39e législature, 2e session

L035B - Wed 19 May 2010 / Mer 19 mai 2010



Wednesday 19 May 2010 Mercredi 19 mai 2010




The House recessed from 1815 to 1845.



Resuming the debate adjourned on May 19, 2010 on the motion for time allocation on Bill 21, An Act to regulate retirement homes / Projet de loi 21, Loi réglementant les maisons de retraite.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate?

Mr. Paul Miller: I guess I’ll start off by asking why this government is yet again using the heavy hammer of time allocation to end all-party discussion on amendments to this bill. Time allocation ensures that only the government’s views will become law and not those of many groups and individuals who took the time to study the bill and provide their suggestions. We have to ask what the real reason is for the government to be closing down serious discussion and debate. Why do they believe that the opposition party amendments to their legislation are not valid or worthy of consideration? That is the upshot of a time allocation motion: the shutting down of opposition debate—often the only way people get their voices heard by the government.

The government would argue that somehow or other the world is going to come to an end if they don’t move time allocation on the clause-by-clause debate, which is simply not true. Taking the time to have full discussion of amendments in an open and fair manner does not seem to be part of the government’s plans. It appears to be, “My way or the highway,” something that should cause Ontarians to pause and reflect on the real reasons behind this. I am sure the government would have us believe that they must do this to get the bill into law to protect our most vulnerable citizens. The reality is that this bill will do nothing of the sort. It will ensure that owners of retirement homes can control their industry without the real oversight that should be expected by all Ontarians. There might be a suggestion that somehow or other time allocation is about the efficiency of disposition of business. If we brought this argument forward to every democratic thing we do, I think we would be in big trouble.

There are sufficient rules within our Legislature to provide members an opportunity to express themselves on legislation they may have reservations about. Time allocation is not an efficient way to deal with business. To allow this to happen is a disservice to all of us, because we are all diminished by it. Rather than making time allocation motions, this government would better serve the people of Ontario by rewriting the rules so that we can divide a piece of legislation and vote on sections of it. Municipal councils do this regularly, and good parts of legislation actually get enacted, and those without support get sent back to be rewritten. The outcome of this is that the public can actually see what is hidden in the bills, as members ask to vote on individual sections that they agree with or don’t agree with. It is a more transparent way to do business and allows our constituents to speak to specifics and have a real say in the laws that we pass in this House.

It is my intention to vote against Bill 21, not because it is completely bad but because only a small part of it is actually good for the elderly, particularly the NDP amendments representing the views of Ontarians. But Bill 21 gives only retirement home owners a real deal. It lets them provide their own oversight, with a majority on the regulatory authority. The majority on that authority should be the nurses, firefighters, families and government representatives who want the best health and safety for those vulnerable Ontarians.


I think the thing that bothered me the most about this bill was the lack of foresight by this government for mandatory sprinkler systems. It’s mind-boggling. The fire chiefs are for it; the fire marshal is for it; the Ombudsman is for it. The firefighters say it’s an important tool in the box of fire prevention. Let’s not forget the coroner. The coroner has done several investigations in this province and has suggested that if sprinklers were in place, these tragedies wouldn’t happen.

Then I hear this weak argument from the government about cost. Here is an example of cost: In the fire in Mississauga, which injured 23 individuals—15 or 16 died and the rest had brain damage—the facility cost the insurance company $8.2 million to rebuild; it burned to the ground. When we did our investigations, we asked how much it would cost to retrofit that building with a fire sprinkler system. All it would have cost was $47,000. For $8.2 million in damage, $47,000. How many more buildings in Ontario, how many more people in Ontario, how many elders—we’ve lost 37 elders in the last six years. How many more have to die before this government gets it? I can’t believe it. I’ve had insurance companies approach me; I’ve had sprinkler system companies approach me. Firefighters, fire chiefs, ombudsmen—everybody in this province gets it except the McGuinty government. They don’t get it.

I can safely say that with the next person who dies in this province, there is going to be liability, because this was brought before this government on more than one occasion and they have done nothing. If they don’t start moving on these sprinklers, someone down the road is going to get sued big time. If it were my parents in that home and there were no sprinklers, I wouldn’t be a happy camper—and neither would the people I sue.

Why should seniors living in retirement homes built before 1998 be less safe than those who are able to live in newer retirement homes? The people before 1998 don’t rate sprinkler systems and the ones after 1998 do? The number of sprinklers that are lacking in the small communities in Ontario is huge—huge. A lot of these older homes don’t have them. Then I got the argument from one of them, “We can’t retrofit old homes.” Nonsense. I’m a tradesman. We can retrofit anything with sprinkler systems. It’s, “Well, it’s too much cost for a smaller community.” That’s a load of malarkey. It isn’t too much for a smaller community. If they can raise funds to send bands to Europe, they can raise funds to put a sprinkler system in the old folks home in town, even if they couldn’t get support from the government. It’s absolutely outrageous that this government—and I’ll tell you, the first one who dies in this province from the lack of a sprinkler system, where it can be proved by the fire marshal that it would have prevented it, and this government is going to be in big, big trouble.

I’m very concerned about this. The legislation is permitting retirement home operators to provide health care services. That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse: “We’ll do what we want. We have to provide two services, but maybe they’ll cut it off there.” If you don’t have enough money to pay for it, you’re out of luck. If you come from a less advantaged situation, it’s not going to work.

Rather than going forward with this time allocation motion on Bill 21, I urge all Liberal MPPs to put their hearts and their heads ahead of their whipped party position and vote against this time allocation motion; put their hearts into protecting the elders of this province. Our grandparents and parents deserve better treatment. What’s going on? The first Liberal parent or grandparent who died, this bill would be going through. It’s absolute nonsense, and until this is done, I’m going to keep this up.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate? Any other member wish to speak?

Ms. Smith has moved government order number 10. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 10-minute bell.

Pursuant to standing order 28(h), a deferral slip has been handed to me, properly signed, so this motion will be handled at deferred votes tomorrow.

Vote deferred.


Resuming the debate adjourned on May 19, 2010, on the motion for second reading of Bill 191, An Act with respect to land use planning and protection in the Far North / Projet de loi 191, Loi relative à l’aménagement et à la protection du Grand Nord.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The member for York–Simcoe had the floor.

Mrs. Julia Munro: I would just like to make a couple of concluding remarks in that I believe the magnitude of this bill, the magnitude of the area being considered by this bill, the complexity of planning issues, the question of what in fact it is that the bill purports to protect, these are all very substantive issues that remain outstanding in terms of the way in which the bill is in its present form. So I think it behooves the government at this point to be looking at providing further consultation and recognizing the complexity of these issues that need to be addressed by the bill.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Howard Hampton: I was here for all of the speech by my colleague in the Conservative caucus. While New Democrats do not agree necessarily with the analysis she provides, we do think she hits upon the nub of the issue.

The government claims that it has a special relationship with First Nations, a government-to-government relationship, a relationship of respect. As my colleague in the Conservative Party has pointed out, individual First Nations and their political entity, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, have said very directly in a letter to the Premier that the Nishnawbe Aski Nation does not approve of this legislation, does not approve of the process, does not approve of the themes that are part of the legislation—in other words, the substance of the legislation—and the First Nations are asking the government to put this legislation aside and allow some of the questions that need to be answered to be answered.

It seems to me that in a relationship of respect that is what the government ought to do. If you claim to have a relationship of respect with someone and you claim to have a special relationship with someone, and they come to you and, in detailed analysis, set out what they object to, what they find wrong and what they ask you to do, it seems to me the government ought to listen and the government ought to show respect for that relationship, yet this government is not. I think she’s correctly summarized exactly what’s going on there.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments? The member for York–Simcoe, you have up to two minutes to respond.

Mrs. Julia Munro: He stood. The member from Peterborough stood.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Thank you. My peripheral vision isn’t working for this part over here. I apologize; I missed that. Member for Peterborough.


Mr. Jeff Leal: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. You don’t need to apologize. Sometimes it’s a bit difficult to see in this corner.

Mr. Robert Bailey: That’s why they put you there.

Mr. Jeff Leal: Exactly. My friend from Sarnia said that’s why I’ve been put here, but that’s okay.

As any debate goes, I think the member from York–Simcoe put some issues on the table. But you can’t deny the fact that in a large section of the north, like with an official plan, there’s a need for appropriate planning.

I think we all witnessed just yesterday a memorandum of understanding between the major forestry companies in Canada and several provinces to protect the boreal forest, that large swath of land that goes through northern Ontario, which this Far North project is part of. That memorandum, they indicated, was historic in nature in order to protect the woodland caribou that we need to foster and nurture so they’re around for future generations. That memorandum also identified a fairly significant swath of land in northern Ontario that would indeed be used for the forestry industry, which we all recognize has gone through some very difficult challenges over the last few years.

You cannot deny the fact that there is a need for appropriate planning similar to what municipalities use in terms of developing official plans to provide a framework for how a community should evolve over a period of time. For me, that’s exactly what this Far North legislation will be all about: an official plan for the area and what will happen in future generations to protect what is a very sensitive ecosystem in that part of the province. I feel that anything we can do to preserve that is vitally important. As we work through it, there may be some positive suggestions that will need to be incorporated.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette: Certainly I said earlier on, and I’ll say again, that the founder of Greenpeace made a very specific reference that so long as the forest continues to have value, it will continue to be a forest. Quite frankly, what we’re seeing in Central and South America is that the forest no longer has value. Those lands are more valued as farming lands or for other aspects, and hence the forest is disappearing. We need to ensure the forest remains there.

The member from Peterborough spoke about caribou. I aided in funding a substantial report on caribou in Ontario in the late 1980s with a number of key organizations in conjunction with the province of Ontario. Quite frankly, the caribou require a little bit more. There’s the woodland group, and then there’s a cross group of woodland/barren-ground in the Far North that have basically been self-sustaining populations.

But if you talk to the forestry sector, as the member from Peterborough mentioned, they’re adamantly concerned with the woodland caribou guidelines that are being established. The perception within that industry is that they’re going to completely devastate the forest industry as a whole. We need to make sure there’s a balance.

Most members wouldn’t realize as well that the most carbon-converting years of a tree—this is great information when you’re talking to students, and when I had the privilege and honour to sit at a desk, that was one of the things I requested as information. The first 15 years of the tree’s life are the most carbon-converting years. The analogy that was brought forward to me was that they’re like kids: They’re growing like weeds and just bringing in and converting back and forth, and that’s converting the carbon. We need to make sure we have that balance of continuing growth and development.

If you look at what took place regarding the caribou management program in Alberta, there was a substantial amount of concern because they moved from a moose management plan to a caribou management plan, which has substantially different forestry practices. As I said earlier, the forest industry is extremely concerned at the potential of moving forward with a caribou management plan in the province of Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Pat Hoy: I’m pleased to rise on this occasion to speak to this bill about the Far North. For someone who represents the most southern part of Ontario, indeed of mainland Canada, I’m pleased to rise and talk about the Far North. I’ve had the opportunity to travel there on the finance committee on many occasions and have some appreciation for the north.

Mr. Mike Colle: You went to Attawapiskat.

Mr. Pat Hoy: Yes, we did travel there as well.

The government is working hard on this bill, as has been stated this afternoon during debate. There’s been a lot of consultation. My understanding is that this bill went out right after first reading, which is rather unique for this place, and will no doubt go out for more consultation after second reading. I think that’s only helpful to all concerned: the opposition, the government and especially those people who would be affected by this bill.

This bill, if passed, would ensure that the First Nations who live in the area have a leadership role in land use planning. I have heard other members speak at length about that. I think we’re moving in the right direction in terms of how we approach that, giving our First Nations a clear voice on this issue. It will protect a large, large tract of land in the north, and of course the First Nations people need to be consulted, and will be consulted and listened to. This will allow for sustainable economic development; the other part of this bill is economic development for all who are concerned.

I look forward to its passage and the actions that will take place after that in terms of more consultation.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The member for York–Simcoe has up to two minutes to respond.

Mrs. Julia Munro: I’m pleased to have had the members for Kenora–Rainy River, Peterborough, Oshawa and Chatham–Kent–Essex respond to the remarks I made. The member for Kenora–Rainy River struck a very important note when he talked about the issue of respect. I would argue that it’s respect on a very grand scale. It’s respect for ways of life and respect for a huge area of land that for most people is quite incomprehensible, in terms of its being almost half the size of this province.

In the spirit of that respect, it seems to me that more time is required. I listened to the member from Peterborough when he talked about community planning. I think many of us in southern Ontario are familiar with community planning, regional planning and how complex it is and how slow the process is if you want to be fair, if you want to listen to everybody, if you want to come up with the very best at the end of the day.

The member from Oshawa referred to what I consider to be another part of this bill that requires attention, and that’s the protection side of the title of the bill. Is it science-based? We’ve gone past the time when we can justify something because it appears to look like something when in fact it’s a very different story when science actually looks at it. When you look at species, you have to be very careful. Is this where they normally live? If it’s not, then no wonder the number is small. Those are the kinds of things that have to be addressed when you have a science-based approach.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate?

Mr. Howard Hampton: I’m pleased to have some time to take part in this debate on the Far North Act. For those who may be watching, this is second reading. First reading of the bill was about a year ago. First Nations who live in the Far North of Ontario, particularly the NAN First Nation, expressed their fundamental opposition to the bill itself and to the process by which the bill was arrived at. I want to review some of that in the context of recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and in the context of this government’s claim of a special relationship with First Nations.

There have been a half-dozen, perhaps 10, decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada in the last 15 years that have set out the duty and responsibility of governments to consult with First Nations and accommodate the rights and interests of First Nations when governments seek to put forward legislation, regulations or undertakings. One of the things which the Nishnawbe Aski Nation objects to about this legislation is that there was no consultation surrounding it. First Nations were taken by surprise that the government would introduce this legislation without any consultation of First Nations, without any discussion or dialogue about First Nation interests or rights. They were equally taken aback that the government would do this and then assume that there was nothing wrong here.


I think the government had it wrong in two contexts. One, the government is clearly out of sync with the decisions that have been made in the last 10 or 15 years by the Supreme Court of Canada regarding governments acting, and governments acting in the context of First Nations rights and interests. I think the government’s completely out of sync with those Supreme Court of Canada decisions. But also, the government, in acting in the way that it has, is in complete contradiction to any claimed special relationship or relationship of respect with First Nations. If you respect someone, you certainly wouldn’t surprise them with legislation that affects their rights and interests without talking to them, without consulting with them, without having a dialogue with them. If anything, that way of proceeding shows extreme disrespect. But that was how this legislation was presented.

The government doesn’t want to admit this, but it was essentially forced to send this out for public hearings after first reading. Again, the government, in my view, completely disrespected the Nishnawbe Aski Nations of the Far North who would have their rights and interests seriously and substantially affected by this legislation. The government disrespected those First Nations by refusing to go to the very First Nations whose lives and livelihoods would be affected by this legislation, communities like Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, like Fort Severn, like Sandy Lake, like Sachigo Lake, like Kashechewan, like Moose Factory. The government simply refused to go to those individual First Nations who would be most directly and substantially affected by this legislation and consult with them. Notwithstanding that, First Nation representatives came and made presentations to the government. They first of all expressed their dismay and their concern with the legislation. They pointedly said they do not approve of the legislation. They were very explicit about why they do not approve of the legislation. But nonetheless, they submitted amendments.

If you’re in a respect relationship with someone and that other party submits amendments and says to you, “We have real problems here. We want them rectified,” in a relationship of respect one would think that they would be listened to. Were they listened to by this government? Not at all. So if one reads the recent letter by the grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, he is very, very clear in what he says: “In particular, proposals with respect to ensuring the bill contains language and mechanisms to support First Nations jurisdiction and title, and final say in land use decisions, along with the ability of the bill to provide multi-year and multi-million dollar funding for land use planning work at the local level, with funds to go through First Nations and/or an arm’s-length board, depending on the wish of the communities”—these were rejected.

He also points out, and I think this is very worthy of the government again taking notice of, that when the First Nations did present their suggestions—this says, “The NAN First Nations continue to oppose the bill as it is written since a number of First Nations proposed and put forward amendments that have gone unheeded.” What First Nations objected to in the first place, the government has continued not to listen to.

That is what was initially wrong. The letter I have here is from the grand chief, dated May 5, only two weeks ago. It’s to the Premier Dalton McGuinty; the Minister of Natural Resources, Linda Jeffrey; the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Michael Gravelle; and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Chris Bentley. I want to quote from the letter because the grand chief could not be more direct. He couldn’t be more direct, more concrete or, I would argue, more sincere:

“Dear Premier and Ministers:

“To begin my communication with you, I would like to start by saying that First Nations in Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) have a say on what happens on homelands and anything that anything that may happen on their homelands will require their free, prior and informed consent.”

Where does that language come from? That language comes from the United Nations. It comes from the United Nations documents relating to the rights of aboriginal people. The First Nations are simply citing the United Nations declarations that, in fact, form and are meant to form part of our international law. Why won’t the McGuinty government listen?

He goes on to say, “First Nations want to secure economic opportunities for their communities and future generations, and also have a sacred responsibility to the Creator to care for the land. First Nations have always determined their uses for land and will continue to do so. Bill 191 conflicts with these principles and approach to the land, therefore I have been asked by First Nations to accepted you the following message.

“As Bill 191 continues to be considered for second reading in session 2, Parliament 39 in the Ontario Legislative Assembly, the First Nations in NAN would like to remind you and other members of Parliament that they oppose the bill as it is currently written.

“NAN First Nations have been consistent in their opposition to the bill since it was first read and carried in June 2, 2009. NAN First Nations continue to oppose the bill even though the Standing Committee on General Government reviewed it and made amendments in October 22, 2009.

“The NAN First Nations have passed resolution 10/22 (attached) demanding that the bill be deferred until: (1) the government of Ontario and NAN First Nations agree on a process for consultation and accommodation”—which is what the Supreme Court of Canada says should happen—“and (2) the government of Ontario obtains their free, prior and informed consent,” which is what the United Nations says should happen. “NAN’s position is that these unaddressed issues alone should prevent its passage,” with which I heartily agree.

This McGuinty Liberal government is attempting to act contrary to the recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and contrary to the United Nations declarations dealing with the rights and interests of aboriginal peoples.

But the chief goes on, and I want to point out some of those things. As he says, the First Nations put forward a number of amendments. Almost all were unheeded by this government. He says, “In particular, proposals with respect to ensuring the bill contains language and mechanisms to support First Nations jurisdiction and title, and final say in land use decisions....”

I want to dwell on that for a minute, because I’m not sure the government gets it. First Nations see this legislation as essentially another repetition of the disgraced neo-colonial attitudes that have so often been evident in Canada. As one chief said to me, “You know, it wasn’t that long ago that some bureaucrat in Ottawa who claimed to be morally and intellectually superior and holier than First Nations decided that he had a good idea on how native children should be educated. They should be taken from their families and put in residential schools.”


Imagine that, Speaker. Imagine somebody sitting in Ottawa, coming to your community and saying, “You don’t know anything about educating your own kids. We’re going to take your kids away and we’re going to put them in residential schools and you will have no say in your child’s education.” That happened, and it resulted in one of the saddest episodes in Canadian history, and we’re still paying the social and economic costs of that.

What do we have today? We have the McGuinty Liberal government in Toronto, which decides that it is more moral and intellectually superior than all the First Nations in the Far North, and the McGuinty government is going to write a piece of legislation and it’s going to tell First Nations how their land can be used, what it can be used for, when it can be used for this, when it can be used for that.

Yes, the government says there is room for consultation, but First Nations are saying, “Oh, they came and consulted us a bit about residential schools. They asked if our kids wanted to go to a Catholic school or an Anglican school or a United Church school.” That’s the kind of consultation that happened then. They’re saying, “We’re not interested in this kind of consultation.” They’re saying, “Look, we’re the people who live here,” that 99.99% of the people who live north of the 51st parallel are First Nations. You might find the odd non-native schoolteacher or non-native nurse or non-native pilot flying around in an airplane, but 99.99% of the people who live there are First Nations. And they haven’t lived there for 1,000 years or 2,000 years or 3,000 years; they have lived there for many thousands of years. They resent somebody in Toronto now saying to them, “This is how your land can be used and it can’t be used for this and it can’t be used for that over there, and we’re going to prescribe how it’s done.” They resent this neo-colonial attitude.

First Nations have been living as one with the land in the Far North of Ontario for thousands of years and, I venture to say, they have made far wiser decisions than those of us who think we’re so smart in southern Ontario—far, far wiser decisions. But are they being listened to by this government? Well, listen to the grand chief again. He says:

“It should be evident that the unilateral imposition of this radical transformation of NAN territory is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of Treaties 9 and 5. The assumption of authority over the off-reserve traditional territory is unacceptable to the NAN First Nations. The letter and the spirit of Treaties 9 and 5 provide for a sharing of the land and resources, based on protocols of mutual respect.”

In other words, he says that not only are you at odds with recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, not only are you at odds with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but you’re also at odds with the very treaties that Ontario and Canada signed with the First Nations.

I would hope that this government would start to listen. I would hope that the government understands just how neo-colonial its attitude and its approach have been from the beginning in this and continue to be in this issue. I would hope the government would realize that this is the wrong way to go.

Many people have said to me, “What do the NAN First Nations want?” I think it’s fair to say that NAN First Nations want what all of us want in terms of our home community or our homeland. NAN First Nations are prepared to share some of the decision-making with the government of Ontario in terms of what happens in NAN territory, but at the end of the day, NAN First Nations want the continuing capacity to make the final decisions.

If you think about it in other terms, NAN First Nations don’t come here to Toronto telling people in Toronto how they should live their lives. NAN First Nations don’t come here to Toronto and lecture people about the incredible amount of greenhouse gases that trucks, cars, SUVs and other vehicles in the greater Toronto area put into the atmosphere, potentially affecting the climate not only of the rest of Ontario but the rest of Canada. They don’t come here and lecture. They don’t come here claiming that they should have the capacity to make decisions about this.

They’re people of respect. They say, “You should make these decisions yourselves.” If asked, I’m sure they’d be willing to give advice, I’m sure they’d even be willing to give suggestions. But they say, “These are decisions you ought to make.” That is the very respectful position they take with respect to where they live—the Far North of Ontario. They’re simply saying, “Hey, we’re willing to work with the Ontario government, but this legislation needs to set out that we live here and only we live here and in the end we will have the final say in determining what happens here.”

If the government is trying to say this could result in unbridled development, then the government needs an education process with respect to northern First Nations. Northern First Nations are at one with the land. For them, the land is not some geographic or geologic entity. The land is part of the community. It is part of a family’s being. It’s part of an individual’s being. First Nations regard it as absolutely repugnant to allow the undertaking of activities which would negatively affect the land on an ongoing basis.

Again, I can only repeat the words of the grand chief, who says that this legislation, from the perspective of NAN First Nations, is fundamentally flawed, the process that the government has undertaken—a very neo-colonialist process—is fundamentally flawed and the bill should be withdrawn and held in abeyance so that NAN First Nations can, with the government of Ontario, in an attitude of co-operation, deal with some of the fundamental issues and problems that need to be addressed first.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Mike Colle: I think that the Far North Act is a good attempt by our government to try and get some attention paid to this precious part of our province and our country. Not enough attention has been given to it. I think the member opposite is probably alluding to that in his own way, and I don’t condemn him for doing that. I do think that this is an opportunity, as we go through the various phases of this bill and the public hearings that will take place, and the consultation, which will go over many months to come, I’m sure, to start to understand how vital this part of Ontario is to this whole continent, not only to this part of Canada.

By looking at the planning of this area, to maintain and make sure it’s sustainable and make sure that future undertakings of any kind in that area are done in some kind of knowledge-based context—because right now, as I’ve said, I think there’s been a real gap in understanding the value, the long-term sustainability, the very sensitive issues as they relate to water, air, land, wildlife and, obviously, first the people who live there, who are the stewards, and that’s our First Nations people. So I do think this, in the long run, is going to be very important, and I emphasize “long run.”


This is not a bill that’s going to have any quick fixes. It’s going to be a long process of consultation, a long process of disagreement, perhaps, on some aspects of the bill. We’ve seen that already. This will, certainly in our children’s lifetime, be very important to them. We have to pay attention to this part of Canada that has in many ways not received the attention it deserves, given the crucial role it plays for climate change and the future of this country.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The member for Oshawa.

Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette: The member from Eglinton–Lawrence states that it’s to try to raise the profile of this issue, and it’s certainly doing that. But I’m not so certain that a lot of individuals in southern Ontario will gain a perspective so that they would understand what’s taking place in the north and what the implications are.

One of the best things that individuals in southern Ontario can do is provide some source of support work to get individuals to understand the north, to get there and just to get a sense of being there. I know one of the members from the third party goes there. I encourage all members to spend as much time exploring all of Ontario and the various golden treasures that are out there and how we need to protect them. These individuals have been there for years and years and years.

Subsection 11(4) goes into details about economic development. Our perspective is that that section of the bill puts a limitation on community use and unfairly restricts the potential for aboriginal communities to pursue renewable energy opportunities. Some of the aspects of the bill talk about the net benefactor, so long as that community is a benefactor. If they’re allowed to create energy, who is the benefactor if they’re shipping the energy to the States or southern Ontario? Quite frankly, we are. There’s a lot of concern that that may be part of the limitations, that some of the resources that are there are going to be limited to forestry and mining, and we need to open those aspects up.

Some other aspects that need to be addressed: There’s a significant number of other users of the Far North, like the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters, providing services, many of which have had camps. Quite frankly, with the changes that will come about, I hear about them giving up a lot of their LUPs, or land use permits, in those areas simply because of the financial structure changes and the changing economy that’s taking place right now. There is a huge impact. These individuals, those who partake in fishing and hunting and all the opportunities and the great things that Ontario is blessed with, need to be included in the entire process, ensuring that it’s done correctly for future generations.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti: I just have two minutes to comment briefly on the comments made by the member from Kenora–Rainy River. I think he’s very passionate about this bill, and I can understand why. We all share commonality in this chamber here today in that we respect land use planning. The bill itself, Bill 191, is called An Act with respect to land use planning and protection in the Far North.

I was here for last night’s debate on the same bill, and two members from the government, both from the north, one from Sault Ste. Marie and another member from Thunder Bay–Atikokan, spoke to this bill briefly and brought up a very significant point. They mentioned that there was consultation after first reading and that we plan to consult again after or during the second reading portion of this bill, which is quite a bit of consultation. Most bills that I’ve seen that come before this Legislature, as I understand, don’t go through this much consultation, but this government is open to consulting, not just on one reading but on two different reading occasions, and to travel to the north and meet with the individuals there.

I also want to mention that in the bill itself, if you look at section 1, and if one were to read section 1 of this bill, it makes it quite plain: “The purpose of this act is to provide for community based land use planning in the Far North that directly involves First Nations in the planning and that supports the environmental, social and economic objectives for land use planning for the peoples of Ontario that are set out in section 6.”

If you go to section 6, it says:

“The following are objectives for land use planning in the Far North:

“1. A significant role for First Nations in the planning”—so we’re not ignoring the First Nations; we’re involving them.

“2. The protection of areas of cultural value in the Far North and the protection of ecological systems in the Far North by including at least 225,000 square kilometres of the Far North in an interconnected network of protected areas....” The final point here is, “Enabling sustainable economic development that benefits the First Nations.”

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments? The member for Kenora–Rainy River, you have up to two minutes to respond.

Mr. Howard Hampton: I want to thank my colleagues for their comments, but I want to go back to quote the grand chief, because we are supposed to be in a relationship of respect with NAN First Nations. It seems to me one of the first indicators of a relationship of respect is that you hear what the other party is saying. This is what NAN says:

“The First Nations in NAN would like to remind you and other members of Parliament that they oppose the bill as it is currently written.

“NAN First Nations have been consistent in their opposition to the bill since it was first read and carried in June 2, 2009. NAN First Nations continue to oppose the bill even though the Standing Committee on General Government reviewed it and made amendments in October 22, 2009.

“The NAN First Nations have passed resolution 10/22 ... demanding that the bill be deferred until (1) the government of Ontario and NAN First Nations agree on a process for consultation and accommodation; and (2) the government of Ontario obtains their free, prior and informed consent.”

I don’t think it could be clearer. The very people that this government claims to be legislating for, that this government claims to be legislating in favour of, are saying to this government, “No. We approve of neither the process nor the substance of what you are trying to do.” No amount of weasel words, no amount of by-the-side rhetoric is going to make it any different—

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Thank you. Pursuant to standing order 47(c), there having been six and a half hours of debate on this bill, the debate is deemed adjourned unless the government House leader specifies otherwise.

Hon. Monique M. Smith: No further debate on this bill.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Orders of the day.

Hon. Monique M. Smith: No further business. I request adjournment of the House.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The government House leader has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

This House is adjourned until Thursday, May 20, at 9 of the clock.

The House adjourned at 1938.