40e législature, 1re session

L046 - Wed 2 May 2012 / Mer 2 mai 2012



Wednesday 2 May 2012 Mercredi 2 mai 2012






























































The House met at 0900.

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




Mr. Duguid moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 11, An Act respecting the continuation and establishment of development funds in order to promote regional economic development in eastern and southwestern Ontario / Projet de loi 11, Loi concernant la prorogation et la création de fonds de développement pour promouvoir le développement économique régional dans l’Est et le Sud-Ouest de l’Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Debate?

Hon. Brad Duguid: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just for your information, I’ll be sharing my time with my parliamentary assistant, the member for Etobicoke Centre, and I’m looking forward to hearing her comments. But before that, I’m looking forward to making a few of my own.

Mr. Speaker, the bill we are talking about here is called the Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act. It’s a very important bill for eastern Ontario and southwestern Ontario.

This morning, I want to start off with a bit of a mea culpa, and I know that’ll get the attention—it already has got the attention—of the opposition, but it’s not what you think. I was just downstairs where we have a barber here, Frank Filice, who I think did a great job on my hair this morning. But my mea culpa is, if you’ve ever seen the Seinfeld episode where you’ve been going to the same barber for almost your entire life, my barber, John Spanos—I need to apologize to him today. I’ve just been too busy. I haven’t been able to get over there, and I was beginning to look like a bit of a beatnik, Mr. Speaker, so I thought I’d better get my hair trimmed today, just so I could look good for my friends on the opposite side of the House who have to watch me as I speak about this very important bill.

I’m delighted to be here today to talk about Bill 11, the Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act. It’s an extremely important piece of legislation that’s going to help us create jobs in southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario.

We’ve had the eastern Ontario development fund for about three years now, which has created about 12,000 jobs in eastern Ontario. With an investment in the neighbourhood of I think around $53 million, we’ve been able to leverage $493 million of private sector investment. That’s really significant. That’s an eight-to-one private sector investment ratio. What that means is that for every dollar of public dollars that go into this fund, $8 of private sector development has come out. So that’s very, very good value. And 12,000 jobs have been created in the last three years in eastern Ontario as a result of these—


Hon. Brad Duguid: Mr. Speaker, I’m getting heckled already. Just wait until you hear what else I have to say later on and see how the heckling picks up. I will get political today, a little bit, on this, because I think it’s time to do that, but I’m not going there yet. I’m getting heckled already, and I haven’t even gotten warmed up. But that’s okay; I don’t mind. I’ve been here a long time, and I can handle that.

I think the PCs are feeling a little bit uneasy about this piece of legislation, because I think they know they should be supporting it. We’re talking about creating jobs in eastern Ontario and southwestern Ontario, Mr. Speaker, and the fact is, they actually have a lot of seats in those areas. Their mayors and their constituents have been telling them that they should be supporting this legislation, and we’re really disappointed that they’re not.

This legislation came forward for second reading. It went to committee, and at committee it had a lot of debate—some good debate—and it comes back here amended. The NDP decided to support the legislation, but they brought forward a number of amendments at committee, and we welcomed their input.

I’ve got to tell you and the critics here that I wasn’t enthusiastic about all the amendments they brought forward. I may have done it a little bit differently. In fact, we would have; our intent was to do it differently. But in a minority government situation and, indeed, really in this place, this is the way we probably should work, whether it’s a minority or a majority.

We listened carefully. As I said, we didn’t agree with everything. I think that part of the way the NDP has amended the legislation—and we agreed with it—makes it a little bit more difficult to administer; we recognize that. It makes it a little more challenging for us in bringing it forward. But in the interest of compromise, Mr. Speaker, we agreed to go ahead with that, and we’re going to make it work.

We’re going to make it work because our first priority—in fact, our only priority when it comes to this legislation, and I think the NDP would agree with this—is to create jobs: jobs in eastern Ontario, jobs in southwestern Ontario, parts of our province that suffered greatly during this last global recession. They got hit pretty darned hard.

I was out in eastern Ontario just yesterday, and I was speaking to a number of businesses out there, some in the clean tech sector and a number in the high-tech sector in general, and they’re making a comeback out there in eastern Ontario. You can see it. You can feel it. There’s a comeback happening in that economy out there.

They got hit pretty hard when Nortel closed down in Ottawa. There were a lot of people from eastern Ontario who were attached to Nortel, and there were a lot of suppliers to Nortel from eastern Ontario that got hit pretty hard. But you really get a feeling that there’s a little bit of air under their wings.

This is a great time for us to be moving forward with just a little bit of help for some of those businesses that want to locate into Ontario, for local communities to be able to attract some of those businesses here, and for some of those businesses that want to expand in eastern Ontario. This gives them the ability to do that—just a little bit of help, a little bit of a boost.

So I want to thank the NDP for working with us on this. As I said, the amendments weren’t exactly what we would have done; they’re not exactly what we had wanted. But we’re going to work with it—we’re going to make it work—because I think that’s really the spirit of what this Legislature should be.

That gives me all the more reason, though, to express disappointment at the participation of the PC party at committee. Up until this time, they’ve expressed absolute opposition to this bill. Rather than presenting amendments or ideas as to how we can strengthen this fund and make it even better, Mr. Speaker, instead they just said, “We’re voting against it.” In other words, again they were going AWOL, absent without leadership. Mr. Speaker, that’s what we saw during the budget debate. It’s that same approach. I’ll give them marks for this: They’re consistent.

The challenge I think I have is that they’re abdicating their responsibility, as the official opposition in a minority government, to work with us to make our legislation as good and as strong as it can be to serve the needs of their constituents. After all, that’s what we’re all here to do: serve the needs of our communities and our constituents.


We’ve just been through a global recession. We’re just on the verge of recovering here. In fact, we’re very much past that verge of recovery, because we’ve already created more jobs than we lost during the recession. Over 350,000 net new jobs have been created in this province since the recession, Mr. Speaker, 350,000 net new jobs since the recession. Last month alone, the month of March, 46,000 net jobs were created in this province. That’s full-time jobs—46,000 full-time jobs. One of every two jobs created in this country was created here in the province of Ontario.

What’s even more exciting is the fact that one of every four jobs created in the United States and Canada combined was created here in Ontario. That tells me something; that tells all of us something: We’re going in the right direction. Our plan is working, Mr. Speaker. We have the fundamentals of growing a strong economy. We have one of the best workforces in the world. We have incredible infrastructure. We’ve invested a lot in upgrading our infrastructure. That has helped create jobs and it helped keep people working during this past global recession. It has taken us from a position of having an infrastructure deficit to being very competitive with our infrastructure.

We’ve brought taxes down for businesses, Mr. Speaker. We’ve gone from an uncompetitive tax environment here in Ontario to one now that’s highly competitive, not only in North America but around the world. The result is that we’re one of the top destinations for foreign direct capital in all of North America.

We’ve been working very hard at building the fundamentals of a strong economy over the last eight years, and I think, Mr. Speaker—


Hon. Brad Duguid: I know the opposition likes to heckle, but I think they should also accept the fact, and actually be proud of the fact, that this government—but not just this government—this government and Ontarians have worked very, very hard to put Toronto and Ontario into a position of global leadership, a position of very competitive global leadership.

When you look at some of the sectors in our economy that are global-leading—you look at our clean tech sector, and the Minister of Energy is here today. He was with me in Ottawa, when we were speaking to people from all over the world, just yesterday. What were they doing? They were singing the praises of Ontario, calling Ontario a global leader in the clean tech industry, in very important areas: yes, solar and wind development, but also smart grid development and storage innovation and all kinds of other new sectors that are opening up, creating jobs in this province.

That’s because of the vision of our Premier. That’s because of the hard work of the Minister of Energy. That’s because of the hard work of Ontarians and companies in Ontario to be innovative. Our post-secondary institutions are doing some of the best research known to anybody in the world in these areas.

Mr. Speaker, if you look at the auto sector, we’re the single most successful cluster for auto in all of North America. That’s something to be proud of. That auto sector has been through a tough time. But, you know, in March they had the best sales for cars in Ontario since 1989. They’re back on the road to recovery. That means jobs in Ontario. You know what? Don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at what GM, Ford and Toyota have done just in recent weeks: $800 million of investment here in Ontario, new investment; 800 new jobs.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: What about the workers? Did they take a hit?

Hon. Brad Duguid: The member asked, “What about the workers?” Eight hundred new jobs were created here in the province of Ontario because of these important investments.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I would remind the minister that we don’t do cross-dialogue with the other members when you make your presentation.

Hon. Brad Duguid: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, but I do welcome input from the members opposite from time to time, especially when it’s constructive. But I certainly take your advice very seriously.

I think it’s really important—and I turn to my friends on the other side, in the PC Party. It’s really important that they listen to their constituents on this legislation, that they put their communities, jobs in their communities, ahead of their political priorities. I know how challenging that can be. But I ask them to fight in their caucus for jobs. I ask them to stand up for their communities, to stand up for their mayors, stand up for the people in their communities who are calling on them to do that.

I’ve got a few quotes here. Don’t just take my word for it. Let’s reach outside of this Legislature; let’s quote some of the community leaders out there who support what we’re trying to do here, leaders like Randy Hope in Chatham–Kent–Essex, and Lambton–Kent–Middlesex—two ridings held by members in the opposition party. This is what Mayor Hope had to say. He’s talking about the PC Party here: “A political party that thinks they understand business certainly doesn’t if they voted against (the bill).” Mayor Hope is standing up for his community. I think it’s incumbent on the members opposite to do the same, to take his lead, to be a leader in this area. Be a leader; get out there and fight for jobs.

Hon. Christopher Bentley: Fight for jobs.

Hon. Brad Duguid: Let’s talk about London. The Minister of Energy is from London. His mayor is Mayor Joe Fontana. He said in the St. Thomas Times-Journal—he was quoted in March of this year—“Sometimes, you’ve got to decide not what should be the party line but what would be good for the towns and cities in your (riding).... From time to time you have to stand for your constituents and communities ... that’s why people elect you.”

That’s why people elect you: not to always toe the party line but to stand up for them from time to time, especially when it comes to creating jobs, because nothing is more important to the people of this province today. Nothing is more important to them than creating jobs. To be frank, they probably don’t care about the to and fro that goes on in here. They just want to have a good job to support their families, and that’s what these regional economic development funds are there to provide: good jobs in eastern Ontario and good jobs in southwestern Ontario that families can count on. Mr. Speaker, for the life of me, I do not understand why the PC Party would want to stand in the middle of good jobs for the people of eastern Ontario and southwestern Ontario.

But let me go on, Mr. Speaker. Let me quote John Kastner, the editor of the Stratford Beacon Herald. The members opposite might find this interesting. This is John Kastner, I’ll repeat, the editor for the Stratford Beacon Herald. He said this in March: “What happened last week”—and he was referring to the PCs not supporting this legislation—“was a couple of bad days for politics in general and this riding in particular. And the whole notion of”—


Hon. Brad Duguid: Let me say this.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Okay, the member from Ancaster–Dundas–Flamborough–Westdale and the member from you know where, Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, if you’d like to have an argument, please take it outside. I’m trying to listen to the speaker. It’s very disruptive, and there were two sidebars, too. Next time, the Speaker will not be happy, okay? Thank you.

Hon. Brad Duguid: The Speaker is being very firm today, and I very much appreciate that.

Mr. Speaker, I was quoting John Kastner, the editor of the Stratford Beacon Herald, in his editorial from March 14. That’s the paper that actually is in the riding of Perth–Wellington—again, a PC riding. This is what he had to say: “What happened last week”—and he’s referring to the PCs not supporting this legislation—“was a couple of bad days for politics in general and this riding in particular. And the whole notion of ‘I will go to Queen’s Park and fight for this riding’ rings a bit hollow now.”

He’s saying it. It’s not that long ago that all of us were out on the hustings saying that we were going to fight for jobs for our constituents. A number of the members opposite come to this place, and some of them are new members, with the intention of fighting for jobs for their constituents, and what’s the first thing they’re going to do? They’re going to vote against jobs for their constituents. They’re going to vote against jobs for southwestern Ontario, against jobs for eastern Ontario. Mr. Speaker, I don’t think their constituents sent them here to do that. I think their constituents sent them here to fight within their caucus to ensure that their leader gets on the straight and narrow on this issue and to fight here in this Legislature for their constituents and jobs in southwestern Ontario.

I could go on, Mr. Speaker, and you know something? I think I will, because I think this is information that’s important, and it’s important for the members opposite to hear, because these aren’t my views necessarily; these are the views of the local representatives of many of the members opposite.

Let’s go to the deputy mayor of Goderich. His name is John Grace. This is what he had to say: This is “the wrong time to be playing politics, the wrong time to hold this up. The last thing we need here is another stall tactic.” I’m going to repeat that, Mr. Speaker, because we have something going on in this Legislature right now that I think is very much in keeping with—the party opposite should very much listen to what Deputy Mayor John Grace says. I’m going to repeat it, because I don’t think the members were listening. “It is the wrong time to be playing politics, the wrong time to hold this up. The last thing we need here is another stall tactic.”


The reason I raise this quote from Deputy Mayor John Grace, the reason I do that, is right now the opposition party, the PCs, are holding this Legislature hostage by using delay tactics to delay very important legislation. Mr. Speaker, some of the bills they’re delaying are really important. Now that we’re here with third reading of a bill that’s going to create jobs in southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario, I’m really concerned that they’re going to hold up those jobs, because if they hold up this Legislature, if we can’t pass this bill, that means no jobs being created in eastern Ontario as a result of these initiatives and no jobs being created in southwestern Ontario. Mr. Speaker, that would be a shame. That would be an absolute shame for the people in those communities, many of the communities represented by the members opposite.

These delay tactics in this Legislature—I understand sometimes the opposition try to make a point, but at a certain point one would think that the public interest would finally come first. Goodness gracious, Mr. Speaker. One would think that they’re going to start caring about kids in schools and the bullying that goes on in schools and a piece of legislation before this House that’s going to help reduce that. One would think they would care about that enough to say, “Okay, forget about the to and fro in here, let’s put kids first.” But no, Mr. Speaker, they’re not. At this point in time, they’re still delaying the legislation.

That’s why I’m concerned that they’re going to do the same thing when Bill 11 comes forward, which is coming forward for third reading today. I’m concerned that they’re going to do the same thing, Mr. Speaker. I don’t think that’s what the people of Ontario elected them to come here to do. I understand the role of opposition to critique what we’re doing, but my goodness, don’t hold up jobs for southwestern Ontario. Don’t hold up important jobs for southwestern Ontario. Don’t hold up legislation that’s going to help reduce bullying.

There’s also legislation before the House that helps ensure that our landlord-tenant relationship continues in the balanced way that has been the case, really, since my good friend John Gerretsen, the Attorney General, was the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, when he brought forward the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. He struck the right balance when he brought that forward. There are some changes that need to be placed in that legislation to continue that balance, due to some changes in the sector. Those are changes that are important for tenants across this province.

I can’t believe, for the life of me, that the opposition want to get in the way of those changes. I don’t understand why they would. Their tactics here in this Legislature, their delay tactics, are now standing in the way of tenants getting a good, balanced piece of legislation forward in this House that’s fair for tenants.

So not only are they standing in the way of jobs for eastern Ontario, not only are they standing in the way of jobs for southwestern Ontario, they’re also standing in the way of anti-bullying legislation that’s going forward and tenant protection that’s going forward. But on top of that, they talk about being concerned about getting the deficit wrestled down.

All of us had the same timetable when we went into the last election. Well, the budget bill is now before the House, and that’s what that does: It brings the deficit down to zero by 2017-18. It eliminates the deficit, something that, frankly, many economists have told us is the single most important thing we can do in Ontario to create jobs in this province, to build a strong economy and attract investment, the single most important thing we can do. And you know what? They’re delaying that, too. They talk about wanting to get the deficit down, and what do they do, Mr. Speaker? They delay our legislation that’s going to do just that. Where are their priorities?

It’s time to put the people of this province ahead of political tactics. It’s time to put the people of this province ahead of political games that are going on in this Legislature. I really hope, Mr. Speaker, that the people of this province begin to focus more on what’s going on in this place, because they’ll see a government that’s doggedly determined to create jobs and build a strong economy, to put in place a southwestern Ontario development fund that’s going to create jobs in southwestern Ontario, put in place an eastern Ontario development fund that’s going to be permanent and create much-needed jobs in eastern Ontario; that’s going to put in place a budget that’s going to create jobs right across this province; that’s going to get our deficit down to ensure that we continue to have a healthy environment in which to attract investment. That’s what they’re going to see. They’re going to see a government just doggedly determined, during challenging times, to get that done.

They’re going to see a third party that’s trying their best to continue their political priorities but to work with us when they need to, to ensure that we get this done. At least, that’s what they’ve been doing to date, and I have to commend them for it. That’s the job of opposition: oppose, yes, at times, get your view known, have an opinion, express it and try to work with us to make strong measures even better. That’s the tactic, for the most part, that the NDP have been taking.

Then you have the PC Party, Mr. Speaker. On this legislation—on just about everything else we’ve got brought forward—they’re AWOL, absent without leadership. I find that very disappointing. I have to think that great Premiers like Bill Davis must be looking at this place and be very disappointed in the behaviour of the opposition party and the Leader of the Opposition. I know that members of his own party are questioning the strategy that they’ve brought forward, and I think they are doing it rightfully, because I think they recognize that, for instance, people in southwestern Ontario don’t care about the tactics that go on in here until it impacts them. Today, I can tell, very soon they’re going to start feeling the impacts of the childish and irresponsible measures being taken by the opposition party to delay the very important legislation that we’re trying to get through: the very important budget bill we’re trying to get through to create jobs in this province, and legislation that’s very important to southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario.

Mr. Speaker, I want to just quote some headlines, because I think it’s really important for the opposition to hear this; I really do. This isn’t me talking; these are newspapers, these are headlines—headlines and articles. Not just quotes; headlines. I think they summarize very well what the people of southwestern Ontario think. One is from the Stratford Beacon-Herald from March 14, the riding of Perth–Wellington. This is what it says: “For our MPP, Boss’s Orders Trumped Needs of Riding.” Mr. Speaker, that’s a question of priorities.

Here’s another one: “Tory MPPs Miff Local Mayors.” That’s from the St. Thomas Times-Journal, the riding of Elgin–Middlesex–London. The St. Thomas Times-Journal has it right: The PC members are completely offside with local leaders in southwestern Ontario—completely offside. Local leader after local leader has stood with us on this legislation. In fact, it was their idea. This legislation didn’t just come from this party. This legislation didn’t just come from our platform. It didn’t just appear out of nowhere. This legislation came as a result of requests from local communities, local mayors, local leaders who have asked for this legislation to help them work with their communities and their local businesses to create jobs.

I have another one. This comes from the Belleville Intelligencer. It says, “Milligan Toed Party Line on EODF.” I have another one here: “Tory MPPs Stall $80 Million Jobs Fund.” That’s from the London Free Press—again, the stalling tactics. I think the people of southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario will not tolerate the PC Party stalling jobs for their communities. They want those jobs. They want those jobs today; they want those jobs now.

We’ve made a commitment, if we possibly can, to get these funds flowing this spring. It’s not going to be easy. The legislation is just going through the House now, and of course everything will be subject to this legislation passing. But our objective is to get those funds flowing this spring so jobs can be created in places like Kitchener–Waterloo, jobs can be created in places like London, Windsor, Stratford, places like Forest. Large towns, small towns, cities—they need these funds so they can work with their local businesses to create jobs. We’re determined to get that done. The NDP have worked with us, as I said earlier. But the PCs are trying to stand in the way of jobs for their communities. I think their constituents, especially when they find out what they’re doing, the tactics they’re using, are going to be very disappointed.

Mr. Speaker, far be it from me to predict what’s going to happen in the future in terms of the politics of Ontario. One never knows. But I think, to be frank, this is going to be an issue in southwestern Ontario, and an issue the PC Party should be paying very close attention to, because the top priority of our constituents is a strong economy. The top priority of our constituents is the jobs that come from that strong economy. That’s what this legislation does. It helps local communities grow stronger. It helps local communities bring in investment from abroad. It helps local communities help businesses expand, all of which creates jobs.


We know it’s successful. We know it’s a successful model because we’ve done it already in three years in eastern Ontario, and that wasn’t a pilot project; 53-some-odd-million dollara invested, over half a billion dollars of private sector investment that comes with it, and 12,000 jobs. There are 12,000 people working in eastern Ontario as a result of the help that this fund created in eastern Ontario. Mr. Speaker, this party believes that the people of southwestern Ontario—people in places in like Kitchener–Waterloo, for instance, London, Windsor and Stratford—deserve the same type of tools to build a strong economy that the people of eastern Ontario have.

Mr. Speaker, I’m going to be sitting down in a minute or two here now, but I want to thank my parliamentary assistant, who’s going to be following me, for the strong work that she did. I’m going to ask my colleagues here to give her a round of applause because of the strong work she did in committee to help get this bill through, in a minority situation, to work with the third party. Despite the efforts of the PCs to bring this legislation down, she soldiered on and got this bill through committee so we can debate it here today. I’m going to ask you to give her a round of applause for the hard work that she did.


Hon. Brad Duguid: The member for Etobicoke Centre is willing to fight for jobs in this community. I know the member from Kingston in eastern Ontario has been fighting for jobs in his community. I know the member from Peterborough fights for jobs in his community. I know the members throughout this party in eastern Ontario and southwestern Ontario are standing up for jobs throughout this province.

The question is, where is the PC Party going to fall on this vote? So far, they’ve said they’re not going to support it. They said at committee they’re not going to support it. They didn’t support it at committee. They’ve got bells ringing in this Legislature to delay this legislation moving forward, along with others.

I can only say to the PC Party opposite: think again, take another look, listen to your constituents, listen to what they’re saying to you. They want jobs. Stop standing in the way of those jobs. Listen to the mayors in southwestern Ontario as they tell you to stop toeing the line of your leader and start doing the job that you were sent here to do by the people of southwestern Ontario. Start fighting for them instead of trying to fight with these little delay tactics here in this Legislature.

Join us in building a stronger province of Ontario. Join us in building a stronger economy. Join us in attracting the investment into Ontario that we need to attract. Join us in making Ontario a global economic leader in this global economy. Join us in creating jobs in southwestern Ontario. Join us in creating jobs in eastern Ontario. Join us in creating jobs right across this province.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m going to turn it over to my very enthusiastic parliamentary assistant from Etobicoke Centre.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Etobicoke Centre.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I’m pleased to be able to follow the minister and his enthusiasm for ensuring that this bill does get passed.

I do rise in the House today to speak in support of Bill 11, the Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act, 2012, which, if passed, will make the eastern Ontario development fund permanent and, at the same time, will create a new southwestern Ontario development fund.

Mr. Speaker, if you will permit me a little, brief digression, I want to share this morning by remembering a moment in history from last summer. Until last August, Goderich, Ontario, was known as the prettiest town in Canada. Then, as you will remember, tragedy struck in the form of a tornado that ripped apart the heart of the town—virtually, the core of the town was destroyed. Homes, businesses, the town’s tremendously important tourist industry, infrastructure—everything took an absolutely devastating hit.

The reason I bring this up isn’t the tragedy itself. What’s really important is what happened afterwards. The country watched as the community came together in a tremendous and very united response. People went out and they started to work together on search and rescue teams. They cleared the debris, they took part in the recovery efforts, and in some cases, they started this even before the storm was over. You can see all of this evidence if you go on YouTube. It’s not very often that I do that, but every once in a while, it’s amazing what you find, and this is a really good example of where you can see the heart and soul of the people of Goderich actually doing something for their community.

Along with the individual efforts, we saw the stores also contributing to the recovery, and more broadly, a local disaster fund was created. It actually has drawn, and continues to draw, contributions from not only Canada but actually from right across the United States as well. And, of course, the province did step in as well, with millions of dollars in disaster assistance.

You’re probably thinking, “Why is this particularly relevant? What difference does this make?” Well, there are two reasons: first, because the community of Goderich is showing all of us how, with commitment, you can actually overcome a devastating crisis. Goderich is also showing us that we can work together. It has lost some of its beautiful historic buildings, and the full recovery may, and probably will, take many, many years before it’s complete. But the recovery will happen; of that there is actually no doubt. Second, as I said, the recovery was made possible because we actually all worked together to help support that recovery event. When a tree would come down, people didn’t argue over whose tree it was or who should be responsible for it; instead, the neighbours came out with their chainsaws and they cleared it up, which is exactly what they’ve been doing around this province for many years. What the people of Goderich show us is that even in a time of extraordinary disaster and crisis, you can work together to overcome.

Thankfully, many of us will never know what it’s like to have our homes or our towns destroyed, but many of us have either had personal experience or know other people who have had the experience of losing their job. We know how everything changes in an instant. Dreams and plans are wiped out. People are left fearing for the future instead of the hopes and dreams of today. They worry that things will never be the same again. Over the last few years, we’ve seen too many of our neighbours, our friends and our families undergo this experience.

Then, of course, we had the recession. I had the opportunity, many times, to participate, especially in the north, talking to people where this has been an extraordinary challenge when the forest industry was severely hit. When the forest industry was severely hit, it wasn’t just the forest companies but, of course, all of the subcontractors. Through all the subcontractors, ultimately it went into the families, and the families that didn’t have the pensions anymore to rely on, families that couldn’t find any resources for picking up their costs as a subcontractor, found themselves in extraordinarily difficult times. That’s why we worked very hard with the forest industry to be able to find some respite, to be able to provide for those families so that in fact they had some future—and even still today the forest industry still has its challenges, because the world has changed in terms of forest products.

So when the recession hit, it was just like a tornado. Some countries and some regions were hit a whole lot harder than others, and we know that parts of the province have been severely affected disproportionately. I spoke of the north, and the same can be said for southwestern and for the eastern part of this province.

So the question that comes up is this: How do we respond? How do we make a difference? What is it we can do? In Ontario, we know the answer. The best way to overcome a crisis is to actually sit down, develop a plan and a strategy and work together to ensure that it actually occurs. When we see our neighbours in need, we help out. We actually reach out with that helping hand to ask what we can do, whether it’s in policy and strategy or in actual support. That’s why, in 2008, we created the eastern Ontario development fund. It was actually created to attract investment and create and retain jobs.

I spent a fair amount of time in eastern Ontario. I walked through the forests and talked to the people who were trying to hold on to their business. I went to chat with the small business owners in particular, who were having trouble with supply. How was it that we were able to work with them and make sure that they in fact had a future, not only for themselves but for their children? That part of the world was extraordinarily devastated, from my perspective, when the forest industry collapsed. So what was it that we were able to do to work with them?


Through that fund we partnered with businesses through eastern Ontario to create and protect jobs for local families, and Mr. Speaker, the fund is working. I can think of a particular group, the two brothers Stasko, near Cornwall, who now are going to set up an extraordinary business. They have some overseas contracts. And it’s due to the good work of the Ministry of Natural Resources that this has taken place, but it also was due to the fact that these two individuals in their community saw a need to develop a company that was sustainable, that was reliable and that could ensure that there would be jobs for the future. It wasn’t going to be just a quick-fix solution. The Stasko brothers are to be commended. They took the initiative and they put their mind to what they needed to be able to do. It took some time to do it, but ultimately, they have in front of them what will be a viable business for many years to come.

In Cobourg, Ontario partnered with Bakkavör Foods Canada to build a complete fresh food manufacturing centre, and it created 50 new jobs—a company that the member from Northumberland–Quinte West would like to have go, if his government were in power. That can’t happen. When we have put the money in place, when we have ensured that there will be a long-term, sustainable plan to make sure that that company will remain, it’s incumbent upon all of us to work together for the people in that community to make sure that this will happen.

I know that I’ve had many discussions with the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke about this whole issue around partnerships and how we can work together in this fund. We spent a lot of time together, on what we could do together, to raise the necessary concerns and bring them to the people that could make a difference.

A good example was Deslaurier Custom Cabinets. We helped the company improve productivity and expand into new markets, and it created 25 new jobs while protecting the 69 it already had. So we know that 94 people wouldn’t be working. That’s why I’m counting on this member to support us as we move forward in the development of this fund.

In Brockville, Ontario, we partnered with Trillium Health Care Products to help the company manufacture a new product for a global pharmaceutical customer. This partnership led to the creation of 15 new jobs and protected 267; so nearly 300 people in Leeds–Grenville that are supportive of the investments, and we’re hoping that the member opposite will support them as well.

What we’re going to do, Mr. Speaker, if this passes—part of our plan is to create the conditions for not only success in Ontario, but by also making it easier to do business in Ontario. We’re building the most skilled workforce, we’re cutting the taxes on business investment and we’re renewing our infrastructure while introducing programs and networks to help our businesses succeed. There’s no question that you’ve got an open-up-for-Ontario-business attitude: What is it we can do and how can we make a difference?

And while the global economy remains uncertain and volatile, we know our plan is working. Ontario is not only competing, but we’re actually winning. We’ve now created more jobs than we lost during the global recession. Since the recession ended, we’ve grown by 345,000 new net jobs. In March alone—


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The Minister of Economic Development and the minister of northern affairs, you’re blocking my view of the speaker. Plus, I can’t hear her, and it’s your own speaker. So we could show some courtesy and take it outside, please.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to share with you as well that in March, we also created an additional 46,000 new full-time jobs. The eastern Ontario development fund played an enormous part in the creation of these jobs. Some $53.5 million has been invested, but that leveraged $493 million, an 8-to-1 ratio. Anybody in business will tell you that is an excellent ratio and use of leverage of your money.

The fund is partnered with companies to create or retain more than 12,000 jobs. A KPMG study has said that the eastern Ontario development fund is exceeding job growth targets and that these are sustainable jobs. That’s one of the most important things that we’ve been able to do with this fund: not only to create the jobs but to sustain them so that they have growth and that they’re going to be long-term.

Mr. Speaker, I’d just like to add that many of the jobs being created are also being created for highly skilled positions: managers, engineers, scientists. So we’re ensuring that as we do that and that goes into the local economy, it also changes the infrastructure in the local economy in terms of not needing as many support services; you’re able to pump more money into the local stores. It adds a great measure into the local economy, and adds an extra vibration into the work that’s going on in the economy. It spurs that economy and encourages people to buy locally, and that’s good for all of us, when that occurs.

There’s one more thing that needs to be done. We need to do much more to promote regional economic development in eastern Ontario, and that’s why, in this particular act that we’re proposing, we would like to make this fund permanent. We would like to see it there on a permanent basis, and that’s one of the reasons why we need the support of all the colleagues in the House. KPMG recommended that the eastern Ontario development fund maintain its current delivery model. I know that was a change that was proposed and an amendment that was accepted. But I still believe that one of the best things we can do is: If it’s broken, don’t try and fix it. We have something that was working; however, the amendment has gone through. I’m just hoping that dollars are not diverted into unnecessary administration that in fact could go to local businesses. I think it’s going to be important for all of us to ensure that that does not take place.

I’d like to share with you a brief testimonial from the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus about the eastern Ontario job fund. I sat at the table many years ago, when this fund was first created, and the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus was instrumental in ensuring that this fund actually started. It was their idea. The quote is, “There is no question from our perspective that over the past four years the fund has helped many businesses in the region expand their capabilities, grow their markets and increase their workforces, all of which have helped eastern Ontario’s economy weather very difficult fiscal times.” The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus continues to be a key partner in the delivery and the success of this program.

Mr. Speaker, under the second part of Bill 11, we propose to create the new southwestern Ontario development fund. There’s absolutely no question that the need is there. Figures from March alone show Windsor, at 10.7%, and London-St. Thomas, at 8.8%, as having Canada’s highest and third-highest big-city jobless rates, and that certainly is unacceptable. That’s not all that dissimilar to what was there in the eastern part. So we know that that’s how the fund had worked. Using that same model, we can transfer it to the southwest, and it will work there as well.

The numbers don’t actually tell the whole story. Southwestern Ontario is home to some of the most innovative and competitive companies in the world, but unfortunately the region has been hit hard by challenges such as the high Canadian dollar and increased global competition. It was the manufacturing heart, really, of this province for many years. There have been plant closures, including those in the automotive and chemical sectors, which in turn have affected the related industrial value chain. That is something that we’ve seen consistently over the last number of years: As the world has changed in its use of manufacturing, where those jobs have gone, where we had the strength, is where it has been hit the hardest.

It’s really our responsibility to sit down and find a way and the means that provide for a sustainable strategy to move forward. How do we help those folks? How do we ensure that they actually do have those jobs? And how do you do it in a way that includes them in that process—because you don’t want to not have everybody at the table, as it were—and have a full and complete understanding of the impact of what has happened in their community? I think that’s the other part of this. It’s not just the manufacturing jobs that need to be retained, or new jobs that need to come in; you also have to talk about the social fabric of the communities that have been impacted and affected, and how they deal with it in terms of their families, much less in terms of their community.

I think Windsor has done an admirable job in a very difficult time, but I think it’s now our responsibility to help them with a model that we actually know works. This is a model that has proven with that leverage of $493 million—how do we take that model and ensure that it works in southwestern Ontario?


We held extensive consultations before we moved forward with our new fund. We met with people in Owen Sound, Windsor, St. Thomas, St. Catharines, Guelph, London and Kitchener. We asked business leaders, municipal representatives and economic development stakeholders so we could get a better understanding of the key challenges and also the opportunities in the region, and to get input into the design of the process for the fund. We had over 215 people that attended and we received more than 30 written submissions. What was really heartwarming was that the people themselves supported this local fund initiative, just as they did in eastern Ontario. The people in southwestern Ontario recognized that this was something that they needed to have to help them kick-start their local economy. The southwestern development fund is supported by the Southwest Economic Alliance by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, by South Central Ontario Region and the Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance.

I think it goes without saying that we’ve reached a critical time in our economy. I don’t think there’s anybody that could stand in this House and say everything is perfect; it is far from perfect. It’s far from perfect in the world. But what we can say is that we have here in this House the means to be able to work together to find a solution to help people. That’s not a hard thing to do. It’s a little bit of, if there’s a will there’s a way.

I think we have a responsibility to the children of the families that are impacted and affected. It’s pretty hard for children when they don’t see their dad or their mom going to work. It’s pretty hard when they can’t participate in the things they normally used to because the funds aren’t there anymore because there isn’t a job. It’s difficult for a parent to say to their child, “Our only source of income is employment insurance,” and it’s also hard to say to that child, “But yet, in spite of all of this, there’s a future.” What we’re saying is, there is a future. If you work with us, we can make a difference that will impact the lives of an awful lot of people. We’ve proven it in eastern Ontario and we can prove it in southwestern Ontario.

I know that there’s lots of bravado that goes on in the House, and I realize that politics do play a part. I understand all of that. But at the end of the day, for me, what’s important is how you make a decision that really is the right thing to do on behalf of the people you serve.

I don’t live in southwestern Ontario. I don’t live in eastern Ontario or in the north, but every part of this province is just as important to me as my own riding, and I really truly believe that we should find a way to work together to ensure, in these really difficult times, that we can and we will be prepared to find some solutions to help each other.

As I said, I’ve walked the forests in eastern Ontario. I spent a significant amount of time in Windsor. I used to go every month when I was Minister of Transportation because of the work on the new highway and the new bridge into the United States. I want to just share with you that I spent all that time there. When I did, I would go to each of the different regions to have a discussion about things like transportation hubs, how we were going to be able to move the folks and goods and services, especially. I don’t know if you know, but in Windsor, for a car manufacturer, one part may cross the border eight times before it actually gets assembled on that vehicle. So it was absolutely essential that we found a way to move that part, with some freedom, so that it wasn’t encumbered at the border. Hence, there was the underground rail, and now, of course, the new bridge.

Again, I don’t know if you know, but if you were in Detroit and wanted to go to Florida, there’s one stoplight. That’s it, all the way. But if you hit Windsor and you want to go to Detroit, there are 17 stoplights, so you can imagine the kind of congestion. It’s amazing. You would see the trucks just one behind the other, and of course it went right through the centre of town. The difficulty was at one time that was a border town and that was okay. We didn’t have these double-rig semis idling hour after hour after hour on a main street that we do now. So we really had to find a solution that worked, that moved that truck traffic, but still allowed the opportunity for car traffic so we could have them both.

So I spent a lot of time and in doing that, it was also sad to see some of those stores that were closed. They would have wood over the windows because there wasn’t an opportunity for that store to open. There were high employment issues—

Mr. Monte McNaughton: High hydro bills.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: High hydro bills. There were lots of issues.

We could talk a little bit about hydro, having been there. One of the things that I could share with you is that with all that diesel and with the issue of air pollution out of Nanticoke, because they all don’t have scrubbers—I can tell you that closing down Nanticoke and the rest of coal is absolutely essential to clean air in southwestern Ontario because it is part of that airshed that moves that air through to places like mine in Etobicoke Centre.

I digress a little bit, if I may, Mr. Speaker. It speaks to why it’s so important. We could even look at clean energy initiatives in a region such as Windsor. Because of that airshed—a third party came and spoke about the challenges on the airshed.

In Etobicoke, there are about 130,000 people—


Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know they wish to participate in this discussion and maybe we could have it after, but just let me share with you again, in that airshed in Etobicoke, 10% of my population succumb to respiratory disease because a lot of them are seniors. I have up to 2,000 people a year for respiratory disease.

So looking at how you clean air—and it’s just as important, I agree, out of Chicago as it is out of Windsor.

So for me, the whole idea is, how do we find a way to have clean air? I’m a huge proponent of clean energy. At the end of the day, you can have that cost analysis when it says economically it’s viable to do one. If you want coal—because the coal we burned was dirty coal. It was the worst of all coals. So that, in itself, was a challenge, if we at least had cleaner coal, but we didn’t and you can’t change—and Nanticoke is old and deserves to be shut down and find another opportunity for energy efficiency in some of the other plants and/or find other alternatives for that site at Nanticoke because it’s a huge, huge site.

When you look at Windsor and the fact that they have a huge unemployment rate, you look at the challenges that are faced just as a border town and, again, what happens with those ancillary support services that come through from other companies and/or social services—for example, what is it we can do to minimize the impact on the community? One of the things we can do is work with the community, inject some money, leverage those dollars, create the jobs and change the dynamic in the community that brings them back to what they used to be many years ago.

I say kudos to all of the folks who have worked and lived in the region, especially to those who are in office. They’ve done an absolutely superb job municipally trying to find ways and means to continue to support their community.

I say the same thing in eastern Ontario. Again, as I said, I travelled many places. The eastern caucus has done an enormous job trying to find and leverage, obviously, those dollars to create additional jobs for all of us. I think it’s really important to give them thanks.

How do we do more of that? How do we, you and I, in this House find a way and a means to be able to support these communities? One of the things we’ve decided could work and has had amendments attached to it and support is through these two funds, one of which would be permanent, the eastern development fund, and also the southwestern fund.

I spoke a little earlier about the Stasko brothers and what they’re doing outside of Cornwall. The idea here is that they’re going to take the bio-pellet—and they have an enormous contract overseas now. Once they produce the pellet, they can actually export. They started with this because that area, if you’ll recall, was severely hit when Domtar left. We had enormous challenges in that area. We had also another border town. We weren’t keeping the businesses. We tried absolutely everything we could to induce business to stay. It had an enormous effect. I think 500 jobs were lost in the area.

We sat down with the people who were impacted and said, “Well, what is it we could do?” The Stasko brothers came up with this incredible idea of the bio-pellet, which we also supported. We actually did a fair amount of research at Atikokan—I think it still continues to this day—on the use of biomass as an alternative for energy efficiency.


This has been used in Europe for decades, so when they found an opportunity here—we had the raw resources, we had the individuals who had the know-how to put this together, we had the will of a government prepared to support them through the Ministry of Natural Resources, and we also had the support of the local government, the municipal government, the region, the caucus. Suddenly, we had a recipe for something that really was going to work. Today, that is a viable company with an overseas contract that exports to Europe a product made in Ontario. A significant number of jobs will be created, but what’s more important is it’s sustainable, and it will create additional jobs.

So, again, here we are. We have an opportunity. I think we can work together. I think we should work together. I think we must work together. I think it’s incumbent upon all of us.

When I think about all the wonderful places that I have been in this incredible province, its greatest resource of all is its people. They are the ones who, if you give them the right tools, can put it all together and make an enormous difference. Again, I say, it’s our responsibility to be able to do that.

So I’m asking all of the members in the House to give serious consideration to how we can work together with this bill. I’m asking that we do this now. This is not needed in the future; it’s needed today. We need to be able to say to the folks out there that there’s hope, there’s promise, there will be work, and there will be a future. They deserve it, their children deserve it and, ultimately, all of us benefit. No matter where you live in this province, all of us benefit from economic activity, whether it’s the tax dollars that come in to support the ancillary services in support for education or social services or whatever. All of us end up—


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I guess the Attorney General didn’t listen to my request. You’re talking over your speaker. If you want to have cross dialogue, I suggest you take it outside.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): No, he wasn’t, and I don’t need any comments from the other minister. If the minister wants to make a comment, he might want to get back in his seat.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to thank all of my colleagues in the House for their indulgence and for their willingness to listen to my perspective on this particular bill. I’m asking them, as I said earlier, to give serious consideration so that we can move forward, not tomorrow but today, on something that’s absolutely vitally important to all the people in Ontario, not to just those two regions. I thank you very much for your attention.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Mr. John Yakabuski: I was glad to listen to the minister and the parliamentary assistant for Bill 11 here.

It’s interesting, some of the comments. They talk about economic effects and that, and they’re talking about $20 million spread across eastern Ontario. Well, you know, I’m talking to a guy in Pembroke who would like to reopen a plant there. His hydro bills are $1 million plus a month—a month. You know what’s driving jobs out of this province? You talk about $20 million over a year all across eastern Ontario, of which most goes to Liberal ridings—Speaker, $1 million a month in hydro. The global adjustment last month was 7.47 cents a kilowatt hour; this month, it’s 5.53 cents a kilowatt hour. You wonder what’s driving jobs out of this province? It’s your hydro policy.

You can talk all you want about your silly little political games, but the reality is, if you want to have people working in this province, you’ve got to have an economic policy that allows them to do that.

You’ve got your crazy green plan that is driving up energy costs beyond the reach of anybody. You want to start talking turkey here, folks? Start talking about what affects everybody, not your picking winners and losers, not your—and then you made sure that the Liberal ridings got 65% or 70% of the money out of the last fund.

Interjection: Eighty per cent.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Eighty per cent, okay. It’s 80%. I was actually giving them the benefit of the doubt.

So you want to start talking about what is going to be positive for businesses in this province, small businesses? Let’s start talking about your economic policies. Forget about your games and your little bill. Let’s start talking about your hydro policy that is going to drive more and more jobs out of this province.

Mr. Speaker, the price of hydro this morning was minus four cents a kilowatt hour. For every kilowatt hour, we’re paying Quebec to take it off our hands. That’s the silly policy of this government. Shame on them.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Mr. Rosario Marchese: Speaker, I will have an opportunity soon to do our lead on this bill, and that will give me an opportunity to speak more fully to the bill and to the amendments we made, and to also possibly speak to some of the Conservative concerns they have. I will be able to have that opportunity.

I wanted to congratulate the member from Etobicoke Centre. She has ably defended the government as best she could, dealt with my amendments graciously, and eventually we all agreed on some things that I believe will make things better. I know they disagree with some of the amendments. I will argue that our amendments are good for them and for us, but we won’t have the time in one minute to be able to do that. But to say that we made amendments, for the first time in a long, long time—this is why minority governments often work—or potentially could work.

Hon. John Gerretsen: Hear, hear.

Mr. Rosario Marchese: I know some Liberal friends say “Hear, hear,” but they have been reluctant, for eight and a half years, to work with us on many bills where they had the power to give away a couple of crumbs every now and then. It takes a minority to make them sometimes gracious in giving away a couple of things.

All I want to argue is that minority governments can work to make things better, and I’m happy that we have this opportunity to do that. I’m looking forward to my opportunity to do my lead, Mr. Speaker, and will speak then.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Questions and comments?

Mrs. Teresa Piruzza: It’s with pleasure that I rise to speak to Bill 11, an act to promote regional economic development. As we’ve heard, the fund has been quite successful in eastern Ontario, helping to create and protect over 12,000 jobs and leveraging over $493 million. That, to me, speaks to a successful program.

It’s interesting that although our discussions here have centred around jobs and economic development, we’re presenting a program that works, yet there is opposition. One of the consultations took place in my riding of Windsor West. The consultation consisted of employers, an economic development representative, a municipal representative and others. Overwhelmingly, the consultations were supportive of this product, of this investment, an investment in our communities for jobs. I’ve spoken with others as well, and I have not heard any negative comments.

There is a cost to doing nothing. Ontario competes with jurisdictions around the world that offer significant business incentives. I’ve met with employers that are looking at investment, and they’ll tell me what they’re being offered in other jurisdictions. If we’re not at the table, those investments and the jobs will go elsewhere. The return on this investment is evident and supported. This is not a game. You must realize the competitive nature of economic development. We are competing in a global environment.

This act recognizes the unique nature of Ontario’s various regions. We’ve heard the headlines as read earlier by the minister. Our communities are waiting for this. There is recognition of the need, and mayors of all our communities agree that this just makes sense. It’s time to stop the games, to move forward with this fund and to work together for our communities, politics and partisanship aside. Our communities need our support.

Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to this important bill in support of not only my riding of Windsor West but all the ridings in southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Thank you. The member from Durham.

Mr. John O’Toole: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to respond to the minister, as well as the member from Etobicoke Centre. I think our member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke pretty well said it all in terms of the reality.

In Durham region, we were always concerned why Durham wasn’t included in the east or the west, yet Windsor is. That’s the partisanship that I see being crafted here on a daily basis. It’s unforgivable and unrelenting. The reality of Ontario’s economy is even more striking than that. If you look at the paper here issued by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce—I am casually slipping it open here. What does it say about Ontario? “The Challenges”: 38% of the civic leaders and other leaders in the province feel that we are “not that innovative or not innovative at all.” Innovation in the economy is important. That’s what the chamber says about your performance.

“In 2009, the Ontario-US gap in information and communications technology investment per worker was $1,350” per person, versus 12% less than other jurisdictions. We’re investing in the wrong things.

I think the discussion on energy—and the minister over there should know. He has messed this file up worse than any single policy file in the province’s history. He was at the table.


Mr. John O’Toole: No, no. Brad, you’ve messed this file up so badly—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Sit down, please. I would ask that you don’t name the member. You name the riding. Thank you.

Mr. John O’Toole: The minister, when he was the Minister of Energy, messed up the file totally.

On research and development, Ontario lags behind. There isn’t one area—you’re picking winners and losers. Let’s face it. Here’s the report card in Ontario. There’s the report card. That’s the media. It says, “Swimming in Red Ink.” And that’s exactly where we are. This particular bill, itself, is another example of picking winners and losers—mostly losers—in Ontario—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Thank you. The Minister of Economic Development and Innovation has two minutes to respond.

Hon. Brad Duguid: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m delighted to respond. We’re here today to debate third reading of a bill that will bring an economic development fund to southwestern Ontario, an economic development fund to eastern Ontario. I think this is an important bill that’s going to bring jobs to those communities, communities that have been hard hit by the recession.

I want to thank the member for Windsor West for her comments and for standing up for jobs in the Windsor area. I want to thank the members, as well, from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke and Durham for their comments. I thank the member for Etobicoke Centre for her comments during the debate, and particularly, the member for Trinity–Spadina; I want to thank him as well, not just for his comments today but for his hard work that he engaged in at committee.

Mr. Speaker, the numbers speak for themselves. Out of 114 projects approved—that’s out of 132 applications, an 86% approval rate—only three, Mr. Speaker, have not met their targets. Two out of those three didn’t receive funding at all before we identified that they wouldn’t be able to meet their targets. That’s like a 97% success rate. The eastern Ontario development fund has been working well. It’s created over 12,000 jobs in eastern Ontario. I think southwestern Ontario deserves that kind of job creation opportunity as well.

I know the mayors in southwestern Ontario are with us on this. I know the communities in southwestern Ontario are with us on this. I know the people in southwestern Ontario are with us on this, whether they be from Kitchener–Waterloo, whether they be from London, Windsor, Stratford or the many small towns in rural southwestern Ontario. I know they are going to be with us on this. I think the PC party has missed the boat here. I think they’re going to pay a huge price. I commend the NDP for working with us.

Mr. Speaker, it’s about jobs: jobs in southwestern Ontario, jobs in eastern Ontario. Thank you very much.

Third reading debate deemed adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Thank you. It being close to 10:15, this House stands recessed until 10:30 this morning.

The House recessed from 1013 to 1030.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s my pleasure today to welcome members of the OSSTF from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in our region in eastern Ontario. They’re up in the gallery today; give everybody a wave. They’re here at Queen’s Park today to share their message, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with them. I’d like to welcome Dan Maxwell, Tom Bickford, Cheryl Cavell, Nancy Akehurst, Carole Crocker and, of course, Chris Goodsir. Thanks very much, guys, for coming.

Hon. Brad Duguid: I have a very special guest here today. It is Emmy Award-winning Jerry Levitan. He’s over here with his son, Dan Levitan, who happens to be a special assistant in my office. Uniquely—and I think the members will be interested in this—the Emmy he won was for a documentary on John Lennon, whom he met as a teenager and corresponded with for their entire life. A very interesting documentary; it won an Emmy. He’s also a full-time lawyer here in the riding of Trinity–Spadina.

Mr. Monte McNaughton: I’d like to welcome my best friend growing up in the village of Newbury: Councillor Chris Degraw. Welcome.

Mr. Grant Crack: I too would like to welcome the OSSTF to Queen’s Park today, in particular Francinna Collard from my hometown, a good friend from my riding of Glengarry–Prescott–Russell. Welcome, Francinna.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I’m very pleased to welcome the Association of Ontario Midwives. We’ve got midwifery student Catharine Tunnacliffe and midwifery client Cara Wilkie. Welcome.

Mr. Ted McMeekin: I’d like to introduce some dignitaries from Nazareth, Israel. This morning, we’re honoured to have the honourable Mr. Ramez Jaraysi, the mayor of Nazareth, Israel; Mr. Ahmad Afifi, chair of the Nazareth fund; Mr. Bishara Kattouf, the chairman of the treasury of Nazareth; Mr. Raji Srouji, director of sports activities; Canadian Arab Friends of Nazareth committee members Munder Jubran and Najla Sakran; as well as Mr. Ayoub Sakran. We’re delighted to have them here, and we welcome them this morning. We wish you a good stay here in our beautiful province.

Ms. Cindy Forster: I’d like to introduce Daniel Peat and Lise Etienne from OSSTF. They’re up in the gallery this morning.

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I know that some of my colleagues have welcomed representatives from their local communities who are here from OSSTF, but I want to welcome everyone from across the province who’s here today who hasn’t been acknowledged. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Bob Delaney: It’s my pleasure to recognize and welcome two constituents from Mississauga–Streetsville who live in the Lisgar neighbourhood. Please join me in welcoming Brian and Therese Ellis on their first visit to the Ontario Legislature.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’d like to welcome Matthew O’Mara, the press gallery summer intern, seated in the press gallery this morning. Matthew will be working with the Queen’s Park press gallery. He’s also a former page and currently at Ryerson University studying journalism. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. John Yakabuski: What about the Speaker’s gallery, Speaker?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Just give me a moment. I’ll get to it. I’ve always wanted to make sure the students that are in the press gallery don’t learn bad habits.

On behalf of the member of Ajax–Pickering, we do have in the members’ gallery Dietmar Arff, Ryan Arff and Ali Shaquat for our page Vincent. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Finally, in the Speaker’s gallery today we’re pleased to have back to Queen’s Park former page Nick Peters, and my other brother and the brother of Speaker Steve Peters, Joe Peters. Welcome back, Joe.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): As a small editorial on my behalf, I would like to bring to the attention of the House that May 2 is the anniversary of the 1985 election of Monte Kwinter, in his 27th year today.



Mrs. Christine Elliott: My question is for the Premier. Last night our leader, Tim Hudak, outlined our path for a more prosperous Ontario. We need a new path, Premier, because the path you’ve taken our province down for the last nine years has failed. We’ve lost 277,000 manufacturing jobs. Half a million men and women woke up without a job today, and Ontario has had a higher unemployment rate than the rest of Canada for the past 63 consecutive months.

The first budget ever tabled by your government in 2004 promised 490,000 new jobs by the end of 2007. Could the Premier report back to the House on whether he met that target or not?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, I’m pleased to take the question and to share more good news about the Ontario economy. Not only—

Hon. Dwight Duncan: Even Harper gets it.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I guess, Speaker, it’s important. Maybe we should all take our cue from the Prime Minister, who’s recommending to all of us that we be positive when it comes to talking about the Canadian economy and the Ontario economy. I think there is good advice to be found in there for all of us.

Not only did the Ontario job numbers rise by 46,000 in March—all full-time jobs—more than half the jobs created in Canada, but I’d also encourage my honourable colleague to recognize that the CFIB recently said that small business confidence has grown for the seventh month in a row in the province of Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mrs. Christine Elliott: The reality is that under the McGuinty government the news for the Ontario economy is not good. In fact, the Premier missed his target by 163,000 jobs.

Sadly, this isn’t the only jobs target that this Premier has missed. In your 2008 budget, you promised 231,000 jobs by 2010. You missed that target by 177,000 jobs. The sad fact, Premier, is that only once in the last eight years have you actually hit your job creation target.

Premier, don’t you think the people of Ontario deserve better than one in eight?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I say again, to twist a phrase, into every life a little sunshine must fall. I would encourage them to open their eyes and see the good reasons for optimism and opportunity to be found here in Ontario.

Here’s another piece of important good news I’d encourage my honourable colleagues to accept: Export Development Canada has recently said that Ontario’s export growth will lead the country not only in 2012 at 9%, but also in 2013 at 9%.

Again, I remind my honourable colleagues, while our budget originally projected a rate of growth last year of 1.8%. Stats Canada has in fact said we’ve exceeded that. It came in at 2% and the economy is moving forward, Speaker, and it could move forward even faster if we could deliver on our plan by working with the opposition.


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

Mrs. Christine Elliott: We’d like to see a little sunshine, Mr. Speaker, but the fact is, this government is giving us no sunshine and not letting any light in on a whole variety of topics.

It’s time for a new approach in Ontario, Premier, an approach that focuses on job creators, one that gets our fiscal house in order, creating a sound environment for businesses to grow and prosper. We need a plan that not only removes barriers for job creators, but one that rewards those that want to grow. That’s the approach the Ontario PC Party wants to take.

Premier, why did your budget ignore this path and embrace a decade of economic decline and downgrades? Why are you taking this path?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: A lot of negativity there, Speaker, a lot of negativity. I’m reminded of that wonderful Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore: Everything was so painful, nothing was ever going to get any better, and the sun would never shine and it was always going to rain.


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Actually, that just came to me right now. I swear, Speaker it just came to me here, right now.

There is reason for good news, Speaker. We learned that just yesterday WestJet has indicated that they’re going to be ordering up to 45 Bombardier Q400s from the Downsview plant. That supports 4,050 jobs plus thousands of spin-off jobs right here in Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. Be seated, please.

New question.


Mr. Victor Fedeli: Good morning, Speaker. My question is for the Premier. Our party has spoken often of the problems with the so-called Green Energy Act. First off, there’s nothing green about it. Wind power has simply replaced clean, renewable water power. So far, the GTA hasn’t paid much attention because wind turbines are not in their backyard. But yesterday, the consequences of wind turbines hit their front door in the form of a skyrocketing hydro bill in their mailbox. Ontario now has the second-highest energy prices in all of North America.

Premier, when are you going to admit the feed-in tariff scheme is holding back Ontario from growth and opportunity?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I kind of expected the honourable member would put a question to us about the ONTC, which is a very important issue in his riding, but I’m pleased once again to have his continuing support on the measure that we’ve adopted here in government.

On the matter of green energy, Speaker, I know that it is no longer a secret: The member opposite is in fact green at heart. He’s a champion of green energy in the province of Ontario. In fact, he championed an effort in his own riding to put solar panels on city hall. We commend that.

Speaker, I know my honourable colleague says a lot about the green energy plan, but Shakespeare said, “action is eloquence,” and I think my honourable colleague has been most eloquent in terms of the action of adopting those solar panels on his city hall.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Victor Fedeli: Premier, I spoke loud and clear about Ontario Northland when I voted against your budget.

Yesterday you said that the feed-in tariff program accounted for only 5% of electricity bills, but in your 2010 fall economic statement you said 56% of the increase in electricity rates is due to renewable energy generation. Now, we both know that the energy scheme is causing skyrocketing energy bills. You’ve said it will create jobs, but we’ve yet to see the proof of that, Premier. In fact, the Auditor General stated that for every green job, we lose two to four jobs in other sectors.

Premier, when will you cancel the green dream that has turned into a nightmare for 600,000 Ontarians?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Once again, Speaker, I want to return to statements offered by our secret champion of clean and green in the province of Ontario, that we have strategically positioned within the Conservative caucus. This is what he said on April 4, 2005: “Taking advantage of locally available green power resources is a good fit with the long-range development strategy we have for the community.”

Interjection: Well said.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Well said. I think that statement speaks volumes about my honourable colleague’s true sentiments when it comes to clean energy. The fact of the matter is that we’re creating thousands of new jobs here in Ontario. At the same time, we’re cleaning up our air—something that we owe to our families—we are shutting down coal-fired generation and we’re building an exciting new industry that will take us into the future.

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

Mr. Victor Fedeli: Considering that’s the 10th time the Premier has talked about my wonderful career as mayor, I thought I would give you a book, through a page, that talks about the highlights of my career as the mayor of the city of North Bay. This covers—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order. Order. The member knows that that would be classified as a prop. Thank you. Carry on with your question.

Mr. Victor Fedeli: Thank you, Speaker. It was the 10th time they brought it up. I thought I would at least present them something.

Nonetheless, yesterday, another renewable energy company found out just how flawed and unworkable this energy scheme is. Siliken, a solar panel maker in Windsor, Ontario, laid off 40 staff. This comes after WindTronics, a company you gave $2.7 million to, pulled up stakes and moved to Michigan. You gave false hope to the renewable sector and as soon as your rich subsidy was reduced, sales fell and jobs disappeared—

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

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, as we grow this exciting new industry in the province of Ontario, at the same time as we clean up our air and bring new jobs to our families, there will inevitably be some ups and downs in the industry. There will be the occasional shakeout. We have just, on behalf of the people of Ontario and ratepayers in particular, driven down costs with respect to the amount that we’re going to pay for clean energy. That’s going to put new pressure on the sector itself. That’s going to put new pressure on the businesses that are out there. It’s going to result in some declaring themselves to be less than competitive, not able to meet the prices that we’ve put in place. We understand that, we accept that and we expect that. But we will not waver in our resolve to build an exciting, new clean energy industry here in Ontario that creates new jobs for our families and cleans up the air for our children, especially, and for our seniors, too.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is for the Premier. This week, the Premier has talked up his jobs council as a way of helping half a million people in Ontario who are out of work. When is it actually going to get off the ground?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Shortly. Shortly, I say to my honourable colleague. I’ll tell you what the intent is behind this. What we’d like to do through our jobs and prosperity council is, first of all, to have solid representation on that from business, labour, academics, government representatives and the like. Our intention is to develop a consensus here in Ontario that helps us better understand the nature of our challenges and the nature of our strengths so that ultimately you and I can knock on business doors around this province and ask everybody, “What is it that we’re doing here in Ontario to make ourselves better than anybody else, and what’s your role that you need to play in that?” That’s the purpose of our jobs and prosperity council.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The government said that it’s going to review its business support and bring it all under the jobs and prosperity council—the jobs and prosperity fund. Will the Premier agree that that fund needs to include a job creation tax credit which actually rewards the companies that create jobs in our province?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I’ve said to my honourable colleague, and I appreciate the engagement she has had in this matter, we are going to take a good look at her proposal for a job creation tax credit. I think we have a responsibility to have an open mind on this. But I think we also need to run it by our jobs and prosperity council—people who work on the front lines in particular, the labour community and the business community—to get a good sense of what works today and what it is that might work even better tomorrow. Among those considerations, of course, will be the proposed job-creation tax credit.

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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Earlier this morning, the Premier was talking about jobs gained in March but forgets the thousand of jobs that were lost the month before that or the fact that Ontario ranked absolutely dead last of all provinces in wage growth this month. We can do better than that. We need to do better than that.

A job creation tax credit will reward the companies that create jobs. It’s simple math: create a job, get a tax credit. When can Ontarians expect to see a reasonable, achievable solution that will make life better for all of those thousands and hundreds of thousands of people who are looking for work?


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I must say this is a great example of a positive, constructive proposal that is worthy of our consideration, and we look forward to doing that in earnest.

What I will do is take this opportunity as well, though, to offer a suggestion to my colleagues in the official opposition. At some point in time, they’ve got to become more interested in bills than bells. They continue to act in a very obstructionist manner, Speaker. Whether you’re talking about our desire to make our schools safer, more accepting and more respectful of all of our children in time for this September by moving ahead with our Accepting Schools Act, or our healthy homes renovation tax credit, or protecting people who want to stay at home to look after a family member who is sick—those are important initiatives we need to pursue on behalf of the people of Ontario. I’d recommend to them that they move beyond the bells so that we can together consider the bills.


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also to the Premier. Instead of making it easier to create jobs, the government is making it harder in Ontario. The mess in our electricity system is one good example. In fact, an industrial employer in Toronto is paying as much as $3 million more a month for power than companies in neighbouring competitive provinces.

Will the Premier agree that our hydro system, with its private power deals and its alphabet soup of agencies, is driving up costs for households and businesses?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Energy.

Hon. Christopher Bentley: Making sure that businesses have reliable power is absolutely something we’ve been engaged in for eight years. Remember where we were. We have reliable power. Driving down the cost of that power is something that we’re working very hard at. You know that we’ve introduced legislation to combine agencies. We’re taking costs—half a billion already—out of two of our public agencies which provide and transmit power around the province. We have conservation initiatives where businesses—the 150 top consumers in the province—can benefit from reducing their peak power consumption. We have conservation initiatives that allow businesses to retrofit so they use less energy.

We will continue to look for ways to make sure that businesses have a competitive power structure and a reliable one in the province of Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, we need to look at a new path, and instead we get more of the same from this government.

According to the OEB, the Ontario Energy Board, 45% of the growth in electricity prices is due to growing costs of nuclear power. But instead of dealing with this reality, Ontarians are paying to refurbish the Bruce A nuclear units, to the tune of at least $5 billion.

Will the Premier admit that the only thing this system of expensive private power contracts does is actually cost Ontarians more?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: Let’s just set the context here: Nuclear power is half of our power. If we turn it off, as the NDP seems to be suggesting, half of everything just gets shut off like that. Nuclear power has been a clean, reliable source of power for decades in the province of Ontario, and it supports, might I add, 80,000 jobs in the province of Ontario—all good-paying jobs—which the NDP would put out of work like that if they were eliminated.

We’re determined to make sure that we have clean, reliable power. We’re refurbishing the nuclear units at Darlington, but the NDP needs to come clean on its shutdown process. They’re going to shut down half of our power and put 80,000 people out of work. Is that really where they want to take the province of Ontario?

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

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The reality is, rising electricity costs are taking a huge bite out of the pockets of families and employers. That’s because this government is signing private power contracts that are out of whack with the market in Ontario and in competitive jurisdictions. Instead of making power public and affordable, the government is forking over $2 billion not to build gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga, and billions and billions is being forked over for contracts on new nuclear power that just don’t add up.

Will the Premier admit that Ontario needs to rethink the private power schemes that keep costing Ontario more and more on every single bill?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: For us, it’s about what’s best for families and businesses. They need reliable power, and we’re working hard to manage the cost.

About 65% to 70% of the power we consume is through public sources—not private, public sources. The nuclear industry that they want to shut down is largely public sources of power. We’re determined to look at everything, to make sure we can deliver clean, modern, reliable power to the families and businesses of the province of Ontario. We are challenging every agency we have and everyone who would be able to produce power.

The bottom line here is, you have to produce it at a price that’s best and reliable for families and businesses, public, private or any combination in between.


Mr. Frank Klees: My question is to the government House leader. Speaker, you will know that last Thursday, in response to questions here as to when the government will allow a select committee of the Legislature to pursue the Ornge scandal, the government House leader said that he would look to the committee itself to self-determine those terms of reference and how it conducts business.

We accepted him at his word, and I responded by saying we will then return to the public accounts committee and bring forward a motion to make that request of the House. We did that this morning. I delivered a copy of that motion that was passed by the public accounts committee this morning making that specific request.

My question to the government House leader: Now that he has the express will of the public accounts committee to expand those terms of reference, will he agree to bring that motion forward and pass it—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Government House leader?

Hon. John Milloy: The honourable member raises a valid point. That is, is the Ornge situation being properly examined? I think it’s worthwhile for everyone in this Legislature to take a step back and begin with the fact that the Auditor General, an officer of this Legislature, has done a comprehensive review of Ornge. Second, the public accounts committee, a standing committee of this Legislature which has been charged with all the powers and privileges of all standing committees of this Legislature, is looking into the matter of Ornge. Thirdly, as a result of the encouragement of the Minister of Health, we have the Ontario Provincial Police looking into the Ornge situation. Finally, we have a bill before this House, Bill 50, which, if it is passed, will presumably go to a committee and be the subject of investigation.

I want to reassure all members that Ornge is being looked into.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Frank Klees: I have to say that I cannot believe the response from the government House leader. It was the government House leader who said that he would rely on the public accounts committee to determine for itself how to conduct its business. It was the public accounts committee this morning that passed this motion that is now in the hands of the government House leader.

Alf Apps himself said, when he appeared here last week, that 30 minutes with a witness is not nearly enough to get the job done.

We are now asking for expanded terms of reference. What possible reason could the government House leader have for not complying with the express will, first of all, of this Legislature in a vote, and second, of the express will of the public accounts committee by this motion this morning? What reason could he possibly have for denying that request?


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

Mr. John Yakabuski: Free the truth. Free the truth.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke will come to order.

Government House leader.

Hon. John Milloy: I know the member would never want to leave the impression that the committee does not have the power to call witnesses forward and to set the amount of time that they can hear from witnesses. In fact, it is my understanding that this afternoon the committee reorganized the number of witnesses, and in fact extended the time for one witness to hear it—that is within the administrative purview of the committee, as in all standing committees.


The public accounts committee is doing an outstanding job. This morning, for example, they heard from one Kelly Mitchell, a very, very prominent Progressive Conservative, a very close friend of the leader of the Conservative Party, who himself apparently was paid $400,000 to lobby and schmooze Conservative MPPs and, as we learned from the Toronto Star this morning, and I use their term, had “hired” Chris Mazza’s girlfriend as a way of providing her with employment. There’s lots coming out of this committee.


Mme France Gélinas: Ma question est pour le premier ministre. This morning, Mr. David Caplan, his former Minister of Health, called Ornge a rogue agency. Many other Liberal MPPs have used this term to describe Ornge. Does the Premier agree with that assessment?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Hon. John Milloy: Again, I think that all members recognize the fact that the public accounts committee is currently seized with the Ornge matter. They’ve heard from a variety of witnesses already this morning, including the former Minister of Health, and there were opportunities for members of all sides of the House to pose questions.

In terms of the actions we’ve taken, Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has given us good direction. The minister herself has taken a number of key actions. At the same time, we have a very important piece of legislation in front of this House, and if the opposition, to use the Premier’s words, were more interested in bills than bells, we could move forward and make sure that Ornge is on solid footing.

But as I say, we learned a great deal this morning, including from one Kelly Mitchell, a prominent Conservative, and the role that he played in many of the problems that we find at Ornge.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mme France Gélinas: Back to the Premier, please. The McGuinty Liberals keep referring to Ornge as a rogue agency, but it seems to be a bit of a charming rogue with deep, deep pockets.

Don Guy has served the Premier as chief of staff, he has served him as campaign director, and he served him as trusted adviser for over a decade. Can the Premier explain how an agency can go rogue when it’s working hand in hand with a key member of the Premier’s team?

Hon. John Milloy: Again, if the member wants to conduct hearings on the floor of the Legislature, then let’s talk a little bit more about Kelly Mitchell. Kelly Mitchell is a top Tim Hudak insider. He was hired by Ornge to lobby the PC Party. Worse, he received lucrative lobbying contracts while serving as a board member of Ornge and its for-profits.

According to this morning’s Toronto Star, it reported that Kelly Mitchell “hired,” to use their term, Chris Mazza’s girlfriend in 2005 as his company began lobbying the PC Party. I think there are lots of questions to answer on that side of the House as to their involvement with Kelly Mitchell. We also know he was paid almost $400,000 to lobby and schmooze the PC Party for Ornge and its for-profits. As I say, according to the Toronto Star, he hired Chris Mazza’s girlfriend at a time when he was also Chris Mazza’s lobbyist.


Ms. Soo Wong: My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. There are approximately 145,000 births in Ontario each year, and midwives play an integral part in providing health care services to many of those giving birth. In fact, I know that four out of every 10 women who seek the services of a midwife are unable to obtain it. We need to make sure those who would like to access services offered by midwives are able to do so.

Through you, Speaker, to the minister: My constituents in Scarborough–Agincourt would like to know, what is the government doing to increase access to midwife services?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Thank you to the member for Scarborough–Agincourt for this very important question. Our government recognizes the enormous contribution that midwives make to our health care system and to the well-being of thousands of women and their newborn babies. In fact, we’ve got 580 midwives practising in Ontario, 78 midwifery practices. That’s an increase of—we’ve doubled the number of midwives who are practising in this province.

They’re providing services to approximately 18,000 women a year. I am proud to say that my daughter is one of those women. We’re very proud of the work the midwives are doing.

Speaker, the number of midwives practising is expected to grow at about 15% per year. I want to assure them that our government is fully committed to supporting this growth in midwives.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Soo Wong: We have faced some tough economic times. We have a responsibility to Ontarians to ensure that they have the health care services they need. It is important for my constituents in Scarborough–Agincourt, indeed for all Ontarians, to have timely access to the care they need in the community, outside the hospital and in long-term care. Moreover, most importantly, every precious new dollar we put into the system must benefit the health of patients.

There are, I understand, alternative settings for giving birth, which would allow more routine procedures to be performed out of the hospital. Through you, Speaker, to the minister: What is this government doing to make these specialized services available to women in Ontario?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Part of our action plan for health care in Ontario is about moving routine procedures out of hospitals where those procedures can be performed with highest quality, lower cost and better patient outcomes than in hospitals, or as good patient outcomes as in hospitals.

Birthing is one of the leading causes of hospitalization for women in Ontario, even though there’s no medical reason for the majority of women to have their babies in hospitals. That’s why we’re moving forward with birthing centres. They’ll provide a more appropriate form of care, less expensive than hospitals, improve the birth experience and reduce the exposure of new health risks for both mother and baby.

By transferring routine, low-risk births to birthing centres, specialized obstetrical care and hospital capacity can be freed up for those women who need them.


Mr. Frank Klees: My question is to the Premier. The Premier has heard the exchange that we have had with his government House leader. We want to make this place work. We have put forward a very reasonable motion that was supported by the public accounts committee. This motion was vetted by the clerks of the Legislature. It is very much in order.

We are simply asking for this Legislature—for the government House leader—to bring forward this motion. Would he at least bring it forward for a vote so that we can deal with this? We too want to get on with the business of this Legislature. We’re asking for only one thing, and that is to have the public accounts committee have this motion passed so that we can do the work that we believe we have to do on this file.


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


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, I’m pleased to take the question. I know the—

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: There’s Christopher Robin there.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: She’s had 10 minutes to think of that, Speaker.

I think we should leave committee questions to the work of the committee but I can say that I do share the underlying desire on the part of the member opposite to move forward with government business. So I would ask, on behalf of Ontarians, why is it they’ve rung the bells some 13 times on our Accepting Schools Act; why have they rung the bells 10 times on our rent increase guideline bill; why have they rung them six times—

Interjections: Ornge. Ornge. Ornge.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order, please.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I do not get quiet so that somebody else can interject.


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, I would suggest to my honourable colleagues in the official opposition that they consider that in the context of a minority government their responsibility is somewhat elevated. They have to find a way to do the people’s business. Ontarians are concerned about what’s happening in their schools, they’re concerned about what’s happening in our economy, they’re concerned about what’s happening on a number of fronts.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Frank Klees: I want to answer this question for the people of Ontario. The Premier asked why the ringing of the bells. It is because we are trying to get the government to agree to an express will of this Legislature and now to the express will of the public accounts committee to change the terms of reference of the public accounts committee so that we can do the business that we were sent here to do.


I want to make this offer to the Premier, as I did to the government House leader. I can guarantee him that the bells will stop ringing as soon as they allow us to work under the terms of this motion. Will the Premier work with us? We’ll stop the bells as soon as the Premier allows us to move forward on this motion.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. The comments as you’re sitting are not helpful.


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Hon. John Milloy: Everyone recognizes the concerns at Ornge. I remind members again that the Auditor General has looked into Ornge and produced a report going forward. The Ontario Provincial Police, at the encouragement of the Minister of Health, are investigating the Ornge situation.

Mr. Speaker, there’s a very, very important piece of legislation in front of this House which responds to the Auditor General, as well as numerous pieces of legislation which they are blocking through bell-ringing. That bill, if passed for second reading, would be in front of a committee.

And finally, a standing committee of this Legislature—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Simcoe North, come to order.

Hon. John Milloy: —the public accounts committee, which has—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Oxford, come to order.

Hon. John Milloy: —all the powers and privileges of every committee—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Leeds–Grenville, come to order.

Hon. John Milloy: —is looking into the Ornge situation.

Mr. Speaker, the member stands up and somehow seems to feel it’s a powerless committee. The fact is, they can call any witness they want, and as we’ve seen today, they can hear that witness for any amount of time that they want.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’ve just done it, but I’m going to identify individual members.

New question.


Mr. Peter Tabuns: The question is to the Minister of Education. Every day, 1,500 of our students are bullied in schools here in Ontario. For months, the opposition and the government have been engaged in infighting on anti-bullying legislation, blocking each other’s initiatives. When will the government and the opposition stop the infighting and get on with passing anti-bullying legislation.

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I’m very pleased to have a chance to reiterate once again in this Legislature our willingness to make sure that Ontario has the strongest anti-bullying legislation possible.

When we introduced Bill 13, we brought it forward as part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate bullying in our schools. We’ve talked about the fact that each and every one of us has a role to play. As legislators, we have a role to play too. I have a role to play as Minister of Education, and I have done that. I reached out across the aisle to Mrs. Witmer. I took the best of the ideas that were in Bill 14. I reiterated in this House that we continue to stand by that commitment. There are good ideas in Bill 14, and we will make sure that those are part of our comprehensive strategy.

What can the members on the other side of the House do, Speaker? They can vote for this bill and get it into committee.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: This government tries to portray itself as blameless, and the simple reality is that this government has rejected our initiatives to bring both bills together in committee, so that we can have the public hearings, so that we can have the debate and an anti-bullying bill. This government set things up so that we couldn’t have the hearings on Bill 14. That would have moved forward the anti-bullying legislation. At the same time, our students are dealing with the bullying situation.

Minister, will your government, today, support putting both bills forward into committee so that we can actually get on with it?


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

Minister of Education.

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: Let’s focus on the kids. When we focus on politics instead of the kids, kids lose out. So far, 13 times the bells have rung on Bill 13. Our shared job—all of us—let’s support a time allocation bill, let’s get this bill to committee, let’s get it out of committee, and let’s get supports in our schools for September. Let’s listen to those like Jer’s Vision and the GSA Coalition. Let’s listen to their advice. Let’s put kids first. Let’s put politics aside, Speaker. Let’s put kids first and get the supports in our schools this September. Kids are counting on us to be the grownups in this situation.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. New question.


Ms. Dipika Damerla: My question is for the Minister of Education. Minister, as you know, back in November—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew, come to order.

Ms. Dipika Damerla: —we introduced the Accepting Schools Act. The only goal of this act is to make our children safer in our schools, regardless of their background, their sexual orientation, creed, colour—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke is now warned.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Prescott-Russell is not helping the matter at all.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): And I don’t need any help from you.

Member, continue.

Ms. Dipika Damerla: Speaker, there’s a real danger that this bill will not get passed this year because of the tactics and the obstructionist ways of the official opposition.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities will come to order.

Ms. Dipika Damerla: If these protections are not in place, the only people who will lose are our children. So my question to the minister is: What are we doing to ensure that we can pass this bill before schools reopen in September?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I’d like to thank the member from Mississauga East–Cooksville. I’d like to assure the member and this entire House that on this side of the House we will do everything that we can to have this legislation in place and supports against bullying in our schools this September. But, Mr. Speaker, time is running out. There are less than five sitting weeks left in this session, and we’ve been talking about eradicating bullying in this House since November. During that time, the PC Party has delayed the second reading debate 13 times. On 13 separate occasions, they voted to obstruct legislation to help kids. We’ve had 19 hours of second reading debate. We’ve repeatedly said: Let’s get this bill to committee; let’s make it the best bill possible; let’s pass a time allocation bill.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Dipika Damerla: Thank you to the minister for that great answer. I’m really disappointed in the official opposition because they’ve chosen to block this legislation. On this side of the House, as you know, Speaker, we supported Bill 14, which is Elizabeth Witmer’s bill. We supported this bill because we believe that anything we do to help kids is a step in the right direction. It’s a shame that the official opposition doesn’t share this view. Minister, I ask you: Is the official opposition showing good judgment by blocking this legislation that would help our kids?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: Time and time again, we’ve heard the members of the Progressive Conservative Party say that they’re ringing the bells and holding up the vital work of this House because they’re mad about other issues. Their focus is on something else. The member for North York said that there were bigger issues than anti-bullying legislation, and 13 times the members have voted in favour of bell ringing instead of kids. Speaker, I say to the members opposite and to their leader: Our kids need your focus to be on them. They need you to put aside partisan politics and focus on them. During debate, the member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke said, and perhaps he’ll listen: “It is time to get down to the business of doing what is right for all children here in the province of Ontario and stop playing political games.” I call on the opposition and their members to heed this advice. Put Ontario—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated. I would remind the minister and all members that when I say thank you, that should be the end. New question.


Mr. Bill Walker: My question is for the Minister of Health. The Ornge scandal has brought to light several alarming issues. The corruption at Ornge squandered hundreds of millions of precious health care dollars and destroyed Ontarians’ confidence in their air ambulance service and in their government. But Speaker, what’s worse is that the Ornge scandal has compromised patient safety. Throughout the investigation, we’ve learned that the management at Ornge and the Ministry of Health showed an alarming disregard for patient safety.

Sadly, this issue doesn’t stop at air ambulance services. Patient safety is also being compromised on the ground. Medical transport services in Ontario have been proven by the Ombudsman to be severely lacking in regulation and oversight. Can the minister explain why she hasn’t taken action to protect patients who require medical transfers?


Hon. Deborah Matthews: I’m assuming that the member opposite is referring to the non-urgent patient transfer issue that the Ombudsman has raised. I can sure the member opposite and members of this Legislature that we listened very carefully to the Ombudsman and my ministry, in co-operation with the Ministry of Transportation, is moving forward with looking at how we ought to regulate the non-urgent patients. This is an issue that I think deserves our attention and we are working on that solution, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Bill Walker: Again to the Minister of Health: After receiving dozens of complaints, the Ombudsman launched an investigation into medical transport services in Ontario. His findings were extremely troubling. According to Mr. Marin, “Our investigation uncovered serious issues, from a lack of infection control to unsafe vehicles and poorly trained staff.”

The CBC reported in June 2011 on several instances of patient deaths that occurred in medical transport vehicles. That same month, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Municipal Affairs promised to take action. Minister Matthews and Minister Wynne claimed that legislation would be introduced “at the earliest opportunity.”

Minister, why have you neglected to address yet another pressing patient safety issue?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Speaker, I completely reject the characterization. We are doing anything but neglecting.

This is an important issue. There are patients who are being transported by companies that offer non-urgent patient transportation. The issue the Ombudsman raised was that people thought they were cared for by paramedics when in fact they were not cared for by paramedics. They thought they were in an ambulance when in fact they were not in an ambulance.

It’s an issue we take seriously. We are moving forward on the recommendations of the Ombudsman and I look forward to returning to the House with more information.


Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: To the Minister of Economic Development: Last week, Caterpillar announced $60 billion in sales last year and a profit of $7.1 billion. Despite those profits and a backlog for their products, they threw over 450 workers out of a job in London. There are only three words to describe this: greed, greed and more greed.

After Caterpillar closed, the minister was asked about the possible retaliatory measures the government could take. He said, “I’ve asked my ministry to take a look at are there any … tools available to us in these circumstances.” What tools did the minister find?

Hon. Brad Duguid: Our priority in southwestern Ontario is jobs and the tool that we’re trying to give to the communities in southwestern Ontario is the southwestern Ontario development fund.

Now, I want to thank the critic from your party for working with us in committee in getting it through. He made some amendments, some that we don’t support but some that we’re willing to work with, because our first priority is jobs in southwestern Ontario.

But I say to the party opposite that it’s time to get on with this bill. It’s time to debate this bill in this House and this ringing of bells, Mr. Speaker, is slowing it down. Mayors across southwestern Ontario, people in southwestern Ontario want us to get on with this fund, want those dollars flowing into the community, creating jobs. We need to do that. We need to work together in this Legislature to get that bill passed.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: With nearly 25,000 people out of work in London, there’s a lot for families in my community to be worried about. Meanwhile, their government isn’t responding to those concerns. Instead, they’ve seen billions of dollars in handouts go to no-strings-attached corporate giveaways, a government virtually indifferent to Caterpillar’s threat towards its workers and a recent budget that lacked a plan for jobs.

Why don’t we see a job plan for this government capable of getting people back to work, like incentives that award companies for creating jobs?

Hon. Brad Duguid: We just talked about the southwestern Ontario development fund that we’re trying to get through this Legislature. We need the help of the PC Party to do that because they’re holding it up now. That’s jobs, Mr. Speaker, and all of those jobs and all of those business support programs come with accountability mechanisms, despite what the NDP says.

If we were to not make those partnership agreements—Bombardier, the announcement the Premier made today about the Q400 planes being made here in Ontario—over $1 billion of investment coming to Downsview, here in Ontario, would not have happened without the partnerships that the government of Ontario and the government of Canada engaged in to keep Bombardier healthy here. We need to keep working to build the economy in southwestern Ontario. We need to keep working to build the auto sector out there. It’s building and it’s growing.


Mrs. Laura Albanese: My question is to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Our newcomer communities make important contributions to the fabric of our society, and in Ontario we know that diversity is our strength. My community of York South–Weston is fortunate to be home to a thriving multicultural community. York South–Weston is home to many vibrant and active cultural groups, including Somali, Italian, Portuguese, Vietnamese, South Asian and Spanish communities, to name a few. Members of our diverse communities offer their unique skills and knowledge, which play an important role in our economy. Skilled newcomers are in high demand with employers. What action is our government taking to ensure that our immigration mix meets the needs of Ontario employers?

Hon. Charles Sousa: I’d like to thank the member from York South–Weston for her leadership in helping new Canadians. Immigrants are a key to Ontario’s future economic prosperity and growth. In the next five years, immigrants will account for all of Ontario’s net market growth.

As members know, immigration is a shared responsibility with the federal government. But Ottawa continues to make unilateral decisions that affect our immigration mix and our economic recovery. That’s why we need a made-in-Ontario immigration strategy. As a first step we’ve created the Expert Roundtable on Immigration to support our economic development while improving prospects for new immigrants. They will examine a range of immigration issues, including recruitment, selection, integration and retention.

Ontario remains the number one destination for newcomers to Canada, and we know that those who come to Ontario stay in Ontario—one more reason why Ontario needs its own immigration strategy.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mrs. Laura Albanese: My constituents will be very pleased to know that our government is taking action on this important issue. It’s unfortunate that the federal government is not consulting with Ontario before taking actions that affect our immigration mix and our ability to help newcomers integrate into our economy. When you also consider that Ottawa refuses to negotiate a new immigration settlement agreement with Ontario—we are the only province that doesn’t have one—it’s clear that we must develop our own plan. Given the recent unilateral cuts that Ottawa has made to Ontario’s settlement agencies, including agencies in my riding, it’s important that we develop our strategy as soon as possible. Minister, what progress has been made since you first announced your intention to create the new made-in-Ontario immigration strategy?

Hon. Charles Sousa: I share the member’s enthusiasm and desire to put our strategy in action as soon as possible. I’m pleased to tell the member and those in the House that the round table held its first meeting on April 2. It was a very productive meeting, and I was very impressed with the discussion and the panel’s eagerness and determination. I asked the Expert Roundtable on Immigration to provide their recommendations by the end of this summer. It’s important that we continue to act quickly and decisively to help our skilled newcomers contribute to our economy. The panel’s work will also inform our discussions with the federal government. We continue to urge the federal government to work with us on this shared responsibility to create an immigration system that works best for Canada and Ontario.


Mr. Jeff Yurek: My question is to the Minister of Finance. Minister, you’ve made some statements regarding the recent credit downgrades that almost make it look like a downgrade is a good thing. Perhaps I can give you another perspective. If we converted this year’s deficit into $100 bills, it would reach a height equivalent to 29 CN Towers stacked upon each other. Minister, will you stop the spin, take our ideas and get Ontario back on track?

Hon. Dwight Duncan: If we stretched the empty rhetoric one on top of another, it would reach to the moon and the stars, Mr. Speaker.

Get back to work. Quit ringing the bells. Help us pass the legislative agenda. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You are not serving your constituents.


Here’s what they’re blocking, Mr. Speaker. They’re blocking help for seniors. They’re blocking help for—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): That was quick. Thank you.

Hon. Dwight Duncan: They’re blocking help for bullied children, Mr. Speaker. They’re blocking help for unemployed workers in your riding. They have no plan, no strategy. Their leader is a failure. The federal finance minister wants his job.

Get your act together. Build a better province. Support our efforts, and quit ringing the bells.


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


Mr. Jeff Yurek: Back to the finance minister: If we did build a tower out of $100 bills, at least the people of Ontario would have something to show for the billions of dollars you continue to waste.

The fact remains, a deficit that towers 29 times above the CN Tower is too much. Drummond told you that. We’ve told you that, Moody’s has told you that, and now S&P is telling you that.

Your continued wasteful spending and all the hubris that goes along with it is disrespectful to the Ontario taxpayers. You talk about the achievability of your budget’s assumptions. The problem is, with many of these assumptions and targets, such as negotiating a 0% increase in public sector wages, you have absolutely no record of delivering results and, therefore, no credibility.

Will you do the honourable thing? Will you look the taxpayer in the eye and tell them you’ve mismanaged their money and the current budget fails to rectify your mistake?


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


Hon. Dwight Duncan: They revert to name calling and to yelling, Mr. Speaker, and here we are at the end of question period.

So the member opposite doesn’t want us to build the Burlington hospital. He doesn’t want us to build hospitals in his riding, Mr. Speaker. He wants us to subsidize horse racing. He doesn’t want to have the House meeting. He disrespects taxpayers’ dollars by spending more than $300,000 an hour every time they ring the bells.

No, Mr. Speaker, the only thing flimsier than his logic is his record. They don’t get it. Why don’t you stop ringing the bells? Help us deal with bullied kids. Help us move forward with the seniors’ tax credit. Help us build a better future for Ontario. Put aside your divisions, once and for—


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

New question.


Mr. Paul Miller: My question is to the Premier. Speaker, for over a decade, the people of West Niagara and Stoney Creek have fought to rebuild the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. These people have held fundraisers over 10 years, and they’ve raised over $14 million in their community. They also are going along with a Liberal platform that committed to investing in new hospitals. This government, however, callously scrapped the project without any warning.

Speaker, the community has grown, but their hospital has not. Why are the Premier and his government turning their backs on their promise to the residents of West Niagara and Stoney Creek?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Health.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I can assure the member opposite that these were not decisions that were taken lightly. We know that communities are very supportive of their hospital.

I’m actually happy to have a question on this issue. I was surprised and disappointed that the MPP for that riding has not once raised the issue in the House. So it is good, actually, that a neighbouring MPP is raising that issue.

We have made unprecedented investments in hospital infrastructure. We will continue to make important investments for those communities. But we did have to make the decision to slow down the progress in light of the economic reality, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Paul Miller: I just want to let the minister know that the Lincoln hospital has over 900 births a year, the most in the Niagara Peninsula.

To the minister: A shovel was ready to go in the ground a week from now. Can you imagine the disappointment of that community in this government on their wrongful dismissal of this whole project?

Tonight, thousands of residents will gather at Grimsby Secondary School to demand that the Premier keep his promise. Their message is clear: Do the right thing. Stand behind years of Liberal promises. This project—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Durham will withdraw.

Mr. John O’Toole: I withdraw.

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


Mr. Paul Miller: This project is not a luxury, Minister. It’s an absolute necessity.

Will the Premier change his message for the thousands rallying tonight and tell them that he will rebuild the hospital that our expanding community so desperately needs?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: We have moved aggressively on building new hospitals; 23 new hospitals are now under way, built or in planning. The Niagara Health System in St. Catharines is one of those hospitals, and I’m very much looking forward to visiting St. Catharines and seeing the progress on that hospital. It also involves a new cancer centre, so people in the Niagara region will be able to get the cancer care they need closer to home.

Again, Speaker, I’m disappointed that the member for Grimsby did not stand up—the Leader of the Opposition did not stand up—in support of this hospital, nor have the other members in the opposition. The member for Huron–Bruce, the member from Burlington and the member from Milton have not stood up to support their hospitals.


Mr. Bob Delaney: This question is for the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. Ontario faces a great challenge in this decade of both balancing the budget and ensuring that our province is prepared for a new knowledge-based economy to remain competitive.

A survey done by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found many businesses face labour shortages. To fulfill these shortages, our institutions need to graduate six times as many college graduates as university graduates. Innovative partnerships between colleges and industry can help ensure that students graduate in a field in demand. This way, companies can hire the right skills for their industry’s needs.

Minister, what kind of success do Ontario college and university students have in finding a job after they graduate?

Hon. Glen R. Murray: I want to thank my friend from Mississauga–Streetsville. We have incredible growth going on right now in the post-secondary sector. We have 210,000 more students. I often get asked, but at the end of the education process what is happening to them. Well, 96% of the 2005-06 university graduates got jobs within two years. Not only that, 85% of them got jobs in their field, which is quite remarkable.

In 2010, almost 83% of the 2009-10 college graduates were employed within six months. I want to repeat that: That’s 83% of graduates in Ontario employed within six months, and it speaks well to our rapidly growing economy and our high skills economy.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member for Nepean–Carleton, I suspect, on a point of order.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As you recognize, and all members of this House do, last week a valued and cherished colleague of everyone here decided to leave this place. She had a very important piece of legislation that was very important to me, as well as to a number of other people in our province, Bill 14.

Therefore, right now, I would like to move unanimous consent of the following motion: That the sponsorship of Bill 14 be reassigned to the member for Nepean–Carleton; and

That the question on the motion for second reading of Bill 13 be put forthwith, without further debate or amendment and with no deferral of the vote; and

If second reading is carried, Bill 13 be referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and be taken up simultaneously with Bill 14 for public hearings and clause-by-clause.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Nepean–Carleton has asked for unanimous consent. Do we have unanimous consent?


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): We have a no, so the unanimous consent is denied.

Hon. John Milloy: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): A point of order from the government House leader.

Hon. John Milloy: What the honourable member just tried to do, in my understanding, Mr. Speaker—and I look for guidance from the Chair—is that she would first have to seek unanimous consent to introduce a motion without notice. This is the first time that we have heard of this motion, and I don’t know how she can expect us to respond to that. But I ask, Mr. Speaker: Is it not true that she would have to seek the unanimous consent of the House to entertain that motion?

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): That’s what I said. She was asking for unanimous consent; she was not asking for the motion. By denying unanimous consent, the motion couldn’t be put to the floor.

This House is now—

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Timmins–James Bay on a point of order.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: To the point of order and to the point that was made by the government House leader—and I just want to say this in all due respect: We’ve had this conversation as House leaders. It’s well known that the offer has been put on the table in order to move in the way that has been put forward by Mrs. MacLeod. I know this because it was New Democrats who proposed that a long time ago and proposed it again yesterday. So the government knows. I would just urge the Premier to use this as a way forward, because clearly we all want to do the right thing here, and there’s a way to do what is right for the children of Ontario, to move in the way that will stop the bell ringing and allow us to deal with this very important business.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I am going to listen to the points of order pertaining to this particular issue because I know that we have had some difficulties in coming to this consensus, so I will hear them out. After that, when I make my ruling, we will move forward.

The member from Simcoe–Grey.

Mr. Jim Wilson: As the honourable member from Timmins–James Bay just pointed out, this is the exact offer that we’ve been putting forward, so for the government House leader to pretend that this is the first time he has heard it simply is not factual. The fact of the matter is, what the honourable member from Nepean–Carleton is trying to do—


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order. I’ll do that job. Thank you.

Mr. Jim Wilson: —is move forward, and what we’re trying to do. We will give you Bill 13 right now, if you’d like, if you will resurrect Bill 14 in the name of Mrs. MacLeod and put both bills in committee.

Maybe people don’t understand that for the minister to keep saying she’s going to take chunks of Bill 14 and put it in 13 once 13 gets to committee—you cannot do substantive amendments like that without unanimous consent every time in committee. So why don’t you give us unanimous consent now? Put both bills in committee, and let’s have second reading and get on with it.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): On the same point of order—I will then provide an opportunity for a ruling. The government House leader.

Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, we have had discussions in a general nature with the opposition of how to move forward. This is the first time that I have ever heard the motion that was put forward.

We have made it very clear. Bill 14 is no longer an active bill on the order paper; the member has resigned. We have indicated our willingness to take chunks of Bill 14 and, during the amendment phase at second reading, to support the committee work that’s going forward. That offer has been made since day one; in fact, the Minister of Education has provided the opposition with a list of the legal—she has gone to legislative counsel and put forward even ways that we could do it.

Mr. Speaker, we are very open to taking Bill 14, which is a matter of public record, but as members across the way know, with the resignation of Mrs. Witmer as a private member, it does not exist. On the motion here, that is the first time that I have heard that motion—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I have heard enough about what has been happening right now.

Let me be clear. I made a ruling on the request for unanimous consent. The dialogue that’s presently happening with the points of order—the best place for that is with the House leaders. On a point of order, it’s to presume that something is out of order. What I’ve heard here in this conversation is what I’m referring to the House leaders.

This House stands recessed until 3 this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1144 to 1500.


Mr. Bill Walker: I have a school that’s going to be attending here at 4 or 4:30 p.m. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to get into the gallery, but it will be Beavercrest Community School from my riding.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Welcome. I’ll take a moment to remind people that we really don’t read from our BlackBerrys while we’re speaking, but that’s quite all right.

Mr. Bill Walker: I was trying to check to make sure I had the right name.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Forgiven.



Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I’m pleased to rise today to speak about the annual Lucknow Music in the Fields. This is a fantastic weekend of music and community spirit at its best.

This festival has been so successful that Music in the Fields is now extended to be held over two days, this year featuring Travis Tritt, Terri Clark, Doc Walker, Aaron Lines and Kira Isabella, just to name a few.

The two-day music festival is organized by the local Kinsmen Club of Lucknow, and it is a fantastic opportunity for music fans from all around southwestern Ontario and central Ontario to get together and see some of Canada’s top country musicians perform in this great setting.

But the other side of the good news to this is that this is a not-for-profit initiative, and all the proceeds from this program and this music festival will be going to various charitable and local organizations in the community, as well as to the Kinsmen’s official charity, cystic fibrosis research.

Today, because of the endless fundraising by the Kinsmen, children and young adults with cystic fibrosis are often living well into their 30s and beyond. For almost every year of the 45 years the Kinsmen have been part of this partnership, an extra year of life for a CF child has been earned.

Music in the Fields past performers include superstar Blake Shelton, Jo Dee Messina and Canadian country stars like Paul Brandt, Jason McCoy, Johnny Reid, Emerson Drive, George Canyon and Beverly Mahood.

I encourage all country music fans to head to Lucknow on August 24 and 25 to take in what will be a great weekend of Music in the Fields.


Ms. Cindy Forster: Regrettably, Ontario has become a province where too many see health care as a method to profit rather than placing the ethics of patients and their privacy as the priority. A recent sale of pharmacy records by Zellers (Hudson Bay) to Loblaws (Zehrs) in a deal worth $35 million has placed business interests and profits before the interests of people.

Corporations may view the users of pharmacies as nothing more than customers, but patients do not view this relationship the same as any other business. Patients should be able to decide up front who they trust to provide them with pharmacy services, not through some profitable deal struck in the backrooms of corporate offices.

Patients including Cheryl Edwards, one of my constituents, who entrusted their medical information to Zellers, were not consulted, nor were they informed, and they’re just learning now that their pharmacy records have been sold. Health care providers, including pharmacists, are obligated to place patients’ interests above their own, but this demonstrates that this principle can be undermined when profit is the motive.

Rather than defending their handling of eHealth or Ornge, this government should have been ensuring there were enough legislative safeguards ethically favouring Ontario’s patients rather than profit.


Mr. Bill Mauro: Speaker, another incredible year has concluded for the Thunder Bay Sportop Midget AA Queens Hockey Club.

The roster, including Brianna Iazzolino, Azia Vass, Natasha Nicholl, Michela Cava, Kaitlyn Tougas, Michaela Coulter, Bronwyn Bolduc, Kaley Tienhaara, Jessie Schedlosky, Jillian Langtry, Samantha Strassburger, Jessica Gazzola, Farrah Nicholl, Michelle Carlson, Drue Ahola, Jayde Turcotte and Megan Leikkari, as well as coaching staff Denis Lavoie, Dan Lavoie, Mitch Romano, Rick Evoy, Crystal Tustian and Steve Ballot, placed second, winning a silver medal at the Esso Cup Canadian National Female Midget Hockey Championship in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Our midget Queens club had a remarkable 56-17-5 record this year, just two years removed from their national championship performance.

The Sportop midget AA Queen’s club has added to and built upon the reputation of Thunder Bay being the best hockey community in the country. I offer my personal congratulations to the coaches, to the players, to the parents and the volunteers for your success on the ice and for representing our city of Thunder Bay to the broader hockey community. I wish all the players well as you pursue your goals and dreams. Thank you. You’ve made us all very proud once again.


Mr. Jim McDonell: This province’s greatest treasure is our inspired, driven and enthusiastic youth who participate in community activities. In my riding of Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, youth sports are a key component of community life, and numerous teams compete in local, national and international leagues, with great results.

In mid-April, two broomball teams from the township of North Stormont—the men’s Sting and the women’s Eastern Thunder—returned from the 2012 Canadian Juvenile Broomball Championships with gold medals. It is no coincidence, as youth enrolment in sports activities in my riding is very high, and it fosters a healthy competitive spirit.

But the gold medals weren’t the only awards that our girls and boys could be proud of. Among the personal achievements, I’d like to mention the following:

In the ladies division, from the Eastern Thunder: Janessa Byers, Canadian first all-star team; Lynn Duncan, Canadian second all-star team; and Steve Norman, overall coach of the year.

From the Seaway Valley Devils: coach Helena Lanthier, Canadian first all-star team.

In the men’s division, from the Sting, we had Jacob Byers, second Canadian all-star team; Colby Hybregts, most valuable player in the gold medal game.

I just want to join North Stormont township in congratulating all the players for a spectacular showing and take this opportunity to say how proud we are of their achievements.


Mr. Michael Prue: This afternoon, I rise in defence of the people of the Beach. What an iconic and wonderful community it is, one of the most recognizable neighbourhoods in all of Toronto, the place that has the best shopping street of any place in the entire city and a jazz festival that is a world marvel.

But, you know, as the people of Toronto discover the Beach, so have the developers, and now that small retail strip going from Woodbine Avenue over to Scarborough is under assault. Where there is small retail, they’re now saying there need to be six- and seven- and eight-storey condominiums. Where there were quaint cottages, they’re now saying it’s okay that they’re all kept in shade.

Friends of Queen, the Waterfront Beach Community Association, the residents’ groups and environmentalists are all trying their best to preserve this community. They have a universal fear of the developers, of their deep pockets, of their friends at the Ontario Municipal Board, and they also know that if they challenge them, they’re going to possibly face great economic challenge. Friends of Glen Stewart Ravine, for instance, that took a developer to the Ontario Municipal Board, now owe $60,000.

The city of Toronto has the authority to do something but has chosen not to do it. I am saying that it’s time in this Legislature that we start looking at protecting our citizens and our neighbourhoods. We need to make municipalities more accountable. We also need to consider the abolition of the Ontario Municipal Board.


Mrs. Laura Albanese: I would like to rise in the House today to recognize a young man from my riding of York–South Weston whose talent has won him a spot in the finals of the popular TV show Canada’s Got Talent. Scott Jackson, the self-proclaimed human beat box, was born and raised in Weston and has spent nearly 10 years perfecting his beat box skills. Among Canada’s best, he has represented our nation and our province at international beat boxing competitions, including the world beat box championship in Germany.

Scott has made a career out of his talent, performing at bar mitzvahs, corporate functions and in our schools. In the past few years, Scott has visited over 300 schools across Ontario. Using his unique talent as an opportunity to connect with youth of all ages, Scott discusses the importance of following your dreams and the value of equality and has given a strong voice to the anti-bullying message.


I would like to congratulate Scott for his advancement to the finals and thank him for his hard work in the community. On behalf of myself and the excited residents of York South–Weston, I would like to wish him the best of luck on May 13.


Mr. Bill Walker: I rise in the House today to recognize an exceptional young athlete who hails from the great riding of Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound. Josh Cassidy’s winning time of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 25 seconds not only clinched the Boston Marathon win in record time, but it also made Josh the fastest person in the world. He beat the world record by two seconds using nothing more and nothing less than his upper body force, his upper back and arms to hit the rings on his wheels.

As a double-leg amputee who was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, cancer in the spine and abdomen, just weeks after birth, Josh has always raced against challenges. Most recently, Josh, who is now 27 years old, has been racing to help save others’ lives, such as five-year-old Niamh Curry as she fights neuroblastoma.

Josh is an inspiration for teaching us what it means to dream big and to reach higher goals and for his tenacity, strength and skill that are truly the tenets of the Canadian athlete’s spirit. Our province and nation will watch with pride as Josh prepares to take on the world’s best racers on the world’s biggest stage at the summer Olympic Games in London.

I would like the House to join me in congratulating Josh Cassidy on his historic win in Boston and wishing him all the best at the London 2012 games.


Mr. Bob Delaney: Ontarians watching their Legislature in action see the vibrance and diversity of our province on display.

Of the 107 Ontario members of provincial Parliament elected in 2011, 85 were born in North America, 82 of those in Canada and one each in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States. Thirteen Ontario MPPs were born in Europe—four in Italy, three each in the Netherlands and the UK, and one each in Ireland, Germany and Portugal. Asia is the birthplace of nine Ontario MPPs—five from India, two from China and one each from Iran and Pakistan.

Fourteen different countries on three continents are the birthplaces of at least one Ontario MPP. Of the 82 Ontario MPPs born in Canada, 72 Ontario MPPs—two thirds of us—were born here in Ontario. Six of us are from Quebec and one each from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Regardless of where we were born or raised or which part of Ontario elected us, Ontario’s MPPs bring to the people’s business both a local and a global perspective. Our contributions in this Legislature reflect the richness of our cultures, backgrounds and experiences. We and the people we represent are the competitive strength of our province because of our local roots and our global diversity.


Mr. John O’Toole: I’m pleased to rise today and make the announcement that Mosport International Raceway, in my riding of Durham, has teamed up with Canadian Tire in a new long-term partnership agreement. In recognition of this partnership, the famous track at Mosport has been renamed the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

I also want to congratulate Myles Brandt, the president and general manager of Mosport raceway, as well as Allan MacDonald, who is a senior vice-president at Canadian Tire, who announced the partnership recently. It was a pleasure to work with Allan as well as Rob Nicol and Matthew Mackenzie. Congratulations also need to be extended to racing legend Ron Fellows, along with Alan Boughton and Carlo Fidani, who formed Canadian Motorsport Ventures and became the new owners of the parkway.

As racing fans will know, Mosport is home to some of the best and biggest racing events in Canada. It hosts the only Canadian stop in the North American Le Mans series. New for this year, Mosport will also play host to two exciting races in the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire series.

Mosport leads the way in racing innovation in Canada. The latest announcement will ensure a bright future.

Everyone is welcome to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park at Mosport on Victoria Day weekend, May 18, 19 and 20, when the Trans Am America race series will be held. Everyone is welcome. It’ll be a great weekend. I look forward to being there as well.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’ll try to be there.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’d like to take a moment to introduce guests of mine, Jim and Shirley Gates, who are in the Speaker’s gallery today as a result of their dedication to the United Way in purchasing a lunch with Dave this afternoon. Glad you’re with us.

That’s not a point of order, just to let everybody know.



Ms. MacLeod moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 80, An Act to designate Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in Schools and to provide for bullying prevention curricula, policies and administrative accountability in schools / Projet de loi 80, Loi désignant la Semaine de la sensibilisation à l’intimidation et de la prévention dans les écoles et prévoyant des programmes-cadres, des politiques et une responsabilité administrative à l’égard de la prévention de l’intimidation dans les écoles.

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.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Many of you in this House will recall that this bill was previously Bill 14 under the name of Mrs. Witmer, the former member from Kitchener–Waterloo. You’ll also recall, Mr. Speaker, that earlier today I requested unanimous consent for this bill to remain in committee under my name and that we move immediately for a vote on Bill 13.

This bill, however, designates the week beginning with the third Sunday in November in each year as Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in schools. The bill also amends the Education Act to deal with bullying by pupils that occurs in schools. It covers bullying that occurs on a school site or public property within 50 metres of a school site during an activity conducted for a school purpose, through the use of technology provided to pupils by a school or through any technology if it affects the orderly operation of a school. A school board is required to provide instruction on bullying prevention, remedial programs for victims and perpetrators of bullying, professional development programs for teachers and information for the public.

The Minister of Education is required to develop a model bullying prevention plan to assist school boards. In turn, school boards are required to establish a bullying prevention plan. Teachers and other persons who work in a school are required to report to the principal acts of bullying that they observe in the school. If, after conducting an investigation, the principal believes an act of bullying has occurred, the principal is required to take the action specified in the bill and to submit an annual report to the school board on acts of bullying in the school. The board must forward the report to the minister, who is required to include a reference to it in the minister’s annual report to the assembly.

Speaker, I also move that this bill be moved by unanimous consent back to the committee on social policy.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member for Nepean–Carleton has asked for unanimous consent to move the bill immediately to committee. Do we agree? I hear a no.


Mrs. McKenna moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 81, An Act to raise awareness about inherited heart rhythm disorders / Projet de loi 81, Loi visant à sensibiliser davantage le public aux troubles du rythme cardiaque héréditaires.

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. Jane McKenna: I would like to thank my co-sponsors on this bill, the member from Oakville and the member from Hamilton Mountain.

The intention of this bill is to raise awareness of the warning symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest in children and youth. The sudden death of a completely healthy young person is devastating for the family and the community. We’ve learned from young people who have survived a cardiac event that in about half the cases, fainting during physical activity is clearly a warning sign that can be just weeks or months prior to sudden cardiac arrest.

The bill requires school boards and sport officials to call 911 in response to fainting during physical activity at a school or in an extracurricular activity. In 95% of cases it will merely be a faint, but where we find a genetic disorder we have saved a life.



Hon. Deborah Matthews: In a few days, on May 5, we’ll be celebrating International Day of the Midwife, and I would like to welcome the midwives to the Legislature this afternoon.

Since 1991, the International Day of the Midwife has provided an annual focal point for midwives around the world to raise awareness of midwifery and its contribution to maternal, newborn and reproductive health.

Earlier today, I was honoured to meet some of our dedicated midwives here at Queen’s Park at the Association of Ontario Midwives reception. I was also honoured to meet some of the moms and dads and new babies who the midwives have cared for. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the midwives, to thank them for the exceptional care they provide to Ontario women each and every day.

Our government is committed to supporting midwives and providing the highest standard of midwifery services. Over 580 midwives are registered to practise here in Ontario in 78 midwifery practice groups, and that number is expected to grow by about 15% annually as a result of our government’s 2007 commitment to increase the number of midwifery education seats from 60 to 90.

The practice groups provided services to about 18,000 women in Ontario this past year. That means over 10% of births in Ontario were supported by midwives. While that is wonderful news, we want to do even more.

Our health care system is in the process of transformation. To explore ways to improve care and cut costs, the Premier announced in March that we would create provincially funded, free-standing birth centres. We want to give Ontario moms more choice as to where to deliver their babies, especially for women with low-risk pregnancies. Right now, when it’s time to give birth, the only choices that expectant mothers have are either hospitals or homes. We want to expand that choice for women, and that’s why we’re looking at giving families the option to give birth at birth centres led by midwives.

Today’s tough economic times, a growing population and fewer obstetrical specialists demand innovation and creative solutions, and that’s what Ontario’s action plan for health care is all about. Through the action plan, we’re committed to moving routine procedures out of hospitals and into specialized not-for-profit clinics when evidence shows that high-quality care and excellent patient outcomes can be achieved for better value.

Giving birth is a leading reason for the hospitalization of women in Ontario. However, there’s no medical reason for the majority of women to be hospitalized for labour and birth. The establishment of birth centres also supports the Drummond report’s recommendation to divert patients who do not need acute care from hospitals. Birth centres will provide a more appropriate form of care which is less expensive, improves the birth experience and reduces the exposure of new health risks for both mother and baby. And by transferring low-risk births to birth centres, specialized obstetrical care and hospital capacity can be freed up to focus on high-risk births.

Birth centres can be an excellent environment for moms in a non-institutional setting. They give women and their families more freedom to choose who will attend the birth, and it promotes person-centred care. Evidence shows that birth centres lead to fewer medical and surgical interventions at birth, and that benefits both moms and babies.

Ontario faces an aging obstetrical workforce with an increasing number of family physicians also leaving the practice of obstetrics. The Ministry of Finance projects an increase in Ontario’s births to approximately 157,000 per year by 2024-25.

The care provided by midwives already benefits the health care system. They have a proven record of shorter lengths of hospital stay and lower readmission rates.

I want to say thank you to the Association of Ontario Midwives for its ongoing commitment to the health of women and babies and for working with us to give women greater choice in where they give birth.


Hon. Charles Sousa: Earlier this year, in a spirit of co-operation, the member for Parkdale–High Park and the member for Thornhill joined the member for Eglinton–Lawrence in sponsoring a private members’ bill to designate May as Jewish Heritage Month in Ontario. This House voted unanimously in favour of the bill, and I’m proud to be the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to inaugurate and mark what will now be an annual observance.

The story of the Jewish community is a story of Ontario. Now 200,000 strong, Jewish Canadians have been a vital part of our growth and prosperity since the 1800s. Jewish Canadians have excelled in business, culture, medicine, government, indeed all fields. Countless extraordinary individuals like Bora Laskin, Ed Mirvish, Barbara Frum, Rabbi Gunther Plaut and many more have had a hand in the great task of building Ontario. They have left an indelible imprint. In short, the Jewish community’s success has been Ontario’s success.

The Jewish people have had a proud and rich history and a rich heritage, and they have kept their important traditions alive.

Over the centuries, the Jewish people and their ideals have also been severely tested. Even Canada has not been immune to the maliciousness of discrimination and anti-Semitism. But despite these obstacles, Ontario’s Jewish community has not only survived but thrived and its members have contributed greatly to our society.

This month, we celebrate the inspiring role of Jewish Canadians and the role they play in our province and we pledge to build on our shared achievements of the past. Working together, I know we’ll secure an even brighter future for the next generations of Ontarians.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Responses?


Mr. Bill Walker: On behalf of the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus, it’s an honour to join Ontario’s Jewish community to celebrate Jewish Heritage Month. As a matter of fact, it was only a month or two ago that members of this Legislature spoke unanimously in favour of Bill 17, the piece of legislation that recognized May as Jewish Heritage Month.

It’s no coincidence that we commemorate Jewish heritage, culture and contributions during the month of May. From Holocaust Remembrance Day, that day that forever reminds us to never forget, never again, to the symbolic Israel Independence Day, Ontarians now justifiably celebrate May as Jewish Heritage Month. Over 200,000 and growing, Ontario is proud to be home to the largest population of Jewish Canadians in the country.

Throughout Ontario’s history, Jewish Canadians have shaped our economic landscape, contributed to our religious diversity, and strengthened our legacy of multiculturalism. Today the Jewish community continues to contribute to Ontario’s rich cultural heritage and play a vital role in the development of Ontario’s economic productivity.

This tradition of leadership is evidenced by the phenomenal contribution of individual Jewish Canadians to our province’s prosperity, from doctors and researchers like Dr. Rena Buckstein, who’s currently researching a cure for cancer, to artists like Celia Franca, who founded the National Ballet of Canada in 1951, and Barbara Frum, an institution in Canadian journalism. There are few aspects of Canadian society that have not been shaped by the Jewish community.

Jewish Heritage Month also gives us the opportunity to recognize and appreciate the enormous charitable contributions individuals like Peter Munk and Seymour Schulich have made to both medicine and education, as well as Joseph Rotman’s contributions to the arts and universities across the province.

Jewish Canadians have also had a very tangible impact on the development of vital provincial services. Right here in Toronto, the Jewish community’s contribution can be seen in the historic Mount Sinai and Baycrest hospitals. University buildings across the province, from the University of Toronto to the University of Western Ontario, proudly bear the names of remarkable Jewish Canadians. These individuals embody not only a proud Jewish legacy, but values all Canadians cherish, like perseverance, professionalism, hard work and community service.


On behalf of the Ontario PC caucus, I wish the Jewish community and all Ontarians our very best as you celebrate Jewish Heritage Month and continue to honour these valuable principles.


Mr. Bill Walker: Speaker, I’m going to continue on a roll here. It is also my pleasure and privilege as today we join countries around the world to celebrate the International Day of the Midwife and recognize the vital work midwives do every day. Midwives deliver babies, midwives promote good health, and midwives are the unsung heroes of maternal and newborn health.

This important day is also a time to applaud the great strides that our midwives have made to establish themselves as a key promoter and champion of primary care to low-risk women throughout pregnancy, labour and birth. Just three decades ago, Ontario was one of the few western jurisdictions left behind, a province that hadn’t recognized the practice of midwifery as a safe and integral part of health care.

So in 1986, our province began taking steps towards regulation, and finally, in 1994, Ontario became the first province in Canada to regulate midwifery. Since then, almost 130,000 babies have been born into the caring hands of midwives. At the reception lunch today, I held one of those lovely little babies who was delivered by midwifery.

This new choice of birthplace has also allowed 30,000 babies to be delivered in the community or at home. The choice of birthplace is an important one for women all across Ontario. Nowhere is family-centred, women-centred care more needed than in our small towns and remote communities. For too long, these neglected regions have experienced a shortage of maternity care providers such as family physicians, obstetricians and nurses, and traditionally women have had to leave their communities to give birth.

Just last year, 16,000 women chose to deliver with the help of midwives, representing over 10% of the births in Ontario.

This new choice has become so popular today that four out of 10 pregnant women looking for midwifery can’t get it. This is something we need to address. Midwives are well-trained and deeply committed professionals. Their success and professionalism can be attributed to their model of care, namely:

—continuity of care;

—acting as primary care providers in stages of pregnancy, labour and up to six weeks postpartum;

—respecting women’s right to choose where they give birth: home, hospital, and soon, birth centres;

—evidence-based practice; and

—judicious and appropriate use of medical technology that is allowing clients to be the final decision-makers.

Data shows that this vital profession provides an excellent alternative to the old hospital model. Not only are birth centres cost-effective, they divert women who have experienced a healthy, normal pregnancy away from hospitals. This frees up doctors and nurses in hospital emergency and labour and delivery centres for emergency interventions. In essence, a nurturing, safe and low-cost approach to birthing championed by midwifery is provided at a fraction of the cost. This, even though registered midwives hold a Bachelor of Midwifery degree and spend years studying and specializing in social and biomedical sciences and maternity health care.

So as we continue to look to protect vital services like health care, it’s easy to make the case that midwives are well worth the investment. Indeed, midwives have a central role in ensuring the sustainability of our health care system.

While we can be proud that Canada has one of the lowest maternal-infant mortality rates in the world, the maternity care environment—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Members’ responses?


Mme France Gélinas: I would also like to congratulate all the midwives that made their way to Queen’s Park and all the other ones busy at work on the International Day of Midwifery coming up on May 5.

This year, more than 16,000 women and their families will count on midwives as their primary care providers during and after birth. There are 85 midwifery clinics in Ontario. They provide care to 12% of pregnant women, and this will rise to 26% by 2020. This growth is welcome, especially given that four out of 10 women who want a midwife are not able to access one.

Families and women just love their midwives. This is the sentiment of every single family who has come in contact with midwives. They will express it to you. They just love them, and for good reason.

But a question must be asked, and a question that has been asked at the reception today is this, Mr. Speaker: Is this feeling shared by the Ontario government? Is this feeling shared by the Minister of Health? And if so, how is this appreciation expressed? You see, Mr. Speaker, midwives have been getting mixed messages from this government. They praise them with their words, but they are missing in action when it comes to contract negotiation. Midwives have been working without a contract since March 31, 2011. Since May 2011, the government has refused to negotiate with them. This is over one full year, despite the fact that we have a report from an independent third party that shows that an immediate 20% increase is needed to bring midwives to the level of compensation that is expected, and that all of those women are working way below parity.

New Democrats have publicly supported a move to address the pay gap for this all-female profession. It is time to speak with action, not just with words.


Ms. Cheri DiNovo: It’s my pleasure and privilege to rise on Jewish Heritage Month. It was a bill I was absolutely privileged to co-sign with the member from Eglinton–Lawrence and the member from Thornhill, and I want to thank them as well for being co-signatories to that bill.

I also want to give a shout-out to a 100-year-old shul in my neighbourhood, on Maria Street, that celebrated its anniversary. It’s the oldest shul, where you see continuous services on high holidays—there’s a little bit of contention for that role. We all celebrated there, and it was a joyous, joyous time. It’s a beautiful synagogue. I certainly suggest that all members check it out. It’s tucked on a little street, and it speaks to the heritage of the Jewish community in the city of Toronto.

I also want to send a shout-out to a friend from my childhood—I hope she’s watching, I hope she hears it and I hope she gets in touch with me: Helen Bielawski.

When I grew up on Bedford Road, I went to Huron Street public school. Huron Street public school was mainly a Jewish school, and Spadina was a Jewish community. It has changed over the years. I grew up going to bat mitzvahs and bar mitzvahs with my friends, and it was a joyous time. What we didn’t see, as children, of course, that the minister mentioned, were the darker times that preceded that, what brought them here in the first place.

I do remember seeing the grandmother of one of my friends at school with the numbers on her arm. I do remember my father’s stories, as an immigrant, as well, talking about the times in Toronto when Jews were barred from clubs, from jobs, from universities and from places. That all happened within the span of two generations.

For now, it’s enough to celebrate, and so I celebrate with this whole House. I celebrate the joys and the triumphs of the Jewish community in our community of Ontario.

I want to thank—another name from my riding—Francine Dick, who organizes a Seder supper every year on Passover. There’s not a large Jewish community in my riding, but she gets everyone out. We have people from all over the world that just arrived there, just to celebrate along with us.

To Francine; to all the members of the Maria Street synagogue; to all of those friends from my childhood who have helped make this province great; to Helen Bielawski—give me a shout—and to all of you: Mazel tov.



Mr. John O’Toole: It’s an honour to be first at this point of the proceedings to read a petition from my riding of Durham which reads as follows:

“Whereas citizens are concerned that contaminants in materials used as fill for pits and quarries may endanger water quality and the natural environment of the greenbelt,” where I live, “and

“Whereas the Ministry of the Environment has a responsibility and a duty to protect the sensitive areas of the greenbelt and provincially sensitive wetlands; and

“Whereas the government of Ontario has the lead responsibility to provide the tools to lower-tier governments to plan, protect and enforce clear, effective policies governing the application and permitting process for the placement of fill in abandoned pits and quarries; and

“Whereas this process requires clarification regarding rules respecting what materials may be used to rehabilitate or fill abandoned pits and quarries;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, ask the Minister of the Environment to initiate” immediately “a moratorium on the clean fill application and permit process on the greenbelt until there are clear rules; and we further ask that the provincial government take all necessary actions to protect our water and prevent contamination of the greenbelt, specifically” in the riding of Durham at Highway 2 in Newcastle and on Lakeridge Road.

I’m pleased to sign and support this and present it to Vincent, one of the pages here from Durham region.



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

Mr. Jonah Schein: Davenport.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Davenport.

Mr. Jonah Schein: Thank you.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas diesel trains are a health hazard for people who live near them;

“Whereas more toxic fumes will be created by the 400 daily trains than the car trips they are meant to replace;

“Whereas the planned air-rail link does not serve the communities through which it passes and will be priced beyond the reach of most commuters;

“Whereas all major cities in the world with train service between their downtown core and the airport use electric trains;

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

“That the province of Ontario stop building the air-rail link for diesel and move to electrify the route immediately;

“That the air-rail link be designed, operated and priced as an affordable transportation option between all points along its route.”

I support this petition, will affix my name to it and give it to page Manak to bring forward.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I apologize to the member for Davenport. I just got mixed up. You look alike.


Mrs. Laura Albanese: I have a petition from residents of York South–Weston.

“Whereas St. John the Evangelist Catholic elementary school in Weston is overcrowded, with 480 students in a school designed for 260; and

“Whereas the students will be relocating 40 minutes away in September 2012 during the duration of the Metrolinx Weston tunnel construction; and

“Whereas the Toronto Catholic District School Board has placed St. John the Evangelist third on the urgent capital priority list for 2012;

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

“Respectfully request full funding to replace St. John the Evangelist school during the Metrolinx Weston tunnel construction; therefore, the students are not relocated twice.”

I agree with this petition. I will be signing it and sending it over with page Talin.


Mr. Jeff Yurek: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease that causes thinking and memory impairment. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, worsens over time, and will eventually lead to death;

“Whereas there are an estimated 181,000 Ontarians diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and related dementia today, and that number is set to increase by 40% in the next 10 years;

“Whereas Alzheimer’s disease creates social, emotional and economic burdens on the family and friends of those suffering with the disease;

“Whereas the total economic burden of dementia in Ontario is expected to increase by more than $770 million per year through to 2020;

“We, the undersigned, call upon the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to establish an Alzheimer’s advisory council to advise the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on matters pertaining to strategy respecting research, treatment and the prevention of Alzheimer’s and other related dementia.”

I agree to this petition, and I affix my name to it.


Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas students are the cornerstone to colleges and universities; and

“Whereas students at universities and colleges have traditionally been allowed a voice and vote on all student-related matters on university and college governing bodies; and

“Whereas the Lakehead University board of governors has changed its bylaws to take away the voice and vote of Lakehead students on any issue that affects students at the board of governors meetings;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to:

“Reopen the Lakehead University Act, 1965, to enshrine student positions on any governing body of Lakehead University; and

“Condemn the actions of the Lakehead University board of governors in removing the voice and vote of students on any student-related issue that comes before the Lakehead University board of governors.”

I affix my signature to this petition and give it to page Noah to deliver.


Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I’ve got a petition signed by some members from my constituency. It says:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“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; and

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

“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, will sign it and send it down with Sarah.


Mr. Monte McNaughton: I have a petition that’s signed by thousands of people, addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the Ontario horse racing and breeding industry generates $2 billion of economic activity, mostly in rural Ontario;

“Whereas more than 60,000 Ontarians are employed by Ontario’s horse racing and breeding industry;

“Whereas 20% of the funds generated by the OLG slots-at-racetracks program is reinvested in racetracks and the horse racing and breeding industry, while 75% is returned to the government of Ontario;

“Whereas the OLG slots-at-racetracks program generates $1.1 billion a year for health care and other spending, making it the most profitable form of gaming in the province for OLG;...

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

“Call on the government of Ontario to protect the $1.1 billion of revenue the government received annually because of the OLG slots-at-racetracks program; direct OLG to honour the contracts with racetracks and protect the horse racing and breeding industry by continuing the OLG slots-at-racetracks revenue-sharing program.”

I proudly sign my name to this petition.


Ms. Sarah Campbell: I have a petition which reads as follows:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas tourism is a vital contributor to the economy of northwestern Ontario, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into the province’s economy from other provinces and the United States, unlike other regions in the province whose target demographic is people who already reside in Ontario;

“Whereas northwestern Ontario’s tourist economy has been under attack by government policies such as the cancellation of the spring bear hunt, the harmonized sales tax (HST), the strong Canadian dollar and difficulties passing through the Canada/United States border; and

“Whereas studies have shown that tourism in the northwest nets significantly more money per stay than other regions of the province, in part due to visitors frequenting historical sites, parks and roadside attractions that they learn about through travel information centres;

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

“To keep the travel information centres in Fort Frances, Kenora and Rainy River open permanently to ensure that northwestern Ontario maximizes the benefit of our tourist economy.”

I support this and will give this to page Sarah to deliver.


Mrs. Laura Albanese: I have another petition from residents of York South–Weston.

“Whereas St. John the Evangelist Catholic elementary school in Weston is overcrowded, with 480 students in a school designed for 260; and

“Whereas the students will be relocating 40 minutes away in September 2012 during the duration of the Metrolinx Weston tunnel construction; and

“Whereas the Toronto Catholic District School Board has placed St. John the Evangelist third on the urgent capital priority list for 2012;

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

“Respectfully request full funding to replace St. John the Evangelist school during the Metrolinx Weston tunnel construction; therefore, the students are not relocated twice.”

I will sign this petition and send it over with page Talin.


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

“Whereas a report from Ontario’s Auditor General on the province’s air ambulance service, Ornge, found a web of questionable financial deals where tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted and public safety compromised;

“Whereas Ornge officials created a ‘mini-conglomerate’ of more than a dozen private entities that enriched former senior officers and left taxpayers on the hook for $300 million in debt;

“Whereas government funding for Ornge climbed 20% to $700 million, while the number of patients airlifted actually declined by 6%;

“Whereas Ornge was paid $7,700 per patient transported by land ambulance despite subcontracting this service for $1,700 per patient, a full $6,000 per patient less;

“Whereas, after receiving questions of serious concerns at Ornge from the opposition in 2010 and early 2011, the Minister of Health did not provide adequate oversight, ignored the red flags and reassured the Legislature that all was well; and

“Whereas, on March 21, 2012, the Legislature voted to create a special all-party select committee to investigate the scandals surrounding Ornge;

“Whereas such a committee provides protection from disciplinary action against employees who testify;

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

“The government of Ontario immediately appoint a special all-party select committee to investigate the scandals surrounding Ornge.”

I support this, will be signing it and handing it off to page Safa.



The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Eglinton–Lawrence—oh, sorry, the member from Nickel Belt.

Mme France Gélinas: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know that you always look down at where I stand, and you recognize me right away but, you know. All right, here I go with a petition from the people of Nickel Belt.

“Whereas strikes and lockouts are rare: on average, 97% of collective agreements are negotiated without work disruption; and

“Whereas anti-temporary replacement workers laws have existed in Quebec since 1978; in British Columbia since 1993; and successive governments in those two provinces have never repealed those laws; and

“Whereas anti-temporary replacement workers legislation has reduced the length and divisiveness of labour disputes; and

“Whereas the use of temporary replacement workers during a strike or lockout is damaging to the social fabric of a community in the short and the long term as well as the well-being of its residents;

They “petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to enact legislation banning the use of temporary replacement workers during a strike or lockout.”

I fully support this petition, Mr. Speaker—I thank you for recognizing me—will affix my name to it and ask page Constantine to take it to the Clerk.


Mr. Mike Colle: “Whereas Dufferin Street is in an important public transit route in the heart of the city of Toronto;

“Whereas hundreds of thousands of diesel bus trips are made up and down Dufferin 24-7, 365 days a year;

“Whereas there are thousands of people living in homes mere feet away from the diesel buses on Dufferin;

“Whereas constant exposure to diesel fumes is harmful to the health of the people who live on the side of the street on Dufferin;

“We, the undersigned, ask the provincial government to support the replacement of diesel buses on Dufferin, replacing them with non-polluting transit vehicles generated electrically or with non-polluting fuels.”

I totally support the removal of diesel buses from Dufferin, and I affix my signature to this petition.


Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette: I have a petition that reads:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the price of gas is reaching historic price levels and is expected to increase another 15% in the near future, yet oil prices are dropping; and

“Whereas the McGuinty government has done nothing to protect consumers from high gas prices; and

“Whereas the high and unstable gas prices across Ontario have caused confusion and unfair hardship to Ontario drivers while also impacting the Ontario economy in key sectors such as tourism and transportation; and

“Whereas the high price of gas has a detrimental impact on all aspects of our already troubled economy and substantially increases the price of delivered commodities, adding further burden to Ontario consumers;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and urge the Premier to take action to protect consumers from the burden of high gas prices in Ontario.”

I affix my signature in full support.


Mr. Michael Mantha: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario taxpayers have been paying over millions in extra charges on their hydro bills to help retire the debt. The amount collected to date as per the Auditor General’s report is $8.7 billion, but the amount owing was $7.8 billion;

“Whereas Ontario taxpayers are asking, where is the money being invested?

“Whereas Ontario taxpayers are asking why this was not addressed at the time the debt was paid;

“Whereas electrical rates have increased with the new creation of green energy coming online to include solar and wind, refurbishment of nuclear plants and deregulation of Hydro One;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows to obtain answers to the following questions:

“How much of the debt remains?

“When will it be eliminated from Ontario taxpayers’ hydro bills?”

I agree with this petition. I present it to page Brady, who will take it down to the clerks. Thank you.



Hon. Laurel C. Broten: This is a motion for time allocation on Bill 13. I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 13, An Act to amend the Education Act with respect to bullying and other matters, when the bill is next called as a government order, the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill without further debate or amendment and at such time the bill shall be ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy; and

That the vote on second reading may be deferred pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That the Standing Committee on Social Policy be authorized to meet in Toronto during its regular meeting times on Tuesday, May 8, Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15, 2012, for the purpose of public hearings and during its regular meeting times on Monday, May 28 and Tuesday, May 29, 2012, for clause-by-clause consideration of the bill; and

That the committee shall be authorized to meet beyond the normal hour of adjournment for clause-by-clause consideration on Tuesday, May 29; and

That the deadline for filing amendments to the bill with the clerk of the committee shall be 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. At 5 p.m. on May 29, 2012, those amendments which have not yet been moved shall be deemed to have been moved, and the Chair of the committee shall interrupt the proceedings and shall, without further debate or amendment, put every question necessary to dispose of all remaining sections of the bill and any amendments thereto. Any division required shall be deferred until all remaining questions have been put and taken in succession with one 20-minute waiting period allowed pursuant to standing order 129(a); and

That the committee shall report the bill to the House no later than Wednesday, May 30, 2012. In the event that the committee fails to report the bill on that day, the bill shall be deemed to be passed by the committee and shall be deemed to be reported to and received by the House; and

That, upon receiving the report of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, the Speaker shall put the question for adoption of the report forthwith, and at such time the bill shall be ordered for third reading, which order may be called on that same day; and

That, when the order for third reading of the bill is called, four hours shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill, apportioned equally among the recognized parties. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

That the vote on third reading may be deferred pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Ms. Broten has moved government motion number 22.

Point of order?

Hon. John Milloy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I believe you will find we have unanimous consent that the House recess for 15 minutes and the time during the recess accumulate toward the total time for debate, and the remaining time be divided equally among the three parties.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): That seems to be in order. We will do that. House is recessed for—


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Is there unanimous consent? Yes? Seems to be. I thought it was a tri-party agreement.

The House stands recessed for 15 minutes.

The House recessed from 1558 to 1615.

Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find unanimous consent to adjourn the present debate immediately; and that if this order is called at Orders of the Day tomorrow morning, the time to 10:15 a.m. will be split equally among the recognized parties, at which time the Speaker will immediately put the question.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.

Debate adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Orders of the day?

Hon. John Milloy: Mr. Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

This House stands adjourned until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning. Thank you.

The House adjourned at 1616.