L001 - Wed 20 Oct 1999 / Mer 20 oct 1999
The First Session of the 37th Parliament of the province of Ontario opened at 3 pm for the dispatch of business pursuant to a proclamation of Her Honour Hilary M. Weston, Lieutenant Governor of the province.
Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor entered the chamber and took her seat upon the throne.
Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Government House Leader): I am commanded by Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor to state that she does not see fit to declare the causes of the summoning of the present Legislature of this province until a Speaker of this House shall have been chosen according to law; but tomorrow, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Her Honour will declare the causes of the calling of this Legislature.
Her Honour was then pleased to retire.
ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): Members of the Legislative Assembly, it is my duty to call upon you to elect one of your number to preside over your deliberations as Speaker. Therefore, I ask for nominations for the office of Speaker.
Mr Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington): I move, seconded by the member for Bruce-Grey, that Mr Carr, member for the electoral district of Oakville, do take the chair of the House as Speaker.
Clerk of the House: I would ask the honourable member for Oakville if he accepts this nomination.
Mr Gary Carr (Oakville): I accept.
Clerk of the House: Are there any further nominations?
Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): I move, seconded by Marilyn Mushinski, MPP, Scarborough Centre, that Mr Tilson, member for the electoral district of Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, do take the chair of the House as Speaker.
Clerk of the House: Does the honourable member accept the nomination?
Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey): I do.
Clerk of the House: Are there any further nominations?
Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I don't believe there are any further nominations, Clerk.
Clerk of the House: Thank you. There being no further nominations, I declare the nominations closed.
A list of the candidates is now being posted in the voting booths. To receive your ballot, please proceed away from the dais toward the main chamber entrance and make your way behind the benches and around that way to the front of the chamber. Members on the west opposition side, please use the route on that side, and members on the east, please use the route on that side.
When you arrive again at the front of the chamber, you will come upon a table where committee clerks will register you and give you your ballot. Please take your ballot to any of the four voting booths that are now placed on the table and please print as legibly as possible the name of the candidate for whom you wish to vote. Please then move away from the table and allow room for the members behind you to get to the voting booth.
After all the members wishing to vote have done so, the parties' scrutineers and two table clerks will leave the chamber for a private room where the ballots will be counted.
After I receive a message that the count has been done, I will cause the bells to ring for five minutes to advise members that the result is about to be announced. I will then announce either that a Speaker has been elected or that there is a need for a second ballot.
I think voting can now begin.
Clerk of the House: Attention, please. Has everybody who wanted to exercise their right exercised their right? It's time to vote if you haven't voted yet. If everybody has, then we will declare this vote terminated. The ballot box will be removed for the count.
The House recessed from 1531 to 1541.
Clerk of the House: I have caused the bells to ring and an announcement will be made in five minutes.
The House recessed from 1541 to 1546.
Clerk of the House: Would you resume your seats, please.
It is my honour to declare that the member for Oakville, Mr Carr, has been elected as Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I will tell you honestly, the last thing that the nominator said to me was, "Keep it short," as he led me up here.
The Speaker: I'm told I'm supposed to stay on the front step while the mace goes up. I will tell you, my biggest fear was I was going to fall off the step into the Clerk on my first day in office.
I do want to take a quick minute to thank all of the members in the House for their support. I have been elected five times now, and I must say that this is indeed an honour, being elected by my fellow colleagues. I also want to thank my nominator and my seconder for their help and support.
I also want to thank my wife and my brother for their support. My wife is the one who just stood up. When I was first elected -- as you all know in this House, it's a busy agenda -- I had young children at the time. They've all grown up or are in university, and my wife was always there to help. Thank you very much for that. She also is the one with the finger that looks like ET. In the last election, she actually broke her finger putting in my lawn signs. That's a true story. She has not only been supportive as a spouse and as a mother but also in election campaigns. My brother has actually run three of my election campaigns as well as my nomination, so I am now 5 and 0 in politics. As you know, in my hockey career, I was usually 0 and 5. I also will say that it is indeed an honour and a privilege, and I say in all sincerity that I think a secret ballot is an excellent process.
I've said to all of you that I'm going to have an open-door policy. I've said to you that I'm going to be accessible, because I realize, even though I may be the referee in the House, that I am indeed the servant of the members. I will attempt to rule fairly to the best of my ability and I think the people of Ontario are expecting many things of us around this House.
Good luck to each and every one of you. God bless you, and we look forward to working with you over the next few years.
Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton West): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: First of all, let me offer to you my personal congratulations and those of our caucus on your ascension as Speaker -- I'm sure you'll do us an honourable job -- and also extend congratulations to David Tilson for putting his name forward. I think he would have been an equally fine Speaker.
My goal is not to make your life difficult in the first moments that you've assumed the speakership. However, you will know that there is an issue that faces you immediately, Monday, on which there is some question as to what the ruling might be. It of course has major importance to us.
I rise on a point of order for two reasons. One is that standing order 3(f) states in part: "When only two members are nominated and seconded as Speaker, the election shall be conducted as follows...
"(ii) Once all members wishing to vote have deposited their ballot papers, the votes shall be counted by the Clerks at the Table in the presence of one member of each of the recognized parties in the House."
You will know, Speaker, that indeed we had a representative there, as we should, as one of the recognized parties in the House, and that relates directly to what will happen on Monday. Also, this is the only opportunity we will have prior to business on Monday, as tomorrow is the throne speech.
Given the complexity of this issue and the amount of research that we have done and that you will have to do between now and Monday, it seemed to us that it would be an advantage to you to hear those arguments, let us put them on the record. Then you can spend the next few days researching for your own decision to be made, rather than take up what could be a few hours on Monday, and we certainly wouldn't want to mar your first full day in the House as Speaker.
With respect, Speaker, for those two reasons I beg leave to be allowed to put forward the arguments that our caucus have with regard to that decision, subject to no agreement being reached tomorrow, of course, which would negate that. However, we don't know what the outcome of that meeting will be, and we really believe it would be to your benefit to have the advantage of what we have to say and to have a few days to reflect on it. So I ask your permission to make that submission, Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): With all due respect to the member, I'm wondering -- and on a point of order I don't like to ask him how long his point of order would take. I just wonder if there is any indication of -- you mentioned the length of time -- how long the point of order would be.
Mr Christopherson: It's a few pages long. It's important to cite precedent. This is as much a legal question, in terms of the tradition of this House. I won't take any longer than necessary, and I can assure you it's a very tight brief in terms of the arguments that we have to make.
The Speaker: Just very quickly, when the Speaker stands, that's the time to sit down.
I will say this: The ruling on this issue will be a long one and I will have to reflect on it. Regardless of the point of order, if you make that today, I will not be making a ruling on it today. I don't know if that changes that. On something as important as this, I will be taking time to reflect on it. So regardless of how long it takes, I will not be making a ruling on that today.
Do you have a further point of order?
Mr Christopherson: Mr Speaker, it was my expectation that indeed you wouldn't, because the matter really isn't before you. What we wanted to do was give you time to consider what we have to say. So that doesn't change anything. In fact, that's what we would expect. We look forward to your reviewing the points we have to make here today. I appreciate your giving us the opportunity.
The Speaker: I will hear the point of order from the member. You may proceed.
Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Government House Leader): Perhaps I could intervene. I'm quite willing --
The Speaker: Is it a point of order?
Hon Mr Sterling: Yes, on this point of order: I think it would be more appropriate perhaps if the three party House leaders submitted in writing their arguments to you -- and we would make those public; that's fine and dandy -- if that would be more convenient to you. If you're not going to rule today, there's really no sense that it be put on the public record by a speech today. That would be agreeable to me.
The Speaker: I'm wondering if that would be acceptable to the member.
Mr Christopherson: Your ruling, as I understood it, was that I would be allowed to make the submission, to put it on the record. I wish to do that. I intend to make what I'm saying public. It'll be public by virtue of me saying it. The only purpose in doing it now is that the issue is more complex than people initially believed, and we want to give the Speaker ample time to review it so he's not making an instant decision under pressure, if you will, on Monday. So if I might, Speaker.
The Speaker: I will hear the point of order. Another point of order?
Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-St Clair): Tradition in Canadian legislatures and the Canadian Parliament has it that the definition of recognized parties has been agreed to by the parties themselves. To that effect, the three parties had agreed to a House leaders' meeting tomorrow morning, at which time we were going to review these issues in their entirety. It would be the position of the official opposition that that would be the more appropriate course of action to pursue at this point in time. There's no impasse at this time. There have been no decisions made. It's our desire to have these discussions and they will be taken up in the House at the appropriate time.
The Speaker: I have ruled and I will hear the point of order from the member.
Mr Christopherson: Thank you for the opportunity to make this important submission.
I rise today to address the issue of how our Legislature's standing orders apply to the governance of our current Parliament.
I am not seeking recognition of new definitions, I am not asking you to involve yourself in issues relating to the budgets of caucuses and members and I am not calling on you to be forced into the untenable position of changing our existing House rules unilaterally. I am simply seeking the consistent application of our standing orders from one Parliament to the next.
The proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario have always been governed by a set of standing orders. They were last amended by a motion of this House on August 20, 1997. These standing orders are the rules and regulations that the House has agreed on for the governance of its own proceedings.
Authorities such as Sir Erskine May and Beauchesne have confirmed that standing orders have a continuing effect until changed or repealed. In other words, standing orders have an express duration beyond the end of a particular Parliament. As a result, rules that governed this House prior to the most recent election should continue to govern the House in its current makeup. Any rights and obligations granted by the standing orders in the 36th Parliament must continue to be in force in the 37th.
It is also true that standing orders have to be read in conjunction with the practice of the House and do not, in and of themselves, form a complete code of procedure. Indeed, many of the gaps in our standing orders have been filled in by precedent and tradition. This is particularly germane to the issue at hand: How do we deal with existing standing orders that refer to recognized parties in the absence of a definition of such parties anywhere else in the standing orders? Indeed, this is the central question we are asking you to consider.
Let me say at the outset that recognition of a political party is not a single act. Different criteria and considerations will apply depending on the particular issue involved or its implications. For example, section 73 of Ontario's Legislative Assembly Act provides that "a party that has a recognized membership of 12 or more persons in the assembly" shall be entitled to certain appropriations for their caucuses. It does not say that a party must have 12 members to be a recognized party, and, further, it clearly assumes that parties with fewer than 12 members are indeed parties. Recognition of parties with fewer than 12 members is thus implicit in the wording of the statute itself.
Similarly, section 87 of the same act mandates that one of the commissioners to the Board of Internal Economy shall be "from the caucus of the party having the third largest membership in the assembly."
Again, no specific number of what constitutes a party is attached to this provision, and yet recognition of the NDP's party status is implicit in the order in council passed just this summer appointing me to the Board of Internal Economy as the representative for my caucus. That order in council was dated July 27, 1999, and it reads in part:
"Whereas subsection 87(1) of the Legislative Assembly Act provides for the composition of a Board of Internal Economy;
"Therefore, the Board of Internal Economy be composed of the following persons."
Then it lists yourself, Speaker; three members from the executive council, from cabinet; and then Doug Galt, MPP, appointed by the caucus of the government; Dominic Agostino, MPP, appointed by the caucus of the official opposition; David Christopherson, MPP, appointed by the caucus of the New Democratic Party.
The only other statute that establishes criteria for recognition of parties in Ontario is the Elections Act. This statute stipulates that an official party is one which, during a general election campaign period, has nominated candidates in at least 50% of the electoral districts in Ontario or which, at any other time, has submitted a petition of at least 10,000 persons who endorse the registration of the party.
The examples cited above thus affirm two crucial points with respect to the issue at hand: First, and most importantly, the current NDP membership in the assembly constitutes a recognized political party under all of the above criteria; and second, no single criterion exists for the recognition of political parties that is universally applicable in all cases.
Put differently, there are no precedents or points of law which dictate that a definition provided in one Ontario statute must apply to our standing orders. Definitions found for specific purposes in the Legislative Assembly Act therefore cannot simply be assumed to apply to interpretations of our rules of procedure. Indeed, just as the House expressed its will in defining recognition of political parties in the two statutes cited above, so it must have the ability, if it so desires, to determine how the term should be defined for purposes of our rules of procedure. In other words, recognition of political parties for the procedures of the House must be determined by the House.
Yet parties are not created or disposed of by the House itself. Instead, they present themselves to the House as parties. Our membership in our respective parties is a matter between ourselves, our fellow caucus colleagues, our extra-parliamentary organizations and ultimately our electors. We can leave our parties or be asked to leave our parties. We can create new parties, merge two parties into one or change the name of our party. The tradition in this Legislature has been for the Speaker to accept the party affiliation that the parties and members have reported to him. All we are asking of you, Speaker, is to accept the party affiliation that we in the New Democratic caucus clearly possess.
With respect, Speaker, to do otherwise would put you in the untenable and indeed unprecedented position of defining unilaterally what constitutes a recognized party in this House.
Let me draw to your attention a ruling made in the federal House when the Speaker there was asked to deal with the status of the New Democratic Party in the House of Commons. In his ruling of September 30, 1963, Speaker Macnaughton pointed out that the status of a party in the House was for the House itself to decide. To quote directly from his ruling:
"It seems to me that having in mind the authorities from Sir Erskine May to Lord Campion, from Bourinot to Beauchesne, from Anson to McGregor Dawson and many others, a situation such as that now facing the House must be resolved by the House itself. It is not one where the Speaker ought by himself to take a position where any group of members might feel that their interests as a group or party have been prejudiced. Nor should the Speaker be put in a position where he must decide, to the advantage of any group or party, matters affecting the character of existence of a party, for this surely would signify that the Speaker has taken what is almost a political decision, a decision where the question involves the rights and privileges of the House itself."
In short, the appropriate will to determine the recognition of a political party in the House must be found not in the Speaker acting alone, but in the House acting as a whole.
In the absence of such an express will, Speakers do of course have the ability, and indeed the obligation, to rely on precedent and tradition to guide their application of a legislature's rules of procedure. As section 1 of our own standing orders makes clear, "The Speaker shall have regard to any applicable usages and precedents of the Legislature and parliamentary tradition."
While it is generally agreed that precedents are not limited to those arising in our own jurisdiction, it is important to note that such precedents are only relevant if they are "applicable."
For the question at hand, no such precedents exist. While other jurisdictions have indeed dealt with questions relating to party status, these precedents are not applicable in Ontario because they are premised on entirely different parliamentary traditions. Allow me to explain.
It is indeed true that Speakers in the federal House have on a number of occasions dealt with the question of how to protect the rights of political parties in their jurisdiction. Of significance here, however, is that each of their rulings took into account the tradition of their jurisdiction.
As both the federal standing orders and academic literature on the House of Commons make clear, the practices of the federal House are premised on what Hugh Thorburn, a recognized expert on the Canadian party system, has called the existence of a "stable, two-and-a-half" party system.
Nowhere, therefore, do the federal standing orders talk about the rights and obligations of a third party as distinct from any other minor party. Only the official opposition enjoys privileges above and beyond those accruing to other opposition parties. A few examples from the federal standing orders serve to prove the point.
With respect to debate on the speech from the throne, standing order 50(2) states, "No member, except the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, shall speak for more than 20 minutes at any time in the said debate."
On matters relating to time limits on second reading debates, standing order 74 reads, "When second reading of a government bill is being considered, no member except the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition shall speak for more than 40 minutes if that member is the first, second or third speaker."
Similarly, with respect to the budget debate, standing order 84(7) spells out that, "No member, except the Minister of Finance, the member speaking first on behalf of the opposition, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, shall speak for more than 20 minutes at a time."
This special recognition afforded to the official opposition is, of course, entirely understandable in a Legislature where the party system has never been stable, and the number of parties has always fluctuated somewhere between two and five. The only tradition that the federal House could recognize under these circumstances is the existence of a government and an official opposition.
That, of course, is not the case in Ontario. Since 1943, the Ontario Legislature has been made up of three political parties. They have always been the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the CCF-NDP. While the number of seats held by each party has varied from election to election, their existence in the House has been a constant for over 56 years. Indeed, that same makeup still characterizes our Legislature today.
Like the federal two-and-a-half party system, our unique composition has also been recognized as a tradition both in our standing orders and in academic literature. Graham White, for example, specifically recognizes the uniqueness of our tradition when in his seminal work on our Legislative Assembly he notes: "Ontario possesses Canada's only stable three-party system."
Our standing orders underscore the point.
"59(b)(i) The estimates of the ministries and offices to be considered by the committee shall be selected in two rounds by members of the committee such that...the party forming the official opposition shall choose first, the members of a recognized party having the third largest membership in the House shall choose second and the members of the party forming the government shall choose third."
In addition, standing order 43(a): "In any session, upon proper notice, the official opposition is entitled to not more than three motions of want of confidence in the government; the third party is entitled to not more than two such motions, and any other recognized party to one."
There was a recommendation to the House that was adopted on April 28, 1986, which clearly speaks to the important role the third party plays in our Legislature. Let me remind you of the text of that recommendation:
"In exercising his discretion pursuant to standing order 32(d) to permit supplementary questions, the House recommends that the Speaker permit supplementary questions as follows:
"Official opposition: one question and two supplementary questions;
"Official opposition: one question and two supplementary questions;
"Third party: one question and two supplementary questions;
"Third party: one question and two supplementary questions;
"All other questions: one question and one supplementary question."
What all of these points illustrate is that unlike the federal House, whose two-plus party tradition only accords special rights to its official opposition, our tradition of a three-party system is so entrenched that it has been codified in our standing orders. Here, both the official opposition and the third party merit privileges that would not accrue to any other parties that may be elected to the House.
Further, this distinction between the traditions of our assembly and those of the House of Commons in Ottawa mitigate against the application of the federal precedents to our jurisdiction on matters relating to the status of third parties. Whereas in Ontario the third party is an integral part of our parliamentary tradition, in Ottawa it is but one of a number of smaller parties that exist beyond the tradition's core of a governing party and an official opposition. It is this multi-party context to which federal precedents restrict themselves.
Finally, let me point to the only Ontario precedent which I believe is relevant in this case. I'm referring to the traditional way in which recognition of parties is mirrored in the seating plans of our assembly. Members of this House are either designated as independents or as members of a particular political party. Indeed, much has been made of this in other jurisdictions. Speaker Jerome's ruling in the federal House on November 6, 1979, clearly suggests an integral link between the recognition of a party and the configuration of its seats in the House. Having earlier declined to give status to a party as a result of a motion in the House, Speaker Jerome later revised his decision. In part, his ruling reads:
"The vote -- on the striking committee motion -- under no circumstances, can be taken to pass out of existence a political party, nor can it be taken to render as independent members the group which has been recognized as a party and which has in fact been seated together as a political party."
Your office, Speaker, was of course aware of this ruling when it drew up the seating plan for this 37th Parliament. I commend your office. Your staff demonstrated a profound appreciation of the assembly's tradition by clearly identifying our caucus as New Democratic Party members, and it's on all our desks. The seating arrangement clearly points out Progressive Conservative members, Liberal members and New Democratic Party members.
Since your office has de facto made the right decision already, I call upon you now to formally advise this House that the third party, the New Democratic Party, does indeed continue to enjoy the same rights under our standing orders as it did in the last Parliament. No motion of this House instructs you otherwise. With respect, Speaker, our parliamentary tradition demands it, and the voters of our province are trusting you to uphold our parliamentary rights. I thank you for allowing me to make that submission to you.
The Speaker: Are there any further submissions on this matter?
Hon Mr Sterling: Yes, Mr Speaker. I was not aware that this point was going to be raised today, so I come somewhat unprepared, but I would like to say that in general the rules of how this Legislature runs are primarily determined in two documents, and those are our standing orders and the Legislative Assembly Act.
In the standing orders, there is no mention of numbers of members that make up a party. However, in the Legislative Assembly Act, there is reference to 12 MPPs being required to make up a party for purposes of getting money to run their caucus budgets, to run their leader's office and those kinds of things.
Within the standing orders, which we've had for some period of time, there is no definition of what is or what isn't a party. As the member opposite has pointed out, it's up to the Legislature to make that determination.
I will say that both the leader of my party and the leader of the opposition party have said they are going to recognize or would like to recognize the NDP as a party, so I think the point is somewhat moot.
The real question is, how will they participate in this Legislature? One might make the argument that the standing orders were made primarily on the basis of roughly equal numbers between the various opposition parties. There was always a difference, of course, between the second and the third party in this Legislative Assembly, and sometimes that varied. When in 1985 the Liberal government took over, the Progressive Conservatives actually had 52 seats, the government had 48 and the New Democratic Party had somewhere around 25 members at that time. It was a ratio of two to one.
I go back a long time, and at that time -- "Too long," my friend from St Catharines, who has been here as long as I, says -- I put forward the argument to the Liberals that I thought we should get twice as many questions as the NDP because we had twice as many members and it was only fair to my backbenchers that we have twice as many. Now the Liberals agree with me, although they didn't at that time.
So the real question is, how will that participation take place? We have decreased the number of MPPs in this Legislature from 130 to 103. The average size of our constituencies has increased by some 28%. We all represent about 28% more people than we did before, if you take the average across this province.
We had 12 legislative committees under the old parliamentary rules. We may have to have fewer parliamentary committees with fewer MPPs, because we have fewer MPPs to man those committees. We have a quorum of 20 members being required in this House when debate takes place. We may have to drop that number of quorum down in order to allow other members to do other kinds of business than sit in this place and listen to the debate of this Legislature.
What I'm saying is that because of a number of changes which have occurred to the membership of this Legislature, going from 130 to 103, the balance between the second and third parties almost being 4 to 1 in ratio and the fact that the third party is no longer recognized to receive an appropriation of resources requires the House leaders to get together and work out all of these arrangements so that this place can run in its intended fashion: to bring forward legislation, to allow an even hand in terms of debate and to allow an even hand in terms of participation by each MPP in this place. That is the process we're going through.
Mr Speaker, you may or may not have to make a ruling, you may or may not have to make a decision on Monday when we do not have any new standing orders in place, if we cannot agree to that, or we do not have a new Legislative Assembly Act in place. I don't think the world is going to change in the first couple of days if we go under the old sequence of events and carry on.
However, I must say that we all need to be flexible with regard to how we're going to make this place work in the interests of the people of Ontario, and from my point I am trying to reach an agreement between the other House leaders in order to have that take place.
The Speaker: Are there any further submissions on this point of order?
Mr Duncan: The official opposition too is quite prepared to discuss the various changes that need to be made to this place. As I indicated earlier, there is agreement that we'll meet tomorrow and there are a number of standing order changes that have been proposed. There are a number of changes to the Legislative Assembly Act that have been proposed which are necessary in order to give effect to what obviously the New Democratic Party members here in the Legislature would like to see; that is, caucus appropriations.
It is our position, however, Mr Speaker -- and we'll have a more full discussion about this at another more appropriate time -- that you have an obligation to protect the rights and privileges of individual members. The standing orders of this House, the standing orders of the federal House, the standing orders of every Legislature in this country, the standing orders in Westminster, speak to the question of the rights and privileges of individual members.
If we were to extend the logic of the New Democratic Party, which runs in the face of the history of our own standing orders, it would be to suggest that anyone that has some predetermined number of members ought to participate in the government automatically. The same logic would say that they ought to participate in all aspects, and we clearly know that not to be the case.
Your challenge, sir, is to ensure that the rights and privileges of the members representing the Liberal Party, who have been duly elected by their constituents -- and those members who have been duly elected as New Democratic Party members -- are respected in proportion to their numbers, as it is your prerogative and your role to ensure that the government members, both backbenchers and those in the front benches, are afforded those same rights and privileges.
By way of example, members' statements -- a very simple exercise. If we simply leave the rotation as it is right now, New Democratic Party members will get almost four times as many statements in a year of calendar sittings as a government member or as a member of the official opposition would.
All of these issues have to be taken into account and it's our hope, as the official opposition, that we can find a solution that reflects what the people of Ontario said on June 3. That is what this is about. It's about fairness to all members of the House but, most importantly, it's about fairness to the people of Ontario who returned this Legislature the way they did.
I look forward to continuing our discussions with the government and with my colleagues in the New Democratic Party. I'm confident that we can find solutions to many of these problems that will ensure that what the people said on June 3 is adequately reflected on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York): Just briefly on this submission, I rise in support of the position put forward by the House leader of the New Democratic Party. I think it was echoed in the final comments of the government House leader. I did not hear the opposition House leader speak to this.
The essential point of the argument is that until such time as the members of this Legislative Assembly bring forward and, if they choose to, make changes to the standing orders, the standing orders as they were applied in the previous Legislature and the rights accorded to the government, to the official opposition and to the third party should remain intact. That's the essential position that's being put forward. I think that has been supported directly by two of the speakers, and I hope the Speaker will address himself to that issue, not what the negotiations may produce in the future.
The Speaker: I want to thank the members for their submissions on this matter. I will reserve judgment on that.
Hon Mr Sterling: I move that the House do now adjourn until 3 pm tomorrow, Thursday, October 21, 1999.
The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
This House is adjourned until 3 pm tomorrow, Thursday, October 21, 1999.
The House adjourned at 1626.