Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay / -Timmins-Baie James
Mrs Claudette Boyer (Ottawa-Vanier L)
Mr Brian Coburn (Carleton-Gloucester PC)
Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / -Nord PC)
Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale PC)
Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex L)
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York ND)
Mr Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr Brad Clark (Stoney Creek PC)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms Anne Stokes
Staff / Personnel
Ms Laura Hopkins, legislative counsel
The committee met at
1005 in committee room 1.
NER ISRAEL YESHIVA COLLEGE ACT, 2000
Consideration of Bill Pr20, An
Act respecting Ner Israel Yeshiva College.
The Chair (Ms Frances
Lankin): The standing committee on regulations and
private bills is meeting today to consider a number of Pr bills.
We also have consideration of a comprehensive response to the
first report on regulations, which the committee will deal with
after we've concluded deliberations on the Pr bills.
The first item before us is
Bill Pr20, An Act respecting Ner Israel Yeshiva College. The
sponsor is Mr Young, MPP. Mr Young, would you come forward,
please, and introduce the applicants who are here with you who
will be presenting today.
Mr David Young
(Willowdale): Thank you very much for the opportunity of
presenting this proposed legislation. I am pleased to have with
us today Rabbi Friedman from the yeshiva college, and also
Stephen Gross who is the solicitor representing that institution.
I would suggest that Mr Gross make a brief presentation and then
we will all be here to answer any questions, if necessary.
Welcome, gentlemen. Go ahead.
Gross: First of all, I'd just like to thank everyone for
all their help in getting us here today.
At the outset, the reason we
really need this bill, or this authority to grant degrees, is so
that we can remain competitive. We have found that we're
experiencing a brain drain. There are many schools in the States,
religious academies that offer degrees. They offer joint degrees
with well-known universities.
There is one in Providence,
Rhode Island, that offers a joint degree with Brown University;
there is Ner Israel Rabbinical College, which I believe has no
relationship to this Ner Israel, that offers their own degrees as
well as joint programs with Johns Hopkins, the University of
Maryland UMBC and Loyola.
We really need to keep our
students here, specifically in religious studies, so that they
can be recognized with their degrees. Not everyone is going to be
a rabbi, but still it's important that they be recognized for the
type of study they're doing. They can then present their degrees
to York University, the University of Toronto, and go further
with that. This would really assist us in that regard.
Rabbi Friedman, do you have any comments you wish to make?
Friedman: I just want to add to Mr Gross's comments.
We're not a new kid on the block. We've been established since
1959 and basically our studies to date, without the fact of
giving out degrees, have been of high quality and have been
recognized. We are a member of the program that's a distinguished
group, an association of rabbinical colleges in the States. They
included us because of our reputation, and of course we had to
pass their tests. So we really have had the curriculum in place
for 40 years.
It's not a difficult
transition, but as Mr Gross mentioned, people like to have the
degree. It helps them to continue their education. We have an
agreement that's been in place already for about 13 years which
we implemented with York University, that they recognize, even as
we speak, our program and allow us five credits for our rabbinic
program. We are now engaged in trying to meet with the different
universities, wanting to be able to give a grant. But at the
present moment, even if we are given this privilege, I doubt if
any of our students would get into Harvard. So this is really
what we're working on, to be recognized.
The program has been in
effect for the past 40 years. We've graduated many great Talmudic
scholars and many who went on in the community. If you look
around you, you would see virtually in every profession graduates
of Ner Israel, which has strengthened this community. It's an
important program, as Mr Gross mentioned, because there is a
brain drain. People go elsewhere.
If there are any questions, I
will be happy to deal with them.
Mr Young, did you have any further comments?
Mr Young: If
I may just add two other points, and then of course we're
available for any questions that may exist.
The first is that it is my
understanding that there is already a similar institution within
the city of Toronto with similar status to that which is being
sought by this institution, so the precedent has been set. There
is a yeshiva in the city. This institution would be just outside
of the city.
The other point I wanted to make, and of course
that's subject to clarification from Mr Coburn or others, is that
my understanding is that the ministry-not Mr Coburn's ministry
but the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities-has no
difficulty with the proposal that is in front of you at this
Are there any interested parties who have attended today to make
representation on this bill? None. May I ask Mr Coburn, the
parliamentary assistant, are there any comments from the
Mr Brian Coburn
(Carleton-Gloucester): We have no difficulties with this
at all. There is an individual here from the Ministry of
Training, Colleges and Universities if there are any questions.
It is supported by the ministry.
The Chair: I
think that's helpful, then.
Questions from the committee
either of the applicants or Mr Coburn or the staff who have come
from the ministry? If you have specific comments we can ask that
person to come forward.
Mr Raminder Gill
(Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): Basically I am
certainly in support of this. In light of what my colleague Mr
Young said, I guess the brain drain is just across the road then.
There is another college granting those degrees, so it's not
really that people have to go to the States. I guess they could
go to this other college.
Mr Young: I
think they're at their capacity and so the overflow is in fact
heading towards the United States. Rabbi, is there more to
Friedman: Which college are you referring to? Are you
talking to the one that's in Toronto or out of Toronto?
Mr Young: I
think the question was, can the college that's currently situated
Friedman: They're basically a post-graduate school. They
don't give undergraduate degrees. We work together actually. I
don't think they have given out any degrees yet. We have a larger
school. We're better situated. We have a high school. We begin
with high school and therefore our students are more comfortable
with the continuity of staying in our school. There is no
conflict. I don't know if to date they have given any degrees.
They also received a degree I think-
They have the ability to.
Friedman: Basically it's a smaller school and it's a
post-graduate school, and I don't see any conflict with that.
Any further questions from committee members? Any final comments
you want to make?
No, thank you, Madam Chair. I don't think there's anything
further we wish to add at this time.
Are the members ready to vote then?
This is Bill Pr20, An act
respecting Ner Israel Yeshiva College, sponsored by Mr Young,
MPP. Is there anyone intending to put forward any amendments at
this point in time? Fine.
Shall section 1 through
section 11 carry? Carried.
Shall the preamble carry?
Shall the title carry?
Shall the bill carry?
Shall I report the bill to
the House? Agreed.
Thank you very much. We
appreciate you joining us here today.
REDEEMER UNIVERSITY COLLEGE ACT, 2000
Consideration of Bill Pr19,
An Act respecting Redeemer Reformed Christian College.
The next order of business is Bill Pr19, An Act respecting
Redeemer Reformed Christian College, being sponsored by Brad
Clark, MPP. Mr Clark, would you introduce the applicants who are
Mr Brad Clark (Stoney
Creek): I'll actually ask them all to introduce
themselves. It will be a little bit more efficient.
Bakker: Good morning. My name is Albert Bakker. I'm the
solicitor. I have with me Dr Justin Cooper, the president; Mr
Bill van Staal Duinen, vice-president of development; and Dr
Elaine Botha, vice-president, academic.
Mr Clark, have you have any opening comments or should we go
directly to the applicants?
Just go right to the applicants, Madam Chair.
Mr Bakker: I
would like to have Dr Cooper do the presentation, as president of
Cooper: Thank you very much for taking the time to
review our private bill and also for giving us this opportunity
to make some introductory remarks.
It was almost two years ago,
on June 17, 1998, that we were also before this committee. At
that time we came forward as an established institution offering
academic programs of high academic quality. Based on that, the
committee endorsed an amendment to our provincial charter
enabling Redeemer College to grant bachelor of arts and bachelor
of science degrees commensurate with our Christian liberal arts
and science programs.
Now we're before you this
morning to request that the process initiated two years ago be
completed by enabling us to change our institutional name so that
it is consistent with our identity as a degree-granting
institution. Specifically, we're requesting to be known as
Redeemer University College.
In Canada a university
college denotes an undergraduate university. There are some 12
university colleges that are members of the Association of
Universities and Colleges of Canada, to which we also belong and
have been a member since 1985.
We believe the name Redeemer
University College describes us appropriately because we do not
presently offer graduate programs as larger universities do.
Let me also say that we
appreciate very much the co-operation we've received from
officials of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities,
one of whom is here today. We also appreciate the support of the
minister herself, the Honourable Dianne Cunningham, and also the
support of our sponsor, Mr Brad Clark.
At this time we would be happy to answer any
questions the committee might have.
Are there any interested parties who have come forward to make
representation on this bill? Seeing none, committee members, are
there any questions you would like to put to the applicants?
Actually, before I do that, I should go to Mr Coburn. Are there
comments from the government?
There are no objections. It is supported by the Minister of
Training, Colleges and Universities.
Mr Clark: I
just want to raise the point that all of the sitting MPPs in
Hamilton-Wentworth support the bill, from all three parties.
Yes, I've been lobbied by Mr Christopherson.
Mr Clark: I
suspected as much.
The Chair: I
kept telling him, "I don't have a vote unless it's tied, Dave,"
but he's tenacious.
Mrs Claudette Boyer
(Ottawa-Vanier): Just to be clear, the name right now is
Redeemer Reformed Christian College and you want to change it to
Redeemer University College?
That is correct.
OK, fine. I just wanted to be sure.
If there are no further questions, are the members ready to vote
on this bill? We're very productive today, aren't we? Moving
along, is anyone intending to put forward any amendments?
Mr Clark: I
have a motion. It's not an amendment, though. We can deal with it
at the very end, dealing with the printing costs of the bill.
OK, that will be at the end.
Shall sections 1 through 4
Shall the preamble carry?
Shall the title carry?
Shall the bill carry?
Shall I report the bill to
the House? It shall be done.
Mr Clark: I
move that the committee recommend to the House that the fees and
the actual costs of the printing at all stages be remitted on
Bill Pr19, An Act respecting Redeemer Reformed Christian
There is a motion before us. Is there any debate on the motion?
Any questions? All those in favour, please indicate. Those
opposed? The motion is carried.
Thank you very much. We
appreciate your taking the time to be here with us today. Best of
luck on your continued journey.
Before we call the next
matter forward, we've had an indication of one interested party
who wished to participate who couldn't make it today and who will
be participating over a phone link. We need about five minutes to
test the link and the sound levels so that it works. So at this
point in time, with the agreement of committee members, I'm going
to recess for five minutes.
The committee recessed
from 1021 to 1028.
TOWN OF GREATER NAPANEE ACT, 2000
Consideration of Bill Pr22,
An Act respecting the Town of Greater Napanee.
The next item of business before the committee is Bill 22, An Act
respecting the Town of Greater Napanee. Mr Lucas, can I confirm
that you can hear us?
Lucas: Yes, I can. Thanks very much.
Please, at this point in time, I'm going to have to ask that the
noise levels be kept down so that I can hear the party on the
phone. I know you responded, but Mr Lucas, again, could you
indicate if you can hear me all right?
Yes, I can.
Could I ask the technicians if there is a way to turn up the
volume on Mr Lucas' voice? I'm having trouble hearing him.
OK, that's good enough. I can hear you now.
Just to indicate again on the
record that we are being joined by telephone link with an
interested party, Shaune Lucas, and we will hear from him a bit
later in the presentation.
Committee members, to confirm
that you have had distributed to you some documentation which
actually came around yesterday, I believe, from Ms Dombrowsky.
Today, circulated are some further representations from the town
of greater Napanee and a presentation by Andrew Gonsalves, an
interested party, who will be speaking. Everyone has all of these
Bill Pr22, An Act respecting
the Town of Greater Napanee, is being sponsored by Leona
Dombrowsky, MPP. Ms Dombrowsky, could you introduce the
applicants who have come with you today, and if you have any
opening remarks, feel free as well.
Mrs Leona Dombrowsky
(Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): I would be
very pleased to introduce the people from my riding who are with
me this morning. I would also welcome Mr Lucas, who I believe is
with us by telephone. Good morning, Mr Lucas.
Dombrowsky: I also have with me the president of the
Rural Ratepayers' Association for the town of greater Napanee, Mr
Andrew Gonsalves. To the right of Mr Gonsalves is Mr Timothy
Wilkin, the solicitor for the town of greater Napanee, and beside
him is Mr Raymond Callery, the clerk administrator for the town
of greater Napanee.
It was in October 1999 that
I was notified by the municipality of their will to change the
part of the ministerial order with regard to the town of Greater
Napanee that would direct that after the municipal election of
the year 2000, three members of council would receive weighted
votes, so that at the council table three members would have two
votes and two members would have one vote. I indicated to the
municipality that, as the local member, I believed I had a responsibility to
bring forward the bill on their behalf as a private bill.
I also indicated to them
that I had received letters and communication from constituents
who were concerned about the change. I would refer members of the
committee to the correspondence and the petitions that have been
presented to the Legislative Assembly with regard to those
It is not my intention to
take a lot of time this morning. You've had an opportunity to
read the concerns of the constituents that would perhaps be
contrary to some of the presentation that you will hear this
morning on behalf of the town of Greater Napanee.
As the local
representative, I have an obligation to the people whom I
represent to ensure that the people who will be making the
decision this morning have the benefit of understanding both
sides of this issue. It perhaps is not as neat and tidy as the
two previous presentations that you heard earlier today. It's not
a simple issue, but unfortunately there has to be a simple
I hope I might have some
concluding remarks, Madam Chair. At this time I would yield the
floor to the people from my riding.
If we may begin with the applicants. Mr Wilkin, will you be
Wilkin: Yes, Madam Chair, and thank you very much.
First let me thank the
committee for taking the time to listen to the municipality's
request with respect to this private bill. I'd also like to bring
to the committee greetings from the council of the town of
Greater Napanee and also their apologies that no members of
council could be here today. Unfortunately, all of their
individual personal work schedules would not allow them to be
here, but they certainly are very familiar with the submissions
that are being made this morning.
As the information
indicates, this application for a private bill is being made by
the council of the town of greater Napanee. The purpose of Bill
Pr22, as Ms Dombrowsky has indicated, is to eliminate the
weighted voting provisions that are contained in the order of the
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing that restructured this
municipality and created it as of January 1, 1998. Under the
terms of that order, it stipulates that if any wards have more
than 2,500 electors, then beginning with the elections in 2000,
the ward councillors from those wards would have two votes and
wards with less than 2,500 would have one vote. As Ms Dombrowsky
has pointed out, the demographics are such that that would mean
that three out of the five councillors representing those wards
would have two votes.
The result would be that
you would have a council of seven, because there is also a mayor
and a deputy reeve who is effectively a deputy mayor, where three
out of those seven had a total of six votes. In other words, they
would have six of the 10 votes on matters before council. The
purpose of Bill Pr22 is to eliminate that weighted voting
arrangement and essentially maintain what is now the status quo,
which has been the situation since January 1, 1998, of one person
and one vote.
I'd like to give the
members of committee a brief overview of the town of Greater
Napanee, in case you're not entirely familiar with what we're
talking about. There is a package that I believe the clerk has
distributed this morning. It consists of two maps and also a bit
of a fact sheet, which I hope is of assistance to the
Just very quickly, the town
of Greater Napanee is located in eastern Ontario. It's about
midway between the city of Belleville to the west and the city of
Kingston to the east. It's about 55 kilometres long and about 30
kilometres wide and has a total area of about 206 square miles.
The municipality was established on January 1, 1998, as I
indicated, by a minister's restructuring order.
It was part of a larger
restructuring of the entire county of Lennox and Addington that
had previously consisted of 13 municipalities. It reduced them
down to four municipalities. In terms of the town of Greater
Napanee, it amalgamated five of the 13 to form the town of
greater Napanee. The previous five had been the town of Napanee
itself and also the townships of Richmond, Adolphustown, North
Fredericksburgh and South Fredericksburgh. In the establishment
of the municipality, it preserved the ward system based on the
historic geographic boundaries of the previous
The demographics of the
municipality: There's a total population of just under 15,000
people. Of that, there are 13,645 electors; 55% of those electors
live within 1.3% of the municipal area; 7,100 of those electors
live within what's called the Napanee water and sewer area. The
Napanee water and sewer area consists of the former town of
Napanee plus portions of Richmond township and the township of
North Fredericksburgh. I have shown on the fact sheet the
distribution of total electors between the wards.
If you look at the map that
is here, we've tried to illustrate the locations of the various
former municipalities. I think the four townships are clear.
There is then an enlargement area, and that enlargement area
shows the geographic boundaries of the former town of Napanee.
Then you can see the portions of North Fredericksburgh and
Richmond townships that surround it. I can point out that on this
enlarged area, in addition to the former town of Napanee, there
are concentrations of electors in the southeast and southwest
corners of this map adjacent to the town of Greater Napanee and
also to the north in the town of Richmond. Not all of what might
be called urban people live within the former town of Napanee;
there are significant concentrations of them in the township of
North Fredericksburgh and Richmond township as well.
The current council
consists of seven members, as I indicated, with the mayor and the
deputy reeve who are elected at large and five ward councillors.
That situation has existed since January 1, 1998.
Let me turn now to the
reasons that council is asking the Legislature to enact this
private bill. The first is, there is a perception or a view in
the municipality that the concept of weighted voting at a local
municipality in Ontario is an aberration. Historically, there has
never been weighted voting in Ontario for local municipalities,
certainly not in recent memory. It is an arrangement that exists
at the county level, but the Municipal Act contains no authority
for there to be weighted voting at the local municipal level.
The concept of weighted
voting at a local municipality was introduced through the
regulations that gave the minister the powers to implement
restructuring proposals. It allowed the minister to implement
provisions for weighted voting. It's not clear why that power was
given to the minister. Indeed, it may have been put in there
simply to address the situation in Napanee. This municipality is
not aware of any other local municipalities in Ontario that have
weighted voting. You might also be interested to know that there
is no authority in the Municipal Act even to this day for local
municipalities to create a weighted voting arrangement or to
dissolve a weighted voting arrangement. So Napanee finds itself
in the position of having a minister's order that creates a
weighted voting and it is the municipality's position, based on
legal advice, that the only way to change that is through a
private act, hence the application for Bill Pr22.
The second reason council
is making this request is a perception at council that the
weighted voting arrangement is an inherently unfair and
inappropriate arrangement for this municipality for several
reasons. First of all, it will create a council consisting of
seven members but 10 votes. As elected representatives, I'm sure
you appreciate that when you have an even number of votes, the
probability for motions and bylaws being lost on the basis of
tied votes, goes up. That is a first concern.
More importantly, the
concept of weighted voting creates two classes of councillors.
You have those with one vote and you have those with two votes.
Rather than a traditional one-person, one-vote arrangement, you
have councillors and, if I might, supercouncillors or special
councillors. It's the view of this municipal council that that
arrangement in a situation where they are trying to bring
together five former municipalities, all with their own history
and all with their own sense of community, and create a new
community, to preserve an arrangement, that is, weighted voting,
where you have different classes of councillors, is divisive and
contrary to the attempt to create that sense of one municipality.
In essence, it perpetuates an us-and-them sense or mentality in
this new community.
It also is perceived to be
an inequitable arrangement. Under the weighted voting, you would
have three councillors, who are elected in wards where there are
more than 2,500 electors, having two votes and you would have the
mayor and the deputy reeve, who are elected by all 14,000
electors, having one vote. You have three people elected by three
wards having six out of 10 votes and you have the chief executive
officer of the municipality and the deputy only having one vote.
The perception of inequality and inequity is considered, in part,
to be one of the reasons to change this arrangement.
The third reason the
council has made this request is that the current one-person,
one-vote arrangement that has existed since amalgamation on
January 1, 1998, has worked well. The best example, in council's
view, of why it has worked well has been in how they have dealt
with the very difficult issue of tax policy in this new
In the first year of their
mandate they established a single-rate tax policy. Irrespective
of the level of services that were being received across the
municipality, all areas of the municipality received the same tax
rate. That arrangement, upon reflection, was considered to be
unfair, in part because portions of the municipality were not
receiving the same level of service.
In the second year of their
mandate they changed their tax policy and developed a discounted
tax rate arrangement for all of the wards except the former town
of Napanee. The pendulum had started at one end and now swung out
in the other direction, and that arrangement was considered to be
unfair to the residents of the former town of Napanee because
they had a different tax rate.
Council reflected on that,
and in the third year, this past year, they have again changed
their tax policy. Rather than establishing policy on the basis of
the wards, they have moved to a tax policy that establishes a
rate for those properties that are serviced by water and sewer,
and tax rates for those properties that are not serviced.
If you look at the map that
I gave you, the effect is that the former town of Napanee and
significant portions of the electorate in both the township of
Richmond and the North Fredericksburgh ward are now being taxed
at a rate that is consistent with the service levels. The
portions of the remainder of the municipalities that are not
being serviced are at a different rate. That, council believes,
is the most equitable arrangement for this municipality and, more
importantly, is an illustration of why the current arrangement of
voting has worked well.
The suggestion that there
will be gang-ups, rural against urban, one area of the
municipality acting against the interests of another
municipality, simply hasn't been borne out by experience in the
last three years.
Council, in the course of
their mandate, also looked at the other options. They considered
the elimination of wards. They considered the redrawing of the
wards to rebalance the number of electorates. They looked at
allowing the weighted voting to go forward, and of course they've
looked at the issue of the status quo. I can tell you they looked
at this all in the context of public meetings and public
With respect to eliminating
the wards or redrawing the wards to achieve a more equitable
balance, there was a very real concern about whether council even
had the authority to do that. Historically, councils have had the
authority under the Municipal Act to change their wards or
eliminate their wards, but there was real concern that, the wards
having been established by minister's order, they didn't have the
legal authority to change the minister's order based on the traditional powers
in the Municipal Act, and they received legal advice to that
effect. It would appear that legal advice was to some extent
justified, because your Legislature, through Bill 25 that was
proclaimed in late December 1999-this was the legislation that
dealt principally with the restructuring in the Ottawa area-also
included amendments to the Municipal Act that specifically made
clear that, notwithstanding the provisions of a minister's
restructuring order, municipalities still had the power to change
their wards if they wanted to. So the legal uncertainty that was
there didn't get clarified until almost Christmas 1999.
The question is then, why
didn't council go forward with this established power and rejig
the wards to make a more equitable distribution? They could have,
but they couldn't have done it until early 2000 and the Municipal
Act makes clear that if you rejig your wards in an election year,
it doesn't take effect until the following election. If they had
rejigged the wards in 2000, it wouldn't have been effective until
2003, so they continued on with the decision they had made in the
fall of 1999 to ask for a change to the awaited voting
They also considered
allowing the weighted voting to go forward, as contained in the
minister's order, and for many of the reasons that I've
articulated, they did not favour that approach. They also felt
the municipality had undergone a lot of change in the last three
years, as I'm sure many of you understand municipalities have
gone through, and they felt to now go forward with a further
change would be disruptive and unnecessary. Basically in a
benefits-and-risks or a benefits-and-complications equation,
council decided preserving the status quo was the preferred
One other option
undoubtedly they could have considered, I suppose, is creating
two councillors in those wards that had larger populations, but
clearly that's contrary to the policy of the government to reduce
the number of politicians. Going up to nine councillors would
have been a retrograde step.
You will read in the
submissions that have been made to you, and I assume you will
hear in the oral submissions made to you, certain reasons for
opposing the bill, and I would like to address some of those.
The first is that you will
hear that this weighted voting was the product of a negotiated
arrangement. Let me say that is indeed correct. It came about as
a process by which the politicians in the county of Lennox and
Addington in 1997, under considerable pressure from the
government to restructure and downsize themselves, went through a
series of intensive meetings over a very short period of time
where essentially they dealt with everything from soup to nuts in
terms of the restructuring of their 13 municipalities down to
four. One of the issues they dealt with was council
representation in the town of Greater Napanee, and out of that
process came the idea of weighted voting.
It is agreed that the
weighted voting is the product of a negotiated arrangement, but
the question is, was it a good arrangement and was it the best
arrangement? It's the position of the current council of the town
of Greater Napanee that it is neither. Having the benefit now of
three years of reflection and three years of experience, they
have concluded that to move forward with a concept that was
hashed out in an intensive negotiation session back in 1997 is
not in the best interests of the municipality, and it's for that
reason they are asking that the private bill go forward.
You will also hear that
this weighted voting arrangement protects against gang-ups of
urban versus rural, rural against urban and so on. My submission
to you is that has not been the experience over the past three
years. I draw you back to how council dealt with probably the
most difficult issue councils deal with, and that is the question
of tax policy.
The situation might be
different if we were talking about a majority of wards that were
under 2,500; in other words, if you had five wards under 2,500
and two or three wards with more than 2,500. But the situation
you have here is, you already have three out of the five wards
with more than 2,500. The majority of the wards already with the
larger population control the majority, and if you consider that
the mayor and the deputy reeve are elected at large, then
presumably the bulk of their constituency comes from the three
wards that have the largest populations.
The suggestion that going
to weighted voting is necessary to prevent gang-ups, I would
submit to you, if anything, it will simply increase the strength
of the majority of larger wards over the smaller wards.
Lastly, you will hear that
the current arrangement where you have wards with considerable
inequality in the number of constituents that they represent is
contrary to the principle of representation by population. It's
certainly acknowledged that there is an inequality in the number
of votes, and I think you can understand how that came about.
Indeed, it may be preferable in the fullness of time to either
eliminate the wards or rejig the wards so there is an equal
distribution of numbers, and I'd submit to you that, option still
remains open to future councils.
But if the objective here
is to try and redress this perception of imbalance on the
representation by population argument, I would submit to you that
moving to weighted voting moves you further away from that
objective rather than closer to that objective. The reason for
that is that if you go forward with weighted voting, you create a
situation where you have given councillors special status. People
being people and politics being politics, I would submit to you
that once you have given representatives from a particular area
of the municipality additional powers, it will take a very
big-minded person to support a rejigging that will, in essence,
bring them back where they have the same level of power as
My submission to you is
that to go from a situation where three out of five already with
the largest per cent of the population control the majority to a
situation where those three out of five will now have six out of
10 will move you further
away from the ultimate objective of equal representation by
population rather than closing the gap.
In summary, it is the
position of the council of the town of Greater Napanee that the
concept of weighted voting, while it probably seemed like a good
idea back in the heat of the moment of 1997, council, with its
experience, has determined it is not in the best interests of the
municipality. It is an aberration, and their concern is that it
will not be conducive to the concept of establishing and creating
one municipality where previously there were five. On behalf of
the municipality, I would request that the committee support Bill
Pr22 in its motion to or its route to the Legislature.
I might also point out that
Mr Callery is here and can answer questions as well. Thank you
for your consideration.
Thank you, Mr Wilkin. Mr Callery, did you have any remarks you
wanted to make at this time?
Callery: Not at this time, unless there's any
Thank you. We'll move to interested parties. Mr Gonsalves, you
had a presentation you would like to make to the committee.
Gonsalves: I trust you have a handout that I gave, which
I'm going to read from and probably make some supplementary
remarks as I go along, if that's appropriate.
The purpose of this
presentation: The Rural Ratepayers Association of the Town of
Greater Napanee-we call ourselves the RRA-is here today to
support the application of the town of Greater Napanee to amend
the minister's order that created the new town. The amendment is
to repeal section 4.3(b)(ii), which provides for weighted voting
on council after the 2000 municipal elections. This action
effects a unanimous motion of the executive of the
About the RRA: It was
formed in 1998 and is a grassroots organization open to all
ratepayers of wards 1, 2, 3 and 4, which we call the rural wards.
Its purpose is to further and protect the best interests of rural
ratepayers of the town of Greater Napanee. We have a membership
Governance of the
association: We have an executive of 12, comprising a president,
a vice-president for membership, secretary-treasurer and eight
executive members, preferably two from each of the four rural
wards, and a past president.
Voting: Each member of the
executive has one vote, with the exception of the past president
position, which is non-voting.
Background: The RRA was
formed when it became clear that the council of the new
amalgamated town was going to set one tax rate for municipal
services across Greater Napanee. This would have the effect of
higher taxes in the rural areas. Taxpayers in urban Napanee would
see their taxes reduced, even though the level of services they
receive is much higher than the rural wards. We see this as
One tax rate was set in
1998 and over $900,000 or 28.5% of the total tax levy of
$3,152,000 of the municipal portion of property taxes was shifted
from urban Napanee to the four rural wards. Services provided by
Greater Napanee remained more or less the same as prior to
amalgamation. Taxpayers in the former townships of Richmond,
North Fredericksburgh, South Fredericksburgh and Adolphustown saw
their taxes-the municipal portion-increased by 19.03%, 50.76%,
626.8% and 158.8% respectively. Taxpayers in the former town of
Napanee received a hefty reduction of 44.93%.
Since its formation in
1998, the RRA has worked very hard to bring fairness to the rural
taxpayers. In 1999, by a vote of four to three, some relief was
achieved when a two-rate policy was adopted by council. This saw
approximately $200,000 returned to rural taxpayers. In 2000, a
three-rate policy was set on May 8 last. The effects of this new
policy are currently being reviewed by the association.
The RRA has solicited the
help of the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Finance and the
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in its efforts to
resolve these issues. As of today, we have outstanding
correspondence with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
on other issues affecting the minister's order vis-à-vis the
proposal sent up from the county of Lennox and Addington.
Our submission: The RRA
considers the weighted voting system, as set out in section
4.3(b)(ii) of the minister's order, dated January 7, 1997, as
flawed and not in the best interests of the residents of Greater
Napanee. We respectfully petition the Legislature to repeal
section 4.3(b)(ii) for the following reasons:
(1) Councillors elected in
wards with greater than 2,500 electors will have two votes on
council after the November 2000 election. The mayor and deputy
mayor, who run at large, are elected by over 13,200 electors and
represent all taxpayers, will have only one vote. This is unfair
and, as we see it, goes against the principle of representation
by population anyway. We understand that this principle is being
put forward to support weighted voting by those who wish to have
this bill defeated. We find it difficult to support this
principle when the number of electors in each of the five wards
is so small. Who is to say whether 500, 2,500, 3,500 or any other
number is fair in these circumstances?
(2) Greater Napanee council
resolution 348/99 to have the weighted vote provision eliminated
was carried by a clear majority-we understand five to two-of the
duly elected council of Greater Napanee. This council represents
all taxpayers and includes at least three representatives and two
alternates who participated in the amalgamation process. So for
the original negotiation that came up with the voting, we have
about five people on the current council. Four of these
individuals now understand that the weighted voting system, if
not eliminated, will create two classes of representations at
council after the next election. This could potentially mean the disadvantage of those
taxpayers represented by councillors with only one vote. They
voted to have weighted voting eliminated. We see this as clear
second thoughts of these individuals on weighted voting.
(3) Further, as he tells
it, it was the then reeve of the former Richmond township, who is
now the deputy reeve of Greater Napanee, who was the most vocal
during the amalgamation negotiations about having weighted
voting. At that time he was trying to protect the assets of his
municipality in those negotiations. However, now that we are all
one municipality and most assets are protected under sections 8.3
and 8.4 of the minister's order, he sees no necessity for
weighted voting. He voted, on Greater Napanee council resolution
348/99, to have section 4.3(b)(ii) repealed. We support his
(4) Weighted voting, as
currently allowed under the minister's order, means a cumulative
total of 10 votes. This could potentially result in numerous tied
and lost votes which would frustrate the operations of council.
For example, if the four-to-three motion that carried the 1999
two-rate tax policy, which I alluded to earlier, was taken under
this weighted vote system, it would have resulted in a five to
five tie and failed. Taken to the next level, we feel it is
reasonable to assume that any other tax policy option tabled at
that time would have had the same result. Given those
circumstances, final tax bills would have been delayed, resulting
in cash flow problems which could have adversely affected the
town's ability to provide services to its residents.
(5) There are a number of
divisions between the five amalgamated municipalities that form
the new town of Greater Napanee which we feel are as yet
unresolved. One of the more serious ones is the taxing policy.
The weighted voting provision under 4.3(b)(ii), if not repealed,
will create some super councillors after the next election. We
believe that this will only serve to exacerbate the current
divisions within the community and add one more to the list.
(6) The new town of Greater
Napanee is an amalgamation of five separate and unique former
municipalities. Having some councillors with two votes, and
others, including the mayor and deputy who are elected by all the
people, with only one vote will potentially create feelings of
superiority in some and inferiority in others. This situation
will not support the kind of environment that fosters
co-operation and teamwork which is sorely required to take the
newly formed municipality forward in the new millennium.
(7) As we understand it,
the Town of Greater Napanee is the only lower-tier municipality
in Ontario with weighted voting. Structured as it currently is in
the minister's order, three of the seven councillors will have
six of the total of 10 votes. The other four will have four
votes. This means that a minority of councillors prevails over
the majority. A minority of councillors controls the council. We
see this as undemocratic and not in the best interests of all the
taxpayers of Greater Napanee.
I'm now open to any
questions the committee may have.
Thank you very much, Mr Gonsalves. I'm going to move now to Mr
Lucas and invite you to participate. Would you like to make a
Yes, I would, thanks very much, and if possible, I'd like to
offer some rebuttal to the two previous presentations as
Hopefully the members of
the committee received my letter of February 21, and if I may I
will quickly re-present that.
"To whom to may
"I am writing you in
regards to Greater Napanee's municipal council's request to amend
the Ministry of Municipal Affairs order dated January 1, 1997,
under section 25.2 of the Municipal Act which implemented a
restructuring order for the county of Lennox and Addington.
Specifically an amendment which would repeal section 4.3(b)(ii)
which states a weighted vote policy for wards within the
municipality as of the year 2001 elected council.
"I am a past member of the
Napanee town council, past director of the Napanee Chamber of
Commerce, present chairperson of the Napanee Business Improvement
Association, a business operator within ward 5 (old town of
Napanee), residential property owner in ward 4. My family and I
own property in the majority of wards within Greater Napanee
within a majority of property tax categories.
"I am firmly opposed to
this amendment request by the town of Greater Napanee for the
following reasons," in no particular order:
"(1) One vote, one ward
does not fairly represent the population or the taxation of some
wards, ie South Fredericksburgh," with approximately 900
residents "versus Napanee ward" with approximately 5000
"(2) This amendment would
change the `rules of the game' that the five wards agreed to in
1997 for two or three municipal terms. The present deal was
agreed to in good faith by the elected officials of the day who
some were incidentally elected for this current term of council
"(3) The vote on the
resolution for an amendment itself doesn't fairly represent the
true population or taxation representation of the larger wards,
especially Napanee and Richmond township.
"(4) We have already
experienced resolutions voted on by the majority of a council
that have placed tax burdens on some wards by others.
Specifically the area rating of police services onto ward 5
(Napanee) by the so-called rural wards at a cost of approximately
S340,000 to ward 5.
"(5) A main supporter of
this amendment is the Greater Napanee Rural Ratepayers
Association who only represent `paid-up' members in good standing
of rural residential properties (outside ward 5 `old Napanee').
Their membership fluctuates year to year. As well, they do not
represent any other tax categories within their ward or multi-ward, multi-tax
category rural ratepayers who may not support their cause.".
"(6) Personally, after
seeing the one vote, one ward policy in action for this term, it
is probably the last option that I would consider for our future
councils. If the present members of our council (who may not even
be our elected officials in the future) do not like the weighted
vote policy, perhaps we should consider a more appropriate
representation policy, specifically no wards but" candidates
elected at large.
"As a member of the Napanee
town council from 1989-94, we had amalgamation discussions with
Richmond township and North Fredericksburgh each and every year.
This is not a new issue, but unbalanced representation (one vote,
one ward) was never an option" that I was ever aware of or would
have even considered at that time as well.
"If you accept this
amendment, you will never have equitable representation based on
population and/or taxation. As a matter of fact, the present
wards are in conflict with each other now within our own
municipality. The `rural wards' being presented to you are not
true rural wards made up of agricultural and rural residential
stakeholders. The majority of the `rural wards' have significant
industrial tax category partners and two `rural wards,' Richmond
and North Fredericksburgh, have large urban residential tax
category partners and water and sewer services partners, which
also includes South Fredericksburgh.
"I respectfully request
your standing committee reject this amendment proposal and direct
Greater Napanee to fulfill its next municipal election
representation policy, weighted voting, or accept a proposal for
an open election of" representative councillors at large and
eliminate the wards completely.
I would be happy to speak
with your committee members in person if required.
Thank you, Mr Lucas. There may be some questions for you as we
proceed so I hope you'll stay on the line.
I'm going to move now to Mr Coburn, parliamentary assistant, to
ask if the government has any comments on this bill.
After reviewing this, the government has no objection to the
bill, and in fact our position has always been to provide
democratic decision-making at the local level, and through recent
amendments such as in Bill 25 and Bill 62, which is now being
debated, the goal is to provide a wider range of decision-making
capability at the local level.
I would like to point out
that council had an opportunity, as pointed out by the legal
counsel of Napanee, to look at the issue of ward boundaries and
had an opportunity to do that by December 31, 1999. They chose
not to and as a result the bill is coming forward. If there are
recommendations or suggestions that the ministry would have, it
would be based more on the principle of one representative, one
vote. Possibly a look at redistribution of ward boundaries by the
new council would be something they may want to visit if they're
looking at making a decision in terms of fair representation.
We'll move to questions. Actually, if I may begin, Mr Wilkin, you
may have answered this but I was a bit perplexed-let me display
my bias upfront. I carried forward a private member's bill in the
Legislature to grant an additional councillor's position for the
ward of East York in the new amalgamated city of Toronto, based
on the principle of representation by population. I believe very
strongly in that. I also am not a fan of weighted votes. I think
it should be done by ward boundary representation or by the
number of councillors within ward boundaries, whichever structure
is appropriate for that municipality.
I was confused when you
indicated that the council didn't pursue ward boundary changes
because they felt there was a legal impediment to that in the
ministerial order, yet what you're here today to seek on behalf
of the council is an amendment to a ministerial order, and that
could have been done with respect to ward boundaries. You made a
reference a bit later that perhaps the reason for that was, with
all of the turmoil through amalgamation, not wanting to have
greater disruption. I wasn't sure if you were relating that to
the argument not to pursue the ward boundaries. I was wondering
if you could clarify that for me.
There were two issues in there. The first was that even if
council had wanted to pursue rejigging the wards in 1999, there
was a real concern that they didn't have the authority to do it.
The reason was that even though the Municipal Act gives councils
generally the authority to either eliminate their wards or rejig
their wards, because their ward structure had been established by
a minister's order and certain language in the act that dealt
with minister's orders, there was a real question that if you are
established by a minister's order, does it effectively preclude
you from changing anything in the minister's order.
I understood that part, but if that had been the preferred
option, the same request you're making here today to amend a
ministerial order, you could have been coming forward to request
that the ministerial order be amended with respect to ward
boundaries. The question I'm asking is, why did the council
decide to ask to have the weighted voting amended, as opposed to
having the minister's order or direction with respect to ward
May I defer to Mr Callery?
Callery: During the discussions a number of options were
brought forward to council, including the elimination of ward
boundaries completely. The host of options was all considered.
Council's consideration at the time as to why they chose to go
this route was that this route better represented a status quo
situation as far as keeping as many things constant as we possibly
could at that point in time.
What we've heard is that
there have been a number of very controversial issues that have
come up before this council, as could be expected with any newly
amalgamated council. A lot of those issues dealt with things such
as taxation. They've managed to work through those processes, and
as we've heard from Mr Wilkin, there was a bit of a pendulum
swing between the different years of this term of council, but
they've managed to try and balance those issues.
They felt with the number
of changes that people have seen-removal or change of where their
municipal office used to be; the loss, somewhat, of what they
felt was a municipal identity; the issues around: "Where are my
services being provided from? What services am I getting as to
what I used to get? Where does my tax bill go? How does this
happen? How does that happen?"-there have been a number of
upheavals in people's lives over the last three years.
Council felt that with this
election we're already going through a change in the fact that
we're going to an optical scan type of election. There were other
election issues as well. Nothing here is happening in isolation,
unfortunately. With all the changes that people have seen over
the last three years, and are going to continue to see, council
felt, "Let's try and keep something constant in this storm."
The constant they felt, and
the best route we could follow through on, was to try and-the
weighted voting system wasn't the right answer for this
municipality is what council deemed. So the best thing to do was
wait out the change. With the authorities that are coming down
through the passing of Bill 25, if future councils want to try
and look at how to solve the issue for the long term, they have
the tools to do that now, but they felt the best thing to do at
this point in time was to try and weather the storm and keep some
Mr Lucas, do you have any comments on that?
Yes, I do. In general, with Mr Wilkin and Ray, everything that's
stated is a matter of perception. All is not well. To suggest
that future councils will make changes as required-the future is
now. The representatives in 1997 concluded that the first two
terms of council would follow this train of thought and this
amalgamation with the whole purpose that in one, two or three
councils we wouldn't be wards; we would be one municipality.
Every person in the municipality is distinct, but this entrenches
something that is fairly inconsistent with representation and it
prolongs something that was decided in 1997 to happen for this
term. So, nothing personal, but everything commented here is
perception. It's not reflective of the council as a whole. There
was not a unanimous vote for this. The delaying of something
that's inevitable to make us one municipality as opposed to four
or five is a point that should be made and carried through on
Mr Callery, is it the intention of the town council to look at
redivision of ward boundaries, not in the election in November
but before the next election in 2003?
Callery: In this term of council, to be fair to the
elected officials who are around the table, the conversations
that took place around this issue were that when they looked at
the options that were available to them, I think they felt that
for this particular term, going into this next election, the
status quo was the best opportunity.
Although there has been a
large amount of discussion and certainly there's a large amount
of discussion within the municipality as to whether it is better
to redistribute the wards or remove the ward system completely
and go to elections at large, that's certainly something that
very well could become an election issue on which people may want
to question the councillors as they run on their platforms, as
they form those for the new election. But I don't think this
council has tried to predetermine or tie the hands of the future
elected councillors as they may come in after November. I think
at this point they are willing to leave the decision as to how to
best run the following election with the next council. They would
assume that if it is a highly contested topic within the
community itself, that will be brought forward either during
people's platforms or during the conversations that come out over
the next few years.
I really don't think that
this council has tried to predetermine that decision. At this
point in time they are just taking the direction that they have
to deal with the matter at hand right now, which is how this is
going to be handled.
What type of public consultation was there with regard to the
amendment you're presenting today?
Callery: As far as the amendment goes, there was initial
information that was gathered. Basically, as staff, we were
approached to get legal interpretations on what was available,
what were the options available before us, and that was brought
before council. After council had an opportunity to take a look
at what the legal options were, there were two following
meetings. Those meetings are regular meetings that are held. We
have a property committee, which is all of council, that meets
the second Monday and then again the fourth Monday, and the
council minutes come up.
So that was discussed at
that point in time. There were two open meetings that the public
were able to attend and give input on those. Then there was a
follow-up that was held by the actual councillor for ward 5.
After the decision was made, we then had another follow-up
meeting to that, just to make sure the constituents in ward 5
understood that. There was some controversy that was discussed at
that particular time. That's basically the process we went
through. There were two open public meetings where it was
These were council meetings?
Callery: Council meetings where it was decided that this
was the best direction for the municipality to go at this time.
After that, there was some follow-up discussion just so that the ward 5 councillor could
make sure that her constituents clearly understood the issues,
how that was decided, and how that came out.
So there wasn't a formalized consultation process to reach out to
the public to get as much input as possible?
Callery: Through those meetings, yes, there was.
Through the council meetings?
Callery: It came up at a property meeting and then it
came up again at council meetings and through-
But those are standard meetings?
Callery: Those are the standard meetings.
So there was not a special meeting called with advertising,
inviting the constituents out to talk about this specific
Callery: Not a specific advertisement for this
particular issue. It was held during the general meetings,
although there was press coverage after the first meeting and
before the second meeting was held to make the decision.
Just two more questions, if I may. I agree with the Chair.
Weighted votes are not my cup of tea and never have been, so I
guess I agree in principle in terms of what you're doing. I have
some concerns that there was not the consultation that I would
have liked to have seen. I'm a firm believer in wide public
In listening to Mr
Lucas-and I'm assuming that he's still with us?
Yes, I am.
He made a statement which interested me. I'm going to read it:
"If you accept this amendment, you will never have equitable
representation based on population and/or taxation." Why is it,
Mr Lucas, that you believe that?
I don't feel that a ward within a municipality that has
approximately 55% of the population and/or 50% of the tax base
should be on equal footing with a ward that only has 900. I want
to give you an example. Nobody's talking about the concessions
that the larger municipalities made to the smaller ones in the
first term of this new municipality. When South Fredericksburgh
and Adolphustown came in, they were given equal status to the
larger wards, which was one vote, one ward, which I think is a
concession that hasn't been talked about, hasn't been duly noted.
I really think it's unfair that taxation policies and budgets
could be implemented against wards that (a) didn't vote for it,
and (b) have a larger representation than the other ones.
I feel really bad that
there might be situations where a vote has cast an obligation on
to one ward versus another against their will, but that works
both ways. There are inequities, and if you look at the wards
prior to the amalgamation, for example-and if I can be brief
here-old Napanee had services provided to the surrounding wards
that were never equitably costed out. For example, we have an
arena in Napanee that is located in Richmond township. The old
town of Napanee for years has paid a subsidy on the arena-and I'm
a hockey guy-for the benefit of the other wards. I know for a
fact that when I was on council the majority of kids who used
that arena actually lived in North Fredericksburgh. Napanee
picked up a tab of about a "$200,000 a year deficit" for a
facility that wasn't even in their own municipality and was being
used by other wards at their benefit.
The other one is-as Mr
Coburn, the former mayor of a community will know-because of
historical policy adopted by the province of Ontario, because the
town of Napanee was a town and not a township, we've paid for
policing for 125 or 150 years. If we were the township of
Napanee, we would never have paid for policing at all. So, in
fact, your taxpayers in Napanee ward have paid two taxes, a
provincial tax for policing in general, and a civic tax for
policing. This seems to be one issue that is really a sore point
and that I feel has been unduly assessed against Napanee. How do
you change the historical fact of paying for policing in a ward
that in effect is 850 acres which, that for historical accounting
purposes, has only been kept track of because it has to? There's
no police records of the surrounding townships because there was
never a need to keep a record of them. Now we've had to balance
it out to say who pays what for policing? Well, for the first
time, and I think it's long overdue, everyone who requires
policing should pay for it.
There seems to be an
inherent bias or problem with determining how much Napanee ward
should pay for and the other municipalities not pay for. I'll
tell you, any of those people in those rural wards who need the
service will expect the service there, just like fire, ambulance
or any other special services.
Another major component
was, for example, building services. For years the township of
North Fredericksburgh used the building department of Napanee on
a per call basis while the municipality of Napanee paid for the
overhead and everything else.
The last thing is-and I
want to make this very clear-it's only because of historical
boundaries that you have five wards now. One hundred and some
years ago, Napanee was sectioned off of Richmond township and is,
in fact, an 850-acre parcel that hasn't changed for over 100
years. While it is time to change it and it is time for fair and
equitable taxation, I'm in a position, unfortunately, that it
doesn't matter where I live or what I own, I pay taxes for the
whole municipality. I want my properties fairly treated based on
the services they provide and the tax that they pay. In 1999,
when the two tax policies came in, you had buildings on opposites
sides of the street, commercial properties, paying different
taxes for policing services that, in fact, were not getting
different services. So there are two sides to the coin.
I'm a supporter of the
community as a whole, as are many rural ratepayers who haven't
come forward to you today, and I just want to see the town remain
on the course that they picked in 1997 for the eventual blending
of one municipality. We've got a great municipality, we've got
great people and we want to see us move ahead as a whole. It is perception, and those
are my opinions.
Thank you, Mr Lucas.
Madam Chair, if I may, to Mr Coburn. In the Ontario Municipal
Act, if I recall, there is a section or a clause that states:
"150 electors may petition a municipality to redivide their ward
boundaries. If the municipality does not respond within 30 days,
then any one of those electors may go to the Ontario Municipal
Board to request the redivision of ward boundaries." Does that
still stand in the Ontario Municipal Act?
Yes, it does. So in this case, if Mr Lucas is concerned that the
town council is not going to do, in his opinion, what is right
and redivide ward boundaries, he can do a petition of 150
legitimate electors and force the issue? Yes?
It has to go to council, yes-
It goes to council and they have 30 days to respond. Is that
Then the council has 30 days to respond.
If they don't respond within 30 days, any of the electors who
signed the petition may petition the Ontario Municipal Board?
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Could I just ask for clarification on that? If they respond and
the electors are unhappy with that response, do they have the
right of appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board?
I believe they do.
If they don't pass it in accordance with the petition, they have
the right to appeal to the OMB.
That's what I thought it was. Thank you very much.
Any further questions?
Mr Pat Hoy
(Chatham-Kent Essex): You've answered other similar
questions on why you didn't consider wards and, as well, public
meetings. You did say the original plan for weighted votes was a
negotiated settlement. I'm from Chatham-Kent and we had a
commissioner restructure the area quite dramatically. It's my
understanding that there was a chance, an opportunity to revisit
that imposed restructuring at a later date. Did you have anything
within the minister's order to revisit any aspect of what
happened in your community? There wasn't that chance?
Under what circumstances, sir? Do you mean in terms of the
There's nothing in the order that allows the municipality to seek
amendment. In fact, I think this was one of the flaws with the
original restructuring legislation. It didn't even address the
issue of how you amend these orders. The order was challenged in
court, actually, by one of the municipalities on the whole issue
of being forced into restructuring but that challenge was-
For example, there was no opportunity to look at ward boundaries
later, after a period of time, for instance, five years?
There was nothing explicitly in the order that said you can
revisit this issue of ward boundaries.
Thank you. I find it interesting that the original order said
that there would be two votes instead of one except when voting
on changes to ward boundaries. It's only one exception. The
council, whoever they may be or wherever they're from, would vote
in all other matters with weighted voting except for this one
instance. Has it ever been explained to you why the minister felt
that there should be this one exception and one only?
I'm not sure it was a decision of the minister. I think it was
probably a provision that was in the proposal that came forward
as a result of the negotiated exercise, but the reason behind it,
I certainly don't know. Do you know, Mr Callery?
Callery: I should probably just go back a little bit for
the committee. You have to understand that when this was a
negotiated settlement, it was a negotiation that took place over
a period of about 14 days, with 27 elected officials and about
six staff members locked in a room until about 3 in the
When this was done, going
back through my notes, at one point in time the proposal that
would have come forward from the county would have read slightly
differently from what was actually passed by the minister and put
into an order. I'm not sure exactly where the translation
changed, and I was never able to really obtain that. But at one
point in time it stated that in the first term everyone would
have one vote, and then in the second term, which we are about to
enter into, the weighted voting system would come into effect,
based on what you've seen. Then in the third term, council would
have an opportunity to review that. When the minister's order was
passed, and subsequently when the proposal went in, the way it
read was that the first and second parts of it were in there and
the third part never was.
I guess what concerns
council to some extent is that with no section in the Municipal
Act dealing with this-and obviously the initial intent was never
to allow lower-tier municipalities to have this authority-even if
we wanted to change the boundaries in the future and we have that
authority, we're still stuck with the fact that we can never get
rid of a weighted voting system, because there is no authority
for us to change that without going through this legislation and
going through this process.
If we go through the
process of changing the way our wards look, what we in essence
could end up with when you design it and lay it out, is that it
is potentially possible to have a five-ward system in our
community, every one with more than 2,500 voters. But then what
you end up creating is a ward system whereby five elected
councillors have two votes each, and a mayor and deputy reeve
elected at large have one vote each still, because we're still
entrenched in the way that order reads.
Even if we're going to correct this in the
future-we come before the standing committee and the Legislature
now asking for this change or we come later, saying that we've
adjusted our ward boundaries-we still require this change from
the Legislature. We certainly require this bill to be seriously
considered and passed so that we can move on.
Mr Hoy: In
your earlier comments you mentioned that reducing the number of
council members was a government ideal, and I would agree to
that. It was a government ideal to reduce the number of
councillors in your community and elsewhere, and the government
took certain initiatives to see that it would happen.
I'm actually kind of
surprised that the government isn't introducing this bill
themselves rather than going through a private bill. They charge
on with certain ideals they have on how municipalities should
operate. It's encouraging that you have this opportunity to come
in with a private bill, but at the same time I'm surprised the
government hasn't recognized the situation that your council
currently is undertaking and brought forward their own bill to
rectify this, when it is stated that they have no objection to
it. It's curious to me that they wouldn't do it themselves as a
Mr Hoy, is that a question or a comment at this point? We will
have an opportunity to debate as well.
I'm just glad that you have this venue and this opportunity to
put forth what some of the people in your community, at least,
believe. I have no further questions.
Mr Gill: I
have a couple of comments and a question perhaps. It does seem
unfair that somebody elected from ward 1 with 864 electors versus
ward 5 with 4,800 electors has the same powers. But I know I've
heard from members who are perhaps more experienced in that sense
that two wards per se are not acceptable.
My concern is that council
should have seriously looked at redrawing the boundaries. I think
we all seem to be saying that. I don't think that option was
exercised. The second option would be the election at large. It's
not such a number of electors in total, overall 13,000. I'm sure
the people in the community who are actually running for these
seats are known to the total population, and therefore an option
should be looked at whether they should be members running at
large. That way there is equity between the mayor and the council
One of the options I'm
looking at is a novel idea-I don't know if it's even legally
possible; I don't know if the option is there-to let the council
go back and look at redrawing the boundaries and delay section
4.3(b)(ii) to come into effect later on, perhaps three years from
now, so that we still keep on the books that option of having two
voting powers, but that gives you time and incentive to look at
redrawing the boundaries and making it more equitable.
Mr Gill, could I just understand what you're attempting to do.
You're attempting to have the minister's order remain in effect
for perhaps three years, at which point it would be revoked, as
I'm saying we revisit that in light of maybe their having by then
looked at the boundaries and-
So the effect of what you're suggesting would be simply to defeat
the bill. I'm just looking at it legally. I wasn't sure if you
were trying to move an amendment. What you're proposing is that
perhaps this is an issue that should come back to this committee
at such time as they've addressed the issue of ward boundaries? I
think Mr Callery was saying that they would need this done anyway
at some point in time.
Yes, I agree with that.
You're saying it's a question of timing?
Did you want to respond to Mr Gill?
Callery: There are a couple of concerns I have with the
proposal. I just want to make sure I understand exactly what
you're proposing. The proposal is to somehow delay the weighted
voting coming in November but coming in three years from now, is
That's what I'm looking at, if that's an option, the status quo
for three years.
People would continue to have one vote per ward for three years,
so that the weighted voting option would not begin-
It does not kick in for three years, to give them time to look at
that option. I don't know if it's possible.
Callery: If that actually occurred, and council having
gone through another process to look at boundaries within itself,
if they still decided to keep any form at all of elections by
ward, and even if they did that to have better representation by
population, to go down that road and address that we would still,
under the wording-and let my solicitor correct me if I'm wrong
here-end up three years from now having a situation where my
mayor and my deputy reeve, if they keep those titles, elected at
large, would still only be authorized to have one vote and the
councillors from each of those wards, assuming they divided it up
five ways and had 2,500 in each ward, would still have two votes.
In essence we'd still be left with a problem, based on just the
existing wording, that even exists in the order today.
That's fine. My concern is that I don't think enough due
diligence has been done in terms of looking at the election at
large so that everybody is equal, or redrawing the boundaries. I
didn't hear that due diligence was done.
With respect, sir, I submit that they did look at it. The Chair
raised the issue of, well, if they wanted to redistribute the
boundaries, why didn't they do it through a private act? But I
think you heard Mr Callery indicate that what they were really
seeking was as little change as possible, because of all the
other change that had gone on.
In looking at the
options-and clearly that would've been one of the options to
them-it would nevertheless have been disruptive or an upheaval. People
would've been going into this election with now new boundaries
and new wards and who represents who, whereas the objective was
really to try and soften things down, slow things down, preserve
the status quo. I don't think the issue of redrawing the
boundaries is off the table. I think it's just being put off
until the next council when, hopefully, after getting this first
term as an amalgamated municipality behind them, the sailing will
get a little easier and they can come back and redress that
Mrs Dombrowsky, did you want to respond to this question?
Dombrowsky: Are we going to be wrapping up soon, do you
think? I can maybe-
One would hope so, but people have indicated they want to
Dombrowsky: I maybe will wait.
OK. Mr Clark.
A quick question for the parliamentary assistant. I'm slightly
confused here. My colleague has done it to me yet again. Did the
minister order a ministerial regulation which set in place the
weighted voting? Was it a ministerial regulation?
A ministerial order.
A ministerial order. In terms of the ward boundaries, the ward
boundaries are set by ministerial regulation or order?
So it's the same thing. The ward boundaries could've been done by
the municipal council through the normal process under the
Ontario Municipal Act. They could've re-divided had they desired
to do so, yes?
That's correct, by December 31.
However, this portion of it, they have to come with a private
bill in terms of the weighted vote to repeal that particular
Actually, if I may tag on a question to that, Mr Coburn, because
I understood the discussion we had a little differently, that
both the boundaries and the weighted vote were part of the
ministerial order. The council had the option of pursuing a
change in boundaries or a change in weighted vote by coming
forward with the private bill. They could have gone either
option. Because of the argument we've heard about disruption and
wanting to maintain the status quo, they've chosen to bring the
request forward to do away with the weighted vote, as opposed to
a request forward to change the ward boundaries.
So in the process, this was their decision to go down this path
to where they are. Then I would humbly suggest that I will be
supporting the bill as it is being presented here.
Could I indicate at this time, we're going to have a moment for
some comments and debate. I'd like to wrap up the question part.
Did you have any questions that you wanted to put, Mr Coburn?
No, I have no questions.
Are there any further questions?
Gonsalves: Madam Chair, is it possible for me to make
any comments at this point?
It is. What I'm going to do is ask each of the interested
parties, then the applicant, then the bill sponsor to make some
wrap-up comments. In light of the time, I'm going to ask you to
keep them quite brief so that the committee has appropriate time
to debate the bill itself if they so wish. If I may begin, Mr
Lucas, to invite you to make some brief closing remarks.
Thanks very much. Very quickly, my only comments are, as a
municipality, it's certainly not to our benefit to be bickering
over something that is maybe more logistical than anything else.
We have a great municipality. I think the amalgamation itself has
done wonders for us. By the way, we were voted one of the 10
prettiest towns in Canada by Harrowsmith magazine. Council had a
lot to do with that-just kidding.
I think this is a
fundamentally serious enough issue to be addressed. I'd be happy
with anything other than the status quo. Electing councillors at
large might be a great compromise. As Ray Callery stated very
clearly, it would be easy at this time to divide the municipality
up, irrespective of the present wards, into five equal parts
based on representation. If you look at your map of Napanee,
you'll almost see that the centre of the matrix is highways 2 and
41. I'm sure there's a compromise that could be made. If it means
reorganizing the wards themselves so they don't represent the
current old municipalities, that might be a nice compromise, but
the other one might be just councillors at large.
It is a matter of
perception. The people involved have a lot of great points. I
don't want to debate the plus or the minus of either one of them.
It's a tough call, but I don't think the present status is
acceptable, and delaying it for another three years will fester
even more. I think it would be easier to find a resolution prior
to this election if everyone sat down and worked it out. I'm in
support of the municipality and its council and the things
they're doing, but this is a very fundamental issue. I hope we
Gonsalves: I wanted to address a couple of points that
Mr Lucas made because I feel obliged to. I feel it's really off
topic, but having introduced it, I feel I'm obliged to
One of the issues is the
business of policing. All he had to say about Napanee-if it were
not this, we'd not be paying for policing etc. One of the
problems my association has had with the council of Greater
Napanee is that, notwithstanding the fact that the province of
Ontario gives a CRF grant for the rural wards for policing, all
the wards that started paying for policing, come January 1,
1998-had never paid for it before-through municipal taxes, the
province of Ontario introduced regulations to make sure that
those wards would only be paying a maximum of $90 per household.
That's one point.
The second point is that
pre-amalgamation, the former town of Napanee was paying
approximately $660,000 for their policing for 1997-and the prior
eight to 10 years, I'm
told, the same amount-under contract with the OPP. It has been
clearly established, both from the government side and from my
research, that in 1997 the real cost of that policing was $1.3
million. So they were in fact being subsidized by the Ontario
government for the difference between that and what they were
When they struck a
one-rate, we were there on June 8, 1998, without any numbers
because we were new to it, telling them that if they went the
route they were going they were going to shift close to $1
million of taxes from the ward of Napanee to the four rural
wards, which in fact did happen. But the point I want to make
about that is that their policing costs in 1997 were about
$660,000, when the real cost was $1.3 million. But because it was
under contract, that's what they paid.
In 1998, by striking a
one-rate, it went from $660,000 to $281,000. The rest was picked
up by the four rural boards. The OPP carries statistics on
responses and calls made on policing. In the ward of Adolphustown
in which I live, the 900 people have 3% of all the calls and
responses from the OPP. So I don't think it is fair to say, as Mr
Lucas did, that Napanee is being done in with the cost of
policing. In all my representations at council-and I have been at
maybe all the council meetings so far; I think some people
consider me an eighth councillor-I don't think that was a fair
I also want to touch very
briefly on the process of changing ward boundaries or whatever. I
firmly believe that council was grappling with: How is that
process going to unfold? What do we have to do and how long will
it take to do that? I think that was a consideration, and they
weren't sure about that. That's my sense of that one.
As I mentioned earlier, we
also have some other issues. This whole question of a negotiated
settlement at the amalgamation table, in principle, that's what
it was. But previous speakers have alluded to the fact that it
was done in a short space of time under a lot of pressure, so I
don't think the best results came out of that. A lot of people
are now having second thoughts about some of the things they
agreed to at that table. It's not that we are saying it's not a
negotiated resolution. We are saying it wasn't properly done and
now they're having second thoughts about a number of things.
We stacked up the proposal
that went from the county of Lennox and Addington against the
ministerial order and there are a number of things in terms of
area rating of services. Make no mistake about it, we firmly
believe that the people at the table recognized that there should
be area rating of services because Napanee was a town entrenched
with all these services that we don't have. There are certain
things that are in the proposal that are not in the minister's
order. We can't find out why they're not there and who took them
out and so and so forth. We are hoping to do that. We have those
issues with the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
I have to ask you to wrap up or it's possible the bill won't be
dealt with today.
Gonsalves: I don't want that at all. OK, maybe I'll just
leave it at that.
Oh, one last point is the
question of public meetings for the weighted voting. I think Mr
Clark asked about that. There was one public meeting specifically
called by the councillor from the ward of Napanee on this issue,
which I attended. There was a petition there, and my
understanding was that out of the 4,700 and whatever, they had 50
names on that sheet saying they don't want weighted voting
So there was at least one
public meeting. It was advertised in the papers and it was
specifically for the constituency of ward 5, but the public was
invited. I went and spoke at that meeting and other people spoke,
but the bottom line is it is my understanding they had a petition
signed by people and there were only 50 who said that weighted
I just want to let individuals know that it's about seven minutes
to 12. The committee is due to rise at 12 o'clock. I can be a
little flexible, but people do build their schedules, as I have
in terms of my next meeting, based on that. So if we are unable
through debate to get this completed today, we'll come back to
the next meeting, but I'm sure people would like to see this
resolved, if possible.
Mr Wilkin, do you have
: Thirty seconds, Madam Chair, just to say that I think
if there is a common thread in both the parties for and against
this legislation, it is the need to continue to look at the issue
of ward structure and ward distribution.
My submission to you,
though: Passing this bill does not preclude that debate from
being carried on. Indeed, I submit to you, maintaining the status
quo provides a more conducive environment to having that debate,
rather than having that debate in an environment where now some
councillors have two votes and some don't.
There is discussion of
perception. I'd simply submit to you, who best to assess the
perception than the elected councillors of the municipality? It's
their will, based on their perception of what's best for the
municipality, that this legislation should be enacted. I would
ask this committee to respect that request and support the
legislation. Thank you.
Dombrowsky: Thank you very much, Madam Chair. As you can
see, this is a most complex and controversial issue within the
community of Napanee in my riding.
I indicated earlier that
when the municipality approached my office to sponsor a private
bill, I believed I had a responsibility as the local MPP to do
that. I have certain opinions on a variety of the elements of the
ministerial order and the private bill that has come forward. I,
like you, would not be a proponent of weighted votes. However,
having said that, I have had correspondence and conversation with
constituents, both those who are in favour of the private bill
and those who are
opposed. I've indicated to those who are opposed that, as their
local member, I would make those points and I will do those now
The first one is with
regard to the integrity of the initial agreement that was
negotiated by all five municipalities. It has been presented to
me and, if we want to respect the decisions of elected officials,
they are all elected officials who participated in that original
document. They would say that if there had been an understanding
at the time of amalgamation that the rules were going to change,
very possibly the community might look different than it does
There was also a question
from a constituent with regard to the fact that this has not yet
been implemented, so the problems that have been presented are
purely hypothetical at this point in time. The question was, why
is there a change when nothing has been implemented that can
demonstrate that it does present inequity or unfairness or a
bullying attitude, which I thought was a valid point of
The other was with regard
to the lack of consultation. It has been indicated that one
councillor, who I believe voted against this at council level,
took it upon herself, because the community had not had an
opportunity to really in a more public way be made aware of what
the bill was all about, and used her own resources to provide
that meeting for the public.
Just with regard to
rejigging the boundaries, I think the people at this table need
to understand that in rural Ontario it's not as easy as just
going to a map and carving up a community along population lines.
They have community identities. Adolphustown has an identify.
South Fredericksburgh has an identity. They've been
municipalities and they were told: "You're no longer large enough
to exist. You've got to amalgamate." The people now are left at
least with their wards. They continue to be from the ward of
Adolphustown. I would suggest to try to even out the wards, there
is going to be a reaction within the community. When we talk very
cavalierly at this table, "We'll just even it out," it's not, in
reality, easily achieved.
I thank you so much. You've
really given this a very thorough hearing, and on behalf of my
constituents in the municipality I thank you so very much for
Thank you, Mrs Dombrowsky. Let me just take a look at the
committee members. Are people able to spend just a few minutes
past 12 to get this resolved today? OK, thank you. We will
Mr Clark, you had indicated
that you wanted to put some comments on the record?
I support the private bill that's before us. With reference to
redivision of the ward boundaries, there is the authority and the
opportunity for constituents to get involved in the redivision of
the ward boundaries through the Ontario Municipal Act. I don't
take redivision of ward boundaries cavalierly at all. There are
numerous Supreme Court decisions that support representation by
population and it's something that any municipality should look
at. My own municipality will be looking at it in three years'
I think at this point in
time there is ample evidence that we should be supporting the
bill. They have an opportunity to deal with redivision of ward
boundaries at a later date.
Thank you. Is there further debate?
No further comments.
No, maybe just to say that I too share the fact that it is a
complex thing because you've got the pros and cons. We've got
people for it. We've got people who wrote letters and I think
that public consultation should have been made because this is a
very important issue. I would hope they would think about the
boundary changes and maybe that way Mr Lucas could reconcile.
That's all I have to say.
Mr Coburn, did you have any final remarks?
Just a couple, Madam Chair. The ministry supports this bill based
on a couple of things. One of the things we've been trying to do
is put more authority and responsibility on the elected officials
in the local situations. Yes, there was a ministerial order, but
quite clearly there has been a lot of debate and a lot of
discussion and it was laid out to us very clearly by the
officials from Napanee.
The council has been taking
this issue seriously, and they are elected to represent the views
of their public and resolve some of these issues. To give you an
example of how the ministry reacts so that we do have the tools
in place to make local decisions, there was Bill 25.
Unfortunately, that decision was made a little too late to be
able to accommodate the council for the year 2000.
The comment was made by my
colleague, "Why wouldn't the government initiate this change?"
From the ministry's point of view, you cannot anticipate each and
every situation and put them into a book. But you can put the
tools there that facilitate individual municipalities and
individuals to come forward in light of things that we may never
have thought of, to be treated in a fair and democratic manner
like this. For that reason, the ministry is fully supportive of
Thank you. Seeing no further debate, are members ready to vote?
May I ask if there is anyone who intends to move an amendment of
any sort? We'll deal with all the sections together then.
Bill Pr22, An Act
respecting the town of Greater Napanee, sponsored by Mrs
Shall sections 1 through 3
carry? That is carried.
Shall the preamble carry?
That is carried.
Shall the title carry? That
Shall the bill carry? That
Shall I report the bill to
the House? That shall be done.
Mr Lucas, thank you very
much for joining us.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today with this
nice technology. I'm sorry I couldn't be there, but this a great
I appreciate that.
Mr Gonsalves, we appreciate your attendance here
today. Mr Wilkin, Mr Callery and Mrs Dombrowsky, thank you very
That will be reported out
in a report to the House, probably this afternoon. We'll see if
we can get it ready. It's most likely to be done this afternoon,
and of course it's in the hands of the Legislative Assembly.
Committee members, the next
item of business is consideration of a comprehensive response to
the first report on regulations, 1999. I wonder if someone might
humour me and place a motion to table that till our next regular
meeting? Thank you, Mr Gill.
Is there any debate on that
motion? All those in favour, please indicate. Those opposed?
Number 5 is any other
business. Does anyone have the nerve to raise other business at
this moment? I've got something to get to, you can tell.
Could I have a motion to
adjourn? Mr Gill, so moved. All those in favour? Carried.