LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L'ONTARIO
Wednesday 17 November 2004 Mercredi 17 novembre 2004
The House met at 1845.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I move that, pursuant to standing order 46 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 100, An Act to Amend the Electricity Act, 1998 and the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, when Bill 100 is next called as a government order the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill without further debate or amendment and at such time the bill shall be ordered referred to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs; and
That the standing committee on finance and economic affairs shall be authorized to meet on Tuesday, November 23, 2004, following routine proceedings or 4:00 pm, whichever is earlier, for the purpose of clause-by-clause consideration of the bill; and
That the deadline for filing amendments to the bill with the clerk of the committee shall be 12 noon on November 23. Not later than 5 pm on November 23, those amendments which have not yet been moved shall be deemed to have been moved, and the Chair of the committee shall interrupt the proceedings and shall, without further debate or amendment, put every question necessary to dispose of all remaining sections of the bill and any amendments thereto. The committee shall be authorized to meet beyond the normal hour of adjournment until completion of clause-by-clause consideration. Any division required shall be deferred until all remaining questions have been put and taken in succession with one 20-minute waiting period allowed pursuant to standing order 127(a); and
That the committee shall report the bill to the House not later than November 24, 2004. In the event that the committee fails to report the bill on that day, the bill shall be deemed to be passed by the committee and shall be deemed to be reported to and received by the House; and
That upon receiving the report of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, the Speaker shall put the question for adoption of the report forthwith, and at such time the bill shall be ordered for third reading, which order may be called on that same day; and
That at 5:50 pm or 9:20 pm as the case may be on the day that the order for third reading of the bill is called as the first government order, the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and
That there shall be no deferral of any vote allowed pursuant to standing order 28(h); and
That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to 10 minutes.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Ted Arnott): Mr Duncan has moved notice of motion 240. I recognize the government House leader to lead off.
Hon Dwight Duncan: I rise in this House and am proud to say that this government has opened up the Legislative Assembly to fuller debate and discussion. After eight years of having legislation forced down our throats, we are committed to changing the atmosphere around this place.
We do not take time allocation lightly. Those of us who have been around for a while have seen what happens when time allocation is used thoughtlessly. During the Harris-Eves reign, the Legislature forgot how to operate, as seemingly every bill introduced was time-allocated. From 1999 to 2003, the Harris-Eves government used time allocation motions on 67 of 110 government bills that received royal assent, or 61%. Over the entire Harris-Eves tenure, time allocation was used over 100 times. In its last session, the Eves government used time allocation on 83% of government bills that received royal assent.
Mr John R. Baird (Nepean-Carleton): Shame. And you said it was terrible.
Hon Mr Duncan: That's right. It was a shame -- 83%. And my friend opposite, the former Minister of Energy, one of the last bills he dealt with on the government side was Bill 23. He'll be pleased to remember that he time-allocated that bill and, unlike this side of the House, he provided for no debate at third reading and no committee hearings on the bill at all. That is not how this place was intended to operate, and it illustrates a complete lack of respect for this institution. It not only diminishes the roles and rights of members, but the citizens they represent.
The Acting Speaker: We started five minutes ago, and I would ask the House to come to order.
Hon Dwight Duncan: This government will not treat this House in the manner that the previous government did. We have introduced 42 government bills, passed 17 bills, and this is only the second that we've had to time-allocate. I agree that this is a very important debate, and that's why we sent Bill 100 to committee after first reading. At committee, the bill received six days of public consultation across the province and two days of clause-by-clause analysis. The committee heard from over 100 witnesses and received 685 written submissions.
How many days of public consultations did the Tories have when they cut welfare by 21.6%, fired one third of Ministry of the Environment staff, slashed education funding by $400 million, cut $400 million from colleges and universities and took $552 million from other municipalities? How many days of debate? How many committee hearings? None. Zero. How many days of public consultation did the NDP have when they ripped up collective agreements with their social contract? Zero. None.
I remind the Tory members across the way that you introduced four energy bills in the last Parliament, Bill 23, Bill 58, Bill 80 and Bill 210, and time-allocated each and every one of those bills. This is the third energy bill we have introduced, and only the first that we are time-allocating. Three of those bills, by the way, received no third reading debate and no public hearings. And to my friends in the NDP, I will remind you that when you raised the gas tax by 3.4 cents, you had no debate, no committee hearings.
In addition to the eight committee days already spent on this bill, a further day will be spent by committee for clause-by-clause review. This bill received over eight hours of debate at second reading, and will actually be debated at third reading, something that rarely happened under the previous government, especially under Energy Minister John Baird, whose last bill: no debate, no committee. Under the Eves government, only once did a time-allocated bill allow for third reading debate and committee time.
If the opposition wanted to debate this bill, they would not have called for adjournment of the debate twice, choosing to waste over one hour of time in ringing bells. Let me be clear, our government will not treat the House with the disrespect that the Tories did. Time allocation will be used only on major legislation that is time-sensitive.
After more than a decade of mismanagement, we need to act quickly and decisively in the electricity sector. The proposed Electricity Restructuring Act, 2004 includes a new Ontario Power Authority that would ensure an adequate long-term supply of electricity, a mandate that no existing institution in the province currently carries. When I first became energy minister, I was astonished to find out that there was no one conducting any long-term planning for the supply needs of this province. The proposed Ontario Power Authority would be a crucial link in the supply chain. The mismanagement and lack of planning under the previous government was disgraceful. Their irresponsible actions in this file make it all the more crucial that the proposed Ontario Power Authority and other sector reforms outlined in Bill 100 be implemented in an expeditious manner.
Conservative and NDP mismanagement has had a negative impact on the prosperity of our economy. The NDP record is abysmal. Between 1993 and 1995, Ontario Hydro phased out all conservation initiatives. The NDP also cancelled a major green hydroelectric project, Conawapa, which would have given access to 1,250 megawatts of clean renewable power. This would have helped Ontario become less dependent on dirty, coal-fired generation. The NDP increased hydro rates by 40% in just three years, and added $4.2 billion to Ontario Hydro's stranded debt. The NDP record is also plagued by policy reversals. They campaigned for public power, but Howard Hampton said in his own book that, "There will be important roles for the private sector to play in the future of our electricity system, as there have always been."
Earlier today, Mr Hampton quoted from this new book, Hydro: The Decline and Fall of Ontario's Electric Empire, and I'd like to quote a little section from the same book into the record today. It says, "Rae's" -- that's the Rae government -- "accidental government, whose electoral platform would later be described by party insiders" --
Mr Baird: Two points of order, Mr Speaker: One, the member opposite is clearly using that as a prop. We have a very landmark ruling by Speaker Curling that you're not allowed to hold up documents in this House. Two, I think he is unconscious of the fact that he actually is a minister of the crown and a member of the government. He won the election. I'm not sure he has remembered that in his speech.
The Acting Speaker: There's absolutely no point of order. I return to the government House leader.
Hon Mr Duncan: I am conscious that we won the election. I'm conscious that we have to clean up the mess you left, and that's why we're here tonight.
I'd like just to make sure we get this quote in:
"Rae's accidental government, whose electoral platform would later be described by party insiders Chuck Rachlis and David Wolfe as little more than an election ploy, gave little serious thought to greening the power system and was wide open when another road presented itself.
"`It was such a surprise that we got elected that we had not set our own priorities,' said Bud Wildman, who held the energy portfolio."
You know, in the NDP they talk about to-ing and fro-ing on issues. They said they would close or convert Ontario's coal-fired generating stations by 2007. Then this March Mr Hampton stated, "...you can't in the space of three years close all the coal-fired plants. You should close the worst one or the worst two and work at it from there." He said, "Look, it's just not realistic." That wasn't their platform, and we are moving on our campaign commitment.
To top it all off, the NDP voted against putting the price cap on electricity and then they voted against taking it off. They like to accuse others of flip-flopping and being all over the board. I remind you, they voted against putting the price cap on and then they voted against taking it off. We voted in favour of that failed policy, as I've acknowledged publicly on a number of occasions. It was a mistake. We've said that. We're correcting that. We raised the cap this year, in an attempt to help unstem the flow of money to the tune of $1.8 billion gross resulting from that failed policy.
The Tory record is just as bad, and some would argue even worse. They threw consumers on to the volatile spot market, with skyrocketing electricity prices, during their failed deregulation scheme. Their unrealistic price cap froze rates at a level that cost taxpayers a net of $1 billion. They gave no priority to conservation and introduced Bill 210, which took away virtually every incentive to conserve electricity. A former energy minister said, "The private sector asked us to get out of large-scale government conservation programs." Those efforts "may have made the odd person feel good, but they had absolutely no effect."
Not only did the Tories drop the ball on conservation, but there was little progress on new supply when they were in office. All the while they exempted Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One from freedom of information, senior Tories were awarded lucrative, untendered consulting contracts for millions of dollars. This was at a time when they were preaching fiscal restraint and cutting social assistance rates by 22%.
Beginning to deregulate with the breakup of Ontario Hydro, they promised lower rates and greater supply. What did we get? Consumers were thrown on to the volatile spot market, to higher prices with less supply. In retrospect, Ernie Eves said in the Toronto Star, "I think it's fair to say now, with hindsight, that the marketplace wasn't ready to be opened.... I still think the principle of competition is a good one, but the competition wasn't there." That's Ernie Eves.
If Ontario's electricity system were left on the course set by the previous government, it would have ceased to serve us, ceased to power our economy and threatened our continued prosperity. After years of mismanagement, we're acting decisively to fix the mess that was left to us. We're putting Ontario back on a solid footing by taking a balanced approach, one that addresses the critical need for new supply, increased conservation, and consumers' desire for price stability, the importance of public leadership and the need for private investment.
Given the seriousness of the challenges we face in the electricity sector, I urge members of the Legislative Assembly to support the passage of this legislation so that we can get on with the business of responsible management in this sector.
The Acting Speaker: Further debate on the motion.
Mr Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): I guess what I just heard was a gag order to cut off debate on Bill 100. The minister made reference to ramming legislation down people's throats. Further to this time allocation motion, it is a motion to end debate on Bill 100, the Electricity Restructuring Act, 2004.
This is an act with some very important goals. This is an act designed to ensure the future supply of reliable energy, affordable energy and sustainable energy. This is very important to people in my riding. I represent a low-income riding. Many people cannot afford the cost of power. We understand that just through legislation alone we're looking at a 15% increase in power.
This legislation is also very important to people in my riding. A lot of people work in the electricity generation business; 600 people work at the Nanticoke plant down on Lake Erie. Nanticoke is one of the best-run coal plants in North America. I'd remind the members opposite that throughout North America and certainly in the United States coal is here to stay. Fifty-two per cent of US generation is currently coal, and the US Department of Energy estimates that coal will provide over 50% of incremental new supply for at least the next 20 years.
What does that mean? That means that jurisdictions in North America are building brand new coal plants; they're not shutting them down. One may ask where are these plants and how many? In the United States, there are now 92 new coal-fired plants, 50,000 megawatts, many in the midst of environmental approval. Why would they do this? Again, fuel costs for coal are in the 1.5-cent-per-kilowatt-hour range. I ask the members opposite to compare that to the price of generating electricity with natural gas, for example. Rather than 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour, you will be having our people foot the bill for a four- to five-cent-per-kilowatt-hour cost.
Mr John Wilkinson (Perth-Middlesex): What price mercury in the environment?
Mr Barrett: I will mention, too, the technology with respect to not only taking out nitrates, as we know, but taking out sulphur and mercury as well.
I might draw to the attention of the members opposite that the United States just went through an election. Both sides had a platform based on clean coal. George Bush, the winner, is investing $2 billion in a pilot project for clean coal, which includes taking out mercury. For those who were fans of his democratic rival, John Kerry ran on a platform of a $10-billion investment in clean coal.
Why do I think it's very important that this kind of legislation not be under a gag order? Take a look at the bill itself, and I'll quote several sections. For example, this bill is designed "to ensure the adequacy, safety, sustainability and reliability of electricity supply in Ontario...." Why cut off debate on safety and reliability?
Furthermore, look at this clause: "...to promote the use of cleaner energy sources and technologies" -- I would assume that would normally include technology to clean mercury out of emissions -- "including alternative energy sources and renewable energy sources...." Again, why put a gag order on this kind of discussion?
"(f) to protect the interests of consumers with respect to prices" -- something very important for people -- "and the adequacy, reliability and quality of electricity service." Again, we're closing debate on this.
"(g) to promote economic efficiency and sustainability in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of" energy.
Again, I would assume all members of the House agree with these principles, but I bring to your attention, Speaker, that the Liberals are shutting down debate. They're ramming through time allocation, not allowing us to explore these issues a little further.
I bring these points to your attention, Speaker, and to the attention of members opposite, because I submit they run counter to the Liberals' key energy platform plank, that being the abandonment of the most dependable and abundant form of energy supply that exists in North America today. I speak, of course, of this government's blind rush toward closing down coal-fired energy by 2007. For Lakeview, I think the target is 2005. If you think you're going to close down Lakeview by 2005, good luck.
The Acting Speaker: Further debate. The member for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot.
Interjection: Are you NDP?
Mr Baird: He's more conservative than the NDP.
Mr Ted McMeekin (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot): I know I'm doing something right when everybody's fighting to describe my political ideology.
I'm on my feet tonight to speak on this motion, and it's always difficult to talk to motions involving closure. I think in an ideal world and an ideal place, we'd prefer not to have to do this.
You know, it saddens me. I'm a simple guy from a simple place. People watch TV and say, "Hey, you know, I just don't understand. You've got important business to be done in the House, and it seems that every time someone is on their feet wanting to do something, somebody on the other side of the House is moving adjournment" -- paradoxically, often on bills that they support, like Bill 70, for example. It's just bizarre what's happening there.
As a member of the social policy committee -- and, Speaker, you also served with distinction on that committee and will recall with some considerable fondness as I do, I'm sure, the wonderful experience we had listening to some 142 or 143 presentations from stakeholder groups all across this province. They came before the committee, as was the direction of this House, to express, I think it would be fair to say, without reservation, their comments, both positive and negative, as related to the bill.
As I recall, and I'm sure your recollection will be similar, Mr Speaker, most of those who came before the social policy committee were, broadly speaking, quite supportive of the direction the government was deciding to take. They said with varying degrees of passion and articulation that they thought the direction, finally getting on top of issues related to the critical need for long-term energy sector planning, was appropriate. They lamented, virtually every presenter, the cumulative failure of the previous system.
I don't want to belittle any of the efforts. It's a very tough sector. The previous government tried its best to get it right and, as history will record, had some difficulties, not necessarily all of their own making. We'll even concede that.
But notwithstanding that, there was a broad-based and very real sense that we needed to be moving forward and out of the sinkhole we were falling into related to -- what? -- a $33-billion-plus stranded debt; no conservation plan to speak of; supply side in chaos. Certainly, there was very little emphasis on alternative approaches with green energy, something that virtually every one of the so-called green alternate groups that came before our committee said they were happy to see that our government was intent upon changing. We heard comments about the importance of being rid of the coal-fired plants, which the Ontario Medical Association tells us are directly responsible for some 1,900 deaths each year in the province.
And I know from previous debates, and just quickly glancing through Hansard, there have been some -- let's see, two, four, six, eight, 10, 12, 27, 43, 56 members, who have already stood in their place and spoken to this bill. Fifty seven members have had their chance to --
Mr Baird: What about me? I haven't spoken yet.
Mr McMeekin: Well, I'm sure you'll have a chance to speak.
Mr Baird: Norm hasn't spoken yet.
Mr McMeekin: You know, some members opposite insist on too strict a paradox, to insist that we achieve what they could never do. I said at the outset that it's never easy to talk about closure, and I want to add to that, that if this place worked a little bit better, if there was some track record of willingness to actually sit in this place and have debate, rather than motion after motion to adjourn, in all likelihood, we wouldn't be where we are.
But we've had a lot of discussion; we've had some seven days, I think, between tours of various energy sector plants and hearing from public deputations about what needs to happen. We heard from farmers, including the Christian farmers group, who said the direction of the government was really good, and they were quite keen to see it happen. We heard from all kinds of people about diversifying our energy stream. We heard from people talking about smart meters and some of the new technologies that are in place. In fact, I dare say, I don't think there was much that could be said that wasn't said in the presentations that we were privileged to hear, and in the debate which has quite properly occurred in this House.
So we're anxious to get on with this. There's not a moment to waste. We've done enough of wasting time on these important issues. There is broad-based public support for the direction that the government is intent on moving in. We're very sincere in our desire to make sure that the new energy policy that evolves in Ontario will, in fact, have a threefold focus on energy conservation, enhanced supply, reliable, sustainable and diverse energy supply, and a real commitment to the alternative energy sector.
So let's get on with it. Time is waiting. There's not a moment to waste. We've had lots of debate. We've had lots of input, more so, I dare say, than I think the previous government allowed on any single piece of legislation introduced in the eight years they were in power.
So with that, I'll take my seat, content that we've done what we can with respect to this issue, and confident that this House will embrace this and vote this evening to move forward with an energy policy that makes sense for all the people of Ontario.
Mr Baird: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Acting Speaker: Point of order, member for Nepean-Carleton.
Mr Baird: Carleton, not Ottawa-West Nepean. Nepean-Carleton.
Our next speaker isn't here, so I guess we'll miss the rotation, but we'll get the time back after.
The Acting Speaker: Further debate?
Mr Wilkinson: It strikes me as odd, as someone new to this House, that we are dealing tonight with the issue of time allocation. I say to the House leader and the government: congratulations. We were elected to govern. There are some people in this House who don't want us to succeed, and I know why. It's because their parties are the ones that have a history of causing the problems that we're dealing with tonight.
What I finding passing strange, as the member for Nepean-Carleton said, is that they don't really have people here ready to speak. Isn't that amazing? I heard them get on their high horse today about the fact that we were stopping democracy, that somehow we were using some guillotine. Well, if it's that important, why aren't you here? But they're not here. I think they're not here because they don't care, and I know they don't care. The reason they don't care is they're embarrassed. The people of Ontario are embarrassed --
Mr Baird: On a point of order, Speaker: There are numerous opposition members here to debate. Some are meeting with representative of the automobile manufacturers' association, which is an event being hosted by the Liberal member for Oakville.
The Acting Speaker: I would concur. I would ask the member for Perth-Middlesex not to refer to the absence of any individual member.
Mr Wilkinson: I might admit that I was with the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, and you know what I did? I went to that event. It was scheduled. I showed up on time. That has nothing to do with House duty, but I was there when I was invited. That's where I was. Some people may have a different sense of what is the right time to be here. I think the people who pay us to be here expect us to be in seats when we're supposed to be here.
Mr Baird: On a point of order, Speaker: The member for Perth-Middlesex is clearly trying to do what he can't do under the standing orders, by making reference to the importance of people being here and that there are some people who are not here. There are many people meeting with representatives of Ontario's paralegals who are in the building this evening listening to the legislative concerns of members of the Ontario Legislature. I guess they're being ignored by this member.
The Acting Speaker: Thank you very much for your assistance, but I would again just ask the member for Perth-Middlesex not to make reference to the absence of any individual member.
Mr Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): On a point of order, Speaker --
The Acting Speaker: Is this the same point of order?
Mr Ruprecht: No. If Mr Baird would listen, I would appreciate that, but I heard very distinctly, I listened very carefully to this member speak. He did not mention anyone by name.
Mr Baird: He's challenging the Chair.
Mr Ruprecht: I'm not challenging the Chair --
Mr Baird: Kick him out.
The Acting Speaker: Will the member please take his seat. I've already ruled on the point of order, and I would again recognize the member for Perth-Middlesex.
Mr Wilkinson: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the wisdom. You have much more experience in this place than I do, and far be it from me to cross any of the time-honoured traditions of this place and actually bring anything into disrepute in this House. I know Hansard will keep a record of what I said, and the record will speak for itself.
There are two issues that I have: hypocrisy and defeatism. Personally, I find it passing strange and quite interesting to think that in an issue where we are looking at the economic future of this province -- something I might add that the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association is very, very concerned about -- that we're in this House tonight looking at the question of whether or not this government will govern. We were elected to govern. We didn't get the cards that we expected to be dealt to us, because some people in this province decided that fiscal transparency and accountability was not required. They didn't think that was required. That's why, I say to the member for Trinity-Spadina, we've introduced a law which I know that you're in favour of, that we should have fiscal transparency and accountability. But I don't think we passed that bill. Why? Because we have an opposition in this place who's decided to be obstructionist. Why? I believe that they're being obstructionist for a very simple reason: They don't want to talk about the history of this place, the history of the fact that we broke up Hydro and lost that capacity to match supply and demand. And I know, Bill, that your patience may be tried by some of the members within this House. I'm more than happy to address it at any time.
Now, when you look under defeatism, what you find is a certain resignation. I give the example of the coal-fired plants. The member from Haldimand-Norfolk, whom I respect greatly, is saying that it's impossible for us to do what we're doing, and I can understand that, from the riding where you come from. But I'm a businessperson. Business rises to the challenge. If we set those correct economic expectations, business will find a place. The businesses that I've been talking about are not old-style businesses that are defeatist. No, no, it's the ones that are visionary, the ones that know we need to create energy in this province, and in a sustainable way, that know it's not acceptable to burn coal and have mercury going up into the environment, even if it's 1.3 cents. It may be cheap, but the price is what our children and our grandchildren will pay because our natural environment has been destroyed by this.
How can we say to our American colleagues in the Ohio valley, "Stop burning that dirty coal"? They're not using clean coal. They're talking about using clean coal. I saw the eagle ad on American television about how we all believe in clean coal. But that's not what they're burning down there, folks. The mercury is coming out of those smokestacks.
But business could fix that problem. Businesses, if they're challenged, will rise to that occasion. I'm sure of it. There are those that are of the old style, the old thinking that it can't be done, it's too expensive. But the innovators, that's what we want in this province. That's why we want a workforce that is committed. I know the member for Trinity-Spadina believes in an innovative workforce. Those are where the good-paying jobs are.
When we look at the question of Bill 100 and we deal with the issue of why we are looking at time allocation, it is simply this: As a new member, I'm sick and tired of this mindset that we are surrounded by -- to me, on my right and on my extreme right -- that we have a question of hypocrisy, that somehow they're not responsible for the problems we've inherited. And let me assure you, Mr Speaker, we are. I remember a certain party running for re-election, saying, "Oh, we can cap electricity rates. It's not more than 4.3." That was wrong. I wouldn't say that was a falsehood. But I can tell you, after the fact, it was wrong. We've had to deal with that problem. People have said, "Of course" --
Mr Wilkinson: The member from Sault Ste Marie is absolutely correct on this point. That hypocrisy is pretty deep. They're piling it higher and higher in this place.
So are we mired in this by the opposition or do we lead? We were elected to govern. There has been plenty of time for debate. Now we're forced to debate the issue, despite the fact -- and I'm so happy that so many members are here tonight, not all members, but I'm so happy that so many members are here. I know the people back home are tuned into this debate because they're saying, "Finally, the McGuinty government is saying, `We've got to move ahead on this electricity file. It's time-sensitive. We don't want the lights to go off in this province.'" That would kill business, and we've had a bit of that.
What we have to do is go beyond hypocrisy and beyond the defeatism, that idea that our business can't rise to the challenge. I know that it can. As the parliamentary assistant to the Ministry of the Environment, I've had many businesses come to me, showing me new technologies, which I'm sure the member from Haldimand-Norfolk would embrace, that look to the future about how we can have clean energy.
I spoke to the member from Nepean-Carleton. I talked about North Middlesex in my riding, a green community, where they're going to take cattle manure -- can you believe this, Mr Speaker? -- using anaerobic digestion. They're going to get three things out of that: dry, odourless, pathogen-free fertilizer to be spread in the fields; clean, pathogen-free water; and methane, which, I might add, burns a lot cleaner than coal. There's no mercury in methane. It's a natural product. It's not something that we dig out of the ground and spend all this energy and all this other pollution to dig it out of the ground. It's right there. We eat, we have cattle; it's a symbiotic relationship. It's wonderful. That's the future.
We have to set the conditions as a government to challenge business, to challenge our farmers to come to the table to help us solve this problem. That's what we're all about. We're not going wait. We can't wait for the people who are mired in hypocrisy and defeatism. We're going to move, and we're going to move tonight and I applaud the House leader for doing this.
The Acting Speaker: Further debate on the motion?
Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): It's good to have this opportunity to speak. I want to welcome the viewers to this political channel; it's 7:25 and we are on live. Don't turn off your television sets, keep the power on, because I think you're very interested in hypocrisy and the issues of hypocrisy. The previous member spoke to that. It's important, because --
The Acting Speaker: The member knows full well that that is unparliamentary language, and I would ask him to withdraw the word "hypocrisy."
Mr Marchese: I will withdraw it, Speaker, but the previous member mentioned the word "hypocrisy" three or four times. The context of his remarks were OK and mine were not? Is that what you're saying? I just ask you.
The Acting Speaker: I appreciate your willingness to withdraw the word. It would be wrong in any context.
Mr Marchese: OK. No problemo. I'm very capable of finding different words to say what I want to say. Speaking to this notion that people say one thing and do another, is that OK with you, Speaker? The previous member, my good buddy from Perth-Middlesex, was talking about -- is it OK, Speaker, if I say people who might be hypocritical, or could be? Is that OK?
The Acting Speaker: I would ask you not to use the word "hypocrisy" or "hypocritical."
Mr Marchese: That notion reminds me of what Premier McGuinty, then Liberal leader, used to say. I want to put it on the record, because I don't have much time. So many people would like to say a few words, and I just want to say mine.
In 2001, on October 31, an article said, "Throughout Ontario's electricity restructuring process, Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals have been consistent supporters of the move to open an electricity market in Ontario." In 2002, the same man, leader of the then opposition party, now Premier, said, "The market is dead."
Mr Marchese: No, this is McGuinty. No, no, former mayor of Durham, it's not that.
He said the market was dead. In 2001, they were consistent supporters of the private sector getting involved. In 2002, he says, "No, no, we're not for that any more. The market is dead" -- not because the Tories killed it but because McGuinty changed his mind. In 2003, McGuinty says the market is going to get back into the game, because he's a consistent supporter of the private sector getting involved. You understand what I'm trying to get at. It's what a person says at one time and then another and then another. It doesn't matter what time it is, because the Liberal Party can, at any given time, change its mind, and it does. In his mind, it's OK if you do that. In your mind, it's OK if you do that, because when Liberals change their position back and forth, it's consistent.
That's the problem I've got with Liberal -- not Liberal principles, because they have none -- with Liberal positioning. They're not ideological. They're not. It's Liberal positioning. Their position can go back and forth at any given time, and it does. That's the problem I've got with them.
In the hearings, we heard that a number of individuals were proposing up to 4,400 megawatts of green power, but the government only allows for 300 megawatts of power to be produced. We're talking about the use of renewables. We're talking about individuals who are very interested in creating power out of renewables, which we say is a good thing and which the government claims is a good thing. But they will only allow a maximum of 300 megawatts of power to be used. Why is that?
The minister, indeed, was there -- not at some of the meetings. He was in Windsor, because that's his home town. Some of the other members were part of that committee and they heard what I heard, yet not one member of that committee said, "If we can produce 4,400 megawatts of power through renewables, why aren't we approving them?"
Mr McMeekin: I said that.
Mr Marchese: Did you?
Mr McMeekin: You were there.
Mr Marchese: I've got to apologize to my friend from Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot. I apologize to him, because he and I have had some discussions and indeed in some areas he and I have agreed. That is true.
The question is, other than the member I just referred to, were there any other members of that committee who thought it was a good idea?
Mr Ruprecht: Keep going. Keep apologizing to them.
Mr Marchese: No, Tony, something is very wrong if only one Liberal member from that committee and that government, including you, Tony Ruprecht, can see the logic of producing green power if it's available and if there are interested people. Don't raise your eyelids, Tony. This is an obvious point. It ought to be obvious to you and to your members, because you guys claim that you are for green power.
Mr Ruprecht: Yes, we are. We are.
Mr Marchese: Tony Ruprecht says, "We are" in a very mechanical, seal-like way: "We are. We are." Well, if you are, what efforts are you making, Tony Ruprecht, as an individual in this House?
Mrs Julia Munro (York North): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I just want to remind members of the House that it is appropriate for them to speak about each other as members of a particular riding and not by their personal names.
The Acting Speaker: I want to thank the member for pointing out that fact, and I would encourage the member for Trinity-Spadina to do so.
Mr Ruprecht: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: If the member from Trinity-Spadina would only drive by the CNE -- and he drives by there many times; he just doesn't want to admit it right now -- he will see a great big turbine, and --
The Acting Speaker: I don't think that's a point of order. I'll return to the member for Trinity-Spadina.
Mr Marchese: Pretty soon, you'll think that the member from Davenport, Tony Ruprecht, built that wind power all by his little self. He'll have you believe that he's a proponent of windmills and that Tony Ruprecht, the member from Davenport, is pushing his government for greater wind power through windmills. Get up, Tony Ruprecht from Davenport, and tell us how strongly supportive you are of green power. Get out there, Tony, and show us. Don't just sit back and tell us that you love wind power and that you produced it over there in my riding, close to yours as well, and that somehow you're a big supporter. Tell me what you're doing. Tell me what you are doing in caucus to support green power, Tony Ruprecht, the member from Davenport. Get up and do your two minutes. Please allow him to do his two minutes.
You're doing nothing. When it comes to conservation, you're doing absolutely nothing. Little is not much. Little is next to nothing, and that's what you're doing with conservation. The Pembina report says we could reduce our consumption through conservation efficiency and green power, close to 60% or 70% if we committed ourselves to it. Do you think Tony Ruprecht, the member from Davenport, is speaking to that issue?
Mr Ruprecht: For sure we are.
Mr Marchese: For sure he is. That's why it's in your bill, eh, member from Davenport, Tony Ruprecht?
I don't want to take too much time except to put that on the record.
I oppose strangulation motions, always did, as did the Liberals when they were in power. I oppose this bill because when the private sector gets involved with the stock market, rates are going to shoot right up, because they're in there to make money.
I want Tony Ruprecht, the member from Davenport, to stand up and tell me how he's convinced Mr Duncan there, the Minister of Energy, to produce more than 300 megawatts of green power. Stand up, Tony, and tell us what you're doing.
The Acting Speaker: Further debate on the motion?
Mr Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough Southwest): What we have in front of us today is a government notice of motion. We heard earlier from the House leader as he spoke to the fact that this is one of the very few occasions that this government, after being in power for over a year now, has brought forward a notice of motion of this nature. We're trying to pass a bill, Bill 100, An Act to amend the Electricity Act --
The Acting Speaker: I assume the member for Nepean-Carleton wants to remain for the remainder of the evening's debate. I would ask him to come to order. I return to the member from Scarborough Southwest.
Mr Berardinetti: I think this is the second time we've used this government notice of motion, which is much less than previous governments have.
Bill 100, entitled An Act to amend the Electricity Act, 1998, and the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, was introduced for first reading in this House on June 15, 2004. We're now speaking on this bill and have been speaking on it for the past few months. Today is November 17. This bill needs to get passage, be brought into law and implemented so we can begin restructuring the energy system here in Ontario.
The purpose of the bill is straightforward. It says right in the explanatory note, "The purpose of the bill is to restructure Ontario's electricity sector, promote the expansion of electricity supply and capacity, including from alternative and renewable energy sources, facilitate load management and electricity demand management, encourage electricity conservation and the efficient use of electricity and regulate prices in parts of the electricity sector."
To me, this is straightforward. What we are attempting to do as a government, and what we ran on in our platform, is to provide clean, affordable energy to the people of Ontario. This act does that. We have had opportunity to debate it several times. It's been before this House and has been discussed to quite an extent. Up to this point we haven't had a chance to complete our debate because at various times the opposition decided to ring bells and try to adjourn the debate or adjourn the House.
Our concern at this point is that if we don't move forward, this bill will continue to sit. This Legislature has a great deal of business that we're trying to deal with. We're not doing this with all our other bills and proposed legislation. A number of pieces of legislation are before this House and are being debated. We are giving the opposition time to speak on all sorts of bills, bills that Minister Watson has introduced regarding amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, bills that have been introduced by several other ministers that have not passed second reading because the opposition continues to withhold that.
I don't think the people of Ontario sent the Liberal government to Queen's Park to govern and to fight on issues that I consider to be technical issues and to not deal with substantive issues.
The substantive issue before us is electricity. We had a power outage a couple of years ago. We've had problems with our electricity supply. We've had problems with the pollution created by our coal-generating plants. The question is, why? We are trying to deal with those problems and I think the people of Ontario want us to deal with these problems.
The act in front of us today addresses those issues in a clear, plain, concrete fashion that I think makes a lot of sense. We want to move. We were elected to implement change. Interestingly enough, whenever we bring forward a bill that provides some of that change, the opposition will try stall tactics, will attempt to ring bells and obstruct us from proceeding with our agenda. I myself, and I am sure other members of the Liberal government, feel frustrated by that.
We are not going to try to govern like the previous Conservative or NDP governments did, which was by implementing time allocation on several bills. This is being done very rarely, and it is being done on something that is very, very important to the people of Ontario.
When I campaigned and knocked on doors just over a year ago, people said to me that they wanted a good education system, a good health system, an electricity system that worked, and they wanted a clean environment. This government is attempting to address those issues. We are bringing forward legislation to deal with education. We have done the same with health care, with the environment, and now this in front of us today is doing the same thing. I support what the minister and House leader is trying to do, and I hope we move on and get this into law.
Mr Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka): I am very pleased to join the debate tonight on Bill 100 and have an opportunity to speak about that this evening. We're really talking about a closure motion brought in by the government, who, when they were in opposition, were very much against closure motions. They've only passed about two bills, and on both the bills that I am aware of in recent days they've used a closure motion to end the debate.
I would like to refer to some of the quotes from when they were in opposition, what they said about time allocation motions. For example, Mike Colle, from Eglinton-Lawrence, on December 4, 2002:
"I'm also saddened to stand up again and speak to another motion by this government to shut down debate.... They just ram this through like they've rammed everything else through.
"We know now why they like these closure motions. Because they don't want the public to know what they're doing."
What's different here? I don't quite get that. Now they're the government, and now they're shutting down debate and ramming legislation through -- a broken promise. One of their very significant energy promises was that they were going to maintain the price of electricity at 4.3 cents a kilowatt hour. That was one of the 231 promises they made in the provincial election. I don't think the price of electricity is 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour now. What is it? I think it's 5.7 cents beyond 750 kilowatt hours now. That's about a 27% increase in price. That seems to be a favourite number. They've had a 27% increase in income tax; they called it the health tax. That's another broken promise. And there's a 27% increase in hydro prices -- another broken promise.
What else did they say? David Caplan, November 21, 2001:
"I usually start off my remarks by saying it's a pleasure to speak to something on behalf of the people of Don Valley East, but it really isn't. This is yet another closure motion, a gag order on the Legislature. How could it ever be a pleasure to speak to that, when that's the normal course of action and when this Legislature is shut down for the very purpose it was meant for, which was to discuss important matters?"
That was the member for Don Valley East, the deputy House leader for the government which has now brought in this time allocation motion. So obviously we're seeing a flip-flop. We're seeing a totally different story here now that they're the government. I don't know what happened. It's amazing, the transformation that's happened.
What did Michael Gravelle, the member from Thunder Bay-Superior North, say on November 19, 2001? There seems to be no shortage of quotes:
"It's just stunning that the way they choose to deal with it at the end of the day is to put time allocation on debate. It's wrong, I think everybody knows it's wrong and I think even the government members themselves know that it's the wrong way to approach it.
"There will be no public hearings at all, and that is disgraceful. This is unbelievable. Once again we're seeing this kind of behaviour, and I suspect we'll see it again."
It's amazing the way their tune changes when they go from opposition to government, and now they've brought in this time allocation for the second time in a few short weeks, one of the few bills this government has had the ability to get passed. They've been stalled here and not getting much done at all, and now we see this time allocation motion. I think it's showing how this government flip-flops from when they were in opposition to when they are in government.
Mr Brad Duguid (Scarborough Centre): I want to enter into this debate for a few brief minutes. I just wonder how the former government, the opposition party, can be talking as though they don't support this kind of a motion, when time after time, each and every member over there voted in favour of doing this on just about every piece of legislation that came through this House.
We're not doing that. We're not doing it on every single piece of legislation that we have come forward, but we do have to get on with business. We do have to make sure that we get this and other important legislation through the House. From time to time, we're going to have to do this. We don't feel bad about doing that; we'd rather not. If we had the co-operation of the opposition, we wouldn't have to. But there are times when we have to start working to get this stuff through.
We have a lot of important things to do in this session, as we change the education system around and completely transform it from the days when the previous government was destroying education. We're getting it fixed up. We're fixing up those schools. We're fixing up those classrooms. We've got to move on with that agenda, and to do that, we've got to move our legislation through.
Earlier today, we talked about the greenbelt. That's something that we all support, I think -- well, perhaps not the opposition. In fact, I'd be surprised if they do. They probably don't support it, but everybody else here and everybody outside of this place, by and large, does, unless they have a vested interest. That's the kind of stuff that we've got to try to get through, but we're not going to get it if the opposition keeps ringing bells, if the opposition keeps playing games.
It's very important that we move forward with those kinds of initiatives. They're the kinds of things that are changing this province around. They're the kinds of things that are bringing the change that we were all elected to bring to this province. We're not going to let an opposition that wants to hold everything up for no reason, other than just to play opposition games -- we're not going to let them rule this place. We'll let them have their say; there's no question about that. They're entitled to it. As the member from Nepean said, they're duly elected to come here and have their say.
Hon Jim Watson (Minister of Consumer and Business Services): The junior member from Nepean.
Mr Duguid: Sorry, the junior member from Nepean, as he indicated. He's entitled to have his say, and we're not going to deny that. But there comes a time when we have to get on with things and get this business through the House so that we can work in the interest of our constituents.
I thank you for the few minutes that I've had an opportunity to speak.
Mr Baird: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I ask for unanimous consent for this House to hear the member for Etobicoke Centre next.
The Acting Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? I heard a no.
Mrs Munro: I want to take the time I have to talk about something I that I think is endemic in much of the legislation that we are asked to deal with in this House; that is, the question of ministerial oversight. When we look at Bill 100, we see many of the most important decisions that will be made are to be done at the discretion -- they are going to be prescribed by regulation, a question of appointments, designation of consumer classes, situational pricing and conditions of licensing. These are all subject to government direction. To translate that, it really means that the minister may issue directives. He may issue directives that deal with the province-wide electricity mix, the phasing out of coal, conservation targets, and the increase in generation from alternative and renewable sources. Now, there may be those who see all of these things, by themselves, as particularly valuable and indicative of the need to move forward.
I think it is more important to look at the question of the concentration of power. When you look at the details of Bill 100, it is very clear that there is that overriding ministerial oversight. Now, to those who are not aware of other pieces of legislation, this might look to be something that is unique to this particular bill. I think it's really important for people to understand that, in fact, there are many examples of this government's legislation that provide for that kind of ministerial oversight.
Mrs Munro: There are so many examples where we have government then, in this government, making decisions for the individual and for particular sectors.
Mrs Munro: My colleagues remind me of such things as junk food in the schools; making decisions on what defines junk food. I would like to just draw people's attention to examples such as the Planning Act. When you look at Bill 26, there you have the minister able to inject himself or herself into the planning process by the declaration of a provincial interest. It is that kind of thing, then, that undermines what has existed in this province for over 100 years, a quasi-judicial body, the Ontario Municipal Board, which can simply be bypassed by a quick trip to the minister's office.
There are a number of examples in various ministries: certainly looking at the undermining in Bill 8 of hospital boards, local community authority and the volunteers who provide the time and expertise to their communities to serve on hospital boards. There are just a great number of examples, including this bill, that all serve to demonstrate that concentration of power in an individual minister's office or the cabinet office.
One of the concerns that creates for many is the fact that that's done in secret; there is no public process in a decision by a minister or by cabinet. So I think we need to see this bill in that context, as well as that other members have chosen to identify as significant parts of the bill that create problems for them.
Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): There are a couple of things that I want to put on the record. I didn't actually get an opportunity to speak on this bill at second reading. I'm one of the members not being given an opportunity at second reading, and I've got some pretty serious concerns that I want to put on the record.
I can take my time and talk about the duplicity of the Liberals. We all know they were in favour of privatization, they were against and then they were in favour again. I can take 30 minutes and talk about that, but I won't. What I want to talk about is the effect this policy is going to have on some of the people within the constituency of Timmins-James Bay.
In my riding, I happen to have some of the largest power users in the province of Ontario. In fact, the largest customer of Ontario Hydro at this point is in the city of Timmins; it's Falconbridge. They operate a mine, a smelter, a concentrator and a refinery. The largest single customer for hydro in the province is in my riding, as well as a whole bunch of other employers, such as Tembec, that operates the pulp and paper mill, the old Spruce Falls, up in Kapuskasing, which includes a TMP plant. For those of you who don't know what TMP is, it's thermal mechanical pulp, that uses a large amount of electricity in order to pulp the logs into fibre that you can make paper from.
Why am I saying that? Because in discussions I've had with all of these companies, they are absolutely worried to death about what this bill is going to mean to hydro rates for them as employers in our communities. For example, the old Spruce Falls mill up in Kapuskasing -- it's pretty clear: We know there's increasing pressure of costs for that particular company. We know fibre costs are becoming more and more expensive as time goes on. We know the American dollar is dropping; as a result, our exports into the United States -- because of a high Canadian dollar due to the low American dollar, it's affecting the bottom line when it comes to exporters, as well as all the other ancillary issues that have to do with costs for this particular mill when you relate them to price. It's really making it tough. For one of the first times in Spruce Falls's recent history, they're in a position where they're in a negative cash flow position, and they're really worried.
For those people who don't know what I'm talking about, it means they ain't making money. They think they are able to weather the storm, but when I sit down and talk to people who work in the mill and I talk to the management people -- and I've had this discussion with Frank Dottori, who is the chairman of Tembec, along with Terry Skiffington, who is the manager at the Tembec mill -- they are really worried. They're saying, "Listen, the government is not taking seriously the report that said that hydro prices, according to industry experts" -- not Gilles Bisson, NDP member from Timmins-James Bay, not Howard Hampton, the leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario, but independent experts who know quite a bit about the issue of price. They're saying that electricity prices for sure are going to go up; it's a question of how much and it's predicted that prices can go up from 30% to over 50% by the year 2007, if I remember the report correctly. They're saying, "If our electricity prices go up to that point, it's a job-killer. We're going to be in a position where we don't know if we're going to be able operate that plant."
Let me put that into perspective for you. Kimberly-Clark's old plant, Spruce Falls, that's now Tembec in Kapuskasing, is the largest employer in town. If fact, if you don't have Spruce Falls, you haven't got an employer in town. Basically, the town of Kapuskasing rises and falls on the economic fortunes of Tembec's mill in Kapuskasing. I'm not saying at this point -- and I don't want to panic people in the town of Kapuskasing -- that the mill is going to close; we're not at that point yet. But if electricity prices keep on going the way they are predicted to go under this privatization deal that you've put forward, you're putting in jeopardy the jobs of the people of Kapuskasing, Val Rita, Moonbeam and all of the other communities -- the people who work in that mill. We've probably got around 700 to 800 people, all told, who work in the mill itself, as well as all the people who work in the bush, as far as the Gordon Cosens Forest, who basically are employed bringing timber to the mill. You are virtually putting in jeopardy over 1,000 jobs in that community, and that's only one employer.
I go down the road to Timmins, and in the case of Timmins we have Falconbridge and they're saying, "If the price of electricity goes up 30% to 50%, for sure it's going to put us in a bad spot."
Let's show you how dangerous this is. We now have the Chinese government, under Minmetals -- Minmetals is a large corporation that is owned by the Chinese government and is now actively looking at buying out Noranda in Canada. It happens to be that Falconbridge is owned by Noranda. My good friend and federal colleague Charlie Angus, the federal member for Timmins-James Bay, has been running the charge on this particular issue, ringing the warning bells with the federal government that we have to make sure there are some conditions put in place so that if Minmetals buys out Noranda, we don't end up in a situation where ore is mined in the city of Timmins and the processing of that ore is done somewhere outside of Ontario, either in the province of Quebec or brought all the way to China for them to process into the finished product they need to finish it into.
You say I am being alarmist, but take a look what is going on. They are looking at a potential increase of 30% to over 50% in the price of power. They are the largest -- I repeat, the largest -- customer Ontario Hydro has in the province of Ontario. In talking to the mine management and to the people who run the concentrated refinery, I think electricity makes up over 20% of their overall costs. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if the price goes up by 50%, they're having to make decisions about: Do they run a refinery; can they afford to run a refinery; should they move the concentrate out of the city of Timmins, bypass the smelter and the refinery and do that activity in the province of Quebec -- where, by the way, there is a public utility called Hydro-Québec that sells electricity at a fraction of the cost of what it is now costing in the province of Ontario. Why? Because they do have it under a public system. They've made some very sound decisions about the development of hydroelectric projects on James Bay and in other places over the past number of years and are in a position to sell electricity at a lower cost.
There used to be a time in Ontario when we said that hydro is one of the basic infrastructures we have to give our industry a competitive edge. We went through the debate under the time of Adam Beck and others that we would move electricity from the private sector into the public because we needed to make sure we operated hydro as a corporation at cost in order to give industry an opportunity to compete with their southern neighbours in the United States. We made some choices -- and, I think, sound choices -- about the responsibility of the state when it comes to making sure we're able to run an electricity system in a public system that is able to be sell it at cost so you give your industry an advantage to operate within your jurisdiction.
You just have to look at all the other jurisdictions. Look at what happened in Alberta. The province of Alberta has gone down this way, electricity prices have gone through the roof, and this in a province that basically is an energy province. It's not as if they have no natural gas to run cogeneration plants. It's not as if they're without the ability to generate hydroelectricity by way of rivers. They have all of the natural assets to generate electricity at a far cheaper rate than most provinces. They used to have cheap electricity; Ralph Klein privatized it, and now for a period of time the province has been subsidizing the price of electricity in order to allow business not to lose its position within the Canadian economy. It makes no sense. Why should the public purse subsidize the price of electricity?
That's what you're going to end up having to do if electricity prices go up 30% to 50%. Imagine the day that electricity prices go up 30% to 50% and companies like Tembec, Falconbridge, and the list goes on, say, "We're about to close our plants." What is the province of Ontario going to have to do? They're either going to have to subsidize the price of electricity or they're going to have to subsidize them in some other way in order to reduce their costs. Do you reduce stumpage costs? Do you reduce licensing? Do you reduce taxes? Somewhere, the province is going to have to budge in order to be able to afford industry an ability to stay in business. I say to the government, you're going down the wrong path. This has been tried elsewhere, and it doesn't work.
The other thing I want to put on the record is in regard to this debate. I was in the House a little bit earlier when the debate started. I was in my office preparing notes from our House leaders-whips' meetings we had this afternoon in regard to a deal that was reached on how we move legislation through this House. I just want to say to new members, give your heads a shake. Members in this House who are newly elected come in here and, holier-than-thou, are preaching to us about how the opposition is not being reasonable, not allowing the government to pass legislation through the House, and somehow we're being extremely oppositional. You have a selective memory.
First of all, last spring this House passed all kinds of legislation by way of arrangements that were made between the opposition parties and the government, and we were not being oppositional. Yes, there are bills that we don't agree with, but it is our right as an opposition to oppose, and on the question of hydroelectricity, you darned well know New Democrats will oppose you.
For you guys to get up in this House and say, "Oh, we won the election. We've got to do what we were mandated to do. Oh, my Lord, you're holding us up" -- you darned well knew what New Democrats were going to say on electricity. We were going to say no to private power and we were going to be oppositional.
The House came back this fall and, for whatever reason, the government House leader decided to call the House for midnight sittings and, rightfully so, the opposition said no. We held it up -- no question -- for a period of a week, but it was our House leader, Peter Kormos, and the House leader for the Tories, John Baird, who went to the government and brought them to their senses. We were able to broker a deal for what happened in this House this week and what's going to happen next week.
I am shocked by the attitude of some of the government members after what was a very positive meeting this afternoon at the House leaders' meeting where the three House leaders and the three whips of all three parties were able to sit down and agree on how legislation goes through the House, and we did that by way of co-operation.
Mrs Donna H. Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Are we not speaking about Bill 100?
The Acting Speaker: We are speaking about time allocation on Bill 100. I return to the member from Timmins-James Bay.
Mr Bisson: I rest my point. They don't even know that we're debating time allocation. That's why I'm speaking to the issue of time allocation and the actual Bill 100. If you knew the rules in this House and you paid attention and you'd been here a little longer, you'd know.
So yes, I'm insulted by some of the speeches that members have put in this House, because they're not recognizing the reality of the real will on the part of the opposition to work with the government where necessary and, yes, to oppose the government when it needs to be done. I think government members need to be lectured by the government House leader. I am one of the people who has to sit at House leaders' meetings and I, quite frankly, am somewhat upset that you would come into this House and all of a sudden start talking about how we are extremely oppositional.
All last spring, you guys got deals on how you passed legislation through. The opposition worked with the government. Yes, sometimes we opposed you, but that's the role of the opposition. Yes, we will oppose you at times, but by and large, 70% to 80% of the time we're able to work accommodations on bills.
I say to government members across the way, I'd watch my rhetoric tonight. If you really want an opposition party and you really want to peeve off an opposition whip, you're doing a pretty darned good job, and it's not helping the process whatsoever. I suggest that your government House leader and whip have a chat with people in the backbench.
The last part of the comment I want to make --
Mr Bisson: Thank you very much.
Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): Does that mean you're not done?
Mr Bisson: No, I was just working up a head of steam.
It just annoys me because we hear this speech from new members on a number of occasions. Really, they need to understand that the opposition has a role to play and that we're going to play that role in an effective manner but also by being responsible.
I say to the government, at this point I want to leave some time on the clock for other members to speak, but I'm just saying, this bill that you're time-allocating, you're wrong to time-allocate it, number one. Number two, you should not pass this bill at the end of the day; it's a job-killer.
The Acting Speaker: Further debate on the motion?
Mr Duncan has moved government notice of motion number 240.
Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All in favour of the motion will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Call in the members. This will be a 10-minute bell.
The division bells rang from 2009 to 2019.
The Acting Speaker: Will all those in favour of the motion please rise one at a time and be counted by the Clerk?
Broten, Laurel C.
Cansfield, Donna H.
Chambers, Mary Anne V.
Flynn, Kevin Daniel
Mossop, Jennifer F.
Wynne, Kathleen O.
The Acting Speaker: All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be counted by the Clerk.
Baird, John R.
Runciman, Robert W.
The Deputy Clerk (Ms Deborah Deller): The ayes are 28; the nays are 13.
The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.
Orders of the day?
Hon Mr Duncan: Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.
The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.
All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
This House stands adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 am.
The House adjourned at 2023.