LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO
Tuesday 25 October 2022 Mardi 25 octobre 2022
The House met at 1015.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Good morning. Let us pray.
Tabling of sessional papers
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Before I ask for members’ statements, I beg to inform the House that, during the adjournment, the following documents were tabled:
—a report entitled, Expenditure Monitor 2022-23: Q1, from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario;
—a report entitled, Costing Climate Change Impacts to Public Infrastructure, from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario; and
—a report entitled, Ontario Public Sector Employment and Compensation: Historical Trends, Projections and Risks, from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario.
Mr. Michael Mantha: I heard that cry at the beginning of the session today, and I want to welcome back our friend Bruno. Welcome back, Bruno.
Speaker, on October 5, I wrote to the Minister of Education about the closure of child care centres in Dubreuilville and Assiginack due to staff shortages. These closures left parents to come up with new arrangements for their children’s care at a moment’s notice.
A constituent in Dubreuilville informed me that one parent travels an hour every day with her child from Dubreuilville to Wawa for child care and then has to make the same trek back home every single day. With the winter months coming, you can imagine how stressful and dangerous this will be.
In Assiginack, the wait-list has grown to 26 individuals. Staff there say “operating on a skeleton crew” is a regular thing and have had to transfer workers from another location just to keep their doors open. This is unacceptable in Ontario. Young families are under enough stress with the skyrocketing cost of living as it is.
This staffing crisis is the result of this government’s low-wage policies and lack of funding to child care centres to hire and retain qualified individuals. The government must end this crisis and give early childhood education workers fair pay so that children can thrive and parents can have peace of mind. This cannot wait. The government needs to step up to the plate and recognize that child care workers and Ontario families deserve better.
Mr. Robert Bailey: As always, it’s an honour to rise in the House today.
Mr. Speaker, I felt it very important today to take this opportunity to acknowledge the commitment to community demonstrated by all those candidates who put their name forward for municipal council and school board elections throughout Sarnia–Lambton and, of course, the province of Ontario.
I don’t have to tell anyone in this House that putting your name on the ballot is not an easy decision to make. By putting forward your platform and ideas you open yourself up to scrutiny and criticism from the public and our friends in the press. However, the debate of those ideas is fundamental to our democracy, and without a variety of candidates and a diversity of opinions—whether they finished on top of the polls or somewhere farther down the list—I want to congratulate every candidate in Sarnia–Lambton on their campaign and let them know just how much their participation mattered to their community.
I look forward to working with all the returning and newly elected mayors and members of council in Sarnia–Lambton. I want to say congratulations to newly elected mayors Gary Atkinson in Plympton-Wyoming, and Jeff Agar in St. Clair township. I also applaud mayors Kevin Marriott in Enniskillen township; Ian Veen in Oil Springs; Brad Loosley in Petrolia; and Bev Hand in Point Edward on their re-election. And, of course, Mr. Speaker, special congratulations to Mayor Mike Bradley in Sarnia, who was just elected to his 11th term as mayor of “The Imperial City.”
Ms. Chandra Pasma: Family physicians are an essential part of our health care system, but far too many Ontarians currently do not have a family doctor. According to a recent study, 1.8 million Ontarians do not have access to a regular family physician. This includes many residents of Ottawa West–Nepean. I have heard from many constituents who are desperately searching for access to a primary care physician, but to no avail. One local doctor wrote to me that her office has no less than 10 people walking in every day hoping to find a family doctor taking on new patients.
Family physicians, meanwhile, are experiencing burnout, and too many of them are currently closing their practices. They are contacting my office to ask for help in finding additional resources that will allow them to keep serving patients. These family doctor shortages have serious implications. Erin Bain, one of my constituents, was recently informed that her doctor is closing her practice. Her doctor is under 40, but she has experienced so much stress over the past few years that she is walking away from the profession of medicine. Erin and her parents, who are in their seventies and live with chronic health concerns, are now frantically searching for a new doctor, hoping they won’t be forced to go to the emergency room for routine care.
Wait times at Ottawa hospitals are already over 12 hours. We can’t afford patients who need non-emergency care ending up in the ER because of a doctor shortage. We need this government to take the crisis in health care seriously, invest in all parts of our public health care system and make sure everyone gets the health care they deserve.
Mr. Kevin Holland: As yesterday was the municipal elections in Ontario, I want to start off today by thanking everyone that put their names forward in the municipal and school board elections across Ontario. Participating in our democratic process by putting your names on a ballot to represent your communities is something that you should all be proud of.
To those that were elected yesterday, I offer you my sincere congratulations. Each of you have been entrusted with a responsibility to serve your communities. Having served on council in my community for 31 years, I can tell you that the experience can be a very rewarding one.
To those that have been elected for the first time, you will soon find out that your responsibilities will demand a considerable amount of your time, and that will impact not only on you but your family as well. Please recognize the sacrifices that your family will be making while they support you.
In my role as PA to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, I look forward to working with all of you toward our mutual goal of continuing to make Ontario and our communities the best they can be. As with all elections, we will see change at council tables across the province. I want to thank all members that are not returning for their service and commitment to their communities.
In my riding of Thunder Bay–Atikokan, there are several members of council that are not returning, but I’d like to mention one in particular, and that is Atikokan mayor Dennis Brown. Mayor Brown decided to retire after an incredible 38 years of service. Throughout his time on council, Mayor Brown has worked tirelessly to make Atikokan a better place to live, work and play, and the word “impossible” was not in his vocabulary. It has been a pleasure for me to work with Mayor Brown over the years, and I want to offer him my gratitude and sincerest best wishes in his retirement.
Hunting and fishing
Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Remarks in Oji-Cree.
Fall is hunting season across Ontario. In Kiiwetinoong, in far northern Ontario, it’s something that we all do and practise. We have to understand that hunting is a way of life for all of us in the north. It brings families together; it brings communities together. And it’s important to acknowledge that. I see all the pictures, all the stories from all the hunters up north, whether it’s moose, whether it’s the fishing that happens in the north.
For me, hunting is a way of life, as I said. Hunting is part of who I am as a First Nations person. I will continue these ways of life, to pass down to the children and the grandchildren that are forthcoming.
Sometimes people ask me, “What is ‘land back’?” “Land back,” to us in the north, is going back to the land. “Land back” is building a cabin in these forests, in these lands. “Land back” is relearning your language. It’s a gift that we have from our ancestors and one I am proud of and that I will pass on for generations to come. Meegwetch.
Six Nations remembrance ceremony
Mr. Will Bouma: On Sunday, October 16, I had the honour of attending the Six Nations Veterans Association annual Remembrance Day parade and service in Ohsweken. The beautiful, sunny, fall day did not mask the seriousness of the occasion honouring First Nations veterans that fought in every major conflict that Canada has ever been in.
Speaker, the Six Nations Remembrance Day ceremony is very personal to me. The liberation of the Netherlands, from September 1944 to April 1945, played a key role in the culmination of the Second World War, as the Allied Forces closed in on Germany from all sides. The First Canadian Army played a major role in the liberation of the Dutch people, who had suffered terrible hunger and hardship under the increasingly desperate German occupiers. Six Nations soldiers were among Allied soldiers that fought town to town, canal by canal, pushing back the occupying German forces from the country of my birth, the Netherlands.
The First Canadian Army also played a leading role in opening Belgium and the Netherlands’ Scheldt estuary gateway to the port of Antwerp, a key city in the region. More than 7,600 Canadians died in the eight-month campaign to liberate the Netherlands, a tremendous sacrifice in the cause for freedom.
And, Speaker, I will wear a poppy with a deep sense of pride, lovingly made in my riding of Brantford–Brant by Tuscarora hands that remind me of the sacrifices made by First Nations, Canadians and Allied troops in Europe.
Ms. Mitzie Hunter: Thank you, Speaker, for the opportunity to visit Yellowknife as part of the Canadian parliamentary association. Their Parliament in the Northwest Territories is driven by consensus, and I think that all members of this House will agree that public education is one of our most important responsibilities as a Legislature.
Our public education system was the hardest hit in the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The harsh reality is that our students have missed more school days than any other jurisdiction in North America. As a result, our public education faces an urgent race to catch up, but, again, this challenge represents a steeper climb for some more than others.
Added to this, we have entered the flu season and we’re continuing to manage the latest COVID variants. This means that more disruption is likely. More supports are needed in our public education system, not less. And yet, alarmingly, the government continues to underspend when it comes to public education.
Speaker, while families during this time need support to manage the inflation crisis, direct payments to parents while taking away those precious resources from the classroom are not addressing the gaps in learning that students currently face. I see that in my own riding in Scarborough–Guildwood where many students are struggling to reach grade level in reading.
All students do not require the same level of supports to catch up, and that is why it is critical that solutions are put forward by the government that are equitably designed to meet the needs of all Ontario’s learners. The best place for this investment is in our public education system.
Hungarian Heritage Month
Mr. Rudy Cuzzetto: I’m proud to rise today to celebrate the first annual Hungarian Heritage Month in Ontario. This past Friday, I was proud to join the Ministers of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, and Mental Health and Addictions, and the MPP from Flamborough–Glanbrook here at Queen’s Park to help raise the Hungarian flag, together with officials from the Hungarian consulate and Hungarian Canadian community leaders.
On Sunday, we celebrated Hungarian Republic Day, which marks two important events: 66 years ago, the Hungarian people revolted against Soviet tyranny and oppression, and exactly 33 years later—and 33 years ago—Hungary became a democratic parliamentary republic.
Again, Speaker, on behalf of Hungarian Canadians in Mississauga and across Ontario, I just want to thank members from both sides of this House for supporting my private member’s bill earlier this year to create the first Hungarian Heritage Month in Canada and to recognize a community that has contributed so much to Ontario.
Later this week, the President of Hungary, Katalin Novák, will visit Ontario. She is the first woman elected President of Hungary and also the youngest president in the history of Hungary. I look forward to celebrating Hungarian Heritage Month together with her, and I know that all members will join me in welcoming her to Ontario.
Infectious disease control
Mr. Vincent Ke: With the fall and winter season upon us, a potential resurgence of COVID-19 and flu season is fast approaching. In addition to the province’s strong vaccine program to help protect Ontarians, it is important to remind the public that practising handwashing and good home hygiene help to provide an additional layer of defence against the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the seasonal flu.
Speaker, I want to thank American Hygienics Corp. for their generous donation of sanitizing wet wipes to help further protect our vulnerable citizens and seniors in the community of Don Valley North. I sincerely thank them for their care and kindness. These wet wipes are being distributed by a team of dedicated volunteers who work diligently to support seniors and marginalized people in our community who don’t always have the resources to access wet wipes.
Speaker, I’m proud to recognize the compassionate members of my community who so often put the needs of others ahead of their own. I am thankful for the constituents of Don Valley North who consistently demonstrate that their priorities are in the right order.
Death of police constables
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: I rise with a heavy heart to honour and give my deepest condolences to the families of Constable Morgan Russell—or Mo, as he was known by close friends—and Constable Devon Northrup. They paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and embodied the South Simcoe values of teamwork, integrity, respect, compassion and so much more. These professionals in their field served in the emergency response unit and touched the lives of countless individuals.
I had the honour to know Constable Northrup and had an opportunity to do a ride-along with him where I learned about all his work in the mental health field. Both Constables Northrup and Russell were passionate and devoted to serving those facing mental health challenges and finding ways to better support youth in our region. Constable Russell could have retired years ago, but insisted on serving his community for many more years.
As Staff Sergeant Chalmers reminded us, the greatest contribution that we can give to these heroes in life, and their families, is to take responsibility for the youth in our community and to connect with the children and young adults in our lives—not just via text message, but a call to check in and let them know that they are loved and supported. A simple call, hug or kind word can change a day in the life of someone who is experiencing difficult times and sadness. Do not let it go unnoticed, and do not be afraid to ask for help. If we don’t change the ways that we do things, more people will get hurt.
As Madelaine, the daughter of Constable Russell, reminded us, our police officers, our first responders, our men and women in uniform who serve are not just those who serve our community but they are beloved by their beloved spouses, parents, family members and friends.
To the Northrup family, to the Russell family: I want to let you know that Constables Northrup and Russell will not be forgotten. They will remain as heroes in our hearts and throughout our community for years to come. Our government, our community and the South Simcoe police have your back.
I want to ask everyone to join me here in this Legislature to pay gratitude to Constable Russell and Constable Northrup.
Introduction of Visitors
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We have with us in the Speaker’s gallery today a delegation of ambassadors and chargés de mission representing the following countries with francophone populations: Belgium, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Togo and Vietnam. Please join me in warmly welcoming our guests to the Legislature today.
Mr. Sol Mamakwa: Good morning, Speaker, and everyone. From Anishinabek Nation, we have Deputy Grand Council Chief Travis Boissoneau and Jackie Lombardi. From Sachigo Lake First Nation, we have Dean Beardy and also Robert Barkman. We have Chief Lorraine Crane from Slate Falls First Nation; Chief Lefty Kam from Bearskin Lake First Nation; Councillor Cynthia Fiddler from Sandy Lake First Nation; also, Allen Tate, Freddie Shakakeesic, Mike Loon; Anne Chabot and also Frank McKay from Windigo First Nations Council.
Also, I have some guests visiting all the way from Vienna, Austria: Lucia Huemer and Gerald Wolf. Thank you for being here.
Mr. Graham McGregor: I’m really excited. We have a very special guest here in the Legislature. He is the perennial host of my family Christmas, a father to three children, a wonderful brother to my mother. Please join me in welcoming my uncle Dave.
Mr. Jeff Burch: I would like to welcome Michau van Speyk and Bruce McIntosh from the Ontario Autism Coalition. Thank you for joining us.
Ms. Laurie Scott: I’d like to introduce the members from Merit Ontario who are at Queen’s Park with us today: Dan Gueguen, Gordon Sproule, Mark Rintoul, Ron Worrall, Terrance Oakey, Cam Besseling, Domenic Mattina, Steve Stecho, and Merit Ontario president and CEO Michael Gallardo. And, of course, who keeps him in line? His executive assistant, Mary Farrell. Please welcome them to Queen’s Park. Remember the reception tonight in rooms 228 and 230.
Ms. Doly Begum: Good morning, everyone. I would also like to welcome Susy Whiskeyjack from Slate Falls First Nation. Welcome.
Mr. Nolan Quinn: I’m excited today to introduce—not only because he shares the same name as myself—Nolan Stoqua. He is here from Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry as a member of the page program. Nolan attends school with my children at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Ingleside and was just elected prime minister of the student council. I’d also like to introduce Earl McBean, who is here to support Nolan today.
Ms. Peggy Sattler: I am delighted to welcome Dr. Collin Clarke, who is here today from London West. He is the proud father of today’s page captain, Pearl Clarke. Welcome to Queen’s Park.
Mr. Anthony Leardi: From the beautiful riding of Essex, please welcome Mr. Daniel Allen, who just yesterday was invested with the Order of Ontario, and his wife, Pamela Allen.
Mr. Andrew Dowie: I want to wish a warm welcome to my nephew Marshall, who is part of our current page contingent. Thank you for being here, Marshall. I also want to acknowledge his mom, Sarah, and brother Bryce, who are watching from the gallery upstairs.
Ms. Jess Dixon: I want to acknowledge that we have a number of members from the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario. They are present today for their annual advocacy day. I also want to extend an invitation to join us this evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the legislative dining room. Welcome to Queen’s Park, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: My guests are not here yet but I’m going to introduce them anyways because they are on their way. I want to welcome Chief Mary Duckworth of Caldwell First Nation, Larry Sault and Ian Duckworth and Doug Heil, who are councillors with Caldwell First Nation. When they come, welcome to Queen’s Park.
Death of police constables
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Barrie–Innisfil has informed me she has a point of order.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: If you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the House to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of Morgan Russell and Devon Northrup of the South Simcoe Police Service, who were tragically killed in the line of duty on October 11.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Barrie–Innisfil is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of Morgan Russell and Devon Northrup of the South Simcoe Police Service, who were tragically killed in the line of duty on October 11. Agreed? Agreed.
I’ll ask members to please rise.
The House observed a moment’s silence.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.
Health care funding
Mr. Peter Tabuns: I will take one second, as a member of the class of 2006, to welcome back the member from Nepean. Welcome back, sister—courage.
Speaker, since the beginning of this year, Ontario’s ERs have been closed more than 100 times. Those closures are happening in rural areas, places like Chesley. Their ER is closed until the end of November because of a shortage of nurses. Just a few weeks ago, most of Chesley’s residents packed into a meeting to fight for their community hospital. This government has left Ontarians with no credible plan of action to address the crisis in our health care system.
For the Premier: Why has the Minister of Health neglected her duty during this difficult period?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health.
Mrs. Robin Martin: After decades of underfunding, this government has made unprecedented investments in our health care system. Health care funding has increased 6.2% year over year, the largest increase on record, including over $5 billion in base funding, which is an 8.9% increase. No previous government has increased base funding by such a high amount year over year.
We have added over 3,500 new hospital beds, and we are adding an additional 3,000. We’re in the process of building and upgrading 58,000 long-term-care beds. And we’ve got a $40-billion investment in 52 new hospitals and additions, and $1 billion for home and community care expansions.
We’re investing in our health care system. We’re going to make sure that Ontarians have the resources they need in hospitals and other health care facilities so Ontarians get the care that they deserve.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Well, Speaker, I hear the announcements, but I don’t see the results.
There are consequences when health care isn’t there when people need it. Recently, Eleanor wrote to me about the passing of her daughter, Amelia. Amelia was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and she was diagnosed late, with her screening pushed from November to February. By then, her cancer was so advanced, the only thing doctors could do was palliative chemotherapy.
Eleanor is a retired nurse. She knew that Amelia’s diagnosis was likely fatal, but with earlier screening and better access to care, Eleanor believes Amelia would have lived more than the five short months from diagnosis.
Speaker, these are real-life impacts of the government’s inaction on health care. Will the Premier and minister commit to meaningfully invest in our health care workers so there are no more stories like Amelia’s?
Mrs. Robin Martin: If you want to talk about real results, I just want to mention that the College of Nurses of Ontario has registered more nurses—because of programs that we’ve put in place—in one year than ever in history: a record 12,800 new nurses have been registered, and there’s still two months left to go this year. So that is a record improvement.
Our government has been focused on ensuring that Ontarians have the care that they need, where they need it. Ontario Health—Cancer Care Ontario is the government’s adviser on cancer and the renal system and flows more than $2 billion to hospitals to support direct patient care every year.
We’re working very hard with Ontario Health, which oversees our overall cancer strategy, to make sure that we have the critical programs we need and the services we need to make sure that Ontarians, like Amelia, get the care that they need in a timely way.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): And the final supplementary.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: Again, I hear the announcements; people don’t see the results.
In September, a four-year-old child with a broken arm was left waiting more than four days for minor surgery at McMaster Children’s Hospital. These types of delays can have dramatic impacts on growing kids.
Speaker, these tragic stories are driven by staffing shortages that are now commonplace. How much worse does the crisis in our health care system have to get before the minister and the Premier give nurses and front-line health care workers the support that they need?
Mrs. Robin Martin: Thank you to the member opposite. Nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians, especially our children. I saw the interview with the mother. I understand that the young man had to wait a few days for an operation on his elbow, which is not fair. We would like to change that and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. However, the mother did say in the interview that once the child got care, the care provided was exceptional and that the child is now recovering.
Certainly, we’re making significant investments to address the province’s surgical backlog. We’ve also dedicated $6.5 million to pediatric hospitals to support them to ramp up surgeries. We’ve also provided $4.6 million in more funding for hospitals to add additional acute care beds: nine at CHEO—10 acute care beds there as well—and three ICU beds at Sick Children’s Hospital.
Public Order Emergency Commission
Mr. Joel Harden: My question is for the Premier. Good morning, Premier.
On September 19, the federal Public Order Emergency Commission requested an interview with the Premier and Minister Jones on the use of the federal Emergencies Act this past winter. But the Premier and minister have refused this request, and all subsequent requests, to be interviewed or testify before the commission. Speaker, why did the Premier and minister refuse the commission’s request?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the government House leader.
Hon. Paul Calandra: I think the member opposite would agree that this is certainly a policing matter and not a political matter. This is a federal commission which is looking into the federal government’s invocation of the federal Emergencies Act. We are providing assistance to the commission by submitting key cabinet documents and of course ensuring that witnesses are available to the commission.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary.
Mr. Joel Harden: Speaker, back to the Premier—I hope at least.
That’s not leadership. We had a crisis in our community, the federal Emergencies Act was declared, and this government is content to shunt this as a policing matter or put forward its senior public officials to testify. The Premier and the minister responsible—then-Solicitor General—are absent.
So, left with no other choice, yesterday the commission issued the Premier and the health minister an official summons to testify. I’m going to quote from the summons: The commission believes that “Premier Ford and Minister Jones would have evidence, particularly within their knowledge, that would be relevant to the commission’s mandate.” That’s the end of the quote, Speaker. But this Premier and that minister are intent instead on refusing to testify before the commission, calling instead for a judicial review of their summons. I have a simple question, through you: What are you trying to hide?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I ask the members to make their comments and questions through the Chair.
Government House leader.
Hon. Paul Calandra: Again, as I just said—I guess we disagree—this is a policing matter; it’s not a political one. This is a federal commission which is reviewing the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. At the same time, we are assisting by providing key cabinet documents and ensuring that key witnesses who can answer specifics are made available to the commission.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): And the final supplementary.
Mr. Joel Harden: Well, Speaker, there we have it: The government apparently knows how this matter is more than the commission’s lawyers. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
I want to remind this House that this House is responsible, and they need to be aware of what happened to people in our community in Ottawa—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I caution the member on his language. Please continue with your question.
Mr. Joel Harden: —we were subjected to weeks of unrelenting harassment by convoy organizers and opportunistic hate groups. And in our time of need, this Premier and that minister made promises that were not honoured. In fact, it took them three weeks to seize and tow 39 trucks, and they gave those trucks and the keys back to those truck owners without a fine a week later.
So it is in the public interest for this Premier and that minister to appear before the commission. We have a lot of healing to do as a country to make sure we can prevent anything like this from ever happening again. But accountability starts at the top. Will the Premier and minister stop hiding, come to Ottawa, and testify before the commission?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.
Government House leader.
Hon. Paul Calandra: Again, I suppose it’s a difference of opinion on this, Mr. Speaker. We believe this is a policing matter and not a political matter. Again, to the member opposite, this of course is a federal commission of inquiry into the federal government’s decision to invoke the federal Emergencies Act. At the same time, we are providing assistance to the inquiry by providing key cabinet documents and ensuring that witnesses are available to speak to certain specifics.
Health care funding
Ms. Jessica Bell: My question is to the Minister of Health. In August, I asked your government to help SickKids hospital address their staffing shortages, their $45-million funding shortfall and their growing surgery wait-list. SickKids has a surgery wait-list that has over 3,400 children waiting beyond the clinically acceptable time for their necessary surgery, putting their long-term health at risk.
Minister, three months later, the crisis is getting worse. On Thanksgiving weekend, SickKids ICUs were at full capacity. My question is, why is your government failing to help SickKids meet the demand for care?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Again, I’ll ask the members to make their comments through the Chair.
The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health to reply.
Mrs. Robin Martin: Thank you to the member opposite for the question. As I said before, nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians, especially our children. That’s why, as part of our significant investment to address the province’s surgical backlog of $880 million, we also dedicated $6.5 million to pediatric hospitals to support them in the ramp-up of surgeries. We’ve also provided $4.6 million more in funding to hospitals to add nine additional acute-care beds at CHEO and 10 acute-care beds, as well as three ICU beds, at Sick Children’s Hospital.
This government will spare no expense to make sure the people of this province, especially our children, continue to have access to the high-quality care that they need and expect.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.
Ms. Jessica Bell: Minister, whatever it is that you’re doing, it’s not good enough. SickKids is reporting that they have not been able to accept some children in the Toronto region into their ICU wards, forcing them to other pediatric hospitals farther from home. This shouldn’t be happening in Ontario and it certainly shouldn’t be happening at one of the top children’s hospitals in the world.
Minister, this is my question: What is your government going to do—concretely do—to ensure that all departments, including the ER and the ICUs, have the funding to fully staff their departments so that the health care needs of children can be met?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Again, I’ll ask the members to make their comments through the Chair, not directly across the floor.
The member for Eglinton–Lawrence to reply.
Mrs. Robin Martin: While the volumes in our pediatric ICUs are high, we continue to mobilize all resources to meet the critical clinical needs of these very ill patients.
And I just want to quote from a Toronto Star article by Megan Ogilvie. Dr. Ronald Cohn, the CEO of Sick Children’s Hospital said that the “hospital will always have capacity for the most critically ill children in the province who need the specialized care” that only Sick Children’s Hospital can offer.
So, according to Dr. Cohn, the resources are there. We’re going to make sure the resources are there because we want to make sure that our children in Ontario and all other Ontarians have the support they need.
Mr. Brian Saunderson: My question is for the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. The minister was recently in Japan and South Korea to meet with international investors in the automotive and EV battery sector. Ontario already has a number of Japanese and Korean manufacturers employing thousands of people across the province. Speaker, two of these manufacturers are in the riding of Simcoe–Grey—Honda and Nippon Sheet Glass—employing hundreds of residents.
Can the minister please provide us with an update on those business meetings?
Hon. Victor Fedeli: This mission was an opportunity to re-engage with trusted partners in South Korea and Japan. It was great to meet with LG Energy Solution in Korea to personally thank them for their $5-billion investment in Windsor. In fact, we were in Windsor last week and saw the massive site, as their 4.5-million-square-foot building is under way. Thousands are working there during construction, and 2,500 men and women will go to work there for the very first time at that plant.
We also used the opportunity to engage with a number of other Korean suppliers for the historic LG investment in Japan. We met with Toyota and Honda where we personally thanked Honda for their $1.4-billion investment in Alliston.
We’re continuing to build on the $16 billion of Ontario auto investments in the last 20 months, and now even more companies know that if they’re in the EV business, they need to be in Ontario.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
Mr. Brian Saunderson: Thanks to the minister for that update on his recent trade mission to Japan and South Korea. During this time of global uncertainty and while the world shifts towards electrification, Ontario needs to secure further investments to support and further the future of auto and EV battery manufacturing in this province.
Can the minister please tell us more about what these Japanese and South Korean companies had to say about investing in Ontario?
Hon. Victor Fedeli: Here’s what we heard from the EV sector in Japan and South Korea: They told us that in this world filled with turmoil, they view Ontario as a sea of calm—a stable, a reliable, a trusted jurisdiction. They also said Ontario is viewed as a safe place—safe for their employees, safe for their families. They know that Ontario has everything they need for success: a full EV value chain. That includes critical minerals and refining, resources traditionally they rely on from China and Russia; 94% clean energy, very different from making a battery in Kentucky, where there is 6% clean energy. We have skilled trades, 65,000 STEM grads, AI and quantum computing, and public health—end to end, everything an EV company needs to be successful. That’s the reputation Ontario now has around the world.
Mr. Sol Mamakwa: My question is to the Premier. We learned on September 30 that the council of the municipality of Sioux Lookout unanimously passed a resolution to support the petitioning of this government to suspend Bill 7 within Sioux Lookout’s catchment boundaries. This was done because the reality is that this bill does not work for the people served by the health care system in the Sioux Lookout area.
Will this government undertake a meaningful consultation on this bill with health care providers in Sioux Lookout?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the Minister of Long-Term Care.
Hon. Paul Calandra: I appreciate the question from the member. The member will know, in particular with respect to Bill 7, we had had acute-care facilities across this country for many, many, many years asking that in particular long-term care become a partner in helping to address ALC issues. For many years we could not do that because the investments were not made in long-term care. But that changed in 2018 when the government made significant investments—over $13 billion—in long-term care. We’re doing them across the province, in urban, rural and remote communities.
I was up in Kenora with the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development. We were reviewing the potential allocation of a new long-term-care home there.
But at the same time, Bill 7 helps ensure better care for people closer to home. I think that the honourable member would agree that it is in our best interest to work to ensure that people who are in hospital get the best quality of care possible—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.
The supplementary question.
Mr. Sol Mamakwa: In First Nation country, Bill 7 is colonial. I ask this government to stop your colonizing ways.
Last week I attended a gathering of Indian residential school survivors from the north, and they shared their worries about Bill 7. They say that Bill 7 traumatizes residential institution survivors again. Survivors will again be moved forcefully because of the lack of long-term-care facilities in our communities. They do not want to be forced to leave, to spend their last years far away from home. They are asking for more home care and long-term care closer to home. When will this government finally get around to honouring this request from Kiiwetinoong?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health.
Mrs. Robin Martin: Thank you to the member opposite. We remain committed to working collaboratively with Indigenous partners and communities to co-develop programs that will improve access to safe and effective health services. We acknowledge that programs and services must be designed, delivered and evaluated in collaboration with Indigenous partners to effectively meet the needs of Indigenous peoples, families and communities.
For example, All Nations Health Partners is an Ontario health team with Indigenous leadership that serves people living in and around Kenora and Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls in northwestern Ontario, including Indigenous and First Nations peoples. Similarly, the Rainy River District Ontario Health Team has Indigenous leadership that will serve people living in and around that area and, most recently, the Maamwesying Ontario Health Team has Indigenous leadership that will serve Indigenous peoples living in 11 nearby First Nations.
We’re also providing $41 million in base funding to Indigenous organizations and communities to support culturally safe mental health and wellness services. We’ll continue to work with Indigenous partners and communities to make sure we have the right services.
Ms. Donna Skelly: Good morning, Speaker. People in my riding of Flamborough–Glanbrook rely on transit to get where they need to go every single day, and it’s not uncommon for me to hear about their frustrations with the lack of reliable transit options available in our community. The members opposite had over a decade to address the transit gap that exists in Hamilton, and while they talked a lot about building, they never got it done.
Speaker, can the Minister of Transportation please tell this House what our government is doing to build the transit connections the people of Hamilton deserve?
Hon. Caroline Mulroney: Thank you to the member from Flamborough–Glanbrook for the question. Under Premier Ford’s leadership, our government is getting shovels in the ground to build more transit in Hamilton and across the province.
Just a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining the Premier and my colleagues from Hamilton to announce that we are moving ahead with building the new Confederation GO station. The new station will connect Hamilton with the GO train network, eventually offering two-way, all-day GO service along the Lakeshore West line to Toronto and Niagara Falls. It will also provide better connections to existing transit and GO bus services in these communities.
Speaker, with projects like the Confederation GO station and the Hamilton LRT already under way, our PC government has a plan to get the people of Hamilton connected, and we are getting it done.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.
Ms. Donna Skelly: Thank you, Minister, for the work that you are doing to improve transit right across the GTHA.
Hamilton has seen significant growth as a destination to live, work and play. By 2046, the city of Hamilton could see its population grow by up to 35%. If you consider this growth, the need to invest in and build public transit is clear. But it’s not just about accommodating this growth; it’s also about protecting our economy.
Speaker, could the Minister of Transportation please speak about the economic significance of this project?
Hon. Caroline Mulroney: Thank you again to the member for the question.
Speaker, this government is focused on an agenda of prosperity, and we are moving full steam ahead with our historic plans to build and expand public transit, because now is not the time for inaction. Our unprecedented investments to get critical infrastructure projects like the Confederation GO station built will stimulate future growth and job creation. By 2041, over 100,000 people and 63,000 jobs will be located within five kilometres of this new station. Under Premier Ford’s leadership, we are connecting more people to jobs, housing and transit in one of the fastest-growing regions of the province. This will unlock access to Ontario’s full potential and set the foundation for long-term economic growth in our province.
Ms. Chandra Pasma: Ontario’s students are struggling, but this government’s cuts to public education mean they aren’t getting the support they need: classrooms with more than 30 kids, EAs trying to support six kids at once, not enough mental health supports or public health nurses. And, now, instead of investing in our schools, this government is abdicating its responsibilities, telling parents it’s up to them to try to track down an hour or two of tutoring.
Why is this government refusing to invest in public education so that our kids get the support they deserve in the classroom?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Education.
Hon. Stephen Lecce: I want to thank the member opposite and welcome her as the new education critic for the official opposition.
Mr. Speaker, our government will not waver from keeping kids in class. We believe that is the most consequential action we can take to support the very children the member opposite speaks of today. How we do that, Speaker, is through Ontario’s Plan to Catch Up, a $600-million net investment this year, compared to last year, of increased spending to support publicly funded schools; the largest tutoring expansion of its kind, which our government just extended into the next year of $175 million, benefiting over 170,000 students in this province as we speak.
We recognize, as every parent knows, that there has been real learning loss, a phenomenon that has been seen in every region of the western world. That’s why we feel so strongly that we need to increase investments in public education, part of that with the hiring of 5,000 more staff this year, in addition to helping parents through this economic difficulty. Our Premier and our government will do both: invest in families and invest in our publicly funded education system.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
Ms. Chandra Pasma: Parents are stressed, Speaker. They’re already having to leave work to pick up their kids because of bus shortages. They don’t want to also have to hunt for an hour or two of support outside the classroom. They want those supports in schools.
With $365 million, the government could have added one more EA to every single school in Ontario. They could have put public health nurses and social workers in every school to address mental health challenges. They could have paid education workers a living wage so they can stop using food banks, and we could fill worker shortages.
Why is this government pushing ahead with its poorly designed voucher system, instead of giving our schools the resources they need to help our kids?
Hon. Stephen Lecce: Mr. Speaker, at a time of historic high inflation and economic challenge affecting all of our constituents, I find it incredibly offensive that the NDP and Liberals would oppose an investment directly into the pockets of parents, because only a New Democrat and Liberal would believe they know better—a politician, a union president or a public servant—than a parent of this province. There is a reason, Speaker, why our government has an enhanced mandate from the people of Ontario: because they can count on us to invest in them, to provide direct support in parents of this province to support their kids, because we know they play a critical role in the life of their child.
But in addition to providing $200 for every child and $250 for every child with special education needs—now I can confirm 800,000 applicants, as of this morning—we know we can also step up support for our publicly funded schools: 5,000 more staff, including 1,000 more educators in our classroom; better training of our staff; and a modern curriculum focused on skills. This is going to get kids back on track.
Mr. Stephen Blais: Speaker, good morning. My question is for the Premier. Ontario families are facing rising prices on every front: rising housing prices, rising energy prices and, perhaps most challenging, rising food prices. We can all agree that eating is no luxury. Ensuring your children have breakfast before school is no luxury. But for many families—families right across this province—the grocery bill at the end of the week is becoming harder and harder to afford.
In these challenging times, instead of competing for customers, Ontario’s largest grocery chains all but admitted that they collude and plan to keep prices at these inflated rates through the holidays. This is unacceptable at any time, Mr. Speaker, but as we consider rising inflation, as we consider the approaching holidays, this becomes that much harder to bear. With rising food prices, what is this Premier’s government going to do to ensure that Ontario consumers—our friends and family and neighbours—are not taken advantage of by some of the biggest companies in this province—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.
To reply, the Minister of Finance.
Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Thank you to the member opposite for that question. Of course, the federal government and all parties have launched the committee and the process for that. We’ll let them do their work.
But while we’re at it, Mr. Speaker, what about that carbon tax that the federal government, which this party supports, put on the backs of the people of Ontario? That is causing rising costs and food prices in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker, let me tell you what Ontario has done. Let me take you back to when we reduced the gas tax by 5.7 cents a litre. Let me take you back to when we took licence plate fees off the backs of Ontario drivers. Let me take you to today, when we just increased the minimum wage to the second-highest in the country. Let me tell you what we’re doing tomorrow: We have the staycation tax credit, the seniors tax credit, the job training tax credit, the child care tax credit—Mr. Speaker, we recalled the Legislature this summer to get things going for the people of Ontario. Support us.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Again, I’ll ask the members to make their comments through the Chair.
The supplementary question.
Mr. Stephen Blais: My supplementary is for the Premier again. Food prices are on the rise and we’ve just heard that this government has no plan to protect Ontario consumers from price gouging. While major grocers collude to keep food prices artificially high during the holidays, they are considering charging their loyal customers just to use their credit card. Grocery stores, some of whom offer credit card-based loyalty programs, want to now charge their customers for the privilege of using their credit card to buy food. Ontario consumers will be paying higher food prices—prices fixed in part by collusion—they’re going to be paying credit card fees, and now the grocers and other businesses want to take a little bit of skim off the credit card purchase. I suppose everyone needs to wet their beak a little bit, but that’s going a little bit too far.
My question: Quebec has passed legislation to prohibit charging consumers a fee to use their credit cards. Will Ontario do the same?
Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy: Again, I don’t know if the member opposite was actually listening. In fact, when we recalled the Legislature this past summer, the members opposite had an opportunity to vote to bring costs down for the people of Ontario. What did the members opposite do? They voted against the measures that we put in the budget bill. They had an opportunity.
Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, we have a plan for Ontarians. We have a plan to build Ontario. We took that plan to the people of Ontario. It was roundly endorsed by the people of Ontario, as witnessed by all the people on both sides. That plan is to get shovels in the ground to build hospitals, to build highways, to build long-term care, to support labour, to get more workers, retrain workers for the jobs of today and for tomorrow and to help keep costs down for the people of Ontario. We are delivering for the people of Ontario.
Indigenous economic development
Mr. Kevin Holland: This government is committed to unlocking Ontario’s full economic potential by bringing jobs back to this province. Ontarians need opportunities to participate in our growing economy and ensure a prosperous future for themselves and their families. We know that Indigenous businesses have a lot to offer and can support critical supply chains across different sectors.
Can the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development please inform the House on how our government plans to increase economic prosperity for Indigenous people in Ontario?
Hon. Greg Rickford: I want to thank the member from Thunder Bay–Atikokan. He makes one heck of a neighbour out there in northwestern Ontario, advocating for the people of Thunder Bay.
He’s right: Indigenous businesses have an incredible opportunity. This is an Indigenous-led and -inspired fund through the Chiefs of Ontario and our wealth creation and prosperity table. I had a chance to be with the member from Durham—also a fantastic advocate for his riding and the Indigenous communities there—as we attended, at the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, our announcement to commit $25 million to this Indigenous Economic Development Fund that creates access to business capital—much needed—through loans and grants, supports digitization and e-commerce, supply chain mapping, building on the existing opportunities and understanding where the new opportunities are, economic development training for business capacity, and, finally and most importantly, perhaps, focusing on access to Indigenous apprentices.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
Mr. Kevin Holland: Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare called this investment “an opportunity to create long-term solutions rooted in mutual respect and collaboration.” It is imperative that the provincial government recognize the unique challenges that Indigenous communities in Ontario face. We should be partnering with these communities as they are vital to our government’s economic growth agenda.
Can the minister please explain to this House why it is so important for the rollout of this critical funding to be an Indigenous-led process?
Hon. Greg Rickford: In fact, the member for Kiiwetinoong introduced a group of people from northern Ontario, some of my friends, most notably Frank McKay. I’m not sure if he’s still here, but he and a couple of other folks I work with closely started the Watay Power project, which will electrify remote Indigenous communities across northwestern Ontario.
Now, I can’t help but think that there is an opportunity, as those businesses and those Indigenous people finish the work there, to start contracting businesses. Mining, forestry and energy infrastructure are all on the table, and do you know what they have in common? They cannot succeed unless we have a robust Indigenous business economic opportunity, trained skilled workers and apprentices getting out there, getting the work done.
We’re proud of the work we’re doing with the Chiefs of Ontario, our Indigenous businesses. We’re going to get this done, and Indigenous communities are going to be the benefit of it.
Ms. Jennifer K. French: My question is to the Premier. It has been a heavy and long journey for the families of those who died at Orchard Villa long-term-care home. Ontario remembers the horrors exposed when the military had to be called to the home. Seventy lives were lost. Families are still forced to fight for justice, and now, instead of grieving and healing, they are fighting to keep Orchard Villa and the for-profit operator Southbridge from being awarded an unfathomable 30-year licence extension and more beds.
Does the Premier think this long-term-care home with such a terrible record deserves a free pass and a generation-long reward?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the Minister of Long-Term Care.
Hon. Paul Calandra: I appreciate the question from the member opposite. The member will know, of course, that the licence extension was up for review. Consultations and community input closed—I believe it was on October 18. The ministry is currently undertaking a review of those comments, and we will come back to the House when a decision has been made.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question? The member for Niagara Falls.
Mr. Wayne Gates: My question is to the Premier. This government is fully aware of the horrific and, in many cases, deadly failures of Orchard Villa during the COVID-19 pandemic because it’s public knowledge. But they’re happy to issue another 30-year licence to this private for-profit long-term-care home. The willingness of this government to grant such a long-term-care-home owner-operator another 30-year licence is unjust, disturbing and, frankly, dismissive and disrespectful to the residents and families who continue to suffer.
Mr. Speaker, 70 people lost their lives at Orchard Villa, some because of dehydration, starvation and neglect. Will this government tell the grieving families of Orchard Villa today that they will not issue a 30-year licence?
Hon. Paul Calandra: Mr. Speaker, I will do what the legislation requires me to do. I’m certainly hoping that the member opposite isn’t suggesting that, should they ever get the opportunity to form government, which we all know is unlikely, he himself and his government itself would decide, in the absence of any public consultation, any regulation, any oversight, what should be the status of licences: that they should be for his friends—no, Mr. Speaker, instead, for the families, because that is what matters in long-term care. For the families and the residents, we are going to review the comments that came in through October 18 through the extended public consultation period.
Ultimately, what we’re doing is building a long-term-care system in the province of Ontario that we can be proud of. That is why we have North America-leading levels of care, four hours of care per resident per day, the highest number of inspectors-per-home ratio in the country and over 58,000 new and upgraded beds across the province, so that we can be proud of our long-term-care system. We’re getting it done.
Health care post-secondary education
Ms. Laurie Scott: My question is to the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Our health care workforce faces challenges after a difficult few years, starting with the policies of the past Liberal government and now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health care system, neglected by the previous Liberal government, was stretched to the limit. This resulted in many nurses unfortunately leaving the profession when we needed them the most.
Speaker, we need additional health care professionals now more than ever to support the workforce and ensure patients continue receiving the care they need. Can the Minister of Colleges and Universities explain how our government plans to address the nursing shortage and alleviate pressure on our health care system?
Hon. Jill Dunlop: Thank you to the member for Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock for raising this important question. This government understands that investments in college and university hospital research not only strengthen Ontario’s existing innovation and commercialization capacity but also grow our province’s skilled workforce and positions us as a global leader. That is why our government is committed to supporting research and innovation that leads to the discoveries and advancements that make a real impact on people’s lives. Whether our researchers are developing new techniques to detect illnesses faster, finding new ways to understand the human brain or working on the latest AI technology, Ontario’s colleges and universities and research institutes are at the forefront.
To help further the great work being done in this sector, our government has invested more than $198 million in 2022 into research projects at colleges, universities and research hospitals across the province. This funding supports 241 research projects across the province and will be integral in building, renovating and equipping research facilities with updated technology as well as attracting new research talent. We will continue to work hard to strengthen Ontario’s college and university hospital research initiatives and thus provide them with the ability to adopt advanced technologies to remain competitive and continue moving Ontario forward.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?
Ms. Laurie Scott: Thank you to the minister for that update. While it’s good to hear more nurses are enrolling, Ontario still has a major discrepancy in where those nurses are located. We know that Toronto, Peel and Ottawa have a nursing shortage but smaller regions and those in the north are often in desperate need of health care staff. We’ve all heard our government talk about the importance of the people of Ontario being able to receive health care in their home communities, and yet, these sorts of disparities still exist across the province.
Speaker, can the minister explain how our government will start addressing the regional gaps in our health care system and not just open up more seats at schools?
Hon. Jill Dunlop: Thank you again to the member from Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock for raising this important issue. Ontario has incredible research potential, and we are working to realize this through investments in organizations like the Ontario Health Data Platform and our new agency, Intellectual Property Ontario. Just last week, I announced that the esteemed Peter Cowan has joined IPON as the CEO and will be working hand in hand with our chair, Karima Bawa, and the board to strengthen intellectual property development and commercialization within Ontario.
Ontario has always been a leader in research and cultivation of life-changing and enhancing products. From the latest in technology to life-saving medication, our researchers are at the forefront. With Peter and IPON, Ontario will take the next step and ensure the benefits of this research go on to support future Ontario-based research and that Ontario is the first to benefit. When tax dollars help fund research, taxpayers deserve to see the benefits from it.
Mr. Jeff Burch: Speaker, through you to the Premier: Since 2018, I’ve been sounding the alarm about the horrific conditions faced by so many of our most vulnerable citizens living in supportive living accommodations.
Last week, the Toronto Star released an investigative report into SLA homes. They found food with black mould, soiled mattresses and furniture, bedbugs and rats the size of footballs. Residents and former employees report that senior management refused to address these issues, instead telling residents with nowhere else to go to “feel free to move out.”
I appreciate the fact this government supported my private member’s bill to regulate these homes back in 2020, but it was not prioritized and it was never passed.
Through you, Speaker, what action has this government taken since then to protect these vulnerable residents?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Minister of Long-Term Care.
Hon. Paul Calandra: I thank the member for that question. Of course, as reported recently by the media, what we saw was completely and absolutely unacceptable. We make investments into the community with the anticipation that our partners will work closely with us. When that is not the case, we of course will take action to ensure that the health and safety of those residents in all of our institutions are at the height of what Ontarians expect.
The ultimate goal of our systems, whether it is in long-term care, whether it is in community and congregate care settings, is to provide the utmost level of care to ensure that people who are committed into our care are treated respectfully. When that is not the case, like we do in long-term care, we take action, and we will do that. Again, I thank the honourable member for that very important question.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?
Mr. Jeff Burch: Many people who have complex needs, but who don’t qualify for and can’t get into long-term care, end up in these supportive living homes. These homes claim to offer supportive services and amenities typically provided in full-service retirement care. Many of them have dementia, suffer severe mental health and addiction challenges and are disabled.
At Walnut Manor in St. Thomas, health inspectors went into a supportive living accommodation that reeked of urine and had piles of garbage and rotting food everywhere. The conditions were so horrifying that these seasoned inspectors gagged.
Members of this Premier’s current cabinet have supported this bill in the past, including the current Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. Will the government commit today to support, prioritize and, as quickly as possible, pass my private member’s bill to protect vulnerable residents of supportive living accommodations in Ontario?
Hon. Paul Calandra: Again, I thank the member for the question. Look, as I’ve said on a number of occasions, and I’m not going to stray from that, private members’ business is the domain of the members of this House, and the members will make the decision and determination on whether they will support a bill or not.
Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I think we have been very clear in everything that we are doing, whether it is the Minister of Labour ensuring safe workplaces, whether it is long-term care having the highest inspector-to-home ratio in North America. Frankly, whether it is the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education, we are putting the people that we serve, the people of Ontario, first in all instances. And when people let us down, let the people of the province of Ontario down, we will take action to ensure that, ultimately, the people of Ontario and the people that we are charged to care for are put first.
In the instances that the member raised, I think we can all agree on all sides of the House that it is particularly unacceptable. It is not what the people of the province of Ontario expect, and we will take action to ensure that the people under our care are taken care of in an appropriate manner.
Hunting and fishing
Mr. Rick Byers: When it comes to experiencing the great outdoors, we know that Ontarians from all walks of life enjoy various activities in our province’s forests and wilderness. There’s plenty to enjoy, such as fishing, hiking, birdwatching, biking and camping. In particular, hunting is a much-beloved pastime in Ontario, and continues countless years of tradition. With hunting season occurring now, the safety of all participants must be properly addressed.
Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. What is our government doing to ensure that all Ontarians can experience our great outdoors safely?
Hon. Graydon Smith: Thank you to the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound for that important question. The safety of Ontarians is something our government takes very seriously. Ontario’s forests provide a world-class backdrop for many outdoor activities. At the same time, we know hunting plays an important role in the cultural and economic fabric of our province, and that’s why hunters need to make sure safety is their top priority every hunting season. All hunters must wear solid orange clothing and a hunter orange head cover during seasons for deer, moose and elk. Hunters must handle firearms responsibly and never shoot unless they’re absolutely sure of their target and what lies beyond it. It’s illegal to shoot from a vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle.
Mr. Speaker, we’re fortunate to have highly trained and dedicated conservation officers all across the province, and we made good on our promise to hire 25 additional officers across Ontario.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
Mr. Rick Byers: I want to thank the minister for that answer. Hiring more conservation officers across the province is important. But this comes at a time when taxpayers want certainty regarding how programs are funded. I know that the province collects revenues generated through fees and licences to support fish and wildlife management.
Can the minister explain what is being done to ensure that funds collected through fishing and hunting licence fees, fines and royalties are protecting our ecosystems and supporting our communities?
Hon. Graydon Smith: I want to again thank the member for the thoughtful question.
Speaker, my ministry is ensuring the responsible management of fish and wildlife in Ontario. Through the province’s fish and wildlife special purpose account, the province spends 100% of hunting and fishing revenue on fish and wildlife management programs. The funds collected are used for programs like fish culture stocking, wildlife population studies, research and enforcement.
Our government has also made life more affordable by putting a stop to hunting licence fee increases for all Ontario residents and removing the $2 service fee. Government also waived fees for resource-based tourism operators during the tough times that we’ve seen in the last couple of years—bait fish operator fees, commercial outpost camp land use fees for 2020 and 2021 waived. And we know the people of Ontario have seen relief by making it easier and faster to buy and print licences online.
Mr. Speaker, there’s more work ahead, but the people of Ontario can rest assured knowing we’re getting it done.
Health care funding
MPP Jamie West: My question is for the Premier. Speaker, Zoe Rivet is an eight-year-old girl from Sudbury. She has Kabuki syndrome; it’s a rare congenital disorder. Zoe has a dislocated knee and has been on a wait-list at CHEO for three years. Waiting for three years has caused Zoe’s condition to worsen. She struggles to walk and, because she’s unable to bear the weight on her dislocated knee, she relies heavily on her wheelchair. This is causing stress on the rest of her body, and Zoe’s quality of life has been steadily declining. Her mother, Danielle, tells me that Zoe spends many days in tears because of the pain, Speaker.
My question to the Premier is, can the Premier tell Danielle why her eight-year-old daughter Zoe has been waiting three years for this necessary surgery?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health.
Mrs. Robin Martin: Thank you to the member opposite for telling us about Zoe and her mother. As the member opposite knows, we’ve made significant investments to try to clear the surgical backlog across the board as part of our $3.3-billion investment in the hospital sector. We’ve also dedicated $300 million to reduce surgical backlogs, part of the broader investment of $880 million to reduce surgical backlogs, and specifically we’ve made investments at pediatric hospitals like CHEO, as I’ve said before, because nothing is more important than the well-being of our children.
So I’m sorry to hear about Zoe’s wait and certainly we should make sure that Zoe gets care as quickly as possible. But that’s why we’re investing significantly to address the backlog that has come out as a result of COVID and why we’ve also had dedicated funding of $6.5 billion for pediatric hospitals specifically to address these types of concerns.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
MPP Jamie West: Back to the Premier: Stats don’t mean anything if you’re a mother waiting with a five-year-old for three years. Having to wait three years for surgery is causing other medical problems for Zoe, and Danielle, her mother, says Zoe is gaining weight at an alarming speed due to her inability to walk. It’s causing worry of diabetes.
Zoe has been waiting far too long already, and she continues to be bumped farther and farther back. Speaker, what eight-year-old girl do you know wishing for knee surgery? Zoe does every single day for the last three years.
My question: When will the Premier finally admit that his government is failing to properly address wait times and surgery backlogs in our health care system?
Mrs. Robin Martin: As I said before, we know that the volumes in our ICUs in pediatric hospitals are high, and we’re continuing to mobilize resources to meet critical needs of very ill patients. The Premier, myself and others were at CHEO just recently to look at the children’s treatment centres there and to meet with some of the providers to learn more about the needs of CHEO and other pediatric hospitals.
But as I said before, we’ve provided $4.6 million more in funding for those hospitals to add an additional nine acute-care beds at CHEO and 10 acute-care beds and three ICU beds at SickKids Hospital. Our government, as we work on addressing short-term stressors on the system, continues to advance meaningful reforms to build a more resilient, patient-centred and integrated system, and we really want to make sure that patients like Zoe do not have to wait in the future.
Mr. Billy Pang: The long-term-care sector is facing increased capacity pressures. As of April 2022, there were approximately 39,000 people on the wait-list for a long-term-care bed. While seniors wait to be placed in a long-term-care home, their health care needs often fall to their spouses, children and other loved ones.
Speaker, families and friends are excellent at providing love and support, but most are not health care practitioners, and they cannot provide the same level of care as one.
Speaker, what is the Minister of Long-Term care doing to ensure our seniors receive the care they need right now?
Hon. Paul Calandra: I want to thank the member for Markham–Unionville for this question. It’s actually a very important one. He raises a good point: There are still a number of people who are on the long-term-care wait-list.
While it is a very positive step that we are building 58,000 new and upgraded beds across every part of the province—urban, rural and remote communities—it is also very true that a lot of people want to stay in their home as long as possible, and they need assistance in order to do that. And so do the family members who care for them. That is why I was very happy that we returned the respite care program to our long-term-care homes. But also the community paramedicine program, which was launched by my predecessor, which is available throughout the province of Ontario, is a very significant way—it leverages the resources of paramedics, who we all thank for the incredible service that they do. It leverages their services when not on an emergency call to assist our seniors in their homes, and it has proven to be a very popular and very effective way of keeping our seniors in their homes as long as we possibly can.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?
Mr. Billy Pang: Speaker, as Ontarians age, their health care needs grow, and the impact of these needs has ripple effects that can be felt throughout the community. When families reach a point where they can no longer provide the full care needed for a loved one, they turn to hospitals, long-term care and emergency services.
Globally, health care systems are facing unprecedented challenges, due in large part to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ours is no exception. The minister mentioned that community paramedicine is a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Health to address cross-sectoral challenges. Speaker, could the Minister of Long-Term Care please explain how community paramedicine addresses the strain on these sectors?
Hon. Paul Calandra: Again, it’s a really good question from the member. The community paramedicine program, as I referenced in the first question, is now available—I’m very happy to say—throughout the province of Ontario with our partners. It’s not just about visiting homes or visiting individuals and seniors in their homes. It also allows us the ability to partner with our seniors who need the extra care to monitor them. Often, through electronic monitoring, we’re able to see if a senior is in distress, or a whole host of issues that the paramedics can monitor, which helps avoid 911 calls and emergency runs to the hospitals. Because the paramedics are engaged, they understand, in advance, what is happening to a senior that they’ve been helping to stay in their home and avoid early admittance into long-term care or unnecessarily going to a hospital emergency room. So it is a program that is working very well.
I’m very pleased with our municipal partners across the province of Ontario, and of course, it’s just another great reason why we all support our front-line workers, like paramedics, across the province of Ontario, who are helping seniors stay in their home longer.
Ms. Bhutila Karpoche: My question is to the Premier. Recently, Sam wrote to me to share that her father, who was admitted to St. Joseph’s Health Centre in my riding, had no room from Monday evening to Friday night. He had to stay in a hallway for four days straight because there was no staffed room available. Sam said that the workers at St. Joe’s were professional and pleasant, but they were short-staffed.
Speaker, front-line staff have been very clear. They have asked the Premier to repeal Bill 124 and urgently recognize the credentials of tens of thousands of internationally trained health care workers. Why does the Premier continue to say no to our health care workers and leave Ontarians in hospital hallways?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): To reply, the member for Eglinton–Lawrence.
Mrs. Robin Martin: Mr. Speaker, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has been making unprecedented investments into the largest health human resource recruitment initiative and training initiative in Ontario’s history. We’ve already added 11,700 new health care workers since March 2020, and we’ve invested $4.9 billion to hire 27,000 long-term-care staff.
We’ve also got the largest enrolment of new medical students in 10 years, and two new medical schools in Brampton and Scarborough.
We’re working, as I said, on short-term stressors, while also trying to plan for the future and fix the system long-term. We’ve made significant investments in our health care workers. You’ve heard about some of the nursing investments we’ve made already today, but let me give you a couple more: $35 million to increase enrolment in nursing education in publicly assisted colleges and universities—these new spaces will add 1,130 new practical nurses and 870 registered nurses—and up to $100 million to add 2,000 nurses and personal support workers who want to advance their careers in long-term care.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): That concludes our question period for this morning.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Scarborough–Guildwood has informed me she has a point of order.
Ms. Mitzie Hunter: I seek unanimous consent for a moment of silence in memory of Cynthia Lai, city of Toronto councillor for ward 23, Scarborough North. Cynthia sadly passed away suddenly on Friday, October 21, while seeking re-election. We offer our sincere condolences to her family and her constituents at this time.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Scarborough–Guildwood is seeking the unanimous consent of the House for a moment of silence in memory of Toronto city councillor Cynthia Lai. Agreed? Agreed.
Members will please rise.
The House observed a moment’s silence.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. Members may take their seats.
Official members’ photograph
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Before I recess the House, I want to remind members of a memo that was sent to all of you on September 20 to inform you that tomorrow we are planning to have a group photograph of all the members in the chamber, right after question period. It’s a tradition that we’ve had over a number of years, and I hope that you will all be able to hang around for a few minutes after question period so that we can do this and have that record of the 43rd provincial Parliament. Thank you.
This House stands in recess until 3 p.m.
The House recessed from 1148 to 1500.
Introduction of Visitors
Mr. Michael Mantha: On behalf of the good member of Nickel Belt, who is stuck—I mean, happily in committee right now, I’d like to introduce Madame Monique Farrell, who is the mother of our page captain today, Molly Farrell.
Mr. John Vanthof: Since I hardly ever get visitors, I’d like to introduce Dennis Messenger and Barbara Knauth from Timiskaming. They’re here for a private bill today.
Mr. Tom Rakocevic: I’d like to welcome Karen, James, Chris and Kevin Henderson, as well as Kathy Borzecka and Iris and Emma.
MPP Jill Andrew: I understand that there is a fantastic page here, whose name I have yet to learn, from Toronto–St. Paul’s, the best riding in our province. So can we all give them a round of applause and welcome them to Queen’s Park?
Come check me out and say hello.
Mr. Joel Harden: I want to take this opportunity to welcome people who will be coming today for a memorial for MPP Richard Patten: Barbara Jordan, Allan Morrison, and a former Speaker of this House, David Warner. Penny Patten will be watching from home.
MPP Jill Andrew: I would like to welcome the family and loved ones of MPP Lily Oddie Munro. I have the honour of offering a tribute about her this afternoon. I will be welcoming Mr. John Oddie, her son; Ms. Mara Fabrizio, her former daughter-in-law; Mr. Finn Munro, her grandson; Ms. Lynn Larson, her cousin; Mr. Robert Bailey, her friend; Mr. Doug, her friend; and Mr. David Warner, former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Welcome. It’s an honour to say a few words on MPP Lily Oddie Munro.
Ms. Bobbi Ann Brady: I’d like to welcome the family of the late MPP Gord Miller: son Doug Miller, along with his wife, Flora; grandsons Jamie Miller and Geoff Addis; granddaughter Meghan Haughton and her husband, David, as well as their children, Brynn and Mason. Welcome to Queen’s Park.
Introduction of Government Bills
More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 / Loi de 2022 visant à accélérer la construction de plus de logements
Mr. Clark moved first reading of the following bill:
Bill 23, An Act to amend various statutes, to revoke various regulations and to enact the Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022 / Projet de loi 23, Loi modifiant diverses lois, abrogeant divers règlements et édictant la Loi de 2022 visant à soutenir la croissance et la construction de logements dans les régions de York et de Durham.
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): Would the minister care to briefly explain his bill by reading the explanatory note?
Hon. Steve Clark: I’ll paraphrase the explanatory note because it’s quite large, Speaker.
The proposed More Homes Built Faster Act would amend the Planning Act, the Development Charges Act and other legislation. The proposed changes are intended to be the next phase in our bold and transformative plan to get 1.5 million homes built in the next 10 years.
The bill and proposed regulations would, if passed, help unlock more housing by streamlining development approvals, removing barriers, reducing government fees, accelerating planning and further supporting and protecting homebuyers. The bill would also allow the use of government financial tools to help reduce housing costs for Ontarians.
Introduction of Bills
1204755 Ontario Limited Act, 2022
Mr. Vanthof moved first reading of the following bill:
Bill Pr3, An Act to revive 1204755 Ontario Limited.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
First reading agreed to.
Quadcard Entertainment Ltd. Act, 2022
Ms. French moved first reading of the following bill:
Bill Pr4, An Act to revive Quadcard Entertainment Ltd.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
First reading agreed to.
Welberne Holding Corp. Act, 2022
Mr. Kernaghan moved first reading of the following bill:
Bill Pr7, An Act to revive Welberne Holding Corp.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
First reading agreed to.
H.B. Arndt & Associates Ltd. Act, 2022
Ms. Sattler moved first reading of the following bill:
Bill Pr5, An Act to revive H.B. Arndt & Associates Ltd.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
First reading agreed to.
Ms. Catherine Fife: It is my pleasure to introduce this petition for the first time, with thanks to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario in Waterloo region. It’s entitled “Develop an Ontario Dementia Strategy.”
“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas it currently takes on average 18 months for people in Ontario to get an official dementia diagnosis, with some patients often waiting years to complete diagnostic testing;
“Whereas more than half of patients suspected of having dementia in Ontario never get a full diagnosis; research confirms that early diagnosis saves lives and reduces care-partner stress;
“Whereas a PET scan test approved in Ontario in 2017 which can be key to detecting Alzheimer’s early, is still not covered under OHIP in 2022;
“Whereas the Ontario government must work together with the federal government to prepare for the approval and rollout of future disease-modifying therapies and research;
“Whereas the Alzheimer Society projects that one million Canadians will be caregivers for people with dementia, with families providing approximately 1.4 billion hours of care per year by 2050;
“Whereas research findings show that Ontario will spend $27.8 billion between 2023 and 2043 on alternate-level-of-care (ALC) and long-term-care ... costs associated with people living with dementia;
“Whereas the government must follow through with its commitment to ensure Ontario’s health care system has the capacity to meet the current and future needs of people living with dementia and their care partners;
“Therefore we, the undersigned, call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to develop, commit and fund a comprehensive Ontario dementia strategy.”
It is my pleasure to sign this and affix my signature to this petition on behalf of the good people of Waterloo region. Thank you very much.
Access to health care
Mr. Joel Harden: I’d like to introduce the following petition, brought to us from folks participating in the Capital Pride festival this summer. It reads:
“Support Gender-Affirming Health Care
“Whereas two-spirit, transgender, non-binary, gender-diverse and intersex communities face significant challenges to accessing health care services that are friendly, competent and affirming in Ontario;
“Whereas everyone deserves access to health care, and they shouldn’t have to fight for it, shouldn’t have to wait for it and should never receive less care or support because of who they are;
“Whereas gender-affirming care is life-saving care;
“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support the reintroduction of a private member’s bill to create an inclusive and representative committee to advise the Ministry of Health on how to realize accessible and equitable access to and coverage for gender-affirming health care in Ontario.”
I want to thank Isabelle Coxworth for signing this petition as well as many others. I’ll send it to the Clerk’s table with page Malini.
Ms. Jennifer K. French: I have a stack of petitions here signed by Rick and Robin Kosteczko from Oshawa and many others. It is a petition to save eye care in Ontario.
“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas the Ontario government has underfunded optometric eye care for 30 years; and
“Whereas the government only pays on average $44.65 for an OHIP-insured visit—the lowest rate in Canada; and
“Whereas optometrists are being forced to pay substantially out of their own pocket to provide over four million services each year to Ontarians under OHIP; and
“Whereas optometrists have never been given a formal negotiation process with the government; and
“Whereas the government’s continued neglect resulted in 96% of Ontario optometrists voting to withdraw OHIP services beginning September 1, 2021;
“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:
“To instruct the Ontario government to immediately commit to legally binding, formal negotiations to ensure any future OHIP-insured optometry services are, at a minimum, funded at the cost of delivery.”
I will continue to sign petitions like this till this is resolved, and I will send it to the table with page Amy.
MPP Jill Andrew: I’d like to thank the ILC Foundation and my local constituent Liza Butcher, along with hundreds of other folks across Ontario for their staunch advocacy for the EDS community. I’m glad to join them in amplifying their call to action. This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas the Canada Health Act requires provinces to fund medically necessary treatment for Canadians; and
“Whereas a growing number of people in Ontario suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome ... have to seek out-of-country treatment at their own expense because doctors in Ontario don’t have the knowledge or skills to understand EDS symptoms and perform the required delicate and complicated surgeries; and
“Whereas those EDS victims who can’t afford the expensive treatment outside of Ontario are forced to suffer a deteriorating existence and risk irreversible tissue and nerve damage; and
“Whereas EDS victims suffer severe dislocations, chronic pain, blackouts, nausea, migraines, lost vision, tremors, bowel and bladder issues, heart problems, mobility issues, digestive disorders, severe fatigue and many others resulting in little or very poor quality of life; and
“Whereas despite Ontario Ministry of Health claims that there are neurosurgeon doctors in Ontario who can perform surgeries on EDS patients when surgery is recommended, the Ontario referring physicians fail to identify any Ontario neurosurgeon willing or able to see and treat the patient;
“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:
“Require the Minister of Health to provide funding to hire one neurosurgeon who can and will perform neurosurgeries on EDS patients with equivalent or identical skills to the international EDS neurosurgeon specialists, including funding for a state-of-the-art operating room with diagnostic equipment for treatments for EDS patients; and meet the Canada Health Act’s requirement to afford equal access to medical treatment for patients, regardless of their ability to pay for out-of-country services.
Thank you to the EDS advocates in St. Paul’s and across Ontario. I sign this petition and will hand it to Julien for tabling with the Clerks.
Mr. Joel Harden: I would like to introduce the following petition:
“Stop Ford’s Health Care Privatization Plan.
“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas Ontarians should get health care based on need—not the size of your wallet;
“Whereas Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones say they’re planning to privatize parts of health care;
“Whereas privatization will bleed nurses, doctors and PSWs out of our public hospitals, making the health care crisis worse;
“Whereas privatization always ends with patients getting a bill;
“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately stop all plans to further privatize Ontario’s health care system, and fix the crisis in health care by:
“—repealing Bill 124 and recruiting, retaining and respecting doctors, nurses and PSWs with better pay and better working conditions;
“—licensing tens of thousands of internationally educated nurses and other health care professionals already in Ontario, who wait years and pay thousands to have their credentials certified;
“—making education and training free or low-cost for nurses, doctors and other health care professionals;
“—incentivizing doctors and nurses to choose to live and work in northern Ontario;
“—funding hospitals to have enough nurses on every shift, on every ward.”
I’m happy to sign this petition and will send it with page Rachel to the Clerks’ table.
MPP Jill Andrew: This is entitled “Protect Our Crowns: Update the Hairstyling Program Standard to Include Black Natural and Textured Hair and Reflect Black, Indigenous and Racialized Communities.
“Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas Black, Indigenous, and racialized people are often subject to race-based hair discrimination, including experiencing racism in schools and the workplace—resulting in negative impacts on their lives such as school-based bullying and harassment which impacts academic performance and economic impacts such as job discrimination and reprisal in the workplace for so-called ‘unprofessional’ hair styles or texture;
“Whereas physical presentation, which includes textured hair maintenance and protective styles, is directly linked to physical safety, mental health and sense of identity, self-esteem and confidence;
“Whereas Black, Indigenous and racialized performers with natural textured hair often arrive in their workplace of film/TV and theatre sets with professional hair stylists who have received insufficient training for working with their hair type—risking permanent damage to their physical appearance and therefore earning potential;
“Whereas hairstyling training in Ontario currently only focuses on cutting, designing, permanent waving, chemically relaxing, straightening and colouring hair, but does not have any instruction or practice to ensure every hair stylist can service Black people’s natural hair or the textured hair of many Indigenous and/or racialized community members, whether performers or otherwise;
“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately pass MPP Andrew’s motion ... calling for the government of Ontario and Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development which regulates the hairstyling trade profession in Ontario to amend the hairstyling program standard to mandate culturally responsive training, specific to Black and textured hair in hairstyling education and practice across Ontario.”
I 100% support this petition and thank the folks of St. Paul’s, the folks of ACTRA, and many performers and otherwise across Ontario who have signed this. I’m tabling it with Karma.
Orders of the Day
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Jim Henderson, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Barrie–Innisfil is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Jim Henderson, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.
Today we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. Jim Henderson, who was the MPP for Humber during the 33rd Parliament and for Etobicoke–Humber during the 34th and 35th Parliaments.
Joining us in the Speaker’s gallery are Mr. Henderson’s family and friends: his wife, Karen Henderson; his sons, James Henderson, Christopher Henderson and Kevin Henderson; his son’s partner, Kathy Borzecka; and his grandchildren, Iris Henderson and Emma Mackay. Also with us in the Speaker’s gallery this afternoon is Mr. David Warner, Speaker during the 35th Parliament.
I recognize the member for Etobicoke–Lakeshore.
Ms. Christine Hogarth: Thank you very much, Speaker. What an honour it is to speak today.
I rise and pay tribute to the former member of provincial Parliament for Etobicoke–Humber, Dr. D. James Henderson, someone whose dedication to his constituents and to Ontario was manifest in the three terms he served in this place, from 1985 to 1995.
Let’s all once again acknowledge Jim’s wife, Karen; his three sons, James, Christopher and Kevin; his two granddaughters, Iris and Emma; and Kevin’s partner, Kathy. Let’s also give a warm welcome to David Warner, former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, who is here with us today. Welcome.
A long time ago, George Bernard Shaw committed these words to posterity: “Some see things as they are, and say, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were, and say, ‘Why not?’” This could equally be a commemoration of Jim Henderson. He didn’t need politics as a vocation—not for ego, not for acclaim, not for power. He had too many other talents and accomplishments for that. No, he sought a time in politics because he thought he could serve Ontario in a different and equally constructive and imaginative way. And that may be the one reason why Jim was legendary in our business—one which is noted for our high staff turnover—for loyalty and continuity. Many served Jim for years, and they served him well.
D. James Henderson was born in Sudbury on August 7, 1940. His family moved to Toronto in the early 1940s, where he resided for most of his life.
I imagine he was what we would call today a polymath, defined as someone of wide-ranging knowledge and interests. He was a physician, a psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst and an associate professor of these disciplines, all before he entered politics, after which he became a parliamentary assistant in multiple portfolios, an opposition critic and a crusading reformer on issues related to public health, culture and communications, and the welfare of children.
Dr. Henderson’s contributions to academia included the authoring of more than 50 papers and textbook contributions. He was fluent in Spanish too. Dr. Henderson’s passion for his work led him to lecture at the University of Havana, where he assisted with the reintroduction of the study and practice of psychoanalysis in Cuba. No wonder Jim spoke with such eloquence and thoughtfulness in this place.
To highlight, I’d like to share a small portion of his remarks, spoken here on November 19, 1987, in relation to the North American Free Trade Agreement: “We can preserve our culture and our sovereignty, for Canadians have never shown a deficit of patriotism. Our patriotic fervour, though strong, is of a quieter sort, that we reach down for and find with little difficulty when occasions warrant.”
As noted, Jim cultivated a special interest in developing countries in the Caribbean, organizing and leading trade and medical delegations there.
He enjoyed a love of wilderness and outdoors, serving for several years in his teens and twenties as an outdoor trip canoe guide at Camp Ahmek in Algonquin Park and at Camp Temagami in northern Ontario.
Jim was an MPP of conviction. He drew strength from his strong Catholic faith, and he believed in liberty and championed the principles of democracy. He faithfully and consistently spoke up for his constituents, as we are all called to do. But he always did it with complete independence of thought. He defied his own government on both extra-billing for physicians—an incendiary issue of the day—and on the Meech Lake Accord, which he felt in his bones was wrong for Canada. Maybe that’s why I’m told on good authority that, when he won his seat against all odds in 1985, he was overheard to say, “Well, there goes my” blank “life.”
On behalf of the PC caucus, we thank his family and his friends for sharing him with the people of Ontario for so many years, and we give thanks for the life of Dr. D. James Henderson. Thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Humber River–Black Creek.
Mr. Tom Rakocevic: I am honoured to rise today and pay tribute to the late Dr. Donald James Henderson, better known as Jim Henderson, who served as the Liberal MPP for the riding of Humber, later renamed Etobicoke–Humber, for three terms ranging from 1985 to 1995. He served as the parliamentary assistant to the Ministers of Community and Social Services, Colleges and Universities and for the province’s anti-drug strategy, and then as the official opposition critic for culture and communications.
As a medical doctor and psychiatrist, he worked in the medical field before and after his terms in office, holding various positions, ranging from being a director to an associate professor, to organizing and leading trade and medical delegations in developing countries. In fact, when you see his name formally written, it is buried in a sea of degrees and designations.
Born in Sudbury in 1940, he spent the majority of his life in Etobicoke. However, he never lost his love and affinity for northern Ontario. It is impossible to summarize the life of anyone, much less someone as accomplished as Dr. Henderson, within a few minutes. So all I can do is merely scratch the surface here today. And while I never had the honour to know him, it is an honour to have learned about his life and to speak about him here.
Dr. Henderson was an academic and medical doctor with a conviction and an adventurous spirit which never dimmed but, I would argue, only grew stronger in the later part of his life. He had an active and brilliant mind. A medically trained doctor and psychiatrist, Dr. Henderson had a natural talent and understanding of human behaviour, which he drew upon throughout his political career.
He often relied on his knowledge of human behaviour and used this frequently in debate. “If psychology teaches us nothing else in politics, it teaches us that no group in society is likely to contribute to its fullest if it feels its collective needs, feelings, views and expertise to be unattended or ignored.” He spoke about the importance of the parent-child bond on a biological and psychological level and went on to quote an interesting study that showed that “nurturance and bonding are as fundamental ingredients to human growth and development as are any physical, nutritional or other amenities that we can offer to our children.”
Another interesting debate centred on whether to televise the House proceedings, and Dr. Henderson spoke strongly in favour of televising our proceedings in the Legislature because he believed that it “is in line with our philosophy of democratic government and will strengthen and promote a sense of participation by the people in the affairs of the state” and that “it is desirable for the health and responsiveness of good government....”
He was innovative. For instance, he diverted used public transit buses that were at the end of their service life and headed to the scrapyard and ensured that they were donated and sent abroad, where they continued to run for years in places like the streets of Havana. As well, he arranged for hundreds of boxes of prescription drugs that Ontario hospitals had no use for to be donated and sent abroad, and much more.
After his career in politics ended, he maintained his interest in international development, including teaching himself Spanish to such a high degree of fluency that he became a guest lecturer at the University of Havana, where he reintroduced the country to psychoanalysis.
Dr. Henderson loved the outdoors. He had a love of the outdoors and wrote about his deep and long-standing attachment to Ontario’s north. He recalled visiting the Sleeping Giant and Silver Islet.
His father was a general manager of a hardware store and would occasionally take him along on business trips in northern Ontario, including Thunder Bay. He once shared details of a fishing trip near Red Rock, where he didn’t catch a single fish, but the “majesty of North Superior was forever imprinted on his mind.”
Dr. Henderson was a man of conviction. He believed that MPPs should have more freedom to vote their conscience as opposed to always falling in line with their party. He was quoted as saying that MPPs’ “first role is to represent the views of their constituents,” even if those views sometimes violate party policies. Best summarized in his own words, he said, “Personal liberty is not just a slogan. I speak of personal liberty because it means a lot to me. As a practising physician and counsellor I devoted myself to helping people liberate themselves from a tyranny from within—the tyranny of neurotic conflict and suffering. I cannot support legislative measures that compromise personal liberty from without. To me freedom is not negotiable.”
Dr. Henderson had the respect of all sides of the House and developed lifelong friendships such as that with NDP MPP and Speaker David Warner, who is here with us today.
Jim was truly a loving family man and dear friend to many.
He is survived by his wife, Karen; his children, James, Chris and Kevin; his grandchildren, Iris and Emma; his sister, Carol; and his nieces and nephews, Bob, Jane, Ann, Bill, Sandy and Tracey.
Again, I welcome and thank his wonderful family and friends who are here with us today.
I had the pleasure to speak with Chris, who spoke of Jim as a young father when he entered politics, having sons aged two to six years old. I can certainly relate to this. In 1985, when his father, Jim, was the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Community and Social Services, Chris remembered being brought to his dad’s office. As a five-year-old, he joyfully ran up and down the halls and unfortunately discovered a bunch of ink stamps and pads. I will not relay the chaos that ensued at that time. Almost 20 years later, in 2004, Chris returned to Queen’s Park as an intern in that very same office, where he walked rather than ran the halls and was much more subdued in his use of ink.
Jim lives on in his immortalized words in the Hansard and the results of his work under the many hats he wore throughout his life. But most of all, he lives on in the lives and memories of his loving and proud family and all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Don Valley West.
Ms. Stephanie Bowman: It is truly a privilege to stand here today to say a few words of tribute to Jim Henderson, the Liberal MPP for Etobicoke–Humber from 1985 to 1995, who died on May 2, 2020, at the age of 79. I know you will feel his loss still today.
I would like to extend a personal welcome to his family here today: as has been mentioned, his wife, Karen; his sons, James, Christopher and Kevin; his daughter-in-law, Kathy; and his young granddaughters, Iris and Emma. David Warner, Mr. Henderson’s friend and former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, is also present here today. Thank you all for coming today, and for the earlier visit in September when this event was postponed out of respect for the passing of the Queen.
While I did not know Dr. Henderson personally, I recall reading about the stir he caused on several occasions when he stood up for what he believed in this House.
Between 1985 and 1995, Dr. Henderson served as a Liberal member of provincial Parliament for Etobicoke–Humber for three terms. In addition to being the official opposition critic for culture and communications, he was the parliamentary assistant to the Ministers of Community and Social Services, Colleges and Universities, as well as for the province’s anti-drug strategy.
Jim was a strong leader who understood his community and was a supportive colleague to his team in the Ontario Liberal Party. Jim’s kindness and devotion to his colleagues and constituents was evident in all his work.
As has been mentioned, Jim was known for standing true to his values. He was a man who did not shy away from asking the tough questions in search of what he believed to be right. He notably took a position that was not supported by his party, because he believed in upholding his own principles and values. As many of us in this House know, that can be a difficult decision to make, but that kind of open conversation is the kind we need in order to ensure that we as representatives of our constituents are making the best decisions on their behalf, and Jim understood that well.
Jim moved from Sudbury to Toronto in the 1940s, where he spent a majority of his life and brought a remarkable amount of value to the House and the community of Toronto.
During and after his political career, Jim was a medical doctor who worked as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He was the director of psychiatry at the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, then the director of psychiatric services at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. Jim was also an associate professor at the University of Toronto department of psychiatry and psychiatrist-in-chief at the University of Toronto student health service. I’m not sure how he found time for any of his other hobbies.
Jim authored and published over 50 professional papers and textbook contributions.
He was also an outdoorsman and an avid fan of the canoe. He served several years as a canoe guide at Camp Ahmek in Algonquin Park and then Camp Temagami in northern Ontario.
Much like his medical career, his devotion to public service stemmed from a core value: Jim cared about people. He cared about his friends, his family, his constituents, his patients, his neighbours and indeed his province. A career in medicine requires dedication, focus and hard work. When you add in the responsibility of representing those around you with that same dedication, you know that Jim Henderson was a very special person indeed.
In addition to a remarkable career as a physician, politician and canoeist, Dr. Henderson was also an avid jogger, sailor, traveller and photographer.
There is no doubt that Dr. Henderson lived a life of commitment to his family, his values, his constituency, his province and his country, and with this, his well-earned legacy will continue to live on.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Mr. Jim Henderson.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Joe Dickson, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Barrie–Innisfil is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Joe Dickson, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.
Today, we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. Joe Dickson, who was the MPP for Ajax–Pickering during the 39th, 40th and 41st Parliaments.
Joining us in the Speaker’s gallery are Mr. Dickson’s family: his wife, Donna Dickson; his son, Jim Dickson; and his sisters-in-law Sandrae Haslam and Debbie Allen.
I recognize 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 Joe Dickson.
Joe was a loving husband and dear father and grandfather. He leaves behind his wife, friend and partner of 56 years, Donna Dickson; his two grown children, Jim Dickson and Joanna Dickson-Jones; their spouses, Elaine Dickson and David Jones; his five adoring grandchildren, Madeline, Grace, Carys, Audrey and Fynn—I’m sure they’re watching today—and his brothers and sisters, Ellen Spence, Ed Dickson, Marg Osborne, Judy Reid, Mary Westlake, Christine Dickson, Paul Dickson and Veronica Brown; and loving extended family, friends and former colleagues who miss him greatly and are assuredly watching today.
We are pleased to be joined by his wife, Donna Dickson; son, Jim Dickson; sisters-in-law Sandrae Haslam and Debbie Allen; and, of course, his friend and former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, David Warner.
Louis Joseph Dickson, or Joe, was born March 26, 1940, into a large Catholic family in Ajax and grew up to serve Ajax and be its biggest fan. Joe’s mother, Mary, had grown up in Pickering Village and his father, Lou, was an RCAF World War II veteran who set down roots in Ajax. Joe was raised and educated there and loved sports growing up, a love that led him to establish Ajax minor basketball at age 16, and he later helped establish the Ajax senior hockey league. He started his own printing business, Dickson Printing, at age 18, and never stopped sponsoring and supporting local sports teams from when it opened its doors in 1969. President of Dickson Printing for 48 years, Joe was a committed and successful small business owner through the ups and downs and many changes across his community, and often spoke from experience with a local business perspective.
Joe began his career of public service in 1970, when he served as a Catholic school board trustee for two terms and kept his faith and family close during his many years of public service. He was first elected to Ajax council in 1983, serving until 1990, and returned to council chambers from 1992 to 2006. He loved serving ward 2 but was known well beyond his ward. He once described his story and success like this: “It all comes down to being the oldest of 10 children and having two wonderful parents. We were always helping one another—that’s what it was all about.”
Joe was a volunteer and community man. Ajax Civic Award winner and committed town enthusiast, Joe Dickson was fondly called “Mr. Ajax” and is well remembered by generations of Ajax neighbours. Joe founded and chaired many charitable organizations and initiatives and loved volunteering. From when he first started Ajax minor basketball at 16 all the way through the annual charity golf tournament that he and his wife, Donna, organized and sponsored for 25 years, Joe never stopped giving back to his hometown community.
On a personal note, I served as one of Durham region’s seven MPPs with Joe Dickson from 2014 to 2018, and when MPPs from across Durham region came together at the provincial volunteer service awards night, it was very special to see how many of the long-time volunteers in Ajax and Pickering knew Joe personally.
It wasn’t only his constituents who recognized Joe for his work, however. In 2002, he had been awarded the Queen Elizabeth 50th anniversary medal for service to his community and Canada. It was just part of who Joe was: kind, generous and connected.
Nearly everyone in his hometown had a connection to Joe, whether through sports or one of his many volunteering endeavours, whether they were featured in his magazine, or from his apples. Children who remember that Joe Dickson gave them apples around town grew up to vote for Joe as adults. They knew him and they knew where to find him, and they elected him.
Joe won a provincial seat on the McGuinty Liberals’ ticket to serve Ajax–Pickering in 2007 and held the seat until 2018. When Joe was asked why he was running, he said it was “to become the town’s best communicator with Ajax residents and to continue to focus on my residents, just as I have done the last eight elections.”
Joe Dickson served this Legislature in many roles, from deputy government whip early on to various portfolios as parliamentary assistant. One of the things that Joe was most proud of was the expansion of the Ajax Pickering Hospital, which he worked for many years to see happen, to better serve his community.
On a personal note, before I was elected, the very first protest I ever organized was outside Joe Dickson’s office, to protest Bill 115. True to form, Joe Dickson came out to talk with us and was disappointed he hadn’t known we were coming because, as he told us, he would have had hot chocolate for us.
He was an excellent connector. He was a strong and committed bridge between his home community and his place here in the provincial Legislature. When so many get caught up in the sparkle of Queen’s Park, Joe stayed firmly rooted in his community.
Joe Dickson passed away on April 7, 2022, surrounded by those he loved and who dearly loved him. Friends from across the community shared their remembrances and memories. They remember him as one-of-a-kind, hard-working and thoughtful, and one of the finest people you could ever meet. Messages online highlight that Joe truly cared about his community and was extremely well thought of.
As Joe’s children shared after his passing, “Joe was a lover of life, family, friends and mostly Donna. Safety was always first with Joe, although anything with a fast engine made Dad happiest: boats, racing cars, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and his prized 1969 Dodge RT Charger he ordered new so that he had a ‘safe ride’ for wife and kids as he started his own family. Fish and chips on Fridays, a daily coffee, and a refreshing Crown-and-Coke after a long week’s work helped him keep grounded.”
Joe Dickson has left behind his family, a long community career and a legacy of neighbourhood connections and warm, sincere relationships. Ajax, Pickering and Ontario are grateful to Joe Dickson for his life of service, invested heart and commitment to the town and people he loved.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ajax.
Ms. Patrice Barnes: Louis Joseph Dickson was a well-loved member of the Ajax community. He was known as Joe, Mr. Ajax or Joe Everywhere by his friends and constituents.
Joe was the oldest of 10 children. He was born in Ajax and lived and worked there his whole life. Joe Dickson, a businessman and dedicated member of the community, started Dickson Printing in 1960, and it stayed in business until 2020. He was a representative for Ajax who cared deeply about his community and what it needed.
His wife Donna, his son Jim Dickson, his two sisters-in-law—and we’re also joined by David Warner, former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. We’re glad you’re here today.
Joe was known for his great sense of humour, friendly smile, a willingness to listen and a love to weave a story. I think he may have figured out what every politician wants to know: how to clone himself. He never seemed to miss a grand opening, an event, a celebration or a constituent concern. So I think he may have figured it out after all. He was always there with a scroll, a smile, a picture, a kind word, a story to tell. He was a larger-than-life figure who loved life, his family and, as he often referred to her, his guardian angel, Donna.
He was always willing to go where he was needed. He was a great politician who served with passion and style. Anyone could talk to him, no matter their religion or political party. He always worked hard to protect the interests of the people who lived in Ajax. Joe was very involved in the process of making November Hindu Heritage Month, and the community has always been very grateful for his support. It was one of his proudest accomplishments.
If you saw Joe driving around in his small blue and yellow Dickson Printing car, you would never think that he liked fast cars. I only found that out recently. According to his son, he liked anything with a fast engine, but he was especially proud of his 1969 Dodge Charger, which he kept in mint condition.
Joe was involved in many activities in his community for a long time. In the early 1970s, he was a member of the local school board. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was an Ajax municipal and regional councillor. He was re-elected to council in 1997. He was given the Ajax Civic Award, which is given every year to a person who has used their free time in extraordinary ways to support their community.
He was a big reason why Ajax Home Week and Ajax Environmental Affairs Week were started, both of which he was intimately involved in. He looked forward to the homecoming week and being part of the parade, touching base with constituents, giving out candies to the kids, and he especially loved the pancake breakfast by the lake with the veterans and seniors during homecoming week events. He was a great friend to the Legion and a big supporter of veterans.
Before being elected to the provincial Legislature in 2007, he worked in several jobs in the community. I can list a few, but I’m sure there are many more that will be mentioned. He was the founder and co-chair of the annual Ajax-Pickering Multiple Sclerosis Walk and executive vice-chairman of the Ajax Municipal Housing Corp. He was involved in the Ajax Heritage Advisory Committee. He ran as a Liberal candidate for Ajax–Pickering in the 2007 election. He was voted back in office in 2011 and again in 2014. During his time in the Ontario provincial Parliament, he was parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and deputy government whip.
Joe was an inspiration to me, and he was one of the reasons I decided to run for trustee and then for MPP. We had some great talks. One time in particular, after I had finished bending his ear on a complaint I had, he said to me: “Well, why don’t you run?” And I did. I just wanted to thank Joe for supporting that. He was that kind of guy. After I entered my name, he gave me the Joe rules: Always, always be accessible to your constituents, and always be willing to talk.
He was unapologetic in his faith and his service to God and was a member of the Catholic Church up until his death. Joe will always be remembered for being kind and willing to help people in need, both in and out of his community.
I also understand and recognize Laura Oliver, who was his assistant. She was his right hand in outreach in his constituency office.
And so, as I close, I echo the words of others: Thank you, Joe. You will be truly missed.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Scarborough–Guildwood.
Ms. Mitzie Hunter: It’s an honour for me to rise today and to pay tribute to Joe Dickson, a much-loved and respected member of our Liberal caucus, a gentleman who welcomed me into this Legislature.
Known to many as “Mr. Ajax,” Joe had an unwavering love for his family and his community, as was clear in the way that he took pride in serving the people of Ajax–Pickering for more than 30 years.
First elected as an Ajax councillor in 1983, Joe Dickson finished up as Ajax–Pickering MPP in 2018, a role in which he had served since 2007. In representing Ajax as MPP, Joe served as the deputy government whip from 2007 to 2011, and he went on to serve in the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration from 2013 to 2014 and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines from 2014 to 2018 as a parliamentary assistant.
For his many years of service, Canada’s Governor General honoured Joe with both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 “for outstanding achievement or public service in Canada.”
It is no surprise, then, that Joe was so well known in his Ajax riding. He was known for being a huge advocate and champion of the hospital there, and more generally for the whole of the Ajax community. And this was true throughout his life and career, as well as in his business and personal life.
Dickson Printing, Joe’s family-owned business, opened in 1969 and developed into a full-service printing operation which won 17 straight readers’ choice awards for best printing company. And when he retired from politics in 2018, Joe returned to Dickson Printing as president, spending his time with his beloved wife, Donna; his two children, Jim Dickson and Joanna Dickson-Jones, and their families; and his five grandchildren, Madeline, Grace, Carys, Audrey and Fynn.
I had the privilege of knowing Joe professionally, and I have so many fond memories of him. He invited me to many Caribbean events in Ajax. It meant a lot that he never missed an opportunity to acknowledge me whenever he saw me in this chamber or in the halls. He made me feel included.
Mostly, I remember Joe and his beautiful wife, Donna, as they had such an impact, standing head and shoulders above the crowd in life and in commitment to service. Whenever they were at our Liberal events, you would just notice their elegant figures coming through the room. Joe was known for his good nature and his sense of humour. He was always poking fun. You never were in his presence without getting a good laugh.
On a personal note, I remember Joe and Donna frequently visiting my cousin’s restaurant in Ajax for dinner. As the head chef there, my cousin developed a fondness for Joe and Donna, a sentiment that was commonly felt among all who knew them.
I was at a local restaurant, Beryl’s Pepper Pot. It’s an authentic Jamaican restaurant that actually spread three franchises across Durham—family and independently owned and operated. As you know, Joe Dickson was a supporter of small businesses. He helped this owner, Beryl, get herself established and championed her opening her third location. She said to me that it would never have been possible without Joe. He made the call.
So today, I want to express my deepest respect and admiration for Joe Dickson for stepping up and serving in public office throughout his lifetime, for contributing in countless ways to the success of the community he loved, and for making Ontario politics a more fun and interesting place to be.
Joe Dickson devoted his life to serving the public and his beloved community of Ajax. Ajax and all of us are indeed fortunate to have had such a passionate and devoted MPP. I want to say thank you to his wonderful family for sharing him with us for so many years. Thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Mr. Joe Dickson.
Gordon Irvin Miller
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I recognize the member for Barrie–Innisfil.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance for the late Mr. Gordon Irvin Miller, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Ms. Khanjin is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance for the late Mr. Gordon Irvin Miller, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.
Today, we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our Legislature, the late Mr. Gordon Irvin Miller, who was the MPP for Haldimand–Norfolk during the 30th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd Parliaments and for Norfolk during the 34th Parliament.
Joining us in the Speaker’s gallery today are Mr. Miller’s family: his son Doug Miller; his daughter-in-law Flora Miller; his grandchildren Jamie Miller, Geoff Addis and Meghan Haughton; his grandson-in-law David Haughton; and his great-grandchildren Brynn Haughton and Mason Haughton. Welcome.
The member for Oxford.
Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m honoured to have the privilege to take a few moments to honour the late Gordon Miller—or simply Gord, as his colleagues called him—on behalf of our government.
In attendance today are some of Gord’s family and friends: his son, Doug; daughter-in-law, Flora; grandchildren Jamie, Geoff and Meghan; grandson-in-law, David; and great-grandchildren Brynn and Mason. I want to thank you for sharing Gord with us.
While I never served with Gord as a member, I did know him for many years when I was in local government. I wanted to learn how his friends and former colleagues described him, and what became clear to me is that Gord deeply cared about his local community. He was called “caring,” “a gentleman,” “a good neighbour” and the “heart of his community,” however, these kind words do not do justice to his lifelong dedication to rural Ontario and public service.
Gord was born in the small town of Jarvis in southwestern Ontario to George and Jane, who themselves came to Jarvis in the 19th century to start a farm. Even as a child from humble beginnings, Gord was involved in the fabric of his community. As an athlete in high school, he played baseball with other students in the surrounding area as an outfielder. Hockey legend Red Kelly, who used to play baseball with him, remarked that “when somebody hit a long ball, Gordon would just stretch out” his long, lanky “arms and, nine times out of 10, the ball would wind up in his hands.” Kelly never dreamed he would be a future politician. For a while, he wasn’t. After the passing of his father in 1945, Gord and his brothers took over the family farm and built a successful farming operation.
Gord’s career in public service undoubtedly began with the many ways he was involved in the local Jarvis community while he was a farmer. He was especially involved in his local church, serving as an elder and Sunday school superintendent. With his dedication to community service, it was a natural step for him to get involved in local politics. He served as a trustee of the Jarvis School Board between 1960 and 1967. He was elected as a councillor to Walpole township in 1968, reeve in 1971 and regional councillor of Haldimand-Norfolk in 1973. In 1975, Gord was elected as the Liberal member in Haldimand–Norfolk, defeating long-time PC member Jim Allan.
With someone so involved in local politics, it’s not surprising that he was elected to Queen’s Park on a local issue. Two years prior, a two-tier, six-municipality system was implemented, and voters did not like that new system of regional government. Gord was also against the new regional government, although he was never able to change it.
During his 15 years, he served as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Transportation and to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, but he never lost touch with his local people who elected him. He was a dedicated champion for farmers, Haldimand–Norfolk and all rural Ontarians.
Following his time as MPP, Gord did not stop his community service, even though he went back to his original love: farming. He was named as Jarvis citizen of the year in 1990. He was an active volunteer with the United Way, Crime Stoppers, and served as chair of the West Haldimand General Hospital Foundation.
In 2017, former Jarvis resident and current resident of Woodstock, Allison Gowling, was asked to write a biography of Gord and his family, which was a lifelong dream of his. But even without the memoir, the Miller family’s mark on Jarvis is apparent. In fact, his farm is on the road that bears his name: Gordon Miller Trail.
Gord and I both have backgrounds in rural Ontario and local politics, and I have grown greatly to respect the work that he did throughout his long life. I believe that a quote from Gord’s former chief financial officer sums him up brilliantly: “He was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things.”
May you rest in peace, Gord Miller.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane.
Mr. John Vanthof: It’s truly an honour today to be able to rise and pay tribute to Gordon Miller on behalf of the official opposition. I’d like to welcome his family here today and thank them for his service.
When I was asked to do this, I wondered—and as soon as I started doing the research, I knew why I was asked: because in the parliamentary record, his occupation is listed as a farmer. And if my occupation is listed some day as a farmer, it will be the proudest day of my life. I would like to commend him for that.
It’s already been described—I’m not going to go through it again—the long list of things that Mr. Miller did. So I’m going to use a few quotes. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but there are a few interesting quotes from people who did know him.
From a former Premier, David Peterson: “He was a specialist on rural and community issues. He knew everybody. He was just the quintessential good neighbour”—because he was a farmer. People who aren’t from a farming community might not know it, but farmers are very competitive: Who has the nicest crops? Who has the most milk per cow? But when something happens, they gel and help each other. They are all quintessential good neighbours. I have never met a farmer I didn’t like. They don’t always agree with me and I didn’t always agree with them, but farmers are quintessential good neighbours.
Another quote from Mr. Peterson: “He could crush you with his big hands. You look at him and there’s a farmer.” Well, we all—farmers all have interesting hands. But I’m sure that every farm community has got a couple of people who have those big hands. When they get you in a handshake, you can just feel the power. I’m sure Mr. Miller was one of those. Something—I’m just doing this anecdotally—I have never met someone with that huge handshake who wasn’t a really friendly person. But sometimes—I have to describe this handshake, and I’m sure Mr. Miller has done this: It’s the friendly handshake, but if they want to send a bit of a message, it’s a bit painful. I’m sure that Mr. Miller did that too.
Another one from Mr. Peterson: “If you ever thought he was a bumbling farmer you were wrong because he ... was one guy in my caucus who would tell me I was full of baloney.” Now, when I read that the first time, I thought: Okay, who does Mr. Peterson think a bumbling farmer is? But anyway, I think what he was trying to say is that farmers aren’t all parliamentarians and aren’t all diplomatic, but they are very direct. They’re take-charge people. They want to get things done. They deal with nature, so they understand they’re not going to win every battle, but they understand they have to fight every day. And those are qualities that farmers like Mr. Miller, I’m sure, brought to this House.
I would like to close with something that I read: He passed away peacefully in front of his fireplace just three days short of his 97th birthday, on his farm, on the road named after him, the Gordon Miller Trail. And with all of those accomplishments, the whole list of accomplishments, his greatest was that he was a farmer. That is a life well lived.
And you can’t be a farmer alone; a farmer takes a family. Thank you very much for sharing Mr. Miller with us.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Haldimand–Norfolk.
Ms. Bobbi Ann Brady: I appreciate the opportunity to rise today to pay tribute to Gord Miller, who came to Queen’s Park in 1975 as a member of the Liberal caucus. Gord is a political legend in Haldimand–Norfolk.
Again, I’d like to recognize and welcome Gord’s family to Queen’s Park: his son, Doug, along with his wife, Flora; grandsons, Jamie and Geoff; granddaughter Meghan and her husband, David; as well as their children, Brynn and Mason.
My predecessor, Toby Barrett, knew Gord well, and I have heard many stories in local political circles. Gord was known to give Toby a hard time over his opposition to wind turbines. However, the two agreed on at least one subject—a subject the member from Oxford alluded to. The people of Haldimand–Norfolk had never warmed to the idea of regional government. Gord knew this well as a municipal councillor. So in 1975, he ran provincially on the platform to scrap it, and he was successful. Gord would go on to serve as the MPP for Haldimand–Norfolk for 15 years, until 1990. While the scrapping of regional government did not happen during his term, Toby picked up the torch, and in 2001, the new Haldimand and Norfolk counties were reinstated.
I spoke with my good friend Dennis Craddock last week. Dennis became the provincial Liberal association CFO when Gord decided to run—a job Dennis still performs. He told me, “He was a giant of a man whose iron fist in a velvet glove dictated his life.”
Gord lived his entire life committed to community service and could often be found in an arena—in his early days as a player, in later years passing along his passion for the game to players as a coach.
A farmer by trade, Gord was a distinguished politician, a down-to-earth, down-home guy who easily related to those in the community.
Despite humble beginnings, Gord shared what he could give and began volunteering at a very young age, flooding the ice in the 1940s for local hockey players, an elder at the Jarvis Presbyterian church and a 75-year member of the Lodge.
Doug often wondered how the man he looked up to found time to do all he wished while still being a husband, father and eventually grandfather and great-grandfather. Gord always told his four boys—Doug, Barry, Glen and Alan—that his commitment to the community never seemed like work, but rather, it was fun.
I am told he always gave credit to the women in his life, who supported him and picked up any slack at home while he was away. Reta Johnson was Gord’s first love and mom to the four boys. Sadly, Reta passed away in 1973.
In 1976, Gord married Shirley Christmas, who was instrumental in helping Gord deliver scrolls and attending dinners with him.
Former MPP Jack Riddell and his wife, Anita, were two of Gord’s very best friends. They shared many committee trips while here at Queen’s Park, but their friendship extended well beyond the political calling.
I’m told Gord worked here at Queen’s Park and in our beautiful riding as hard as he did in his fields. I’d say that’s good rural Ontario stock.
As a lover of trees and the forest, Gord, well into his nineties, could be found piling wood on the property. He said it kept him young.
Last year, on February 23, Gord passed away at his Jarvis-area farm, where he first came into this world. He was three days shy of his 97th birthday.
Speaker, Haldimand–Norfolk is a better place because of the work Gord Miller accomplished and laid before us. In the community of Jarvis and beyond, his absence is felt as strongly as locals long felt his presence.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Member for Ottawa South.
Mr. John Fraser: It’s an honour to stand here today on behalf of our Ontario Liberal caucus to pay tribute to Mr. Gordon Irvin Miller, Liberal MPP for the riding of Norfolk from 1975 to 1990. And we all heard that right: 1975 to 1990, a Liberal MPP in Norfolk. That in itself probably says a lot about Gord Miller.
Now, I obviously never had a chance to meet Mr. Miller, but you get to know people by going through articles and talking to other people. I know that he was raised by his family in Jarvis, Ontario, and he and his brothers, Bruce and Bob, took over the farm from their father. Fittingly, as we said earlier, that farm is on the road that’s named after him, the Gordon Miller Trail.
He started his political career as a school board trustee in 1960, and he was a trustee from 1960 to 1967, followed by many years in municipal politics—town councillor from 1978 to 1981, reeve from 1971 to 1973, regional councillor from 1973 to 1975, and deputy mayor of the city of Nanticoke in 1975.
As if that wasn’t enough, when the residents of Haldimand–Norfolk weren’t happy about the two-tiered government that was pushed on to them by the Conservative government of the day, Mr. Miller decided to run in the 1975 provincial election to have his constituents’ voices heard at Queen’s Park. He went on to win by over 2,000 votes over incumbent MPP Jim Allan, who had held the riding for 23 years. He was re-elected in 1977, 1981, 1985 and 1987, and served as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Transportation.
From what I gather, he cared deeply about his community. He was a community builder. He was someone who wanted—and we’ve heard it here today—to make his community better, and the work was fun. That’s a good sign.
As the Hamilton Spectator puts it, Gord was “the quintessential good neighbour.” What a nice legacy.
Mr. Miller was named the 1990 Jarvis Citizen of the Year.
Again, as if all those other things weren’t enough, he was a Sunday school superintendent, member of the Haldimand–Norfolk United Way, advocate for Crime Stoppers and chair of the West Haldimand General Hospital Foundation. It was a life full of service that I won’t say is unmatched, but it’s up there, near the top of the kind of service that we’ve spoken about in this community, with some members here who have passed away.
Aside from being a politician, he was a big-time sports fan, a coach, a player, interested in baseball and hockey.
I think it’s really important, when someone serves 30 years in public service—and the family is here today—to thank the family for allowing their father and grandfather to serve his community. We all know that in that kind of service, it takes you away from the things that you—where you want to be, who you want to be with, sometimes. It’s a big sacrifice. It’s a big sacrifice for us as members, but it’s an even bigger sacrifice for our families,
So to his son Doug; daughter-in-law Flora; grandsons Jamie, Geoff and David; granddaughter Meghan; great-grandchildren Brynn and Mason, thank you.
And on behalf of the Ontario Liberal caucus, I want to thank Mr. Miller for dedicating his life to public service. Thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Mr. Gordon Miller.
Douglas Jack Wiseman
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Orders of the day. I recognize the member for Barrie–Innisfil.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Douglas Jack Wiseman, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group, and five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Ms. Khanjin is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Douglas Jack Wiseman, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group, and five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government. Agreed? Agreed.
Today we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. Douglas Jack Wiseman, who was the MPP for Lanark during the 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd Parliaments and for Lanark–Renfrew during the 34th Parliament. Mr. Wiseman’s family is watching the tribute from home this afternoon.
The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane.
Mr. John Vanthof: It’s an honour to be able to rise today and pay tribute to Douglas Jack Wiseman on behalf of the official opposition. He passed away on August 1, 2020, in his 91st year. As I was doing the research for Mr. Wiseman—I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I very much enjoyed doing the research. He had a long career of public service—but one stuck out to me that I didn’t think anyone else was going to talk about, and I think I would like to, in honour of him, talk about something that obviously he loved. He was, for a period, the chair of the eastern Ontario Charolais association, and in the 1960s and 1970s he bred many prize-winning Charolais cattle.
Just a brief history of Charolais cattle: They’re a beef breed that actually were introduced into Canada in 1959 and were recognized as an official breed in 1960 in Canada. So to be a breeder of prize-winning Charolais in the 1960s and 1970s—that was groundbreaking.
Not everybody here is going to know what a Charolais cow looks like. If you’re driving down a country road and you see a beautiful herd of almost-white, tan beef cattle, likely those are Charolais, and many other beef cattle have been influenced, because Charolais bulls were often used in British beef breeds to put—for lack of a better word—more meat on them. If you think that politics is partisan, you should get into a meeting talking about whether Charolais, Herefords or Angus are the best breed. I am sure that Mr. Doug Wiseman was heavily involved in that, being a part of the Charolais association.
But to be there that early is incredible, and prize-winning bulls and prize-winning cattle at that time—it’s still a really tough business, but now there’s DNA testing, genomics. But back then, it was a true art to be able to raise a prize-winning show animal which would later develop the whole breed. That’s something that was really important to him, and I think it’s something that should be mentioned in this House.
In his career in the Legislature from 1971 to 1990, one of his many roles—he was Minister of Government Services, and he, according to media reports, identified some issues in his ministry for which he lost his portfolio. He identified issues that needed to be identified—and, not trying to be partisan, but sometimes the biggest fights, regardless of party, are within the party. He identified them and lost his portfolio and kept identifying issues that needed to be corrected. That’s something that should be also recognized. Coming from a farm—farmers aren’t the only honest people, but farmers are pretty honest. I think that should be recognized, too—for what he did.
When he retired, he sold shoes—and that became a chain of shoe stores. He did that, and his own community recognized the quality of person he was.
He had a long career in many levels of politics and spent many of his years here.
He made a great contribution to agriculture. I don’t think you can do much more with your life than that in 90 years.
I would like to thank his family for sharing him, not only with the province, but with the agricultural sector—sharing his talents with the rest of us. It was a life well lived. Thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Kingston and the Islands.
Mr. Ted Hsu: I rise today to pay tribute to the former member for Lanark, Douglas Wiseman.
Doug is survived by his beloved wife, Bernice, whom he married in 1951, his three children, Clifford, Karen and Robert, his three grandchildren and his two great-grandchildren. He is also remembered by his siblings, Dave, Walter, and Colleen.
I know that his son Robert, daughter-in-law Julie and grandson Austin are watching from home, and I want them to know how honoured I am to say something about Douglas today.
Born in 1930 in Smiths Falls, Ontario, as the son of a farmer, Doug enjoyed the allure of small-town Ontario. Before beginning his career in politics, he made a living as a farmer, developing a prominent cow-calf business at Chaloa Acres in Perth. His dedication to the community was evident in his work on the Perth public school board for 12 years and as chairman of the Perth retail business association for three years.
In 1971, Doug was elected MPP for the constituency of Lanark, where he remained until 1990. During his time in office, Doug held the titles of assistant to the Minister of Health, Minister without Portfolio, and Minister of Government Services.
Doug was an admirable member of Parliament who never feared speaking up against his own government, always putting the people of Ontario first.
His popularity amongst the people did not go unnoticed: A news story from 1984 detailed an appreciation dinner for Doug selling out in just a few hours, leaving even some of his fellow MPPs without tickets.
In 1990, he said he was motivated to step aside because he wanted a younger, newer face to represent the newly expanded riding of Lanark–Renfrew. After stepping down, he was able to spend more time with his family and continue to pursue his shoe store and real estate businesses. Though the decision was difficult, it allowed him to return to his roots and spend his retirement from politics doing his favourite things: being with his family at the cottage or working on his farm.
Doug Wiseman passed away on August 1, 2020, at the age of 91. On behalf of all of my Liberal caucus colleagues, I wish to say that he will be missed. May he rest in peace.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston.
Mr. John Jordan: It’s an honour for me to give tribute today to Doug Wiseman. I grew up in Lanark county, so Doug Wiseman was a household name and a highly respected MPP in my area.
MPP Doug Wiseman considered a handshake a precious commodity, its value determined by the reputation that preceded it. Suffice it to say, Doug Wiseman spent a good measure of time shaking hands and garnering the trust of the people he represented in the riding then known as Lanark and later as Lanark–Renfrew.
A farmer and small business man born, raised and educated in Lanark county, Doug served as chairman of the Perth retail business association and as member and chairman of the Perth public school board.
When elected to the Ontario Legislature as MPP for Lanark in 1971, Doug Wiseman was hailed by his constituents as a hard worker with a thoughtful, compassionate regard for the people and the land he called home; a man of boundless curiosity who, despite his quiet demeanour, stepped up to the plate when challenged by conflict and controversy. When MPP Wiseman went to bat for the concerns and needs of his constituency, he was in for the full nine innings and as much time as it would take. This drive and passion to serve his constituents continued throughout his political career, from the 29th to the 33rd Parliaments of Ontario.
MPP Doug Wiseman knew how to work with all levels of government. Some of his accomplishments included grants to Carleton Place and the village of Lanark under the Ontario Neighbourhood Improvement Program. A member of the justice and management board committees, Chairman of both the small business committee and the regulations committee, he also left his mark as a member of the Board of Internal Economy.
In November 1975, he was appointed parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health, and he served as Minister of Government Services until 1983.
In 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.
Doug Wiseman’s genuine love of life informed his ability to engage in constructive debate and productive conversation with colleagues and constituents of every stripe. Good friend and campaign manager Ron Stronski remarked that Doug was as much at home ferreting out kitchen table stories in Lanark county farms and village homes as he was representing his riding at Queen’s Park. Ron was telling me that when they were on the campaign trail in Lanark Highlands and Ron would be driving Doug’s Buick—as big as a boat, he recalled—and the instructions that Doug gave him were, “Just keep driving until I say stop.” Doug said, “Stop.” He got out of the car and went around to the trunk, opened the trunk up and got his rubber boots out and took off across the field to speak to a farmer. When he came back, he said to Ron, “That was a worthwhile conversation.”
Doug loved rural people, he loved rural Lanark, and he loved being the MPP in our area.
One of my other constituents recalls, as a little boy, meeting then-Minister Doug Wiseman. Doug had time to speak to the boy. “Unassuming, soft-spoken, just a plain nice person” is his recollection of meeting Doug Wiseman.
He excelled not only on the political front, but on the home front. He was the beloved husband of Bernice “Bunny” Wiseman, a brilliant, forthright companion and accomplished nurse who co-managed a host of entrepreneurial endeavours, including a privately owned hospital and a successful chain of shoe stores, Wiseman’s Shoes.
Together with their children, Clifford, Karen and Robert, the Wisemans nurtured a thriving family farm, renowned for prize-winning Charolais cattle. Named Chaloa Acres, the Wiseman farm was and is a well-known landmark in Lanark county. It was here and at the family cottage on Bass Lake that time was well spent and greatly cherished.
Doug Wiseman passed away on August 1, 2020. His wife, Bunny, passed away two years later, in April of this year. They are both greatly missed in my home community of Lanark county.
If character, compassion and good grace are the mark of true wisdom, then it can be said that MPP Doug Wiseman lived up to his name.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Douglas Jack Wiseman.
Lily Oddie Munro
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Orders of the day. I recognize the member for Barrie–Innisfil.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Ms. Lily Oddie Munro, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Ms. Khanjin is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Ms. Lily Oddie Munro, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.
Today we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Ms. Lily Oddie Munro, the MPP for Hamilton Centre during the 33rd and 34th Parliaments.
Joining us in the Speaker’s gallery today are Ms. Munro’s family and friends: her son, John Oddie; her former daughter-in-law, Mara Fabrizio; her grandson, Finn Munro; her cousin Lynn Larson; and her friends Robert and Doug. Welcome to Queen’s Park.
I recognize the member for Flamborough–Glanbrook.
Ms. Donna Skelly: I have the privilege today of paying tribute to Lily Oddie Munro, a cabinet minister in the David Peterson government whose political journey began in my hometown of Hamilton back in the mid-1980s.
Lily Munro was first elected MPP for the riding of Hamilton Centre in 1985 after losing a by-election the year before by the slimmest of margins—just 64 votes. She was appointed Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Culture, the only woman in cabinet at that time. Two years later, following the Liberal landslide of 1987, she became Minister of Culture and Communications. She was an energetic, self-confessed workaholic who embraced cultural issues.
Lily Munro’s career certainly did not begin on a political path. After graduating from Delta Secondary School in Hamilton, she went to work as a secretary at Stelco steel. Munro remained at Stelco for 13 years. She then decided that she wanted to improve her formal education. She was driven and determined. At the age of 32, Lily Munro enrolled at university and earned not just one degree but three degrees, including a doctorate in educational philosophy. Following graduation, Dr. Munro worked as a psychologist. She became the director of the Centre for Continuing Education at McMaster University.
Lily Oddie became more engaged in politics when she began working for federal MP John Munro, a man whom she later married. John Munro once described his wife as a “tough fighter and a hard fighter.”
As Minister of Culture, she was a fierce proponent of funding for the arts and culture. She fought for funding to restore the Elgin and Winter Garden theatres because she desperately wanted to provide year-round employment for seasonal theatre staff. She weathered the storm around accusations of conflict of interest in the Patti Starr affair and brushed aside daily calls from the opposition to resign. Her staff called her “Tiger Lily.”
Lily Munro had deep roots in Hamilton. She immigrated to Canada from Britain with her family after the war. She served on various boards and committees in Hamilton that promoted the well-being of women, children and the disabled.
Lily Munro has been described as being shy and reserved, but those who knew her well say otherwise. She was spontaneous, energetic and warm.
At 80 pounds, she was a black belt in karate. I’m told that in an east-end Hamilton karate club, she once broke another woman’s ribs.
At the age of 60, Munro decided she wanted to ride a motorcycle. After getting her licence, she went on rides with friends to the United States. She gave up the bike at the age of 70, at the insistence of her son.
She was a woman with no reservations about getting up on stage in costume for roles in theatre.
Another time, the culture minister graced the front page of a Toronto newspaper dressed as a character from the musical Cats.
When the Hamilton Tiger-Cats won the CFL Eastern final in 1985, Munro led this House in an Oskee Wee Wee chant. In fact, Lily Munro was a staunch Steeltown cheerleader who raised Hamilton’s profile at Queen’s Park.
Decades after her high school graduation, Lily Munro was inducted into the Delta high school Wall of Excellence.
Lily Munro embraced life. She lived a long and full life. She passed away at the age of 83.
I want to thank her son, John, and grandson, Finn, for sharing their mother and grandmother with us. She was a woman who had Hamilton’s best interest at heart, and we are a better community because of her work.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Toronto–St. Paul’s.
MPP Jill Andrew: It is my honour to stand today to acknowledge the life and legacy of the late doctor, psychologist and MPP Lily Oddie, formerly Lily Munro, who served as the Liberal MPP for Hamilton Centre from May 2, 1985, to September 5, 1990, and who also served her community and Ontario on multiple legislative committees and as Minister of Culture and Communications and, later, Minister of Citizenship and Culture during her tenure.
I want to thank her family and loved ones here today in the Legislature: her son, John; her former daughter-in-law, Mara; her grandson, Finn; and Lynn, a wonderful cousin; her friends Robert and Doug; and, of course, Mr. David Warner, the former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Thank you to the family and loved ones of Dr. Munro for sharing her so generously and selflessly with the people of Hamilton Centre, with Ontario. This isn’t an easy job. It’s not easy work, and it’s often thankless. So thank you for sharing her with us.
While I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing MPP Oddie Munro personally, it has been quite rewarding of an experience getting to know her through the archive. It is clear to me that she was an incredibly strong woman and, even through political trials and tribulations, she proved herself as exactly what her former husband, MP John Munro, once described her as: “a tough fighter and a hard fighter.”
It’s like the great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A woman is like a tea bag—you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in a little hot water.” I know a thing or two about having to be a strong woman in the face of adversaries and adversities, and it is clear to me that Lily, who at one point served as the only woman in cabinet, had grit. Because she and many other women MPPs were here, we continue to see more women exploring careers in politics, running in politics, not as afraid to hold their own and speak their truth.
MPP Oddie Munro was a newcomer in politics. Her very place in this building was a break from tradition, something she very much embraced. She was described as warm, spontaneous and compassionate. She reportedly dressed up on Halloween and, on her lunch break, would bop to the music in the park across the street. Her presence here was humanizing—a word not associated, frankly, with politicians, not then and not even now. She served with care.
She also had an eye on equity and the need to confront the exclusionary and often oppressive social structures that left certain groups of Ontarians behind. As the Minister for Citizenship and Culture, MPP Oddie Munro made it a top priority to “meaningfully enfranchise minorities who feel excluded from the power structure,” as reporter Marilyn Linton once noted. For her, “meaningfully” was the key word. This meant engaging with marginalized communities directly to find out what enfranchisement looked like for them, rather than making assumptions.
MPP Oddie Munro made it her mission to “unleash the talent that has been overlooked around this province for the past 43 years by an old boys’ network,” as reporter Joe Serge noted in a Toronto Star article back in 1985.
Here in Ontario today, with only 39% of women elected to this Legislature, we still have a long way to go. But make no mistake, MPP Lily Oddie Munro placed cracks in that glass ceiling, and us women here continue to do so.
She was also a committed advocate for culture and arts, working each day to prove that the sector is more than the fluff the old boy’s network made it out to be, or just a “frill,” as former Conservative Premier Mike Harris referred to it in future years. In her own words, “Culture is more than dancing, singing and 25th anniversaries. It is philosophy and values. If we put culture at the bottom of our list of priorities, it’s to our detriment in the end.”
In fact, Lily appeared as a cast member in the dress rehearsal of the Guys and Dolls show at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover, and she was also photographed dressed as a cast member of Cats, which was showing in Toronto at the time at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre—for which she advocated its full restoration.
It was this all-encompassing outlook towards arts and culture and her pioneering mind that helped amplify and uplift arts and culture into the economic powerhouse it is today. Her vision for Ontario’s film industry helped place our province on the map as a competitive hub for production. She was largely responsible for ensuring an arm’s-length relationship between arts organization, such as the OAC, and the government, which we know is fundamental to arts autonomy across Ontario.
Her work in protecting Ontario’s heritage continues to be felt across the province, including in my own community of St. Paul’s, home of the Maclean House, which was saved from demolition thanks to a strengthened Ontario Heritage Act under Minister Munro, at that time.
Her dedication to her community and a better world in Hamilton and beyond continued long after she left politics in 1990, through her career in social work and education, which included her work at St. Catharines YWCA and serving on the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Upon leaving Queen’s Park, she told the Spectator that, “All of us go into politics knowing we have to be tough.”
While this remains true, Lily Oddie’s legacy gives us a new definition of what it meant to be tough. Tough is also compassionate, it’s warm, it’s refreshing. It’s donning a tutu, dancing to Willie Nelson across the street.
MPP Lily Oddie Munro is a woman who had a black belt in karate and who, at 60 years of age, according to her son John, learned to ride a motorcycle. She loved to travel with her friends to the US, she loved life and she loved working hard for her community. What a life, I say. What a life.
Thank you for this opportunity to honour her today, and thank you once again to her family for sharing her with Ontario and Hamilton Centre.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Beaches–East York.
Ms. Mary-Margaret McMahon: I am honoured to be here today paying tribute to the Late Lily Oddie Munro and I’m thrilled that her family and friends are here in the chamber to hear all the beautiful accolades.
Lily served as the MPP for Hamilton Centre and firstly as the Minister of Citizenship and Culture, then was renamed as the Minister of Culture and Communications. At the time, under a Liberal government, she was the only woman sitting in cabinet. Lily was a champion for arts and culture in Ontario and saw the arts not as idle luxuries but as significant contributors to the economy. Arts matter.
Lily was born in Lancastershire, England, on September 27, 1931. She moved to Hamilton with her mother in 1942, where she graduated from Delta Secondary School before working at Stelco. She got her start in politics working for John Munro in Ottawa and went on to obtain degrees from Dalhousie University and Athabasca University, including a PhD in psychology. She worked as a psychologist and later as the director of the McMaster University School of Adult Education.
After an already robust career, Lily made the bold decision to run for office in 1984 in a by-election and went on to be elected in 1985. During her time as an MPP and minister, Lily worked hard to strengthen local organizations and projects, and diversity within the Ontario Legislature. She said, “We are a province proud of its multicultural identity, and I want that reflected in the backrooms and boardrooms of Ontario.”
I am happy to see the strides we’ve made towards a more diverse House since Lily served, but we still have much further ahead to go. I hope we can continue to diversify the voices that sit and speak in this chamber. Every person in Ontario should see themselves represented in this room.
Lily Oddie was a trailblazer for women in politics. At one point, she sat as the only woman minister in Ontario, and was rather outspoken about how she was perceived in this position. Her staff even referred to her as “Mr. Minister,” a dig at her impressive place in the boys’ club. As the wife of a prominent politician, she had to work hard to be remembered for more than just her husband’s name. She felt she couldn’t beat the system, so she joined it, changing the province from the inside out. Her legacy will continue through all the women elected to this legislature. I’m proud to stand here, knowing the sacrifices Lily and the other women who came before me have made so that we always have a place at the table.
As the Minister of Culture and Citizenship and, later, Culture and Communications, Lily had a unique perspective on arts and culture and was outspoken about an often-overlooked sector of government. In her words—and as the MPP for Toronto–St. Paul’s has mentioned—“Culture is more than dancing, singing and 25th anniversaries. It’s philosophy and values, and if we put culture at the bottom of our list of priorities, it’s to” the detriment of our world. That can’t be said enough. I echo this statement, as critic for culture, and appreciate the importance of these areas that she highlighted throughout her career.
Today and every day, we can remember Lily as a strong, resilient leader who brought a lot of needed attention to arts and culture in Ontario. I’m inspired by her hard work and advocacy and so strongly respect the work she did during her service as an MPP and minister. She sounds like a real character, so I feel her spirit lives on in here and will live on. May she continue to rest in peace.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Lily Oddie Munro.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Barrie–Innisfil.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance for the late Mr. Richard Patten, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Ms. Khanjin is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance for the late Mr. Richard Patten, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.
Today we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to the former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. Richard Patten, who was the MPP for Ottawa Centre during the 34th, 36th, 37th and 38th Parliaments.
Joining us in the Speaker’s gallery are Mr. Patten’s friends Barbara Jordan and her husband, Allan Morrison. Mr. Patten’s family is watching this tribute from home this afternoon.
I recognize the member for Nepean.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: This is my first speech back since the election, and I want to say it’s a truly an honour to be able to represent Nepean again, inside the city of Ottawa, but also to be here with all of my colleagues.
This is a very important tribute for me to give because this was very a close friend of mine and somebody who needed no introduction to anybody in our nation’s capital. That’s why I’m pleased to provide the tribute today for Richard Patten—a great friend, a great leader and, to me, he was a great mentor.
Speaker, I know that there are many people here today in this assembly that are listening to this tribute, and I think it’s the finest moments we have as members of this Legislature to offer our tributes to those who have passed, but also to learn about them and their contributions rather than just being here in the day-to-day where we sometimes get a bit frustrated with one another. And trust me, from time to time, I saw a little bit of frustration in my dear friend Richard Patten as we served together in 2006 and 2007.
I know, also, there are a number of people from back home that are watching this tribute today. That includes his loving wife and community leader in her own right, Penny Patten. It also includes his former campaign manager, a great friend of mine, Isabel Metcalfe, and the candidate he roundly defeated, in 2003, for the Conservative Party, my husband, Joe Varner. And Joe, I’ll pay for that when I get home.
But I have to say, I know many of the members here—and I do hope that they read his biography and they talk a little bit about his time in cabinet. But I want to talk about the man that I knew and the lessons that I learned. Because Richard spent a lot of his life working for charities and not-for-profits and really trying to lift our city up. He did that through the Royal Ottawa hospital. He did that at CHEO as the foundation president. He did that throughout his life through the YMCA, and when I was Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, he served on the Shaw Centre.
But he was more than a politician. He was a gracious gentleman, and he taught me five things. I think these five things are a lesson for all members of this assembly, regardless of where you come from, regardless if you are a brand new member of provincial Parliament or, like me and Ernie, been stuck here with the furniture.
He was a humble person. He offered great humility. When we ran the campaign in 2003 against him—well, not really against him, but for a vision—every single day, Richard Patten and my husband cemented a friendship. And I lament that Richard, before he passed, had to see the polarization in politics today, because Richard Patten didn’t have a partisan bone in his body. He had the community bone, and it was because of that humility that I think of him, and I think of him fondly. I actually started, in recent years, passing my own types of judgment on how to best represent my constituents, as well as this Legislature.
He also taught me—and I will steal this because Minister Mulroney is here, a line from her father: Dance with the ones that brung ya. You might think it’s about politics and back-slapping, but no, no, no, not with Richard Patten. And I know today we’re going to be also giving a tribute to our former Premier, Bill Davis—Brampton Bill. Well, one thing about Richard Patten is that every single day he stood in this Legislature, you knew the people of Ottawa Centre, the people of Ottawa, sent him to this place—and Speaker, you’re nodding because you served with him. You knew he cared more about our city than the crap that we sometimes have to deal with in politics. That is a tremendous lesson for me and it’s one that I’ve tried to follow and emulate.
He taught me that we need to make friends, both in politics and outside of politics. And he displayed that because of the friendship that he provided me. When I arrived here in 2006, three short years after he defeated my husband in a race in Ottawa Centre as the Nepean–Carleton MPP, he became my friend and he mentored me. In fact—and this may shock a lot of people, and I mentioned this to his former campaign manager Isabel Metcalfe today—when he left politics, he actually became a donor to me; a significant contributor. He always lifted me up. But he also proved that, just after politics seems to end things—and he had defeats in his life; he was defeated. He always knew that he could count on friends after politics. Speaker, I’m not going to mention my recent months, but I can tell you there were a number of people who made sure that, in this business, their friendship to me came before politics. And that says a lot about politicians, in my opinion.
I think the other thing that he taught us was to be sympathetic toward this institution and understand that as much as we are ever evolving in this institution, there are things, historic traditions that we should respect. And I remember him sitting right here, because back in the day—he had been a former minister—they kept former ministers like this guy here from Oxford down there, and it contributed to a great debate. I know I’m a little bit over time, but this needs to be said, because when I get to speak—I actually got to serve with some legends. I actually got to serve with Peter Kormos, one of the funniest people in the Legislature, and you know that too, Speaker. And the two of them one night—I was 30 years old, I had a brand new baby, Victoria, who had just been born, and I was sitting way over there where Joel Harden is. I was sitting where the current member for Ottawa Centre is, myself and Christine Elliott. And the two of them were bickering back and forth, and I thought, “I have made it. I have made it to the floor of the assembly where the real stuff happens.” And then, of course, I was sadly disappointed to learn that that really doesn’t—nothing happens down there. It happens in other places. But he respected this institution, and I can tell you, when he left it, he didn’t put the lights out. He advocated for change, more autonomy for the private member. And I think he’d be pleased to see that this Legislature in the previous incarnation of Parliament adopted more measures for private members.
Finally, I want to say this, because you should all understand this: I have had the privilege of serving for 17 years. He had the privilege of serving for 20. “MPP” is a really nice title. It goes right—say your name, “MPP.” But Richard Patten taught us that you do not need a title to serve your community. You can just get up and see a problem and fix it. I’m glad that he earned his right to be here through successive votes to this assembly. He was a man of great strength and character. He battled cancer.
I have a lot of funny stories that I don’t have time to tell, but I will say this: Richard Patten left this place a gentleman, and he left this earth a gentleman, but just like the others we’ve learned about today, they are our teachers. They are teachers that remind us that there’s life after politics, and they are teachers that remind us that when we’re here, there is an ability for us to be gracious to one another.
I want to thank you, Speaker, for this opportunity.
And to Penny, I’m so sorry that we’ve lost Richard, but I know he is resting in peace—actually, he’s resting in power.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Joel Harden: It’s an honour to rise today as the member for Ottawa Centre, remembering the life of Richard Patten. Friends who are present here, friends who are watching this from home—I agree with the member from Nepean. This was a giant figure in our community. I regret to say I never knew him very well personally—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: He would have loved you.
Mr. Joel Harden: Well, thank you, member.
He was someone whose presence certainly lives on—serving as MPP for Ottawa Centre from 1987 to 1990, serving again from 1995 to 2007.
I could, as the member from Nepean did—and I will just list it briefly for the record—talk about the fact that this is the politician who helped save the Aberdeen Pavilion from the wrecking ball. If you ever get the chance to see it at Lansdowne Market, look at it; it’s a beautiful structure.
This is the politician who helped drive the fundraising structure by being the president of the CHEO Foundation for our children’s hospital, which, as current CEO Alex Munter tells me, has made an enormous difference today.
But when I think about Richard Patten—as the member for Ottawa Centre previous to me, Yasir Naqvi, told me recently—I think about this gentleman as a citizen of the world. What does it mean to be a citizen of the world? Well, Oxfam, a charity with which many of us are familiar, calls a citizen of the world “someone who is aware of and understands the wider world—and their place in it.” As a citizen of the world, “they take an active role in their community and work with others to make our planet”—not just their city, their province or their country—a “more peaceful, sustainable and fairer” place. Why do I think about that with the life of Richard Patten? With what I was inspired to read based upon some leads that luckily were furnished to me by a family member, Sheila Laursen, who worked for the Montreal YMCA and whose friends Scott Haldane, Sol Kasimer and Bill Pigott worked with Richard Patten, I think about someone who was an accomplished athlete, who spent an entire summer in the late 1970s teaching physical health and education to Palestinian refugees in Syria, in Lebanon, in Jordan and in Gaza, and after that experience went on to continue to talk about the plight of the Palestinian people. It is difficult to talk about that plight today. Politicians are afraid sometimes to talk about the suffering of the Palestinian people, who live in open-air prisons, who suffer some of the most egregious human rights abuses every single day. It is dangerous to do that now, but Richard Patten did this in the late 1980s. And he went on to live in Guyana for two years and talk about the suffering of the Guyanese people.
He worked in friendship with Indigenous communities across this country, not through a charity model or a pity model, but a respect model, nation to nation, thinking about how he, through his dense connections, could use the platform of a politician or the platform of a major community organization like the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to pay it forward and to help others who are fighting hard to make ends meet.
Why do we become a global citizen? I think people decide to become a global citizen in politics because they look beyond their city, their riding, their province, their country, and they see the world for what it is: a world in which eight people—eight people—today collectively own as much as the poorest half of the whole world, 3.5 billion people; a world in which the poorest billion on this planet account for 1% of global consumption but the richest billion account for 72% of global consumption.
Article 13 of the United Nations charter of human rights says that everyone has the right to leave their country. But what we know is that 3% of people around the world actually live outside of their country of origin, and we have spent decades putting up borders and obstacles to stop people from enriching other societies with their talents.
Thankfully, it is part of the Canadian story that we have tried to create a place that is welcoming, that says to people from around the world, “Come here, build your dream here, help us make a better place here.” I would like to think that the inspiration for that ideal comes from the Indigenous peoples who shepherded and walked over this land for generations, who themselves were welcoming.
That’s what I think of when I think of a giant like Richard Patten—someone who was a global citizen, someone who worked hard for his city, and someone who said that it’s not enough to work for your riding and we have to use the resources and the skills we have to make our world a better place.
Thank you so much to friends who are here and to friends watching for all of your work and for lending Richard to us.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa South.
Mr. John Fraser: It’s an honour to stand today, on behalf of the Ontario Liberal caucus, to say a few words of tribute for our friend and our colleague Richard Patten, the MPP for Ottawa Centre from 1989 to 1990, re-elected in 1995, again in 1999 and again in 2003. He served as a minister in the Peterson government, and in opposition he was the critic for education, which was one of his passions.
The essence of Richard Patten was community building. He was always searching for a way to build his community up—and as we’ll hear a little later, his community was much larger than just Ottawa Centre, which was dear to his heart.
As the member from Ottawa Centre just said, he helped save Ottawa’s Aberdeen Pavilion from the wrecking ball, which is really, I would say, a nice unnamed monument to his efforts as a public servant. It’s still there today. It houses a farmers’ market. It’s a beautiful building. If you’re ever in Ottawa Centre and don’t make it to Ottawa South, make sure you go by the Aberdeen Pavilion.
He was also part of the team that helped save CHEO’s cardiac unit. At the time, in 2002, the government of the day wanted to close down the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s cardiac surgery unit. He was part of the team that helped save that.
I know he was very proud of that accomplishment, but not as proud as he was of a piece of legislation that he worked hard to pass here in this assembly: Brian’s Law. It was in honour of sportscaster Brian Smith, who was shot and killed in 1995 by a man who desperately needed treatment. That law, after it passed, led to early assessment of people in danger of hurting themselves or others and also led to the thing we know as community orders. That was an important improvement in the management of mental health in our communities. It took a long time to get this bill through, but it showed Richard’s drive to try to make the lives of others better.
As I said earlier, Richard’s world, his community, wasn’t just Ottawa Centre—and as we heard the member from Ottawa Centre say, it did extend past.
This was Richard as a young man—he worked at summer day camps for the YMCA and later on in different branches of the Y when he was at Sir George Williams University.
One summer semester, he worked with Palestinian youth in refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza under the auspices of UNRA and the World Alliance of YMCAs.
After he graduated from Sir George with a bachelor of arts, with a major in history and the philosophy of religion and a certificate in applied social science, he became the YMCA director in Montreal.
In 1969, he accepted a two-year posting to Georgetown, Guyana, as a trainer consultant to the Guyanese national council of YMCAs. His mission was to manage a process of reorienting the organization and to train staff across the newly independent nation.
In 1971, Richard became the director of international programs for the Montreal YMCA. With the expelling of Asians from Uganda, Richard negotiated an arrangement with the federal government to work with YMCAs and the voluntary sector across Canada to provide support for thousands of Ismailis in language, training, culture and job readiness, and to provide clothing and shelter.
In 1975, after all of this, Richard moved to Ottawa and became the director of international programs for the Canadian National Council of YMCAs. From there, he negotiated with CIDA and received funding to establish international development projects throughout the world in a three-way partnership between the recipient nation, supported by a branch of Canadian YMCA and CIDA.
I worked with Richard. I never had the pleasure of sitting in this Legislature with him. I knew him for about 30 years and worked with him for about 15 of those.
I wanted to reach out to my predecessor in this seat, Premier Dalton McGuinty, the former member for Ottawa South, because he spent a lot of time with Richard. Here’s what he had to say:
Richard’s commitment to public service, to making the world a better place by helping others, shone through everything he did as an MPP and in his years before and after. He cared—a lot. He found joy in service, especially in helping those who couldn’t help themselves. Ontario, and especially Ottawa, are better places because of Richard’s kindness and commitment to his fellow human beings.
I know his wife, Penny, is at home listening, and I want to say to Penny—well, first off, I didn’t meet Richard first; I met Penny. I was in another life. I was managing a store that was in their neighbourhood. We got to talking, as can happen sometimes with me. She knew our daughter was having a diet-related challenge, and she lent me a book. This is about 40 years ago. She was very kind. She said, “You should read this.” Penny, I want to say I’m sorry that I never got that book back to you. I still remember it, and I still have the feeling that I owe you something. Actually, we all owe you something. You shared Richard with this assembly, with Ottawa Centre, with this province, with the world, and that was a lot to ask of you. It’s not easy to be a partner, a spouse, of a political person, and I want to thank you, on behalf of everyone here and everyone Richard helped, for being that strong and supportive partner you were.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Richard Patten.
Julian Alexander Arnott Reed
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I recognize the member for Barrie–Innisfil.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Julian Alexander Arnott Reed, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Ms. Khanjin is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Mr. Julian Alexander Arnott Reed, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government, five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, and five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group. Agreed? Agreed.
Today, we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. Julian Alexander Arnott Reed, who was the MPP for Halton–Burlington during the 30th, 31st and 32nd Parliaments.
Joining us in the Speaker’s gallery are Mr. Reed’s family: his daughter, Melanie Reed; his son-in-law, Jeff Doupe; his grandchildren Shannon Doupe and Weston Doupe; and his cousin Linda Mcgregor.
I recognize the member for Oakville North–Burlington.
Ms. Effie J. Triantafilopoulos: It is an honour and privilege to speak in this House today to honour the late Julian Reed, member of provincial Parliament, on behalf of the government and the people of Ontario.
Let me begin by welcoming his family and friends who are joining us today: his daughter, Melanie Reed; his son-in-law, Jeff Doupe; his grandchildren Shannon and Weston; and his cousin Linda Mcgregor.
It’s always a sad occasion when we rise to honour a former member of this House, but it does give us the opportunity to speak about their service to their constituents, their community and our province. We can reflect on the work they did in this House and in their community and talk a little bit about the character and personality of the individual.
Julian Alexander Arnott Reed passed away on January 6 of this year, at the age of 85. Former Premier David Peterson remembered him with fondness, saying, “He was a delight ... with a wonderful sense of the community. He loved to tell stories. He loved to talk. He was full of fun and love.” This was reinforced when I spoke to long-time Milton mayor Gord Krantz, who was re-elected for his 14th term last night, about Julian Reed. They worked closely, attending community events with their spouses, and Mayor Krantz remembers him as playing the banjo and as a jovial entertainer. He said Julian was known as a showman and a good singer.
Julian Reed served in this Legislature for the riding of Halton–Burlington from 1975 to 1985, being re-elected in 1977 and 1981. He retired from public life in 1985 but obviously decided he hadn’t had enough of politics, as he then was elected and served as the member of Parliament for Halton–Peel and then Halton, from 1993 to 2004.
The Reeds were an old family in Halton county and Halton region, with roots going back to the 19th century. Julian Reed was born in 1936 and grew up near Norval, east of Georgetown, on a farm that had been in the family most of the time since 1868. He had worked as an actor, seed salesman and pig farmer before getting involved in politics. I’m not sure which of these roles would have been a better preparation for a political career.
In 1968, he got his big break in show business when an agent saw him in a production of South Pacific. This led to work in a variety show and commercials. Mayor Krantz remembers him doing a Vicks cough drops commercial.
The political bug struck him when he got involved to save Norval Public School from being closed. He had met the Minister of Education and asked him if the only way to save the school was to run for office. The minister shrugged and said yes, and so Julian Reed ran for the Legislature.
He had a strong interest in alternative sources of energy—a man truly ahead of his time. He built a small power-generating station on the Credit River, by his family’s farm, in the 1970s, and another later, near Peterborough, connected to Ontario Hydro’s grid. In this Legislature, he spoke out on Ontario Hydro, biotechnology, energy efficiency and many other energy topics. He shared his great knowledge with the members of this House during the late 1970s and early 1980s in the energy crisis. When he went to Ottawa as a member of Parliament, he helped secure funding for an ethanol plant in Chatham and $11.9 million for biodiesel, both approved in the same budget. His passion for alternative energy was almost lethal one day, as he took a bottle of new diesel made of canola oil and 12% methanol to a lunch with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. The Prime Minister could smell the canola and took a drink from the bottle with the poisonous methanol. Julian Reed then took a drink himself, figuring, “If he was going out, I was going out too.” Thankfully, no by-elections were needed that day.
When one reads about Julian and what his colleagues thought of him, it is obvious he was greatly respected and loved—respected because of his commitment to the causes he believed in, including alternative energy, and because of the knowledge and skills he offered on these causes.
He was a great contributor to public life and public service, but he also knew how to enjoy himself and how to make others happy, especially his family.
He is missed by his family, many of whom are here today, and by his many friends, both in the Liberal Party and in the community he served.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Algoma–Manitoulin.
Mr. Michael Mantha: It’s an honour to rise on behalf of the official opposition and pay tribute to the life and contributions of Julian Reed.
Shortly after the death of Julian Reed earlier this year, former Premier David Peterson shared these words: “He was a delight ... he was full of fun and love....You just could not help but like him.”
Farmer, actor, activist, environmental advocate, MPP and MP—throughout all the speeches that were given here today, there’s a theme that is coming out: Farmers have had a large contribution towards the advancement of this province.
You don’t have to dig deep to discover that Julian Reed was a man that made the most of the opportunities that came his way. Even in a place like this, where there is no shortage of compelling personalities, Julian’s backstory is a delightful blend of the conventional and the extraordinary that draws our attention. From the beginning, Julian’s identity revolved around performing and farming—in fact, his listed occupation on the House of Commons website was “actor-farmer”—and rural Ontario always remained close to his heart.
During his 10 years at Queen’s Park, he also became a respected voice on the environment, drawing attention to the dangers of PCBs and the unchecked increase of fossil fuel use, while advocating for energy conservation.
In 1985, Julian took a break from political life to revisit his interests in acting and farming and pursue a new career in renewable energy, only to return to elected life as the MP for Halton in 1993 as part of the Chrétien sweep.
Here, his passions would continue to guide him, burnishing his reputation among fellow MPPs as “a valued colleague who championed environmental, rural and small-town issues.”
But as I read more about Julian, it became clear that he didn’t simply stand out because of his skills. His true talent was his ability to combine his passion, experience and gifts in a way that left an indelible impression on those around him. In the recollections and tributes that followed his passing, nearly every story was punctuated by the way he touched people’s lives just by being true to himself.
In account after account, Julian’s growth and success stem from a capacity to evoke feeling in others—from the patron who launched his show business career following a moving performance, the communities that rallied around him to send him to Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill to ensure they were heard, and the colleagues that fondly remember him as a cherished mentor and friend. His ability to make people feel welcomed—accompanied by an infectious smile, sense of humour and tireless work effort—forged relationships that extended far beyond his political life.
As we acknowledge Julian, it is also important to celebrate his loved ones—both those here in person and those watching from home—and thank them for sharing him with the people of Ontario and Canada. The families of elected officials often shoulder the burden of elected office without sharing the privileges of public service. When Julian left Queen’s Park in 1985, he made it clear that his success would not have been possible without you, and we wholeheartedly echo that sentiment. We hope that our appreciation of your father’s service brings you some comfort in what has been a challenging year as you said goodbye to both mom and dad.
I dug out one of his last speeches that he made as the member for Halton on May 12, 2004, and I want to read it to you. He said, “Mr. Speaker, since this occasion may be the last time I rise in this place, it would be appropriate to point out that our tenure here is the result of the enduring support of many: our constituents, who vote; our loyal party workers, who keep the dream of democracy alive; our loyal staff, who have made it all work so well; and most of all, our families.
“I would like to express my appreciation to my bride of 44 years, Deanna, and our three grown children, Christopher, Robert and Melanie.
“To Deanna who regularly endured the loneliness of an absentee husband and who often filled in when I could not be in two places at once, to our three children who often endured political commentary, some of it unsavoury and uncalled for, I thank them all for giving me 10 productive and satisfying years of service to Canada.” Speaker, I think Julian had his priorities right, and I don’t think mom is lonely any more. They’re together.
In closing, the great poet and author Maya Angelou famously said, “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, but how you made them feel.” Julian Reed’s legacy is a powerful reminder that success is not measured on accolades achieved, but lives touched.
Thank you, Julian, for your service to your community, province and country. Thank you to the family for sharing him. Rest well, Julian.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I recognize the member for Don Valley East.
Mr. Adil Shamji: I am honoured to rise in memory of Julian Alexander Arnott Reed, a man of epic proportion. He made a habit of saying yes to life, and in doing so he lived a remarkable one.
He grew up on a farm near Norval that had been in his family since 1868. His early connection to farming, natural resources and renewable energy would shape the trajectory of his political career. However, Mr. Reed did not start out as a politician. After graduating from the University of Guelph with an associate degree in agriculture, Mr. Reed worked as a seed salesman and a pig farmer. But during this time, the stage would call to him, and he would answer yes.
Throughout his life, Mr. Reed poured his talent and passion into musical theatre. He dazzled audiences on stage with his acting and vocals, growing his knowledge of Ontario communities throughout the many regions in which he performed. One night, during a performance of South Pacific in Scarborough, Mr. Reed was discovered by a gentleman in the crowd. As the story goes, a man from the industry told him to stick with him for a few days, and he would break him into showbiz for real. All he needed was $200 for a new suit, $5 for a haircut, and to trust him. Once again, he said yes.
Soon, Mr. Reed was appearing on TV and in movies, in commercials and musical theatre. Mr. Reed was now in the big leagues. That seemed to be a pattern in his life: When he dedicated himself to something, he rose to the top.
Soon, Julian would dedicate himself to preventing the closure of his hometown public school in Norval. He met with the then education minister, who informed him that his only true recourse would be at the ballot box, so Julian said yes to that too. In 1975, Julian Alexander Arnott Reed was elected as the Liberal member of provincial Parliament, representing the riding of Halton–Burlington. There, he skillfully served for 10 years, gaining the love and respect of his colleagues. He served as critic for natural resources, energy, and consumer and commercial relations.
After an eight-year hiatus, Julian ran federally and became the Liberal member of Parliament for Halton–Peel and Halton between 1993 and 2004. He served in the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin administrations, and as parliamentary secretary to the Minister for International Trade from 1997 to 1998 and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1998 to 1999.
I would be remiss if I did not recount a story that we’ve already begun to hear about the time that he attended a lunch at Prime Minister Chrétien’s home. Mr. Reed had become so excited about a new type of diesel fuel that he carried a sample in his briefcase to show off to everyone. Prime Minister Chrétien, seeing that Reed was carrying a briefcase, told him that this was not a working lunch. He said that he should loosen up. Mr. Reed apologized but explained that he wanted to show him something and proceeded to pull the bottle of diesel fuel out of his briefcase and give it to the Prime Minister. As the story goes, Prime Minister Chrétien took a swig, and Reed’s heart stopped. Mr. Reed weighed his options and then he took a drink too, figuring that if the Prime Minister was going down, they should go down together. Perhaps being an MPP and MP were the parts of a lifetime.
There was one part Mr. Reed returned to three times: Tevye, the lead in Fiddler on the Roof. It makes sense. Tevye and Mr. Reed were community leaders full of warmth and humour, committed to their values, and both possessed a great sense of responsibility and duty to those around them.
Most people are lucky to find one calling in life, but Julian found at least two in his. Mr. Reed is remembered as a warm, highly accomplished man with an unparalleled zest for life. We are honoured to have his family here with us today. Melanie, Jeff, Shannon, Weston and Linda, thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. We give thanks for the life and public service of Julian Alexander Arnott Reed.
William Grenville Davis
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I recognize the member for Barrie–Innisfil.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the Honourable William Grenville Davis, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group and five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Barrie–Innisfil is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow members to make statements in remembrance of the late Honourable William Grenville Davis, with five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s loyal opposition, five minutes allotted to the independent members as a group and five minutes allotted to His Majesty’s government. Agreed? Agreed.
Today we are honoured to remember and pay tribute to a former member of our provincial Legislature, the late Mr. William (Bill) Grenville Davis, who was the MPP for Peel during the 26th and 27th Parliaments; Peel North in the 28th and 29th Parliaments; Brampton for the 30th, 31st and 32nd Parliaments; and who was Premier during the 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd Parliaments.
Joining us in the Speaker’s gallery are Mr. Davis’s family and friends: his wife, Kathleen Davis; his children and their partners, Nancy Bennett, Neil Davis, Ian Davis, Meg Davis, Ruth Davis, Rose Davis, Michael Bennett and Paul Giroux; his grandchildren, William Davis, Kerr Davis, Michael Bennett, Molly Giroux, Robert Davis and Samantha Pejic; his friends and former colleagues, John Tory, Steve Paikin, Sally Barnes, Fred Ross, Hugh Segal, Donna Segal, Sheila Donohue, Mitch Frazer, Steve Pengelly, Brian Flood, Pat Flood, Phil Gillies and Gordon Walker. Welcome.
I recognize the member for London West.
Ms. Peggy Sattler: It is my extraordinary privilege to rise today on behalf of the official opposition to pay tribute to the Honourable Bill Davis, who served with unparalleled distinction through four consecutive governments, from 1971 to 1985, as Ontario’s 18th Premier, who served as Minister of Education and the first Minister of University Affairs for almost a decade before that, and who dedicated himself for 26 years to the people of Peel and Brampton as an effective, likeable and hugely popular Progressive Conservative MPP.
Bill Davis is rightly remembered as Ontario’s education Premier, someone who believed deeply that, “If we get education right, everything else will be better.” But he will also forever be known as the politician who redefined what it means to be “bland.”
Davis was a transformative visionary who presided over one of the most remarkable periods of province-building in Ontario’s history. His legacy is all around us: in the world-class college system he created; in the ambitious expansion of public education and establishment of OISE and TVO; in the cancellation of the Spadina Expressway and the building out of GO Transit; in the founding of community legal clinics; in the creation of Ontario’s first Ministry of the Environment; in the introduction of rent review; and in brokering a historic compromise that led to the patriation of Canada’s Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Davis was also a consummate political pragmatist with an innate understanding that the art of the possible means bringing people along. His approach was the opposite of divide and conquer, the antithesis of polarization and unilateralism. He was an innovative change-maker who recognized the importance of listening to opposing views and taking time to make decisions, quietly mobilizing support for good ideas and just as quietly letting bad ones fade away in both minority and majority governments.
While he enjoyed the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate, Davis viewed his political opponents not so much as adversaries but as philosophically misguided good people who were no less deserving of respect. In the accolades that poured out following his passing in August 2021 at the age of 92, Davis was universally lauded for his graciousness, kindness and fundamental human decency. Many also spoke of his modesty and humility, which explains his long resistance to having his biography written, until Steve Paikin wore him down in 2014.
Former NDP leader Stephen Lewis, who sat across the aisle from Davis during most of the 1970s, told me in an email, “You will know that my relationship with Davis was close, even affectionate. I was very fond of him, and as much as we fought some bitter ideological battles, there was never any malice, mostly a mutual respect.”
When Davis announced he would not run again in 1985, Lewis wrote to him, “You made of politics an art that was at once was humane, generous, respectful and urgent. We often disagreed (my political colleagues have told me not often enough), but there always remained a quality of shared regard and friendship. I think of you today ... with such deep affection and admiration for what you’ve done, and who you are, and what lies ahead. We are all in your debt, Mr. Premier.”
Following Davis’s passing, Lewis said, “It’s hard to imagine a more decent adversary. When compared to the political dynamic today, the Bill Davis era was astonishingly civilized. As much as we did verbal battle across the floor of the Legislature, we maintained a friendly and harmonious relationship in the aftermath.... That was Premier Davis: a political leader of kind and generous disposition. Sure, we disagreed ideologically in ways that could never be bridged. But an atmosphere of intellectual and political generosity prevailed because that was his every instinct.”
After the NDP formed government in 1990, then-Premier Bob Rae recalled, “Bill Davis made a point of reaching out in the earliest days, and he was a constant adviser and mentor to me in what would prove to be a challenging time.... He made it clear that he wished nothing but success for me and for the province: ‘If you do well, we all shall do well.’”
For Davis, it was never about Bill Davis. It was about Ontario, about government in the service of the public good, which is why so many politicians and Premiers of all political stripes sought out his counsel and valued his advice.
It was also about community. Davis insisted on returning home to Brampton every night to the people who had elected and re-elected him seven times and always kept him grounded. But most of all, it was about family, many of whom have joined us today, along with friends and colleagues.
After the tragic loss of his first wife to cancer, Davis found a soulmate in his second marriage of 57 years to Kathleen. He was a loving and devoted father of five and a doting grandfather fondly known as “Dutch” to his 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Together, they took great delight in the boisterousness of family life, cheering on their favourite sports teams and spending time at their Georgian Bay cottage.
Bill Davis was the embodiment of politics as a noble calling. He exemplified the best of political life. We are profoundly grateful to his family for the sacrifices they made to share him with us, with the people of Brampton, and with all Ontarians. Our province and our country stand in your debt.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Guelph.
Mr. Mike Schreiner: Speaker, it’s an extraordinary honour today to rise to pay tribute to the legendary late Premier William “Bill” Grenville Davis. I’m pleased to welcome his family, his friends, his colleagues, and his many admirers to the Legislature today.
Premier Davis was and is an icon in this country. His legacy continues to directly affect each and every person in this province every day. A respected, respectful, accomplished and kind politician, Premier Davis’s conduct provides an enduring example for each and every MPP who serves in this House. His ability to bring Ontario together is exemplified not only by the praise he receives from politicians across the political spectrum, but also by his ability to successfully manage two minority governments. In a world where partisan actors continually seek to divide us, our politics and province would be well served to follow Premier Davis’s ability to compromise, to engage in cross-partisan co-operation, and to respect and work with his adversaries.
It will come as no surprise, Speaker, that as leader of the Ontario Greens, I’m most impressed by Premier Davis’s ability to see through the short-term stress of the daily news cycle to make long-term decisions that have had an enduring positive benefit for generations to come: cancelling the Spadina Expressway to maintain the vibrancy and vitality and quality of life in downtown Toronto; his role in the creation of the acid rain treaties to protect the Great Lakes; the Niagara Escarpment act, protecting our beloved escarpment and laying the foundation for Ontario’s greenbelt; and, of course, his creation of the Ministry of the Environment.
The list of Premier Davis’s many accomplishments are far too long for me to list today. But I hope, Speaker, that members from all sides of this House can agree that when it comes to the big issues of our time—the stability of our democracy, the quality of our education system, and the protection of the land, water and air that sustain life in this province—Premier Davis was a leader that was ahead of his time. Everyone who calls this province home are the beneficiaries of his life and his legacy.
So I want to say to his friends and his family, and especially his wife Kathleen: Thank you. Thank you for sharing Bill with us.
And to Premier Davis: May we all aspire to your legacy. Ontario is forever grateful to your vision, your leadership and your service. May you rest in peace.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Ottawa South.
Mr. John Fraser: It is truly a privilege to say a few words of tribute to Premier William Grenville Davis’s—better known as Brampton Bill’s—remarkable life and contributions.
The 18th Premier of Ontario began his political career when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as the MPP for Peel in 1959, a seat he held through seven elections until his retirement.
In 1962, he became the Minister of Education, and the budget for education increased fivefold. In 1971, he won the leadership of his party and remained the Premier of Ontario for 14 years. The amazing thing is six of those were in a minority government. Think about that. How often have we seen that happen? That’s skill; that’s real skill.
Under his leadership, the effects of the baby boom, immigration and a desire for more accessible education, he championed the construction of hundreds of schools, the creation of the community college system and the establishment of post-secondary institutions. He understood that the way to grow our economy was to have the smartest workforce, everybody operating at their best. He also built things like our GO Transit system.
He was a nation builder, so he strongly supported Prime Minister Trudeau’s 1981 plans to patriate the Constitution of Canada, and his role in the constitutional negotiations of 1981 was pivotal, resulting in the passage of the Constitution Act, 1982.
My personal memories of Bill Davis are in two parts.
He was first elected in the month I was born, in 1959. Now, I don’t really remember those first few months well, but what I do know is that he was Premier when I was growing up, when I was going to school, when I became a young father. So the things that he worked to put in place were some of the things that helped me succeed. And the impression, even as a young father, I had of Bill Davis—although you may or may not believe it, I wasn’t super political at the time; I don’t know what happened. But my impression was: He was a father; he was a husband; he was about family. He was kind of like Premier Dad.
It wasn’t until years later that I got to know his legacy and the things he did and accomplished to build up this province: the rapid expansion of our economy and the things that families depended on, like schools and health care; recognizing diversity in Ontario; taking care of the environment. He was ahead of his time.
Politically, he was a centrist—pragmatic, thoughtful, skillful—and those qualities helped him negotiate through six years of minority government. That is incredible, I repeat.
I can remember my father Jack, who was a Liberal like I am, saying to me, “I think Bill Davis would make a great Prime Minister.” Now, I’m not sure. Maybe at the time saying my dad was a Bill Davis Liberal would have been acceptable to Premier Davis—maybe not after. But what I want to say is the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. I think the same thing. We need to recognize the qualities of leadership in everyone, apart from our party differences. And his service, his approach is something that I think I would like to try to emulate in politics. It’s a good example to follow.
I asked a few people who I know who were former Premiers, as I am lucky to know a couple of them, to give me something to say about Premier Bill Davis. Here’s what Kathleen said—Kathleen Wynne, Premier Kathleen Wynne, I should say: “He was the 18th person to sit in the Premier’s Chair. I was the 25th. He, a truly Progressive Conservative; I, a Liberal. Premier Davis was kind to me. He understood the job I was doing. He never let me forget that he thought my partisan choice was misguided, but party stripe never coloured our conversations.”
Here’s what Premier Dalton McGuinty shared with me just last week: “It’s no exaggeration to say that Bill Davis set a very high standard for Canadian Premiers.
“I was just one of the many who was inspired by him. I was impressed by Premier Davis’s longevity as Ontario’s leader, but I was even more impressed by the quality of his leadership, his integrity, his courage, his commitment, his goodwill and, of course, his good humour. While serving as Premier, I learned that while Bill Davis may have then been retired, he was never retiring. Like many others, I was the occasional subject of his partisan ribbing. But try as he might, Premier Davis could never hide the truth: Deep down, he was inspired by love—love of family, love of community, love of country.”
Regardless of our political leaning, we would all do well to allow ourselves to be inspired by Bill Davis, a man honourable by name, a man honourable by inclination. And to Kathleen and all the family here today and all of Premier Davis’s friends and colleagues, I just want to say thank you to all of you for sharing him with us and for supporting him in doing the work that he did to make Ontario a place to grow and a place to learn.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Premier.
Hon. Doug Ford: I rise today to pay tribute to the remarkable life and legacy of William Grenville Davis, the 18th Premier of Ontario. It’s an honour to pay tribute to him in this House where he faithfully served the people of Brampton for over 26 years, including his time as the Ontario Premier from 1971 to 1985. I had the honour of speaking at Mr. Davis’s funeral last year and I’m forever grateful to the Davis family for allowing me that opportunity. I thank you.
I noted then that it was Mr. Davis’s steady hand that led Ontario for 14 years, winning four consecutive elections. And there were many good reasons that Ontarians continued to put their trust in Bill Davis. Most notably, he was someone who knew how to get big things done. He was the education Premier, establishing new universities and leading the efforts to create Ontario’s college system. He was the architect of our education system that is still the envy of the world today. It was because of Premier Davis that Ontario had North America’s first Ministry of the Environment. He also had a major impact on the national stage, playing a central role in the patriation of the Constitution.
His accomplishments are too many to list. There’s no question that Bill Davis was an incredible Premier, maybe the most impactful this province has ever had. But he was far too humble to talk about himself. He always wanted to know more about others. With all his success, the traits you heard most about him were his kindness, his humility and his unfailing decency. He earned respect across party lines and was always willing to find common ground. Even in retirement, he was always generous with his time and his counsel. If he could help you, he would.
As I said last year, he was a giant in Ontario politics, but he never behaved that way. He thought of himself simply as Bill from Brampton, and he was most happy up in Georgian Bay with Kathleen and the growing family that he was so proud of. He certainly left big shoes to fill, and all Premiers since his time have been measured against his legacy. While there will never be another William Grenville Davis, as public servants I believe we should all aspire to conduct ourselves in a way that would make him proud.
On behalf of the people of Ontario, I want to thank the Davis family for sharing Bill with us for so many years. His many accomplishments are also thanks to you. This province will always be grateful for that. I thank you, and God bless.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): We give thanks for the life and public service of Premier Bill Davis.
Orders of the day? I recognize the member for Barrie–Innisfil.
Ms. Andrea Khanjin: If you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to see the clock at 6 p.m.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Barrie–Innisfil is seeking the unanimous consent of the House to see the clock at 6 p.m. Agreed? Agreed.
Report continues in volume B.