Why? Because it’s important to Lake Superior. It’s important for the fish; it’s important for the fish habitat. It’s important for the entire ecosystem of the Thunder Bay area.

So when we say we’re taking action, we’re not just putting it in words; we’re codifying it in documents. We’re making those announcements delivering on clean water and delivering on clean air and monitoring those situations and monitoring for what the proper solution should be. And we’re looking at the science, Madam Speaker—the science. I often hear a lot of criticism, but no one actually looks at the science. One of the things we committed to in our environmental plan is working with the science community in actually identifying those things and not just creating these models. I studied economics—you can have a model for whatever you want. If you want the model to say 5%, it’s going to say 5%. But modelling and monitoring have to go hand in hand. Those are the types of solutions and actions that are in our environmental plan. But these solutions aren’t taxing people. Often I hear from people, “Oh, yes, you actually have an environmental plan. It’s not a tax grab. It’s not a tax plan”—because you’re not going to solve the environment by tax policy; you’re going to solve the environment with environmental policy, and you’re going to work with your various communities. That’s what we’re doing. We’re solving environmental issues by creating environmental policies, not tax policies that are only going to add more red tape into our tax code.

If you don’t take it from me, take it from other sectors that need the actual actions and solutions—actions and solutions that are not the carbon tax. I have a local onion farmer in my riding. He contributes a lot to the community. He donates a lot to the community. He just recently put money towards a new health centre. He cares about the health and environment of his community. But he’s being punished by the carbon tax—and not just the carbon tax, but the GST that is going to be put on the carbon tax for his onions, where he’s trying to provide food security not just for Ontario; he actually exports around the world, and this helps with food security.

So when members opposite talk about food policies and sustainability, well, you can’t have that and be taxing all the farmers at the same time. I often ask, “What are your solutions?” If you want to have sustainable development and agriculture, sustainable food, but you also want to help the environment, what are your solutions? Because we’re actually providing the solutions, and the solutions are things like getting rid of the cap-and-trade, which put money back into Ontarians’ pockets, and getting rid of the carbon tax, which is going to put more money in people’s pockets. They’re able to take that money and invest it into things that matter to them, whether it be the environment or food sustainability or food waste, for instance.

The other thing I will mention is that a lot of people mention, “Why am I being punished? I’m a good Samaritan. My carbon footprint is very low. Why don’t you go after the big players?” Our response to that in our environmental plan is, “Yes, we’re going after the big players.” If you look at our emissions reduction fund, instead of going after the mom-and-pop shops that are trying to do everything they can to stay afloat—whether it’s a new business model, like introducing take-away containers that are recyclable or bring-your-own-container, frankly, those things are happening on the ground, and we’re supporting those things to happen. But they can’t maintain it if they’re being taxed again. They have to close the door on their local businesses if they have to pay too much in electricity costs or carbon tax, and all those good-Samaritan things that they want to do for their local business model they can’t sustain, because they are going to be closing their doors. That’s why we put a practical solution, a solution that says, “Look, we’re not going to be taxing people for getting ahead. We are going to go after the big polluters, and we are going to make sure that the big polluters do pay.” They are going to pay into the emissions reduction fund, and that will help us towards a lot of technology.

A lot of members opposite—they haven’t come up with a lot of solutions, but in our environmental plan, a lot of the solutions we are talking about involve getting digital. We’re in the 21st century. We should be able to allow Ontarians to see real-time monitoring on their cellphones. So we are going digital. A lot of those investments we’re going to be making from the carbon trust or the emissions reduction fund—that is the way Ontarians can come together and feel the sustainability that they are creating with investing in this fund and investing in new technology.

I can go on and on, Madam Speaker, because we have so many solutions and so many actions in our environmental plan, and we’re still consulting on all the details as well. I will end by passing it over to the next speaker. But I will say we’re very proud of this environmental plan. It doesn’t just speak action; it speaks truth.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: We have a climate emergency. It may not be visible on that side of the chamber—you may have covered your eyes and you may have plugged your ears—but we can see it. We see it in fire; we see it in water; we see it in extreme weather. We can see it on the dashcams of people who are fleeing forest fires, driving down roads with walls of flame on either side of them. In Fort McMurray, in California and in the southern United States people are fleeing for their lives, and this government can’t see it and can’t recognize it. In Ottawa, people have had to abandon their homes, and this morning there was note that that flood peak is coming up again because there’s more rain and more snow melt.

What does it take for you to understand that this is an immediate crisis, that the plan that you’ve put forward is totally inadequate? It is a joke. It is not a credible plan. It is not one that will save the people of this province; it will not save the people of this planet. It is irresponsible—totally, recklessly irresponsible.

The reality is that around the world, people are beginning to understand the scale and the speed of the crisis that we’re engaged in. Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston and Vancouver have all declared climate emergencies. The governments of the UK and Ireland have declared climate emergencies. They know what is happening; they know how fast it’s moving. They know what’s going to happen to us, to our children, to our lives, to our families and to our future if we don’t act. What we have on the table from this government is completely inadequate. Again, I have to say: a dereliction of duty—completely irresponsible.

Speaker, the governors of the central banks of England and France have recently made a statement about what’s coming at us. At the beginning of that statement, they wrote, “The catastrophic effects of climate change are ... visible around the world.” These are sober, responsible people who understand what is coming at them. This government may not understand what’s coming at them, but they do. Young people—Climate Strike Canada, Fridays for Future—understand that they have to take the lead and fight for their futures, for all our futures, because we have governments like this who are totally irresponsible—totally irresponsible.

If we adopt this motion today, we say to people across Ontario that we understand how big this is. It’s not a small problem. It’s not a big problem far away. It is a huge problem on our doorsteps today that we have to take on aggressively without letting up because if we don’t do that, we will not be able to preserve our way of life. We will not be able to preserve our lives and the lives of our children.

Speaker, it’s not enough to declare an emergency. We know it’s an important first step to mobilize people, to get them to understand what’s coming. But the other part of it is that there has to be action that moves the dial dramatically. We can cut our emissions, and in doing that, we say to the rest of the world that if an industrialized province as wealthy and as thoughtful as Ontario can do it, the rest of the world can do it as well. If we don’t lead, we ourselves will be driving between those walls of flames, wishing that we had acted and regretting what we have let our lives come to.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: It’s an honour to rise today to speak on this motion to declare a climate emergency. I would like to thank all the people in the galleries today for demanding action.

Last fall, after the devastating IPCC report on the climate crisis, I moved a motion for an emergency debate on the climate crisis. Unfortunately, the government blocked that motion. And since that time, they’ve dismantled Ontario’s climate action plan. They’ve even gone so far as to take the words “climate change” out of the ministry title. In their latest growth plan proposal, they’ve taken the words “climate change” out.

Does the government not understand the connection between climate change, urban sprawl and sustainable cities? I don’t think they understand the urgency of the crisis that we face.

So I hope today’s debate—and I want to thank the member for bringing it forward—gives the government an opportunity to finally demonstrate that they understand the severity of what is happening around the world and right here in Ontario. Better late than never.

It is clear that we are facing a climate emergency, and the financial costs of that emergency are escalating. The toll on human life, other species and communities is growing. Extreme flooding across Canada and right here in Ontario is abundantly clear. Canada is warming at twice the global rate, and if business-as-usual stays, we’ll be at 6.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, leaving our grandchildren a very, very different world.

Last year—and I want to put this in terms that I hope the government can understand—severe weather cost the people in this province $1.3 billion in insurable losses. On a single day—August 7, 2018—Toronto had $80 million worth of damage in three hours. From 2010 to 2015, the federal government spent more money on large-scale disaster relief than they did in the prior 39 years combined. If we continue on this path, climate change will cost us $91 billion a year by mid-century. In fact, right now, economists estimate that it’s costing us $2,000 trillion right now.

Those numbers, Speaker, are so staggering that they’re almost incomprehensible. But thanks to Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, we have an understanding of how much it is: $350 per household in the first six months of last year alone. So I’m hoping the Auditor General can update those numbers.

Yet the Premier is wasting our tax dollars sabotaging climate solutions. I know that the minister talked about their plan, but I have yet to hear a single independent analyst say that their plan has any hope of meeting our climate obligations. The only good thing I’ve heard about their plan is that there are some adaptation measures in there, but then the government in the budget cuts flood prevention in half and cuts the tree planting program. They’re now dismantling environmental protections that help us adapt to climate change. So it doesn’t even seem that they understand the emergency and the urgency of adapting.

Our failure to act, in my opinion, is completely fiscally irresponsible. How can any government subject us to those kinds of costs? But more importantly, Speaker, failure to act is failing our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and our nephews. We must act.

My message to the members opposite: If you’re not going to vote for this motion, if you’re not going to support low-cost solutions like carbon pricing, if you’re not going to put forward a credible plan, then would you at least agree to an all-party select committee to study solutions and report back to the House before the end of the summer so we can start developing a broad consensus on the actions that need to happen?

The people of Ontario, Speaker, are problem-solvers; they are not problem-deniers. This government’s actions don’t fully recognize that the people of Ontario are ready to solve this crisis, they are ready to act and they are ready to act now.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Rick Nicholls: I rise today in response to the opposition motion to declare a climate change emergency. Madam Speaker, our government recognizes the challenges that climate change presents to our environment. We take the health and safety of Ontarians very seriously.

To improve our understanding of how climate change will impact the province, we plan to launch Ontario’s first-ever climate change impact assessment, a key part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. We will assess the best science and information to better understand where the province is vulnerable and know which regions and economic sectors are most likely to be impacted.


We’ve also made clear our intentions to modernize the building code to better equip homes and buildings to be better able to withstand extreme weather events.

The previous Liberal government, supported by the NDP, wasted tax dollars on actions that did little to prepare the province for the costs and impacts of climate change. After 15 years of wasted dollars, our government is going to ensure that our province understands and is prepared for our future.

The opposition seems to think that the only solution to climate change is more taxes, more bureaucracy and more government power. But we think that climatology, ecology and sustainability are complex and multi-layered subjects, requiring bottom-up and grassroots-driven solutions. That’s why our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan tackles several areas of policy, which I’ll go into in my time today. These areas include waste management, our emissions reduction fund, our steadfast resistance to a carbon tax, our work on the Paris targets, and our modernization of industry performance standards.

Regarding waste management, over 60% of Ontario’s food and organic waste is sent to landfills. It breaks down to create methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In fact, methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. We want to work with partners on ways to make it easier for residents and businesses to waste less food or to reuse it for beneficial purposes such as compost.

We also believe that real environmentalism starts with encouraging meaningful action close to home. We know that people want to do their part in keeping our neighbourhoods and parks clean. Together with municipalities, we will clean up our communities by expanding organic waste collection in cities and urban areas and by reducing plastic waste.

A keystone of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan is Ontario’s emissions reduction fund. No one is suggesting that reducing emissions would be free. However, this assertion is a clear misrepresentation of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. Our approach will not directly burden Ontario families—

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): I’m going to ask the member from Chatham-Kent–Leamington to withdraw.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: I withdraw.

Our approach will not directly burden Ontario families, nor will it see taxes increase.

The new Ontario emissions reduction fund will unlock private capital and give new ways to invest in energy efficiency and clean technology for transportation, residents, businesses, municipalities and industry. Funds committed to this trust by Ontario will complement penalties paid in by big polluters. These trusts have been extremely effective in leveraging public sector money in places like the UK and New York, unlike the failed GreenON Rebates Program, which the Liberals created.

The emissions reduction fund has its critics on both sides—left and right—but we’re choosing this model to lead across the spectrum in order to prevent the vicious transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich that currently gets praise from the NDP and Liberals under the name of a carbon tax. The carbon tax is a tax on everything. It will make food, gas and heating even more unaffordable for the vulnerable populations and working families who need these necessities the most. We have heard loud and clear from Ontarians that they cannot afford another tax. Ontario families already pay an additional $400 due to the cost of the phasing out of coal. As the Financial Accountability Officer has confirmed, the Trudeau carbon tax would be an additional $648.

While members of the opposition claim that they are concerned with affordability, the member from Ottawa Centre openly advocated for a carbon price of $30 a tonne, increased by $10 a tonne until the year 2030, making it $150 per tonne. With a price that high, Ontarians will see gas prices increase by 35 cents a litre. Their natural gas bills will increase by $216 per month.

Last year, we joined forces with the Saskatchewan government to support and intervene in the reference case launched in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. The people of Ontario and Saskatchewan should not pay more for gas and home heating fuel while the federal government collects the revenue.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business released their poll results reaffirming the impact this will have on small businesses: 87% of small businesses surveyed oppose the federal carbon tax plan, and almost all of those are already taking concrete actions to reduce their carbon footprint.

Ontario’s position remains that the federal carbon tax is an unconstitutional disguised tax. We cannot stand by and watch the carbon tax make life more unaffordable for families and seniors, and put jobs and businesses at risk. Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our highest emitters, will ensure polluters are held accountable, and will make sure that Ontario does its share and achieves the Paris commitments.

On the matter of Paris targets for reduced carbon emissions, our plan commits Ontario to reducing emissions by 30% below the 2005 levels by 2030. This target aligns Ontario and Canada’s 2030 target under the Paris agreement, and since 2005 we’ve seen a 22% reduction in our emissions while the rest of Canada has increased by 3%.

Aside from the emissions reduction fund, Madam Speaker, a key strategy that we are committing to in order to reach our 30% reduction target is modernizing industry standards and building codes to make Ontario one of the most sustainable jurisdictions in the world. As part of the commitment we made in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, our government is taking our next step and has posted a regulatory approach to reducing greenhouse gas pollution from large industrial emitters while allowing for economic growth.

We are taking this issue so seriously, Madam Speaker, that we made our modernization strategy for climate change a major piece in our 2019 budget. The following actions come straight from our budget. Under “Action” on page 19, “Ontario has never completed a provincial-level climate change impact assessment. Since 2008, the United Kingdom has conducted two assessments using best available data and an up-to-date understanding of climate science and future climate impacts. Each assessment provides detailed analysis of the risks, vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change on key economic sectors, infrastructure, the environment and societal health and well-being. Each assessment gives the government a roadmap to ‘high’ and ‘low’ climate change risks now and in future years.” Ontario will “undertake a provincial impact assessment to identify where and how climate change is likely to impact Ontario’s communities, critical infrastructure, economies and natural environment. The assessment would provide risk-based evidence to government, municipalities, businesses, Indigenous communities and Ontarians and guide future decision-making.” Again, that was in our 2019 budget.

Finally, Speaker, unlike the previous Liberal government’s cap-and-trade system, our proposed approach would set greenhouse gas emissions performance standards that industrial facilities are required to meet, and tie emissions to a level of output or production for most facilities rather than impose an absolute solution cap on emissions across Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Jeff Burch: I’m very proud of my party and leader for putting this motion forward. A discussion on climate change must include a discussion on carbon pricing. Carbon pricing, Speaker, is the most effective, convenient and least expensive means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. That is a fact.

This government claims your cost of living is about to soar. They call it the ineffective, job-killing carbon tax. Those are falsehoods—no different from the fake news that caused perverse outcomes in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the US presidential election. The most effective ways of getting rid of something we don’t want is to put a price on it. Escalating taxes on tobacco products helped shrink the portion of adult Canadians who smoke from a peak of 55% to the current 18%. The crisis of acid rain was solved when the US imposed a tax on the toxic emissions of American power plants. To avoid the tax, the utilities developed innovative technologies to reduce their emissions.


The federal carbon tax will cost the average household $256. The household will receive a rebate at tax-filing time of $300. Carbon pricing creates a financial incentive to reduce our emissions. There is no economic cost to carbon pricing. Pricing carbon, according to a National Energy Board report last month, will encourage businesses and households to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions while helping to build a more resilient economy. We only have to look to BC. Since its introduction of carbon pricing in 2008, BC has reduced its emissions by 14% while posting GDP growth larger than the rest of Canada.

The cost of climate change is high and escalating, Speaker. The Conservatives are offering no alternatives, but worldwide, 74 countries, states, provinces and cities have implemented carbon pricing systems covering 20% of all emissions. Among the private sector champions of carbon pricing are Alberta oil patch giant Suncor, Husky Energy, Shell Canada, Canada’s Big Five banks, Loblaws and Canadian Tire Corp., to name a few.

Carbon pricing was pioneered by Conservative governments in BC and Alberta in 2000, and is backed by a Conservative government in Quebec. As business columnist David Olive recently said, “There are sound arguments for replacing Justin Trudeau as PM. But playing politics with a rescue plan for humanity is pretty low.”

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: Tout d’abord, je voudrais remercier la chef de l’opposition d’avoir présenté cette motion reconnaissant les conséquences désastreuses de l’ignorance des effets du changement climatique sur notre province et sur notre planète.

Rising global temperatures, widespread melting of arctic sea ice, volatile precipitation patterns and the increased frequency and intensity of extreme events are the crucial ways in which our environment is rapidly changing in Canada. We know that Canada is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The rate of warming in Canada is twice the global average.

Climate change poses an existential threat to our society and ignoring it will cost money. It’s not good enough to say we have done enough, which is what the minister was saying. The evidence is there that we need to actually do more because we need to improve and reach better targets and be more ambitious. Otherwise, we will be paying the price.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that Canadian insurers are paying more and more billions of dollars annually and they will raise insurance rates. That’s money out of Ontarians’ pockets, just as well. As my friend the leader of the Green Party mentioned earlier to me, sotto voce, when we were talking about the carbon tax being a tax on everything, he said to me, “Well, climate change is a tax on everything.”

I would add climate change is a deadly tax on everything. It will certainly have an impact that we cannot even comprehend or measure fully. So I think it is important for us to look at this issue and declare an emergency. It’s the way in which we can avoid the negative messaging that sometimes can be read from government actions. I think when we hear the government sometimes say, “It is not that bad,” or “We’ve done enough,” that is not the message that Ontarians should hear.

Vous le savez, à Ottawa nous avons vécu des inondations sans précédent il y a deux ans et encore une fois cette année.

So I agree, actually, with what the Minister of the Environment said in his speech, that a good economy and a good environment are not mutually incompatible goals. Actually, I think he’s right, but I think he should change the way in which he approaches this and ensure that we do invest in the greening of our economy.

He asked this morning for suggestions. I have some and I will just go through them one by one. I’ve said here before and I will say it again: The future will be green or we won’t have a future. It is important that we continue to invest massively in the greening of the economy. For that matter, it makes no sense to me to eliminate the requirement for new homes to be equipped to deal with electric vehicles. It doesn’t makes sense to do this in 2019.

We should look at green procurement. If I were on the government side, I would really urge the government to stop this silly sticker program, because it does undermine the message of the urgency of climate change. The government should commit to work not against the federal government but with the federal government to stop and to respond to climate change. It’s not good enough to simply say, “We’ve done enough. We’ve done our share.” Canada is more affected than other countries, and it has to lead the way.

Adaptation is necessary, and I commend the government’s efforts towards adaptation, but we should not throw in the towel, because whatever adaptation we decide on now will be impossible to measure. We cannot know, unless we continue to fight and reduce our GHG emissions, what type of adaptation we will have to make. I think it’s really important to continue to work on both sides.

Ban single-use plastic. Invest in a circular economy. Ensure the scientific integrity of the Endangered Species Act. Don’t mandate the lowest risk factor, as it is in the housing bill. Listen to the commissioner of the environment. She had solutions for renovations, for the retrofit of our homes. Listen to her. Don’t silence her.

I really welcome the idea of working together on this issue. I have to say, I had the occasion of reading past debates where, during wartime, during other emergencies, this chamber worked together. They were not playing politics; they were rising together and wanted to confront the issue at hand. So I urge the government to vote for this motion and that we work together better.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Parm Gill: I rise today to speak to the opposition motion introduced by the NDP—


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Stop the clock. I’m going to remind all guests that you are welcome to come to Queen’s Park; however, you cannot participate or interfere with the business here in the chamber.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): If the visitors in the gallery will not be quiet, I’m going to have to ask for you to be removed.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): I’m just going to remind all guests that you are welcome to be here to watch the proceedings here in the chamber; however, you are not allowed to participate or interfere with any of the proceedings. You do have to sit quietly, please, and not interfere.

Back to the member for Milton.

Mr. Parm Gill: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Our government is taking immediate action to combat climate change through our well-thought-out, common-sense measures led by our colleague and great Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. These common-sense measures are delivering real results. These measures do not include a carbon tax scheme.

We on this side of the House are not spouting rhetoric. We are taking our responsibility to address environment issues very seriously. Our plan commits Ontario to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Might I remind the NDP: That aligns Ontario with Canada’s 2030 target under the Paris agreement.

The previous Liberal government, supported by the NDP, implemented a program that did little but raise the cost of everything. Ontarians cannot afford to continue to pay these increased costs.

Speaker, let me take you through a bit of what our plan is about. The plan is entitled Preserving and Protecting Our Environment for Future Generations, and it is a completely Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. The plan we have put forward acknowledges the challenges ahead. It acknowledges that climate change threatens resources, our homes, communities and businesses, infrastructure, and our locally grown food and crops. It also threatens food security and the health of ecosystems across our great province.


Speaker, in my great riding of Milton we have many farmers who have worked hard to provide not only for their families, but for many Ontario families through the crops they farm. In Halton region alone, agri-businesses account for 24% of all employment. Also, I’m keenly aware of the challenges that farmers face on a yearly basis when it comes to climate change.

Our plan acknowledges that since 2005, the province’s total greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 22%, even while the rest of Canada saw emissions increase by 3% during the same time. But what is unique about our plan is that we’re not putting the cost on the backs of hard-working men and women in this great province. The minister has put forward a plan that will achieve our targets without increasing costs for families. I would hope the NDP could get on board with our plan, Madam Speaker.

In our made-in-Ontario plan, there are three guiding principles set out: clear rules and strong enforcement; how we will be accountable to Ontarians through trust and transparency; and finally, putting forward solutions that are localized and will ensure more resilient communities across our province.

Speaker, again, I highlight that our plan does not include a carbon tax. This Trudeau tax will result in increased costs to hospitals, front-line services, including the OPP, and colleges and universities. The minister was in my riding of Milton to outline the impact this Trudeau tax will have on our health care system: $10.8 million this year; $27 million within three years. This is the kind of thinking that got Ontario into the Liberal debt-fuelled hole that we are currently finding ourselves in—the hole that Ontarians during the last election elected our party to get out of. This is exactly what we’re doing, Madam Speaker.

Let me highlight a few other areas where the Trudeau tax will raise costs on everything for Ontarians. As we know, the price at the pump jumped overnight when this tax was imposed on drivers in this province. This will have a trickle-down effect. Families will be forced to pay more for their produce, for their milk, and will pay more to take their sons and daughters to hockey, soccer or gymnastics. For the 750 nursing homes in Ontario, costs will rise by $6.7 million this year, going up to $16.7 million by 2022. Who does the NDP think will pay these costs? The taxpayers will. Even small businesses in this province are now expected to pay approximately $400 more this year, and up to $1,000 by 2022.

Speaker, I hope the NDP can support a plan that is not only good for the environment and achieves our targets, but also avoids crippling taxes on Ontarians. Simply put, our plan is geared toward helping the environment, reducing emissions and fighting climate change.

As many drive out of Toronto westward through Mississauga and then Milton, you would see on the left a beautiful rock cut, a ski resort and Kelso Lake. This conservation area is one of many in my riding that our made-in-Ontario plan works to protect, despite what the NDP and the opposition have to say. This conservation area includes some of the best views of Milton and plays host to many school groups so that they, too, can learn about the importance of environmental conservation.

Our plan works to “collaborate with partners to conserve and restore natural ecosystems such as wetlands, and ensure that climate change impacts are considered when developing plans for their protection.”

It also works to “strengthen and expand grassland habitats by implementing the province’s grassland stewardship initiative that supports on-farm conservation activities to benefit grassland birds at risk.”

Our government is committed to working “with leaders in land and water conservation, like Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, to preserve areas of significant environmental and ecological importance.”

Speaker, I would hope the NDP would support these initiatives.

Finally, I would like to highlight that our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan will encourage private investment in clean technologies and green infrastructure. As someone who owned a small family business in manufacturing furniture, Madam Speaker, I know first-hand the costs associated with investing capital in new technologies. This is why our plan “will parallel federal changes to the accelerated capital cost allowance, which will make technology investments in clean energy generation and energy conservation equipment more attractive.”

Our plan will also “work with the Ontario Financing Authority to issue green bonds by the end of the fiscal year, after realigning the green bond program to support our approach to addressing environmental challenges. This action was included in the fall economic statement,” which I believe the NDP was against.

As we continue to combat climate change, I look at it through the lens of protecting and preserving the environment for future generations. I want them to grow and prosper in a province that focuses on common sense and well-thought-out environmental stewardship. Under the leadership of the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, I know we’re heading in the right direction. I hope the opposition will support our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Meegwetch, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to speak on this today, as the member of provincial Parliament for the Kiiwetinoong riding.

I would like to begin by saying that First Nations people have been here for thousands of years, before this land was called “Ontario” or “Canada.” The relationship that we have with this land, the air, the water and the animals—the whole environment—is who we are as people. We know that if we don’t respect the relationship with the environment, we cannot survive. For this reason, the government should be listening to our knowledge keepers, to our people, when they speak to you about the importance of protecting the land.

Our people see the impact of climate change on a daily basis. The temperature in the north is warming twice as fast as the southern part of the province. We saw it in the widespread forest fires that burned across northern Ontario last summer. We see it when we are out hunting on the land to feed our families. We see it when the winter roads don’t last as long as they used to. We see it in how the water levels shift every year and in the flooding that is occurring in our communities in the Far North. We see it in the health of the fish and the animals we need for our food.


We have to understand, Speaker, that the Far North in Ontario is the second-largest carbon sink in the world and will become a source if it dries up. We know that this shift and the climate change is happening because we have been the caretakers and the keepers of this land for so long.

There needs to be transformative change to the way people draw food, energy and resources from the planet. I am asking the government to work with our communities. We know how to take care of the land, and you can learn from our knowledge, by listening. Including our people of the land, Ontario can then truly understand the spirit of this great land. Kitchi-miigwetch.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Billy Pang: I am more than pleased to rise today in the House to address the opposition’s motion to declare a climate change emergency. With all due respect, Madam Speaker, the opposition’s narrative is misleading Ontarians. The opposition ignores the fact—

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): I’m going to ask the member to withdraw his unparliamentary statement.

Mr. Billy Pang: Withdraw.

The opposition ignores the fact that Ontario is already a leader in the country in greenhouse gas level reductions, and is actively taking steps to drop our emission levels by targeting the biggest polluters.

Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan does an excellent job going over the measured and calculated methods that the province is employing, and intends to employ, in lowering emissions.

Just to mention a few figures: Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 were 204 megatonnes of carbon dioxide; in 2012, 169 megatonnes; in 2013, 168 megatonnes; in 2014, 166 megatonnes; in 2015, 165 megatonnes; in 2016, 162 megatonnes; and in 2017, Ontario reduced its greenhouse emissions to 159 megatonnes, which equates to a 22% reduction since 2005 alone. Whereas other provinces in the country underwent increases in their greenhouse gas levels by relatively large percentages, Ontario consistently has seen lower emissions year by year.

Besides our province having an excellent track record in emission reduction, our government is working towards further reducing our emissions 30% lower than our 2005 levels, which will allow us to meet the Paris climate agreement target.

Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan is taking cleaner air action. Again, Madam Speaker, our government has clearly articulated a detailed and measured approach to reducing emissions in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

Some of the methods that are mentioned in our plan include reducing emissions from the biggest polluters on the road: heavy-duty trucks. We intend to achieve this by redesigning the current emissions testing program for these vehicles, and also ensure that there is more accountability for those who operate these same vehicles that are not up to the province’s emission standards.

The plan also acknowledges that climate change cannot be simply addressed by looking within our province’s borders, but would require us to look beyond them as well. The plan mentions that collaboration between our province and the federal government must be cultivated and geared towards addressing pollution from parts of the US and other international jurisdictions.

Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan is addressing climate change, Madam Speaker. Our plan also recognizes climate change as an issue that affects our province and specifically our northern communities.

In order to address climate change in our province, we must be able to better understand it. This is why we are conducting the first-ever climate change impact assessment in Ontario’s history. Other jurisdictions, including the UK, have already conducted such an assessment, which helps regulators and legislators alike to understand the specific risks and vulnerabilities, and the impacts of climate change to the economy, infrastructure, environmental and societal health and well-being of all Ontarians.

Ontario intends to maintain its emission reduction goal set out under the Paris agreement and is taking steps to achieve it—including low-carbon vehicles. Our government will encourage adoption of electric vehicles in the province, along with the expansion of compressed natural gas fuel systems in heavy-duty vehicles.

We also intend on establishing emissions performance standards for large emitters. These standards will be achieved by thorough consultations from each sector so as to not just apply a blanket regulation without considering the nature of the industry, and to do so in a way which protects the economic prosperity of the sectors.

In the area of clean fuels, our government plans to increase the ethanol content in gasoline by up to 15% by 2025. In addition, the government intends to promote the use of renewable natural gas and other low-carbon-emitting fuels.

The Ontario Carbon Trust is a public fund which will be used to promote private investment in commercially viable clean technologies. Other related policies include emission reductions related to public transit and improving waste diversion.

Madam Speaker, from what I heard earlier from the opposition, I heard a lot of passion, but I didn’t hear any plan. It’s easy to see problems by crying out loud, “Problem. Problem. Problem.” However, identifying the source is one thing; a sustainable solution is way more important. The opposition is so quick to push the climate change emergency panic button without having a sound solution in mind. Pushing the panic button without a plan only causes panic. Maybe Ontarians would take them more seriously if they had more direction in this file instead of being a “no direction party.”

Our government, on the other hand, already has a wide-encompassing environmental plan in place that clearly articulates our approach to climate change and the importance of preservation, sustainability and environmental stewardship, all without imposing a carbon tax.

In contrast to what the opposition is saying, the government of Ontario does not need to declare a climate emergency in order to officially recognize climate change as a real threat to our environment, our people and our economy, in order to take more protective steps to protect our environment.

As I heard from a member from the opposition, a member said, “If there’s a plan, we will support it.” Well, we have a plan. Therefore, I’d like to urge the official opposition to support our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan instead of a climate change emergency.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Jill Andrew: I’m proud to rise on behalf of my constituents in support of our opposition day motion. Climate change is a pressing issue to the residents of Toronto–St. Paul’s. From Dr. Caroline Newman’s battle to phase out single-use plastic bottles to the work of Lyn Adamson with ClimateFast, who’s here today, my constituents are actively organizing to combat this imminent climate emergency, and they have questions for this government: Why has the government cancelled the planting of 50 million trees? Why is this government muzzling scientists? Do you even have a plan to tackle this climate emergency?

Let’s be real. The Ford government is falling short and is failing Ontario on climate change, and Ontarians know it. They’re concerned about unrestricted development that endangers species of plants and animals across Ontario. They’re concerned about increasing extreme weather incidents, like flooding, tornadoes and smog days.

The government sees the impacts, but won’t call this what it is. Our Premier is more than happy to tour an area struck by floods, but won’t fund the programs that will stop the disasters from happening again.


Declaring a climate emergency is an equity issue. Marginalized populations, including Indigenous peoples, working-class people, young people, women and racialized people, are the first and hardest hit by the harmful impacts of climate change. We have an opportunity today to work together to prioritize resources, raise awareness and take action before it’s too late, but we need the PCs to act, and we need them to act now.

To Ontarians: Please know that the official opposition is listening to you. We are standing with you. We take this issue incredibly seriously, and that’s why we’re putting forward this motion. It’s time to call this what it is: a climate emergency.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Jill Dunlop: I want to thank the opposition for continuing the discussion on climate change and our environment that has been led by our government since day one.

We agree with the members opposite that decisive action is necessary to secure our province’s natural beauty and preserve our way of life. As demonstrated under the previous government, no government, no nation nor any jurisdiction can afford the costs of inaction.

We agree that there is no time but now to lead our province into this consequential fight. This is why we have taken decisive action. Under the leadership of our Premier and the Minister of the Environment, we have presented our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, which holds polluters accountable, conserves our environment and helps communities better prepare for climate change.

Despite the implications made by today’s motion, our government has a plan to fight and mitigate the effects of climate change in Ontario while protecting jobs and the economy.

I would like to use my time today to discuss one key element of the opposition’s motion: environmental disaster relief and our plans to pacify its disastrous effects. Additionally, I will speak to how our government is protecting Ontario’s economy and the financial well-being of Ontarians by fighting the harmful federal carbon tax.

Madam Speaker, our government recognizes the challenges that climate change presents to our environment, and we take the health and safety of Ontarians very seriously. Extreme weather across the province has resulted in residents being impacted by flooding, and our government is prepared to work with emergency services to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and businesses.

Understanding the impacts of climate change is essential to help manage risks across the economy. To improve our understanding of how climate change will impact the province, we plan to launch Ontario’s first-ever climate change impact assessment, a key part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. We will access the best science and information to better understand where the province is vulnerable and know which regions and economic sectors—


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Stop the clock, please. I’m going to ask—the members from the public who are here to watch need to sit quietly.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): I’m going to ask that you leave, sir.

Again, I’m going to remind the public that you are welcome to come here to watch the proceedings in the chamber. However, you are not allowed to participate or interfere in the proceedings in any way.

Back to the member for Simcoe North.

Ms. Jill Dunlop: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I think it’s also important that people know that we’re using the best science and information to best understand where the province is vulnerable and know which regions and economic sectors are most likely to be impacted.

We’ve also made clear our intentions to modernize the building code to better equip homes and buildings to be better able to withstand extreme weather events.

Our government has moved to put Ontario on a more sustainable path to address environmental challenges while respecting taxpayers and protecting jobs. For example, the Premier recently announced the creation of a task force to look at measures to address flooding in the Muskoka and Ottawa regions. We will be establishing an advisory group to engage local organizations, municipalities, Indigenous communities and the broader community to identify opportunities for watershed management in Muskoka and eastern Ontario that could be applied to other watersheds across the province.

Our government is committed to protecting the province’s water resources, to keep Ontario beautiful and pass on a cleaner environment to future generations, especially at times when watersheds are facing pressures due to stresses such as increased development and flooding caused by severe weather events. That’s why we are investing $5 million in a watershed conservation and management initiative to better identify risks and issues facing the Muskoka region. The province will also invest an additional $5 million in funding matched against contributions to local watershed management projects. We are providing real solutions to the issues facing the Muskoka region, while supporting residents, the local economy and a thriving recreational and tourist industry.

For my final minutes, Madam Speaker, I would like to turn to our government’s continued commitment to fight for Ontario families and our environment in defying the dangerous federal carbon tax. We have heard loud and clear from Ontarians they cannot afford another tax. Ontario families already pay an additional $400 due to the cost of phasing out coal, and as the FAO has confirmed, the Trudeau carbon tax would be an additional $648. In my riding of Simcoe North, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital will be forced to pay over $185,000 in increased heating costs in the next five years. That’s $185,000 that should be going into health care. And looking at some of the numbers in the official opposition leader’s own riding, Hamilton Health Sciences will pay an additional $2.1 million in carbon tax. For the London MPPs: London Health Sciences, $1.97 million in carbon tax. These are numbers that should be going back into health care.

Madam Speaker, the people of Ontario are looking for relief, not another burdensome tax. Our government has delivered on our promise and has brought forward a balanced plan that will help us meet the federally agreed-upon targets and we will do so without a carbon tax. Contrary to what this motion suggests, we are taking bold and decisive action to combat the negative effects of climate change while protecting the economic well-being of our people.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Percy Hatfield: Speaker, when I think of endangered ecosystems and species at risk, I think of the Ojibway Prairie Complex in your riding. It’s part of a system of five parks, totalling 330 hectares. It’s among Canada’s most endangered ecosystems. It’s home to 700 types of plants and among those, 100 of them are considered rare. More than 3,000 different insects have been identified, and more than 200 different species of birds. The parks are designated either as natural heritage, environmentally significant, provincially significant wetland or an area of natural and scientific interest. Together, they are home to six endangered species, 12 threatened species and 160 species at risk.

Back in 1971, Dr. Seuss published The Lorax. The Lorax was the one who spoke for the trees and warned against environmental degradation and the dangers that corporate greed poses to nature. The book tells us when industry ignores our warnings and forests disappear, all that remains is a small monument, with one word inscribed on it, “unless.” So I say with the words of Dr. Seuss to the government members, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

You support a mistake that cuts budgets for tree planting and flood management. You’re now threatening endangered species. Climate change is real. Do your part. Declare a climate emergency.

Speaker, I was in your riding planting trees with Forests Ontario last weekend. I’m also with a group of neighbours growing milkweed to save our monarch butterflies.

It’s so sad that government members sit back and support budget cuts and won’t stand up to save the planet.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Sara Singh: Brampton Centre is a riding robust with industry, manufacturing, and a bustling international airport just in our backyard, but it is also a place where families and seniors thrive and our environment is one that we cherish.


When I talk to folks in my riding, particularly young people, it is evident that they are very concerned about the future of this planet, Canada’s role and the role that we all have to play here in this Legislature. They are aware that the climate crisis is real, and they would like this government to be taking action. This is where we are at odds with the government, because denying climate change does not stop the impacts, and it is real.

Cutting funds, such as the elimination of the 50 Million Tree Program, a tree-planting program that is critical to ensuring forest sustainability and clean air, is short-sighted. In my community of Brampton, the majority of our community is actually on floodplains. Programs like this would help us prevent flood mitigation issues in our community and actually develop around those floodplains.

It’s concerning to us that innovative solutions that are being put forward by the community are not being taken seriously by this government, so I urge them to support our motion and declare a climate emergency because the threat is real, and we cannot wait any longer.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Joel Harden: I rise with a bit of regret today, unfortunately, because I’m getting the sense from the opposite side that we’re not going to have support, as a Legislature, to declare a climate emergency. That’s a real missed opportunity.

The debate our friends over here want to have is about a carbon tax that’s going to kill Ontario families. But the debate I want to have, Speaker, that Ontarians want to have, is, do we take the threat in front of us seriously or don’t we?

What I see on the opposite side are a bunch of people doing BlackBerry and tablet prayers while a full caucus is here, inspired by the people who are here in this building, saying that it’s time to stand up for our communities.

It’s time to listen to youth—youth like Hannah, a young climate justice organizer in Ottawa, whom I met recently with 900 other people, who said, “Joel, what’s the point? What’s the point of studying in class when I may not have the future that I’m preparing for?”

Or Claudette Commanda, one of the Algonquin elders of our community, who sat down with me and said, “Joel, when you become a politician, you have one job. That job is to protect Mother Earth, because without Mother Earth, we don’t have life.”

At the end of the day, Speaker, Oscar Wilde, to be frank, put it best: There are some people in this House, I’m coming to understand, who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. That’s the truth.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Stop the clock.

The audience cannot participate. I’m going to have to ask that gentleman to leave, please.

Back to the member for Ottawa Centre.

Mr. Joel Harden: The point of it is, if we can’t agree as a House that this is an emergency, then voters in Ontario know a lot about the kind of conservativism being peddled over here: the make-Ontario-great-again conservatism, the dodge-and-duck conservatism, the conservatism inspired by executives at Postmedia, where the former Minister of the Environment used to work. That doesn’t speak for conservatives in Ottawa Centre, Speaker; it doesn’t speak for people who I believe are honest conservatives. That’s what this government is doing: They’re spinning their wheels, and our province is burning. Vote for this, or we know who you are.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Taras Natyshak: I’m pleased to join the debate. I was here when the Minister of the Environment was here, and he spoke of pragmatism. I’m going to attempt to make some pragmatic arguments for the members of the government to understand at this moment.

Fact: There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today—415 parts per million—than there ever has been in the history of humanity. That is a fact. You cannot dispute that fact.

There’s another fact, Speaker: The US military, joint chiefs of staff, US generals and the Pentagon all have counselled the US government administration that climate change poses the most pressing imminent threat to civilization that we’ve ever seen. More pressing than any world war that we’ve ever encountered, more pressing than terrorism itself is climate change, and it is man-made climate change. That is another indisputable fact.

Insurance underwriters, the insurers of insurance companies, all fold in the cost of climate change in their calculations now. When they do those calculations and sell insurance to the insurance companies, they’re not making it up. If they were, you would see an imbalance there. You’d see one company undervalue the other. That’s indisputable.

Climate change is the most pressing issue that we face in the history of humankind. We have the ability here today to start the process by declaring it an emergency in this province, setting a tone and setting policy that changes that course.

We hope that we’re not seeing the devolution of the PCs. At one point, just more than a year ago, they had a carbon tax in the People’s Guarantee. Where did they go? Some of the ministers are still here—you signed off on it—but when Doug Ford became the Premier of the province, that all went away. Speaker, we hope they find their strength again, because the world is demanding that we act on this.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: After decades of too much talk and not enough action by successive governments, we are now facing the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced: the climate crisis. This is no longer about the future; it is imminent. It is an emergency. It’s happening right now.

In Ontario, we’ve seen this with extreme flooding, tornadoes and a record wildfire season in our province’s history. The climate crisis is not just bad for the health of the planet; it has a significant impact on human health, as well. In fact, experts say that the impact of the climate crisis could undo 50 years of gains made in global public health.

Climate change affects the core things that we need for good health: clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Without immediate and decisive action to tackle climate change, we will experience and we are experiencing:

—droughts leading to water shortages and variable rainfall patterns impacting food production, leading to undernutrition and hunger;

—rising temperatures leading to heat strokes, especially for workers who work outside, like farmers and construction workers;

—higher humidity, producing more disease-carrying insects like ticks and mosquitos that spread infectious diseases like Lyme disease and malaria;

—not to forget the trauma from natural disasters leading to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and suicide; and

—more severe storms cause sewage systems to overflow, posing sanitary health issues.

We know who the most vulnerable are to the health impacts of climate change: seniors, children, the poor. Young people in this province and around the world are calling on all of us to wake up, to recognize that nothing we do now will matter for the future without this planet. So this is it. This is our opportunity, our last chance to do something about it. We have to take bold, transformative, decisive action, because if we don’t, Speaker, it will be too late.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Judith Monteith-Farrell: Climate change is an imminent emergency. It is happening now, and my thoughts are with young people today, and with my grandchildren, Rose and Jude. They will have to live with our collective inaction, unless we do something significant.

I think of the words of young people like Greta Thunberg: “Everyone keeps saying climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on like before. To me that is black or white. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilization or we don’t.”

I think of Autumn Peltier. She is a 14-year-old. She has addressed the UN, and was named the chief water commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation. As Autumn put it, “We must do something, and we need to do it now. Now is the time to warrior up and empower each other to take a stand for our planet.”

Our government has chosen the wrong direction. They’re cancelling programs that could help, like the 50 Million Tree Program and flood management programs. They are not going far enough to address this issue. Instead we get stickers. We must do better for the climate emergency now.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s an honour to be able to speak on behalf of the residents of Timiskaming–Cochrane regarding the importance of declaring a climate emergency in this great province of ours.

I was dumbfounded that many of the members in the government, including the minister, questioned whether there is an emergency. Those of us who live in northern Ontario, we know, because one of the benefits—it used to be—of living in northern Ontario is that the climate was really stable. Winters were really cold; summers were short and relatively dry. That has all changed. That has all changed, and now we’re having hot, warmer winters with cold snaps.

Why we’re having so much flooding is that we had a record amount of snow, even though we had a really cold winter, and why this flooding is really happening is that the infrastructure that we have isn’t capable of controlling it. So it’s not just 10 years or 50 years from now; we have to think about the infrastructure now that isn’t capable of handling the impacts we’re dealing with now.

What happens when the flood of 2017 isn’t the flood of the century? And what happens if the 2019 flood isn’t the flood of the century? What happens if it’s the flood of the decade, or the flood of the five years?


This isn’t a partisan issue. This isn’t about cap-and-trade, the carbon tax or their fabled plan of stickers. It’s about acknowledging the issue, dealing with climate change now, what’s on the ground now, and what’s going to happen in the future.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Marit Stiles: It’s an honour to speak in favour of this important motion on behalf of my constituents in Davenport. You know, I grew up on a small farm in Newfoundland, where the beauty and the fury of nature could not have been more present and where generations of government inaction—at the local level, at the federal level, internationally—cost people in Newfoundland their livelihood, emptied their nests and killed the fishery.

Today, no matter where you live, whether it’s in a city or a town, northern or rural, the reality of that threat is increasingly obvious. Today, when we drop our kids off at school in the city of Toronto in May or even in October, we worry whether they’re going to get sick from the heat in their schools. This government’s plan is going to roll us back generations, Madam Speaker. It is not nearly adequate. People will pay for their inaction through lost livelihoods, lost property and lost lives.

Madam Speaker, I want to finish by quoting a young student in my riding. So many students have written to us here, I know, with their perspectives. I want to just quote Lucas Linhares from Bloor Collegiate Institute. He says, “This is one small step of many that must come if we are to save the climate, especially when time is running out to do so.”

I urge the members opposite to join us in declaring a climate emergency.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Faisal Hassan: I rise today on behalf of the good people of York South–Weston to speak of the climate emergency we are facing in Ontario and beyond. When I first ran for office in my riding of York South–Weston, I, like many of you, spent a lot of time knocking on doors, getting to know my constituents and what they care about most. Time and time again, my constituents told me that they are concerned for the future—theirs, and those of their children and of their grandchildren. They told me that we can no longer continue to kick the can down the road when it comes to climate change. It is here now, and if we do not act, it will be too late.

With the flooding that we have seen in our neighbourhoods, across the city and the province in recent years and months, it has become extremely difficult to ignore the reality of the climate emergency we are facing today. Severe incidents such as floods, tornadoes and forest fires are only going to grow in frequency and intensity if we continue the status quo. In 2013 alone, Madam Speaker, the floods in Toronto caused upwards of $940 million in damage. In 2018, again, flash floods cost an estimated $80 million in Toronto alone.

All the while, the Ford Conservatives are only making things worse by cutting funding to programs which could help mitigate the effects of climate change faced by millions of people and families across this province, from 50% cuts to flood management programs, to eliminating $350 million from environment and conservation funding, to collapsing the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

Furthermore, when the young people of this province stand up for the environment and for the future, this government casts them aside. Well, I have a message for the youth of this province, and it is this: Ontario’s New Democrats, the official opposition, has heard you loud and clear. We will stand with you and fight for our environment.

The threat climate change poses to our environment, economies and people is real, and we can no longer afford to continue kicking this can down the road. We need to act. Declare a climate emergency now.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Catherine Fife: As the jobs and employment critic, I also want to put a different lens on this debate, as we are missing very key opportunities as a local economy on the clean tech file. Conservatives used to understand, in this province, that incentivizing conservation was a smart move. Working with businesses in our local communities was a smart move. Working towards conservation targets was the best way to actually realize the potential of a plan, which is why I say you have no plan, because you have no targets. That cannot be measured.

The renovation tax credits that used to be a part of what we used to do as a local economy would incentivize local trades in our communities. It kept those jobs local. You couldn’t export those jobs. It kept the revenues in our local economies—local communities and provincial revenue—which of course we know is needed. Finally, it actually addressed the underground economy and protected consumers. It was a winning solution for the province of Ontario, but this government has walked back that initiative that traditional Conservatives—whatever that means these days, I don’t know—used to understand.

What I will tell you—the people of Waterloo definitely understand this—is that when you price pollution, you motivate innovation. That is the kind of province that we want to see in the province of Ontario—good jobs, conservation as a priority. Because, you know what? If we don’t have a planet, we don’t have an economy. It’s that simple.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Wayne Gates: I just want to start by saying, why are we here today with a climate emergency? Twenty NDP MPPs are speaking on this—some very emotional; some passionate; some talking about what we’re doing. And what do I get from the other side? Playing on their phones and not paying attention.

This is the biggest crisis facing us in our lifetime, make no mistake about it. And do you know who gets it? Our kids get it. Our grandkids get it. Every school I go to—and I could be talking about anything—the minute I mention the environment, the kids applaud. They say, “You finally get it. Somebody’s talking about it.”

Do not allow old, white politicians to destroy our planet. That has to stop. That has to stop. You have to understand. And if somebody tells me that it’s not real, go talk to the people in Quebec, where people died last year because of the heat; go talk to people in Ottawa today who are losing everything; go talk to the people in Fort Erie, Niagara-on-the-Lake, where we’ve had floods. This is the biggest crisis. We must support it.

And by the way, it isn’t just the NDP that’s putting this out. City after city is saying that we now have a climate emergency. Everybody’s wrong but that group over there. And I want to say to my colleague who talked about First Nations: We don’t have to go up north to talk about the crisis we have. We can go right to Brantford, where they’ve been boiling their water for 16 years because they don’t have clean water in the richest province, in Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Jessica Bell: I’d like to acknowledge the many people who have come to Queen’s Park today. I know so many of you; I’ve been following your work. Thank you so much for the work you do on climate change. You are recognized.

Every month, youth gather at Queen’s Park to rally as part of Fridays For Future, a movement of school strikes for the climate. I’ve had the privilege to go down and join those students, and I’ve listened to and supported them. They are taking action now. What they want from us, from elected officials, is for us to take action now as well on what is the greatest existential threat that our planet is facing. That is what they want, because it is wreaking havoc on our lives now.

This is not a problem in the future; it is a problem now, from the killer heat waves that sweep across India, Montreal and Europe, from the devastating fires that so many people in northern Ontario personally know about, to the century-level floods that have hit Puerto Rico, Houston and eastern Ontario. But now they’re not hitting every century; they’re hitting every few years. This is not okay. This is not okay.

What is this Ford government’s response? It’s to scrap the climate change plan that we did have and move from a “polluters pay” plan to a “pay polluters” plan that has zero targets. It’s not a plan at all. It’s not a plan.

I’m proud to stand here today with my colleagues to pass a motion to declare a climate emergency for Ontario, making Ontario the first Canadian province to do so. I know that unlike this Ford government, we intend to back up this motion with real action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, to meet the Paris accord, to fully transition to a green economy with good green jobs, and to ensure that our children and our youth have a future. I encourage you to join us.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Ms. Rima Berns-McGown: The time for prevarication has passed. We are in a full-fledged climate emergency. One million species are on the verge of extinction. The Arctic permafrost is on the verge of melting. The oceans and the sea animals are choking on our plastic. The planet is sick, and we humans have caused it.

In Beaches–East York, we live with the beauty of Taylor Creek Park, Massey Creek, the Glen Stewart Ravine and five local beaches, but we also, for the first time, live with year-round ticks and the threat of Lyme disease. This is no longer the problem of environmentalists alone; this is the people’s issue, and this is not hyperbole, exaggeration or fearmongering.

We can still turn it around, but only if we act now, only if we recognize that oil and gas have to be replaced by green energy, that conservation has to be a constant priority, and that the time has passed for empty words. The evidence is in, and it is more frightening and dire than the scientists and experts expected it to be. It is a 911 call for action. This is code blue, and the Ford government is fiddling while Ontario burns.

Everyone has to do their part. Across the globe, citizens are telling their elected officials that enough is enough, that denial and reinforcement of the status quo are not going to cut it any longer and that they expect their governments to do better. Our obligation as legislators in this room is to listen to them, to cut emissions now and to be serious about that transition to green economies, to use policy tools in every area and government leadership to make that happen in Ontario, in Canada and all around the world.

This is a climate call to action. We cannot afford to wait any longer. It is time.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mme France Gélinas: Nous sommes ici aujourd’hui parce que ma leader, Mme Horwath, nous demande de déclarer un état d’urgence climatique. C’est une demande qui est répétée pas seulement dans l’Assemblée législative, mais à la grandeur de la province.

J’ai eu l’opportunité, le 3 mai dernier, d’aller avec 400 jeunes qui provenaient de plusieurs écoles de mon comté ainsi que du comté de Sudbury—l’école Champlain était là; l’école Hélène-Gravel était là. Les jeunes nous demandent—c’est à nous d’y répondre. Ils demandent que l’on reconnaisse l’urgence d’agir pour lutter contre les changements climatiques. Ils nous demandent de passer cette motion, de déclarer un état d’urgence climatique. Ils nous demandent de faire du changement climatique une priorité pour toute la province. Ils nous demandent de s’engager à fixer et à atteindre les objectifs de réduction de carbone recommandés par le Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat, pour limiter le réchauffement planétaire à 1,5 degré Celsius, et ils nous demandent de s’engager à fixer et à atteindre des objectifs pour protéger la santé humaine et assurer la résilience de nos environnements naturels et construits face aux changements climatiques actuels et prévus.

Ma leader a amené une motion. Les jeunes de partout dans la province sont motivés et viennent nous parler. C’est à nous, comme adultes, de les écouter et d’agir. Nous avons aujourd’hui l’opportunité d’agir en votant en faveur de cette motion. J’espère qu’on va la prendre au sérieux.

On May 3, I had the opportunity to join Fridays for Future. Over 400 young people from all over Sudbury and Nickel Belt were gathered at Laurentian University. They were gathered because they wanted us, the grown-ups, to listen. What they wanted is that they wanted this province to recognize the urgency of action on climate change, and they called upon us to pass the motion to declare a climate emergency. They wanted us to make action on climate change a priority for this province. They wanted us to commit to set and meet carbon reduction targets recommended by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and to commit to set and meet targets to protect human health and ensure resiliency of our natural and built environments with current and predicted climate change.

We can do this today. We can vote in favour of this motion, and I hope we will.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate? We go back to the Leader of the Opposition for right of reply.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Thank you, Speaker. It’s my pleasure to rise for my right of reply, and I want to begin by saying how proud I am of my caucus team today—the arguments brought forward, the passion, the thoughtfulness, the concern. I’m very proud to be the leader of Ontario’s New Democrats and to be the party that is bringing forward this motion today.

I listened very carefully to the debate this afternoon, and I have to say there are some things that shocked me and some things that frightened me, Speaker. When you have a party that’s governing, that actually believes that we’ve done our fair share already when it comes to addressing climate change—look around, there’s no such thing as a fair share and there’s no such thing as the end of our responsibility to continue to fight against the change of temperatures of our globe. It was shocking—absolutely shocking to hear that.

We have a government that pretends they have a climate change plan when they know they don’t. My members talked about the fact that there are no targets. My members talked about the fact that instead of having polluters pay for their pollution, this government is going to give money to polluting companies and hope that they might reduce their pollution—because nobody is going to know because we’re not tracking the emissions, Speaker. Again, it’s a very frightening thing to acknowledge what this government’s perspective is when it comes to climate change and their responsibility to do something about it.

But when people talk about families having to pay for the carbon tax, people talk about families having increases in costs, what about all of those families whose houses are under water right now, Speaker? What about all of those communities that are scrambling to try to make sure there’s access to some of those communities and some of those folks who are literally surrounded by water? What about those folks? What about those communities?

I actually had to get into an army tank when I was in the north, when I was around the Bracebridge area—an army tank—to be able to get to some of those groupings of cottages where the cottages were under water. Yes, we talked about what families were going through, what the communities would have to pay and how much government would have to pay to try to help these communities rebuild. And yes, we talked about possibilities of poisoned well systems.

One of my members talked about infrastructure—which is exactly true—about access to clean water we’ve talked about. Septic systems are being impacted by these floods. Speaker, this is reality; this is happening today. This isn’t a disaster that we’re talking about somewhere else on the planet. We know there are disasters happening in every part of the planet, and we have to take that seriously.

Yes, folks are already paying. And do you know what else they’re paying for? They’re paying for a government that’s cutting back on funding of hospitals. This one member of the government side is talking about how a hospital in my riding and hospitals in other ridings would have an increase in costs because of the carbon tax. It comes nowhere near the millions and millions of dollars that this government is ripping away from our health care system—nowhere near the amounts of money.

Look, we will not support a government that gets rid of the Environmental Commissioner. We will not support a government that gets rid of the term “climate change” out of the name of our ministry, that gets rid of 50 million trees, that refuses to acknowledge that electric vehicle assistance for people to help them get their greenhouse gas emissions down, their consumption of fossil fuels down. We think that’s important, and we won’t support a government that does not pay attention to the fact that they need to help people deal with their climate—


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Be seated, please.

Ms. Horwath has moved opposition day number 5. 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 nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1550 to 1600.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Order. Members, take your seats, please.

Ms. Horwath has moved opposition day number 5. All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


  • Andrew, Jill
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arthur, Ian
  • Bell, Jessica
  • Berns-McGown, Rima
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Burch, Jeff
  • Des Rosiers, Nathalie
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Glover, Chris
  • Harden, Joel
  • Hassan, Faisal
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Karpoche, Bhutila
  • 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 Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): All those opposed to 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
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Elliott, Christine
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Ford, Doug
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kanapathi, Logan
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Kusendova, Natalia
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • Martin, Robin
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • 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
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • 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

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 39; the nays are 68.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): I declare the motion lost.

Motion negatived.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Orders of the day—


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Stop the clock, please. I’m going to ask the people in the members’ gallery to leave, please. You cannot interrupt the proceedings.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Order, please.

Orders of the Day

Getting Ontario Moving Act (Transportation Statute Law Amendment), 2019 / Loi de 2019 pour un Ontario en mouvement (modifiant des lois en ce qui concerne le transport)

Resuming the debate adjourned on May 9, 2019, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 107, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and various other statutes in respect of transportation-related matters / Projet de loi 107, Loi modifiant le Code de la route et diverses autres lois à l’égard de questions relatives au transport.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Stop the clock, please. The Minister of Natural Resources will come to order.

The last time that this bill was debated, the member from Mississauga Centre had finished debate. Questions and comments?

Mr. Jamie West: It’s always a pleasure to stand in the House and represent the riding of Sudbury. We were previously debating Bill 107, the Getting Ontario Moving Act. I just want to point out that it’s called the Getting Ontario Moving Act, but there’s very little to do with Ontario itself. It has a lot to do with Toronto and downtown Toronto—I guess you can go as far as greater Toronto and Hamilton area. But my riding of Sudbury is in the north, and I don’t think anything in the north—even what sometimes the Conservatives consider the north, the Muskokas—is even applied in here. We have a lot of talk about subway systems. I’ve often asked if we’re going to do a spur line to Manitoulin Island to help my friend nearby—we’re not doing that. We’re not talking about anything that really would help northern Ontario. I almost feel like maybe the Premier should have run to be mayor. It would have helped us out more.

I’m here for the business of all Ontario. I represent my riding specifically. I’m here to talk about the riding of Sudbury, Speaker. I think that we need to talk more about the entire province and less about one specific city, one specific area. I think it’s important that we talk about Toronto. I understand it’s the hub, and sometimes we joke in the north that it’s the centre of the universe, but it doesn’t mean that it should suck all the light into it and all debate into it. We should be talking about all of Ontario. All of our ridings are equally important when it comes to transportation, to highways, to road maintenance, and when it comes to public transportation as well, Speaker. That’s why I’m glad to speak here today.

I know we’re going to have further debate from the member from Oshawa coming up shortly and other members, but it’s time for us in debate to listen and listen clearly about what’s going on, and really, really hear the feedback of what’s going on there, because time and time again what happens with the government is, they have an idea and they plow it forward. Obviously, they have the numbers to do it, but what we’re here to do is to make good decisions and to listen to each other and to have honest debate, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member for Markham–Stouffville.

Mr. Paul Calandra: I appreciate the opportunity to rise and to congratulate the member on his speech.

Mr. Speaker, it’s fitting that this bill should follow the vote that we just had. It’s fitting that it follows the vote that we just had because it really highlights everything that is wrong with the opposition—because what this bill does now is talk about public transportation. It talks about subways. It talks about getting people moving, getting them out of their cars and into subways and into GO trains. And what is the opposition doing? They’re voting against it. Because it’s not really about climate change for the members opposite. It’s about speeches. It’s about protests. It’s not about action. So when we bring a bill forward that speaks to different opportunities to reduce GHGs, to get people moving, what do they do? They vote against it. They vote against the $30 billion that we’re providing.

And it’s not about money, colleagues. What it’s about is about getting people moving, getting Ontario back on track. It’s about reducing the amount of cars. It’s about expanding GO train service so people in my community don’t have to sit in traffic on the Don Valley Parkway and have access to a subway in Scarborough. The member from Markham–Thornhill fought with me so long to get access for the people in south Markham to a subway. This will do that. It talks about Richmond Hill and getting them on the GO train. It talks about expansions in GO train services in Kitchener, in Milton. That’s what climate change action is about. That’s what this party does.

So while the party opposite can protest and fill the galleries with people who can help them do what they’re unable to do, we’ll just continue to work on getting things done, because that’s what this party does. We get it done. We’ll meet our targets and we’ll build subways. We’ll meet our targets and we won’t tax. We’ll meet our targets and we’ll balance the budget. We’ll meet our targets and we’ll build an economy that works for all Ontarians.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mme France Gélinas: It was rather humorous to hear the member talk about targets, because there are none. And it was rather humorous to hear the member talk about the protesters coming here for us. They do not; they come here for you. You are the ones that they are coming here for, not us.

But this put aside, I would like to talk a bit about getting Ontario moving. I represent a large northern riding that has 33 little communities. Most of us, if not all of us, do not have access to public transit at all. If you want to get Ontario moving, let me tell you something: There is an abundance of natural resources in northern Ontario. Why is Ontario so prosperous? Why is Ontario a rich province? In great part because of all of the minerals that are in the ground in Nickel Belt, in great part because of all of the water that gives us the electricity that we send down south, in great part because of all of the trees that we have in Nickel Belt that get harvested through the forestry sector and bring wealth into the community.


But when we talk about getting Ontario moving, there is nothing in that bill for all of the riches and all of the economic opportunity that lie within northeastern Ontario, all of northern Ontario, in there for us. It would be nice to have a bill that talks about getting all of Ontario moving. Don’t get me wrong, Speaker. I love Toronto. I’ve been working here for 12 years. It’s a wonderful city with wonderful opportunity and they deserve a good, reliable transit system. But we also deserve in northern Ontario to have access to some public transit. We used to have Ontario Northland, which is now a shadow of what it used to be. They promised us a train. Where is that promise in that bill?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Miss Kinga Surma: Because my seatmate wouldn’t allow me to do this during question period, I want to take an opportunity to wish a happy birthday to the member from Markham–Stouffville.

In my political life, as I worked at city hall, as I’ve been involved federally and now the opportunity provincially, I have never seen the members from the left, the members opposite, support subway expansion and I just never truly understood. At city hall, they had plenty of opportunities to support expanding a subway to Scarborough, and they never did. And now you have this amazing bill presented to them in the House, where the province is finally taking a leadership role, is finally making a huge investment and keeping our commitment to the people of Ontario, and they refuse to support it.

The member from University–Rosedale is now saying we’re not doing enough for her residents. Well, I’m sorry, but the people of Etobicoke, the constituents in my riding, don’t even have a subway. They have no fast public transit available to them, and they’ve been advocating for the last three years. But with a PC government, with my wonderful, supportive colleagues, with a great Minister of Transportation and a great Premier, we are finally listening to the people. I was finally able to stand in Etobicoke with my colleague Christine Hogarth from Etobicoke–Lakeshore to make this wonderful announcement that we will be tunnelling the Eglinton Crosstown.

I just want to say I’m very disappointed with the members opposite. They constantly claim that they represent the interests of the people. How long have the people of Toronto and the GTA been waiting for actual expansion of public transit—fast public transit expansion—in the city? A hell of a long time, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Do we let that unparliamentary language slip past? I guess we do. Thank you. I know you were going to withdraw.

We’ll return to the member all the way from Mississauga Centre to wrap up.

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: Thank you to all the members who have contributed to this debate. I am so proud to rise in support of this bill, Bill 107, to get Ontario moving. Transportation is something that we talked about during the campaign and something that remains top of mind for our constituents and our voters across all ridings of Ontario. I can’t thank enough the minister, the Honourable Jeff Yurek, for his work that he’s done and his parliamentary assistant, Kinga Surma, for really putting this bill forward.

Speaker, our quality of life here in Toronto but also in the GTA is really affected by the amount of time we spend waiting in traffic. For an example, from my riding of Mississauga Centre to get here to Queen’s Park, it takes me an hour and a half every single day, each day. My quality of life is affected; the quality of life of my constituents is affected. This is time we could all be spending with our families, with our loved ones or, frankly, working more. So by putting this bill forward, we are truly investing in our transportation infrastructure in Toronto but also across the GTA and throughout Ontario. We’re making sure our roads are safer. I’ve talked about the changes that we’re proposing for our children when it comes to school buses.

These are all important changes that we’re bringing to Ontario. I don’t understand why the opposition is not supporting this, but on this side of the House, we are delivering on our campaign promises and we are finally getting Ontario moving.

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

Ms. Jennifer K. French: I am pleased to be able to get on the record on Bill 107, the Getting Ontario Moving Act. I’ve read this bill. It has got six schedules or six sections. We’ve heard a lot about the TTC upload. Essentially, the bill is sort of a Metrolinx wish list, if you will. It has changes to the Highway Traffic Act. In my capacity as critic for transportation, I’m going to spend the most time focusing on some of those specifics. I do have some questions that I would like to address to the government, some clarification that I’m hoping we’ll be able to get over the course of this debate and maybe addressed in committee—and some changes to the Insurance Act and a few other, I’ll say, housekeeping and fine-tuning and updates that need to happen.

This bill also is a big fat missed opportunity because, with the title—and, you know, this government and the government before it are great at good titles. The Getting Ontario Moving Act: That sounds spiffy. But the thing is, there are definitely ways that they are choosing not to get Ontario moving. I’m looking forward to enlightening them and, again, challenging them, because it’s not too late; maybe we could make some of those changes.

My colleague from University–Rosedale has spoken extensively on the TTC upload. I’m not going to focus so much on that, but I am going to say that it’s an opportunity for this Premier to get to decide when and where and how transit gets built. That’s sort of the crux of it, that cabinet can order the transfer of some or all of Toronto or TTC’s “assets, liabilities, rights and obligations with respect to a project prescribed as a rapid transit project.” I’m a little nervous about what “with respect to” means because it is fairly vague. It isn’t specific. We can assume—although we know what happens when we assume—that it’s only new transit projects, but I would love some clarification on what qualifies as “new” and to make sure it isn’t just any existing TTC asset going forward.

There is something interesting, though, in the bill specifically, which is known in broader circles as the Henry VIII clause, which is kind of getting into the specifics of the bill. You can imagine that, if you’re going to be transferring all the things from Toronto to Metrolinx, there would have to be provisions around contracts and what would or wouldn’t constitute a breach of any act. That’s in here, and I’m not arguing that. I don’t understand the specifics there as much, nor am I focusing on that, but I am focusing on 47(9) that says, “(9) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations ... prescribing contracts to which subsections (5) and (6) do not apply.” So back to the sections that protect and say that things can’t be deemed to constitute a breach, except for when the government decides, “Oh, in a certain instance, they do.” I’d love to know what they’re thinking of there. If the government is able to deem who breaches or who doesn’t, I think we’re going to end up in a realm here where severance is on the table, where this is just cost savings at the expense of workers. That makes me very nervous. I’d love if they would elucidate for us.

I’m going to focus on, actually, a bit of an overview, because I did get a letter—I’ve got so many things there. There’s so much to talk about. I got a letter from someone who lives in Oshawa, who wrote to the Premier and the minister and all those involved with Bill 107 and said, “I commute into Toronto every day from Oshawa and am writing to urge you to vote against legislation that uploads any aspect of the TTC to the province of Ontario, and reject the privatization or contracting out of any part of the TTC. A fragmented transit system will mean higher fares, less accountability, and worse service. We can’t afford more delays to new transit lines. The best way to deliver better transit is to fairly fund it, not break it apart.”


We all got letters like this across the Legislature. That seems to be the feeling. But I also got a lot of correspondence from an individual named Greg Gormick from On Track Strategies. He’s a consultant on transit. He lives in Oshawa. He’s a long-time transit advocate. He has said, “It’s not as much what Bill 107 does as what it doesn’t do.

“What it principally does is confiscate Toronto’s subway system. It’s punitive and destructive.... It’s all based on a hatred of surface transportation and it opts for expensive underground transit using unproven and questionable technology to allegedly deliver transit improvements years—if not a decade or more—off in the future.

“What Bill 107 doesn’t do is address the looming crisis in Ontario’s transportation system. It will leave us years behind other jurisdictions that are addressing their own deficiencies with conventional, affordable and proven technologies and techniques.”

Mr. Gormick outlines different principles that he uses when he is consulting on transit plans. But one of the things that he says is, “Bill 107 doesn’t come anywhere near employing” these principles. “It’s all gee-whiz technology on the subway front, coupled with a visceral hatred of Toronto and transit in general.”

That’s the perception out there. If the government would like to challenge that, I look forward to hearing how they would defend against that.

In the bill, in schedule 1—I’m going to focus on schedule 1 primarily, because schedule 1 makes changes to the Highway Traffic Act. There’s a lot in here, but one of the pieces that it deals with is careless driving. The government has made some decent press release announcements talking about safety when it comes to cameras on buses. I’m going to come to that in a second. They have added workers to vulnerable road users, which is good, but only as an aggravating factor for careless driving at sentencing. To break this down: If there’s a charge on the road for careless driving, seldom does it actually be that they can be charged. But if it goes to sentencing, an aggravating factor, like a worker, a cyclist, a pedestrian—that’s where a judge or a JP will look at those aggravating factors when they’re sentencing. That’s what this government has done: They’ve added workers, which is not about protecting; it’s reactive.

Why aren’t vulnerable road users acknowledged as an aggravating factor in the whole of the Highway Traffic Act? This is just in careless driving. Careless driving is very specific, and it’s major. But my colleague from University–Rosedale—her bill, Bill 62, the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act, lists several contraventions of the Highway Traffic Act, things like speeding, distracted driving, stopping at stop signs and failing to signal. If you protected workers in all of these instances, not just when we’re talking about careless driving, that would really send the message that safety is the priority here.

Careless driving is a vague charge that really does rarely result in conviction. I wonder how many of the careless driving charges actually plead down to lesser offences, like an unsafe left turn—all of that—and then workers don’t factor in as an aggravating piece.

It also excludes motorcycles. If we’re talking about pedestrians and we’re talking about cyclists, we recognize that there is a vulnerability there. But that should also extend to motorcycles. They should be considered vulnerable in this case, I think. Certainly, we’ve heard from the motorcycle community. This government has made changes about handlebars in the HOV lanes, but the third part, about our motorcycle riders, should be better protected when it comes to any contravention of the Highway Traffic Act.

Bad things can happen on the roads. We know that—unsafe left turns, unsafe U-turns, someone failing to stop—but in the event that someone dies or is significantly injured, there isn’t a significant penalty that results. I’m actually referring to how the member from Niagara Falls had tabled a bill; it was Bill 154. I’m looking to retable it, but it addresses this issue of safety for them on the roads, because, heaven forbid something terrible happens, a judge should be able to levy a more appropriate penalty in the event that something awful happens.

How am I for time? Oh, man. Time flies when you’re having fun.

The government has been making announcements around the school bus camera systems. Fun fact: There is no mention of “school” or “camera” or “bus” in this act. The government is making a change that allows municipalities—it gives them the administrative penalty scheme. My question to them is, when they’re doing this—because the government is allowing municipalities to have a separate process to deal with Highway Traffic Act offences outside of the provincial offences court. Okay. But if that happens, I wonder, when those fines are sent—okay, this gets technical, but they’re legit questions that I really want to hear from the government.

No one wants anyone to blow by a bus. Nobody wants anyone to endanger our children. If that camera arm goes out on a bus, you know that there’s a child in the area, so we all want those who drive by and endanger our children to be held accountable. The camera stuff—that’s not new. None of this has been proclaimed yet. The minister is sort of taking credit for it, but it is a matter of, “Then proclaim it, okay?”

The Minister of Transportation has stated in media releases and news articles that this is an additional penalty that the municipalities will be able to levy, but we’re not actually convinced that it will be additional. We want to make sure that it is indeed additional, because in the Highway Traffic Act it says, “An administrative penalty may be imposed alone or in conjunction with any other regulatory measure provided by this or any other act; however, an administrative penalty may not be imposed if the person is charged with an offence under this act in respect of the same contravention....”

So my question and my concern is that if someone blows by a bus and they get the ticket in the mail sent by the municipality, does that mean that they then can’t be charged? Does that mean they don’t get the six demerit points? Because as it says in the Highway Traffic Act, you can’t have both. If I’m misunderstanding this or if it’s going to be in regulation—because it isn’t in the statute, so I challenge you to go back and look at that, because the municipality gets to set up that penalty structure. Are they going to factor it in? If they won’t get a demerit, are they going to increase the fines? These are specifics I hope that we can have addressed.

Okay. So many thoughts.

Some other questions, though: If drivers are aware that cameras are guaranteed to capture them and they get a hefty fine—that’s what I was saying. If the municipality is able to set their own penalty structure and they factor in the fact that they may not be able to get demerit points, they’d better have a hefty fine to be a deterrent, otherwise where is the deterrence in this? Also, why hasn’t the bill that was passed in 2018 been proclaimed yet, so that the cameras are put on buses? If the government is moving ahead with this, let’s move ahead with this.

But also, side note: Why would you potentially remove front licence plates when we’re talking about school bus cameras and sending tickets to people who blow by a bus? I’m not familiar with the camera technology. Does it need to see a front licence plate that this government is suggesting we get rid of? That’s something to take back and find out. We do not want to limit the potential for holding people to account when it comes to children and their safety.

Schedule 2, the Insurance Act: I’m a little confused about this, so again I have a question. The Insurance Act currently caps the liability of car rental companies whose cars are involved in an accident. Okay. But in what we have here, schedule 2 would maintain the liability cap—no. This cap does not apply if the car is used as a taxi, so for example Uber or Lyft. I’m not exactly sure of the ins and outs of this section, so if the government could clarify that.


Again, I said that this bill is sort of the Metrolinx wish list, and I know that the relationships there with Metrolinx and Uber are coming to light and growing. But if we’re making changes to liability, I want to have a clearer understanding there, because I don’t tend to trust that easily.

One of the things I’ll talk about that is not quite as technical but is super important is what is not in this bill. This is an opportunity to get Ontario moving, according to the title, and some things that are missing are frankly what’s in my bill. My Bill 43 proposes to keep the tolls off of the king’s highways, including the 412 and 418.

I’m going to read from the Ontario PC Plan for the People. It was a press release published on June 3, 2018. It says, “Today”—now the member for Whitby, but the “candidate for Whitby announced that if the PC Party forms government the first priority of Durham region PC MPPs will be to advocate strongly for the removal of the tolls from the 412 and 418 highways, running north-south between the 401 and the 407.

“‘All Durham candidates believe removing the tolls from the 412 highway and not tolling the 418 is the right thing to do as it will help keep life more affordable for families and drivers in Durham.... Removing the tolls will also help to reduce traffic congestion on our local roads and allow people to spend more time with their family and friends.’”

I could not agree more. In fact, that’s why we had it not only in our campaign, but my Bill 43 proposes to do that. It’s weird that it didn’t get picked up and put in Bill 107. It’s weird that you want it to come to debate in my next rotation. But okay; we’ll do it that way.

I have some letters here that I’ll share with you, if it makes a difference. From the Durham Region Joint Chambers and Boards of Trade, April 30, 2018, one of the things they said, all of them—the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade, Brock Board of Trade, Clarington Board of Trade, Newcastle and District Chamber of Commerce, Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, Scugog Chamber of Commerce and Whitby Chamber of Commerce—they’ve all signed this letter. One of the points was, “The province should be fair and equitable in the tolling of users in the GTA. Residents and industry in the east end of the GTA should not be required to pay for tolls on north/south roads when the west end of the GTA does not.”

The Greater Oshawa Chamber wrote, “The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce supports the private member’s bill introduced by Oshawa MPP Jennifer French on October 16, 2018....

“With the continued growth in Durham region, tolling these roads exclusively in our market does not support an ‘open-for-business’ strategy.”

There’s more, but I’ll keep it brief. The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade said, “On behalf of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade ... I am writing to express our support regarding the private member’s bill to bring an end to the tolls on Highway 412 and Highway 418.” There’s a fulsome letter, if you’d like it.

“The Whitby Chamber of Commerce supports the private member’s bill introduced by Oshawa MPP Jennifer French on October 16, 2018....

“Tolls divert traffic to our downtown and other north-south routes. As such, this has a significant impact on infrastructure and creates issues with transit, access etc. Advancing gridlock where there is a strong alternative contributes to inefficiencies for business and hurts our Whitby downtown as an example.”

There’s an opportunity. You can include that. There is still time, and I have faith in you; I have faith that you will have the opportunity—I don’t know that you’ll take it—to incorporate that in this bill.

I’ve got a few minutes left. I’m going to read from a letter from Mayor Dan Carter, who is the mayor of Oshawa. He wrote this to Minister Fedeli. Part of what he said: “The southeastern region of your province has been hit hard by the recent GM Oshawa assembly plant announcement.”

He goes on to say, “Expanded rail service promised communities in Durham region with hope for an improved quality of life, especially to those who are economically challenged. It offered more direct connections to the larger GO Transit network, which would help reduce congestion in the GTHA and connect people to education and employment opportunities from east to west.

“Minister, communities in southeastern Ontario need the Lakeshore East corridor through Oshawa to Bowmanville....

“I can’t say this strongly enough: We need this investment to happen.”

There has been a lot of talk about the Bowmanville GO. There was a Metrolinx meeting. I was there. I listened to the community. There has been a lot of talk after the fact. There’s a lot of confusion right now because everyone there thought that, because the ribbon had been cut and all of the plans had been made and money had been invested in our communities in Oshawa and Clarington, plans had been established in terms of residential development and business investment. And now Metrolinx is saying, “Oh, good news. There are four options now that we are considering. Let’s see what happens.”

That’s not good enough for the people in our neck of the woods. We would like clear direction. These four options are not necessarily what is best for our communities. The members from Northumberland–Peterborough South and Durham have said in a letter, and I’m paraphrasing—I’m happy to read it into the record later—that they want it to be quick and they want it to be cheap. We want it to be what’s best for our communities.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Mr. Will Bouma: As always, it’s great to rise and debate with my friend from Oshawa. I wanted to apologize to her that I don’t have answers to those questions exactly right here in front of me, but I’m sure our Minister of Transportation will be able to answer some of those technical questions that she has. I did appreciate her compliment to the title of the bill, because it does sound pretty—I think you said—snazzy, so I appreciate that.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Spiffy.

Mr. Will Bouma: Spiffy. Sorry—if I could correct my record, Madam Speaker.

I did have a question back for her, though, and maybe she can answer that in her final two minutes. In those letters about breaking up the subway system, I’m a little bit confused. By uploading and providing opportunity for more centralization in our complete transit system, I’m a little bit confused as to—by bringing everything together so that it can be under one idea so that we can move forward and get these things going, I don’t understand exactly how that’s breaking up. Hopefully, she’ll be able to answer that.

In short, Madam Speaker, our government’s working hard to create a transit system and a transportation system that Ontarians can be proud of. We’re going to be cutting burdensome red tape—not safety red tape, just burdensome red tape—and freeing our job creators from onerous regulations. We’re going to be increasing consumer choice. We’ll be taking action to make our roads and highways safer and improve the flow of traffic. All of this is to create a safe and reliable transportation system that Ontario’s families and businesses need in order to thrive. But a truly modern and integrated transportation system requires a similarly modern and integrated transit network, and those are some of the things that we’re hoping to do with this legislation.

I’m hoping that once we have those questions answered for the member from Oshawa, she’ll be happy to support us in this legislation.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Miss Monique Taylor: I would like to thank the member from Oshawa for her detailed portion of the debate today. She definitely had me thinking about Hamilton and the lack of all-day, two-way GO that would totally improve traffic conditions between Hamilton and Toronto, between Niagara and Toronto. It’s a huge portion that takes hours. Some days it takes me three hours to get to or from Hamilton, which really should be a 45- or 50-minute drive. Some days it takes three hours. When we had bad weather one day, from here it was four hours of time to get not even an hour down the road. So when this really fancy title talks about getting Ontario moving, there is more to Ontario than what is prescribed within this bill.

I also wanted to raise the fact that the member opposite, a Conservative member—I can’t think of his riding—it was his bill that he brought forward, a private member’s bill, talking about cameras on the arms of school buses. We all thought that was a good idea. We voted for that bill here in this Legislature. I believe the Conservative members have been talking about that, but we don’t seem to find it in the bill. So if there’s clarification on that matter, we would love to see it, because it’s not in this bill. I’m not sure why they’re talking about it as if it’s happening if it’s not here.

I think there’s a lot of work still to do regarding drugged driving and making sure that we have appropriate testing to really tell the facts of whether people are drugged or not. I’ve heard some concerns of people who drank tea or had other spices within their food that came back positive when, quite frankly, there were no drugs involved.

Thanks for the time, Speaker.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: It’s an honour to rise here today in support of Bill 107, Getting Ontario Moving Act, introduced by the Minister of Transportation.

Speaker, traffic gridlock costs $11 billion every year in the GTA. Delays moving goods around the region are costing us billions of dollars in higher prices. Bill 107 will allow the province to expand transit faster to get more cars off our highways, and will protect our environment at the same time. It will also help our construction industry to keep traffic flowing and build new highways more efficiently.

This includes the GTA west corridor, Highway 413, from Vaughan through Peel region to Halton. This new corridor is an opportunity to improve the flow of goods and people for the Peel region. It will help reduce traffic on other corridors, like the 401, that are already at full capacity. With Peel region expanding by over 600,000 people by 2041, we need to act now or the problem will get even worse. I thank the minister for completing the EA on this project that the previous government had cancelled.

Based on consultation with the construction industry, Bill 107 will add new efficiencies and streamline the way we do business. For example, amendments to the Highway Traffic Act will allow temporary changes to special-use lanes in construction zones. Now, when special-use lanes need to be changed for construction or for maintenance, a new regulation is needed at Queen’s Park. Going forward, these changes will be made at a local MTO regional office. This will help ensure that we can get highway projects done on time and on budget.

Based on consultation with law enforcement, we will create an offence for damaging or removing traffic signs.

Based on consultation with motorcyclists, we will allow them to use the HOV lanes, which is a much safer part of the road for them.

Two new provincial-wide consultations are just getting started on speed limits, and on bicycles and e-bikes—

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Thank you.

Questions and comments?

Ms. Marit Stiles: I want to thank the member for her really thoughtful, very detailed comments. I hope the members opposite were listening because I think she had some really important suggestions. We’re all here because we want to improve policy, right? We know that the government has a majority and can pass what they want to, but we’re always hopeful that one day—one day—perhaps they will try to actually pass good legislation and work together with us to improve upon some of the issues in their legislation.

I did just want to return to something that was said a little bit earlier by the member from Etobicoke Centre, who was talking quite a lot about how the NDP, previously, has never supported subways. I thought I would just take us back in time for a moment, just take us back a little bit here, to 1994. Yes, I remember it. I’m proud to say I was around then. There was a proposed east-west subway line—some here will remember this; some won’t—which was supposed to run along Eglinton Avenue West, actually. It broke ground on April 25, I believe it was, in 1994.

It was continuing on and it would have actually linked the Eglinton West line with the Yonge-University-Spadina line. It was very forward-thinking. It was continuing to expand the subway system at that point. But guess what happened? In 1995, Mike Harris was elected. The former Conservative Premier was elected and cancelled the subway.


Ms. Marit Stiles: But listen—

Interjection: Cancelled?

Ms. Marit Stiles: He cancelled the subway. And do you know what else he did? Not only that, he filled it in with concrete—helpful to the expansion of subways. I thought I would bring back a little bit of history there of previous Conservative records on subway expansion.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Back to the member for Oshawa.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: I appreciate the comments from the members around the room. I’m happy to further outline some of the specific questions that I have for this government at committee. I look forward to presenting various amendments, and I certainly hope that there will be amendments that the government will accept and recognize as being important to the safety and protection of more Ontarians.

To my point about careless driving and why we aren’t expanding that to other contraventions of the Highway Traffic Act to ensure that if something goes wrong, if people are hurt, if people are killed, that our court system has the tools that it needs to do right by the families that are left grieving behind—limiting it to careless—that’s the specific one that I hope that you’ll focus on.

But, Speaker, I have been talking about the expansion of the GO train to Bowmanville. I have a sneaking suspicion that this government has a plan that is, as the members from Durham and Northumberland–Peterborough South have said, in an “expedited and cost-effective manner.” We need it to be in partnership with our communities.

Our regional chair has written a really long letter. I can’t read all of it, because you would actually make me withdraw part of it. But the section that I can read—I promise—says, “Once again, I urge the Ministry of Transportation and Metrolinx to include regional and municipal staff and transit leadership in the discussion of any new infrastructure options being explored for our region. We can provide the most current data and intelligence with respect to the types and timing of development that is occurring and advise on how transit can best serve our growing community.”

We have a growing community. We do need to be served. We also need to be consulted. We have a bill here that has the opportunity to move us forward, to get Ontarians moving, not just to miss opportunities. But don’t leave Durham region out of the conversation. Let’s move.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mrs. Belinda Karahalios: It’s always an honour to rise in this place and talk about the many things that our government is doing to help the people across our vast and amazing province.

I said this last week, Madam Speaker, but it needs to be said again: After the train wreck that was Bob Rae’s NDP government in the 1990s, the PCs had to come in and clean it up. And we did, but the memories of Rae days do still linger on in the minds of many, and they aren’t good memories either.

Now here we are, after 15 years of wastefulness brought on by the Liberals, and we’re cleaning up their mess now. We’ll do that too, Madam Speaker. But it’s more than shameful that they left things in such a state. Memories of the last 15 years under the Liberals aren’t good either. I heard this frequently last year, and I still hear it now. The spend-happy Liberals—which we’re still dealing with federally, unfortunately. We’ll see how things change in October. But I digress. I noted last week that Conservatives are often the cleanup crew. We do it. We’re doing it. But I’m amazed at how anyone could let things get quite so bad.

I’m proud, as I’ve said many times before, to be part of this government for the people, a government that is focused on putting Ontarians first after so many years where they were anything but first. It’s fitting that the title of this bill that I’m going to speak about today, Bill 107, is the Getting Ontario Moving Act. I have 20 minutes to talk about the benefits in this act, so I’m going to try to cover it where I can in the time that I have.

I know that Ontarians were happy to hear the Minister of Transportation’s announcement on May 1, and they have good reason to be; I was as well. When the Minister of Transportation announced the Getting Ontario Moving Act, one of the big changes mentioned was that this act, if passed, would see the Metrolinx Act amended to upload responsibility for new subway projects from the city of Toronto to the province of Ontario. This means new subways are built faster and on time for the good people of Ontario.

I was happy to talk a little bit about this last week, addressing remarks made by the member for University–Rosedale where she did a one-hour leadoff. I referenced that we most certainly need investments in subways. I see it all the time here in Toronto.

As I’ve mentioned many times in this House—I’m sure you all are sick of hearing me say it—I travel to Toronto from Cambridge. I’m impacted by this travel as a commuter when I come to Queen’s Park, when I meet with stakeholders as part of ministry work or in my riding, when I’m visiting constituents, and when I go home again to Cambridge, which I do every single day, and I’ll talk about that more in just a moment. The point is that many people in my riding and all over Waterloo region are impacted by the transit system when they come to and leave Toronto. They could be coming to Toronto for work, for entertainment, like our many sports teams, or the Royal Ontario Museum, or maybe they want to access one of the airports. But they’re coming to Toronto.

The province, under our government, is taking a true leadership role to get transit built with this bill. People want a seamless transit experience that goes beyond city boundaries and they really, very truly have waited long enough. The most populous city in Canada, a global city, where people come from all over the world—in Toronto, we have two subway lines. That’s not right.


As I mentioned, the subway provides a critical service not just to people in Toronto but to people from surrounding communities: Halton region, Peel region, Durham region, Niagara, Hamilton, all over—if I didn’t mention Waterloo region, Waterloo region; let me plug the region one more time.

Tens of thousands of people transfer between the TTC and GO Transit every day. This is an important step in building a regional transportation network to get the people of this province moving, and we are investing $1.3 billion in the infrastructure renewal fund, which, as I mentioned, will help fund repairs. I said this last week: That’s why this government has committed $11.5 billion in transit funding—committed to investments that are much needed, and they were needed long before we formed government.

Our party campaigned on making life easier for Ontarians, on the province being open for business and cleaning up Liberal failures, picking up the pieces after a decade and a half of mismanagement and waste that saw business after business close their doors and flee Ontario. We campaigned on a promise to take action to transform public transit, and that is exactly what we’re doing. Bill 107 does that because it really is about getting people moving. It’s also about how we appear on the global scale and that, of course, impacts businesses and people from across our province.

Under the proposed legislation, the province will be able to deliver the Ontario Line by 2027, two years ahead of the city of Toronto’s target date for the previously proposed Relief Line South. It can deliver better transit faster because it has a greater capacity to finance projects and move them along at greater speed; it has the resources and the decision-making abilities; it can issue zoning orders and can compel utilities to prioritize relocation work. This is a great example of how we can get things moving. Toronto needs its subway to be expanded, Madam Speaker. Bill 107 will help make that a reality.

Those members from outside of Toronto like me and many of my colleagues on both sides of the House are here at Queen’s Park from Monday to Thursday and many of us use the subway lines. We use transit. We travel on the highways. I said this last week and it’s true that I am on four highways every day to get to Toronto, to Queen’s Park, and then on my way home. That’s around three hours on the road in the morning and around the same to get back home in the evening. A total of six hours of my day is spent travelling, and that’s okay. I understand what that commute is like. Yes, I did choose it. I’m grateful to represent my constituents from Cambridge, North Dumfries and that little bit of Brant. I’m grateful to be here on their behalf at Queen’s Park. It’s an honour, it’s a privilege and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Like my many constituents who brave those very same highways five days a week or more, I’m going home to see my family, my husband, my son, our dog, to be in my riding because that’s important to me. I’m only making that trip four days out of the week. I feel for the others who have to spend even more time commuting so that they can make it home to see their family and their friends and just to live their lives.

Ontarians already fight through the winter months as part of their commute for a good portion of the year, and, Madam Speaker, believe it or not, it’s actually worse to drive in the rain in the warmer months. Ontarians deserve better transit, safer roads and a quicker way to get where they need to be safely and securely. The Getting Ontario Moving Act will help do this. Each and every person knows that when we get communities moving, people will have access to new jobs and new opportunities. That’s why in just nine months we’ve moved fast and on track to introduce the largest GO train service increase in five years: enhanced GO train service to Niagara Falls and the Waterloo region with two-way, all-day GO, hopefully by 2024, as I look to my colleague from Kitchener–Conestoga—

Mr. Mike Harris: It’s happening, it’s happening.

Mrs. Belinda Karahalios: —new transit projects in Ottawa and Hamilton and $1.3 billion to repair and rebuild highways across the province, plus billions in new infrastructure funding for rural communities.

The Liberals left Ontario with a mess. And the NDP—what are they doing? They’re saying no. They’re saying no to the whole thing right off the bat. Over 25% of opposition members are actually from Toronto ridings, and they voted against Bill 107 even being introduced into the Legislature. In doing so, they voted against subways to get Torontonians and people from across the province moving. They voted against the introduction of an administrative monetary penalty regime for improperly passing a school bus. They voted against allowing temporary changes to special-use lanes within designated construction zones, to reduce costs and improve construction time. They even voted against creating a fine for defacing or removing traffic signs.

The NDP might be fine with the people of this province struggling to get from point A to point B and back again. They might not have the same opinion of helping drivers and businesses from being bogged down with regulations. The NDP might be fine with that, Madam Speaker, but we are not, and we know that Ontarians are not either. That’s why I’m happy to speak about this bill, Bill 107. It addresses what needs to be addressed, amends what needs to be amended and puts the interests of Ontarians first.

One of the other proposed changes in the Getting Ontario Moving Act is to increase fines for slow-moving drivers that travel in the left-hand lane, because a slow driver in the left-hand lane of a highway is not just frustrating, it is unsafe. Yes, the NDP voted against this too by voting no to the introduction of Bill 107.

This act puts the experience of our road users first and focuses on their safety. As the Minister of Transportation told the Ontario Traffic Council conference just last week, “People also expect us to keep our roads safe and protect our most vulnerable road users.” I agree with the minister wholeheartedly, and I want to thank him for his leadership on this and for looking out to keep Ontarians safe on our roads and highways.

Safety is our number one priority. With that in mind, we feel that there is no excuse for drivers who put roadside workers at risk. This legislation will protect our roadside workers by introducing stronger fines for driving carelessly around maintenance and construction workers, tow trucks and recovery workers. On my daily commute, I see plenty of careless driving, unfortunately.

We’re committed to road safety, and we believe that our province’s driving instructors, the ones who teach the rules of the road to our children and our newcomers, should set the best example for our new drivers. Our government is introducing a new offence for any driving instructor that violates a zero-blood-alcohol or drug presence requirement. Our instructors will reaffirm that alcohol, drugs and illegal substances never mix while driving—never.

Our government continues to make sure that the experience of real people is front of mind in every decision we make. For example, we’re going to launch two province-wide consultations. One will review speed limits. We’re going to talk to people about better aligning our highway speeds with other jurisdictions. Many of our highway speeds were designed for higher speeds than the current limit of 100 kilometres per hour—which, by the way, were only reduced in the 1970s due to a shortage of gas. Ontario is overdue in looking at whether an increase is warranted and wanted. This is why the government is doing a pilot project, which is set to start in mid-September of this year, increasing the speed limits on Highway 402 between London and Sarnia, the Queen Elizabeth Way between Hamilton and St. Catharines, and Highway 417 from Ottawa to the Ontario-Quebec border.

The fact is that six other provinces have higher speed limits than Ontario does. And to be quite honest, many drivers are already driving at 120 kilometres an hour now. Alberta increased their speed limit to 110 kilometres per hour in 1993, and Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have all done the same over the years. In fact, I can also note that speed limits on British Columbia’s highways increased to 120 kilometres per hour five years ago. As I said, we need to look at this and what’s best for Ontario drivers. If we listen to industry stakeholders, they’ll say the same thing.


Elliott Silverstein from CAA South Central Ontario had this to say: “CAA is pleased to continue working with the Ministry of Transportation to help educate and inform motorists on safe driving. It is important that drivers pay particular attention to weather and road conditions and adjust accordingly, regardless of the posted speed limit. A pilot program is an ideal way to gradually explore the subject of raising speed limits and determine the impact on road safety.” This pilot project is being done as a first step, as a move forward to gather information for a permanent decision later on.

I also just want to mention that we will also protect the safety of drivers by proposing amendments that keep the street racing penalties at 150 kilometres per hour. Many people have asked me about this, so I’m happy to clarify this here. This means that in the speed limit pilot zones, the street racing penalties will apply at 40 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, instead of the usual 50 kilometres per hour over the limit.

The second consultation will look at rules of the road for bicycles, e-bikes and e-scooters, because we want to make sure everyone can share the road safely. With the Getting Ontario Moving Act, the government is also proposing to allow motorcyclists to make use of high-occupancy vehicle lanes, or HOV lanes, which is a much safer part of the road for them to drive in compared to being in the middle lane of quick traffic, where they can get boxed in by other vehicles. This is something motorcyclists have been asking the government to allow for years. I know that this will be a very welcome change for drivers and riders.

Slow-moving traffic can also impede traffic flow and create safety issues specifically for those drivers using the left-hand lane as well. This is why this legislation, if passed, would increase the minimum fine for driving too slowly and failing to use the right-hand lane from $60 to $1,000 to the $150-to-$1,000 mark instead. It’s also worth noting that the proposed fine increases for driving dangerously slow and the requirement to use the right-hand lane if operating at a slower speed than the flow of traffic would align Ontario with other Canadian jurisdictions.

In another nod to motorcyclists across Ontario, further changes laid out in Bill 107 will put people first by amending motorcycle regulations to allow for high-style handlebars. We know that the Liberal government put unnecessary restrictions on handlebar heights and we’re taking action to correct this. As part of Bill 107, we’re going to increase safety on our roads while respecting people’s personal accountability for their well-being. By removing the regulatory burden on motorcycle handlebar heights, this will give industry access to a new market of motorcycle handlebars. Motorcycle riders will also be given more choice and a greater number of options to retrofit existing vehicles or to customize new motorcycle purchases.

We’re also amending the vehicle weights and dimensions regulation to allow for the use of advanced technologies such as wide-base single tires. This will harmonize our rules with other jurisdictions to improve industry productivity, reduce fuel consumption and improve road safety, demonstrating that Ontario is in fact open for business.

We’ll continue to clean up the Liberals’ mess, like we did with the mess left by the NDP after five years of Rae days—it felt like so much longer, actually. We’ll be the clean-up crew again, because Ontario needs it. My PC caucus colleagues, get your gloves on, get your cleaning supplies ready, because it’s time to clean it up. We’re going to do that while continuing to put Ontarians first, while making sure that our businesses can thrive, and we will do it all while getting Ontario moving again.

The people of this province can expect this government to enact laws and regulations that keep you safe and secure and that keep our roads and highways moving quickly. That’s what they can expect with the Getting Ontario Moving Act, and that is exactly what we are going to do.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for your time.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: I am glad to have the opportunity to respond to the member from Cambridge on her 20-minute speech about Bill 107, getting Ontarians moving.

As she said, on May 1 the minister made announcements, to much government fanfare, but it wasn’t fanfare—there were no fans of it, actually, across the Toronto area. They feel that the government is strong-arming and taking away their public transit, ultimately with a goal of privatizing, and people are very concerned—

Hon. Monte McNaughton: Where is your plan?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Well, the Minister of Infrastructure thinks that something I’ve said is hilarious. I hope it isn’t that people are fearing accountability, that people are fearing that the fares are going to go up. People are very concerned, and they have no reason—no reason—to have faith that this government is going to do right by them, because they haven’t seen it so far. Maybe this will be the opportunity for the government to do right by the folks of Toronto, but let’s wait and see.

Hon. Monte McNaughton: You support the LRT.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: The Minister of Infrastructure has lots of thoughts. I hope he’s next in the rotation—

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): The Minister of Infrastructure will come to order.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Speaker, I suppose if he has something so pressing to say, I look forward to hearing what it is in the next rotation. But right now it’s my turn.

The member from Cambridge said that the party campaigned on getting people moving and being open for business, but as I read in my remarks from the regional municipality and from folks across Durham region, they’re worried that there will be no plans for them to get moving, that there were plans 10 years in the making and commitments with Metrolinx, financial commitments and ribbons being cut and all that, and now Metrolinx is saying, “Well, hold on. There might be a business case for something else, you know, one of these four. Who knows?”

That is not how you do business in Ontario. That’s not how you get people moving or—thank you. I’m out of time.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Thank you. Questions and comments?

Mr. Mike Harris: It’s a pleasure to be here and listen to debate continuing on Bill 107 today. I’d like to thank the member from Cambridge for her poignant issues raised today. I just want to let her know that I always have a bottle of Lysol in my desk to clean up previous messes from governments.

I think one thing we need to realize here, when we talk about—

Hon. John Yakabuski: Javex.

Mr. Mike Harris: Yes, it should be Javex. You’re right. Absolutely, you’ve got to sanitize it.

We talk a lot about Toronto, and I just heard the member from Oshawa talking a lot about the people of Toronto, but you know what? There’s a lot of people who live outside of Toronto in Ontario. I think we’re a population of around 14 million or so, and I think there’s 2.7 million who live in the city of Toronto. But you know what? When Toronto is moving, the rest of the province moves as well. I think that’s something that is so important. We’ve got a lot of members who are from outside the GTA here today, and Toronto proper, and anytime you can get people off the streets of Toronto, anytime you can get people off the highways who are working in and around Toronto, we’re getting goods moved faster. We’re helping people get to work faster. We’re helping people get home faster to see their families, and it can be very tough. I commend the member from Cambridge for going back and forth every day. It’s very difficult. Sometimes it can take me three hours to get home. It’s 116 kilometres door to door from my home in Waterloo region to Queen’s Park, and it can be very tiresome.

I think we’re moving down the right track—pardon the pun. But when we talk about building subways and moving that capacity to the province and to the government, we’re going to get that done so much quicker. We’re going to get people to work faster. Like I said, we’re going to get people home faster.

Victor’s a wonderful little boy, and I know that the member wants to be able to get home from Toronto as soon as she can to see him. I want to get home to see my five kids as soon as I can, too, and every little thing we can do to make that happen is great.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments.

Mr. Jamie West: My compliments to the member from Cambridge, and also Happy Mother’s Day.

I also want to mention the member from Oshawa and her comments she made earlier. She brought up a lot of questions. She said, “I have questions about this. I have questions about this.” To his credit, the member from Brantford–Brant said, “I don’t have the answers right here, but I can get them to you,” and that’s how debate should work. We have questions.


One of the concerns I have when I talk to people is that they hear parts of debate and they wonder what’s going on. Here, for example, the Minister of Finance said on the weekend that the NDP voted against cameras on buses, that the NDP voted against dental care for seniors. They don’t share that there’s a whole bunch attached to the bill. If they want dental care for seniors, just table it as a separate bill and it will fly right through. If you want cameras on buses, table it as a separate bill; it will go right through. But they tie it all into parts and they pick and choose the parts they want to brag about, and they hide the parts they don’t want to brag about.

So we’re a little concerned that you’re going to take something for the municipality of Toronto, the TTC, which seems pretty important to the people of Toronto—I’ve only been here for a short time, but people seem to love the TTC. We’re a little concerned that the Doug Ford government wants to take it into their hands. Maybe we have some questions we want to ask. It doesn’t mean we’re against cameras on school buses. That’s rhetoric. It does a disservice to all of us when you say things like that.

The other thing I want to talk about that the member from Oshawa talked about is the King Henry VIII clause. I had the opportunity to go to England and visit King Henry’s castle, and I have a feeling it’s not called that because he loved masquerade parties. It’s probably called the King Henry VIII clause because when King Henry VIII couldn’t get an annulment to his first marriage, he appointed himself as the supreme head of the Church of England. So maybe in that clause there are some things that we’d be concerned about, that maybe the government would appoint themselves the supreme heads of something, maybe to give Metrolinx all the power and the municipality no power. We want fairness and balance in it.

The final thing, with seconds to go, is just about tolls. The bill is called “keeping Ontario moving.” Why wouldn’t you get rid of the toll routes that are in place, so people could use the tolls?

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Mr. Toby Barrett: I really appreciate the member from Cambridge walking us through some of the amendments to the Highway Traffic Act, particularly schedule 1 of Bill 107, which is titled “Getting Ontario Moving.”

One key amendment under schedule 1 that many of us are very interested in—I know that the municipal governments, we know through AMO, are very interested in the creation of what’s referred to as an administrative monetary penalty regime for the municipal governments to charge drivers who pass a school bus—more specifically, pass an extended school bus arm that is outfitted with a camera. This legislation will enable regulation to allow evidence from these cameras to be used in court. We know that municipal governments are keen to introduce this kind of enforcement, obviously to keep children safe, and it would go well with other anticipated deployment of technology, automated speed enforcement technology in school safety zones and other community safety zones. It provides that ability for the municipalities to recoup some of the costs through the fines. They could pass that on through various arrangements with school bus companies.

As far as school bus cameras, so many of us here voted in favour of the private member’s bill, Bill 94, from the member from Chatham–Kent–Leamington, which received unanimous consent. It was not allowed to go before committee, but later on, the previous government did roll it into the cannabis legislation, and then along came the election. So now is our chance.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Back to the member for Cambridge.

Mrs. Belinda Karahalios: Thanks to the member from Oshawa, the member from Sudbury, the member from Kitchener–Conestoga and the member from Haldimand–Norfolk for commenting on my 20 minutes.

People were surprised when they found out I wanted to speak to this bill, because typically in the Cambridge area we think, “Let’s not talk too much about Toronto,” and it’s very Toronto-centric a lot of the time. But upon further reflection, in looking through this bill, it really is about making sure we can all get to where we need to go. Again, like I mentioned, whether it’s for entertainment, for work or whatever the case is, if we can get better infrastructure, better transit in Toronto, it is better for everybody.

In the past there was a lot of talking, a lot of meetings, a lot of thinking about things, but nothing was actually getting done, and now we’re actually going to take action. Things are going to get done.

Mr. Will Bouma: Hear, hear.

Mrs. Belinda Karahalios: Thank you. I wanted to say thank you also to the member from Kitchener–Conestoga for that little shout-out to my son, Victor. He just turned three. Can I put that on the record? Happy birthday, Victor. Mama loves you very much. I just had to get that on the record; I’m sorry.

Interjection: Don’t be sorry.

Mrs. Belinda Karahalios: Thank you for your graciousness.

Thank you also to the member from Haldimand–Norfolk for clarifying that, yes, that private member’s bill did get passed, but things happened that it couldn’t actually come to fruition. Thank you for clarifying that. I think that was very, very important to get on the record—and a very good job to the member from Chatham-Kent–Leamington for proposing that to begin with.

That is all I have to say on that, Madam Speaker. Thank you again for your time.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate? The member for Niagara Falls.

Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for allowing me to speak on Bill 107, the Getting Ontario Moving Act.

Before I start—because I always enjoy listening to everybody’s comments—something that I didn’t see in the bill that I think should be in the bill is the illegal left turn, which I raised a number of times here—Bill 164. What transpired in that, where that bill came from, is that there’s a $500 fine for an illegal left turn. What happened was that there was a couple on a motorcycle—you remember this story. Actually, there was another member who was an OPP officer; the same thing happened. They turned illegally, and the two of them were killed. It can happen with motorcycles and bicycles and everybody else. But I believe that in this particular bill, it should be here. Make sure that if somebody kills somebody on an illegal left turn, change the Highway Traffic Act so that they get a punishment they deserve.

On the front plate: I find that very interesting. I don’t know how that’s getting us moving quicker. I’ve never really looked at my front plate. I don’t even know if I have one, but that was interesting to me.

Mr. Will Bouma: It says “Gatesy.”

Mr. Wayne Gates: It does say “Gatesy.”

Mr. Will Bouma: Yes, it does. I checked.

Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, that’s bad, because you guys know where my car is. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

I want to say something. I want to correct a mistake, okay? I know you guys make the odd mistake. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you admit it. But I was the transportation critic for our party in the last sitting. I worked, quite frankly, with the PCs on the cameras on the school buses. I think it’s the member from—I can never get his riding right—Chatham-Kent–Leamington. Is that accurate?


Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s not bad. I wrote it down. I just read it, but I tried to play it up like I actually knew what I was talking about.

At the end of the day, I worked with him, and we did support that—not only the bill part of it but actually in committee as well. I want to clear that up, because there’s confusion around that.

A couple of other things before I get into my real speech. The HOV lanes for motorcycles: I know the motorcycle drivers have wanted that for a long, long time. The one that I don’t understand a lot of is that when you’re driving a motorcycle, they want the bars higher—higher handlebars. My understanding is that you’re going to bring that forward. I don’t need that.

Hon. Bill Walker: It’s not in reference to you.

Mr. Wayne Gates: Listen, I don’t need that, just for the record. I just want to get that out, that I don’t need higher handle bars.

The other thing we agreed upon when I was the transportation critic was school safety zones. Not only did I agree with it when I was the critic, I also agreed with it when I was a city councillor, because I think we should do whatever we can to protect our kids in school.

I just wanted to clear a few of those up. I’m not asking questions. I’m basically just letting you know what I’ve seen so far or heard so far. I’ll get on with the little bit of—I’ve got 20 minutes, I think, on the bill, so I’ve got lots of time.

I want to thank you for allowing me to rise and speak to this bill today, Bill 107, the Getting Ontario Moving Act. I want to talk about a lot of things when it comes to the bill—some of what’s there, some of what’s not there, and some things that we can do today to get our roads moving faster.

If I’m being honest, it sort of feels like the last Parliament in here today. I say that because four years ago we had the Liberals, who stood up every day in this House and told us that we needed to get Ontario moving. You guys all remember that—well, at least the ones who were here before, and there are a few here. They used the same words. What they meant was: How can they try to build transit infrastructure by handing it over to the private sector? That’s what has transpired.

Madam Speaker, I know you’re interested in this. Right off the top, reading this bill and listening to the debates from the ministers and the parliamentary secretaries, it’s clear what they’re doing here. I think it’s clear. You can admit it; I don’t have a problem if you admit it. They’re opening more transit and projects for private profit. That’s what’s going on, period. There is no focus on the singular thing that should be the most important: fixing the awful traffic delays in the province of Ontario.


I’ve heard some of the members on that side of the House and our members—I think the member from Hamilton, I think the one from Kitchener—talk about that. Traffic delays that slow down commuters cost us—listen to this, because I know you’re all listening, including the member from Chatham-Kent—

Hon. Bill Walker: Leamington.

Mr. Wayne Gates: —Leamington. Traffic delays slow down commuters and cost us $6 billion in economic activity, something I would think the Conservatives would be extremely interested in. My notes even say right here “repeat,” so I did.

Back in the 1990s, you used to have to leave Toronto before 4 o’clock—you guys remember this. Well, according to the bill, I don’t even know if you guys know where Niagara is, but that’s a whole other story—but before 4. If you wanted to get back to Niagara, to miss the traffic, and you left by 4 o’clock, you’d be fine. Then it became that you had to leave before 3. Now, it honestly doesn’t matter—and this is a problem, by the way. I’ll get into that as I do my speech. You can leave here at noon and spend 45 minutes not moving on University Avenue, get to the Gardiner and not move, then crawl along the QEW. I haven’t figured out why you want to increase how fast we can go from Hamilton to St. Catharines. I’d love to at least go to the speed limit going back home one day. We can’t even do that. If you want to come and see our Jays—tough year this year, but a lot of people still like the Jays—you’re looking at waiting hours upon hours in traffic that isn’t moving.

As many of you know, my riding is within what should be a quick drive to my house. One of the PC members mentioned how important it is to get back to your family and your kids and maybe play some hockey or baseball, whatever you like to do back in your home community. I frequently head back to my riding to support the residents and I go to a lot of events, as I think most people in here know. Just a few weeks ago, I drove back in the middle of the day so I could support the students who walked out of school because they were begging politicians—I was doing the same thing in my two-minute hit earlier today; I think you guys were all listening with bated breath—to do something about climate change. That drive should take me a little over an hour. It took me three hours one way to go home—three hours in the middle of the day. Imagine that. It was four hours to come back, because I drove back; I drove, then I drove back. Imagine that, a seven-hour round trip, just to go 230 km. It sounds awful, but we’ve got people in Niagara who commute to Toronto and a lot more who commute to Hamilton. Hours upon hours of their lives—rather than being spent with their family, guess where they’re being spent? On our highways, in traffic.

That’s just for commuters. If you’re a business—and this is where you guys might find some interest in this, rather than doing whatever you guys are doing over there. If you’re a business looking to set up shop here in Ontario, this becomes a serious problem. Take a look at the automotive industry—and we should, by the way. I know this government, in my humble opinion, doesn’t really care about the auto industry and the jobs, but they should listen to this because this could be one step to bringing more good-paying jobs to the province. I honestly believe—and I might be wrong. Some of the problem, obviously, is we don’t have an auto strategy in this country or in this province. That’s one of the issues. But I would think—and the member from Windsor might be able to tell me better—I would think some of the problem is the traffic. In Oshawa, we’re stuck with just-in-time, trying to get from plant to plant—Windsor, Brampton. I think that’s a problem.

The auto industry relies on what’s called just-in-time delivery. How many on that side know what that means? Put your hands up.


Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s not bad, two, three, four, five. Look it up. Get on Google. But it’s good. That’s what the auto industry is all about, just-in-time deliveries. These are deliveries between plants and plant suppliers, where time is essential. You can’t be spending it on our highways.

In plants across the province, you’ve got trucks that just run back and forth all day. As a matter of fact, from St. Catharines they were running to Oshawa all the time—back and forth, back and forth. Our engines were going into CAMI, so they were running from Niagara to CAMI. Some were just going over to the other side of the border. But that’s all they do all day: just in time, just in time, just in time. They do that for a reason—to save money—so I understand that.

If you’re an automotive manufacturer looking to take advantage of our universal health care and our world-class and highly educated workers, this means something. So traffic congestion is a problem for the auto sector. And not just the auto sector, by the way; any manufacturing that relies on just-in-time. This means a serious delay in manufacturing and delays in getting that finished product out.

This is equally important because there’s a lot of jobs, in particular, I think, in Kitchener, which still has some parts suppliers. If a small parts supplier causes a major line to stop at an assembly line, they can get fined so much that they’re out of business before they catch up. I don’t know how many knew that, but that’s what happens—no fault of their own; they can’t get their truck down the highway. If this government was meeting with these parts suppliers, they would know that. So if you want an economy that is functioning the best it can, you absolutely have to get these highways moving.

Madam Speaker, I will say this about the Conservatives. For years, everyone in Niagara was united that we needed a GO train from Niagara to Toronto. The Conservatives were late to the game. I’m not talking out of school here; everybody knows this. In fact, they ran two elections against me saying that they opposed the GO train. But they came around, and I’m glad they did. In case you’re wondering, they were clear. It wasn’t, like, “Maybe, maybe.” The PC candidate that ran against me stood up at a debate and said, “No to GO.” But, ultimately, they didn’t win. You guys can clap for that. They didn’t win.


Mr. Wayne Gates: Come on, on your side, too. Come on, come on. Yes, that’s better. Better late than never. So we have a train now, and that’s a good start.


Mr. Wayne Gates: Let me finish before you clap, okay? Just saying. But right now it’s too difficult for people to properly utilize it. The first train from Niagara Falls leaves at 5:19 a.m. That train doesn’t come back to Niagara Falls until 7:17. So imagine, if you have to get up and get ready to work, you have to get up at least 4:30 a.m.—maybe earlier, Madam Speaker, especially if you have kids—and you’re not getting home until almost 7:30, assuming you live close.

You just have to look at those hours and you realize that it’s going to be hard to make it. If you don’t want this project to fail, then we’ve got to address this. And here’s the way you could do it. It’s a good first start—I don’t think anybody is saying that it’s not—but we’ve got to move quickly to make it more viable and usable. If we can get more trains offering a more flexible schedule, I promise you that ridership will go up. I hear this all the time.

What’s the benefit of that? You guys can help me if you want, if you guys want to yell it out. What’s the benefit of having more people doing the GO trains leaving from Niagara and going to Hamilton and going to Toronto? What’s the benefit? Anybody know?


Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s better for our environment. And guess what: It gets the cars off the highway. It makes sense to me, so bring some more trains down to Niagara. Residents want to take the trains, but the times just don’t work, especially for those working in Hamilton, which is a major hub for those travelling. It’s hard for them to show up two hours early and then still not get home till 7:30 at night. So I’m hoping this government is listening and I hope they’ll work with us to make this a possibility.

Hon. John Yakabuski: You know we’re listening, Wayne.

Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, some of you are. I think that’s important.

This will be good for the province. I’ll repeat that. It will be good for the province, it will be good for the workers in Niagara, and it will be good for the businesses that you keep saying you represent in Hamilton and Toronto. Do you know what that means that is? That’s a win, a win and a win. Repeat that, if you want. You don’t get that all the time.

Speaker, as we build these infrastructure projects, we also need to make sure the community is listened to. That’s important.


We’ve got a terrible case down in St. Davids where a stretch of highway—now, listen to this. It’s the 405, and it needs a sound barrier. I’ve been fighting for this for four years. The people living on the other side of the highway hear all the noise, all day and all night. I have spoken to the ministers from two governments, so I’m not just blaming the Conservatives on this one; the Liberals weren’t any better. I’m still working on this, but I hope the minister is listening and will direct his staff to get down there and build that sound barrier. It’s a little off-topic and I appreciate you guys not standing up, but I want to get that in there again. I really want this government to take note and build a sound barrier for those people in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Madam Speaker, we’re able to identify some problems and some solutions. I hear you guys asking me for solutions all the time. I keep giving them to you; you guys should listen more. My major concern with this bill is the way the PCs are going about solving these problems. I’m going to explain why it’s a problem.

As I mentioned before, it seems the very first thing they prioritized was the privatization. While on the topic of transportation and while on the topic of the PCs’ privatization of transportation items, why don’t we talk about the crowning achievement of the Mike Harris government—because you guys raised this—the sell-off of the 407?


Mr. Wayne Gates: I don’t think anybody is clapping about the 407. I don’t think they are.

In the last speeches on this, every member of this House talked about how congested our roads are around Toronto, and they are. Here’s the problem.


Mr. Wayne Gates: Let me at least talk. I listened to you when you were talking. You should try that.

Why don’t you drive down the 407? Here’s what you see: It’s empty most of the time. Here you had a highway that could have been used by everybody in the province of Ontario, could have helped get rid of the transit problems that we have in Toronto. Every single time the 407 becomes congested, the rates magically appear to go up and keep more users off the roads. Did you know you have to get a mortgage to drive down the 407 today? I’m sure the PCs drive down it. How many drive down the 407 on your side? It’s pretty expensive, isn’t it? Tell the truth: You need a mortgage to drive down it. It makes no sense at all.

Madam Speaker, I want to try to get through my speech, but I’m running out of time. I will be curious to see if any PCs across the aisle are going to stand up and say they support that decision. If you’re so bent on privatizing everything, will you stand up today and tell the people in Ontario that the 407 should be a private, for-profit highway that barely any working-class people can afford to take on a daily basis, or will you stay silent and admit it was a mistake? Because it was a mistake.


Mr. Wayne Gates: Sorry about that, buddy, but it was.

I said this all the time in the last government—


Mr. Wayne Gates: I want to say this. Pay attention. I said this all the time in the last government: One of the worst mistakes was a sell-off of our publicly owned hydro assets. You can see the theme here. When governments start selling off our assets to greedy corporations, the residents lose. Worse yet, these decisions are never remembered well. In fact, they are almost always seen as major mistakes.

Madam Speaker, I could see—I’m talking about financial sense, but in this bill, in the speeches, we see a clear desire to use P3s as a possibility. This is important, so I’m glad I have a couple of minutes left. Listen to this. This is really important for you guys to listen to.

In 2014, the Auditor General of this province had a lesson for the Liberal government that the PCs should listen to before they charge forward on this plan. In 2014, she reviewed 74 hospital and transportation projects and found that this province—think about this—overpaid $8.2 billion to private companies: $8.2 billion. Madam Speaker, that’s with a “b.”

Imagine what you could do with $8.2 billion. We could address hallway medicine in the province of Ontario. We could ensure that people who need dental care and prescription coverage have it. We could make sure our world-class education system is still providing for our kids and our grandkids. We could build a transportation infrastructure that means we never have to drive three and a half hours to get to Toronto.

But what happened instead? Instead, we lost $8.2 billion to private corporations when the builds couldn’t be done publicly. Madam Speaker, the Auditor General did comment on this. She said—and it’s not me saying it, by the way, guys, in my last minute. I’m not saying this. It’s a quote by her: “If the public sector could manage projects successfully, on time and on budget, there is taxpayer money to be saved.” Isn’t that what you guys are all about? Isn’t that what you guys want to do, save taxpayers money?

Madam Speaker, I’ve only got 50 seconds left. If this is an issue of saving money and getting these projects built on time, her answer is right there. I raise this concern—and I’ll do this really quick because I’ve only got 40 seconds. My example I use—I think the guy from Peterborough is here. They built a hospital in Peterborough for $420 million. His was built publicly funded, publicly delivered. Almost the same hospital in St. Catharines was $1.1 billion, almost $800,000 more. Can you imagine what you could have done by putting that money towards front-line nurses and emergency wards? All that stuff could have been done. Instead, you’re wasting it on P3s.

Thank you very much for allowing me to say a few words.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Mr. Billy Pang: Today I am pleased to rise here to address the Getting Ontario Moving Act.

Let me tell you a story. In ancient times, there was an old man called Yu Gong. He was nearly 90 years old. There were two mountains in front of his village—one was the Taihang Shan and the other was Wangwu Shan—which was very inconvenient for people to come and go.

One day, Yu Gong decided to talk to his family: “These two mountains block the doorways of our village, which is very inconvenient for us to go and come. Let our whole family exert efforts to move away these two mountains. How about it?” Upon hearing this, all his sons and grandsons said, “You’re right. Let’s start tomorrow.”

The following day, Yu Gong led the whole family and started to move the mountains. His neighbour was a widow with a son, only seven or eight years old. When he heard of this, he also came to help happily. They worked non-stop every day, fearing neither heat in summer nor cold in winter, neither wind nor rain. At the end, two fairies who came down from heaven were moved. They came down to move away those two mountains.

Now it’s the 21st century. We don’t need fairies to move mountains for Ontarians. We have the Getting Ontario Moving Act, Bill 107. This bill would upload authority for new subway projects to the province, cut red tape for our province’s job creators, and help make sure Ontario’s roads remain among the safest in North America, helping to make going home, going to work and to any destination easier and more convenient.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions or comments?

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: I am actually quite humbled to speak to this bill, the Getting Ontario Moving Act, especially since it wasn’t that long ago that I stood in this exact spot and talked about need for two-way, all-day GO, frequent GO service between Kitchener and the Waterloo region and Toronto. Oddly enough, while we’re trying to get Ontario moving, it seems that really means that the government would like to get Toronto moving in a weird underground space, but they don’t necessarily want to get folks from Toronto to the Waterloo region or the Waterloo region folks out to Toronto.

It’s kind of frustrating, to be perfectly honest, because part of my role as an MPP is to go back home and explain to people why the government would vote down the motion to just provide a plan—not get the GO train within two minutes, but just tell us what the plan is so that we could know phase 1, phase 2, phase 3. Instead of doing that, that motion was actually voted down. Now we’re going to have a fun time talking about getting Ontario moving. So when I go home, one of the big questions that I have for the government today, for those that are listening, is: When are we going to actually get the plan so that we know for sure that everybody in Ontario will be moving?

Will the Getting Ontario Moving bill only talk about Toronto, which is how it appears right now? Are we really only focused on one little area in all of Ontario? Is that where all the fun happens? Because there are people in Waterloo region that want to participate in having that kind of fun too—like having a job or seeing their families or just have a relaxing day at the theatre. All of that would be something that they would like to do.

However, when we ask for plans, we don’t get them. When we do get a plan, rarely are they sufficient for us to understand what is actually going to happen. So when I go back home to Kitchener, I would love to be able to say that the government provided us with a plan.


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Mr. Will Bouma: It’s always a pleasure to rise in the House. I have to say to the member from Niagara Falls, I always enjoy listening to his prevarications.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Oh, come on.

Mr. Will Bouma: Withdraw—although I had to laugh and bring that up because it was allowed to be said by the member from Beaches–East York earlier today. Someone was listening and didn’t report that for the member from Beaches–East York.

I appreciate listening to the member from Niagara Falls talking about the issues that are affecting our transportation and transit system across the province of Ontario. That’s why I’m so excited to say—and to the member from Kitchener Centre—that, yes, we have a plan that is going to get Ontario moving. I am absolutely looking forward to the full support of the opposition on this bill so that we can get Ontario moving.

That’s why I can only say that it’s so great to have support on these issues from the member from Niagara Falls, because as you know, Madam Speaker, he doesn’t often have a lot of great things to say about the government. It’s wonderful hearing him talk about how he’s looking forward to working with us on these things. But having said that, I have to say that I also understand, listening to him for an extended period of time, that sometimes we all wish for the occasional sound barrier.

In short, we are getting Ontario moving. We are putting the thought and vision into being able to solve some of the issues that are plaguing Ontario, that plague commuters. When I think about the trips to Niagara right now of the GO train, to be able to start that off and get that going is a great testament to what our government is doing. While the times aren’t convenient yet for everyone, I know as we build that ridership, it will only get better.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Mr. Kevin Yarde: It’s a pleasure to rise to speak to this bill. I enjoyed the comments from my colleague from Niagara Falls. He mentioned that it takes three hours for him to commute to get home. It’s still a problem because, of course, the previous Conservative government were nice enough to sell the 407, so now it takes people anywhere from Oshawa all the way over towards St. Catharines hours to get home because it’s too expensive to take the 407. Many people don’t take the 407 because of the ridiculous rates. That’s one thing I just wanted to get out there right now.

They call the bill the Getting Ontario Moving Act. The government wants to talk about how much they care about transit and getting people moving, but in my riding of Brampton North, and in Brampton in general, people are looking at this government’s budget and even this bill and they see that the government is neglecting Brampton once again. The government is not committing to building a second hospital in Brampton, which we need, so Bramptonians are often forced to travel further to get health care, having to go to cities outside, like Orangeville.

This government slashed the funding for a new university in Brampton. As a result now, we have students in Brampton who have to commute to York University or further destinations just for their post-secondary education. They spend hours commuting just to get to university or college.

It is like this government would rather have everybody drive long distances instead of taking transit, but in Brampton, even that is a burden, as we pay some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the country. It’s sort of a Catch-22 for my constituents in Brampton.

Madam Speaker, the way this government is neglecting Brampton is quite shameful. They can stand here and talk about the 15 years of Liberal neglect or the colossal mismanagement they inherited, but in reality, for Brampton, this government is no different than the last.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Back to the member for Niagara Falls.

Mr. Wayne Gates: I’ve got a couple of things I didn’t talk about when I was up, and then I’ll address the member from Brantford–Brant.

The gas tax: Toronto lost $1 billion on the promise that you were going to increase the gas tax two cents.

The tolls on the 412 and the 418: It’s my understanding that that was promised to the voters, and that was never upheld.

On the issue around Niagara, we need all-day, two-way GO to Niagara, and more privatization leads—quite frankly, from everything I read—to higher fares and reduced service. Let’s at least tell that.

To the member from Brantford–Brant—I think that’s where he’s from—who used a word that he thought he’d get away with, a little bigger than maybe some people in this chamber understood. I understood it.

I’m going to be clear with you, sir. There’s a lot of things that I am, and I’ve been called a lot of names over the course of my career in the labour movement, and as an MPP, but I’ll tell you what I’m not—and I’ll tell all you guys that. I’m not a liar. You retracting it means nothing to me. Madam Speaker, nobody should stand up and try to use a word that nobody understands. He called me a liar. I’m letting him know very clearly I am not. I’m a lot of things—I’m not a liar. I’m 5-foot nothing. I understand that, but I’m not a liar, sir.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I’m pleased to rise today to contribute to the debate on Bill 107, Getting Ontario Moving Act. It’s a big bill, and I have limited time, so I’m going to focus my comments on transit planning and intergovernmental relations.

I can get behind an ambitious agenda to build transit because it’s essential for Ontario’s economy and our quality of life to unlock the gridlock that is choking the GTHA and costing our economy over $6 billion a year, and it’s imperative that we reduce pollution from the largest source of GHG emissions, which is our transportation sector, but I cannot support the way in which the Premier has gone about this, vilifying councillors, keeping the mayor of Toronto in the dark and releasing his own maps without any consultation with the people or the city most affected. Good, evidence-based transit planning cannot take a back seat to personal political agendas. Evidence must come before ideology and partisan politics.

If we are going to upend four transit projects that have already gone through significant planning and design, then we’ve got to be sure it’s the right decision to make, and I don’t think the government has given us the proof to do this. I would refer them to the 61 transit planning questions that the city of Toronto has put forward for the government to answer. I’m also concerned that only 40% of the Premier’s $28.5-billion plan is actually funded, especially when he’s at war with the other two levels of government that he wants to get money from. Getting transit built has to include having good planning, good consultation and working constructively with other levels of government.

Speaker, we’ve seen this act before. I want to remind the people of Ontario that right now, this year in Scarborough, we could be opening a seven-stop LRT, providing the people there with transit right now, but it was the Premier and his brother who ripped up those plans, just like they are ripping up plans right now.

I’m all for working with other levels of government for regional integrated transit. I’m all for electrified all-day, two-way GO through the innovation corridor, Guelph, K-W and Toronto. I’m all for two-way GO to the Niagara region all day. This bill doesn’t focus on that. This bill focuses on uploading the TTC.

I would encourage the minister and the Premier to go back to the drawing board, work with other levels of government and deliver a real regional transit plan.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments.

Mr. Paul Calandra: Look, the honourable member would know—I was actually there when Stephen Harper joined then Mayor David Miller and Premier Dalton McGuinty to announce funding for the LRT on Sheppard. David Miller was the mayor. Here we are, 2019, and there’s still nothing. You can blame whomever you like, but the reality is nothing got done. This bill puts it on the table and gets it done once and for all.


You can say that the people of south Markham are unimportant, but we have been fighting for this transit for decades. The people in south Markham—the member for Markham–Thornhill has been fighting for a connection for those people to the Scarborough extension, which would be along Sheppard Avenue, and it hasn’t gotten done. Money is set aside—not done.

You talk about intergovernmental relations. I was a parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, who was also intergovernmental affairs minister, when the Liberal government decided not to transfer lands, the Rouge Park lands, and instead waited for an election; when they refused to fund transit, including roads and bridge construction, because they wanted to wait for an election. So don’t talk to me and my residents about playing politics.

If you unwind this, the honourable member has a decision to make: Either you agree that building transit and transportation connections is good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, that getting all of these cars off the road is good, or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t get in this House, make speeches on how important the environment is to you, and then vote against those very same dollars and motions and resolutions and bills that would actually upload transit and transportation, that would get these subways built, that would take thousands of cars off the road, that would get Ontario moving and that would preserve our environment. You can’t have it both ways. You’re either for saving the environment through public transportation or you’re not. This bill gives you the opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: I’m pleased—


Ms. Jennifer K. French: I guess I’ll wait. Okay. Am I good?

I am happy to offer some comments in response to the member from Guelph’s remarks on Bill 107, getting Ontarians moving. It’s interesting that he talked about personal agendas, partisan projects, and painted that sort of picture. He talked about if we’ve already gone through design and planning, to just rip things up, to rip up plans, to not factor in regionally integrated transit—he paints, I’d say, a pretty fair picture of what’s going on with this government.

I have a few letters that I read earlier, but I’m going to add some highlights, because something that isn’t in this bill about getting Ontarians moving, of course, is the plan to take the GO train to Bowmanville. I’ve said it, and I’m going to keep talking about it, because it’s all that people are talking about in our community, in the Durham region.

This is part of a letter from the regional chair to the Minister of Transportation. He says, “In our recent meetings with the minister and Metrolinx senior officials ... we learned that several new options were now under consideration, with the final approval resting with the minister. Regional and local officials have not been included in any discussion of options, despite numerous assurances that engagement would occur.”

The letter that was put out from the member from Durham and the member from Northumberland–Peterborough South painted a picture. They used the term “shocking” about the last government and made it seem like there hadn’t been due diligence and all of these things—a lack of studies and whatnot. There were 10 years of work that happened with the region, with all of the municipal partners and Metrolinx, and now we have a—

Ms. Lindsey Park: So where is the train, Jennifer?

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): The member for Durham will come to order.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: The member from Durham: Thanks for jumping in. “Where is the train?” is a great question. Is it going to be what’s in the best interests of the folks in our area?

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Thank you. Questions and comments?

Mr. Rick Nicholls: It’s a real privilege for me to stand here and talk to Bill 107. It’s interesting: As a government, if we were to download to, say, the municipalities, we’d get criticized for that heavily. If we upload from the municipalities and say, “We’re going to take this on,” we get criticized for that regularly. So where’s the balance in there?

Oh, I get it, because, you see, we spent seven years in opposition, when the current official opposition was the third-party opposition. We get the fact that we have to hold the government accountable. We look up here and we see—well, what do we see up there? We see the eagle, okay? They see the eagle, holding us accountable. I get that.

But you know what, Speaker? One of the things that really gets me is the fact that when we talk about subways here, I hear from my people down in my riding—


Mr. Rick Nicholls: You know what? I have the floor here, and I would appreciate a little quietness, as well, so that—


The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Stop the clock. The member from Markham–Stouffville will withdraw his unparliamentary comment to the member opposite.

Mr. Paul Calandra: Withdraw.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Thank you. Back to the member for Chatham-Kent–Leamington.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: My point is that taxpayer dollars from my riding come up here to go into subways. However, the good news is, because of this bill, taxpayer dollars from Toronto are going down to my riding to assist in building six lanes of the 401 and a concrete barrier. So there are trade-offs here, and I think that’s very, very important.

We’re taking a very responsible approach to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are well looked after. I hear things about private sector, public sector and so on, but we can talk about the total lack of financial management from the Liberals in the past, when they were in power. That’s why we’re in bad shape.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Questions and comments?

Mr. Jamie West: I want to thank the member from Chatham-Kent–Leamington for his comments about having some decorum while we’re talking. We sometimes get carried away and yell across the aisle. I appreciate what he was saying.

He mentioned about uploading and downloading being criticized. We criticize when you download all the costs to municipalities, and we criticize when you upload and cherry-pick the things that are valuable that you can give away to privatize. That’s the difference.

The member from Guelph talked about transit, and so did the member from Niagara Falls to my left here, who talked about the GO train. It reminded me that we went on a trip to Oshawa on the GO train. I’m from northern Ontario. It’s the first time I’ve ever been on the GO train. Little did I know the GO train has a quiet zone; just imagine any of us sitting in the quiet zone for a trip that long. But it was an amazing experience, and I see the value of the GO train and how it can move people around.

It’s something we would love to have in northern Ontario. The member from Nickel Belt talked about her 33 communities with no public transit and how frustrating it is when you have no public transit. We talk about getting Ontario moving. It’s important that we get all of Ontario moving. As much as you can say again and again, “When Toronto moves, everyone benefits,” tell that to somebody in northern Ontario who can’t get from point A to point B.

I remember—and not much has changed—when I was 16, my girlfriend lived in Hanmer. It’s in Nickel Belt. In Hanmer, there were four buses a day: one in the morning, one about mid-afternoon, one around suppertime and one at 11 o’clock. Through that whole period, every time I went to a movie, I’d never see the end of it. I know ET phoned home; I don’t know if anyone ever came for ET in the end. I have no idea. And nothing has changed about that. We need better services.

It’s great that we talk about—I’m on board on GO trains. I’m on board on subways. I disagree that you can rip up a contract, re-contract it, re-engineer it for less and quicker. I disagree on that because I’ve worked in construction and that’s not true. You can’t do that. But I think we’ve just got to get outside—if you want to stay in Toronto, then run for municipal, but if you want to talk about the province, then stay here with me in the provincial and let’s talk about the whole province.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Thank you. Back to the member for Guelph.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: I want to thank all the members for participating in this debate.

I want to just let the member from Sudbury know that it’s nice for politicians to ride in the quiet zone now and then. I actually love the quiet zone. It forces me not to talk, so it’s actually a good thing.

I want to thank the member from Oshawa for the importance of planning, and I want to reach across the aisle to the member from Markham–Stouffville, because I appreciated his passion for building transit. I want to build transit too.

What worries me is that we had a plan; three levels of government—obviously, the member opposite was there when that plan was announced. It was ready to be built. It would be coming into operation right now, but a new mayor was elected and a new council was elected, and they came in and ripped up those plans. So now here we have another situation where you’ve got four transit plans in place. A new government gets elected provincially and they rip up those plans. To me, this process wastes money, it wastes time and it doesn’t deliver the transit we need.

The member from Chatham-Kent–Leamington talked about uploading and downloading. If the government would go to the city of Toronto and say, “You know what? We have more fiscal tools at the province. Let’s work together. Let’s talk about how we can take your plans that you’ve put all this money and thought and consultation into, where you’ve developed all these details, and we will help you fund that as a good partner, because we want to see transit built”—that’s how uploading and downloading can work, where you work co-operatively with other levels of government. That’s how you get transit built.

I’m happy to work with the members across the aisle to make that happen. Let’s put that in this bill so we can show people that there is a new way of doing business in Ontario that will get transit built. But ripping up plans isn’t the way to do it.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Thank you.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Lisa Gretzky): Seeing the time on the clock, this House stands recessed until 6:45 p.m.

The House recessed from 1800 to 1845.

Evening meeting reported in volume B.