37e législature, 3e session



Tuesday 14 May 2002 Mardi 14 mai 2002



Tuesday 14 May 2002 Mardi 14 mai 2002

The House met at 1845.



Resuming the debate adjourned on December 10, 2001, on the motion for second reading of Bill 90, An Act to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste / Projet de loi 90, Loi visant à promouvoir la réduction, la réutilisation et le recyclage des déchets.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): I want to welcome the public back to this political forum at a quarter to 7 on Tuesday. I just wanted to welcome all of you back. I know that many of you missed the Conservative ranks in particular for sure. Some of you missed some of us on this side. I know that as well because travelling around they know who we are. That's about all I really wanted to say to welcome you back.

This Bill 90 is an OK bill. It talks about recycling, hardly revolutionary stuff. So don't let the Tories convince you that somehow they're doing something great for the environment. Recycling is better than nothing. There's nothing about reduction, reusing, composting, or very little. But it's an OK bill and we're likely to support it.

We're going to get out early. I'm cheering for Toronto. Ottawa is an OK place. There are a few places there where I go to eat every now and then, but I'm cheering for Toronto.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Questions and comments?

Hon John R. Baird (Associate Minister of Francophone Affairs): I'm cheering for the Ottawa Senators.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? Response.

Mr Marchese: I'm cheering for Toronto, Speaker. It's a good team. You saw them play. They work hard. In spite of all those players who have been injured, Toronto comes back and wins, 3-3. We are going to win. We get nods from our Liberal supporters. In Sudbury, they know the game.

The Acting Speaker: I'm going to have to bring you back to the bill.

Mr Marchese: Bill 90 is an OK bill on recycling. It has nothing much to do with reduction, reusing, composting, or very little, but we've got to support it. The cities support it.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton West): I'll try to muster as much enthusiasm as my colleague from Trinity-Spadina for this bill, because really it's a motherhood subject matter. But it's not that great a bill; it really isn't. There are an awful lot of things that could have been in here that aren't.

Let's see now. If this goes the way everybody's thinking -- it's 10 to 7 now. I think they're dropping the puck at 7. I've got nine minutes, 40 seconds. I may be the last speaker, except Bradley. We're not sure about him. He may need part of his two minutes, because it's Jim.

Mr Marchese: He's not here.

Mr Christopherson: He'll be here; this is the House.

Hon Mr Baird: Don't criticize Jim.

Mr Christopherson: I wasn't criticizing him, but I'd like you to tell me that's not his character. That is his character.

Hon Mr Baird: He's a hard worker.

Mr Christopherson: A very hard worker, so hard he wants to come in here and speak for that two minutes. Anyway, my point is that after that, likely we'll be adjourning the House. So given everything that's going on, I grant to the government members opposite that there's probably not a whole lot of people watching. There are those who care passionately about what happens in provincial politics. They care passionately about what happens in their communities.

Certainly, there are a growing number of Ontarians who consider environmental protection to be, if not the biggest priority in this province, certainly right near the top. Once again, though, the premise of the bill, at the end of the day, is that municipalities will do all the work. The province wants to stand back and say, under Bill 90, "You, municipality, have responsibility for this and you have to do that and you have to do another thing." It's always the municipalities. That in and of itself is not necessarily problematic. We see an evolution or almost a devolution of responsibilities from the province to municipalities. Because of the restructuring that's happening in a lot of communities, they're attempting to equip themselves with these added responsibilities. Fine so far, but this bill, like most bills that involve and affect municipalities, comes with a whole list of things that have to be done and very little money to do it with.


This government has been talking about bringing in a bill like this for seven years, and here we are tonight, second reading on, at best, a mediocre bill. Meanwhile, municipalities like Toronto, Guelph and certainly my own hometown of Hamilton have been playing the leadership role in standing back and saying, "We've got to manage the waste stream and we've got to do it a lot more effectively because, quite frankly, we don't have the landfill to keep stuffing waste into. We have no interest in burning it. We have no interest in putting it on a truck or a train and sending it away." At the end of the day, each municipality is going to ultimately be responsible for the waste that they generate.

Councillor Andrea Horwath from Ward 2, which is part of my riding of Hamilton West, led the charge in Hamilton. I think that anybody who looks at the plan in Hamilton will agree that it's responsible, it's accountable, it's doable, but make no mistake, it's a challenge. They sure could use a partner, especially a partner with more levers of power and more access to funds. This is the government that downloaded responsibilities -- I'll use my community as an example -- to Hamilton and didn't give them the money. The current tab, I'll advise members of the government, is a little over $40 million a year. Not a one-off: $40 million last year, this year, next year and on.

Here we have a situation where more responsibilities are being placed on municipalities and they are recognizing their own need to determine each community's own future and less and less money to do it. The funding in this bill says, by the way, after agitation from our environmental critic, Marilyn Churley from Toronto-Danforth, that they'll pay 50% of the cost. Before it was up to 50%, now we're at 50%. What we would like in the NDP is for the words in the law to read "at least 50%." You've got a community like Halifax, for instance -- another province, I grant you -- a municipality that's taken a huge leadership role in dealing with their own waste. They've gone above and beyond certainly anything in their province and, in large part, beyond anything anybody else has actually implemented. There are plans in Toronto and Hamilton that are as good or even more far-ranging, but in terms of actually being implemented and underway, they're way out in front.

If a community like mine, like Hamilton, wanted to continue to be responsible and aggressive in this area, by leaving out the words "at least 50%" and leaving it at just 50%, you deny an opportunity for municipalities that want to to play a greater leadership role that's going to benefit all our communities.

Why is it so difficult for this government to live the words that they're prepared to speak here. You talk about partnership but you treat municipalities like they're a distant relative you don't ever want to hear from. Why don't you live up to your words that you want an equal relationship? Why is that so difficult, at the end of the day?

Bill 90 also -- I don't have a lot of time. I'm down to three minutes and 15 seconds. What is interesting and disappointing is that there are very few -- school children, my own daughter, 10 years old in a couple of weeks, knows the three Rs. You don't put it in the bill. You don't make "reduce, reuse, recycle" mandatory in the bill. What does it say? This great environmental bill that you brag about says, in section 24, "A waste diversion program ... may include ... activities to reduce, reuse and recycle...." Not "shall," not "will," not "are required to," not "must," not even "obviously" in the preamble. No, "may."

If you're not going to be very clear about the three Rs, just how serious are you in effecting any real change? Or is it as we suspect, that you once again want to do as little as you can, pay as little as you can and then take as much credit as you can for issues like the environment?


Mr Christopherson: I want to remind my friend across the way who is heckling me -- and I would think that since you represent the Walkerton area the environment would be an issue that you'd want to speak more to, rather than just heckle people who are trying to improve this lame bill.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound): You may think it's lame.

Mr Christopherson: Let me put it in context. An article written by Lynda Lukasik --


The Acting Speaker: The member for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound will come to order.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you, Speaker. That would be, of course, the member who represents Walkerton.

Lynda just recently received her PhD, her doctoral degree in planning, from the University of Waterloo, and we congratulate Lynda on that personal life achievement. But she wrote an article in the Hamilton Spectator on April 29, just a couple of weeks ago: "Right now, out of a total of 425 environmental officers at work in the province, 99 are temporary workers. Of the 210 individuals working in environmental approvals, 65 are temporary." This is after you gutted the budget and this is after you gutted the staff. This is the staff that's left over.

One would think that in light of the responsibility this government has -- their share, and it's a big one -- for the tragedy in Walkerton, anything that had to do with the environment would be the best in Canada, the best in North America. Instead, more drivel coming from the government.

The Acting Speaker: Questions, comments?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): The sad part is that I'm limited this evening to two minutes for the entire evening, which is in itself tragic in terms of the legislative process. I do want to say this. First of all, you know how the government puts people up to phoning our offices to say, "You've got to pass the bill"? I ask all those people who are watching tonight, and not watching the hockey game -- all three of them -- why they didn't write to the government to ask the government why they didn't bring the Legislature back in January when the federal Parliament was back in session. The House of Commons was back in session in January. It's the month of May, and finally in the middle of May this Legislature, which didn't sit since last December, is back in session.

I was scouring the editorial columns of the newspapers to see if there were any protesting editorials. Then I went to the columnists and I said, "Surely a hard-edged columnist will say something." Then I listened to the cranky talk show hosts to see if perhaps they were condemning the government. Nowhere could I find them condemning the government for not sitting for five months.

If it was the federal House, if it was Ottawa, if it was the press gallery in Ottawa and Parliament Hill, there would be a huge uproar. Duffy would be on CTV with -- who's the Tory? -- Ken Shaw, lobbing the question to him. And the National Post would be outraged with banner headlines. Instead, we have acquiescence around here as though this is some country club.

The member for Hamilton West is absolutely right. This is a weak bill which could be much stronger, but at least it's going to go to general government committee for a couple of days. We'll have some more analysis and maybe a conversion on the road to Damascus on the part of the government.


Hon Mr Baird: I was surprised that the member for Hamilton didn't want to wish the Ottawa Senators well in the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

Mr Marchese: I congratulate my colleague from Hamilton West for his remarks and, as usual, they were very strong, clear and critical. Because the government would usually love us to speak for just a little short while and say, "Oh, isn't this bill great?" and, "Why is the NDP so opposed to these wonderful bills?" In the nearly 10 minutes, the member for Hamilton West offered some critical analysis of the bill. That's why you need --

Mr Bradley: He eviscerated it.

Mr Marchese: Eviscerated -- in a visceral manner -- the bill. But that's what we're supposed to do in opposition, right? But the government would prefer that we just pass it along and simply tell the public, "Isn't this a great, revolutionary environmental bill?" It's just a little bill on recycling and they want to take so much credit for it. In a mere short 10 minutes, the member for Hamilton West offered you a little critical analysis, Bill, the member for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, that you might --

Mr Murdoch: I listened to it.

Mr Marchese: I know. You were listening very well. But the point is we need these debates all the time, and mercifully we get those 10 minutes, those 20 minutes, from time to time to be able to do that.

So I was happy to listen to the member for Hamilton West. I know the audience from Hamilton watches David Christopherson. I know other people from across Ontario wait to listen to the member from Hamilton West with eagerness.

Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford): He's a bulldog.

Mr Marchese: David, he accused you of being a bulldog. That's what people want. They want a member who is like a bulldog, tenacious against the vagaries of this government, the inanities of this government, the delusions of this government. You need a bulldog for that. You don't need a lapdog, the way we have with so many members across the way. There are so many lapdogs on the other side. You need the warriors on this side. That's what we're here for.

I support Toronto, David, and I hope Toronto wins tonight.

The Acting Speaker: Response?

Mr Christopherson: Not everyone here fully understands the bulldog comment, but let me just say that I'll keep the bulldog title if we can keep the team, quite gladly.

My friend asked why I didn't say that I was supporting the Ottawa Senators. I would just remind the member that Hamilton is not very far from Toronto. So for those who are supporting Toronto, the fact that we live so close is the reason; and for those who are supporting Ottawa, it's because we're so close to Toronto. That is the reason. So Hamilton is rather split on the question of the game tonight.

In the last minute I have, let me just also add that the government in Bill 90 speaks nothing to composting. One of the key ingredients, certainly in the Hamilton proposal -- and this is going to involve a lot of public education and public involvement to make it work, but there's a whole section of the plan that speaks to composting. Boy, you know it would sure make life a lot easier for municipalities like Hamilton that are trying to deal with the entire breadth of this issue if you'd deal with all aspects that municipalities are looking at in order to reduce what's going into the waste stream before it ever gets in there. I mean, that is the best, isn't it: prevention? But you don't acknowledge it. There's no money, there's no planning, there are no guidelines, there's no support, and when it gets to committee, if there's any chance to correct that, you should.

The second thing is that on the board of Waste Diversion there's going to be, as we understand it, at least eight members from industry and four from municipalities. Eight industry, four municipalities. Who's responsible for designing and implementing the entire plan and monitoring it? Municipalities. What's with that?

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Murdoch: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I'd just like to inform the House that when Ottawa beats Toronto tonight, it will be because of Chris Neil, who's from the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound area. I just want them to know that.

The Acting Speaker: As you might know, that is not a point of order. Further debate?

Mr Stockwell has moved second reading of Bill 90.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All in favour will say "aye."

All opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it. The motion is carried.

Pursuant to the order of the House debated earlier today, this bill stands referred to the standing committee on general government.

Orders of the day?

Hon Mr Baird: I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All in favour will say "aye."

All opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

This House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow afternoon.

The House adjourned at 1906.