40e législature, 1re session

L024 - Mon 19 Mar 2012 / Lun 19 mar 2012

The House met at 1030.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Please join me in prayer.



The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Having been in the chair a short time now, I have observed that the period of time allotted for the introduction of visitors is sometimes used as an occasion to insert preambles that both take up time and on occasion contain a political message.

I want to take this opportunity to remind all members that there is a short, five-minute time period to introduce your visitors, and it should be used for that purpose only.

While I don’t want to have to cut any member off during an introduction of their visitors, members who abuse this proceeding in the manner I have just described may leave me no choice.

I know that all members will be mindful of this as we go forward, while we introduce visitors.


Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to rise today to welcome Ontario cattlemen from across the province who are here with us in the public gallery, as well as Rob Black and Kathie MacDonald from the Rural Ontario Institute.

I want to welcome them to Queen’s Park on behalf of my colleagues and Tim Hudak, and I look forward to meeting with them this afternoon.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: It’s really a pleasure to have a special welcome today to my niece, Paige Henriksen, who is here today with her classmates from the grade 5 class of Mrs. Sandy Gonsalvez at St. Matthew school in Oakville.

Ms. Tracy MacCharles: It’s a pleasure to welcome representatives from the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services, an umbrella organization that represents 20 children’s treatment centres in Ontario. I believe they are in the Speaker’s gallery, or will be there shortly: Linda Kenny, the chief executive officer; Bob McKay, volunteer; and Caroline Stone, a board chair.

I also invite all MPPs to a reception at 11:30, hosted by this wonderful organization.

Mr. John O’Toole: It’s my pleasure to introduce Gail Palmer and her son, Michael, who’s a grade 5 student at Dr. Ross Tilley Public School in Bowmanville. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Michael Prue: It’s my privilege today to introduce the family of page Julia Cole. Here today is her dad, Greg Cole; her brother, William Cole; and her grandparents, Judy and Bob Cole. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Ted McMeekin: I’d like to introduce the parents of page Liam Donnelly—Shannon Donnelly and Shawn Donnelly—joining us here today from the great riding of Ancaster–Dundas–Flamborough–Westdale.

Mr. Victor Fedeli: I would like to introduce young Sarah Zufelt from Havelock, Ontario, and her uncle, a dear friend of mine, Mr. John Hubble from Toronto.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: This morning, I am pleased to welcome members of the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards to Queen’s Park—so, welcome—including the chair, Dr. Alok Mukherjee and Henry Jensen, the first vice-president from Ottawa. Thank you for the important work you do in keeping our communities safe, and welcome to Queen’s Park.

Ms. Sylvia Jones: It’s my pleasure to introduce Bob Gordanier from the proud riding of Dufferin–Caledon as a member of the Dufferin Federation of Agriculture. Welcome, Bob.

Mr. Grant Crack: It gives me great pleasure today to welcome the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association to Queen’s Park today as part of the Rural Ontario Institute advanced agricultural leadership program. They’re celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate them, and the members who are here, on their continued leadership.

Mr. Bill Walker: I’d like to welcome Jim Cole from Shallow Lake—he’s a member of the cattlemen’s association and my cousin—and all of his colleagues in the gallery as well.

Mr. John Yakabuski: I would also like to welcome members of the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards here to Queen’s Park today for their lobby day. I know you’ll be introducing someone I see in the Speaker’s gallery, but—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Steal my thunder.

Mr. John Yakabuski: —I’m looking forward to it.

Mr. Steve Clark: I would like to introduce two of my constituents here with the delegation from the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association: Kim Sytsma and Jodee Bolton. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Rob Leone: I would like to introduce Amarjeet Gill, our candidate of record for Mississauga–Brampton South.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’ve already had you. We’ll go down to Wellington–Halton Hills.

Mr. Ted Arnott: I’d like to introduce my friend Rob Black, who’s here representing agriculture in Ontario.

Mr. Jim McDonell: I’d like to welcome, from the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association from my riding, Warren Schneckenburger and Rose Stewart, who are here to take part at Queen’s Park today. So, welcome.

Mr. John O’Toole: I’d like to introduce Sean Dawe from Orono. He’s with the Ontario cattlemen. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I have an introduction—sorry. I will take two more.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to rise again to welcome two of my constituents from Oxford, who joined me for the trip to Queen’s Park today. In fact, they literally joined me on my drive in this morning: Dorothy Lipsit and Jack Graves from the great town of Tillsonburg.


Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I’d like to introduce Rob Unsworth with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): We welcome all our guests.

As alluded to earlier—stealing some of my thunder—in the Speaker’s gallery today we have my other brother: Joe Peters is here. Joe is here supporting his son Nicholas, who’s a new page.



Mr. Tim Hudak: My question is to the Premier. In 2003, when you ran to become Premier of the province, you promised that the debt would only go in one direction, and that was down. Since that time, Ontario’s debt has doubled, and we’re on pace to hitting $400 billion in debt within five years. I’ll remind the Premier that Ontario’s credit rating has been downgraded twice, and another rating agency has recently put us on negative outlook.

Premier, let me ask you: Can you tell us your view on the level of provincial debt and its impact on investments and job creation in the province of Ontario?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I appreciate the question, and I think it’s an important topic for us to engage in. Of course, there’s going to be a certain level of indebtedness that is always there. That is natural and understandable, and in fact it’s appropriate. I think one of the issues, of course, is: How did that debt arise? Again, I’d refer my honourable colleague to the Drummond commission and the specific references to the fact that Ontario is, relatively speaking, a frugal province. In fact, Speaker, we are the lowest per capita spender in the entire country—I remind my honourable colleague about that—and we continue to create the most jobs in the country, which I think is, first and foremost, the most important consideration for Ontario families: how we’re doing on the jobs front, and that we keep creating new jobs.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Premier: It is hard to believe that the Premier said that with a straight face. The Premier knows that we’ve shed some 60,000 full-time jobs since the election alone—about 300,000 in the manufacturing sector under your watch. Ontario’s deficit is greater than all of the provinces combined. Premier, you say that it’s natural to have debt; it certainly is far from natural to be heading towards a $400-billion debt in the province of Ontario.

I was in New York City last week. I met with leaders in global finance, men and women who spend their lives determining where they should invest. They look at international, economic and financial issues. They said that the number one thing for future investment is confidence: Does business have the confidence that a government has its fiscal house in order, have its debt under control?

Premier, let me ask you: Is reining in runaway spending and controlling our debt the number one priority for the McGuinty government?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, we’ll be tackling the deficit in earnest, as my honourable colleague knows, in our budget, which marks the beginning of an important five-year plan. That will call upon all of us to make thoughtful, responsible and, in fact, smart choices.

I wonder if my honourable colleague, in his conversations with those individuals he tells us he was meeting with, mentioned to them that, when it came to a choice such as bringing an end to funding for the horse racing industry in Ontario, he indicated to them that he was prepared to make that difficult choice in order for us to make a step forward with respect to balancing our budget and ultimately getting our debt down.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Premier: In the wake of what’s happening in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, the people of Ontario expect a much more serious and thoughtful answer from the Premier of Ontario when it comes to the debt crisis here. Reining in government debt should be priority number one if we want to invite new investment and job creation in our province. Businesses know that governments with high levels of debt can’t afford lower taxes; they can’t afford to invest in infrastructure. The example of Greece and others is very clear that undisciplined governments can lose control at breakneck speed. Debt, Premier, will always catch up with you. The chickens eventually come home to roost.

There are things that are out of our control, but you can’t let government spending become one of them. Premier, will you tell us today that reining in spending and balancing the books will be priority number one in your upcoming budget?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: We have some experience when it comes to dealing with deficits, because we inherited one from the previous government, Speaker. It took some time—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: —but finally we eliminated—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’m going to try to nip this in the bud. Please. Actually, there was even some heckling while the member was asking the question. So please keep it down.


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, as I was saying, we have some experience when it comes to dealing with deficits. We inherited a deficit from the previous Conservative government. It took some time, but we eventually eliminated that deficit, and then we balanced our budget three times in a row.

I also want to bring to my honourable colleague’s attention that Ontario remains the number one destination in all of Canada for foreign direct investment. In all of North America, we’re second only to the state of California. So I think we are doing more than pulling our own weight—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.


Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Premier: Premier, we’ve heard the same tired answers these last eight years, the same worn out talking points. Quite frankly, sir, I think the people of Ontario deserve much better answers.

Premier, you know that in 2012, you will be borrowing $35 billion to finance your debt. That’s $35 billion that won’t be invested in Ontario. Over the next five years, you’ll be borrowing $100 billion more.

Shortly after the election, you and I sat down across the table to discuss structural changes to provincial spending. I gave you a number of ideas to reduce the size and cost of government, but since that time, you’ve rejected them one by one.

One of the clear lessons learned in international financial circles is that your credit is good until it isn’t. You put it at risk when you don’t get spending under control. That’s the lesson in Greece, in Spain and in Portugal.

Premier, I don’t want to see Ontario turn into the Greece of Canada. Will you balance the books in the upcoming budget?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: Mr. Speaker, while the member opposite was in New York dissing Ontario, our bonds were selling at a record pace. You ought to stand up for this province. They’re liquid; they’re available.

He was part of a government that took Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio from 20% to 32.1%. Since we’ve come to office, it has gone from 32% to 37.1%. There is a lot more to do. We will balance that budget. We’ve laid out a plan.

Let me give him some other talking points. “Ontario remains on track with its fiscal recovery plan.... While deficits are projected to continue ... better-than-expected results thus far and a supportive economic recovery have helped to lessen the impact on Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio.” That’s Dominion Bond Rating Service. I’ll give him the other quotes when he asks another question.

This is a great province, and we’re going to make it even better with our next—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Premier: We did get the same tired talking points of the last eight years. I guess we got a bit more volume from the finance minister. We didn’t get any new information.

Finance Minister and Premier, you know you’re issuing a $35-billion piece of debt to finance your runaway spending. We have a different view here: We believe that lower spending leads to balanced budgets. A balanced budget leads to confidence in the economy. It leads to business investment and job creation. Balanced budgets give room for tax relief so they can move that even further down the road.

I’m worried that the Premier and his finance minister sound a lot like the Greek politicians of 10 years ago and say they can simply kick this down the can. But, Premier, again, our credit is only good until it no longer is good, and the next—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Question.

Mr. Tim Hudak: —to the Ontario economy puts it all at risk with your borrowing. Premier, aren’t you putting our economy at considerable risk with your continued overspending and big—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Minister of Finance.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: I’ll share another talking point with him: The confirmation “reflects the view of the province’s better-than-expected fiscal results.... The province continues to have excellent access to capital markets during and after the recession as it’s completed its borrowing program.” That’s Standard and Poor’s, an independent credit rating agency.

We acknowledge that getting back to balance has to be a strong objective of this government. Our spending has gone up a lot.


The federal government’s spending, since the Conservatives took office, went up 65%. Ours went up by the same amount. Why? Because we worked together to fight the recession.

We have put forward a number of proposals to save money, and that leader and his party have been against all of them, Mr. Speaker. They talk a good game. They have no plan, no idea. This government has a plan to get us back to—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Final supplementary.

Mr. Tim Hudak: If I could, Speaker, let me take it back to the essence of the issue: the fiscal reality of the international financial situation in 2012. I don’t have to remind the Premier that we’ve already had two credit rating downgradings; a third recently put us on negative watch.

When I spoke to the credit rating agencies, I asked them what they’ll be watching for in this upcoming budget and what we can do to hold off future downgrades. They said the answer is simple: a credible plan with structural reform. They said they’ll be watching out for gimmicks, for one-offs that don’t address underlying cost-pressure issues, and they tend to look out for one-time revenue enhancements that don’t get to the underlying problem of spending too much money.

Premier, can you stand here today and guarantee that your budget will deliver actual structural reform—no one-off gimmicks, no one-off things—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Question.

Mr. Tim Hudak: —the problems? Will you actually reduce the size and cost of government in your upcoming budget?

Hon. Dwight Duncan: Mr. Speaker, our budget will deliver structural reforms that will help get this province back to balance, protect our education and health systems, and build that better future. What’s at question is whether or not that leader and his party will have the courage to vote in favour of it. They try to have it both ways. They tell you they want restraint. Then when they get an opportunity to support restraint, they don’t support it.

I’ll just remind the Leader of the Opposition of a few more quotes. Here’s what Forbes magazine said: “Canada”—and by extension, Ontario—“ranks No. 1” as the best country for business. And guess what one of the reasons for that was? They said it’s because of Ontario’s reformed tax structure, which he was for, then he was against, then he was for. It’s kind of like full-day learning. He was against it, then he’s for it, then he’s against it. Mr. Speaker, he’s got more positions than the Kama Sutra.

We’re going to balance the budget. We’re going to—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is for the Premier. Today this government has once again announced sweeping changes to health care without consulting the people who are going to be affected. When the government brought in the LHINs, they promised an open and transparent review that would allow people to actually have a say. My question is a simple one: Why has that not happened?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Health.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Thank you for the question. I was very pleased this morning to announce one of those structural reforms that I think all of us know we need to make to sustain health care, Speaker. We announced a reform to the way we fund hospitals so that hospitals will now be paid to provide care to patients. It seems pretty obvious, but it is not the way hospitals are currently funded.

Looking at 91 of our 152 hospitals, our largest hospitals, they will see changes in the way they are funded. We’re working very hard to mitigate the transition, Speaker, so that hospitals will be able to make the changes they need in an orderly way. It’s the right thing for patients, and patients understand that.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, I think everyone agrees that we need to constantly improve our health care system, but the everyday people who are stuck waiting in an emergency room want to see the kind of change that makes life actually better for them—and their wait times shorter—not a decision made behind closed doors to actually close their emergency room, which this government’s quite effective at.

I want to know from this government, Speaker, why are they proceeding with sweeping changes to our hospitals, sweeping changes to our home care system, sweeping changes to our entire health care system, without listening at all to the very people who are going to be affected?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I fundamentally disagree with the assumption embedded in that question. We have listened very, very carefully to the people who are most directly affected by our health care system. Those are people who need more home care. Those are people who want shorter wait times. Those are people who want stronger primary care. We have listened very hard, and we are moving on the advice that we have received.

I can tell you the advice across this province is the same, Speaker. We’ve got to focus more on building supports in the community. We have to do a better job of building in more options for people so that they can leave the hospital when they’re ready to leave the hospital with the supports they need to stay at home or stay in the community.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, the everyday people who make our health care system work really are ready to embrace change, but it has to be change that works for them. Instead, they see decisions being made behind closed doors by unelected, unaccountable LHINs and hospital CEOs who earn more in a week than most people earn in an entire year in this province, and the promises of better health care sound emptier than ever.

I ask again: Why is this government proceeding with sweeping changes to our hospitals, to our home care and to our entire health care system without listening to the people who are going to be most affected?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: The action plan that I revealed in January was very much informed by exactly the advice that the member says we should be getting. Speaker, we not only have the advice, we’re acting on the advice.

Today’s announcement was about providing higher quality care, more consistency of care across this province and better value for our health care dollars.

We need to make these changes, Speaker, so that we can build up the health care system where we don’t have enough resources right now, and that is primary and the home and community care sector of our health care funding. We are moving aggressively on transformation in health care because it’s all about providing care for the people of this province today and in the future.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier. You know, people are very tired of hearing empty promises about better health care because the reality is really falling short in Ontario, especially when it comes to home care.

Lois McRea and her husband live in Sudbury, in that region, and they’re a family that requires two home care visits a day. She and her husband have great personal support workers—PSWs—who are very caring and dedicated people. However, on 16 separate occasions since October Lois and her husband have been left waiting alone for care that never came because the provider simply dropped the ball.

Is this a system, really, Speaker, that’s working for patients?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Health.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, we have significantly increased funding to the home care sector. More people are getting more care. That’s the way it should be. But is there more we can do, Speaker? Absolutely.

While I’ve made it very clear that the community sector is where we really need to focus our attention, it’s exactly stories like that that drive me to the understanding that not only do we need to spend more money, we need to demand a higher quality of care.

Improving quality is embedded in our Excellent Care for All Act. Our entire health care system is now measuring quality and improving quality. When it comes to home care, we know that we can do better and we will do better.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Elizabeth Element’s father is 94, Speaker, and he lives more than an hour outside of Sudbury. Home care has allowed him to stay in his home, where he is comfortable. Her father has been left waiting for hours and hours in adult diapers, not knowing that the appointment has been cancelled.

When Elizabeth calls to reschedule, she reaches a call centre hundreds of kilometres away, and that call centre doesn’t understand that his distance from Sudbury means his waits are going to be even longer to get those diapers changed.

Can you explain or can this government explain why their outsourced home care scheduler is leaving Elizabeth’s father without the dignity and care that he needs?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I think all of us in this place hear stories from constituents that demonstrate our need to be ever-vigilant in improving the quality of care. I think that’s what unites us all. We want better care for the people in this province.

As our population ages, as our population grows, the demands on our health care system are changing, Speaker. That’s why we are taking the steps we are doing to really transform health care.


Today I announced changes to the way hospitals are going to be funded. There are other elements of our action plan that we are moving aggressively on. It’s all about providing the best possible care for people in the right place—their home, whenever possible—at the right time, for the best value and for the best price. That is what we are doing, and I hope the member opposite actually embraces the reforms.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, the change has been coming down the track for years, and this government has missed it. They should have been preparing for the demographic change in this province for years and years and years; instead they wasted our money on eHealth and on Ornge. That’s been their priority. Their friends have gotten a good deal out of it, but the people of Ontario have not.

Everyday families know that home care is a smart investment that will improve the system and will improve people’s lives, but after years and years of empty promises, women like Elizabeth and Lois are still struggling with a system that simply does not work. Instead of sticking with a privatized, for-profit model that leaves families falling behind, will the government start listening and get to work on an open, public review that looks at better ways to provide home care and the care that people need in this province?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, the member opposite is just wrong when it comes to her allegations. Ontario’s health care system is far, far stronger now than it was when we were elected eight years ago. Over two million more Ontarians have access to primary care. We’ve got 200 family health teams providing care and 26 nurse-practitioner-led clinics. Our wait times are half of what they were when we took office.

We have been working very hard to make the kind of changes that people expect of us and we will continue to do that. We will, in fact, accelerate the change. When it comes to quality of care, Ontarians can be very, very proud of their health care system.

Is there more to do? Of course. Have we come a long, long way? Yes, we have.


Mr. Frank Klees: Speaker, to the Minister of Health: When the Auditor General tables his special report on Ornge this Wednesday, we know that the Minister of Health will once again insist that neither she nor her ministry knew anything or heard anything about what was going on at Ornge under her watch.

I ask the minister to explain this: On April 14, 2008, Keith Walmsley, a financial analyst at Ornge, sent this letter to the then Minister of Health Promotion, in which he exposed a number of business practices at Ornge that he described as “deceitful.” He also exposed the fact that Ornge was keeping two sets of books for the express purpose of hiding a $5-million surplus from the ministry. I would like to know this: What action did the Minister of Health Promotion and the Minister of Health take when they received that letter in April 2008?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, I think that when it comes to air ambulance service in this province, the people of Ontario have three pretty straightforward questions. The first question is, if somebody they love needs an air ambulance, are they going to get the care they need? The answer is: Absolutely, yes. Ontario is blessed to have one of the finest air ambulance services in the world.

The second question is, “Have you fixed the problem?” The answer to that, Speaker, is yes. I look forward to the Auditor General’s report coming in. But I can tell you, Speaker, I didn’t wait for that. I sent in a forensic audit team. The entire senior management team, including the board of directors, has been replaced. The issue is now under investigation with the Ontario Provincial Police. I will be introducing new legislation that will make sure this does not happen again, and we are working on a new—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Frank Klees: Speaker, once again the minister has no idea that a letter even existed. I’ve just sent the minister copies, not only of the letter sent to the ministry, but of the ministry’s response, in which, on December 29, 2008, Ruth Hawkins, the executive lead of the ministry’s corporate and direct services division, assured Mr. Walmsley that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance’s team of investigative forensic investigators “acted quickly,” to use her words, to investigate the allegations and all was looked after. The result? They did nothing.

I ask the minister this: Who should be held accountable for allowing the scamming and the skimming to continue at Ornge for the four years while she was minister: the forensic investigations team, the corporate and direct services division or the minister responsible?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the Auditor General. The Auditor General will release his report this week. I think it’s important that—as we always do, Speaker—we listen to the Auditor General and that we act on the recommendations of the Auditor General.

I also have tremendous confidence in the Ontario Provincial Police. They are investigating some allegations related to Ornge as well. So there is a lot of oversight at Ornge right now. I think it’s very important that we allow that work to be done.

I also think it’s very important that members of this Legislature take their responsibility seriously. I understand that the public accounts committee will be looking at issues related to Ornge. We will be introducing legislation shortly that, if it passes first and second reading, will go to committee. So I have every confidence that the people in this House will take their responsibility seriously.


Mr. Michael Prue: My question is to the Premier. Last week, the Minister of Finance and OLG announced that they wanted to build new casinos, particularly in Toronto and Ottawa.

In a 1999 story by Michael Prentice in the Ottawa Citizen, the Premier said, “No new casinos, no more slot machines, no video lottery terminals. That will be my commitment as Premier.”

The question: Why is the Premier suddenly eager to expand gambling into communities that in the past have made it clear they don’t want them?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: Mr. Speaker, last week, the NDP and their critics said that we shouldn’t expand casino gambling; this weekend, their leader was telling us to open slots at racetracks again.

The member opposite forgets it was their party that introduced casino gaming to this province. The member opposite doesn’t accurately portray the recommendations. There are no VLTs for Ontario. There will be no casino in the GTA and there will be no casino in Ottawa, unless local officials want them.

The NDP are all over the map on this. They ought to take one solid, consistent position. A week ago, they were against gambling; on the weekend, when they were pandering in other parts of the province, they were in favour of it.

They don’t get it. This plan will help improve—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Michael Prue: The minister just said it’s local officials; it’s not local officials.

My question is back to the Premier. The OLG act of 1999 requires a referendum by a municipality for it to become eligible for a casino. The last time the people of Toronto voted on this issue in a referendum, they rejected it in no uncertain terms.

My question, again: Will the Premier hold a referendum, and if so, will he listen to Torontonians if they say no to new government casinos in this city?

Hon. Dwight Duncan: From a party that allowed casinos without referendum, an interesting point of view, but we will rely, Mr. Speaker, on the will of Toronto. We will make sure that there’s a consistent position taken, unlike the party opposite that says one thing one week, another thing the next week.

I would remind the member opposite that there’s a potential for 3,000 jobs at a destination entertainment attraction somewhere in the GTA. So I look forward to the people of Toronto seeing what possibilities are out there. I look forward to their point of view as to whether or not they want the opportunity in the GTA or in Ottawa.

What I can tell you is the old way the OLG was run was not efficient, not effective. This is a better way to run it, more efficiently, with better returns to the people of Ontario.


Mr. Bob Delaney: My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. During the past two weeks, there have been reports of a shortage of injectable drugs used by Ontario’s health care providers. Ontario has a responsibility to ensure that patients get access to the essential care they need throughout our health care system. Ontarians expect our Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to take action and to address—



The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Northumberland will come to order.

Mr. Bob Delaney: —shortage of critical drugs. Would the minister inform people in neighbourhoods like Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville what Ontario is doing to address the underlying issues arising from the shortage of drugs caused by one specific drug company?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I’d like to thank the member for the question. First of all, I think it’s important to indicate to this House that there have been no reported cancellations or delays of surgery in Ontario’s publicly funded hospitals, Speaker.

On March 6, I did write to the federal Minister of Health, asking to make it mandatory for companies to report shortages. The House of Commons subsequently has passed an NDP motion to do this, on March 14.

On March 7, I publicly detailed our action plan to address issues arising from the shortage. It includes an assessment of the inventory of drugs across Ontario, a redistribution plan to move available supplies of drugs across the province to where they are needed the most, provincial coordination of the procurement of effective drugs—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Answer.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: —a plan for service delivery in the event of drug shortages and ongoing communications with the health care sector.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Bob Delaney: I understand there’s been communication with other provincial and territorial partners regarding this shortage, which affects all of North America. Patient care is Ontario’s top priority. This situation gives rise to additional questions regarding the roles and the responsibilities of all those involved, including Ontario’s health care providers, such as hospitals, long-term-care homes and hospices; all provinces and territories; the federal government; and drug manufacturers and suppliers. Minister, how are the province, our agencies and our health care partners collaborating to resolve this drug shortage?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Well, Speaker, let me begin by saying that Ontario’s health care community has really risen to the challenge and are working together in a very, very collaborative way to ensure that patients do get the drugs that they need.

This is an issue that involves many health care partners. Drug manufacturers and suppliers produce the drugs in response to health care system requirements. The manufacturing and supply of drugs must be licensed by Health Canada. The federal government has standards, through federal legislation and regulations, to ensure safe and effective drugs and health products. Hospitals and other care providers purchase drugs and other pharmaceutical products through purchasing organizations. These organizations seek out sources for the drugs from federally licensed providers.

LHINs, Speaker, play an important role in managing emergencies. They work with the local health providers and community members to determine the health priorities of each riding. My ministry works with all of these—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.


Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer: My question is also for the Minister of Health. Minister, it’s now been over a month. It was February 16 that you were first notified by Sandoz about the impending drug shortage, and as you know, since then the situation in the province of Ontario has worsened. In fact, we have now learned that hospitals and health care providers are scrambling to obtain medication to alleviate the undue pain and suffering of those patients suffering from cancer. Will the minister confirm that the supply of the injectable pain medication hydromorphone is almost depleted and being rationed in our pharmacies and hospitals? What plan does the minister have to obtain it elsewhere?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, this is of course a very important issue and one that affects people who really do need access to those drugs.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from St. Catharines, come to order.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: What I can tell you is that we have an inventory, Speaker, of the drugs where we do have shortages. There have been no surgeries cancelled or delayed to date. That is—we have had none reported to us.

That is not to say, however, that this is not an urgent situation. Our community partners are working together. We have in place protocols to share the drugs if it gets to that point. At this point, I can tell you that our health care providers are working in a very collaborative way. They are looking after the patients of this province. I am enormously proud of our health care sector, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer: Again to the Minister of Health: This has nothing to do about surgery. As you know, this has everything to do about people who we want to ensure do not suffer undue pain. And so again I say to you, what are you doing?

Take a look at Ian Anderson House in Oakville, a six-bed hospice for end-of-life cancer patients. They’ve already been forced to turn away one gentleman, and they have said that they have received no guidance from the ministry as to how to deal with the drug shortage, as have others. So people with cancer are having not to go to a hospice or to remain at home; they’re now being forced into overcrowded ERs and hospitals, where hospitals now are saying they don’t have drugs.

So I ask you again: Knowing that these drugs are almost depleted and being rationed, what are you doing to obtain them outside of this province?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I can assure you that the health sector, including the ministry and all the providers, are very, very focused on this issue. When it comes to the issue that was in the media around a hospice, what I can tell you is that we have conference calls three times a week with our providers, including the association of palliative care, Speaker. Once our ministry became aware of this situation, we reached out to the hospice to do what we could to resolve it.

I do encourage health care providers to report any shortages. We have a dedicated emergency line. I’m going to give that number: 1-866-212-2272. Any health care providers will get connected to the right support. Community organizations have begun daily reporting on March 19, today. Hospitals have been reporting since—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.


Ms. Cindy Forster: My question is to the Minister of Finance. Speaker, last Wednesday, without bothering to consult community leaders and residents, the government put 210 workers out of a job in Fort Erie. This short-sighted decision to close the OLG slots in Fort Erie has thrown lives into turmoil and has damaged the economy of a region that is already reeling from severe job losses.

Speaker, will the finance minister explain how this government will spare Fort Erie and Niagara—the Niagara region—from more economic devastation?

Hon. Dwight Duncan: Of course there has been job loss as a result of this decision, and there is a very generous severance as well as retraining opportunities provided. One can certainly understand the position and views of families that are affected by this. But at a time like this, we had to choose. Do we want to provide $345 million to the horse racing industry, Mr. Speaker?

I remind the member opposite that last week her leader was asking question after question about the appropriateness of government money for business. Well, this is a big one: $3.8 billion since the program started.

These are difficult choices. We’ll continue to work with the families affected. It’s the right thing to do, but making this choice, as difficult as it was, was about a better future for all Ontarians, about setting our priorities in the right place.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary? The member from Essex.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: My question is to the Minister of Finance. This isn’t a question of horses or health care; it’s a question of horses or welfare, because you’re going to put 2,000 people on the welfare line with this decision. Even the Liberal member from Niagara Falls has put the blame squarely on the Premier and the finance minister for the decision to close OLG slots at border communities.

The finance minister has wrung his hands over job losses in southwestern Ontario, and he’s put another 350 people out of work in his own community and 2,000 in Essex county that rely on the horse harness industry. Instead of tweeting excuses, will he explain to the workers how they’re supposed to pay their bills and feed their families, and when will we see a real jobs plan that gets them back to work in southwestern Ontario?


Hon. Dwight Duncan: Two questions ago, the NDP were opposed to gambling; now they’re in favour of it, Mr. Speaker. They can’t take a consistent position.

I’m with the 2,000 employees at Casino Windsor, with the Windsor Star and others in Windsor who said that, as difficult as it was, this was the right thing to do. Our market can no longer support two institutions competing with themselves, as they both lose more and more money.

So, yes, it is a choice. With $345 million, you can provide two million house calls from doctors. You can provide 27,000 hip and knee replacements. You can provide nine million hours of home care.

These were difficult choices. Leadership requires consistency and making difficult choices—something that’s never done and never seen on that side, because they’re never done pandering. One position early in question period, quite another at the end of question period. Shame on you for not being straight with your own voters.


Mr. Reza Moridi: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. I am proud to be a member of a government that has been acknowledged worldwide for its leadership in education. The OECD just recognized the Ontario government as a strong performer and successful reformer. Furthermore, the Guardian newspaper from the United Kingdom used the McGuinty government’s education system as a strong example of what they hope to achieve in the near future.

Minister, when this government came to power, the Premier made a pledge to raise graduation rates. Will the minister tell us if the McGuinty government has been successful in achieving these goals?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I want to thank the member from Richmond Hill for his interest and advocacy in public education.

Speaker, I, too, am very proud of the recognition that Ontario’s education system is receiving around the world. But do you know what I’m most proud about? I’m most proud about the investments that we are making in our students in Ontario. When we came to office, the graduation rate in 2003 was only 68% of students. Almost one out of every three kids was not graduating. This past year, we are so proud of our Ontario students. In 2011, 82% of Ontario students graduated from high school within five years. That is 93,000 students whose lives are on a better trajectory, and that is because we have made investments in restructuring, rebuilding the confidence in our public education system and helping our students graduate so that they can have a better future for themselves.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Reza Moridi: Thank you, Minister. Education is something that has great power to change lives. As a former professor, I know how important good schools are to the future of my young constituents. We all benefit from a strong education system: from parents with young families to the kids who are the next generation of teachers and doctors.

Ontario Liberals know that investing in education in Ontario is the best way to invest in the future of this province. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues here in this House look at what—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Everybody has to be quiet now.


Mr. Reza Moridi: Unfortunately, many of our colleagues here in this House look at what teachers, students and parents have accomplished in education, and instead of celebrating the great news that more kids are graduating, they have nothing but criticism.

Speaker, will the minister please tell us how the graduation rate is calculated?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I’m very proud to be part of a government that never leaves any of our students behind. We always focus on increasing our graduation rate and finding ways to help Ontario students build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Speaker, we measure our graduation rate on a five-year graduation. But no matter how you measure it, let me tell you that more students in Ontario are graduating now than ever before. When we came to office in 2003, on a four-year graduation rate, it was only 56%. Now we’ve come up by 17 percentage points to 73% of Ontario students who are graduating after four years.

When you take into account all of the students in Ontario who graduate prior to their 25th birthday to build that better life for themselves, 92% of Ontarians are graduating from high school before their 25th birthday. That’s something we should all be proud of because it builds a much brighter future for them—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.


Mr. John Yakabuski: My question is for the Minister of Labour. A significant portion of policing costs is financed by the province, which is already under tremendous pressure, given your projected $30-billion deficit. Your approach so far has been to try to get blood from a stone. The Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, along with the PC caucus, is calling on your government to help contain these costs by developing specific, well-defined criteria that arbitrators would be required to account for in their decisions. Your handpicked expert, Don Drummond, called for it in recommendation 15-4 of his report. It further states, “‘Ability to pay’ criteria should be broadened to include economic and fiscal environment, and productivity criteria in arbitration ... decisions.”

Will you commit to enacting that regulation?

Hon. Linda Jeffrey: Well, it’s a great question, and I appreciate the question. I’m sure, as the member mentioned, Mr. Drummond did cover the issue in his report.

In his report, he spoke about the importance of developing principles that would best allow management and labour to work together to deliver excellent services, and with that, we agree.

He also stated that the system should be balanced, effective, transparent, and it should respect the interests of both the employers and the employees. We agree.

He also stated that the collective bargaining agreements that are negotiated between parties are preferred. We agree.

Lastly, Mr. Drummond said that we have an interest arbitration system in Ontario that is not broken. We agree, which is why I believe it’s important to get some of the facts on the table regarding interest arbitration.

Interest arbitration is not the first place people go to when a municipality and a union don’t agree or they’re at an impasse; it’s the last place. The facts show that the vast majority of cases where interest arbitration is available—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. John Yakabuski: Minister, you can have your talking points, but we know how long some of those agreements have taken to arrive at under your system.

As you know, the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards is here today. They’ve come to Queen’s Park looking for help to help manage future costs. They’re asking your government to finally acknowledge what the PC Party has been saying for some time—that arbitrators rarely consider ability to pay, despite being instructed to do so. It is obvious that the arbitration system, as it exists, is not balanced.

Will you commit today to accept the advice of the PC Party and your hand-picked economic advisor and implement ability-to-pay criteria in arbitration decisions?

Hon. Linda Jeffrey: Mr. Speaker, our government has the greatest respect for the collective bargaining process. As a former municipal councillor, I value the work that our firefighters and our police do to keep people across this province safe. We really do.

The hard-working men and women in our labour groups have the right to bargain, and so do their employers. Going behind closed doors to negotiate is simply the best way to get a contractual issue resolved.

We have a good track record of success in this province. Almost 98% of negotiations in Ontario are now concluded without any labour stoppage. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s one that works. The vast majority of negotiations involving essential service contracts conclude without having to go to arbitration. It’s only as a last resort that negotiations go to arbitration.

On this side of the House, we have the utmost respect and appreciation for police officers and firefighters.


Miss Monique Taylor: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. I know many in this House have read in recent weeks about the hidden tragedy of coerced adoptions in our province. Unmarried mothers were forced to give up their newborn children. I’ve spoken to some of those mothers, and let me tell you, the stories are heartbreaking. They were separated from their babies at the time of their birth and still live with the trauma of that experience to this day.

Will the minister meet with these mothers to hear their stories and help them uncover what happened to Ontario women in maternity homes?

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I want to thank the member opposite for her question, and I have been following coverage of this story very, very closely. I have to say, as a parent myself, these stories are extremely difficult to read, and I want to commend the women involved for showing the courage to speak out.


Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely paramount that all women have their rights protected when making an important decision such as adoption and that they’re provided with all the information they need and provided with that information in an unbiased fashion.

My ministry is not aware of a concerted policy to obtain babies for adoption from unmarried mothers. We are committed to supporting an adoption system in Ontario that emphasizes the rights of and the respect for children, birth parents and adoptive parents.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Miss Monique Taylor: The Salvation Army and the United Church were among those running maternity homes where these practices have taken place. They have committed to investigating what happened.

Will the minister also commit to following their example by ordering an investigation into past adoption practices in Ontario?

Hon. Eric Hoskins: Thank you again for that question. I want to reiterate that my ministry is not aware of any concerted policy to obtain babies for adoption from unmarried mothers. Our government has worked hard to strengthen transparency and accountability when it comes to adoption practices and adoption laws in Ontario.

Child protection in Ontario currently has a variety of independent and rigorous government-mandated oversights, reviews and systems of accountability, including such measures as the Child and Family Services Review Board, which has the authority to review certain decisions and complaints.

Our government is committed to a transparent and accountable system of adoption. In 2008, we introduced the Access to Adoption Records Act, Mr. Speaker, which was subsequently passed into law, so that adopted adults and birth parents may be able to receive more information contained in records—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question?


Mr. Phil McNeely: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. In 2009, the Auditor General made a number of recommendations with regard to the ministry’s environmental approval system, including the need to improve its information systems to allow for risk-based assessment, update certificates of approval in a timely and efficient manner and, thirdly, to improve the timeliness of processing new applications.

Speaker, through you, would the Minister of the Environment please provide us with a status update on the ministry’s environmental approval process?

Hon. James J. Bradley: Excellent question by the member. The government is transforming Ontario’s environmental approvals process to make it more efficient and effective. For the past 30 years, the approvals process has been a paper-based, one-size-fits-all process for business regardless of its size, complexity and potential impact to the environment.

That’s changing. As a result of the Open for Business Act, amendments were made to allow for the implementation of a new risk-based environmental assessment approvals process. Moving to a risk-based approach will allow the ministry to focus rigorous reviews on approvals for large-scale projects where there’s a greater potential for environmental impact.

We’ve also developed an electronic library that will improve public access to approvals and all related information. The ministry will continue to focus on ensuring that businesses know what they need to do, will monitor what they are doing and will take the necessary enforcement action, if required.

We’ve now committed to a six-month streamlined service guarantee to proponents for renewable energy project applications, subject to complete—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. Phil McNeely: I’m pleased to see that the government is working closely with a broad range of stakeholders to build a modern approval system. That’s not only a win for businesses and the public but, most importantly, for our environment.

Speaker, through you to the Minister of the Environment: Could you please elaborate on some of the specific initiatives the ministry has recently implemented under the new modernization of approval program?

Hon. James J. Bradley: An excellent supplementary. Since October 31, 2011, the ministry has introduced the following: new compliance tools that will bring facilities with outdated approvals in line with current standards that will enhance environmental protection; a new online registration process for businesses involved in certain routine activities that have less potential to impact the environment; and a new environmental compliance approval that replaces the existing certificate of approval and includes application requirements that will attest to the accuracy and completeness of the application.

It’s important to note that there will be no change in environmental standards. Large industries will continue to require detailed ministry reviews and approvals. The ministry has and will continue to be actively engaged in consultations with a number of industry partners, environmental groups, municipalities and aboriginal communities to ensure that the new process is excellent.


Mr. Monte McNaughton: My question today is for the Minister of Finance. Minister, last week your government announced a greedy cash grab that will impact over 60,000 hard-working men and women in Ontario’s horse racing industry, killing these good jobs. Only in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario does shutting down an industry that contributes $260 million in direct tax revenue and billions of dollars to overall economic activity seem like a good idea. No wonder you’re staring in the face of a $30-billion deficit. Your cynical, short-sighted casino plan is not only risky but poorly planned and lacking in any economic reasoning. Clearly, Minister, adding numbers is not your strong suit.

Minister, why do you continue to play roulette with Ontario’s economy? Will any cash grab do?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Minister of Finance.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: At the beginning of question period, they were telling us to save money. They’ve talked about corporate welfare, and they want to continue to pay horse tracks $345 million a year. They can’t have it both ways. They didn’t want to support Chrysler and General Motors when they were in trouble, but they’re prepared to continue to support an industry to the tune of $3.8 billion—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock.


Hon. Dwight Duncan: Just to highlight how concerned they are, they wait until the last three minutes of question period, thinking the world won’t see their inconsistency on this issue, Mr. Speaker.

Leading today involves difficult choices. We’ll make those choices. At the beginning of question period, you spoke about the debt and deficit, but you’re prepared to fund horse racing for $345 million and you want to cut full-day learning.

Our priorities are very different than yours. We’re going to lead and we’re going to build a better province than you left us.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary? The member from Sarnia–Lambton.

Mr. Robert Bailey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My supplementary to the Minister of Finance: Minister, 262 lost jobs in Sarnia, 365 lost jobs in Fort Erie, and 1,500 in a city you know well—Windsor. We’re barely out of the gate and already your job plan is costing hard-working Ontarians over 2,100 jobs. Will you reverse this decision and work with the horse racing industry to ensure the long-term survival of this revenue-creating industry, or will you continue with your one-man wrecking crew, abandoning more hard-working Ontario families in Sarnia? We’re at the photo finish on that.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.


Hon. Dwight Duncan: Our priorities are very different from their priorities, Mr. Speaker. What the member opposite forgot to mention is that the OLG plan will actually create 2,300—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The two members up front, be quiet, please.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: —net new jobs. I am glad that the members are putting on record their views of this—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Nepean–Carleton, the member from Renfrew-Nipissing: Come to order.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: —because I’ll be interested in hearing what they have to say when we start announcing where the new venues are going to be, where they will make more money, where that money will go to support health care and education.

Unlike the member opposite, we support a strong and vibrant education system, a strong and vibrant health care system, a consistency of view, taking difficult choices to lead this province. We choose education and health care. We choose to build that better province. We just simply don’t have—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.


Mr. John Vanthof: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture. The government has just announced cuts to a program that will kill thousands of jobs in rural Ontario.

In the Drummond report, it wasn’t just this program that was criticized; it was also the risk management program. That risk management program affects grains and oilseeds, beef, sheep, veal and horticulture crops. But I would like to know today if the minister, and perhaps the finance minister, will commit to keeping that program in the budget.

Hon. Ted McMeekin: Mr. Speaker, these are serious times in Ontario, and we all need to do our share to make sure that we build a strong and vibrant Ontario. When we discuss programs, serious programs, which this government brought in, we do that in concert with our stakeholders. So we’re having discussions with the agricultural sector. We’ll sit down with our stakeholders, as is our wont to do and to make sure that we get things right, unlike governments on the other side of the House.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): There being no deferred votes, this House stands adjourned until 1 p.m. this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1141 to 1300.



Mr. Ted Chudleigh: If a contractual agreement between a government and an industry continues to guarantee an indebted province over $1 billion a year, would you cancel it? I think not. And if the contract allows an industry to thrive and over 60,000 jobs to remain stable in a province struggling to maintain jobs, would you cancel it? I think not.

So would it not be fit to ask why this government is cancelling a revenue-sharing contract with the horse racing industry and the municipalities which does just that? I think it would be fit to ask.

The direct effect on the horse racing industry of cancelling the slots for the racetrack program will also be felt by farmers who supply feed and hay, the veterinarian who cares for the animals and the myriad of suppliers who are essential to this industry. It will be felt by the racetrack employee and the tourism industry. It will be felt by municipalities.

In Quebec, after their government made a similar decision, the horse racing industry was totally decimated.

In Ontario, the horse racing industry is sustaining 60,000 jobs across numerous industries and is guaranteeing over $1 billion a year in government revenue.

It’s time for the government to reconsider cancelling this contract. It’s time to make the right fiscal decisions to ensure that Ontario prospers with jobs once again.


Mr. Jonah Schein: I rise today to speak against the most recent attack on people in our city and the ongoing impacts of austerity on the people of Ontario.

Picket lines have gone up today and library workers in Toronto have sent a clear message that our public libraries, our communities and our workers in this province will not be sold out.

Residents in my riding of Davenport will not have access to library services at St. Clair/Silverthorn, at Dufferin/St. Clair, at Perth/Dupont or at the Bloor/Gladstone library. They’ll be denied access to books, to magazines, to newspapers and computers. They’ll be denied opportunities to meet with authors, to participate in book clubs, to go to writing workshops, to get support with career and job searches, or to have a quiet place to study or do homework.

Valuable sites of public education will be closed, but the political establishment in Ontario will send a lesson to Ontarians: In an era of austerity, tax cuts are more important than public services; in an era of austerity, opportunity is reserved only for the rich and the well connected; in an era of austerity, the political elite expect workers to work part-time in libraries, with no benefits, and then go to work at Tim Hortons to try to make ends meet; in an era of austerity, workers, women, children, seniors and low-income and vulnerable residents will pay the highest price and inequality will increase across this province.

Our public libraries are vital to making Toronto a literate, equitable, engaged and vibrant city.

I urge elected officials in this House and across this province to reject the austerity agenda and stand up for the people of Ontario.

I encourage residents of this city to speak out and protect our public services and to stand in solidarity with our library workers.

Torontonians, please call your city councillors today and tell them to stand up for your community. Tell them to offer Toronto public library workers a fair deal—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.


Mr. David Zimmer: Today, I’m pleased to speak to honour an extraordinary Ontarian and one of my constituents in Willowdale. This week, Community Living Newmarket-Aurora will pay tribute to Peter Miller with their 2012 Community Service Award. The award exemplifies the essence and spirit of a lifetime dedicated to making this world a better place for future generations.

Peter is a towering community builder who helps make good ideas become a reality. His support in the areas of health care, social services and sports seems to know no bounds. He’s done so much for so many and seeks no attention for it.

The list of organizations that receive his support is too extensive to list in full, but includes the Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Friends of Haifa University, Community Living Newmarket/Aurora, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Salvation Army and the children’s aid society.

Of special interest to Peter is youth support. He’s been a long-time supporter of the Newmarket hockey house league tournament. It’s one of the oldest continuous house league hockey tournaments in Ontario.

In his community, Peter will be forever connected with extraordinary generosity of spirit. It’s fitting that he’s been selected to receive this award.

Peter, I send you my personal congratulations and the congratulations of this chamber. Thank you, Peter.


Mr. Garfield Dunlop: I’m very proud to stand before you today and congratulate Team Howard, the Canadian Tim Hortons Brier men’s curling champions. Team Howard is made up of skip Glenn Howard, who has curled more games in the Brier than any other skip in history; vice Wayne Middaugh; second Brent Laing; lead Craig Savill; and, of course, the young spare, Scott Howard, son of Glen and boyfriend of Karley Pipiter of Coldwater.

For the seventh straight year Team Howard, curling out of the Coldwater Curling Club—and also very friendly with the Midland and Penetanguishene curling clubs in the township of Severn—have been the Ontario curling champions.

These guys are all great community leaders, continually helping young and new curlers with many, many events. Even this Thursday, between the Brier and the world championships, there’s a program called Curl with the Pros at the Penetanguishene Curling Club—it’s a fundraiser for the Georgian Bay General Hospital—and they’re taking part in that as well.

From March 31 to April 8, Team Howard will represent Canada at the world championships in Basel, Switzerland. In the past, Glenn Howard has been to the world championships three times, and each time he has won the world championship for Canada. So we’re all cheering Glenn on as he represents Canada again in the world championships, and we want to say how proud we are of this great Team Howard.


Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: I want to use my statement here today to speak about the incident that occurred in my riding of London–Fanshawe this past weekend.

On Saturday, March 17, when many share in the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, London experienced an unacceptable outburst of violence, vandalism and disrespect for our community.

At approximately 10 p.m., the London fire service was called upon to attend to a small brush fire on Fleming Drive, which is a residential neighbourhood of Fanshawe College.

It was reported that a group of approximately 1,000 people confronted and assaulted the London fire service with bricks and bottles upon their arrival. The London police were called in to protect the firefighters and escort them away from the violence.

The scene further escalated into vehicles being set ablaze, and damage to our community is calculated to be in the range of $100,000. While many referenced Fanshawe’s students as the agitators, it’s important to recognize that others were attracted to and participated in these events.

I stand with the students and community members who have expressed their dismay and outrage at these actions. I am deeply grateful that the situation did not escalate further and that no one was critically hurt.

I do want to personally thank the London fire service, Middlesex London EMS and the London police for their dedication and concern for our community. You have my sincerest thanks for your service and for the risks faced on our behalf. These events are deeply disappointing, and this is not what the Fanshawe community is about.

I know our community will work together to get to the root of these problems.


Mr. Michael Coteau: On March 9, 2012, Herb Carnegie, a legend in the sport of hockey and an icon in Canadian history, passed away at the age of 92.

Born in Toronto to Jamaican immigrants in 1919, Mr. Carnegie grew up loving Canada’s game of hockey. He and his brother Ossie rose through the ranks of their local north Toronto league, and Mr. Carnegie eventually landed a position in the minor leagues. He was named most valuable player in the Quebec provincial league three times and eventually got to the New York Rangers’ NHL training camp.

Mr. Carnegie’s talent was noted by hockey luminaries of his era, but it has been said that the elites of the game did not want to see a black player in the NHL. Insultingly, he was offered a minor league contract at less money than he was making in the Quebec league. Mr. Carnegie would never play in the NHL, something he deserved, and this was due at least in part to the prejudice that existed during his era.


In retirement, Mr. Carnegie dedicated his life to others. He poured himself into charity work, and he and his family established the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation, a charity dedicated to providing scholarships, building communities and fostering self-esteem in youth. He excelled in business and was a recipient of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

Mr. Carnegie leaves behind a towering legacy that was formed with courage, grace, dignity and tenacity. Herb Carnegie challenged the dominant assumptions of race inside professional sports during an intolerant time, and he fought to belong in a sport that had never seen a black professional player. He was our Jackie Robinson, and today and forever we fondly remember him.


Mr. John O’Toole: I’m pleased to rise today to pay tribute to a Canadian agricultural legend. Peter Heffering, a giant in cattle and horse breeding, passed away earlier this month at the age of 80. He was known as “the great artist” of Holstein cattle because of his pioneer work in genetics with the Hanover Hill herd.

His other passion was standardbred horses. Peter owned many champions and founded Tara Hills in Port Perry, a farm operation operated today by his son David and his family—I would say it that way. I recently visited the farm, and it’s one of our premier horse-breeding operations in North America.

He was inducted into both the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame and the Canadian Horse Hall of Fame. Peter Heffering was a shining example of success in Ontario’s agricultural communities. It’s a privilege and an honour to say that I’ve known him.

Mr. Speaker, Ontarians are shocked to learn the McGuinty government is dismantling the successful partnership with racetracks and breeding that enables Ontario farms like Tara Hills to thrive. The McGuinty government is already closing the slot facilities in Fort Erie, Windsor and Sarnia at a cost of 560 family jobs.

I urge this House to look at the $2 billion in value it receives from this contractual arrangement and 60,000 jobs related to this part of the economy in the horse industry. I ask people to look closely at how important it is to this community.


Mrs. Liz Sandals: I rise today to recognize the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association and their members who are visiting Queen’s Park today as part of the Rural Ontario Institute’s advanced agricultural leadership program.

The Ontario Cattlemen’s Association is a grassroots organization that provides leadership to cattlemen from all sectors of the industry. I think all members of this House can be proud of the work that the OCA does so that Ontarians can enjoy delicious locally produced beef.

The OCA recently elected a new president, Dan Darling of Northumberland county. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Dan—I look forward to working with him this year—and also to thank outgoing president Curtis Royal of Simcoe county for his many years of work with our government. We’ve enjoyed working with you, Curtis.

To everyone involved in the OCA and to the 19,000 beef producers who are members of this organization, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate OCA on your 50th anniversary and 50 years of wonderful service to the cattlemen of Ontario.


Mr. Rod Jackson: Today, I’d like to recognize and express my gratitude to the certified general accountants who volunteer their time and expertise providing free tax preparation for thousands of lower-income Ontarians every year.

The association of certified general accountants is a self-regulating body that represents 20,000 CGAs plus 8,000 aspirants to the designation. They are committed to contributing to the development of public policy that supports economic health and growth in Ontario. Their free tax preparation clinics will provide relief to more families than ever this year.

Barrie has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. There are many people in need. This month, we had the opportunity to welcome the CGA volunteers at our constituency office to co-host several free tax clinics for the public. I’m proud to announce that this event was immensely successful and well received by the community. The amount of people served by the dedicated expert CGAs doubled compared to that of the previous year, with our combined efforts. To quote a constituent at the tax clinic, “The greeters were so pleasant and cheerful, and the tax experts were second to none.”

I just want to thank all the CGAs, my staff and volunteers who came together to share their expertise and help relieve some of the mounting economic burdens carried by Ontario families today.



Mr. MacLaren moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 47, An Act to amend the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act / Projet de loi 47, Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Société de protection des animaux de l’Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member for a short statement.

Mr. Jack MacLaren: Mr. Speaker, this amendment to the OSPCA Act will separate farm animals from non-farm animals. Farm animals will fall under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food; non-farm animals will stay under the jurisdiction of the OSPCA and the charity that it currently is and with the sheltering service it currently offers.

Under OMAFRA, staff people will work for OMAFRA, under the umbrella of the OSPCA legislation. They will respond to complaint calls, go to farms, enter on to farm properties with the farmer’s permission or a warrant, call a veterinarian if there is any thought of abuse—a veterinarian’s professional opinion. The farmer will have the chance to approve of the vet or call his own vet. That report will determine whether there is abuse or not. The veterinarian will recommend treatment and removal of animals if necessary. The inspector would go to a justice of the peace to get an order to remove animals. The inspector would have the ability to call a policeman if he felt it was necessary to have a policeman decide if there was a need to lay charges.

Non-farm animals would be under the jurisdiction, again, of the OSPCA as it is currently structured. The inspectors there would have the same powers—limited. They would have the authority to respond to calls, call a veterinarian, a justice of the peace if seizure is needed, and call a policeman if there’s a need to lay charges.

As well, there would be a change to how the chief inspector is selected. Currently, the OSPCA board of directors chooses and appoints a person to be the chief inspector. This would be changed to be the Lieutenant Governor in Council, who would have the authority to review any appointment or remove an appointed person as chief inspector of the OSPCA. This would put in place government oversight.


Mrs. Cansfield moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 48, An Act to establish the Alzheimer Advisory Council and develop a strategy for the research, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia / Projet de loi 48, Loi créant le Conseil consultatif de la maladie d’Alzheimer et élaborant une stratégie de traitement et de prévention de la maladie d’Alzheimer et d’autres formes de démence et de recherche en la matière.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member for a short statement.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: First of all, I would like to thank and share how grateful I am to my co-sponsors of this bill, the member from Parkdale–High Park and the member from Whitby–Oshawa.


This act seeks to establish an Alzheimer Advisory Council. The council would consider all matters related to persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their informal caregivers and make recommendations to the minister. The minister would be responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy respecting research, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other related forms of dementia. Furthermore, the minister would be required to take into consideration the reports of the Alzheimer Advisory Council to contribute to the development of the strategy.

This bill states the government of Ontario’s undertaking with respect to the critically important issues related to Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.



Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: I rise in the House on this occasion to remind all members that today is Queen’s Park day for the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards.

Several representatives of the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards are in the visitors’ gallery this afternoon. I invite all members to welcome them and thank them for their contributions towards keeping Ontario safe.

Les commissions de services policiers civiles font tout leur possible pour mettre en place des services policiers de haute qualité dans leurs collectivités. L’Ontario Association of Police Service Boards est ainsi un chef de file de la promotion de la sécurité communautaire à l’échelle de la province.

This government works closely with the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards for the benefit of all Ontarians. Recently, we invited the association and our other major policing partners to participate in a summit on the future of policing. This was a very productive meeting which will help to lay the foundation for future work. Together with our policing partners, this government is committed to pursuing effective methods of law enforcement, crime reduction and crime prevention even during tough economic times.

Après tout, des collectivités sécuritaires sont essentielles à la qualité de vie des résidants et résidantes de l’Ontario. Notre gouvernement tire parti des liens solides qu’il a établis avec le secteur des services policiers depuis de nombreuses années.

We’ve collaborated with our partners to launch several successful law enforcement initiatives since coming to office. Those initiatives have helped to remove drunk drivers, gangs, guns and illegal drugs from our streets. They have placed officers in schools to work with youth at risk, helping to prevent crime and the victimization of vulnerable children. And they have helped police crack down on the despicable crimes of child Internet exploitation, human trafficking and hate.

Mr. Speaker, law enforcement is a challenging field that is constantly evolving. I am confident that this Queen’s Park day will provide an important opportunity to continue an important dialogue with the policing community. Our government shares the same goal as every member of every police service board in the province: to keep Ontarians safe in a manner that is effective and sustainable for generations to come.

I encourage all members to participate and offer a special thanks to the women and men of Ontario’s police services boards. I look forward to seeing all members of this House at the reception hosted by the association this evening.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Responses?

Mr. John Yakabuski: It’s my pleasure to respond to the minister’s statement today on the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards day here at Queen’s Park. I too welcome them and thank them for joining us here today to articulate some of the issues that they feel are important in allowing them to help do their work as members of the police services boards in their communities.

I know a number of these folks personally in my riding, and I can tell you that they do a tremendous job not only in acting as a liaison between the police themselves and the community, through their work on the board, but they also do a tremendous job in trying to ensure that the community can continue to make those services sustainable.

One of the things I must say, Speaker, is that today I asked the Minister of Labour a question with respect to the arbitration system here in the province of Ontario and how it has failed police service boards across this province. The minister’s answer, instead of saying that she would adopt recommendation 15-4 of the Drummond report—which, of course, was their hand-picked economist to review some of the things that might be done better here in the province of Ontario, and he specifically looked at the arbitration system and recommended that the ability to pay be established as a key criteria in that system—the minister’s answer to the question was simply to say, “Very few contract negotiations ever get to arbitration.”

That is, in fact, correct; very few do get to arbitration. But there’s a very good reason for that, and the minister is quite aware: because the history of what happens once it gets to arbitration has made police service boards across the province reluctant to ever allow it to get to that stage because they’re concerned that the decisions made, should it get there, are going to be more expensive than the negotiated settlement.

I say to the minister, you’re the government. They’re asking for something; they’re asking us to bring this issue to the Legislature, which we have; they’re asking the government to do what is stated clearly in the Drummond report with respect to the arbitration system.

You can’t say that a system is not broken when nobody is using it. That’s a poignant example of what is wrong with it: Nobody is using it because they’re afraid of what will happen if they do use it. So I say to the minister: Take heed of the messages that are being delivered by the police services boards here today.

Let’s get one thing very, very clear: We are extremely proud of the men and women in this province who put on a uniform and serve in a police department across this province, be it provincial or municipal. We’re very proud of the work they do. They are among the best, if not the best, in all of the world, and they should be commended and compensated well for their work.

At the same time, the police services boards are asking this Legislature to help them in their very important work in ensuring that those police services will always be available and will be continuously sustainable under the framework of any taxpayers’ situation, and that is the fact that we don’t have an open chequebook. The ability to pay must be something that is taken into consideration. I know that police unions across this province will agree to that; they’ll share that view.

There may be other ways to cut costs in this province with regard to the actual cost of the services. There are many ways that can be looked at, but I don’t think the component of a better arbitration system that speaks to the ability of the municipality to pay is foreign at all. It is one that would be extremely helpful to our municipalities, and I know that those folks from the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards today would like to see that change take place.

Having said that, Speaker, I do encourage all members of this House to meet with members of the services boards today, if they can. Certainly, join us at the reception this evening. They will be having a reception for all MPPs and their staff later this afternoon. Thank you very much.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: It’s a pleasure to offer my greetings and welcome to members of the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards who are here at Queen’s Park today on their lobby day, so to speak.

It was my pleasure, as well, to meet with members of the board and their representatives, along with the member from Bramalea–Gore–Malton, who is our critic for the Ministry of the Attorney General.


The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke raised one of the issues that I heard today regarding the arbitration process. However, there were several other issues that were raised that I think the minister is certainly aware of and that I’m hopeful she will take a look at.

One of them is quite simple, in the sense that there are 630 board members that make up the Association of Police Service Boards across Ontario. Each and every year, new members come in, and some leave, yet there is no stable funding mechanism to ensure that they are trained adequately so that they provide the services to their community that they want to, that they’re offering. Members of police services boards in municipalities, Mr. Speaker, are not necessarily involved in policing or law; they may simply be concerned citizens who want to do their part and want to add to their commitment to their communities. However, we don’t give them any training whatsoever through the province.

It was the case in 1996 that the government did provide some funding to provide training to members of these boards. However, in 1997 that was cut. Subsequently, the ministry did take up a portion of the training. However, that was cut wholeheartedly in recent years.

Now the services boards are requesting a real small commitment on the side of the ministry where, on an annual basis, they would commit $120,000, roughly 30%, to police services boards for governance and education and training programs. I think that’s really a small commitment. It’s something that certainly will go a long way in ensuring that these boards can provide their mandate, can do it well and can make the decisions that municipalities are hoping that they make and that they’re wanting to make for the betterment of policing in this province.

Other issues that were raised today are, really, the entire nature of what we use policing for in this province. More and more, we see us relying on our policing services, whether it be through the OPP or municipal services, for incidents that weren’t typically under their mandate. We see them responding to higher incidences of mental health issues; typically that void was filled by community support workers and social services. There’s an indication there that there has been, over the years, quite a massive amount of downloading from the provinces that has added to the budgets of municipal forces and to the OPP, and that has increased costs and really made it unsustainable.

I think the Association of Police Service Boards is warranted in asking the ministry to take a look at where they’ve fallen back, where they’ve missed the boat in terms of the support for those social services that could play a real, important part in reducing the need for such enormous budgets on the side of our policing in this province.

Of course, they’re looking at other issues in terms of post-traumatic stress disorders that our first responders sometimes have an inclination towards when having dealt with disastrous scenarios. I think it’s an important component to ensure that we provide that safeguard for our first responders. If they’re going into a disaster zone or an emergency scenario, we should ensure that the province has the mechanisms to provide that training or the care that they require should they suffer adverse effects from that. It’s the least we can do, certainly from this province’s standpoint.

I look forward to further discussions with the services board, and I thank them once again for coming here today and meeting with us.



Mr. John O’Toole: I’m pleased to present the first petition of this particular session from my riding of Durham. It reads as follows:

“Whereas industrial wind turbine developments have raised concerns among citizens over health, safety and property values; and

“Whereas the Green Energy Act allows wind turbine developments to bypass meaningful public input and municipal approvals”—and I’m glad to see the Minister of Energy is here;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the Ministry of the Environment revise the Green Energy Act to allow full public input and municipal approvals on all industrial wind farm developments and that a moratorium on wind development be declared until an independent, epidemiological study is completed into the health and environmental impacts of industrial wind turbines.”

I’m pleased to sign the petition because I agree with it, and present it to Kyle, one of the new pages here.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I’ve got a petition signed by some residents in my riding. It reads as follows:

“Whereas the operation of cellular commercial transmission equipment on new or existing cell towers has been proposed near residential areas in Oakville and other communities around the province; and

“Whereas Industry Canada has ultimate authority to approve the location of cellular communications transmission equipment under the federal Radiocommunication Act; and

“Whereas the province of Ontario has no jurisdiction in the placement of cell communications, equipment or services; and

“Whereas many area residents and local elected officials have expressed concerns with the location due to its proximity to residential areas;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the province of Ontario request that the government of Canada review the siting of cellular commercial communications transmission equipment in residential areas; and

“That the province of Ontario request that the government of Canada place a moratorium on the installation of cellular commercial communication transmission equipment on new or existing towers within 1,000 metres of residential homes until an improved separation distance is established by the federal government.”

Thank you, Speaker. I’ll sign this petition.


Mr. Robert Bailey: This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the McGuinty Liberal government has announced that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. will end its Hiawatha racetrack slots operations in Sarnia on March 31 ... even though the current agreement does not expire until 2018; and

“Whereas the end of this program will cost the city of Sarnia 140 jobs immediately and $1.5 million a year in gaming revenues, not to mention potentially 60,000 jobs across the province” that the program has scrapped entirely; and

“Whereas there has been absolutely no consultation with the community, employees, or owner/operator of the local facility; and

“Whereas the McGuinty government continues to put more and more Ontarians out of work due to its ill-conceived, ad hoc decisions, including, in Sarnia, the loss of 80 jobs at the local jail, 100 jobs at Lambton generating station, and numerous others due to high energy costs on businesses;

“We, the undersigned, call upon the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to demand that the McGuinty government stop risking thousands of jobs in Ontario and $1.5 billion in potential revenue by mismanaging the racetrack slots program and focus on finding solutions to the real problems that” Ontarians are facing.

I agree with this petition, Mr. Speaker, and will affix my signature to the same.


Mr. Bill Walker: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the horse racing industry employs approximately 60,000 people, creates $1.5 billion in wages and $2 billion in recurring expenditures annually; and

“Whereas the partnership that was created between government and the horse breeding and racing industry has been a model arrangement and is heralded throughout North America, with 75% of revenues going to the provincial government to fund important programs like health care and education, 5% to the municipalities and only 20% goes back to the horse business; and

“Whereas the horse business is a significant source of revenue for the farming community and rural municipalities;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the Ministry of Finance continue the revenue-sharing partnership with the horse racing industry for the benefit of Ontario’s agricultural and rural economies.”

I agree with this petition, will affix my seal and give it to page Aylin to deliver to the Clerk.


Mr. Jim McDonell: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas a new policy from the Electrical Safety Authority [that] mandates that all electrical contractors must have at least one licensed master electrician on staff for every business effective” this past “December 31, 2011, is forcing electrical contracting small businesses in Ontario out of business;

“Whereas this ESA policy severely impacts small electrical contracting businesses in Ontario. George, in my riding of Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, who has been in the electrical trade for the past 51 years and a small business owner for the past 36 years, who” is in “good standing with the Electrical Safety Authority, Ontario Hydro, local utilities, who follows the same rules and regulations of the ESA, follows the Ontario electrical codes, adheres to the same inspections and pays the same fees as large companies, will not be allowed to renew his electrical contractor licence. Effective December 31, 2011, George will no longer be licensed to practise in Ontario. George will be forced to close his small business.


“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to request the Minister of Consumer Services to direct the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario to modify the licensing requirements to allow small electrical contractors and self-employed electricians to work in the residential and rural market without the unnecessary burden of obtaining a master electrician licence, or at the very minimum, grandfather those who are currently qualified and entitled to work in Ontario.”

I agree with the petition and will be signing it. Thank you, and I’m handing it off to page Teresa.


Mr. Robert Bailey: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas currently the law takes the onus off of owners that raise violent dogs by making it appear that violence is a matter of genetics; and

“Whereas the Dog Owners’ Liability Act does not clearly define a pit bull, nor is it enforced equally across the province, as pit bulls are not an acknowledged breed;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the Legislative Assembly passes Bill 16, Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011, into law.”

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I’ll send this down with Sharmeila.


Mr. Norm Miller: Speaker, a petition in support of Bill 9, paved shoulders on provincial highways. It reads:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas pedestrians and cyclists are increasingly using secondary provincial highways to support healthy lifestyles and expand active transportation; and

“Whereas paved shoulders on highways enhance public safety for all highway users, expand tourism opportunities and support good health; and

“Whereas paved shoulders help to reduce the maintenance cost of repairs to highway surfaces; and

“Whereas the member from Parry Sound–Muskoka’s private member’s bill provides for a minimum one-metre paved shoulder for the benefit of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That private member’s Bill 9, which requires a minimum one-metre paved shoulder on designated provincially owned highways, receive swift passage through the legislative process.”

Mr. Speaker, I support this.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: A petition, again, from some citizens in my riding. It reads as follows:

“Whereas the operation of cellular commercial transmission equipment on new or existing cell towers has been proposed near residential areas in Oakville and other communities around the province;

“Whereas Industry Canada has ultimate authority to approve the location of cellular communications transmission equipment under the federal Radiocommunication Act;

“Whereas the province of Ontario has no jurisdiction in the placement of cell communications equipment or services; and

“Whereas many area residents and local elected officials have expressed concerns with the location due to its proximity to residential areas;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the province of Ontario request that the government of Canada review the siting of cellular commercial communications transmission equipment in residential areas; and

“That the province of Ontario request that the government of Canada place a moratorium on the installation of cellular commercial communication transmission equipment on new or existing towers within 1,000 metres of residential homes until an improved separation distance is established by the federal government.”

I agree with this, Speaker, and will sign it and send it down with Seph.


Mr. Norm Miller: I have hundreds of petitions here to do with Bala Falls, and it reads:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the McGuinty government permitted the release of crown lands to enable the development of a hydro dam in the heart of Bala without discussion or proper consultation with the municipality of the township of Muskoka Lakes, the district of Muskoka or the residents and businesses who would be directly affected; and

“Whereas the community is a tourism destination which is dependent on Bala Falls as an attraction; and

“Whereas residents and business people alike are deeply concerned about the economic and environmental impact that the construction and operation of the dam will have on the community;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the McGuinty government and in particular the Minister of Natural Resources reverse the decision to release crown lands for a hydro dam in Bala Falls.”

Mr. Speaker, I affix my signature to this petition.


Mr. Robert Bailey: This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, signed by hundreds of people from Sarnia–Lambton.

“Whereas the proposed closure of the Sarnia Jail will impact 76 employees and result in a loss of over $6 million to the local Sarnia–Lambton community; and

“Whereas the McGuinty government states that the Sarnia Jail is underutilized while in fact it is currently at 105% capacity; and

“Whereas there are no costs currently associated with transporting inmates from the Sarnia Jail to the Sarnia courthouse, and transporting inmates from Windsor to Sarnia will greatly increase costs, costs which may become a burden to the city of Sarnia and thus local taxpayers; and

“Whereas the mayor, local OPP, the Sarnia police chief, the RCMP, aboriginal police, First Nations … and the Canadian border services were not consulted prior to the Sarnia Jail … announcement, and if closed, Sarnia would become the busiest border crossing in Ontario without a” facility;

“We, the undersigned, call upon the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to demand that the McGuinty Liberal government immediately conduct a public review of the Sarnia Jail and make that cost-benefit analysis available to the public prior to its closure.”

I agree with this petition, will affix my name to it and send it down with Kyle.


Mr. Jim McDonell: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the tick-borne illness known as chronic Lyme disease, which mimics many catastrophic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s” and others “is increasingly endemic in Canada, but scientifically validated diagnostic tests and treatment choices are currently not available in Ontario, forcing patients to seek these in the USA and Europe; and

“Whereas the Canadian Medical Association informed the public, governments and the medical profession in the May 30, 2000, edition of their professional journal that Lyme disease is endemic throughout Canada, particularly in southern Ontario; and

“Whereas the … public health system and the Ontario health insurance plan currently do not fund those specific tests that accurately serve the process of establishing a clinical diagnosis, but only recognize testing procedures known in the medical literature to provide false negatives at 45% to 95% of the time;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to request the Minister of Health … to direct that the Ontario public health system and OHIP include all currently available and scientifically verified tests for acute and chronic Lyme” diagnosis “and to have everything necessary to create public awareness of Lyme disease in Ontario, and to have internationally developed diagnostic and successful treatment protocols available to patients and physicians.”

I agree with the petition and will sign this and deliver it with page Emily.


Mr. Bill Walker: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas residents of Ontario want a moratorium on all further industrial wind turbine development until a third party health and environmental study has been completed; and

“Whereas people in Ontario living within close proximity to industrial wind turbines have reported negative health effects; we need to study the physical, social, economic and environmental impacts of wind turbines; and

“Whereas Ontario’s largest farm organization, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario have called for a suspension of industrial wind turbine development until the serious shortcomings can be addressed, and the Auditor General confirmed wind farms were created in haste and with no planning; and

“Whereas there have been no third party health and environmental studies done on industrial wind turbines, and the Auditor General confirmed there was no real plan for green energy in Ontario and wind farms were constructed in haste;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the Liberal government support Huron–Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson’s private member’s motion which calls for a moratorium on all industrial wind turbine development until a third party health and environmental study has been completed.”

I agree with this petition—it will come back to the House again, I trust—and I affix my name and send it with Alexander to the Clerk.



Resuming the debate adjourned on March 7, 2012, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 34, An Act to repeal the Public Works Protection Act, amend the Police Services Act with respect to court security and enact the Security for Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2012 / Projet de loi 34, Loi abrogeant la Loi sur la protection des ouvrages publics, modifiant la Loi sur les services policiers en ce qui concerne la sécurité des tribunaux et édictant la Loi de 2012 sur la sécurité des centrales électriques et des installations nucléaires.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): When we last debated Bill 34 at second reading, the New Democrats had the floor. I now turn to the government. Further debate? I recognize the member for Northumberland–Quinte West.


Mr. Rob E. Milligan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to rise today to speak to Bill 34, the Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2012. During the few minutes allotted to me today, I’d like to speak to the bill but also to some issues relating to courts and their cost of operation in my riding and across Ontario.

How ironic that just this past weekend, we saw another instance of this sort of hooliganism and wanton disregard for public and private property during the St. Patrick’s Day riot in London, Ontario. Canadians have for most of my life believed that those sorts of antics were restricted to parts of the world where there are not the same deeply entrenched democratic values and respect for property rights of others. That’s what we thought. But the Premier managed to dispel that belief by hopelessly mismanaging what should have been another routine public safety issue when the G20 meetings were held in Toronto in June 2010.

You’ll recall that just prior to the commencement of those meetings, the Premier announced that he and his cabinet, in secret and without any prior public debate, invoked regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act, which in effect turned a massive swath of downtown Toronto into a public work. By doing so, he claimed that this would give the police special arrest powers and would ensure that the G20 meeting site was protected, inside and outside the fence erected around the site, against any untoward activity.

Instead of protecting the site, the announcement of these unprecedented police powers simply inflamed the public and gave one more excuse to those who were looking for reasons to protest what they claimed was the oppression of any number of civil rights by one or more of the G20 countries. In other words, Mr. Speaker, the Premier played right into the hands of the protesters and gave them exactly the sort of undemocratic power trips that were the raison d’être for the protests in the first place.

While I’m pleased that the Premier has seen fit to eliminate the ability of his government to replicate the public disgrace of the G20 regulation, it does not excuse his poor judgment in 2010. If the Premier is looking for notoriety, I think his fiscal mismanagement will be enough to ensure his place in the history books of Ontario. He didn’t have to emulate the other great example of left-wing liberalism, Pierre Trudeau, and his enactment of the War Measures Act.

Nowhere in this bill, or in the comments made by the Liberal members who have spoken to it, has there been an apology for the abuse of power and the abuse of the public trust.

It is simply unacceptable for a minister of the government to leave the impression before the G20 meetings that the regulation gave the police the ability to enforce a five-metre exclusion zone outside the fence when it gave no such authority. It was unseemly for the government to then point the finger to the Toronto police and try to pass the buck when they knew full well that the information provided to the police had been misleading.

This was a major scandal, Mr. Speaker, and the use of this World-War-II-vintage law to round up people during the G20 summit wound up contributing to a major embarrassment for this province and massive property losses to businesses and individuals in the downtown core.

Even the chronology of the passage of the regulation contributes to the abusive nature of the government actions. The regulation was passed by the cabinet on June 2, 2010, and it gave the police extraordinary powers of arrest until June 28, 2010, the day after the G20 summit ended. While the new regulation did appear on the online provincial database known as e-Laws one week before the summit, it wasn’t officially published in the Ontario Gazette until July 3, one week after the regulation expired.

So the bottom line was a misleading press release to the media suggesting that the police could demand identification from anyone moving within five metres of the fence that formed the perimeter around the G20 meeting site. If they refused to provide identification, they faced arrest and, if convicted under this regulation, could face up to two months in jail or a $500 maximum fine.

Opposition to this inappropriate action by the government was swift and widespread. No less than the provincial auditor recommended that the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services should take steps to revise or replace the Public Works Protection Act: “If the government wants to claim the authority to designate security areas to protect persons, an integrated statute should be created that could be used not only to protect public works but also provide proper authority for ensuring the security of persons” during events when required.

The auditor then went on to question whether it was appropriate to have the guards offer conclusive testimony about the location of security boundaries. He condemned the lack of openness, transparency and accountability with the means through which the regulation was passed, and he suggested that the public was not properly advised of the true nature of the regulation.

The government asked former Chief Justice Roy McMurtry to review the entire act, which he did, and he reported back with his recommendations in April 2011. Here we are, almost one year later, and we are only now just proceeding through second reading of the bill that will respond to the criticisms of the provincial auditor, the recommendations of Justice McMurtry and the outrage of the people of Ontario.

I think it is a sad commentary on the current government that no previous government had ever abused the powers of the Public Works Protection Act in the 70 years it had been in effect, Mr. Speaker. No previous government felt the urge to trample on public rights. None of the 14 cabinet ministers had the courage to stand up and decry the misleading and abusive nature of the regulation they were asked to endorse.

Mr. Speaker, I will be voting in favour of this bill, primarily because it is essential that this government be denied the opportunity to repeat the sordid and unseemly actions of June 2010. Protecting our courts, our nuclear plants and our power generation facilities are all legitimate goals and, I suspect, were the inspiration for the passage of the original Public Works Protection Act back during World War II.

To suggest, though, that the very realistic fears of fifth columnists and sabotage during the world war could possibly be compared with any risk that was facing downtown Toronto is simply ridiculous. We cannot afford to have public liberties limited, even in the face of anti-social threats by the likes of those individuals who participated in the G20 protests. Passing Bill 34 will ensure that more appropriate controls are in place to guarantee that no future government will yield to the temptation to follow the inappropriate example set by this government in June 2010.


Before I close, Mr. Speaker, I just want to touch on the courts and court costs in the province of Ontario. If this government has any concern for municipalities, particularly small and rural municipalities, it will end the downloading of court costs, a process he spent hours decrying when he was in opposition.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Taras Natyshak: I want to thank my good friend the honourable member for Northumberland–Quinte West who raises several wonderful points that I think have been well articulated throughout the several weeks that we’ve debated this bill.

Number one that he raises is that there has yet to be a fulsome apology from the government side on the actions that were taken during the G20 and the secretive nature that brought about the imposition of this bill on those peaceful protesters who took to the streets during the G20 summit. That certainly should be a component that the government realizes and hears. Just as a tip, if this bill gets passed, you may want to preface the remarks with a fulsome apology because I think it will go a long way to having Ontarians accept the sincerity of this bill.

Secondly, I see that the government seats are quite vacated, but I would caution the minister, as well as members, that threats to our nuclear system and to our energy capabilities and infrastructure aren’t as they were in the past. I wonder if the ministry is contemplating virtual threats, and by that I mean viruses that are launched by outside forces, similar to the Stuxnet virus that was launched on other nuclear facilities. We have to take a serious look at this. I don’t know if this bill goes that far in terms of scope, but there are outside influences and threats that are even more tangible than any one person or group could ever offer to infrastructure.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: It’s my pleasure to rise today to speak on the comments that were moved forward by the member from Northumberland–Quinte West on this bill. First of all, I want to thank him for his support. He’s going to support this bill.

It’s about time this bill was reviewed. Under the great recommendations from Justice McMurtry, we have drafted a bill to replace the one that is outdated, and we thank Justice McMurtry for his good recommendations.

It’s important that our courthouses and our electric facilities be safe—and also the people who work in our court facilities: our judges, our crowns and all the officials. Because of unfortunate happenings in the past, Judge McMurtry saw fit that we not only do away with the past bill, but that we replace the bill to ensure that our courts are very secure and our electricity facilities are also very secure.

I encourage all members in the House to support this new bill, and if they have any suggestions to improve it, we’re open to them.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Toby Barrett: It was a very good presentation by the member for Northumberland–Quinte West. We shouldn’t be surprised: a former high school teacher and a farmer—there are a few of us in this House who have had those careers—who brings forward the kind of common sense and communication skills that you would expect having a background like that.

Rob took over a riding that, at one time, for many, many years, was represented by Doug Galt, who had quite a presence in this Legislature. There seemed to be an ongoing duel year after year between that member, Doug Galt, and a member from a neighbouring riding, who’s actually still here and continues the oratorical tradition. It was a tough fight during the election to get this member here, and by what we see in this Legislature, it’s going to be a little easier next time.

With respect to this legislation, it’s almost too focused, in a sense, and I know members opposite have—and I see in Hansard it says, “Well, we have the Criminal Code, we have the Trespass to Property Act, we have other more modern legislation that is far superior to what we had 70, 71 or 72 years ago, when this legislation was brought in.” I think that’s somewhat naive. We continue to live in dangerous times. I know someone in the House said that we no longer need to fear saboteurs operating in the dark of night. I think that’s naive, given the present situation in our world.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Michael Prue: I listened intently to the member from Northumberland–Quinte West. I have not had an opportunity—because he’s so recently arrived—to hear him speak many times in this House, and I want to commend him for what he had to say. He had a very good analysis of why we are here debating this particular bill.

It isn’t so much that people on the opposition side are opposed to this bill, because we all recognize that this bill is preferable to the one that it’s replacing. But the question still has to be asked, and he asked it very well: How is it that after 70 years of existence, this was the first time that any government saw fit to use it? How is it that it was not used in this, I would put, form of barbarity during the entire Second World War? It was not used during the Korean War. It was not used at any juncture, even in the War Measures Act. No government of Ontario saw fit to use this bill until the Liberals, a few years ago, looked at it, in light of the G20, and thought that this was the answer, this was the solution, this is what needed to happen.

He is absolutely right that it was inappropriate, and he’s absolutely right that it needs to be replaced, because I don’t think we should ever allow any government of any stripe to use that kind of bill against the civil liberties of the people of this province ever again.

He was absolutely right that this was used, and what is happening now is a cover for the inappropriate actions that this government used against the people of Ontario last year.

He is absolutely right that not one of the 14 cabinet ministers or those who hung around the table on that day had the courage to stand up and to protect the civil liberties of the people of this province.

So I commend him for what he had to say here today. We need to get on with passing this bill, but we ought never to forget why this bill is here in the first place.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): We’ve had four questions and comments. I now return to the member for Northumberland–Quinte West, who has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Rob E. Milligan: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Listening to my NDP colleagues and their kind remarks regarding Bill 34—the member from Essex as well as Beaches–East York, and the minister for her acknowledgement that we do have to move forward on this type of bill to ensure that the civil liberties that we do so enjoy as Canadians and Ontarians don’t get trampled on or overrun by any government, regardless of stripe, like the member from Beaches–East York mentioned.

I’d also like to thank my member from Haldimand–Norfolk, Mr. Barrett, for his acknowledgments as well.


Obviously, all parties have moved forward, and this is why we’re debating this bill today: to ensure that those civil liberties are going to be protected.

There’s more that we can do as well, Mr. Speaker. Not any piece of legislation is perfect. The member from Haldimand–Norfolk talked earlier about protecting other facilities as well up in northern Ontario: Nanticoke and oil refineries. This is an area, as well, I think we definitely need to look into to ensure that those facilities are also brought under the umbrella. I’m sure that will be something that we look at in the future. I think that’s definitely a positive step that we’re taking by debating this Bill 34 here today.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Mr. Paul Miller: First, I’d like to start off, Speaker, today by saying that there were certainly, as I watched the circumstances unfold that weekend from a great distance—we watched the television; we watched the computer; we watched YouTube. We watched all the things that were transpiring that weekend.

The thing that stands out in my mind the most, Speaker, was the ineffectiveness of the authorities at that level. They sat back and watched all those characters with the black masks and the handkerchiefs over their faces smashing windows, burning police cars, jumping on police cars, throwing rocks, and did absolutely nothing. If they had moved in on Saturday afternoon and arrested everyone wearing a black mask or a handkerchief, that would have simmered things down immensely. They did not move quickly, they did not move fast enough, they didn’t do their job. The person in charge should have been brought to task on that, because you don’t stand by with that number of police—I believe the number was in the thousands of police officers, and there might have been a few hundred of the real bad ones that were causing the majority of the trouble. They should have arrested all of them before they even dealt with the rest of the public, because there were a lot of peaceful protesters there who got dragged into it. I don’t know why the police stood back, but they did. They shouldn’t have.

The Public Works Protection Act, of course, certainly needed to be overhauled. The Liberal government unfortunately allowed the use of this bill to search citizens near the security fence during the G20 protests.

The amendments to the Police Services Act would grant powers to court security guards which were previously provided for under the Public Works Protection Act and would require any person entering or inside a courthouse to provide identification and provide information to assess their security risk, which is fine with me. But, Speaker, to search without a warrant any person, property or vehicle entering or attempting to enter premises where the court proceedings are conducted leaves me somewhat worried about possible abuse. Likewise, searching without a warrant—and using reasonable force if necessary—any person who is in custody where court proceedings are conducted or who is being transported to or from such premises or any property in the custody or care of that person seems odd. It seems to me that a person in custody would already have been subjected to a search to confirm that no weapons are being carried, and that their property also would have been searched. If they’re in police custody, that would have been one of the first things the police did. So, why repeat it? This needs to be carefully clarified to me: what exactly they’re going to do at the courthouse.

The new legislation narrowing the list of public works to only electricity-generating and nuclear facilities also causes me concern. This act covers very limited categories of infrastructure, and, like many other bills we’ve seen, cannot be clarified and amended through the regulations process. The bill would require amending legislation, not regulation. Although I do prefer that significant changes to any legislation be available for public comment, I also worry about the time that this process could take when the bill addresses perceived immediate danger.

The act designates security personnel at these facilities with the power to request any person who wishes to enter or is on the premises to produce identification and provide information for the purposes of assessing the person’s security risk, and to search, upon consent, any person, property or vehicle entering the premises. Guards could exercise the specific powers only on the premises, and these powers would not apply off the premises. Citizens are given the option to enter the premises or leave.

But what I’m concerned about, Speaker: If a person decides not to be subjected to a search and not to enter, will they be considered suspicious, or possibly subjected to further scrutiny or perhaps even secret scrutiny? Very concerning, Speaker. Because they refused and feel their rights have been infringed upon, are they going to take a picture of them? Are they going to put them in a file as a possible suspicious person because they wouldn’t follow what the security guards wanted them to do? I’m very concerned about that.

It also muddies the waters of enforcement and the degree to which a non-police officer, but with some authority, can impose on citizens.

Another aspect of this that concerns me is that the private security personnel will have powers without the public accountability that the public forces are subject to—another back door to privatization of services that I believe should always remain in the public domain.

Another term that I would like to see very well defined is “search.” I’m concerned that a strip search could be attempted by these private security personnel. The degree to which strip searches were used during the G20 was simply appalling and, I believe, very unnecessary.

I want this to be absolutely clear, Speaker: No private security employee ever has the authority to perform such a search when a public police officer is involved, and the use of a strip search is extremely limited in which it is used and very limited to specific public police officers with specific training. Sadly, over the past year or two, we’ve witnessed some rogue police officers taking this action when many of them, they admitted, were untrained. I would question the necessity of this.

I’m also concerned that we don’t move into a state that will in any way infringe on citizens’ rights to freedom of expression. I’m a little concerned; that weekend, a lot of people were out in Toronto with freedom of expression and in no way, shape or form were there to break windows or burn cars or to attack police officers or any of that sort. Well, they were certainly subjected to some pretty nasty treatment, which I think was actually embarrassing for Ontario and Canada. While at the same time ensuring that our public police officers are treated with the respect that they deserve in the performance of their duties—we certainly cannot disrespect our police forces, and we certainly have to co-operate to the best of our ability. But we certainly cannot let the police forces abuse their authority as well.

Our police officers are directed by their senior officers and must be directed in such a way that they are fully aware of their rights and their obligations: for example, to let a citizen know that there are new police authorities in a particular situation. Also, the leaders of the police, whether it be the Mounties, the OPP or the city police, should be responsible for the actions of their rank and file. They should be held accountable, because the orders come from them.

Officers should be directed to provide the new information before enacting it and making arrests like what happened to Mr. Vasey, a curious York University student who was subjected to the G20 regulation 233/10. Perhaps there should have been an information perimeter before a security perimeter, to give peaceful protesters a chance to exercise their rights and not be subjected to arrest or abuse. The tapes of the G20 police and protester interaction showed that many experienced police officers did just that: They told protesters what was happening and what would happen. Unfortunately, this did not happen in every case. There were responsible officers that warned the people, “If you go past this certain area or this line, it could result in some problems.”

I recall comments made by protesters at one peaceful parade, who questioned why police officers were guarding their peaceful protest on Sunday while the bad protesters were committing public damage. Good question. Why did they use police resources to go after peaceful protesters when there were guys with masks and handkerchiefs smashing windows and smashing cars and burning police cars? What’s going on? Is that the best use of your police resources? I think not. But as we should know, officers are directed by their senior officers and can’t leave their assigned position or duty without possible repercussions to them. So they were following their orders. Were they directed properly? I don’t think so. So, again, the legislation has to be clear that the direction to those on the front line ensures that the numbers of these problems become very few.

Listen, Speaker, I’m not naive to think that things are not going to happen in a riot situation which are uncontrollable and which the police are not expecting. The unexpected does happen, and the police have to use their best judgment to react at that time. But I’m sure some of the situations that weekend did not require the force that was done, and I’m sure some of the groups that they were dealing with, people in walkers and wheelchairs, and even one man who had his one leg removed in a tussle—that’s a little bit much.


Each has their own way of handling potentially tense public situations, and I think the mixed styles and signals caused some of the problems. The coordination, the delivery and the movements of the police that weekend were certainly not well planned. It seemed to be at one time that it wasn’t clear to the public who exactly was in charge, the rioters or the police. Were the Toronto police chief, the RCMP, the OPP or some special forces not capable of handling a couple of hundred people with masks who were wielding sticks and burning and throwing things and lighting fires? Why couldn’t they have moved in on those guys? I don’t think the regular protesters would have done much to help those people who were smashing windows. They would probably say, “You deserve it. You’re ruining my protest by going and smashing windows and making a mockery of the whole thing.” I think the good citizens, the people who were there in good nature, certainly would not have done that.

Sorry; I see I’ve gone on and on here. Thank you, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. Questions and comments?

Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: It’s a pleasure to follow the remarks of the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek. I’ll say at the outset that I agreed with a lot of his remarks, and a few I would disagree with.

One thing I think we both agree on is that there were a lot of peaceful protesters out to protest at the G20. There were also some violent protesters who decided that they were going to come and cause some harm and some property damage. I think a lot of the focus has been on how we learn from this: How do we make this better?

Certainly when Chief Justice McMurtry came up with his report, what he asked us to do with his recommendations and what he was attempting to do was to bring in something that would strike a balance between personal liberties of us all and the personal safety of us all as well, or the public safety. I think he has struck a good balance. I think this legislation strikes a good balance.

If you look at some of the facts, if you look at how we got to the position we got to with the G20 and the G8, the federal government obviously is responsible for both, being international affairs. Huntsville had two years to prepare for the G8. That seems to me to be a reasonable amount of time. Toronto had four months to prepare for the G20. It seems to me that that’s not a reasonable amount of time.

There was advice given that perhaps the G20 should be held on the exhibition grounds, should be held in a more suitable location. That advice was obviously ignored. I think had that advice been heeded at the time, we might not be talking about this today.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is a group I respect. They have said, “What is needed is a comprehensive review that can examine the decisions and policies of all of the actors involved in the G20. [The G20] was a federal summit, hosted by the federal government, policed by a federal security agency and paid for by federal funds. The federal government is therefore best suited to coordinate such an inquiry....”

I think that’s sage advice. The legislation that is before us today is one that all members of the House should support.

Mr. Jim McDonell: It’s a pleasure to get up and comment on the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek and some of the points he made.

I think one of the issues here was the taking of a law that was used properly over the last 60-some years but in an event that should have been a showcase in Toronto, in Canada and in Ontario turned bad because of the way the law was used and the way it was issued. Imagine a law in a free and democratic society where it was issued and only publicly issued after the event was over. When we look at the misuse of the law, where an amputee has his leg torn off, and instead of being helped was arrested—I mean, what danger is he going to be? This is just misuse of power.

I think one of the issues is that when laws are published in the back rooms, you don’t allow your law enforcement officers to actually sit down and review the law and see where it could be to their advantage, what they could do to help people, and allow the people who were there truly as sightseers or as peaceful demonstrators to have their rights to actually voice their concerns. Instead, we have cases where casual shoppers were arrested because they didn’t have ID on them. As the member from Stoney Creek very knowledgeably put down, they should be allowed to leave. If they’re showing up and choose not to submit themselves to a search or do not have the proper ID, they should be allowed to leave without further persecution.

I think in this democracy of Canada and Ontario, we’re looking for this law to be changed, and I will be supporting that, as my honourable member from Northumberland–Quinte West said, if only so that this government cannot follow through on the same actions that we’ve seen in 2010.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Jonah Schein: I’m happy to rise today and speak to this issue. It is an issue that just won’t go away. The issue of democracy is with us here every day, and freedom of speech is something that we can never ignore the importance of.

I’m happy that the government is finally talking about this, but as many of my colleagues here have said, we’re still waiting for an apology in this city. Whether it was people who were on the street because it was their neighbourhood, or people who were out to express their opinion about what was happening that day, or storekeepers who suffered real damages to their business, we still have not heard an apology or any responsibility taken from this government about what happened during the G20 summit here in Toronto. This is a matter of responsibility and culpability, and quite frankly, it wasn’t planned for properly and it was a huge waste of precious tax dollars that could have been spent on any number of social services in this city that we need.

But one of the important things that we haven’t recovered still is the confidence that people have in this city go out and voice their opinions. People to this day are still concerned that you can’t go out and voice opposition to something that you feel strongly about. People will leave their children at home if they want to go out and demonstrate, whether that’s International Women’s Day or to protest a war that’s happening in other parts of the world, or to protest some of the actions of this government, right here, that it will be taking and is taking. People are afraid to be on the streets here, and that is a big loss.

So we need guarantees from this government that this won’t happen again. When these kinds of laws are negotiated behind closed doors, it does a disservice to all of us. I’ve got some real concerns that people’s civil liberties will again be at risk in courthouses in this city. We need to make sure that there is accountability in this province, that citizens are welcomed in to look and see what’s happening, and that they’re not afraid that they’ll be hurt when they do that.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Time for one last question or comment.

Ms. Soo Wong: I do want to acknowledge my colleague’s comment today about this debate on the PWPA. Let’s bring back the historical context about this piece. It started back in the G20 summits, where the federal government, without any consultation—and coming from the city of Toronto, I can tell you it was mayhem when the federal government decided to have this event, an international event, without consulting the local government, the local communities, and then imposed this particular international event into our city.

We heard very clearly that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has said that the federal government takes full responsibility for this G20, and we still haven’t seen that at all in terms of repayment of the local businesses that have been damaged by this event. Furthermore, the government is taking responsibility in terms of repealing 70-year-old legislation that is totally outdated, and more importantly, addressing the concern from the former Chief Justice Roy McMurtry, the public, the civil liberties, the municipalities, the power producers, as well as justice officials and the police.

Moving forward, this is what this proposed legislation is about: How do we balance making sure the public is safe and the concerns raised by the community from the various associations in bringing this legislation to the community? So this legislation is listening but, more importantly, addressing it moving forward, because at the end of the day, it would be irresponsible for us as the House if we don’t listen and we didn’t act on the former chief justice’s recommendation. This proposed legislation is talking about that, Mr. Speaker, and we must move forward because we cannot keep seeing what has happened at the G20 summit. What’s before us right now is that there may be another international event imposed upon this city, this province again, and we’re not ready. This proposed legislation allows for that.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): I’ll now return to the member for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, who, of course, has two minutes to respond.

Mr. Paul Miller: I’d like to thank the members from Oakville, Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, Davenport and Scarborough–Agincourt.

You know, Speaker, I really have a problem with the government’s attitude. Now they’re saying they shoulda, woulda, coulda. That archaic bill was enforced many, many years ago. They knew full well they were going to have a major event here in Toronto. They didn’t do their homework. They didn’t go and look to see that there could be abuses of the old legislation. They didn’t even consider it. Then once it happened, they panicked, pushed something into place, and again, everything happened and the abuses happened, with no homework done, no preventive measures—nothing.

But the real concern I have is that nobody over there has said a word; no one has apologized. The Premier should have apologized. What is the big deal, Speaker? You stand up and you say, “We made a mistake. We were wrong. We’re going to fix it.” You don’t become arrogant to the thing that—I was always taught to say sorry when I did something wrong. Why can’t they? Are they above that? They cannot say, “I’m sorry; we screwed up”?

People would have thought a lot more of them if they had actually stepped up to the plate and said, “Yes, we made a mistake. Yes, this law is archaic. Yes, it should have been changed before the weekend here in Toronto.” They had plenty of time to look at it. They knew the War Measures Act was there. They could have looked at it; they didn’t. They just left it up to the authorities to take over, and then the backlash came back but not one word about, “We might have made a mistake. We’re wrong. We’re going to look at it. We’re going to fix it.”

This government is a knee-jerk government. They react after things happen instead of before. It’s not good enough, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Mr. Rod Jackson: I’m grateful to have this opportunity to rise in this House to speak to this bill. I do so on behalf of those citizens whose civil liberties were compromised during the peaceful demonstrations at the G20 summit in 2010 here in Toronto and the hard-working families of Ontario who are stuck with the tab.

I stand united with my fellow PC caucus members to support Bill 34, An Act to repeal the Public Works Protection Act, which, as we all know, is a long-overdue legislative amendment by this government intended to correct a mistake made by this government.

As some of my colleagues have already pointed out when speaking to the bill at length and, more specifically, as we heard in an articulate history lesson from the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke earlier in the debate, the Public Works Protection Act first came to this province in 1939 and was developed and passed during Canada’s involvement in World War II—a different time with much more dire implications on the public.

I’m grateful and relieved that this fine Legislature is updating the Public Works Protection Act to better reflect today’s modern needs and to ensure that we do not see government manipulate legislation for political reasons at the expense of our civil liberties.

We unfortunately witnessed massive mismanagement of resources and public policy here in Ontario at a time when the global community had all eyes on us during the G8 and G20 summits. In the summer of 2010, Ontario hosted the G8 in Huntsville and the G20 here in Toronto. What it meant for Ontarians was simple: an overwhelming reduction of civil liberties at their personal expense.

When this government decided to implement Ontario regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act, they did it in secrecy and in great disrespect to the democratic nature of this House. As a new member of this Legislature, I’m highly motivated by the fact that we, as representatives of the people of Ontario, are entrusted to openly discuss and debate the rules and policies that directly impact the residents of this historic province.

Having had an opportunity to chat with some of my caucus mates who sat in this House during 2010, I’ve quickly realized the dire consequences that resulted from an impulsive action by the government of the day to pre-emptively condemn any average Ontarian who wished to participate within the public vicinity of the G20 venues in downtown Toronto.

I watched, myself, as obviously innocent people were herded like cattle and treated like criminals. I was appalled as a Canadian to watch from the sidelines as our highly trained and respectful police forces were forced to carry out the unjust and unnecessary demands of this government’s vicious policy.

People around this world quickly learned the stories of average Canadians, such as the one shared by the member from Toronto Centre, who described how police in his own riding, in his own words, “arrested a woman who left her children at home when she was going to pick up milk because she didn’t have ID.” That’s not the kind of province I want to live in; I know that.

The minister may argue that the police officers acted with no control by this government, but the reality of the matter is that the police services in this province were handed these extensive powers from a closed-door Liberal cabinet meeting, without being requested to do so by the Ontario Legislature. It’s high time this government took its responsibilities seriously and realizes that the buck stops there. Still, today, there are no official records showing any type of request from the Ontario Provincial Police or the Toronto police commission asking the members of this Legislature—all of us—to enact Ontario regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act to assist them in securing the welfare of residents in this city during the G20.

Why should this government feel the necessity to put words in the mouths of security experts? The answer is simple, Speaker: So that they could spread blame around even wider in case things went wrong. And guess what? They went wrong. They went terribly wrong.

Of course, this government did what it does best: diffused accountability for its own actions. Just now we heard a deflection to the federal government. When does it stop? When do you take responsibility for your own actions? I haven’t seen this government do it once since I’ve sat in this House; say, “Yeah, you know, we made a mistake. We’re going to change things.” Just own up to it. People respect you when you acknowledge a mistake; they don’t when you try to cover it up.

Mr. Bill Walker: They’d be busy all day, every day.

Mr. Rod Jackson: They’d be busy all day.

I know math isn’t the government’s favourite subject, but eventually they have to understand that statistically, it’s impossible that they’re never at fault.

Let’s talk about accountability for a moment. The minister would have you believe that Bill 34 is business as usual; that they saw a need to revise legislation and have it updated. I would insist that this bill is a reactive one, in response to massive government mismanagement under the Premier that took advantage of the ancient wartime bill for security at the G20 to exercise authoritative powers and contribute to its political legacy. In fact, the Liberal government was told by the Ombudsman and the McMurtry report that they must respond and be accountable for the secret undertakings of the G20 days.

Unfortunately, the cryptic implementation of these excessive measures resulted in exactly the opposite of what they were hoping to achieve: public order. Many individual protesters and bystanders who had the right to be there were unfairly detained, as in the case of the Toronto Centre constituent I’ve already mentioned. Concurrently, the people who were present during the summit to enact their right to freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration were confronted with new rules that have never been enforced in the modern history of our province, escalating tension between protesters and police very rapidly and likely inciting more violence than would have been realized otherwise.

How did this massive mismanagement turn out for the minister responsible? Well, quite well, actually. Such enormous mismanagement deemed the dismissal of the ministerial duties by the cabinet member at the time. Instead, the Premier’s leadership, in all its wisdom, decided to quietly shuffle cabinet, appointing the member from St. Catharines as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services on August 18, 2010. Today we have the Hon. Minister Meilleur filling that sticky billet.

Sadly, Speaker, this is just what Ontarians have come to expect from this government: big mistakes and pointing fingers, carried out on the backs of hard-working Ontario families. I would bet that on Ornge, we’ll see a shuffle soon for the current health care minister as opposed to real accountability for the millions of taxpayers’ dollars missing from publicly funded accounts at Ornge.

Speaking of lacking accountability, this takes me to my next point: the lack of transparency that goes hand in hand for this careless government. How can one apply the term “responsible government” when laws are being crafted and manipulated in the cabinet’s closet without the scrutiny of a democratic system that we’re all elected to uphold and then enforced without even making an effort to advise the public? Why didn’t the Premier and the provincial authorities simply say that they wanted to be clear about their authority to defend the security fence, as Chief Blair explained after the fact? That way, protesters would have been aware of the new rule and civil libertarians and opposition parties would have had a chance to challenge it. As it turns out, 233/10 was not even published in the official record of provincial laws, the Ontario Gazette, as the member from Northumberland–Quinte West mentioned, until the summit was over.


In closing, I’d like to quote the third recommendation made by Ontario’s Ombudsman after the government was caught in the act, which “is intended to address the ministry’s failure to ensure proper communication of a regulation that effectively increased police powers. Generally, police authority is conferred through enactment of legislation, accompanied by the openness, transparency, and accountability inherent in the democratic system of government. There is a real and insidious danger associated with using subordinate legislation, passed behind closed doors, to increase police authority, and I believe that this practice should be sedulously avoided.... In the event that this occurs, it is imperative that the public be properly advised. In fact, in any case where police powers are extended, and particularly in protest situations, I believe that the public should be fully informed.”

That’s page 101 of Caught in the Act, by the Ombudsman.

This eerie lack of transparency not only defined the G20 but also is becoming apparent during the Pan Am planning process, another major international event that is coming to Toronto and the surrounding area and is being administered by the government. It sends shivers down your spine when you think what it will mean for hard-working families and taxpayers during these austere times.

I, along with the rest of my caucus, I think, will support this bill because of what it stands for in correcting a wrong and making sure that these types of violations of the democratic process and the freedoms of individuals in Ontario won’t be trodden on again. It’s a good amendment, and I applaud the minister for putting it forward. Unfortunately, it’s just maybe a little “too little, too late.” But certainly, we have to hope that in the future we won’t have similar incidents like we saw at the G20, and hopefully won’t see at the Pan Am games.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Michael Prue: Again, I rise to talk about a relatively new member of the House—I’m here this afternoon to listen, to gauge whether or not I think they have the mettle to stand up and do the right thing and say the right things. I must say that I am very impressed with the new member from Barrie. I’m impressed by his homework, by what he’s done, by what he has said and by his careful analysis.

I commend him for taking a strong look at, and quoting at some length, the Ombudsman’s report, Caught in the Act, because if anybody captured what went wrong, it wasn’t just Roy McMurtry, as much respect as I have for him as a jurist, a former politician and a very brilliant man in his own right; it is André Marin, who very often gives voice to those who have no voice. It is André Marin and the Ombudsman to whom people turn when everything seems to have gone wrong and when governments have acted in error or without listening to common people.

It is the Ombudsman’s report, Caught in the Act, that details so very carefully what went wrong in terms of this government, in terms of the act that was used, in terms of the secrecy that surrounded it and the consequences to ordinary, innocent people who found themselves in brush with and in breach of the law, and it was not even their fault.

Who could possibly have known about this act or that it was enforced? Certainly I, as a member of this Legislature at that point for some nine years, had no idea that the government had imposed this law in secrecy. I had no idea that 14 members of the cabinet sat around a table, plus the hangers-on, and voted for it. Nary a word was said against it by any one of them. Not one person stood up for civil liberties, and the member is absolutely right: We should all be shocked and appalled by what happened.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Soo Wong: I too want to acknowledge my colleagues opposite from Barrie as well as from Beaches–East York in terms of their comments today about this proposed legislation, Bill 34.

I think, moving forward—this is legislation, but moving forward what we have heard from the community, what we heard from former Chief Justice Roy McMurtry, but also the balance between the issues of security, safety and civil liberty. This is what the repeal of the legislation is all about.

We all acknowledge in this House that a 70-year-old piece of legislation cannot be reflective of the 21st century. More importantly, the government is introducing a more modern bill, focusing on protecting the courts—that’s a really key piece—and also protecting the nuclear and other power facilities, which is also a big concern for us because we know it is the protection of the community but also safety of all Ontarians but, at the same time, we also have to make sure we protect the civil liberties of every Ontarian.

Everybody in this House in this debate recognizes the concern that has been acknowledged earlier. But the most important piece is that we need to balance security versus those of the civil liberties. This appeal of the legislation is the right thing to do. Ontarians expect our government and also every member of Parliament to be respecting of this piece. At the end of the day, we must make sure that security concerns never be eroded in the sacrificing of the civil liberties of Ontarians.

So, at the end of the day, we must make sure the balance is there, and this proposed legislation talks about that.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Norm Miller: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the speech from the member from Barrie on Bill 34, An Act to repeal the Public Works Protection Act and amend the Police Services Act.

The member from Barrie talked about the lack of transparency around the G20 and the secret way in which the Liberal government passed regulations that really resulted in innocent civilians being arrested and not understanding the rules.

To refresh your memory, Mr. Speaker, the cabinet actually met June 16, 2010, where they passed this regulation which was a bit confusing—that if you came within five metres of the fenced-off area in downtown Toronto, the police thought they could arrest you. Then they actually published it in e-Laws June 16, 2010. Of course, the G20 started June 21 and it didn’t actually get published in the Ontario Gazette until July 3. There was a lot of lack of transparency. It wasn’t publicized well and we all know the results of that.

When these G20s happen, it seems to be quite the normal thing now for there to be trouble and people going there—“anarchists” I call them—to create trouble. Obviously the police need to be able to deal with that. I think anyone who’s covering their identity by putting on hoods the police should be able to deal with. But this was not the right way.

Our party is supporting repealing Bill 34. I do think we’ll need to go to committee because I know the NDP has raised concerns about schedule 2 of the bill. I hope it goes to committee and people can go through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that it achieves what it is supposed to achieve.

Mr. Paul Miller: I’d like to comment on the member from Barrie’s submission. It was very good. It seems to be a common theme between this side of the House, that we’re wondering where the apology was: “I’m sorry. We made a mistake. We should haven’t done that. We could have looked into it. We could have done some research on the results, the implications or the feedback from other situations in other jurisdictions that have had the same problems. We could have done a little more homework to find out how the police handled it.”

We’ve had some good examples. We’ve had Seattle. There were some problems in Montreal, the riots. We’ve had all kinds of templates that we could have used to better prepare ourselves for this summit in Toronto. I don’t think we did our homework, and I don’t think they followed.

But for the government to continually pass the blame on the feds and Harper—you know, “It’s all their fault.” Well, come on, folks. You had a cabinet meeting—a secret one. You gave them the powers, the police, the local organizations, to do what they could do, and you were responsible for that. Your cabinet sat around that table with the Premier and allowed it to go ahead. You didn’t question it. You were all good tin soldiers and took the salute, did what you were told: no questions, no input, no “I’m a little concerned this may get off the rails”—nothing. But, okay, you made a mistake. So now what you do is, you stand up in this House and tell the people of Ontario, “We made a mistake. This is never going to happen again and we’re sorry: s-o-r-r-y.” That’s all the people of Ontario wanted to hear from this government, and they couldn’t do that. I was taught at a very young age to say sorry when you did something wrong, and I have no problem saying sorry if I’m wrong. They have a problem and they’ve got to fix it.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes the time for questions and comments. I return to the member for Barrie for his reply.

Mr. Rod Jackson: I’d like to thank, first of all, the member from Beaches–East York for his kind words, and the members from Scarborough–Agincourt, Parry Sound–Muskoka, and Hamilton East–Stoney Creek. It certainly is a pleasure to serve with all of you. I appreciate your comments.

We do see a common theme here, and the common theme is accountability. What we need to see from the government is accountability, to be accountable for the actions that you take. Like I said before, we haven’t seen a whole lot of that over the past several months, or even years in some cases.

Interjection: Eight.

Mr. Rod Jackson: The last eight years for sure.

But the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek is quite correct in saying there is no shame in saying you’re sorry. There’s no shame in admitting you may have made a mistake and that you’re going to correct it. We haven’t seen that. We don’t see it. I too was taught as a young child to own up to your mistakes, correct them and move on. It is easier to move on, and you know what? I’ll tell you a little secret: It feels great when you do it. When you are able to feel good about what you’re doing, what you’re doing means even more.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: Do the right thing.

Mr. Rod Jackson: Do the right thing. Unfortunately, the member for Northumberland–Quinte West isn’t here to hear that, but—

Mr. Jeff Yurek: He’s right in front of you.

Mr. Rod Jackson: Oh, he’s right in front of me. Pardon me.

We do have another major international event, the Pan Am Games, coming up in the next few months, in the next couple of years, and we have a chance to get it right. It would be a shame to see the same sort of circus go around this event. I know that the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek shares my sentiments in that. When we see the way they’re starting to approach this, where there’s still secrecy around the transportation, around security, around the budget, this doesn’t bode well. Let’s open this up. Let’s start acting like a government that is responsible and is willing to take responsibility and do the right thing.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Miss Monique Taylor: I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak to this bill, and I’ve listened with interest to the input of the previous speakers.

First, let me say that I’m pleased to see that the government intends to repeal the Public Works Protection Act. The use of that particular piece of legislation during the G20 was a low point for the government as they trampled all over the constitutional rights of Ontarians. If we think back to that time, we remember that nobody seemed to know exactly what it meant. They didn’t know because regulation was enacted to enhance the security at the summit—but didn’t tell anyone that it had been enacted. No one knew what the law was.

It was unclear that the security perimeter was designnated as a public work. Nobody knew where to go and what the extraordinary powers of the Public Works Protection Act meant, what it meant to peaceful protesters and what it meant to people who were just going about their daily business. Citizens soon found out just how easy it was to find themselves on the wrong side of the law. The results were over 1,100 people arrested, the vast majority for no good reason. It was a disgrace that outraged thousands upon thousands of Ontarians, some of them present on the street and shocked at the treatment they received, others who were watching at home on their televisions and were wondering how this could be happening in Ontario. As the stories unfolded over the next number of days—stories of innocent people being not just prevented from going about their lawful business, but being arrested for doing just that—their wonder changed to feelings of revulsion and fear about the injustices that had taken place.

So, yes, I will be happy to see the end of the Public Works Protection Act, but I do have concerns about this bill, and I would like to take some time to talk about them.

While the bill repeals the Public Works Protection Act, it also amends the Police Services Act and enacts the Security for Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act. Although the Public Works Protection Act would die as a result of this bill, some of its provisions continue to find life through these two other acts.

The bill gives extra powers to security personnel working in our courthouses. Members of the public will have to justify their presence at a courthouse. There would be a right to search people and vehicles entering the premises of any courthouse without warrant—very concerning, Mr. Speaker.

Under the amendments outlined in schedule 2 of the bill, the Police Services Act would now confer the right to security personnel to require that a person entering the court premises provide information for the purpose of assessing whether the person is a security risk. What does that mean? What type of information? How much information? The previous part of the bill refers to a requirement to produce identification, so it can’t mean that. Can a person be refused entry because, in the eyes of the security personnel present, there was insufficient information presented? It would certainly seem so. In fact, if they don’t immediately leave the premises, they are guilty of an offence and subject to a fine of up to $2,000 or 60 days in prison, according to the amendments contained in this bill. I can see that in some circumstances, we may want to be able to avail ourselves of certain provisions to ensure courthouse security. But of all cases before the courts, very few would be placed in a high-enough-risk category to warrant such attention.

Surely such provisions are not necessarily at all times needed in our courthouses. Can it really be necessary that these powers be conferred to security guards going about their regular workday and be applicable to anyone and any vehicle on the premises? What exactly are those premises?

Mr. Speaker, would each of us be confident that we could stand outside of any courthouse in Ontario and know what the perimeter of these premises are? I doubt it very much. It’s unrealistic for us to think that the citizens of Ontario will know what their rights are and how they’ve changed when they cross some poorly defined line, perhaps just by entering a parking lot—no gates, no fence, nothing.

We saw at the G20 just how such broad powers can be abused. With this bill, when we look at our recent history, we should strive to ensure that our constitutional rights are preserved. Surely, it’s better to give such powers as need arises rather than to have them as a default for all locations and all cases.

Similarly, the bill assigns powers to security staff in electricity generating facilities and nuclear facilities—powers to request ID and powers to search a person or a vehicle. Again, as with the definition of the premises for the courthouse, we must ask, what is the definition of “electricity generating facility”? Think of the many small facilities that are in Ontario nowadays that generate electricity. The bill takes its definition of a nuclear facility from the federal Nuclear Safety and Control Act, but there is no similar definition for an electrical generating facility. That has yet to be prescribed. How easy will it be for an innocent person to find themselves on the wrong side of the law simply because they didn’t know that these special rules applied to the particular spot where they were standing?

The bill does make it clear that a person should have the option to leave upon finding out the requirements of entry. I would say that that’s a good thing, but really, it’s something that would seem obvious to any right-thinking person.


But that’s not what happened in Toronto in June 2010 during the G20 at that time. Citizens were arrested for failing to provide ID, even though they had decided not to enter the security zone.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I say that we need to be vigilant. We have grown as a province and as a country because we value and respect the civil liberties of our citizens. It is one of the reasons why so many people from around the world choose Ontario as their home.

Sometimes governments have seen fit to enact laws that restrict those civil liberties. Sometimes it’s for limited time periods. Sometimes, such as the Public Works Protection Act, which has been in place since way back in 1939 as the Second World War was starting, they last much longer.

When a decision is made to put restrictions on the public, we have a responsibility to keep our respect for civil liberties on the front burner and have them as our prime consideration. We have a responsibility to remember the atrocious actions that took place in June 2010, and we must ensure that we are not opening a door that allows actions similar to those we saw during the G20.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Soo Wong: I want to acknowledge my colleague’s comments from Hamilton Mountain.

Recognizing the concerns raised by the members opposite, the repeal of Bill 34 is very timely, given the fact that our government and Ontarians are looking forward to the Pan Am Games coming forward to us. But the key piece about this repealing of Bill 34 is that it ensures the balance between security concerns and the civil liberties of all Ontarians. That’s the most important piece, Mr. Speaker.

The other big thing: The member opposite has raised a concern about the whole issue of the power to search and what have you. We already right now, in our court system, where—individuals will be searched when they go to a courthouse. That’s already given. But what is right now before us is the fact that—concerns raised both by individuals and former Chief Justice McMurtry on municipalities, the power producers and the police with respect to this 70-year-old legislation. Making sure that the security of our power plants, the security of the courthouses—they must be safe at all times. At the same time, every Ontarian’s civil liberties must be protected. That’s what this is all about.

When we move this proposed legislation forward, going to committees is where we’re going to have further discussion for the debate about this matter. This is a good thing, Mr. Speaker, because at the end of the day, all of us have before us now an opportunity to comment on this piece of proposed legislation. But going forward, going to committees, is where more work can be done—refinement and having a conversation and working with our community partners, making sure this legislation will be the best it can be.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mrs. Jane McKenna: I’m pleased to rise today and to add to the discussion on Bill 34.

This has been a welcome reminder of the essential role of free and open debate. It has also been a sobering reminder of the consequences when government recklessly chooses another path.

In the lead-up to the G20 summit, the government across from us chose secrecy over open, intelligent debate. It called a secret cabinet meeting to dust off some obscure wartime powers, the Public Works Protection Act. It chose to secretly extend powers that held profound implications for civil liberties in the province of Ontario. It gave extravagant powers to the police—powers arguably at odds with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—but never made the public aware of that fact. Then they would have us believe that this string of calculated decisions was someone else’s doing.

During Toronto’s G20 summit, more than 1,000 people were arrested. Many were released without criminal charges being laid. Some were troublemakers, but many peaceful protesters ended up snared by this unseen trap, and many who were swept up were just curious bystanders.

It was an ugly betrayal. It was like watching a dictatorship steamrolling over people’s freedoms. The G20 summit reminds us that we must never take our civil rights for granted. Ontarians want to believe their political representatives are here to defend their best interest in a way that is transparent and accountable, not in a fog of secrecy but in the light of day.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Taras Natyshak: I’m pleased to comment on my seatmate the honourable member for Hamilton Mountain’s interjections on this bill.

It conjures up the whole nature of the G20 summit here in Toronto and what an abject failure the entire process actually was. What indeed did we get out of that?

In 2008, at the height of the biggest financial meltdown that the planet had seen since the Depression—we spent $2 billion to have us tell leaders of the free world to enact austerity budgets. They spent $2 billion to tell us to stop spending money. What a ridiculous waste of energy, of talent, of money.

In the process, they disenfranchised those who took to the streets, who already knew that message was coming. They disenfranchised them of their rights to collectively have their voices heard, and they threw them in jail. They kettled them. They enacted measures that absolutely crushed any measure of peaceful protest that they were to enact.

Of course, the measures and the response from the government side was overreaching and certainly went too far. That’s why we’re all pleased here today to see that bill go the way of the dodo bird.

In fact, let’s take a look at why we hold these summits in the first place and what value they actually bring to Canadians and to Ontarians. I could get you a lot of examples of people who have good ideas in my community of Essex that could bring this province back, and that’s about jobs, not about kettling and disenfranchising civil liberties.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mrs. Teresa Piruzza: I’m pleased to rise to make a few comments with respect to Bill 34 this afternoon. I’m pleased to hear that the others are supportive of the changes that we’re bringing forward with Bill 34, but the conversation has really been centred around what happened at the G20 here in downtown Toronto. As I’m listening and I reflect back to that time—I wasn’t a member. I was in Windsor, so I was watching all of this unfold on television and I couldn’t believe what was happening in Toronto, and wondering how this transpired.

Well, we had the G20. We had world leaders coming into our city. We had two to three months to plan for this type of an event, as opposed to the two or three years that a world event like this should have taken. In protecting our world leaders and trying to maintain our community safety—the event took place.

But after that, there was a review. Discussions took place; consultations took place. We’re moving forward. We’re listening to what we heard and the changes are coming forward. We’re making the changes. That’s what I do know.

I believe that all parties involved at that time really meant to protect the world leaders while maintaining community safety. Nobody had ulterior motives, nobody meant to do any harm through this period of time, and I think we need to focus on that as well in terms of what was going on in that period, on those days. Hindsight is always 20/20, to go back and say, “Well, this shouldn’t have happened; that shouldn’t have happened,” but when you are tasked with the event that was taking place at that time, people were trying to do as well as they could through that period of time.

I’m glad we’re moving forward. We’re listening to advice. We’re following recommendations, and we’re focusing on modern, focused rules. I think that’s what we should be focused on here in terms of how we continue to move forward rather than always going backwards and saying, “With hindsight, 20/20.”


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes the time for questions and comments. I return to the member for Hamilton Mountain, who now has two minutes to reply.

Miss Monique Taylor: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d also like to thank the members from Scarborough, Burlington, my seatmate from Essex, and from Windsor West for participating in this debate with me today.

I was listening. I realize the fact that nobody meant for anything bad to happen, but things did happen poorly. So how are we going to change this to make sure that when we’re implementing these kinds of bills in the future, people understand? Will signage be provided to let people know of their expectations before entering these facilities, so that when they come into question and they are being asked that, they’re not being thrown off guard? Will we have some guards who are on duty who abuse that power and take advantage of the situation, that they are allowed to lay fines, arrest people, put people in jail? We can’t be guaranteed that the G20 won’t be happening all over again in a courthouse, where things might be a little hot-seated that day and people are anxious to be inside the courthouse and they don’t know their rights.

So these are the kinds of things that we need to make sure are being changed when it comes to the committee level—and knowing that everybody who has participated in the many hours of this debate has been heard and that those suggestions will be coming to committee. I think that when we say that we’re going to work together to make things better, that’s how it happens. We have these discussions for a reason. When it goes to committee, hopefully, these changes will be looked at and they will be implemented, and then everybody can be assured that the G20 won’t happen again.

Thank you very much.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Mr. Todd Smith: It’s a beautiful summer-like day and kind of reminiscent of that day back in 2010, I believe it was, for the G20 summit. It was hot then too.

Before I begin my remarks on Bill 34, I just thought I would take this opportunity to mention that Saturday night was a big night for my home municipality, Stirling-Rawdon. Stirling is the only remaining Ontario municipality left in the Kraft Hockeyville contest, so I think now is a very important time for everybody here in the Legislature to rally around Stirling and make sure that they get the hundred grand—and the NHL pre-season game, too.

As I begin, Mr. Speaker, I’d like to quote from a former leader who understood what secrecy does to a democratic society. “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people ... historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.” The author of that quote is John F. Kennedy. Being as that lesson would have been more than 45 years old on that hot summer day here in 2010, you would think that the Premier would have been able to grasp the meaning of such a statement and that there was no secrecy necessary, as a number of the members of the Legislature would have very happily come back to debate what is now the result of Bill 34.

This government has had a rather notorious inability to simply level with the Ontario people over their eight years in power. We heard “no new taxes” before the 2003 election; it became “brand new taxes” after the 2003 election. We heard “no more new taxes” before the 2007 election, and it became the HST, as we know, after the 2007 election. We could get into the long list of ways that the green energy debacle has been implemented throughout this province, but I think we’d be here until doomsday if we continued to go down that trail on this beautiful spring-like day.

Don’t even get us started on Ornge. There are still things about that particular organization that the government either can’t or won’t share with this House.

Scandal and secrecy hasn’t always been the order of the day for this government. We shouldn’t be here talking about this bill at all. What I and every member on this side of the House have spent the last few weeks talking about is the culture of misdirection and closed-door decision-making that has been fostered over the last eight years at Queen’s Park.

Mr. Speaker, historically, legislation like the Public Works Protection Act is invoked in what would be considered exigent circumstances. This would imply that the circumstances couldn’t be foreseen and that the government had to act to protect the public from a threat that they couldn’t anticipate. Those historical threats and circumstances were described in a very impressive performance, I might add, a couple of weeks ago by my friend here, the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke. He has quite a way with words. That was an excellent performance on that day, Mr. Yakabuski. I believe the member from Essex thought you should get your own—

Mr. John Yakabuski: Yak Yak’s.

Mr. Todd Smith: —Yak Yak’s. It’s a good idea.

The member for St. Catharines spoke to this thinking when he answered questions in the House after the G20 riots. The minister said, “My colleague needs to remember the potential security threat. We had 20 of the probably top targets for terrorists in the province of Ontario, in downtown Toronto, where the federal government decided to have this particular gathering of international people. Second, we had threats” from “the Black Bloc that there was going to be violence” on that day.

The minister stated, when forced to answer questions in this House, that the government had threats prior to the initiation of the conference. This should naturally lead to questions of how far in advance the government had these threats. Clearly they had them far enough in advance to pass an order in council. If they had them far enough in advance to convene a meeting to issue an order in council, then they had them far enough in advance to call this House back for a session to implement the act after referring it to the committee of the whole, but they chose not to. As I’ve said, Mr. Speaker, this government, when presented with the above board, accountable way of doing business, has a track record of not going that route.

The minister’s answer suggests that the mere presence of dignitaries in the downtown Toronto core was enough to make the government consider the use of Public Works Protection Act powers. This kind of activity surrounding G8 and G20 summits isn’t new, and would not have been new for any member of this House. The history of protests surrounding these events would have been well known months in advance of the G20 here in Toronto.

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to read in the House statements by the former Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, in regard to protests at these summits: “The ... G8 in Birmingham” had been my first “right in the city centre, but the world of summitry had changed in the seven years since then, even before September 11 and certainly after it. We live in an era of publicity through protest. Because the modern media works essentially through impact, protesters know that if they protest in a sufficiently disruptive way, they lift the agenda from the democratically elected politicians.” That’s exactly what happened here.

If the Premier’s argument is the same as the minister’s argument that the Public Works Protection Act was being used to maintain safety and security in Toronto during the summit, why then did the Premier feel the need to pass the act in secret? Did he believe that the members of the opposition parties in this House would have any less interest in protecting Ontario families than he professed to have?

The member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, a couple of weeks ago, thoroughly catalogued the abuses of the Public Works Protection Act that have made the presentation of Bill 34 necessary. He outlined the examination made by the province’s Ombudsman about how the province acquitted itself on that weekend in Toronto. Many of us from across Ontario watched as a rough collection of vandals and thieves terrorized the downtown core. With Caught in the Act, the Ombudsman catalogued in detail how the government’s actions contributed to the atmosphere of that weekend.

The argument can be made, and should be made, that the act should have been updated regardless of whether or not the G20 ever occurred. The temptation to governments, when in possession of a tool that allows them to claim unchecked power, will almost always be to invoke those powers. They’ll almost always do this in the name of protecting people, and in the end these tactics and tools are almost always questionable or of no effectiveness.

As someone who spent his career in journalism, it’s hard for me to conceive how scenes from a G20 weekend could have looked worse. I was actually in the newsroom at Quinte Broadcasting in Belleville, watching on that day as police cars were torched in the streets; cops in riot gear; masked criminals looting stores and destroying property, smashing windows. I hope I can be excused for wondering what the government had hoped the result of the Public Works Protection Act would be, when its actual results were such a dismal failure. The only thing this G20 summit produced was a lot of talk show fodder for months and months on Toronto talk radio.


Another thing that’s amazing about these heavy-handed tactics is that they’re often dismal failures. There were 1,100 people arrested on G20 weekend, but only 140 were charged. That gives the authorities from that weekend a success rate only slightly better than the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Interjection: Oh!

Mr. Todd Smith: Sorry.

Of the 140 people, only two were actually charged under the Public Works Protection Act. That’s two people. This Liberal government abridged the civil liberties of countless Toronto residents for two arrests.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has taken issue with how unusual it is for the government to pass a law involving such sweeping police powers in secret. It was noted by many of these same associations that when the current Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services introduced Bill 34, she had still refused to offer an apology for this unbelievable abuse of the government’s power. Justice McMurtry referred to the old law as a loaded weapon that threatened civil liberties, and yet the arrogance of the government seems such, Mr. Speaker, that they can’t even bring themselves to utter an apology to the people of Ontario. It seems like everybody who has spoken on this side of the House has asked for a public apology.

As I outlined earlier, there was no need for the secrecy. This House could have and should have been consulted on this act well in advance of the opening of the G20 conference. The member from St. Catharines has told the House that the government had sufficient reason in advance to exercise these powers to protect. If that’s the case, then the government undermined the right of the democratically elected representatives of the people of Ontario to review what evidence they had and make our own determinations on whether to grant the Premier’s request for such extraordinary powers.

I’d like to cite the Ombudsman’s report for a moment: “There is a real and insidious danger associated with using subordinate legislation, passed behind closed doors, to increase police authority, and I believe that this practice should be ... avoided.” It’s my sincere belief that this government willingly showed disregard for the members of this House by acting in such a way. While we will be supporting Bill 34, we think it’s incumbent on this government, this minister and this Premier to apologize to the people of Toronto and apologize to the people of Ontario for the secrecy that led to this day.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: Thanks to the member from Prince Edward–Hastings.

I’ve spoken on this bill before, but it’s always a privilege to get up and speak about civil liberties—civil liberties not being the operative topic on that G20 weekend, a weekend that I was active on every single day in peaceful protests.

The member should take note, however, that thousands and thousands of peaceful protesters were on the streets and they were the ones targeted, not the very small handful of people who were actually causing destructive damage.

There was a wonderful posting on Facebook today that said George Orwell’s book 1984 was a work of fiction, it was not a manual to be followed. On that weekend, it was as if it was a manual to be followed by this government. This was a secret little regulation brought to play that was meant to be brought in during wartime. This House was in session. This House was in session, and not even backbench Liberals knew what their government was doing. I gather not even all members of cabinet knew what their government was doing.

But I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Remember, it was the Liberal Party that brought in the War Measures Act, the most egregious example of trampling on civil rights right across the country. Everyone lost their civil rights from coast to coast during the War Measures Act.

So the Liberal Party has a history of trampling on civil rights, but did we ever think it was going to happen in Ontario? Did we ever think it was going to happen in Toronto? No. It was absolutely horrendous what went down.

Of course, an apology is in order. Even more than an apology, what we need is a real public inquiry, because we need to call our politicians to account for what happened that weekend. The NDP called for such an inquiry; it was overlooked. Now we’re calling for an apology and it should have been an inquiry. Of course, that has been ignored as well.

But let’s not rewrite history. Let’s face the facts as they were. That was a weekend of shame, shame for the Liberal Party, shame for the government of Ontario, shame for everyone who happened to call themselves a peaceful citizen in Toronto that weekend.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti: I’m pleased to have an opportunity to comment on the comments that were read out today by the member from Prince Edward–Hastings.

I just want to say a few things. What people are not mentioning around the debate today—I’ve listened carefully—is what we did afterwards. The government requested immediately that a former Conservative Attorney General, Roy McMurtry, look into this matter and prepare recommendations, which he did. Following that, we came up with new legislation, which is in front of us today, which we’re debating today. I think that’s very important to note.

I also want to point out that this government only had four months to prepare for this summit. The Conservatives decided to have it in downtown Toronto instead of having it at Exhibition Place, and I think that that made a big difference. How do you protect downtown Toronto?

I also agree with the right to have civil liberties, which the member mentioned. You can’t just create a police state. There were incidents that occurred. The Toronto Star mentioned quite a bit recently how many charges were being laid against the police and what happened, but we took action. I think it’s very important to notice that we took action. We didn’t sit back and twiddle our thumbs. It was a federal summit; the federal government decided to have it in downtown Toronto instead of having it somewhere else.

There were definitely perils in having it in downtown Toronto. People were hurt—definitely. I’m not denying that part of it. I think our government recognized that, and we immediately sent former Justice Roy McMurtry to take action on this. We didn’t sit back and do nothing about it. That’s important to notice. That is why this legislation is before us today. That’s why I support this legislation in front of us today. I think it’s important to strike a balance between civil rights and good government, to strike a balance between personal liberties and public safety, and hopefully this bill accomplishes that.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Peter Shurman: This is the first opportunity I’ve had to rise and make any comments pertinent to the discourse in which my friend from Prince Edward–Hastings, a relatively new member, has engaged. I enjoy having him as a colleague and I enjoyed listening to his comments.

Notice, Speaker, that in the course of this debate there’s been a awful lot of angst, not to say anger, expressed about what went on in this city during the G20. Given that the Liberals have a great penchant for naming bills, probably better than any other government in the history of Ontario, they probably should have named this bill “locking the stable door after the horse has bolted act, 2012,” because that’s what this really is.

I can tell you that I personally know people who are shopkeepers and restauranteurs in the entertainment district who experienced huge losses of business in that period of time, who sustained losses and damages that were not covered by insurance, who have yet to be paid for what befell them. The fact of the matter is, this government, under the cover of secrecy, basically under the darkness of night, met in cabinet and used arcane legislation that should have been scrapped long ago to provide powers for law enforcement to do things that under ordinary circumstances they would never have been allowed to do.

So now we have legislation here, and I’m supposed to say I’m voting for it—and I am—and thank God we’ve got it because it’ll prevent this from ever happening again. But the fact of the matter is that you can’t just lock the stable door after the horse has bolted every single time. Look at the debate we’re hearing in question period every single day in the morning on the question of Ornge. We hear that minister also saying, “We’ll bring legislation and fix it.”

You know, if that’s the case, Speaker, what we should have is Dalton McGuinty bringing legislation that apologizes to the people of Ontario for what he’s done for the past eight years and swears it’ll never happen again.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Michael Prue: I rise to comment on the words of the member from Prince Edward–Hastings. It is a pleasure to listen to him. I have heard him several times now in the Legislature. Although he is a relatively new member, he speaks with some considerable passion.

I am a man who loves quotes, and so when he stood up and gave a quote about secrecy by the late president John F. Kennedy, it was well taken and well used. So I commend him for his use of the quotation.

He went on to talk about secrecy. You know, many of the things that go on here are in secret, secret to the members of this House; secrets known only to a select few who sit around the cabinet table, and sometimes not even them. The longer that new members stay here, the longer you will understand that the decisions are made by a select few, largely in secret, and not conveyed to you until sometimes it is too late.


The most recent one that we all must have had phone calls on is the great secret about telling ordinary people, mostly seniors, that they can’t have their money back at income tax time. That was all done in secret. That was all signed by the Premier and the finance minister without a single reference to this House. Those are the kind of things that happen here. It’s done in secret. This bill was no different; what happened at the G20 is no different. That’s why we have to shine a great, big light over there. The ones who can shine the biggest and best light are the ones on the backbench who stand up and just try to defend the indefensible. Stop defending the indefensible. Start shining a light on the secrets, because if you don’t do it, it’s going to be very hard for anyone to.

You know, it was said that the government acted—I listened to the member from Scarborough Southwest—that the government recognized it. Sure, they recognized it; then they stonewalled everything. They asked McMurtry to report after the election. They asked the Ombudsman to report after the election. The whole thing was stonewalled so that the government wouldn’t have to answer any questions during the time of the election. It’s a reality.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. That concludes the time for questions and comments. I return to the member for Prince Edward–Hastings.

Mr. Todd Smith: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the other members of the Legislature for speaking: from Parkdale–High Park, Scarborough Southwest, my friend from Thornhill, and from Beaches–East York as well, who highlights the secrecy that does occur in the current government that we have here in Ontario. It hasn’t just happened as a result of the G20; it has happened in many, many circumstances, as the member from Beaches–East York explains, including, most recently, with the lump sum payments that are being denied to our seniors, people that have been counting on these lump sum tax credits, and then suddenly they disappear on them.

There are so many examples, and I outlined many of them over my 10 minutes or so that I spoke, where there has been secrecy that has occurred in this government. But I go back to this very act that brings us to Bill 34 today. There were several members who are still occupying seats on the government side of the House who aided the then Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services—presently the Minister of Northern Developments and Mines, by the way—in his aim of depriving this House of its democratic right to review legislation. That’s what happened. It was secret.

I often wonder, as I look over here and I see some of the members who are still there, like the members from Peterborough, Ottawa Centre, Ottawa–Orléans, Mississauga–Streetsville, Willowdale and Ajax–Pickering—they were all here that day. They were all in that inner circle. Many other members of the cabinet and many other backbenchers on that side of the House weren’t here, but I wonder, for those who were in that meeting that day, if they regret the decision that they made to enact these powers. I would love to get the answers, and they have the opportunity while we’re debating this, but for some reason they remain silent.

So I think it’s time for an apology, again, from the Premier, I think it’s time for an apology from this government, and remember to vote Stirling in Krafthockeyville.com. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much.

Further debate? I recognize the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane.

Mr. John Vanthof: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s my pleasure to be able to add some comments on the debate on Bill 34, Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act. That’s a long title. There has been a lot of good debate raised on this issue and I’m going to sound like a broken record on some of it, but I think some of it is worthy of being repeated.

Specifically, this bill will repeal—I have to read some of this, because some of this I don’t have know out of my head. This bill will repeal the Public Works Protection Act, a measure that was invoked at the start of World War II and in 2010. I wasn’t around at the start of World War II, but my father was. He told me of some of the things that happened in Europe at the start of World War II, things that probably the Ontario Legislature heard about and was guarding against.

My question is—again, it was invoked in 2010—who was going to invade us in 2010? And why wasn’t that discussion held in this chamber? It’s a very, very serious question, because the first time this act was invoked, we were worried about being invaded or about the world as we knew it being taken over. Who was going to take us over in 2010?

Were there security concerns in those days? Certainly. Were there mistakes made on all levels? Certainly.

I’m not a great guy for quotes, but there’s one I’m going to use because it sends chills down my spine. I think it has been read here before. It’s from the Ombudsman, from André Marin, but I think I would like to read it again.

“Regulation 233/10, passed to enhance security during the G20 summit, should never have been enacted. It was likely unconstitutional. The effect of regulation 233/10, now expired, was to infringe on freedom of expression in ways that do not seem justifiable in a free and democratic society. Specifically, the passage of the regulation triggered the extravagant police authority found in the Public Works Protection Act, including the power to arbitrarily arrest and detain people and to engage in unreasonable searches and seizures. Even apart from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the legality of regulation 233/10 is doubtful. The Public Works Protection Act under which it was proclaimed authorizes regulations to be created to protect infrastructure, not to provide security to people during events. Regulation 233/10 was therefore probably invalid for having exceeded the authority of the enactment under which it was passed. These problems should have been apparent, and given the tremendous power regulation 233/10 conferred on the police, sober and considered reflection should have been given to whether it was appropriate to arm officers with such authority. This was not done.”

An incredibly important threshold was crossed that day.

Mr. Marin’s comments could be used to describe a totalitarian government. The only difference, and the biggest difference is, that in a totalitarian government no one has the right to stand up in a place like this and talk about what happened. We should all be incredibly proud of that, that we can stand here and discuss this and hopefully admit where we’ve gone wrong and how we can make things better. When things like that happen, we are so close—it’s such a small step. “Oh, it is just one thing we did in secret.” But it’s such a small step because it erodes people’s belief.

That’s part of our problem with politics these days, that there’s such a difference between what actually happens and the spin we use. This is horses versus health care. We should have a good debate on health care and a good debate on OLG slots, but we shouldn’t mix the two together. We’re doing the same thing. When spin overtakes democracy—kind of like it did here, and this one is much more serious but we experience it all the time.

One of the biggest problems by doing this in secret, perhaps the biggest problem, is, if the government had debated this and had come to this—even if they came to the same conclusion—if it had been made public, it could have been used as a deterrent. The use of secret force isn’t a deterrent. If you know what the consequences are, you would perhaps change your behaviour. But when the government doesn’t say what the consequences are, again, it is almost a totalitarian move, and it deeply scares me. I think it scares a lot of us.

Should this bill be repealed? Yes. There are things in this bill that I still question. Do we support this bill? Probably, yes. But there are still things that—again, if you look at the part about the courthouses. If I’m correct, I believe that under the new act someone will be able to question you for your reason for wanting to enter the courthouse. Isn’t our purpose in a democracy that people—once you get to the point where innocent people fear government, you kind of lose belief in democracy. Are we going there? From responsible government to Big Brother? Again, it’s really important. It’s not just a little detail, because in a public place like a courthouse, like this Legislature, what would be the step? “Well, since it works so well in courthouses, perhaps we should question people before they go into the stands here to see what their purpose is.”


If you’re going to a courthouse, and you’re not posing a threat, and you just want to watch the proceedings, why should you have to tell someone what you’re doing? What purpose is that? Are we really trying to enhance security, or are we just trying to put a button on things? And it’s a very important point.

The third: You want to make electrical generating systems safer. I can see that. Once again, I’d like more detail, because we hear a lot of talk about microFIT and wind turbines, and I’m wondering if we need a security detail around a few thousand wind turbines.


Mr. John Vanthof: No, but, once again, if you are going—and hopefully when this bill goes to committee, all those things will be hammered out.

But when a bill replaces something that basically trampled some of the rights that we’ve had people go to other countries and die for—and the bill that this replaces trampled them—I think we have to be very careful, incredibly careful, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

The one thing that—and I’d like to close with this: We have all made mistakes. I don’t think there’s a person sitting in this room who hasn’t made a mistake. Because if you’ve never made a mistake, you know what? You’ve never really tried.


Mr. John Vanthof: Oh, he’s never made a mistake? That’s okay.

But the one thing about making mistakes is, you admit them, you learn from them and you become a better person, a better government, a better society.

I hope at some point that even if this government is unwilling or unable to apologize to the people of Ontario as a whole, I sincerely hope that they apologize to the people whom they treated incredibly badly during the G20 summit, because they deserve at least that. They deserve much more than that, but they definitely deserve an apology from the people who trampled on their rights.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Tracy MacCharles: As discussed already, the G20 summit was a federally led event.

Former Chief Justice McMurtry’s report following the G20 made a number of important recommendations about balancing personal liberties and public safety. We’ve listened to the public, civil liberties groups, municipalities, power producers, justice officials and the police. We brought in former Chief Justice Roy McMurtry to give us his best advice.

It’s clear that the security concerns today are very different from those of the Second World War era, when the Public Works Protection Act was adopted. We’re getting rid of the 70-year-old Public Works Protection Act and introducing modern, focused rules for protecting courts, nuclear and other power facilities, while also—protecting civil rights for all Ontarians is important.

In my riding, in Pickering–Scarborough East, the Pickering nuclear facility is located there, and they feel strongly about this as well.

When asked about the need of a public inquiry, Tim Hudak said that we don’t need a long process. We also saw other pieces of media reinforcing this point. Commissions of inquiry are very lengthy, expensive undertakings, and we have received advice from the Ombudsman’s report and former Chief Justice McMurtry to that effect. I think in this fiscal environment, too, we need to be extremely careful before undertaking commissions of inquiry.

It’s important to remember that the G20 was a federally led event. After considering other sites, the federal government decided that the G20 summit would be in downtown Toronto. The city of Toronto was given very few months to come up with a security plan.

I just want to end by quoting the Canadian Civil Liberties Association: “What is needed is a comprehensive review that can examine the decisions and policies of all of the actors involved in the G20. The G20 was a federal summit, hosted by the federal government, policed by a federal security agency and paid for by federal funds.”

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mrs. Jane McKenna: I’m grateful to be up again to speak about Bill 34. First and foremost, we’ve spoken a few times and heard that they only had four months to get this together, but if they only had that amount of time and were incapable of doing the job, then they should have done the right thing and brought all of us involved and got us all connected, so we had the media involved so innocent people weren’t affected by what happened that day.

I was at home with my husband and we were clicking through the TV channels; this was turned on, from the G20, and we were shocked. First of all, we thought to ourselves, “This is a Third World country that we’re watching on TV right now,” and then, within a few minutes, we realized that it wasn’t a Third World country. This was right in downtown Toronto. I was never so saddened in my life at that exact moment. I remember sitting there thinking about it, how embarrassed I was to be a Canadian.

We all have five minutes of truth in the day, whether we ever want to admit it or not. The thing that we can say the most about the government is that their past behaviour is indicative of their future behaviour, and everything that they do up to this point clearly, for eight years, speaks volumes and what happened there with the G20.

At some point we need to do the right thing. When is it that they’re going to be held accountable? And even when something catastrophic, people walking by—I know myself, with my children, if there is a fence we all assume, unless told otherwise, that you’re not going to pass past that fence, but a five-metre perimeter is a lot of space. When you had no indication at all that there was a problem, to be an innocent bystander walking by, to be thrown into that situation would have been absolutely horrific. We owe it to do the right thing, with the government to give us all the facts and not hide behind them later on, whether it was federal or whatever it was.

I ask them the question: What is their responsibility in what happened then, if it wasn’t that?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: Thanks to the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane in his thoughtful comments. He pointed out something that’s really obvious; that is, that what was abridged on that fateful weekend were our fundamental human rights. They weren’t abridged by the federal government—no doubt it was a mistake to hold it in downtown Toronto; they were abridged by the Liberal government, the government of Dalton McGuinty, by bringing in a secret regulation, 233/10, when the House was in session, behind closed doors in cabinet so that their own members in their own party didn’t know about it, and invoking that. That’s what set off the fundamental problems that we encountered over that weekend.

I was part of it. I saw it. I’m an eyewitness. I’m not going to blame the police on this one. Yes, there were problems in policing, but the police didn’t get the instructions they needed from this government. It’s this government. It was very nicely described or—let’s put it this way: It was completely glossed over, the fact that, yes, Justice McMurtry and, yes, the Ombudsman slammed this government for their activities during that time. They didn’t just say, “You need to get rid of this regulation.” They slammed them for bringing it in, for acting on it and for acting in secret when the House was in session.

We in the New Democratic Party, yes, we’re going to vote for it, but we’ve got some real problems with this bill, because sandwiched in with this bill is something else again that abridges civil liberties, and that is, keeping people away from courthouses unless they’ve got a good reason to be there. What? That has nothing to do with what happened at the G20. Nuclear facilities—although there may be some rationale behind this, and we’ll find out in committee, does this mean that Greenpeace can’t go and demonstrate outside a nuclear facility? I certainly hope not. But environmentalists, beware, because this bill might attack you and your human rights for freedom of assembly, freedom of movement in public spaces.

So please, civil rights folk, pay attention. Come to committee, be part of the debate, because it’s not over yet. They haven’t apologized. They haven’t been held accountable.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: I’m delighted to be able to stand up and speak to the bill. It actually reminds me of a very similar situation many years ago. I recall sitting in Archie Campbell’s court—Judge Campbell has since passed away—and in that court he said, and I’m going to paraphrase a bit, “This is the most draconian law ever put in place, second to none, except maybe the War Measures Act federally.” What he was actually talking about was Mike Harris’s bill dealing with amalgamation of boards, really which was put in by the NDP government. So it’s interesting to sit and listen to such heartfelt concern about this type of legislation that actually addresses a very serious problem that we have recognized.

As a former Minister of Energy, there is no question in my mind that you must have a secure nuclear facility. It would be absurd—it would be criminally insane—not to ensure that those facilities are protected, because in the event of an incident that was a terrorist incident, then it would fall on the government for not providing that type of protection. We’ve seen this around the world, and we’re not immune because we happen to live in North America.

So what this bill is doing is addressing courthouses where people have been killed because there isn’t sufficient protection, nuclear facilities that could in fact be up for a terrorist encounter and that need to be protected, and a review of an archaic piece of law.

I congratulate the minister for having the foresight to actually put them together, to bring them forward and to actually resolve to deal with the issue. But at the end of the day, you cannot stand on the other side of this House and say, “The federal government had nothing to do with it.” It was their event, they poorly planned it, and they nicely have washed their hands of it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): The member for Timiskaming–Cochrane has two minutes to reply.

Mr. John Vanthof: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to thank the members from Pickering–Scarborough East, York–Simcoe, Parkdale–High Park and Etobicoke Centre.

In my remarks, I never blamed the federal government or said it wasn’t—I said that everyone made mistakes. I never blamed parties. I never complained that you only had four months to prepare. The thrust of my argument was that it only took one cabinet meeting to trample on the rights of Ontarians when the Legislature was sitting, and the thrust of my continuing remarks in the minute I have left is that hopefully we have learned, and that when this bill goes to committee and when other bills go to committee, we will always keep that as our paramount, you know—keep our blinders on, that utmost, in a democracy, we always have to think, because, yes, you know what? There are going to be times when the wrong person is in the wrong place. We can’t prevent them all. But if we have to shut our society so tight that you have to go through a mini interrogation to enter a courtroom in Temiskaming Shores, then we’re no longer in a democracy.

We have to have a balance, and we have to show, in committee, that this bill actually will provide it. No one wants to risk anyone’s life, but we have to be sure that we provide a balance and that we maintain a democracy, as we are all very proud to participate in.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Mr. Jim Wilson: I really wasn’t going to speak very long about this bill this afternoon. In fact, up until 10 minutes ago I wasn’t going to speak at all on this bill, but here I am.

The reason it caught my interest, and I think the member for Etobicoke–Lakeshore was bang on in terms of—you know, I was the Minister of Energy at 9/11. In fact, I was at a federal-provincial ministers’ conference in Quebec City, at the Château Frontenac, with all of the energy ministers, including the federal energy minister from Canada, with the provinces and the territories. It just shows that you never really are prepared well enough for these things.

So I also take the position of the honourable member from the NDP who just spoke, that there is a lot of blame to go around for what happened. I guess what’s most disturbing is that a regulation can actually be passed into law under an old bill that, really, no one knew anything about, can be kept secret for so long and not give fundamental rights to the people who expected all of us to uphold the law in this province. It’s hard to uphold if you don’t know it.

With that point made, on September 11, 2001—I can remember, Ralph Goodale was federal minister chairing the meeting, along with a Quebec counterpart co-chairing. Normally, we think we’re the most important people in the room, energy ministers during a conference like that, but all of a sudden, all of the media left the room and were out in the hallway watching the TV monitors. We couldn’t believe what we saw and what the whole world was witnessing, the planes going into towers. I immediately thanked my assistant deputy minister with me for, by coincidence, just a month before that, having gone through the emergency plan for our nuclear plants in a series of briefings so that I would know what my role is. Judy Hubert was the assistant deputy minister—no longer with the public service, but an excellent and very, very sharp person, and she knew her role.

It wasn’t until those security briefings the month before 9/11 that I had any idea that we didn’t have any armed personnel at any of our nuclear plants. We didn’t have any guns on site. We had actually very little security, and it hadn’t been given a lot of thought because we generally lived in a peaceful society. We had security there, but it was mostly checking on making sure our employees didn’t arrive stoned to work. I mean, they were basically checking cars and people’s baggage and stuff like that. We were just sort of checking ourselves and not really looking out for terrorists.

I can see how governments get in a bit of a panic, because we immediately ordered armed guards. We got the local police to go to our plants, wherever they were, and stay there, even if it would cost us a million bucks a day in overtime—which it darn near did; no exaggeration. I had worked with the armed forces. I had been executive assistant to Perrin Beatty, the federal minister, so I knew some people in the armed forces. I immediately ordered anti-aircraft guns, if you can believe it—some of them are still around our plants—and made sure that our pronouncements to the public were that we were doing everything we could. So I know a little bit about this.

In this case, I think the government had time to plan. Perhaps the federal government was in part to blame for the security planning.

In my 21 years here, I don’t remember too many Ombudsman reports that were as scathing as this one. It’s called Caught in the Act. Now, the Ombudsman has a flare for naming these reports, but I think this catches it quite well: Caught in the Act, the 15-foot rule or the five-metre rule interpreted by the police under the Public Works Protection Act regulation that the government passed in secret, in cabinet, and didn’t really tell anybody about it—astounded.

People at home may not remember that 1,100 people were arrested and 140 were charged. Only two were charged under the Public Works Protection Act, which we’re talking about today. Most were charged under the Police Services Act.

I’ll just read a bit about what the auditor said. The regulation was regulation 233/10. He said in his executive summary of Caught in the Act in December 2010: “Even had regulation 233/10 been valid, the government should have handled its passage better. Regulation 233/10 changed the rules of the game. It gave police powers that are unfamiliar in a free and democratic society. Steps should have been taken to ensure that the Toronto Police Service understood what they were getting. More importantly, the passage of the regulation should have been aggressively publicized, not disclosed only through obscure official information channels. Perversely, by changing the rules of the game without real notice, regulation 233/10 acted as a trap for the responsible—those who took the time to educate themselves about police powers before setting out to express legitimate political dissent.”


I think there was quite a bit of legitimate political dissent. There also was quite a bit of shenanigans and violence, violence against property and other people, and that can never be condoned by anyone in this House. But there were those who had come from all over the world and certainly all over Canada to express—I never really understand what they hate about the G20 but apparently there are many things they don’t like about the G20, even though it’s one of the best organizations, in my opinion, in the world. But I’m sure it’s not without fault and the governments aren’t without fault and everybody has the right, or should have the right in a free and democratic society, to express in a peaceful way and a legal way. But that’s hard to do if you don’t know what the laws are.

I think we were all shocked that, first of all, we had a war-measures-type act still on the books for the province—I certainly understand federal laws in that regard—and, secondly, that the cabinet could enact a regulation and not have to publicize it. You’d think it would be in your interests—and I say this to the minister, who’s the minister now, but in the government’s interests to actually widely publicize this, along with Police Chief Blair, so that you wouldn’t have so many people clogging up your paddy wagons and your makeshift jails, which looked horrible, by the way, from an international standard. Anybody watching that on TV must have wondered what happened in the province of Ontario; the great, peaceful, welcoming province that we’ve been throughout our history, suddenly locking up 1,100 people and unable—with the best-trained police force in the world, bar none—to at least give the appearance that there was any peace, order and good government about to come. There were a few hours there where, if you were watching TV or if you were like us down here in Toronto during those days, it was just really scary, to put it bluntly.

I’d just give a bit more from what the Ombudsman said: “All of this makes for a sorry legacy. The value in hosting international summits is that it permits the host nation to primp and pose before the eyes of the world. Ordinarily Ontario and Canada could proudly showcase the majesty of a free and democratic society. The legacy of the passage and administration of regulation 233/10 is that we failed to do that well.” He also goes on to give a history of the Public Works Protection Act.

In the minute I have left, Mr. Speaker, I would just say that the government is doing the right thing here. This bill is fairly narrow. It deals with nuclear plants; deals with courts, which need to make sure that they’re free to do their work so that people have fair and just trials. I think it clarifies other things: Electricity generating stations will be protected. Obviously the backbone of anything we do in this day and age requires electricity to keep your economy going, especially during times of crisis.

The fact of the matter is, though, the government really should apologize. It would be rather easy for you to do that. The honourable member of Etobicoke gets up and says, “Well, the federal government washes their hands of it.” You know, you should do the right thing, and maybe the federal government would follow your lead if you did that.

There are a lot of people that were hurt. There are a lot of people that had their good reputations—because they were shown on TV sitting in a makeshift jail out in the middle of a parking lot. I mean, how would you like that for your son or daughter who might have strong views about wanting to protest something, almost, well, completely arbitrarily in many cases—obviously the courts felt that there was no reason for arrests—dragged across the media because they’ve been arrested, and tainted their reputations. You owe them a proper apology.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: It’s always engaging to listen to the member from Simcoe–Grey, as well as some of the other members that have stood up and spoken here.

It’s interesting that some focus has been given here on nuclear facilities, and I raised the issue that Greenpeace and other environmentalists have been known to demonstrate outside these facilities. One of the very reasons they want to demonstrate is the danger of supplying 50% of our energy needs with nuclear. We’ve seen what can happen with a natural disaster in Japan. Well, here, this bill is obviously purporting that there may be a terrorist disaster involving nuclear energy. The bottom line is, it’s not safe. That’s why we’re opposed to it in the NDP.

But to get back to this secret regulation 233/10, imposed secretly while the House was still in session, which led to the nightmare that was the G20 weekend in Toronto, yes, it was a mistake by the federal government to have it here, but it was an even bigger mistake by the provincial government to bring in this secret regulation while the House was sitting. I would even argue, Mr. Speaker, that there was a breach of members’ privileges, because if you look at standing order 1(b), you’ll see that proceedings are conducted, or should be, in a manner that respects the democratic rights of members. I, as a member, had my democratic rights abridged by the bringing in of a secret regulation by cabinet while the House was in session, never bringing it to the floor of this place. So there’s another reason that this government is at fault, and another reason why this government should apologize.

It’s a little late for a public inquiry now, where those cabinet members who made that call could actually be put on the stand—but at least an apology to the people of Toronto and the people of Ontario, because this is where it started. And it started with none of us knowing, even though we were here. That is a breach of privilege, I would warrant, Mr. Speaker. I’ll say more later.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: It’s a pleasure to respond to the comments of the member from Simcoe–Grey, some of which I agreed with, obviously.

I think there is a sense of agreement around the House that it’s time to move on, that we’ve seen something that we know needs some action from this House and it’s time that we take that action. Some of the statements he made, I would take issue with, but that’s the nature of this place.

I think you have to concentrate on the facts here. There was a G8 summit held in the province of Ontario; there was a G20 summit held in the province of Ontario. Some people at the time thought that the site that was picked for the G20 was not the correct site, that the time that was given for security planning around that site was not adequate. Nonetheless, the federal government decided that it was going to move on with this, and it got left in the hands of the Toronto police, police around the province of Ontario, the OPP, the provincial government and local government to deal with a decision that was made by the federal government. That’s all fine and good.

Some people came out that day to peacefully protest, which is a right in the province of Ontario that I think all members of this House would support. There were people among the crowd who were there simply to cause mischief, to cause violence and to cause damage to property and perhaps even to people. So it seems to me that everybody had the best intent that day; the idea was to allow for peaceful protest, but also for public safety and for the protection of civil liberties. In hindsight now, we’ve had two reports that say that a better job could have been done and should have been done.

If we are to agree on that and move forward, what we need to do today is to pass this bill, to move this ahead, to make some of the changes that have been suggested. I’m imploring members of this House to support the bill that we have before us, to allow this to move forward and to allow us to do the right thing when it comes to the advice we’ve received from those who have studied this issue.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mrs. Christine Elliott: I am pleased to have the opportunity to make a few brief comments on the remarks that were made by my colleague the member from Simcoe–Grey on this issue. I think it was really interesting to hear some of his reflections on some of the situations he dealt with during his time as a cabinet minister. It’s really relevant to some of the issues we’re facing in the context of this debate today, because of course we in the government of the day dealt with September 11, 2001, and all the issues that were surrounding that. Now, that was a genuine crisis, and that called for action. It called for swift, immediate action in an emergency situation.

The situation that we’re faced with here was something we knew was going to happen. We knew that we were going to have the G20 in downtown Toronto, and so the decision that was made by this government to enact the secret G20 law is doubly bad, Mr. Speaker. First of all it was done, and probably never should have been done in the first place, because it was using an act that was really antiquated: the old Public Works Protection Act, which was enacted originally in 1939 on the eve of the Second World War and was meant to prohibit activities of Nazi saboteurs, clearly not relevant in the context of the G20 in Toronto in 2010.


Secondly, Mr. Speaker, we have a situation where it was done secretly. It was done while this Legislature was sitting. There was no mention of anything being done. It was done in secret and then promulgated and nobody really knew what it was meant to be doing. That’s why we saw a lot of the confusion that we saw during the course of the G20; the confusion about the boundary and the police powers of arrest during that time. All of this could have been avoided had we been able to have a debate on that and had the public been fully informed about what was going on, but of course none of that happened.

So of course we are going to support this legislation, Mr. Speaker, but I think it really is important to remember the context to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: First, I just want to thank the members from Simcoe–Grey, Parkdale–High Park, Oakville and Whitby–Oshawa for their comments on the bill that’s being presented here today and debated, Bill 34.

The theme that’s coming around the House today is blame. I’m hearing how “we’re not to blame” or “they’re to blame.” But really, I think, in essence, why I’m here is to find solutions to the problems that were created by whatever level of government it was, but we actually need to know what our mistakes were before we can actually correct them. So that’s why we need to look at what the turn of events was and where the gaps were that weren’t looked after legally to protect the civil liberties of citizens.

The government does have a responsibility. I see that because they’ve brought this bill forward, they’re taking that onus and saying, “Hey, there’s something that needs to be changed.” I think that’s a step forward in saying that there was some onus on us to make sure that this situation didn’t happen. So I commend them for bringing this bill forward and trying to correct an antiquated relic of a law that has put people’s lives in disarray—traumatized.

I know some of the victims that—not personally, but the victims that were arrested and involved in that protest are still feeling the repercussions of what happened in the G20. A lot of them are still suffering medically—and mental anguish about what they had been put through. They weren’t there to cause any trouble. They were there just to have a peaceful protest.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes the time we have available for questions and comments. I now turn back to the member for Simcoe–Grey, who has two minutes to reply.

Mr. Jim Wilson: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again, thank you to the member for Parkdale–High Park and the members from Oakville, Whitby–Oshawa and London–Fanshawe.

I think the member from London–Fanshawe, as well as the honourable member from Parkdale–High Park, hit the nail on the head—London–Fanshawe just reminding us that really we shouldn’t play the blame game but get to the bottom to make sure this doesn’t happen.

That brings me to recommendation number three of the Ombudsman’s report, where he says:

“The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services should develop a protocol that would call for public information campaigns when police powers are modified by subordinate legislation, particularly in protest situations.”

“My third recommendation is intended to address the ministry’s failure to ensure proper communication of a regulation that effectively increased police power.”

We’ve heard all about the secrecy and how this was done, and we certainly know what the effect was: 1,100 arrests, very few convictions, a lot of innocent people caught, and the government literally, as the Ombudsman’s report says, caught in the act.

So my question to the cabinet that is here: Didn’t anybody in cabinet say, “What’s our communications plan?” I was in cabinet for eight years, and often, before we discussed the substance, we would discuss how we were going to communicate whatever change we were bringing to the province. We always felt that was actually more important, frankly, and left it up to the lawyers to get the fine print right in the bill. But your job as a cabinet minister and a communicator and as a representative of the people would be to say to your Premier and others, “What’s our communications plan? People are going to get caught in this, and all heck might break out,” which is exactly what happened.

Again, you should apologize, and again, I’m going to be very interested to see how far the member for Parkdale–High Park gets with her breach of privilege, because I think she has a very good point.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate on second reading of Bill 34?

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: This afternoon I’ll be talking about bill 34. This bill is going to bring changes forward to the Police Services Act in regards to court security and the new Security for Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act.

This act comes about because of the events that occurred in the G20. Leaders from all over the world came to Toronto, and people from all over the world came to protest in a peaceful way. I’m sure most of them had that intent to come out that day. We’ve seen the terrible way people were treated during the G20, and over 1,100 people were arrested on that day.

This bill has been brought about because of citizen groups that raised issues around what happened and how this government responded to the events in 2010. People’s charter rights and freedoms were violated. Everyone wondered how this could have happened right here in Canada, in Ontario, in Toronto. The Ombudsman, André Marin, talked about how when the Toronto police asked the ministry to sponsor special designation under the Public Works Protection Act, it was to help them do their job and to protect the security fence. Some people were rightly concerned about the optics of using wartime legislation, but still, the decision was made. It was decided not to publish and not to let the public know how this legislation could have affected their civil rights. They kept quiet, and instead, they quietly handed out over-exaggerated sweeping powers under a 71-year-old law that allows civil rights to be squashed.

André Marin said that it almost certainly would be illegal and unconstitutional under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to have this regulation enacted. As a result of this act, there were six separate reviews conducted into G20 security, but none of these reviews had the mandate or jurisdiction to ask questions that Ontarians wanted answers to. Our leader, Andrea Horwath, introduced a private member’s bill in the House to have a G20 public inquiry, but sadly, this bill did not pass, so we still did not have answers that the people deserved. We still were left wondering about the decisions and the actions the McGuinty government and the police took during the G20. The public inquiry would also provide a better accounting of our tax dollars.

We ask ourselves, how could this have happened? Civil liberties were erased, and people were not informed. People had no idea what was happening. They were detained, asked for ID, asked questions and submitted to warrantless searches. The report showed that the government enacted the regulation that increased the powers of the police, but no one knew what was happening until people started getting arrested.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association asked the government of Ontario for an apology for the way it handled the G20 security, but an apology has not yet been received. That’s been a bit of a back-and-forth today. I think the apology—and someone mentioned it; it was the member from Simcoe–Grey—is to the people who were affected by the enactment of this regulation. They truly are victims of a situation—and hindsight is 20/20—that never should have happened. There should have been more publicizing of what occurred.


The ministry said that they could have done better in communicating. Then I ask: Why wasn’t it put in the paper, in the news? Inform citizen groups. Even put signs up, at least giving people the knowledge so that when they went out to protest they knew what they were walking into. It was almost—and I’ll use a comparison—setting a trap, and no one knew the trap was there. The government failed to publicize this, and here we are today again debating this very important issue of the fallout of the way this was handled.

Yes, the federal government also played a part. Yes, the provincial government also played a part. The police played a part. But again, I urge this House to look beyond the fault and work together to find solutions so that this will never happen again. It really is disgusting that civil liberties were trampled on and erased that day.

People like Adam Nobody, when police asked his name and he answered what his name was—“Adam”—and they asked him, “What’s your last name?” and he said “Nobody”: This is the irony of one of those civil liberties that were truly trampled. Here’s a person who is giving them their name, and due to circumstances—I’m sure emotions were heightened with police and pedestrians and protesters and all involved. But this poor soul was actually giving his name, and I think the police thought he was mocking them. He certainly wasn’t. That really touches my heart: that somebody, just because their name was not quite—it does sound like a joke. “What’s your name?” “Adam Nobody.” Anyway, that was a very unfortunate situation, when he did try to give his identity and it wasn’t taken too literally, that it was him.

I think one of the other worst types of scenarios that happened to come out of civil liberties being squashed during that time was a gentleman—he was 57 years old. He was also an amputee, and he came down to participate and march in the labour rally. After the labour march, he was resting, and the police came up to him and asked him to get up, but of course, with having an amputee situation, he couldn’t get up too quickly. Again, I’m sure emotions were high. Police dragged him—I’m not going to say “escorted,” because it certainly wasn’t that—into the police van.

Seeing those and hearing those things happen to ordinary people really disturbs me. It disturbs me, how that could have happened. So I’m glad to see that we are looking at this bill, G34, so that these things can’t happen again. I compliment the government and the opposite members for all the debate, and I hope it continues in a considerable way, because if we don’t have our shields down of the kind of office we hold, we’re never going to truly listen to the opinions and suggestions of the other party. I think we’re all here for the same purpose: It’s to try to make this bill better. It’s to make sure this won’t ever happen again: history we do not want to repeat itself.

I thank you all for listening today.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Jeff Yurek: I’d like to thank my colleague from London–Fanshawe for speaking up on this issue. My thoughts and prayers are with your riding after that terrible riot that occurred on the weekend. I wish well to all the emergency workers that were injured, and innocent people.

I’d like to just make a few comments. Every year in my pharmacy, we’ve put up a display for Remembrance Day for the month of November, displaying those in my area that served in the wars: World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea and recently the Gulf wars. And I think about this: I don’t think the people went to war to fight for our freedoms to have a government working in secrecy to take away the freedoms they went to fight for. And I’m glad this bill has come up to remove it. I think it’s time that we’re open and transparent. For the government to be under closed doors and take our freedoms away, it just doesn’t sit right with me.

When this did occur, I was not a sitting member of this Legislature. I was a pharmacist in St. Thomas, just living my days with my family and the citizens in my riding, and we never even thought from the start that the government would actually act and take our rights away without even consultation with sitting members who we’ve elected into this office.

The Speaker of the time was from my riding and had great support, and the fact that he wasn’t able to voice the concerns, or his designate to voice the concerns, of how this government took away our rights, I think that’s wrong.

If I can take my hat off as a politician for a time, as a resident, you owe me and every resident of Elgin–Middlesex–London an apology for doing what you did: taking away our rights without having the decency to bring it out and have an honest and open debate.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments? The member for Peterborough.

Mr. Jeff Leal: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. We are debating Bill 34 this afternoon. Of course, it’s my understanding that there were only two people who were arrested under the Public Works Protection Act. The minister responsible for community safety and corrections has provided me with this information—two people.

There’s no question that this act was brought in in 1939. It’s an act that should have been changed years ago. There were opportunities for the Drew administration to change it, the Frost administration to change it, the Robarts administration to change it, the Davis administration to change it, the Miller administration to change it, the Peterson administration to change it, the Rae administration to change it, and the Harris administration and the Eves administration, and now we’re deciding to make the change now.

There’s no question that this was a very archaic act that should have been changed long ago, and there’s no question in my mind that the G20 summit should have never been held in downtown Toronto. I mean, if you want to take a look at poor planning, it’s to have a summit in the heart of Canada’s, North America’s business district, downtown Toronto. There were lots of other opportunities. Former Mayor Miller, I believe, suggested that it be held out at the old Downsview air force base, or the CNE grounds—any place to get it out of downtown Toronto, which was an inappropriate location to hold it.

In terms of security, of course, we had the G20 leaders here, and I can imagine the howling that would have happened if there had have been any unfortunate incident occur to any of those G20 leaders. Everybody would have been coming back here and saying, “What was the government of the day doing that they didn’t provide adequate security for all the G20 leaders?”

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. Questions and comments? The member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am not shocked, because that has been a pattern here from the member from Peterborough during this debate on this bill.

I am shocked, though, that in this bill there are only five members of the government caucus, out of 52, who even spoke to this bill in debate other than these two-minute questions-and-comments sections—only five members, including the minister, who have even spoken to this bill.

But to the comment of the member from Peterborough talking about various administrations in this province—what a cop-out, going back to George Drew, for goodness’ sakes. I guess the Hepburn ministry could have undone the fact that they did it, but the reality is that those successive administrations, from the Drew to the Eves ministry, did not implement that archaic—there are all kinds of archaic acts on the books of Ontario. Are you going through the book, dare I say to the member from Peterborough, and finding what other ones can be changed?

The reason you’re changing this act is nothing about you people being proactive. It’s the fact that you were caught in the act—not proactive. It’s Caught in the Act, Speaker.


For the member for Peterborough to stand up and try to imply that this is something that was being done because it should have been done sooner is just quite silly. It’s quite silly, to be perfectly honest with you.

Look, what happened here is something that should never be repeated; that is, a government that took the people of Ontario for granted and failed to come to this Legislature and consult with the people who are duly elected to represent their constituents, wherever they come from in this province. That’s the duty of the government. What did they do? They said, “Nay. We’re not going to bother worrying about the people. We’re just going to pass this behind closed doors.” Shame on them.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. John Vanthof: I’d like to commend the member from Peterborough on his knowledge of history and all those governments that didn’t change the act. But it took the McGuinty government to abuse it.

The other thing that I believe I heard was that only two people were arrested under the act, and that’s the problem. Eleven hundred people were detained. If it had been used correctly—we’ve got no problem with arresting people who break the law when you know what the law is. I’ve got no problem paying a speeding ticket if I know what the speed limit is. But if the speed limit is changed and no one tells me, that’s a different story. And this is much more serious.

I wish that the members opposite, especially the member from Peterborough, would be a little less partisan and actually try—there are some of us on this side of the House who are trying not to be partisan, and we keep getting partisan stuff thrown back at us. We, especially the newer members in this House, are really trying to understand what happened, and we’re all hoping to help for it not to happen again.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur: Those who were there before you should have told the truth.

Mr. John Vanthof: From what I am understanding, some of those who were here before weren’t told exactly what was happening either.

So, you know, let’s all work together and try not to—I won’t be partisan if you’re not. Thank you.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes the time for questions and comments. I now return to the member for London–Fanshawe, who has two minutes to reply.

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: Thank you, Speaker. I appreciate all the comments and debate that have happened over Bill 34. I certainly will be supporting it, and I hope that when it goes to committee, there will be extensive work done on it.

Every part of this bill should be looked at and dissected until you can’t stand it anymore: the security fence issue; the perimeter issue; searching someone who drops you off at the courthouse, and their car; your having to show ID; the reason they’re going to ask you questions; what kind of questions are going to be asked to assess whether or not you’re some kind of security breach.

Those things need to really be looked at in detail, because the sentiment around the House is that when we’re looking at civil rights, it affects every single person. Sometimes there are bills that pass in the House that don’t affect everyone, but this one does. It affects every one of us, even when we’re out in the public.

I know there was a member opposite who said he went to the G20 and was at Queen’s Park and a security guard kind of warned him what was happening, and so he didn’t actually go to the protest. This is why civil liberties are so important—it affects everyone.

That particular member was actually educated to make a choice. When we’re not educated to make a choice and what is at stake is our civil liberties—I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I didn’t know what I did wrong or what I could have done to get out of that situation, and be detained or arrested or questioned just for being somewhere where I didn’t know that I couldn’t stand too close to a fence.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Before I ask for further debate, I’d like to remind members of the House that it’s inappropriate to make use of props during debate.

Further debate?

Mr. Bill Walker: I’m pleased to rise today and to speak on An Act to repeal the Public Works Protection Act, amend the Police Services Act with respect to court security and enact the Security for Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2012.

As members of this House have been made aware, this legislation is not just in response to the antiquated public works act from 1939, but more importantly, it is in response to the shameful and disgraceful fallout from the G20 summit held in 2010 that happened under the Liberal government’s watch after it passed secret, sweeping police powers.

The Liberal government had ample time to look ahead and openly recommend and work with this House to find ways to amend for consideration by this House and ensure that this would not take place. As some of you may remember, the Ombudsman uncovered a June 7 email that proved beyond a doubt that this government had a premeditated plan to cover up the secret law—the email from the minister’s office which said, “...everyone was on board with drawing out the actual release of that knowledge to the public for as long as what is reasonable.... So long as we can stress as best we can that this should be kept under wraps....” Shameful, Speaker.

On that note, I wish to add that I am in support of expanding the Ombudsman’s mandate, to provide trusted, independent investigations of complaints against hospitals, long-term-care homes, school boards, children’s aid societies, police, retirement homes and universities. Our provincial Ombudsman is the only one in Canada that does not have this expanded mandate. Just last year alone, the Ombudsman’s office handled 15,000 cases of complaint against the government—hard to imagine in the province of Ontario. Apart from the G20 report, Caught in the Act, as provided by our colleague from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, Mr. Marin has exposed the LHINs, shoddy private colleges, the culture of theft and fraud at the OLG etc., etc., etc. I think Mr. Marin has so far done a tremendous service in investigating and uncovering this government’s lack of openness, transparency and accountability. Accountability and transparency is fundamental to good governance, and I support it fully.

There’s a lot to be said about the clandestine ways of this current government: decisions and legislation all enacted behind closed doors, under the cloak of secrecy. In the case of the review of Bill 34, it is once again too little, too late. They mismanaged this file. They missed the boat on this one and now they are trying to react, rather than being proactive and looking ahead. It sounds a bit like the Green Energy Act: We’re going to bull through, we’re going to put legislation in place, we’re not going to listen, and now we’re going to try to somewhat—I hope, in this case, with the Green Energy Act, they actually may come to this House and actually backtrack a little bit and do the honourable thing, do the right thing.

I trust you can see, Mr. Speaker, the similarities in these two examples of poor leadership. In the G20 fiasco, the Liberals unilaterally made a decision—a decision, I would suggest, that was a significant overreaction, compared to the original intent, that being a time of war. I don’t believe someone like the gentleman referenced earlier, with a prosthesis on his leg, was a criminal of war trying to do harm to our province or our country. It’s an overreaction. It was a significant intrusion of people’s rights and, in my opinion, is a blight on Ontario’s proud heritage and history.

In the case of the Green Energy Act, the Liberals, unilaterally again, removed the democratic right of the duly elected officials to make decisions related to wind turbines in their respective communities—again, an intrusion on people’s rights, and complete disregard and disrespect for democracy.

The Liberals are a government acting as a ruler, not as a servant or agent of its citizens. Just a few months ago, this government moved swiftly and quietly to close two jails in Bruce and Grey counties, one in Owen Sound and another in Walkerton. And just earlier this month, it shut down the youth detention centre in Goderich without any forewarning. The people there had no idea this action was coming. In all three instances, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services—and, I say respectfully, in her poor judgment—not once consulted or toured the provincial facilities before pulling the plug, and left constituents in the dark, 300 of whom lost jobs as a result of this ill-conceived decision.

I should, with all due respect again to the minister, state that I still await facts and figures that support the supposedly good decision. There are no numbers, there are no savings, and I will continue to press this House and the minister to provide those facts to the people of my good constituency of Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound. And just as this government had done with the secret G20 law, it did with the closure of these three provincial correctional facilities in Bruce and Grey. It gave no thought to the impact on the citizens, no consideration to the need for law.


In the G20 case, we watched in disgust and disbelief the government-sanctioned mass arrest of 1,000 to 1,100 people during the G20 weekend, who were later herded into makeshift detention centres throughout the city, as my colleague Mr. Wilson stated, with only two people actually charged. What’s wrong with that in a democratic society like ours? So we have legitimate concerns, Speaker, today, having seen this government single-handedly authorize the largest mass arrest in our country’s history, an affront on our civil liberty. A good government does not initiate force against its citizens, who had broken no laws or created any act to do so. Walking up to view an event is not a crime, to the best of my knowledge, in Ontario. However, the government opposite certainly found it that way in 2010.

A proper government is one that is open, transparent and accountable to its people. A proper government will apologize when it makes a poor mistake, a poor decision, a wrong decision. It is the honourable thing to do, Mr. Speaker; it is the right thing to do. Yes, we have a duty to protect public infrastructure, power plants, dams, bridges and other critical infrastructure from sabotage; and court security, allowing peace officers to request identification from and search a person if they do have a valid reason to suspect that there may be something, or their vehicle or property entering such court premises; and the security of power-generating facilities. But more importantly, we have a duty to protect our citizens, to ensure that democracy is not compromised and our civil liberties are respected and upheld. They have a duty—we have a duty—to protect members of the public and our dedicated staff members alike, to provide safe working environments.

Bruce Power nuclear station, located in my neighbouring riding of Huron–Bruce in Tiverton, Ontario, has an excellent security response team and, in fact, has an international award for their consecutive years for the service they provide to protect those facilities, to protect the people of Ontario. It’s something to be honoured and admired, and we offer kudos to them. We need proper security at facilities such as our nuclear plants, our courts and our electric generating facilities. We need, however, to be careful to strike a balance. We cannot, as has been the case of many interactions lately under this Liberal government, overregulate and create bureaucracies. I think of our small rural abattoirs, many of whom have been put out of business due to excessive regulation and overreaction to something that could be managed in a much more proficient and effective manner.

Similarly, we must always take adequate measures to protect our court, electrical generating facilities and our nuclear facilities, our staff and members of the public. However, like all such matters, we must do so with balance, and most importantly, we must do this with the utmost respect and adherence to the faith and power placed in us by the citizens who have sent us here.

I will be voting in support of the proposed legislation, as my colleagues from north Quinte West so eloquently put, to ensure that governments in future will not be able to inappropriately abuse their powers and thus bring shame to our great province and country.

As the member from Peterborough graciously pointed out, a number—a multitude—of other government administrations never went so far as to enact this act. It was intended for a war measure, for something that was of absolute critical importance to our people. This wasn’t something about people coming up to a fence and wanting to good-naturedly look in and actually find out what’s going on in their province. So thank you for pointing that out, member from Peterborough. It’s great to know that you’re the only government to abuse that power in many, many generations.

It simply is a case again, if you’ve done something wrong—many members of the NDP and our caucus have stood up today and said that we’ve all been taught the principle that if you do something wrong, you stand up, you admit it, and you apologize to those who you serve. Will you do the right thing? Will you not finally step up? This is once again a reactive measure. After you’ve made a mistake, we have to go through all this pain and excessive drudgery, not to mention the waste of resources, to peel back again the orange and uncover yet another boondoggle in our province’s proud history.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. McMurtry for reviewing the PWP Act, and close with the following: If ours is to be a true democracy, then this government has to be controlled; its actions have to be strictly defined and circumscribed. We have to respect democracy and our civil liberties. Thank you so much.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): I’ll ask the government members to come to order, please.

Questions and comments?

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: It’s a pleasure to stand up after the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound to say a few words.

I was there every single day during the G20. On the Saturday, I was there with several hundred Tibetans who were protesting the oppression they experienced in their home country of Tibet by a totalitarian regime of China, and here they were met with that same kind of response in Toronto.

On the Sunday, I went down with other Christian clergy leaders across denominations, and we decided we would have a service outside just to try to bring the level of confrontation down. So we went down to King Street and we led a prayer service there. King Street, as far as we knew, was a public street; it was our street. We had every right to be on King Street. There was no meeting happening, as far as we knew, anywhere near King Street, and yet the riot squad came and kept pushing us back, pushing us back, pushing us back. It was genuinely terrifying. These were religious leaders.

Again, all of this set in motion by this secret regulation, in secret, by a cabinet, secretly, while the House was in session and, as I’ve said, absolutely slamming any notion of democratic privilege of the members on this side of the aisle: That’s what we’re objecting to here, and that’s what this bill is meant to change.

We’re going to support it, but it has problems. I’ve outlined those problems. I don’t see what courthouses and nuclear facilities really have to do with regulation 233/10, and I don’t see why we should be checking for and, again, constraining civil liberties for those who just want to walk into a courthouse or be in a car in a courthouse parking lot.

One Iraq war vet whom I talked to when, again, I was met with the unleashing of the—paramilitary is the only way I can describe it—forces in my own riding said he’d never seen such poor policing put in place by such a poor move on government’s side. He was an Iraq war vet trained by the marines.

I’ll say more, Mr. Speaker, but not yet.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): We continue with questions and comments, and I recognize the member for Mississauga–Streetsville.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Speaker, I think it’s always good to return to the facts, because those facts are the important thing. The facts are that this event—the G8, the G20, whatever part of it you want to refer to—was a federal event, coordinated by the federal government, managed by the Prime Minister’s office and overseen by the Metro Toronto police force. The Harper Conservatives gave Huntsville two full years to prepare for it; Toronto, just four months to come up with a proper plan.

It’s gratifying to see that the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP will vote for it, and I suppose one of the prices of democracy is that you allow people to say, “I’m going to vote for this thing; I just intend to slam it during the debate.” C’est la vie. That’s the beauty of our system. That’s why we’re all here.

So, let us focus, then, on: What exactly was this power? What power did the police have? Now, what this act gave police is the power to do the following—just three things: Thing number one, to ask people: Who are you? Thing number two, to ask people: Where are you going? And thing number three, to ask people: What are you carrying?

It had a very narrow set of purposes. It was aimed at people who were residents of the area, if they were inside whatever the police chose to define the area; if they were business owners; if they were business people or shoppers or visitors or suppliers. All it was intended to do was to constrain the troublemakers outside but to allow anybody that had legitimate, fair business to come inside. That’s all it was intended to do, and those are the only regulations that Ontario passed: To allow police to say, “Who are you, where are you going, and what are you carrying?”

That is what this is all about. I hope members support this.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): We continue with questions and comments. I recognize the member for Kitchener–Conestoga.

Mr. Michael Harris: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to take this opportunity to address Bill 34. I’ve spoken to this bill just briefly, but would like to reiterate, obviously, a few points.

It’s clear that the illegal G20 law this government implemented, using wartime measures contained in the Public Works Protection Act, could have led to even more abuses than those that were witnessed on the streets of Toronto nearly two years ago. And that’s what I’d like to address first: Why was this law so secret?

I remind the members present that this government invoked regulation 233/10 behind the closed doors of cabinet while this Legislature was, in fact, sitting. There was no emergency, no imminent threat and, more important, no reason to bypass the duly elected representatives here in this House. But that’s exactly what this government did: It passed a secret law that greatly restricted civil liberties and then conspired to keep the details from the public. In fact, the Ombudsman called it a “premeditated, conscious ... decision not to announce the existence of the regulation.”

This deliberate move to bypass the Legislature and public scrutiny created widespread confusion leading up to and during the G20 summit. People simply didn’t know where the special powers of arrest were in effect. It wasn’t until the G20 summit had ended that this government publicly acknowledged that the police did not have special powers to detain protesters within the area designated a public work under the regulation.

So I have to ask: If the police never did have any of these powers, why not be honest and tell Ontarians that in the first place? I think it’s clear from the report that this government deliberately hid the details of this regulation from the public; no doubt about that.

Speaker, Ontarians want to believe their political representatives will be open, transparent and clear with them about matters that directly affect their rights. They don’t want to read in a scathing report that the government has greatly infringed on those rights.

I will be voting in favour of this, but wanted to put my thoughts on record.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): We have time for one last question or comment. I turn to the member for London–Fanshawe.

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: Thank you very much, Speaker. You’re doing a great job today, by the way. I was very impressed with what your—


Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: Yeah. Maybe that’s your next profession-in-waiting, there.

I want to address—


Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: Well, when I generally give you a compliment, it’s the truth.

I want to talk about the couple of differences between the two acts, so if I could have your attention. One of the things that we’re doing with this act is: You can enter a courthouse, and any person entering a courthouse or inside a courthouse is required to produce identification and information to assess their security risk. A search without a warrant: any person, property or vehicle entering or attempting to enter the premises where court proceedings are conducted. Now, if we compare that to the nuclear and electricity generating facilities: search, upon consent, any person, property or vehicle entering the premises.

The other part I like about that one is that, unlike the PWPA, this act covers very limited categories of infrastructure, and prescribing the additional categories of infrastructure would require amendments to the act. It would require legislation, not regulation, and therefore has to be made public and debated. So I like the part in this one where, in regards to electricity and nuclear facilities, there must be consent and public debate.

When this goes to committee, I hope that there’s going to be an opportunity to make changes to the courthouse security proceedings; that when people enter that security house, they have the opportunity to consent to this type of requirement before entering the courthouse.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): I believe that concludes the time for questions and comments, so we return to the member for Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound, who has two minutes to respond.

Mr. Bill Walker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I really, truly hope that we can bring this bill to a committee to have full-party discussion, debate and ensure that we do the right thing and move forward for the benefit of the people of Ontario. There’s too much rhetoric in this House about, “We want to listen. We want to reach out. We want a partner.” I don’t see a lot of that at this point. One of my colleagues in the NDP, from the north, I believe, stated that he wants to see as well that we want to work together, that we want to do the right thing.

This bill certainly should be reviewed. It was designed for war measures. The G20 summit was nothing even in complexity to that. So they invoked it, they moved forward without any discussion. They could have actually reached across the hall and said, “We’d like some help. It’s in four months; we need your help. We need the collective wisdom of all the people of Ontario.” But they chose not to do that; they chose to do it in secret. It sounds a bit like the budget: We’re not going to have any input to that, and all of a sudden we’re going to get to read a document. And they’re going to put us on the defensive, because they know what’s right and we don’t. They will not listen. We are here to open our arms. Openly ask us, and we’ll be happy to help you.

Mr. Speaker, they had four months. In fact, they had a whole bunch of years, not just four months. They saw this coming. Everybody knows that the G8 and the G20 were coming to our country and to our province. So they could have been proactive; they could have looked ahead. They disregarded civil liberties. They approached people on the main street as if they were common criminals, like in a Third World country—if they keep doing the financial things in this province that they are, we are going to be a Third World country. But I digress.

It’s unacceptable that they abuse their power, that they used that discretionary abuse to invoke something like that. And I have to stand here and again state to the member from Peterborough: You’re the only government that abused this power in all the years since wartime. Shame on you. We need to accept responsibility. Almost to a person on this side of the House, everyone has spoken about accountability, democracy, standing up and doing the right thing, admitting a mistake and making an apology on behalf of and to the people of Ontario.

Speaker, I ask them to do that. I will be supporting this bill with my colleagues, and we’ll do it with true due diligence.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate? I recognize the member for York–Simcoe.

Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to add a few comments to the debate this afternoon. I think that one of the things we need to look at is perhaps the fact that the bill we’re looking at is an update of a 1939 bill, but it allows us to step back a moment and look at what are the important issues that are being dealt with in this bill. I think that one of the paramount issues to consider is the importance of fundamental freedoms. Too often, we use the term that we have freedoms very loosely, and we don’t always think in terms of the kind of challenge our forefathers put into making sure we had such fundamental freedoms as the right to assembly and association and the right to freedom of speech.

In fact, in my office I have a copy of the Magna Carta, because I always think it’s really important for people to understand something of the roots we have come from and the important elements we too often take for granted in our society today. What it boils down to, then, is the establishment of a balance between personal freedom and public protection. I think, sometimes, that the most effective measure for explaining personal freedom and public protection is to imagine that you have the right to swing your arm as long as it doesn’t touch the person beside you. The G20 gave us an example of the complexities of providing that balance between personal freedom and public protection.

The public protection the government had at its disposal at this time was the Public Works Protection Act of 1939. The question of public protection began to assume a greater and greater importance as the G20 date moved closer and closer to Ontario. As a result of that, there were regulations that were passed. But the regulations were confusing, they were made in secret and they were used to pass a regulation giving the police broad powers of arrest. There are fundamental issues that were missing in this process.

Obviously, one of them—the most important, I would argue—was the transparency and the need for a public process. You don’t give people broad powers in secret.


At the same time as these regulations that were done in secret and did give broad powers of arrest—and I’ll go back to what I said earlier, the balance between personal freedom and public protection. We could also see that there were masked, organized individuals who seeded themselves amongst those who were peacefully demonstrating. We all watched as overturned vehicles were set on fire. We saw the confusion of the police response. On the one hand, they let the fire continue; on the other hand, there were mass arrests made.

It seems to me, as we look at this particular piece of legislation today, the litmus test of it has to be on the question of the transparency, on openness, and as well on giving police the tools they need to deal with those who obviously had vandalism as their objective, not the freedom of assembly and association.

It’s interesting, because I look back to that time to two examples that came to my attention personally and I think explain the difficulty of the creation of this balance I’ve spoken about.

I was on a phone-in program with other members of the Legislature. One of the comments that we had—and this was just before the G20—was on the need for planning, to have the appropriate amount of security in place for the G20. We had a caller call in and make reference to her right to protest. All three of us commented on this comment, because protest is a little different than the right to assembly and association. So we had a conversation about the fact that there are very few countries in the world where this kind of activity was lawful, but there was onus and responsibility on the person to, in fact, be obeying the law in terms of the recognition of the freedom of speech, for instance, and her right to be able to demonstrate.

The second one came from an individual whom I met who proudly told me that his son was an anarchist and he was going to be coming to the G20. I have no idea who he is or what he did—but just the idea that his father was quite proud of the fact that this was his goal as a person showing up for the G20.

When I look at what I consider to be the shortcomings of the action that the government took at the time and the fact that the Ombudsman was able, in his document, to talk about “caught in the act,” I think that, obviously, there were shortcomings on the part of the government, but I also think that we have to reflect on how important it is that we all need to be vigilant. Democracy is a very fragile item. It is something that sometimes gets used—verbally, anyway—in the wrong context. I think that being an anarchist and the right to protest have to be balanced with, first, the issues of personal freedom and public protection.

I will be supporting the bill, but I think that we have to look at it and recognize the opportunities that it will provide in the committee hearings for the discussion and the update for restating that balance, that very, very important balance that any democracy must hold as an important value of personal freedom and public protection.

Those are the issues that I think are at the central point of any kind of legislation that deals with these issues. And I think, by the examples I have given you, that you can see it is fragile, that it is subject to possible attacks and that it behooves all of us, not only as members of this chamber in the legislative process but also recognizing that good citizenship also means that you respect and take responsibility for your community. It’s when all of us do that that we can share in those rights that people have fought so hard for us to be able to enjoy today.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: It’s a pleasure to rise and speak to the comments of the member from York–Simcoe, but I’d like to take the opportunity to talk a little bit about what my friend from Mississauga–Streetsville had to say.

You know, we in the New Democratic Party are not slamming the bill. We’re critiquing the bill, some of us—supportive but critiquing—which is our role. What we are slamming is the government, particularly the cabinet and their actions, which is, by the way, exactly what Justice McMurtry and the Ombudsman did. It’s exactly what they did in their reports. They critiqued—slammed, I would say, is not too strong a word—the actions of the government.

He says, “What’s so wrong about asking somebody what your name is and to show identification?” Well, excuse me. I would warrant that if somebody asked him, as he left this building, to show identification, and what his name was and what his purpose is in being here, he would also experience his civil rights being abridged.

That’s what we’re talking about, and that was going on on a mass scale: 1,100 people detained; only two arrests made. I mean, this is the kind of actions you see in totalitarian regimes. This is what was happening in Toronto, and this was all set in motion provincially—yes, the federal government shares some of the blame—by this regulation 233/10, which was really written for wartime conditions. We were not in wartime here; we were having a meeting.

People from my riding—Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats—spoke to me. They all were shocked and appalled by what went on, also in my own riding. I experienced it first-hand, being one of the peaceful protesters.

So that demands something. It demanded an inquiry—we sought a public one—where those members of cabinet who made that decision behind closed doors would be called to account. But yes, it also requires an apology, and this is our chance to ask for it. That’s what we in the opposition are doing. Just say you’re sorry when you make a mistake. Just say you’re sorry when you trample on civil rights. Just say you’re sorry when you put in secret regulations secretly when the House is in session and abridge our privileges. Just say that.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you again, Speaker. Before I respond to the comments of my colleague from York–Simcoe, I would like to take a brief moment and introduce, in the members’ east gallery, my lovely spouse, Andrea Seepersaud, and my constituency office manager, Magnolia Ma. I hope you’ll welcome them to the assembly.

I thank the member for her comments. It’s actually nice to see some of the purple rhetoric get stripped out of it—let’s talk about what this actually is. My colleague from Parkdale–High Park says she’s not here to criticize the act; she’s here to slam the government. Go for it. Have fun. That is indeed why we were all elected.

So let’s, in that spirit, quote directly from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and what they’ve said about the federal responsibility for the G20: “What is needed is a comprehensive review that can examine the decisions and policies of all of the actors involved in the G20. The G20 was a federal summit, hosted by the federal government, policed by a federal security agency and paid for by federal funds. The federal government is therefore best suited to coordinate such an inquiry,” and I couldn’t possibly agree more.


I reiterate what I said a few moments ago, that when we were asked, as a provincial government, to lend assistance to the Metro Toronto police, we said the minimum that you need when people propose to cross a line and go into an area that you may say is a restricted area is the flexibility to say to people, “Who are you, where are you going and what are you carrying?”, such that the people who are going into the area are indeed legitimate visitors, business people, suppliers and so on.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. Questions and comments?

Mr. Jim McDonell: It’s a pleasure to get up and comment on my colleague from York–Simcoe.

It’s interesting to hear the member opposite talk about this being a federal responsibility, a federal conference when they saw the need to make this act in such secrecy. Sure, what he was talking about as far as the right to ask for some of these credentials, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if there’s nothing wrong with it, why was this legislation so purposely held back from the public, so that they knew what they were dealing with when it came up? It’s another example of this government being first in an act that really hasn’t happened since the Second World War, and there’s been no need to change this legislation up until now. But we see a common practice of this government, which makes a bad decision, then tries to deceive the public and hide the information until after an election, and then after getting caught they call an inquiry and then they blame it on somebody else. It’s time that we take responsibility.

This morning, we heard of another case where a letter went to the minister of the day talking about how there was a second set of books being kept in one of their ministries. No action. Everything’s held up until the end of September. With the election just days away, they respond to it so it’s the letter being received after the election. Of course, now they’re trying to fight the inquiry, which is the general practice.

I guess what we want to see is an open government. We talk about some of the people calling into an open-line show. Democracies are not easy. There are a lot of hard decisions, and that’s why there are so few of them in the world. We’re privileged to have what’s considered the best democracy in the world, but it’s going to take some tough action and following some tough rules. That’s all we’re asking. These are basic fundamental rights. It’s the rights and the demands of the people to stand up for their rights, or they’ll soon disappear.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. Time for one last question or comment.

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s my pleasure to get one more shot at this. I’d like to thank the member from York–Simcoe for her comments—they were really thoughtful—about how democracy is a fragile thing and one of the most important things in democracy is balance: the balance between personal freedom and public protection. I really thought that was very well thought out, and it’s very true.

I’d like to contrast that with the member from Mississauga–Streetsville, who said, “Well, it was only three little things in that act that were the problem.” Well, if that’s the case, then it should have been discussed here, right? Either it’s really important and it has to be done in secret for the safety of the province and the safety of the country, or it’s just three little things and we just whip it through the Legislature. Pick your poison.

I think, really, we hear sometimes that some things aren’t partisan. I really don’t think—and maybe I haven’t been here long enough. Some things get really partisan, but I don’t think personal freedoms are something that should be partisan. I really don’t think so. I really think that, on this side of the House, specifically in this corner, we are really going to try—and probably on the whole side. Probably on both sides. When it really comes down to brass tacks, we’re going to try and make sure—and not just in this bill, but in a lot of the legislation—that we don’t have to get into this he-said-she-said because we are talking about people’s personal freedoms, and that’s something that should be taken non-partisan, and very seriously in a democracy.

I’m very proud to be able to speak, and that’s part of being a democracy, where a farmer from northern Ontario can actually say something like this without fear of retribution. That’s something that’s really important, and sometimes we forget it, but it’s a great thing to be able to speak in this Legislature.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes the time for questions and comments. I now return to the member for York–Simcoe, who has two minutes to respond.

Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you very much, and thank you to the members for Parkdale–High Park, Mississauga–Streetsville, Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry and Timiskaming–Cochrane. I appreciate the comments that have been made.

There are a couple of things that I think really stand out in terms of the tone and the interest of the speakers. I think two things: certainly, the member for Parkdale–High Park and the member for Mississauga–Streetsville, who are obviously not so much in agreement, but are on the same topic in terms of looking at the actions of government. And I think the question of the actions of government are very often things that get spun rather than actually demonstrated and quoted and observed in a less partisan way, because of the fact that they—it is important to be able to look at those actions of government and be able to enjoy the kind of transparency that we consider so important.

The question the member raised from Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry about the difficulty of transparency—I would agree. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t make it impossible or doesn’t make it something that you can’t do, because you can certainly find reasons why something isn’t going to be or shouldn’t be transparent. You should always be able to understand why it should be transparent.

Finally, to the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane, I would agree with him. Freedom of speech, to be able to stand here in this chamber, when you think it’s the 40th Parliament—for 200 years, approximately, people have been able to do this. We are indeed lucky.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate? I recognize the member for Elgin–Middlesex–London.

Mr. Jeff Yurek: Thank you, Speaker. It’s a beautiful day outside, and we should open up the roof and let the sun in.

I’m pleased to rise and speak to the Legislature today on Bill 34, An Act to repeal the Public Works Protection Act, amend the Police Services Act with respect to court security and enact the Security for Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2012.

I appreciate this bill being brought forward because it makes Ontario mindful that we must never take our freedom and personal liberty for granted. This bill helps to rectify a regulatory loophole that only serves to unnecessarily infringe on our rights.

I know everyone here has their own reasons for entering politics. We all come from different backgrounds—from business, law, medicine, nuclear facilities, volunteerism and everything else—and we all bring our unique perspective to this Legislature. The diversity of opinion is what makes this place an example of democracy, and it is envied around the world. But despite our differences, whether in opinion, background or motivations for entering politics, I know I can say with confidence that we all share an abiding belief in and commitment to the principles of freedom and the rule of law.

It was these principles that were infringed on during the G20 conference. In a widely covered frenzy, protesters were rounded up and arrested promptly and largely without a reasonable reason. It was unclear what authority police officers possessed, and as a result, many people did not warrant arrest and were unduly rounded up with everybody else.

Watching what can only be described as chaos on the news, I couldn’t believe this was happening in Toronto. I figured I must have been watching coverage from some far-off country that did not have the sophisticated institutions of democracy that we pride ourselves on here in Canada.

The whole experience of watching events unfold on TV and the ensuing aftermath made me realize how often we take our democracy for granted. While we have one of the most advanced democracies in the world, something as seemingly insignificant and esoteric as a clause in an old piece of legislation can have the ability to shake our faith in the institutions of government that are there to protect our freedoms. So we must always be vigilant in our pursuit of ensuring freedom for all and the rule of law.


To that end, we need to make sure the government is transparent, because ultimately the whole uproar over the use of police force during the G20 revolved around the lack of clarity over the police authority. The Public Works Protection Act gives incredible discretion to the minister of public safety and correctional services to use wartime powers for the protection of public works. As we saw at the G20, the government was able to invoke regulation 233/10 to designate the site of the summit as a public work. This granted special powers to police to arrest anyone within five metres on either side of the security fence in the G20 zone. This in itself appears to be a frightening use of executive power. However, I am a realist and do understand that in proper circumstances the use of such a tactic can provide protection from a credible threat. It is important, though, that such a measure is not abused. It should also be a measure of last resort. No politician in this country should find the use of this tactic comfortable or easy. As a responsible politician, one should be deeply conflicted by its use, because such inner conflict is an affirmation of one’s commitment to the values of freedom and democracy we consider self-evident.

Also, given the constitutional weight of invoking this clause, a responsible politician has a duty to clearly articulate the intention of using such a measure, as well as the authority it gives to police officers. This is where I take great exception to how this Liberal government made use of this legislative tactic. In the lead-up to the G20, there’s no question emotions were high and people were increasingly on edge. When a mass of people all converge on one location for the purpose of protest, it is easy for this emotion to stir the pot and cultivate mass confusion. It is only natural for those protesters to be concerned about what special rights and methods of force the police officers have been granted to deal with the mass of people.

However, despite these inherent risks, McGuinty and his cabinet met behind closed doors and invoked regulation 233/10. They notified the police of their newly granted special powers, but neglected to notify the public of what these special powers entailed. It was only after the summit that the public was made aware of the powers granted the police officers. By invoking regulation 233/10 behind closed doors, with no communication to the public of its specifics, I am of the opinion that Dalton McGuinty shirked his duty to the people of Ontario. We all witnessed the results. Chaos ensued in the streets of Toronto. In the midst of all this, McGuinty remained behind a cloud of secrecy.

I can understand, in making his decision public—invoking wartime powers to deter credible threats is a tough pill to swallow. You’ll no doubt face waves of criticism regardless of whether the action is a prudent one or not, and I said before that no politician worth his or her salt should make the decision lightly. But I would like to see the Premier take some responsibility for the tough decisions he makes. Sitting behind his closed doors and making decisions that he hopes nobody will notice is not the right way to serve the Ontario people. It exemplifies an individual who is not concerned with acting in the best interests of Ontarians. It exemplifies an individual more concerned with playing politics and avoiding criticism. Governing with the goal to avoid political unpopularity is no way to run a government and completely irresponsible. Unfortunately, this is part of the pattern of the government making unilateral decisions with no oversight, while minimizing rightful criticism.

With the G20, the Premier invoked regulation 233/10 but did not inform the public of its specifics until after the summit. It was like he was hoping to shirk his responsibility by telling people after the summit that the measure he enacted only gave special powers within five metres of the G20 fence.

Mr. Speaker, I believe in partnership, and partnership is very important. We have a partnership with the people of Ontario to run this province with fair, open transparency. We have a Liberal government that tested this partnership during the G20 episode, and now again we see them today testing another successful partnership, a successful partnership that enables an industry to employ 60,000 people while also raising over $1 billion a year for the government to spend on education and health care. They decided to end this partnership without consultation. I’m talking about the horse racing industry, Speaker. It has been a great partner for the OLG for the last 10 years and has provided billions and billions of dollars to help fund health care and education, yet, at the complete will of the Minister of Finance, he has ended that agreement. Of course, the way this proposal was sold to the public was that the Liberals were in favour of supporting health and education, not wealthy horse owners.

I don’t think the minister really believes that the majority of horse racers are wealthy individuals just looking for a free ride. I think he knows, like me, that most families involved in horse racing are hard-working individuals that must supplement their horse racing income by other means. Why do they do it? Because horse racing has a rich, rural history. Many people gave their livelihoods, tied to the industry. And while they don’t make millions, their passion for the industry is rooted in a way of life that I don’t expect most members from Toronto to understand.

But here we come to the crux of the issue: The Liberals, who lost a number of rural ridings this past election, simply do not care about rural Ontario. They’re more interested in being popular in Toronto, and to that end, they don’t care if a decision negatively affects rural Ontario. This is not a government that is interested in governing for Ontario; this is a government interested in winning the next election.

They don’t like hearing criticism because if they actually were open and transparent, they would have consulted with stakeholders in the horse racing industry to get their take on the government’s proposal. Had they done that, the stakeholders would have told them it was a bad idea, which it is. But had the government held consultations with the industry, I know from my talks from those same stakeholders that they would have found an amicable and flexible partner that would have been more than happy to work with the government to help with OLG’s strategic realignment. They could have engaged this industry that, through the slots-at-raceways program, generates 33% of OLG’s total revenue. Had they just invited the industry to the table, they would have found out ways to leverage this existing partnership to generate even more money for education and health care.

But to the Liberals, none of this really matters. They’re perfectly okay with dividing the province into two groups: Liberal friends and Liberal enemies. Rather than enacting policy that is good for all of Ontario, they are only concerned with enacting policy which is good for their friends. This government has proven time and time again that given the opportunity, they will shirk their responsibility to be open and engage the people they serve, all in an effort to ensure they remain popular with their friends so they can win the next election.

Mr. Speaker, I do support this bill. It is good to see the Liberals recognize the need to be saved from themselves. The G20 made it clear to all that even if a tough course of action is on the table, the Liberals have no problem pursuing it, provided they have the ability to keep it discreet so it won’t hurt their image. And as I have pointed out, the Liberals seem intent on shirking their responsibility to be open to the public and stakeholders on tough decisions if it risks hurting their popularity.

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have proved they’re not up to the task in using their discretion, so it is necessary to provide legislation to make it so.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: I wanted to make a couple of comments on some of the powers going to be given to the electricity and nuclear facilities. The first one I want to address was that guards could exercise the specified powers only on the premises, and these powers would not apply off-premises. Citizens are given the option to enter the premises or to leave, whereas the courthouse powers that are given to security are not the same. I don’t see that same privilege there, that a citizen would have the option to leave, and that the security in the courthouse would only have the authority to search on the premises.

That’s kind of concerning because of examples used before: If I’m driving a friend of mine to the courthouse—they’re interested in seeing the court proceedings; that’s their right, it affects their community—and for some reason they’re given their ID, the questions of assessment are asked, and, who knows, some suspicion is cast upon them. I understand that court security has the right to search my car, just via me dropping them off. I think that really needs to be examined closer. I’ve left the premises. I’m not on the property. I’m on my way home. What a shock that would be, to get pulled over just because I dropped off someone at the courthouse and things have escalated to a point where there may be questions about why they’re there.

I really think definitions and circumstances need to be detailed and examined under the court security so that there is no room for a grey area when it comes to civil rights. Thank you.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Soo Wong: I too want to add my comments this afternoon on the debate on Bill 34.

I want to make reference to rebut the comments made by my colleagues about the whole piece of lack of consultations with the industry and the lack of interest in support of the rural community. That is absolutely not true. Our government, and myself as the PA for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, recently spent time with rural Ontarians through ROMA, and spent two afternoons meeting with the representatives from different rural communities to hear their concerns, but more importantly to listen to advocates.

The fact of not consulting with the industry about this particular repeal of the legislation again is not true, because we know our staff in the ministry have met with and have spoken with different sectors within the industry about the concerns of court security, the security of power producers and the facilities, as well as talking with police. So to accuse the government of not consulting and not speaking with the community partners about this proposed legislation is absolutely not true. The other thing here is that we are so passionate—which is really wonderful to see, what democracy’s about—to allow each one of us, all 107 of us, to have an opportunity to speak and to convey the concerns, but more importantly to have a dialogue and debate on the concerns being raised.

But more importantly, Mr. Speaker, this proposed legislation is about balancing the need to protect security concerns such as the courthouses, the nuclear facilities, but also the concerns about individual civil liberties. The balance piece is critical, Mr. Speaker. Without that piece, we’re going to have challenges further ahead. For the end of the day, we’ve got to make sure this legislation has both.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): We continue with questions and comments.

Mr. Bill Walker: It’s my privilege and pleasure to offer comments to my colleague Mr. Yurek. I’m glad he stepped forward. He’s serving the residents of Elgin–Middlesex–London with integrity, and we, the people of Ontario, are better for it and thank him and his family for his public service.

Mr. Yurek referenced Remembrance Day. It’s a day that we should all take not lightly, but with the utmost reverence and respect. People put their lives on the line to ensure that we would have the rights, freedoms and liberties that we truly do enjoy in this great country of ours and this great province. He stated that we can’t take that for granted. Something like abusing power of legislation is taking it for granted, and none of us—I don’t believe they did it lightly, but nonetheless they did do it, and we need to ensure that that can’t happen in the future.

We need to be vigilant to ensure that we do have the freedoms, rights and privileges. We need to be transparent and show respect. We need to not have secret backroom deals. We need to honour that this is a minority Parliament now, going forward, and always bring things to the House so we can have a sound, balanced approach.

Mr. Yurek brings a balanced approach, and I believe he could provide sound insight to this legislation. I know that he would readily step up and offer his thoughts to ensure there was transparent debate, and thus a valuable piece of legislation for the benefit of the people of Ontario. He suggested that Mr. McGuinty needs to do the honourable thing, to step up, to apologize to the people of Ontario for his secret deals and to stop doing them. He suggested, similarly, that he needs to honour the contract with the horse racing industry. He needs to put a moratorium on the Green Energy Act and give power back to local municipalities. That’s what we’re here to do: to serve the people.

Mr. Yurek is a principled person and, I believe, brings the necessary approach to this House and to democracy. He seeks to engage in open debate, to work with all members of this House and make decisions and enact legislation that will benefit all people of Ontario. I am proud to support him and my colleagues in support of Bill 34 to ensure it reflects the realities of today.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): We have time for one last question or comment.

Mr. John Vanthof: It’s once again my pleasure to talk about this issue at hand. I’d like to comment on some of the comments from the member from Elgin–Middlesex–London.

There are a few things in this minority Parliament I think we have a chance to do. I spoke on this before, and he spoke on it as well: issues like horse racing, health care, how the government has tried to put them together. I think they should both be discussed independently. The issue regarding the horse racing industry is loss of jobs. One decision; what’s it going to mean in the other one? That’s the issue.

The issue regarding health care is a serious issue in this province and it should be discussed, as it usually is; it should be fully discussed. But we shouldn’t try to avoid the issues by lumping them together and making it so you’re almost afraid to touch it because of the ramifications in the press. I’m hoping that in the future, with this minority government, we have the chance—and those are just examples—to actually discuss issues and disagree openly. I’ve got nothing against disagreement; that’s democracy.

Those of us who are recently here: We’re just getting used to the spin cycle and we’re not appreciating it. Hopefully we can shut down the spin cycle and do some handwashing. That’s why people are getting frustrated with politics. That’s why people in the industries feel they’re being sacrificed: because it’s not being talked about in the open. That’s something we have to hopefully change and something that we hopefully can change when we talk about this bill when it goes to committee.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): I’ll return now to the member for Elgin–Middlesex–London, who has two minutes to respond.

Mr. Jeff Yurek: Thank you, Speaker. I’d like to thank the comments made by my colleagues from London–Fanshawe and Timiskaming–Cochrane—is that right? I keep telling them that he’s sounding “blue” more and more, and there’s a seat over here for him when he gets tired of sitting there.

I’d like to comment on Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound—Mr. Walker. I hear little bits of Bill Murdoch every time he speaks, so keep it up. It sounds good.

As I said, I will be supporting this bill. I think it’s very important to come out and state your part, that we need the government to be open and transparent. Getting rid of this part of the provision that allows the government to unilaterally take away our rights is a very, very serious law that needs to be revoked.

I did talk about partnerships. I tell you, it’s very important to have dialogue, one-on-one communication. As the member from Scarborough—help me out here—

Mr. Jeff Leal: Agincourt.

Mr. Jeff Yurek: —Agincourt, thank you—made, that she likes the passion in the debate that’s going on here, and it’s open to talk about it, bring out the issues, form solutions and let our constituents’ voices come out through us: That’s all we were really asking last year when this issue came up; that the government bring it forward so that we could have the same passionate debate and discussion of topics instead of going behind closed doors and taking away people’s rights and freedoms.

I’ve got to remark again: It is a truly beautiful day outside, and I just hope this weather continues.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Mrs. Jane McKenna: This has been a very spirited debate. The message that I’ve heard again and again has been respectful, clear, but very firm. The events of the Toronto G20 summit represented our democracy at its most distorted. We saw a harsh and unflattering portrait of our society and we saw very clearly the substantial gaps in our civilized image.

I should say that one of the happy upshots of all of the discussion we have seen on Bill 34 today and on previous days is that it has brought welcome attention to the Ombudsman’s report Caught in the Act. Of course, in that report, the Ombudsman questioned why regulation 233/10 was needed at all to protect the perimeter. The intent and design of the Public Works Protection Act was to protect infrastructure. It wasn’t created as a blunt tool for crowd control, even though there was probably enough popular unrest in the 1930s that someone would have crafted that kind of legislation if that was what they were after. It was about protecting vital public infrastructure from the threat of attack from hostile agents. It wasn’t about frogmarching law-abiding citizens into holding cells. It wasn’t about strip searches because you were out for a walk and had forgotten to take some government photo ID with you.


What the new bill has done is change the parameters by which they can invoke this act. This bill reframes the powers available to government somewhat, but it doesn’t change the basic fact that the government has always had considerable power within its control. And it doesn’t change the fact that the citizens of Ontario expect their government to use its powers in a way that is right and just and fair and transparent. History reminds us that power tends to corrupt and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In regulation 233/10, we saw government miss a valuable opportunity for straightforward dialogue with the people of Ontario, and we’re seeing it again with Bill 34. We are still seeing a government that is not owning up to its mistakes, a government that is missing the courtesy and honesty of standing up in front of the people of Ontario and simply saying, “We are sorry. We failed your trust.”

When we look at the Ombudsman’s report, the glaring missteps of this government are plain as day. Here was an event with global profile at a time when the world’s attention was focused sharply on solutions. It should have been a phenomenal showcase event for the city of Toronto, where the assets of the city and the wonderful qualities of this beautiful province of Ontario were laid out for all to see. But of course that’s not how things played out, Speaker—not even close.

At this point, clearly there isn’t anything left to hide. There is hardly anything left for the Premier and this government to reveal, although hardly a week goes by when we don’t hear about more secrecy, less transparency.

We’ve got another report from the Ombudsman coming out this week. Will it contain more of the familiar complaints? We shall see, Speaker. The early indications certainly seem to suggest so.

What this side of the House and Ontarians ask for is an admission of error. It is an issue of responsibility and respect for those who elected us all to this assembly. The Premier’s and ministers’ perception of leadership abilities would be enhanced, I can assure them, if they choose to accept that errors in judgment and execution were made.

Running a province and administering its law is a job where denial and backroom deals simply cannot be tolerated. Ontario cannot afford that, not in these times, not ever. In a more enlightened society, this kind of event, which was a blatant violation of every principle of democracy and good government, might be grounds to bring an entire government down. We will see nothing like that, mind you. This government is refusing to even offer Ontarians an apology, an apology for a ham-fisted approach to G20 security, for using the law like a blunt object to strip people of their rights. In the absence of that kind of moral honesty, that moment of clarity, how can this House and the people of Ontario be expected to believe that they actually learned their lesson?

The correct course of action here is for the Premier or his spokesperson to rise, give a genuine apology and outline the lessons learned. Don’t hide your decisions. Don’t rush headlong into law-making without the facts. Don’t leave ground for doubt when security and law enforcement are involved. We do not need more of the usual blame games. The game is over. The Ombudsman put an end to it.

We haven’t heard this government even admit to the fact that it sounded to them like a good idea at the time, that they thought it would turn out much better or that they were only looking out for our best interests. That wouldn’t cut it, of course, but it would still be a more sustainable dialogue than all of the bobbing and weaving that this government has offered up so far.

Mr. Speaker, this government has a real hang-up when it comes to secrecy and stakeholder consultations. Flip through the scathing electricity audit in the Auditor General’s report and you will find at least three mentions of key stakeholders not being consulted—major stakeholders. No business case was made to sweeten an already delicious deal for a renewable energy consortium. When the Green Energy Act was passed, no serious economic study was done on the impact it would have in any area, be it energy costs, capacity or even jobs.

Since then, we have seen the talk around the Trillium benefit walk the same kind of line. We’ve learned that the government took it upon themselves to make a backroom decision impacting the lives of millions of fixed-income Ontarians without ever bothering to bring them into the loop until after the fact.

Going back to Bill 34, what’s astounding me is the refusal by this government to both distribute and seek out information. It’s becoming an unfortunate habit of this government. Some would say it’s becoming more than an unfortunate habit; some would say that it’s starting to look like a serious character flaw.

If the government knew they couldn’t explain the law, they should have left the courts enough time to place a judicial opinion. Instead, the regulation had to be deemed unconstitutional after the fact, after it had expired and by the Ombudsman rather than the superior court. This province was denied an explanation and denied the chance to seek one.

Let me cite a very moving passage from a landmark US Supreme Court decision. The circumstances may have been different, as is the country, but the principle stands just as solidly here as it does in the United States. The year is 1803. The case is Marbury v. Madison. It is an issue of appointments. Marbury was appointed by an outgoing president, and an election changed the administration. Marbury wanted his appointment papers delivered, by court action if necessary, from the hands of the new Secretary of State, James Madison. It goes to the Supreme Court, which determined Marbury definitely should have had his papers, but the Supreme Court can’t force the executive to hand them over, and the law that said it could do so was unconstitutional. It was the first time in the western world a law had been struck down as unconstitutional, as regulation 233/10 would have been. In the ruling, Chief Justice Marshall wrote this passage: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” That was in 1803.

We don’t just make laws; we examine whether they’re needed. When we are confused, we seek advice from those who we consider wiser than us in legal matters. This government did neither of those things. Can they really change now?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: I have some comments on the G34 bill that I’ve made some concerns over just today and I’d like to go over that again with regard to the part for the Police Services Act, paragraph 2 of subsection 138(1), “Search, without warrant,

“i. a person who is entering or attempting to enter premises where court proceedings are conducted or who is on such premises,”

So I think in that respect, is the premises when you actually enter the front door? Is the premises the boundaries of where you enter in the parking lot? That needs to be really examined and defined.

The other part of that section of the act says, “ii. any vehicle that the person is driving or in which the person is a passenger”—again, without a search warrant.

We have to be really careful of the civil liberties that we’re discussing today. Everyone agrees that we don’t want any laws to violate civil the liberties that we have now. Entering a courthouse because you are interested in what the court proceedings are, just as an ordinary citizen, you’re curious to what’s happening—it’s disturbing that if we give too many powers, these things can be infringed upon.

I know a young gentleman who went to the courthouse recently to file some papers. His hair is kind of long, and he wears a bandana. The first time he went in the one day, the security officer asked him to remove the bandana or he’d never see it again. He removed the bandana. The second time he went into the courthouse, that security guard didn’t ask him to remove the bandana. So there has to be a real set of standards and clarity as to what these questions will be so that there’s no abuse of civil liberties.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: It’s a pleasure to join the debate and pass comments on the remarks that were made earlier by the member from Burlington. I’ve listened to the debate since it’s been in the House, and it seems to me that there’s a trend emerging. That is, people are saying they’re going to support the bill, they’re going to support its passage through the House, and then they have their say on what their opinion is as to what took place during the G8 and the G20.

I think we have agreement from the House, from what I’ve heard, that it’s time to move on, that it’s time to pass this piece of legislation and that it’s time to put in place some legislation that better suits today’s needs. Should this occasion arise again, we would be, I think, much better equipped. I think we’ve heard from the public, we’ve heard from civil liberties groups, we’ve heard from towns and cities, we’ve heard from power producers that have the power plants in our province, we’ve heard from justice officials, and we’ve heard from members of our police services, both the front ranks and the people that administer the police services in the province of Ontario.

We’ve also heard from former Chief Justice Roy McMurtry. He gave us some very, very thoughtful advice. I think he’s hit the nail on the head, that we’re living in a different time today. When this bill was initially written, it was written for a much different time.

So we propose to get rid of an act that was—a bill or an act, whatever you want to call it, an act in this case—written 70 years ago. We’re introducing what I think are some new rules that are going to protect the courts better. They’re going to protect the nuclear and the other power facilities that we have in the province of Ontario. But most importantly, I think—and I base this on the debate that I’ve heard from members from all sides of the House—it’s also going to very securely protect the civil rights of all Ontarians in the province of Ontario.

I think we all want to strike that balance between the safety of the public and the preservation of civil rights that we hold very dear in the province of Ontario. From what I’ve heard, there are some differences except for one thing: that it’s time to move on. I suggest we do that, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Jim McDonell: It was a privilege to listen to my colleague from Burlington today as she highlighted some of the problems that we’ve seen in this government: the one of secrecy and deception that has been a trait of this government.

The Auditor General pointed out that the government must let Ontario know the true costs of green energy. They’re hiding these true costs with mistruths, grants and actions that hide these costs, now resulting in the highest power rates in North America, rates that will result in the loss of 60,000 to 120,000 permanent jobs because of the cost of electricity—not just the creation of 30,000 new jobs.

The deception is tearing up the horse racing industry—

Mr. Jeff Leal: Point of order.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Point of order.

Mr. Jeff Leal: Mr. Speaker, in my time I’ve been here—according to the standing orders, it’s certainly my information that when we respond in the two-minuters, we’re supposed to stick to Bill 34. I’d appreciate—at some future point the member for Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry could provide a wonderful speech on a whole variety of other topics, but I think his remarks right now, his two-minuter, should be confined to response to Bill 34. I think those are the rules of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): The member for Peterborough is quite correct. The responses should relate back to the original speech. I return to the member for Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry to continue with his two minutes.

Mr. Jim McDonell: I was getting there. I think that our member talked about the deception of this government, and I was giving some examples of that.

But, you know, when we look back and through some of my experiences with this government, the first time I got to know it was as a new mayor: the neighbours across the road that invited a group of Liberal farmers to a meeting and getting chastised for voting or being upset with the legislation they had just enacted back in 2004 and saying that they were embarrassed by this and don’t expect any help from this government again.

And that’s really why I’d say, you look at this province and you look at rural Ontario. Rural Ontario is finally waking up. It is acts like this that are now in effect—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. We have time for one last question or comment. I return to the member for Timiskaming–Cochrane.

Mr. John Vanthof: I’d like to say it’s once again my pleasure to talk about this bill, but I’ve talked about it so many times that it’s kind of like pulling teeth.

I think we are all trying to fix the mistakes of the past, and with this bill, when it goes to committee—because it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to go to committee. I haven’t heard anybody yet saying that it’s not going to committee. So it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to committee. Hopefully, in the committee process—and I’m just starting in the committee process, so I haven’t really figured out how it all works yet—we will be able to make changes to this bill and to other bills to make this place work and to make it work for Ontarians. I think on all sides of the House we all agree that that’s why we were put here. Certainly, in my riding, that’s why I was put here.

So on this bill—and that’s the one we’re discussing; I’m not veering off topic. We are discussing G34. And I’m going to go back to this and I’m going to be a broken record, but the one thing that galls me that happened—and I didn’t know it happened until I got here—is that the government of the day or the cabinet of the day decided that it either wasn’t worth bringing to the House or it was too serious to bring to the House. So hopefully this will get fixed and hopefully it won’t happen again.

In my heart of hearts, if the government can’t come out and say, “We’re sorry,” to the people of Ontario, I can live with that. But I deeply hope that they will in some way say sorry to the people who were put in pens like animals.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes the time for questions and comments. I return to the member for Burlington for her two-minute reply.

Mrs. Jane McKenna: Speaker, thank you so much. I’ve been up today a few times and it’s been a privilege, actually, speaking to you. My nerves got on edge a few times throughout and looking at your wonderful friendly face calms me down. So thank you for that.

I’d like to thank the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane. I echo a lot of the things that you’ve said today. You’re a wonderful speaker, and the best thing about being in here is getting to hear everybody’s voice, so thank you so much for that today. I’d also like to thank Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, London–Fanshawe and, of course, the member from Oakville.

It is very engaging when you’re in here and having the conversation going back and forth, and having the debate opened up is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and being new—I guess we can’t say that too much longer—it does give us a sense of what this is all about. It is a privilege and an honour to be here in this position, and I am very grateful for that.

But the one question I get asked all the time from Burlingtonians is, “What is the biggest thing that was different for you when you got here?” And I honestly want to say that the biggest thing for me was how many times we ask a question and never get the answer, so that’s probably the biggest thing for me.

But anyway, I will be supporting Bill 34, and it was engaging today to be part of that process and to have up a couple of times. Thank you so much to everybody else that was engaged in that debate. I look forward to many more.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): It being 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

The House adjourned at 1759.