STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 28 September 2010 Mardi 28 septembre 2010
The committee met at 0833 in committee room 1.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): We’ll call the meeting of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies to order. Thank you very much for coming, and particularly for coming earlier than the normal starting time.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): The first order of business we have this morning is the approval of the subcommittee report dated Thursday, September 23. Do we have a motion to approve the subcommittee report?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Chair, I move approval of the subcommittee report on committee business dated Thursday, September 23.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much. Any discussion?
Mr. Jim Wilson: Just one sec.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Any discussion? If not, all those in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.
MR. JASON MELBOURNE
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Jason Melbourne, intended appointee as member, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): We’ll then carry on with the delegations this morning. Our first is Jason Melbourne. Jason is recommended as a member of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Is Jason present?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Yes.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Jason, if you will take a seat at the end of the table. Thank you very much for coming in. Our practice is that we will allow you some period of time for opening remarks and to tell us about yourself, and upon the completion of that we will have questions from all three parties and split them at 10 minutes each. This round will start with the official opposition.
With that, Jason, we turn the floor over to you to make your opening remarks.
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Wonderful. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, committee members and others, good morning. My name is Jason Melbourne and I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to come before you as a nominee for board membership of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. I am extremely honoured and deeply humbled to be here this morning in the confines of this all-important chamber.
I was born in Ottawa 38 years ago to immigrants from Jamaica. My father is a practising physician and my mother is a retired registered nurse. I am the older of two sons; my brother is a dentist here in Toronto. I am married to my wife, Laurie. We have three wonderful children, Marley, Clayton and Kaya, between the ages of six and three.
I reside in this city, where I was raised and received my early education. I attended Crescent School, an all-boys school that emphasized the importance of character. It is here that I quickly developed important leadership qualities. In my final year of Crescent, I was voted head boy by my peers and faculty members. This was an honour that I took quite seriously, and I carried out my duties with great pride.
I continued my education at the University of Western Ontario, where I received a bachelor of science undergraduate degree, and later I attended the University of Toronto and graduated with a master’s degree in business administration.
My entire adult life has been spent working in the investment industry, first as an investment banker and, more recently, a partner in a very successful brokerage house. Currently I am a managing director of institutional equity sales of an amalgamated financial institution in Toronto named Canaccord Genuity.
I am fully aware of the core ethics and principles of any corporation. I understand the values that have to be practised: integrity, commitment, wisdom and accountability. I was raised in an environment where my parents instilled in us high moral values: the importance of honesty, kindness, humility and community involvement. All these basic principles I live by and strongly believe have prepared me for almost any situation.
If appointed, I look forward to facing the many challenges that a corporation such as the OLG may bring. I believe that my personal and professional experiences, along with my ability to work with various individuals, would be an asset. These qualities, I believe, would help continue the record of excellence that the OLG currently displays.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much for your presentation. We’ll start with the official opposition. Mr. Wilson.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Thank you, Mr. Melbourne, for coming in this morning. I don’t have too many questions other than, do you want to go over again what you bring to the board and how you came about seeking this position?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Absolutely. I was made aware of Mr. Paul Godfrey’s appointment to chair the board while on vacation earlier on this year. Upon returning from vacation, I received a call from Mr. Godfrey asking whether I would be interested in putting my name forth with respect to pursuing a nomination on the board of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. I swiftly accepted.
What I feel I bring to the board is—given my extensive financial background and the fact that OLG is a $7-billion agency, I think I can bring a keen insight into the financial performance of the corporation, specifically as it pertains to ensuring a continued dividend to the corporation’s largest shareholder, namely the province; on top of that and perhaps equally as important, making sure that we continue to practise prudent expense management so as to meet the expectations of the general public.
Mr. Jim Wilson: One of the reasons we’re going through all of this, of course, is because of the auditor’s report and the Ombudsman’s reports in the past. Particularly what irked the public is the employee expense practices at OLGC at the time. Do you have any thoughts on that?
And I just ask you, not in a partisan way—it was over a year ago that the Premier promised that employee expenses would be put online. They’re not online yet. Do you think you can do anything about that if you join the board?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Well, without, obviously, having been on the board and with a lack of the complete picture, what I would say is that I am aware of both the KPMG report, which obviously pertains to insider wins at the retail level, and the consumer issues or the issues that the community had with respect to that. I am also aware of the Auditor General’s report, and my understanding is that the new board is in the process of making sure they implement the majority of those recommendations that were made by the Auditor General.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Online gambling is something that’s somewhat controversial. Do you have any thoughts on that new avenue that the corporation is going on?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: What I would say is—again, without the benefit of the entire picture—from my perspective what I would suggest is this: My view is that online gaming is unquestionably a rapidly growing subsector of the gaming industry. My view is that the OLG has a couple of key obligations. I think it’s important for them to keep up with the times and be current. On top of that and perhaps more important, I think it’s very important for the OLG to ensure a very safe and responsible online gaming presence for the citizens of the province. Now, it’s my understanding that the OLG has decided to take a 12- to 18-month period of time to carefully analyze and study the pros and cons of online gaming, and I think that’s the prudent approach to take.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Thank you. Do you have any past political affiliations?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: No, sir.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Thank you for coming in.
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): We’ll give the third party an opportunity to adjust. We’ll go to the government first and then go back to the third party.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Thank you, Mr. Melbourne, for putting your name forward. You are obviously well qualified and will bring some admirable qualities to the board and a different perspective, I think. We appreciate you putting your name before us today, and the government will be concurring in your appointment.
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you. It wasn’t much extra time, but the third party—Mr. Bisson.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: No, I had a chance to read the information last night.
How did you end up applying for this? Did you find about it or were you called?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Again, I was on vacation when I was made aware, reading one of our local papers—while I was away, I was made aware of Mr. Paul Godfrey’s appointment to the chairman of the board. Subsequent to returning from vacation, I received a call from Mr. Paul Godfrey asking whether I would be interested in putting my name forth with respect to pursuing a nomination on the board of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., and I accepted immediately.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: And where do you know Mr. Godfrey from?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: I’ve known Mr. Godfrey and his family for roughly 27 years. I used to attend high school with his eldest son.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay, so a personal connection there.
Do you have a particular interest in this area, or does this just sound like a good gig?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: I have no formal work experience of, nor have I ever advised any company within the gaming industry. Having said that, I believe the gaming industry to be a rapidly growing and very much quickly changing industry, so I continue to read, do all kinds of research and keep up to speed.
What I do know about the OLGC is that they do have 27 properties, 17 of which are slots at racetracks, four of them are resort casinos, and six of them, I believe, are charity casinos.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: So other than your personal connection, what particular skills was he looking for when he talked to you? Was there a particular thing that you did that he thought was maybe interesting for you to sit on the board with?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: I have been involved in the finance industry downtown here in Toronto for north of 13 years since I graduated from a master’s in business at U of T, so I think it’s the wealth of my financial experience that I can bring to the table in terms of ensuring the corporation continues to perform optimally in terms of its financial performance.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: All right. Here’s the million-dollar question: I was reading that you work giving advice in regards to equity. So how did you make out in the meltdown?
Mr. Gilles Bisson: No, seriously. Did you advise your clients to get out or did you do like everybody else, where everybody hung up and lost their shirts?
Mr. Jason Melbourne: That’s an excellent question. I am a very conservative investor. The majority of my personal funds are owned—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: No, I mean the ones that you advise on.
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Just so we’re clear, I’m not a retail broker; I’m an institutional salesperson. As such, my clientele are definitely the large-cap pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds and the like. Those types of funds, interestingly enough, need to be fully invested, by and large, at all times. There aren’t many retail investors that give their money to a mutual fund manager such that they can hold it in cash. As a result, my accounts typically tend to move when the market’s rolling over from more of the cyclically oriented names, whether those be in the base metals, oil and gas, technology, and in the more defensive sectors of the market, i.e., health care and consumer staples.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: So in other words, they lost money as well.
Mr. Jason Melbourne: When the market’s going down, typically everybody is kind of losing money. The trick to the game is to make sure you lose less than the benchmark.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Well, let’s hope you do better with the lottery corporation.
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much. I’m sure that that was a lesson well learned on the investment world. Thank you very much for coming in. That concludes the interview, and we thank you very much for taking the time to come and speak to us. We look forward to making a decision at the end of our interviews today, and we do wish you well in your future ventures.
Mr. Jason Melbourne: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I appreciate your time.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much, Jason.
MS. CHARLOTTE BURKE
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Charlotte Burke, intended appointee as member, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Our second interview is with Charlotte Burke, intended appointee as a member of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Good morning.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Charlotte, as you’re coming forward, as we did with the previous one, we will provide you with an opportunity to make opening remarks as you wish. Upon completion of your opening remarks, this time around we will have 10 minutes of questions, an opportunity for each party, and we will start with the third party in this round.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Did you have any comments first?
Ms Charlotte Burke: Yes, I do have comments first.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay, thanks.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much, Charlotte. The floor is yours.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you this morning and provide you with an overview of my qualifications for a board of director role with the OLG. Although each of you has been provided a copy of my online application, I thought I would take a few moments to elaborate on my background and its relevance to this position.
I am by no means an expert in the area of lottery and gaming, but I do believe I can make a meaningful contribution to the board of the OLG. First and foremost, the OLG is a complex business, with operational, regulatory and technological challenges that impact the communities and people across Ontario. As a director, I would bring over 25 years of general management experience, including the leadership role of Canada’s largest ISP and most popular online consumer portal. During my tenure as the head of Bell’s Internet business, we grew the business from $250 million to over $1 billion and during that time gained significant experience in the day-to-day challenges of scaling a business. I believe all of this experience and learning can be applied to the governance and strategic leadership a director would provide at the OLG.
I also believe that if you asked people who worked with me, they would describe me as a straight shooter with a solid business acumen and a passion for leading businesses through transformational change. I am also someone who, faced with difficult decisions, will do their homework, analyze the options and execute a fact-based decision.
An example of this would be the issue regarding online safety of children. In 2006, this was an emerging issue facing all communities, and working in collaboration with law enforcement, private agencies, government and the industry sectors, we set up a process to track, remove, and enforce the law that resulted in better-educated families and the removal of over 2,000 offensive websites in Canada.
Why I bring up this particular example is that we could all have abstained and left it to others, but we engaged, sought out expert advice and collaborated with others, and by participating, we learned a great deal about the needs of families, the technology and the effect of changes within the legal framework to facilitate a safer Internet. I’m proud to say we raised over $2 million in private funding and were recognized in North America in 2007 as the leaders in online security by our industry peers.
In addition to my corporate background, I have an undergraduate degree in accounting from Acadia and an MBA from Harvard Business School. I am currently serving on the board of Acadia University, where I’m also chairman of the academic resources committee, the business school and on the audit committee. I also have continued to serve on a number of other boards.
For the past two years, I have successfully run my own consulting firm, focusing on advising early-stage start-ups and large companies seeking commercial technology. I serve as an adviser at MaRS innovation centre and I’m also employed three days a week at the BDC venture group, investing in Canadian companies. As you can tell, my passion is working with and helping companies innovate and create new opportunities for the Canadian economy.
In closing, I think it’s also worth noting, on a more personal side, that I come from an entrepreneurial east coast family who owned hotels and restaurants, and throughout my life, have gained a solid knowledge of the hospitality industry. In addition, my family were also active participants in rural harness racing, and although we no longer have horses, we did race throughout Canada and the eastern United States. I believe both these experiences give me a much better appreciation for the community impact of these industries in Ontario.
So I’d like to thank you for the honour of being here and considering me as a board member, and hopefully I can make a meaningful contribution to the OLG.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much for your presentation. We will now start the questioning with the third party.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Thank you for your presentation. You’d be aware of the scandal that took place at OLG a few years back. What’s your view about all of that in regards to this sort of culture of entitlement that existed there?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Well, I’ve read the report, and in some cases, there were compliance issues with expenses. There was also what I would consider to be sort of excessive limits on a number of the entertainment and expense practices, and some of them were legacy and some of them required significantly better governance. So I understand that, as a new board member, ensuring that the recommendations are put in place and that—not just put in place but also monitored and audited and enforced.
More importantly, though, I think there’s a need to change the culture, and that doesn’t necessarily change overnight. That starts at the top, and you’ve got to walk the talk and expect that same performance from all your employees.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: How do you personally feel about gambling? I’m just curious. You can be in favour or oppose; I really don’t care, but I’m going somewhere with this.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Okay. Let me see where you’re going to lead me.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: How much do you want to bet?
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): It’s really nice when you win.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Yeah.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Yes, it’s very nice if you win. Obviously, having grown up in harness racing, I’m very familiar with gambling. I believe that it can be fun, but I also believe that it requires governance and regulation and, more importantly, for the 4% or less of the population who engage in it in an excessive way, we have to encourage that not to happen through education, but also be there to support it when it does.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Yeah, because there have been cases—and some have been written up—where people have lost excessive amounts of money. Even after being barred from casinos, they were enticed to get back in. There was a particular case in Niagara Falls. I’m asking the question from the perspective: How proactive do you think the board should be and, in turn, the OLG towards making sure that we identify problem gamblers, and should we bar them from casinos and other gaming activities controlled by OLG?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Certainly as a board member our role is to drive strategic direction and influence the overall goals and operational metrics of the organization. So, in that regard, I don’t think—we would look to both the outside regulatory but also the executive within the OLG to set the actual recommendations and policies. So, without getting into all the detail and not knowing all the detail, I think I’d have to consider what all the options were and go with the best course.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: You come out of harness racing. Is it your belief that harness racing has been harmed by off-track slot machines etc.?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I don’t have enough facts to actually respond to that. Certainly as an industry overall, it’s my understanding that it has, in some regards, been positive in the sense of providing for larger purses, which provide for greater investment into the breeding and the horse side, but I don’t actually know enough detail there.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: What’s your view on the new initiative in regard to online poker and all that stuff that OLG will be getting into?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I think there are three points to be made with that. The first is that it’s happening anyway, and it’s happening in the shadows beyond regulation and beyond the control of government, causing abuse and harm to many of our citizens who participate in Ontario. I believe that to be engaged means that you can learn and that if people are doing it, then they need a trusted place in a regulatory environment to be able to do it in.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: That was kind of what my question was, because it’s going to happen anyway. People are, by larger and larger numbers, going online to play poker and various things. By Ontario getting into it, how much of an impact at the end do you think it really would have in being able to deal with those who are problem gamblers?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I think one of the greatest impacts is that by participating, there’s tremendous learning that happens. The Internet, by its nature—and I think this is a value that I can bring from my background to the board—is an anonymous technology, so, more and more, passwords and ID authentication aren’t enough.
I think the OLG is being prudent in taking time to investigate this and seek the advice of experts. There are many new emerging online security technologies that I believe will be really important to employ in order to protect people who are not within the adult age to make the decisions to be a participant.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: How did you come to apply to this position?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I actually received a phone call from a classmate of mine. He had seen the request on the government website and said, “Charlotte, given your background and your passion for wanting to get involved in things, I think this would be really interesting for you to pursue.” So I went online, looked at it, filled out the application, and then I also met with Paul Godfrey.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much. The government?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Thank you, Ms. Burke, for putting your name forward. You bring a unique skill set to this appointment. I look forward to your work on the board. The government will be concurring in your appointment.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Ms. Carroll.
Mrs. M. Aileen Carroll: Only to add, being a graduate of St. Mary’s and having gone to Dalhousie, even though you went to Acadia, I’m concurring with our side.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: We Maritimers stick together.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much. That’s it for the government.
The opposition? Ms. MacLeod.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s appropriate, I think, that somebody from St. FX actually gets the last word, which is a far better school than both of those.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: They’re all in Toronto today.
In any event, welcome to the committee. It’s nice to see that they brought somebody with some experience in the harness racing industry. I think it has been quite hard hit. This committee has, in the past, reviewed that industry and has had some recommendations for the ORC, but also I think it speaks to how its relationship works with OLG and the slots. I’m just wondering if you were able to read that report.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I actually didn’t read that report but I certainly will.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: We had four very important points. It was a consensus report from all three political parties to discuss the importance of harness racing here in Ontario to the agricultural sector, but also how we shouldn’t have slots at the racetracks if there is no racing. I’d like your opinion on that.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Obviously, again, I want to do my homework on that, but it’s hard not to answer that with a little bit of passion, which is, having grown up in harness racing—I have a cottage on Prince Edward Island and spend most of the two weeks in August of Old Home Week attending the races—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I used to go to those races with my family.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: And listening to the—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I was so young, and I was betting with my two dollars. It was long before we had toonies.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: It was interesting to attend this year because all of the horses racing in the Gold Cup and Saucer were from Ontario and Quebec.
Anyways, I have a passion for it. Obviously, it’ll be an area that I want to be well educated in—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: You would be an advocate for our harness horsemen, then. That’s good.
I have a quick question for you. Today in the Toronto Star there was a massive Angus Reid poll that came out. One of the pieces of data that came out is very telling for something that you’re about to embark on at the OLG, and that is online gambling. My colleague from Timmins–James Bay has already talked a little bit about it, but 71% of Ontarians oppose online gambling, according to this poll. That’s what we’re hearing in our communities as well.
I think that, given the challenges that the OLG has seen, you’ve got two issues: One is, people feel that there’s a lack of trust with the OLG based on some of the scandals that it has seen. Second, it just seems so abrupt. There’s not a lot of confidence that this will be the right thing to do for Ontario.
Given your background in the IT sector and now that you’ll be at the OLG, how do you think this needs to be implemented and how do we best protect Ontarians? I’m specifically thinking about the 14-year-old boy who may see his mom’s credit card and may decide he wants to place a little bit of a bet, and then, all of a sudden, mom looks and there’s a several-thousand-dollar charge on her credit card. How are we going to protect Ontarians, and is this the right thing to do, given some of the challenges the OLG has faced and given the fact that we’ve got a brand new board that has to clean up so much of the mess from the previous incarnation of this?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Two pieces to that. First of all, I don’t want to punt it but I think that the most important piece is that the homework get done and the facts be gathered, in particular in terms of what exactly is happening online, what the growth areas are, who’s participating and so on. I would rather see the people who are gambling, gambling in a safe and well-authenticated environment. Now, whether at this point that’s the OLG or it’s done through regulation, I think that’s one of the main reasons why we have to take our time here. If we go down the path of participating in online gambling, then it’s got to be done with 100% commitment to the right level of security and authentication. I suspect, given what I know in that area, it won’t be as simple as a credit card. It will need secondary, off-PC authentication to take place.
By participating, we learn; by learning, we can change regulation. This is such a fast-paced world that if we stand on the sidelines, we may never understand what’s happening to the rest of the members of the Ontario community who are participating in offshore gambling.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Right. So you’re urging caution?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Urging caution, because even if we go forward full force, it’s got to be done right. This can’t be implemented at 99%; it’s not an option.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: What’s your time frame? Because you’re not there yet. What, in an ideal climate, would be the time frame to roll out something like this? It’s not done overnight. You’re looking at 100% compliance, or 100% solid system, so this shouldn’t be done shoddily over sort of the next six months.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I think the timeline that’s been set is reasonable, but there are many stages and gates along the way. Of course, we’ve seen in other jurisdictions that just launching without piloting and going through the normal IT gates is not the way to take anything like this to market.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Just one final question: Earlier this year I put forward a private member’s bill which was called the Truth in Government Act. It would have encouraged—or would have made it the law—government agencies to post their expenses online: travel, hospitality. Mr. McGuinty, the Premier, had indicated that the OLG would be doing that, and it hasn’t happened. How comfortable are you with a policy like that to protect taxpayer dollars?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: That’s hard to answer without understanding the cost-benefit analysis, right? I don’t know what it costs to build that.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: No, no, it doesn’t cost anything. It would essentially—if you’re going away, you’re going to have to file your expenses. Those expenses would just be put up online as one of the extra steps that occur. Let me just say, it’s done federally and it’s done in several other provinces. It’s not really a cost issue as much as it is a benefit issue.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I’d have to understand all the pieces of governance that need to go in place.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: So you wouldn’t put your expenses online.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I didn’t say that. I just—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Would you put your expenses online?
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “online.” I mean, expenses are filed online today. Do you mean publicly post it online?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Yes.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: No, I wouldn’t.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I wouldn’t put them online because of the amount of travel I do, and I’d have a safety concern.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Okay. I’m talking about with the OLG, not your own private—
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I don’t have enough details as to what the issues would be there, but I can say, as a person who has concern for both the safety of myself and my daughter, I would not want people knowing where I travel.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I guess, as a public servant, you’re not willing to—
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I’m absolutely willing to go through whatever level of governance and checks and balances, and adhere to the policies of any expense program, but not to put it publicly out so people would know where I was travelling. I don’t want people to know my travel patterns.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: That’s very instructive, as a public servant. I think that many of us here are public servants, and I think people know where we travel. I think that if you’re spending taxpayer dollars, you have to be transparent and accountable.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: I absolutely believe you have to be transparent.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s very instructive that you’re not willing to post that online. Thank you very much, Chair.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): We thank you very much for your presentation. That concludes the questioning. We thank you for coming forward, and we will make a decision on the concurrence or the lack thereof for your appointment after all the interviews this morning. We thank you very much for coming in, and we do wish you well in your future endeavours.
Ms. Charlotte Burke: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you.
MS. VICTORIA CHIAPPETTA
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Victoria Chiappetta, intended appointee as member, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Our third interview this morning is Victoria Chiappetta.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Good morning.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much for coming in this morning.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: No problem. It’s a pleasure to be here.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): As with the previous ones, we will provide you with an opportunity to make open comments, if you wish to do so. Upon completion of the comments, we will then have 10 minutes for each party to ask any questions they may have about your candidacy, shall we say? We will start this round with the government caucus. The floor is yours.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Thank you to all of you for being here and giving me the opportunity.
I was asked to prepare a short opening statement to express my experience and qualifications to serve as a public appointee to the board of directors for the OLG. I know you’ve read my application, so I don’t want to bore you with the details that are in there. I’d like to give you a little bit more colour, hopefully, from what you see in the words on the pages.
I was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and I stayed there until I left for further education in 1988, first at McGill, then graduating from law school here in Toronto in 1993, then being called to the bar in 1995 and practising in downtown Toronto for a number of years before the pull of northern Ontario took me back to the Soo.
I am presently the vice-president of legal and the general counsel with Essar Steel Algoma, the former Algoma Steel, which, I’m sure, looking at the faces around the room, all of you know well from when we came knocking on your door a couple of times to help us stay in business. Essar Steel Algoma is now owned by Essar Global. Essar Global is a multi-billion dollar Indian-based company that has given me the opportunity to not only live in the town that I am very proud to call home, but to be able to practise in a much more universal and global environment. As a result of that, I feel like I have sound corporate governance training and I’m well versed in the legal mechanics of both business and financial transactions.
I have volunteered as a board member for many worthy causes and organizations in my hometown, and I presently hold an appointment to the board of directors of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Utilities Commission. I also serve as a deputy judge in small claims court in Sault Ste. Marie, which is as you see on TV; as entertaining as that.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: That would be a very good idea. Perhaps we could talk about that off-line.
Paralleling my professional accomplishments, and perhaps more significant, are some personal qualities that I have that were built on a foundation of unconditional love laid by my parents. My parents are still in Sault Ste. Marie with my brother and my grandparents, and certainly that was the pull that took me back to my hometown. Through their lessons and example, I learned patience, understanding, humility and respect. They instilled in me a never-ending work ethic and a simple yet unforgiving line between right and wrong.
My commitment to community and public service is another personal attribute I just want to touch upon briefly. As a young woman growing up in a small northern Ontario city, I quickly learned the importance of a unified populace. Learning from the example of family and neighbours and public figures who were visible in my life, it became apparent to me that the community wasn’t going to be successful unless we all worked together. This lesson has never faltered, as I continue to work for the public through volunteering for various fundraising efforts, speaking at public and private events, and through my efforts to serve the more than 3,000 employees at our city’s largest employer, Essar Steel Algoma.
My professional competence, passion for the community and personal qualities and character make me a successful candidate, in my point of view. I’m confident in my ability and would be humbled to have the opportunity to serve as a director of the OLG with both integrity and humility.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much for your presentation. We will start with the government. Mr. Brown?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Welcome. As the member for Algoma–Manitoulin, which completely surrounds Sault Ste. Marie, I just wanted to indicate to you that we are very pleased with you putting your name forward for this appointment.
I would like you to expand upon—just because you’re from Sault Ste. Marie—the role of the OLG in Sault Ste. Marie and its importance to the community.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: It’s a critical issue and, really, the issue why I’m interested in the appointment. I read in August 2009 about the resignation of all of the board members at one time and the issues that were occurring with the then CEO, and I immediately went online and applied to be a director—as simple as that. The reason for that is because the revenues that are generated from the charity casino in Sault Ste. Marie are instrumental to what we, as a municipality, can do. I believe our 2010 Q1 slot revenue was about $375,000, but it’s been close to $17 million since 1995 and it’s critical to the efforts that we put forward in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): The official opposition: Ms. MacLeod.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I appreciate you coming in today.
That’s a challenging role you’ve got, being somebody who is a judge in small claims court. Will you be able to balance both with your travel commitments?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Just to be clear, my deputy judgeship is something that I sit only once a month in small claims court. My real profession, my complete profession, is the VP of legal with the steel company in Sault Ste. Marie. Juggling has always been an issue. I’m not sure that I’ve gotten in right yet but I keep trying. I’ve just recently been married and in 10 weeks we’ll have our first child so the juggling shall continue.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Congratulations.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Is this the first grandchild?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: It’s the first grandchild and the closet is already full; the nursery is done.
So yes, I do think I’ll be able to juggle, but I’m not going to say it’s easy.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s not something that you’re doing two or three times a month. It’s just once a month.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Correct.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Just quickly: You worked for the OLG before as director of labour.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: I did.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Obviously it was during a time when there was a lot going on there. Going back as a board member, what kind of changes would you like to see made in terms of transparency and accountability for taxpayers?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: First let me tell you about my experience at the OLG. It was very short-lived. I arrived in September of 2006 and I left late January or February 1, 2007. During that time, as a layperson outside of OLG, I was made aware of the issue with respect to potential insider wins by watching the Fifth Estate like everyone else. I believe the Ombudsman began his investigation in January 2007, but I really was separate and outside of that, given the position that I was in. I really wasn’t brought into that, then I left before both the investigation and the report were completed. I have since read it, and to answer your specific question, I think that—at least the way that I govern, I govern with transparency, fairness, accountability, and those to me are benchmarks in terms of governance. I do that with a company that is no longer public but is private. I think that when the company has taxpayers as their primary stakeholder, those three benchmarks become even more significant.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It has been a year since Mr. McGuinty promised to post expenses online for senior OLG employees. Are you comfortable with that?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: I am comfortable with posting my expenses online. I think that employee expenses, whether you work for a public company, a private company—and again, if your stakeholders are taxpayers I think there is an accountability to show how their money is being spent.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I appreciate your answer on that. Just one final question: Right now, the OLG owns a power plant. Do you think that’s an appropriate use of resources at the OLG?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: I have to say I was completely unaware of that, so I’m not able to give you an educated or informed answer.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: All right. Well, listen, thanks very much for coming in and congratulations on the changes you’re about to make in the next few weeks and the best of luck.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much. Now the third party: Mr. Bisson.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Let me ask the question right from the start. How did you find out about this?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Well, first let me say good morning as a fellow northern Ontarian as well.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Good morning. I was going to talk to you about being a grandfather but that will be later. How did you find out?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Honestly, I read it in the paper. As I said, I read the Toronto Star every morning online and I read that the whole board was resigning, and I applied. It was August 2009. I heard nothing, and the existing board was put in place late last year and early this year and I thought, “Well, at least I gave it a shot.” Then in June quite out of the blue I received a call from the chair’s office inviting me to an interview with Mr. Godfrey.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay. In regard to the online gaming that we’re about to get into and in regard to poker, etc: What’s your particular view on it?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: As you know, in Sault Ste. Marie there are five casinos within 50 miles, so I have very close family members who gamble very responsibly. My mother is an avid poker player and so is my brother. But I’ve also seen the effects when someone doesn’t know their limits. We see it in our courts locally and we see the devastation on families. When the OLG is talking about expanding the blueprint of that business line, I think it has to be done with a lot of caution, research and education, and ultimately it has to be done keeping in mind that we don’t want to expand a problem that we are attempting to control.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I guess that’s where I was going with it. Part of the thinking around it in my mind is that it’s already happening. There’s a whole bunch of people out there in Ontario who are doing online poker, and OLG getting into it, to what degree does that actually expand it? I’m wondering, just from that perspective, is it a good idea for us to expand it? Is it a money thing or is it a social issue, as far as the decision to go ahead?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: I think it’s both. Ultimately, the OLG is a for-profit business and it needs to generate profit in order to generate the revenues in order to do the good things that it’s able to do for the province and for cities. But it can’t do that at the expense of people. So I think it’s both. I think it’s both business and social, and those two have to be balanced and equally addressed in the investigation.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: So this is the first grandchild in the family?
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: That’s correct, yes.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Tell your parents, from one grandfather, that they’re going to have a ball.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: I definitely will. Thank you very much, sir.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much for your presentation. We do want to thank you for coming in, and more than that, we wish you well in your future endeavours, both personally and in what you’re applying for here this morning.
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate it.
MS. MONIQUE WILBERG
Review of intended appointment, selected by official opposition party: Monique Wilberg, intended appointee as member, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Our next deputant is Monique Wilberg. Thank you for coming in. As with the previous ones, we will offer you an opportunity to make some opening remarks about your reason for applying and your personal attributes. We will then have questioning, 10 minutes from each party, and this round will start with the official opposition. With that, we turn the floor over to you. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, and good morning, Mr. Chairman. It’s an honour to be nominated to the board of the OLG, and I’m also pleased and thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning as you consider my appointment to this very important position.
I believe you have a copy of my CV before you, and I think it’s valuable for me to elaborate and provide some colour to my experience in the industry, which I think will be of benefit to the OLG.
In 1992, along with four partners, three of whom remain silent, I acquired two gaming licences in the province of British Columbia. The operations employed at that time 150 individuals.
By 1995, both of these operations had been relocated into contemporary, artistic environments. Betting limits and games offered at that time remained stagnant.
In 1996, Gateway acquired a third gaming licence, which, three years later, in 1999, would be relocated from the small community of Haney to the metropolis of Burnaby. All of the 45 employees continued their employment with Gateway.
In 1997, the province introduced slot machines to the gaming operations, expanded the library of table games offered and increased betting limits to a maximum of $500.
By 1999, the province had a gaming act, and the BC Lottery Corp. was tasked with managing the conduct of all forms of gaming within the province.
BC Lottery Corp., with their new scope of responsibilities, recognized the lack of formal policy and procedures by which the gaming operations or service providers were operating, by which the operators’ performance could be measured.
From 1992 to 2002, representing the casino industry of British Columbia, along with the British Columbia Lottery Corp. and the gaming policy and enforcement branch—our regulator, GPEB—I sat on a committee that was tasked with writing all the policies and procedures by which the industry operated.
In 2001 to 2003, Gateway acquired two casino licences in Alberta, four casino licences in the interior of British Columbia and in the Okanagan, and one casino licence in a suburb of Vancouver, bringing its total family to nine casino operations. Prior to the sale of Gateway in 2007, each of these gaming operations underwent extensive renovations, relocations and, in some cases, new builds. A capital investment of roughly $400 million was spent at that time to achieve those goals.
Some of the initiatives and innovations accomplished during that time that I’m most proud of are those around public safety and responsible gaming. Prior to 1999, BC did not have a formal, regulated, responsible gaming program. From 1991 to 2001, until such time that BCLC and GPEB introduced a regulated program under my direction, Gateway employed counselling resources for individuals who were identified by site management with gambling habits that they wanted help with.
In 1999, working with a local biometric software developer then doing software database management development work with the RCMP, under my direction we developed a biometric facial image recognition software and database tool to be used by surveillance to track individuals who were a potential threat to the well-being and safety of others. This was also a solution that was used to track individuals who had wanted to participate in the self-exclusion program that was later offered and introduced by the gaming policy and enforcement branch.
From 2006 until 2008, I served as a member of the BC Partnership for Responsible Gambling, representing the BC gaming industry. This was a new committee. Its initiative was to bring all stakeholders together in the province to engage the BC Lottery Corp., industry and the regulatory body, GPEB.
Over the period of the 15 years that I was a shareholder of Gateway, we grew the staff complement from 150 to 3,000. By 2007, we were generating an annual revenue for the province of $500 million.
I have investments in three gaming operations in Chile. I act as an adviser to the management team in the ongoing operations. I was engaged in the development of the facility in its pre-stage and construction stage. I have recently been approved by the Illinois Gaming Board as an investor in a greenfield opportunity in a suburb of Chicago, in Des Plaines. I’m acting in an advisory capacity in this project, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.
In March of 2010, I was selected and contracted by the Auditor General of Ontario to assist the AG’s office in an audit process of the AGCO.
I have a reputation for being fair, firm and reasonable. I have earned the respect of the regulatory bodies to whom I have been accountable as being serious and responsive.
I hope that this detail of my experience underscores the magnitude of my experience and provides confidence that my experience will be of value to the OLG and, ultimately, the citizens of Ontario.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much for your presentation. We will start the questioning with the official opposition. Mr. Wilson?
Mr. Jim Wilson: Thank you very much for coming in, Ms. Wilberg. Certainly, you’re well qualified. I’m a little unclear on what you’re doing right now, though. You have the investments in Chile. You’re starting something in the States. Are you still president or CEO of—
Ms. Monique Wilberg: No, I’m not. Gateway was sold in 2007. I was given an opportunity to reinvest and to stay on in that role, but it was a chapter in my life that had come to an end. I’ve got a 14-year-old son, and you can imagine—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Is he taking your credit card and—
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Not quite yet. I can see it coming.
Leaving the organization at that time—this was a 24/7 undertaking. I dedicated my life to it, and now it’s time to dedicate my life to other things. I’m doing many things outside of the industry, but I thought it was salient today to sort of put colour on my experiences.
Mr. Jim Wilson: So why do you want to be on the OLG? You’ve obviously been successful. For $350 a meeting, why do you want to be on the OLG?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: I think it’s an incredible opportunity for me to be able to provide a service for individuals, to the board and to the OLG, and to continue to use experience that I have to hopefully assist the OLG in continuing to hold the torch high as the leader of the gaming industry in Canada. Frankly, OLG in Ontario has always been seen by all of Canada as being the frontrunner, and it’s an honour to be a part of that. It’s an honour to be part of the experience of leadership under Mr. Godfrey’s tutelage.
Mr. Jim Wilson: You’ll have to fly in for meetings?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Am I—what, sorry?
Mr. Jim Wilson: Will you be flying in for meetings?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yes, I will.
Mr. Jim Wilson: So you don’t have a residence in the province of Ontario at all.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Not yet, no.
Mr. Jim Wilson: You’ll probably own half of a casino or something.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Unlikely.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Not likely. Again, it was just your own initiative to apply?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yes.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Well, good luck to you.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you. Mr. Bisson?
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Most of the questions I’d like to ask you about the gaming industry are probably not the purview of this committee, in regard to what the best games to play are, but that’s a whole other story—and what are the strategies.
I just want to pick up on something Mr. Wilson did. So your home base now is British Columbia?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yes.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Wow. That’s an expensive commute in for meetings.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: No; with WestJet, it’s $239 return. It was actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: So they meet, what, once a month?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Once a month, yeah.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: And then whatever subcommittees after that you sit on?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: That’s right.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Interesting. So you’re involved in Chile right now. How much of your time do you spend down there?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Initially in the first two years of the operation, I was going once a month. I haven’t been for a year, and I’m going in October for five days.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: So you’ve got the time to do it then, is the long and short of the story.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yes, I’ve done what I can there.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: You obviously bring a wealth of experience when it comes to the inside of the industry as far as running casinos and stuff. Looking at OLG now, because they’re, in some ways, similar to what the British Columbia lottery—whatever they call themselves—does, are there any lessons that you think you can bring to the OLG that are not being done now, like a change of practice or anything? Is there anything that flashes in your mind where you say, “One of the reasons I want to sit here is because what they do is this and it should be changed”? What is that, if there is such a thing? It’s kind of a funny question.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: I think my experience in British Columbia is to operate under the most transparent practices as possible. You’re really hand in hand with regulatory bodies there. You’re acting as an agent of the crown, for the most part—so, from a risk management perspective, given what the OLG has been through, ensuring that there is absolute transparency and that the organization operates as a very responsible undertaker for the province.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: But do you see any changes that you think need to be done, as somebody who has worked in the industry and understands it well, that maybe there’s something in Ontario we should be doing differently?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Until I can actually get my feet on the ground and get a sense—I looked at the revenues for resort gaming. Obviously that’s an issue. The revenues have come off over the past few years. There are some good reasons for that—the smoking issue—and there’s obviously a saturation issue with the casinos opening up in the US. It would be interesting to understand that problem a little bit more.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: What’s the highest revenue-maker for casinos when they have cards and slots? I take it it would be slots, right, is where they make the most money?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yes, that’s right.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: All the questions I have, I want to ask you after.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yeah, sure.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I just have some specific questions, not about how to play but how the revenue is generated within the casinos themselves. What percentage would be tables? Are we allowed to ask that? I don’t see why not.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Sure.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Tables versus slots is what percentage?
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): I would just point out that you can ask any question you like, but the applicant is not obliged to answer any she doesn’t want to answer.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Sure. I can’t give you Ontario’s experience right now, but typically it would be in the order of: About 60% of your revenue would come from slots and 40% of your revenue would come from tables. It all depends on the marketplace, your demographics and your business model.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Where do the more problem gamblers go? Is it cards or is it slots? I’m just curious.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: It’s hard for me to answer in the Ontario example. In British Columbia, I would say it’s an even-keeled split of problem gaming. It’s a different demographic, but there are similar percentages of problem gaming on tables. British Columbia is a bit unique because it has a very robust table game market.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Why is that? Just because of the culture?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yeah. It’s probably a slightly underpenetrated market. There are a few municipalities—Richmond—and of course the Asian demographic in British Columbia aggressively pursues gaming.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: So this whole sort of—what do you call it again? Poker—my God, what do you call it? Texas hold’em.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Yeah.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: This whole Texas hold’em phenomenon: Has that brought more people to the tables as far as the television—
Ms. Monique Wilberg: I think so. I think it has improved the overall public perception of gaming. It has shown that it’s something that’s widely accepted. It has given gaming better awareness that it’s front and centre and it’s not just in Las Vegas that you can go and game.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much. I just wanted to point out, Mr. Bisson, that your previous question about where is the best place to invest your money and then asking this applicant which is the best machine to play—I don’t think they’re the same answer.
We’ll now go to the government—
Mr. Gilles Bisson: I don’t play slots. I just don’t like them.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Mr. Brown.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: We’re delighted to have you here today.
Maybe you could expand a little bit about this, but the board needs a set of outside eyes, and you bring both the perspective of being outside of the province and knowing about the broader world of gaming to the province, along with some intricate knowledge of how they actually work. Maybe you could expand a little bit about that, because I’m not familiar and I’m sure most members of this committee aren’t familiar with the global gaming situation.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Sure. It’s interesting, just recently having gone through the regulatory approval processes for Chicago, it’s very much becoming a global market, and the regulatory body of Chicago that I introduced to the regulatory body of Ontario, because they were trying to learn from each other—so what we’re seeing on the planet is, best practices are starting to filter and sift to the top, because you have this global intellect—essentially, experience—that’s now engaged in talking to each other.
So from the perspective of differences between Chile and Chicago and British Columbia and Ontario, there is simply very little outside of this. I would say that what we’re seeing is a serious undertaking, in most jurisdictions, to embrace and to ensure that responsible gaming is a genuine interest, and ensuring that practices inside operations are critical and that they’re real.
Gaming operations now are usually full-service experiences, and so what you’re seeing is that both of those products are being offered in a community, much like in Ontario, where you’ve got operations that are for local destinations and then you’ve got operations that are destinations where there is a hotel or conference/convention centre and those sorts of things.
What we’re seeing in Ontario is essentially best of class with respect to markets that are opening and that are delivering product to a local and to a destination demographic.
Hopefully, that has answered your question a bit.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Thank you. There are so many questions we could possibly ask, but I really do believe that we need you on this board. I’m going to say right out front that knowing that you’re from British Columbia put up flags in my head, like, why don’t we have someone here in Ontario who would fill those shoes? Now I kind of understand.
I guess the only one question that I really do have—you have already explained it, I think, but do you have any conflict of interest with the OLG in any way, or perceived conflict of interest?
Ms. Monique Wilberg: No.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much for your question, and thank you very much for your presentation. We thank you for coming in, and we wish you well in your future endeavours and in your commuting life. I thought it was a long commute from Oxford to Queen’s Park, but to commute from British Columbia to come to Toronto seems like rather a formidable challenge.
Ms. Monique Wilberg: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the committee.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): That concludes our interviews this morning, so we now proceed with the concurrences.
We will first consider the intended appointment of Jason Melbourne as a member of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Do we have a motion to deal with the concurrence?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Yes. I move concurrence in the appointment of Jason Melbourne to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. board. A recorded vote.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): You’ve heard the motion. Discussion?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I’d just like to say at the outset that while many of these candidates were interesting, very attractive and I think have come to the board with good intentions, the official opposition has a great concern. The OLGC is one of 22 agencies for which Dalton McGuinty promised to have expenses posted online, and it has been more than a year since he made that promise. OLG has not published their expenses to date. We feel in the official opposition that that is an abuse of taxpayer dollars, and so, until the OLG complies with posting executives’ expenses online as required, we will not be voting for any of the appointments. I’d just like to put that on the record.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Further discussion? If not, all those in favour of the concurrence?
Brown, Cansfield, Carroll, Lalonde.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): The motion is carried.
Next, we’ll consider the intended appointment of Charlotte Burke as a member of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Do we have a motion to move concurrence?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: I move concurrence in the appointment of Charlotte Burke to the Ontario lottery corporation board.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): You’ve heard the motion. Discussion?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: The same reasons, as stated earlier: Until the OLG complies with the posting of executive expenses as required, the official opposition won’t be supporting any of the candidates, however interesting or attractive their qualifications may be. I’d also move that it be the same vote.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Any further discussion?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Recorded vote.
Brown, Cansfield, Carroll, Dickson, Lalonde.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): The motion is carried.
We will now consider the intended appointment of Victoria Chiappetta. Do we have a motion to deal with the concurrence?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: I move the appointment of Victoria Chiappetta of Sault Ste. Marie to the board of the Ontario lottery corporation.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): You’ve heard the motion. Discussion?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: As previously mentioned, the official opposition will be voting against OLG appointments until the OLG complies with posting executive expenses as required. This is a message that I’m hoping the government MPPs will take back.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Further discussion?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Recorded vote.
Brown, Cansfield, Carroll, Dickson, Lalonde.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): The motion is carried.
Next, we’ll consider the intended appointment of Monique Wilberg as member of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Do we have a motion on the concurrence?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: I move concurrence in the appointment of Monique Wilberg to the board of the Ontario lottery corporation.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): You’ve heard the motion. Discussion?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Recorded vote.
Mr. Joe Dickson: Mr. Chair, can I have a point of clarification? If the exact same words are being used for every candidate who is in front of us for selection, can we not just say “ditto”?
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): When the Chair asks for discussion, it’s not the Chair’s prerogative to decide what the discussion should be.
Any further discussion on the motion?
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I understand that the Liberals must be uncomfortable with this, but the reality is, over a year ago their Premier promised Ontarians that expenses to the troubled OLG would be posted online. It has been more than a year since that promise was made to Ontario taxpayers, and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. still has not published their expenses to date. In the official opposition, we feel that that is an abuse of taxpayer dollars.
Therefore, as I have previously indicated, at this point in time the official opposition cannot support candidates going to the OLG, regardless of the qualifications, until they fundamentally change their ways and prove to Ontario taxpayers that they are serious about our tax dollars. Until OLG complies with posting executive expenses as required, the official opposition cannot support their candidates. I understand that that must be something very difficult for this Liberal government to understand, but the problem is that they have made a commitment to Ontario taxpayers that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., as one of 22 agencies that Dalton McGuinty promised would have their expenses posted online—has not yet made that commitment.
I also remind folks, the expenses issue is not the only issue the OLG has had problems with in the past. We’ve dealt with some insider wins. We have seen that they own a power plant in Windsor. Today it is in the Toronto Star that a good majority of Ontario citizens are opposed to online gambling, yet Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal caucus are intent in bringing Ontario into that fray.
At this point in time, the official opposition is very concerned with these appointments and the appointments process, given that this government made a commitment that it hasn’t met with making the OLG more transparent and accountable to Ontario taxpayers.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): No further discussion? If not, all those in favour of the concurrence?
Brown, Cansfield, Carroll, Dickson, Lalonde.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Thank you very much. The motion is carried.
That concludes the concurrences. We thank all participants this morning.
We have one more item before we adjourn. The deadline for the review of appointments of individuals selected from the September 3 certificate is October 3. Obviously, in order to set the appointments, we will need unanimous consent from the committee to extend the deadline for that to be done. Do we have unanimous consent from the committee to extend the deadline?
Mr. Michael A. Brown: I so move.
The Chair (Mr. Ernie Hardeman): Hearing no objection, the deadline has been extended. We’ve tried to do that, but it saves the clerk the trouble of trying to catch each committee member to get unanimous consent if we give one unanimous consent at our previous meeting.
We’ll adjourn, then, till 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 5. The committee stands adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 0945.
Tuesday 28 September 2010
Subcommittee report A-71
Intended appointments A-71
Mr. Jason Melbourne A-71
Ms. Charlotte Burke A-73
Ms. Victoria Chiappetta A-76
Ms. Monique Wilberg A-79
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Président
Mr. Ernie Hardeman (Oxford PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean–Carleton PC)
Mrs. Laura Albanese (York South–Weston / York-Sud–Weston L)
Mr. Michael A. Brown (Algoma–Manitoulin L)
Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre / Etobicoke-Centre L)
Ms. M. Aileen Carroll (Barrie L)
Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora–Rainy River ND)
Mr. Ernie Hardeman (Oxford PC)
Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean–Carleton PC)
Ms. Leeanna Pendergast (Kitchener–Conestoga L)
Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe–Grey PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins–James Bay / Timmins–Baie James ND)
Mr. Joe Dickson (Ajax–Pickering L)
Mr. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell L)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr. Katch Koch
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Larry Johnston, research officer,
Legislative Research Service