42e législature, 1re session

L031 - Tue 2 Oct 2018 / Mar 2 oct 2018


The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Let us pray.


Orders of the Day

Select Committee on Financial Transparency

Resuming the debate adjourned on September 26, 2018, on the amendment to the motion regarding the appointment of a Select Committee on Financial Transparency.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Pursuant to the order of the House dated October 1, 2018, I am now required to put the question.

Mr. Bisson has moved an amendment to government notice of motion number 7, currently government order number 6, relating to the appointment of a select committee. Is it the pleasure of the House that Mr. Bisson’s motion carry? I heard some noes.

All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 0903 to 0908.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Good morning, everyone.

On September 25, 2018, Mr. Bisson moved an amendment to government notice of motion number 7, currently government order number 6, relating to the appointment of a select committee.

All those in favour of Mr. Bisson’s motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bourgouin, Guy
  • Gélinas, France
  • Harden, Joel
  • Lindo, Laura Mae
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Natyshak, Taras
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Schreiner, Mike
  • Stevens, Jennifer (Jennie)
  • Stiles, Marit
  • Vanthof, John
  • Yarde, Kevin

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): All those opposed to Mr. Bisson’s motion will now rise one at a time until recognized by the Clerk.


  • Anand, Deepak
  • Baber, Roman
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Bethlenfalvy, Peter
  • Bouma, Will
  • Cho, Raymond Sung Joon
  • Cho, Stan
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Crawford, Stephen
  • Cuzzetto, Rudy
  • Downey, Doug
  • Dunlop, Jill
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fee, Amy
  • Fullerton, Merrilee
  • Ghamari, Goldie
  • Gill, Parm
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Mike
  • Hillier, Randy
  • Hogarth, Christine
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Karahalios, Belinda
  • Ke, Vincent
  • Khanjin, Andrea
  • Kramp, Daryl
  • Lecce, Stephen
  • MacLeod, Lisa
  • Martin, Robin
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McKenna, Jane
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Norman
  • Mulroney, Caroline
  • Nicholls, Rick
  • Oosterhoff, Sam
  • Pang, Billy
  • Park, Lindsey
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Phillips, Rod
  • Piccini, David
  • Rasheed, Kaleed
  • Rickford, Greg
  • Roberts, Jeremy
  • Romano, Ross
  • Sabawy, Sheref
  • Sandhu, Amarjot
  • Sarkaria, Prabmeet Singh
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Simard, Amanda
  • Skelly, Donna
  • Smith, Dave
  • Smith, Todd
  • Surma, Kinga
  • Tangri, Nina
  • Thanigasalam, Vijay
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Tibollo, Michael A.
  • Wai, Daisy
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 13; the nays are 64.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I declare the motion lost.

We will now vote on the main motion.

Mr. Fedeli has moved government notice of motion number 7, currently government order number 6, relating to the appointment of a select committee. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will please say “aye.”

All those opposed to the motion will please say “nay.”

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

Motion agreed to.

Time allocation

Resuming the debate adjourned on September 27, 2018, on the motion for allocation of time on the following bill:

Bill 4, An Act respecting the preparation of a climate change plan, providing for the wind down of the cap and trade program and repealing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate? Further debate? Further debate?

Hon. Todd Smith: I would move adjournment of the debate, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Mr. Smith has moved adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it. Motion carried.

Debate adjourned.

Time allocation

Resuming the debate adjourned on October 2, 2018, on the motion for allocation of time on the following bill:

Bill 4, An Act respecting the preparation of a climate change plan, providing for the wind down of the cap and trade program and repealing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Well, that was interesting, Mr. Speaker, I must say. Listen, it is really quite frustrating in this Legislature to listen to the now-government, which was the opposition at the time—official opposition, the Conservatives—who had lots to say about the misuse of time allocation. This House works best when members are able to figure out a way forward by way of mutual agreement. That’s how this House operated for years. This government, while in opposition to the Liberals—who were very generous in their use of time allocation; in other words, they did it all the time. They, quite frankly, abused that, and now we see the Conservatives doing the same.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would like to be able to move an amendment: That, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House related to Bill 4, An Act respecting the preparation of a climate change plan, providing for the wind down of the cap and trade program—do I have the right one here? I’m reading the whole thing. Sorry. I’m going to start that all over again, Speaker. I was reading my briefing note. Let me do this again.

I move that the motion be amended as follows:

In the third paragraph, delete the words “and Wednesday, October 17, 2018” and replace with the words “Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Monday, October 22, 2018, and Wednesday, October 24, 2018”;

In the 10th paragraph, delete the number “17” and replace with the number “24”;

In the 11th paragraph, delete the number “19” and replace with the number “26”;

In the 12th paragraph, delete the words “Monday, October 22” and replace with “Wednesday, October 31” and delete the words “October 24” and replace with the words “November 14”;

In the 13th paragraph, delete the words “October 24” and replace with the words “November 14”;

In the 14th paragraph, delete the words “October 25” and place with the words “November 15”.

I give this to page Katie, who will bring it to the Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Mr. Bisson has moved that the motion be amended as follows:

“In the third paragraph, delete the words ‘and Wednesday, October 17, 2018’ and replace with the words ‘Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Monday, October 22, 2018, and Wednesday, October 24, 2018’;

“In the 10th paragraph, delete the number ‘17’ and replace with the number ‘24’;

“In the 11th paragraph, delete the number ‘19’ and replace with the number ‘26’;

“In the 12th paragraph, delete the words ‘Monday, October 22’ and replace with ‘Wednesday, October 31’ and delete the words ‘October 24’ and replace with the words ‘November 14’;

“In the 13th paragraph, delete the words ‘October 24’ and replace with the words ‘November 14’;

“In the 14th paragraph, delete the words ‘October 25’ and place with the words ‘November 15’.”

I return to the member from Timmins to speak to the motion.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: It’s pretty self-explanatory, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Hon. Todd Smith: I move adjournment of the debate, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour of the motion, please say “aye.”

All those opposed, please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 0919 to 0949.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): All members, please take your seats.

Mr. Smith, Bay of Quinte, has moved adjournment of the debate.

All those in favour, please rise and remain standing. Thank you.

All those opposed, please rise and remain standing.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 54; the nays are 0.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I declare the motion has passed.

Debate adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Orders of the day?

Hon. Todd Smith: No further business.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): There being no further business, this House is in recess until 10:30 this morning.

The House recessed from 0950 to 1030.

Introduction of Visitors

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): It is now time for us to introduce our guests.

Today in the gallery are the family of today’s page captain, Will Oesch, from Wellington–Halton Hills. His mom, Sara, who is a teacher and librarian in the Halton District School Board; his dad, John, who is a professor at the University of Toronto; and his sisters, Hannah and Amelia; Will’s grandparents, Richard Howitt, who is a retired lawyer from Georgetown, and Carol Howitt, who is a retired teacher from Halton, are here with us as well. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

We have a number of other guests with us in the Speaker’s gallery today: His Excellency Vasilios Philippou, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to Canada. He is accompanied by his wife, Anthea Vanech Philippou, and Christine Amydalidis, who are here. They are here to celebrate the independence of the Republic of Cyprus with a flag-rising ceremony that will be held after question period. We welcome all the members at that event as well.

Also in the Speaker’s gallery we have a delegation of parliamentarians from Lower Saxony, Germany, led by Jörg Hillmer, member of Parliament. Please join me in welcoming these guests to the Legislature today.

In addition, we have in the Speaker’s gallery a Malaysian delegation led by the Honourable Abang Zohari Openg, Chief Minister of Sarawak, Malaysia. Please join me in welcoming this delegation to our Legislature.

We have a former member of the Legislature who is here with us today, the former member for Kitchener Centre in the 38th, 39th and 40th Parliaments, John Milloy. Welcome, John.

Hon. Ernie Hardeman: In celebration of Ontario’s 20th Agriculture Week, I’m happy to see so many visitors from our agriculture industries in the gallery today.

Today I’d like to introduce some of the members from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture here with us today. I’d like to welcome Keith Currie, president of the OFA; directors Don McCabe, Larry Davis, Jackie Kelly-Pemberton, Debra Pretty-Straathof, Pat Jilesen, Peggy Brekveld, Mark Wales and Rejean Pommainville. They’re in the gallery up here, Mr. Speaker.

In addition we have Mark Reusser, Drew Spoelstra and Mark Kunkel, who are here representing the OFA from various regions. We thank you all for your hard work and for advocating for our farmers.

I’d also like to welcome Norm Beal, CEO of Food and Beverage Ontario, who is here, and Jan Westcott, president of Spirits Canada.

I’m also pleased to welcome some members from—


Hon. Ernie Hardeman: Yes, give them a round of applause. I’d like to welcome Norm Beal, CEO—oh, that’s the one I did. I’m also pleased to welcome—


Hon. Ernie Hardeman: You get so many. I’m also pleased to welcome some of the members from the board of the Organic Council of Ontario. Welcome, Carolyn Young, executive director of the Organic Council; and members Bill Redelmeier, Sarah Grant and Joel Aitken.

Finally, we also have Jennifer Pfenning, from Pfenning’s Organic Farms, with us today. Welcome to the Legislature and thank you all for everything you do to make our organic industry thrive. Welcome, everyone here for Agriculture Week.

Mr. John Vanthof: I’d also like to welcome all the farm representatives here today, and everyone else in agriculture, and take this opportunity to thank them and all the farmers across the province for providing the food that we eat—and that keep this province strong.

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: I, too, would like to warmly welcome a constituent of mine from Saugeen Shores, a wonderful ambassador for agriculture and the business of food: Patrick Jilesen.

Ms. Catherine Fife: I’d like to welcome Wilfrid Laurier University fourth-year political science students to Queen’s Park. MPP Lindo and I look forward to meeting with you this afternoon to let you know how fun this place actually can be. The former Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy and his colleagues from Wilfrid Laurier—Patricia Goff, Loren King, Yasmine Shamsie—are here. The students are: Mitchell, Sonia, Dana, Emma, Erin, Catie, Caitlyn, Shannan, Nicole, Meaghan, Kristina, Karyn, Stephanie, Majot, Aqsa, Brianna, Desiree, Takdir, Rory, Monika, Yuchen and Anjal. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. John Fraser: I’d like to introduce Patrick Dion, a friend and a constituent and the former vice-president of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. He’s here for today’s Queen’s Park mental health action day.

Ms. Jane McKenna: I had the privilege last week of being with Maplehurst grade 5 French and English. Today—I don’t see them here yet—is Holy Rosary school in Burlington, with the wonderful teachers and all the wonderful kids from grade 5. We’ll see them on the grand staircase at 11:30.

Hon. Monte McNaughton: I, too, want to welcome Don McCabe to Queen’s Park today. He’s a farmer from Lambton–Kent–Middlesex and a leader in Ontario’s agri-food business. Welcome.

Hon. Rod Phillips: I just want to welcome the grade 10 class from Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School in Ajax. I know they’re looking forward to question period, and I’m looking forward to seeing them after.

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: Today is a very special day for me. My daughter, Victoria Varner, is obviously the page captain, but we are joined in the gallery today by a number of people from Nepean who have made the trek from Ottawa early this morning. I’d like to welcome, first and foremost, my husband, Joe Varner, who is here; my staff Brooke Timpson, Caitlin Clark and Patricia Sloan; as well as volunteers on my campaign, Brian St. Louis, Arvind Sharma, Narinder Walia, Karen Fromm, Hannah Fromm, Grace Shahin, David Gibbons, Ken Lee, Michelle Bada, Matt Wu, Lewis Cardin, Cathy Furlotte, Tony Furlotte, Ruth Brinston, Charlie Senack, Glenda Senack, Darrell Bartraw, Darren Little, Cindy Little; and a couple of kids from my hockey team, Erin Lee and Eulalie Reesink-Babillon; as well as some of my friends from Toronto, Warren Kinsella, Rob Gilmour, Julia Mackenzie, Cody St. Louis, Atul Goswani, Avinash Goswani, Eithed Shankar, Steve Coupland, Megan Boyle, Bobby Hundal. And of course, another member of my constituency is up here today for mental health awareness, and that’s Brianne Moore.

Mr. David Piccini: I’d like to welcome two constituents of mine: Maria and Dave, small business owners. They own a very successful local vape shop on the downtown drag in Port Hope, and they’re also business owners here in the city of Toronto. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. John Yakabuski: I’d like to welcome, from my riding, along with the OFA delegation today, Debra Pretty-Straathof to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Jeremy Roberts: One of the folks on the lovely bus from Nepean also happens to be my special assistant, so a big shout-out to David Gibbons, who is here with us today.

Hon. Todd Smith: I’d like to welcome a very good friend of mine—he happens to the best second baseman in Belleville Labatt Nationals history—Steve Tetlock, to the Legislature today.

Mr. Deepak Anand: I’d like to welcome my friend Bobby Hundal to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Percy Hatfield: Just on the off chance that there’s somebody here today who hasn’t been introduced yet, welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Before we have to cut this off, the member for Chatham-Kent–Leamington.


Mr. Rick Nicholls: Thank you very much, Speaker. I’d like to introduce Bill Redelmeier. Bill is from Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake. They manufacture fabulous organic and biodynamic wines. Welcome.

Wearing of ribbons

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I understand that the government House leader has a point of order.

Hon. Todd Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On a point of order: I believe that we have unanimous consent to wear green ribbons in the House today to recognize the mental health action day.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The government House leader is seeking unanimous consent of the House to wear green ribbons today in recognition of the mental health action day. Agreed? Agreed.

Oral Questions

International trade

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My first question is for the Premier. In the Premier’s briefing on the NAFTA renegotiation yesterday, was he updated on the status of the US steel and aluminum tariffs that are still being applied to Canadian goods?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: Before I answer the question of the Leader of the Opposition, first I want to congratulate Dr. Donna Strickland. Dr. Donna Strickland has just been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for physics. That’s absolutely huge. She’s the first Canadian woman ever to receive this award, and the first woman in 55 years. She teaches at the University of Waterloo and she’s from Guelph, Ontario. So, Dr. Donna Strickland, congratulations.

Through you, Mr. Speaker: We want to make sure the world knows that Ontario is open for business. That is why our government, the PC government, stood shoulder to shoulder with the federal government when it came to negotiations.

We’re calling on the Trudeau government to use federal funds to compensate Ontario dairy farmers. We need to support our dairy farmers. We need to support our farmers and our steel and aluminum workers and to make sure they aren’t being used as bargaining chips. I’m asking the Leader of the Opposition and her caucus to stand with us—as we stood side by side with the federal government—to support the farmers, the steelworkers and the aluminum workers to make sure they are compensated by the Trudeau government.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

Start the clock. Supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: The tariffs have been in place since June, and they’re having a devastating effect, not just on the steel industry but on the entire manufacturing sector and the people who rely on that sector for good jobs. They’re worried about the future.

Across the border in Quebec, the provincial government didn’t delay. They stepped up in June with direct financial aid to companies affected by the tariffs. When will the Premier take similar action here?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: Our number one priority was to make sure we got the deal done; that was critical. I congratulate the federal government for getting the job done.

Keep in mind: Nearly nine million Americans’ jobs depend on Canadian and US trade investments, but even more importantly, there’s $389 billion of trade going back and forth just between Ontario and the US, split almost equally. There are a billion jobs—a million jobs; I wish there were a billion jobs—a million jobs at stake right here in Ontario.

Again, I’m asking the Leader of the Opposition and the whole NDP caucus to stand with us. Support the farmers. Support the aluminum and steelworkers, and we can support them.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

Start the clock. Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: People worried about losing their shift or losing a job don’t want to hear politicians passing the buck when their jobs are at risk and they’re worried about the future.

In the province of Quebec, the government stepped up. They stepped up with direct financial aid—money for training, for steel, for aluminum and for the agricultural sector. So my question to our Premier in this province is, is this Premier willing to step up with provincial assistance?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Leader of the Opposition: We’re still waiting for the federal government to give us some numbers. We’re going to be meeting with the agriculture industry this afternoon—we’re looking forward to speaking to them—then later on in the week, we’re going to be meeting the steel and aluminum industries.

I asked the Prime Minister directly yesterday on the phone, “Where’s the money? Where’s the money we’re waiting for to support the steel and aluminum workers?” I didn’t get a straight answer. I’m looking forward to that straight answer.

But I can assure all of the agriculture industry and I can assure the steel and aluminum workers that we’re standing behind them, unlike the NDP. I didn’t see one of them stand up to support any of those industries. I will ensure that they will have a close ally and a friend with the PC government.

International trade

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, that’s not so. But nonetheless, the truth is that in Quebec they had a Premier who did step up, didn’t wait around—stepped up and tried to help those industries and those workers.

My next question is also to the Premier, though, Speaker, because we are joined today by farmers from across Ontario here in our Legislature. For those farmers who have relied on supply management to ensure they can earn a living and pay the bills while they do the hard work of feeding our families, the renegotiated NAFTA is devastating news.

What details does the Premier have about the federal compensation that will be offered?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: Again, if the Leader of the Opposition actually stood shoulder to shoulder with the PC government, as we did with the Liberal government, we might be able to work a lot better. We need to stand as a united team here in Ontario. We need to have a united voice for all of the dairy, aluminum and steel workers. We need to protect the close to a million jobs that all these industries create, day in and day out. I’m asking the NDP to put their partisanship to the side just once—just once—and stand with us.

As for the Premier of Quebec, I spoke to the new Premier last night. What a great job he’s going to do. He’s looking forward to working with Ontario because he’s fiscally responsible, just like the—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

Start the clock again. Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Well, Speaker, the fact is that many farm families believe that the federal compensation won’t be enough. They’re asking serious questions—serious questions—about whether they can keep going as the system that made their farms sustainable is chipped away.

Is the Premier prepared to provide additional assistance and programs from the province to ensure that farms are sustainable in the long term?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition—

Hon. Victor Fedeli: It never ends.

Hon. Doug Ford: Right: It never ends—fearmongering.

The Leader of the Opposition doesn’t have a clue what it is, because she doesn’t know; I don’t know because it wasn’t told to us yesterday when we were on the call. As a matter of fact, no province knows what they have in hand.

But again, I can reassure the farmers: You have an ally. You have a friend. We look forward to sitting down with you this afternoon.

Once we do find out that number, I can assure you we’re going to support them like they’ve never seen before.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: I’m sure they’re a little bit concerned, seeing as how the government didn’t step up to help the steel and aluminum industries. Farm families are wondering whether they should actually continue in farming or pack it in. People are looking for solutions, not politicians passing the buck back and forth across the table. This is a chance for the Premier to show leadership in the job that he actually holds—not waiting for the federal government, but showing some leadership in the job that he holds.


In other provinces, provincial leaders have stepped up to the plate. Will we see that leadership from this Premier?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker, I find it so ironic listening to the Leader of the Opposition. When I was in Hamilton over at Dofasco right down the street from where the leader lives, I heard how we helped them. We got rid of the cap-and-trade and the carbon tax. We talked to their employers; they said they haven’t seen hide nor hair of the Leader of the Opposition. We’re lowering their hydro rates. We’re lowering the gas prices by 10 cents a litre. I spoke to the front-line workers, and they loved it that I showed up. Maybe the Leader of the Opposition should pay them a visit once in a while in her own backyard.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Once again, I’m going to remind the House that personal attacks of any sort do not elevate the debate.

Next question: Leader of the Opposition.

Start the clock.

Opioid abuse

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier. The opioid crisis is killing people on a daily basis. Families with loved ones caught in addiction know that overdose prevention sites save lives. The Minister of Health had promised that the Premier would make a decision about proceeding with overdose prevention sites by the end of last week. Instead, we see more delay and more excuses and, tragically, more preventable deaths. When will this Premier stop dithering and make a decision?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: I appreciate the question from the member opposite, but let me be perfectly clear: The Minister of Health has received an extension on three paused sites. They received that extension from the federal government.

But this government—and I want to be very clear. We are committed to getting people struggling with addiction the help that they need. That’s why this government will be making an unprecedented $3.8-billion investment into mental health and addictions and supportive housing.

Anybody that’s followed this party in the last several years knows that we have been a leader in the fight against opioids in this province, calling for a task force that the previous government took nine months—if you want to talk about delay, it was the previous Liberal administration that didn’t get the job done.

We were leaders on banning the pill press. That’s something that we’ve talked about. We’ve talked about Nick’s Law, making sure that there’s more awareness and greater advertising against the opioid crisis.

So I’ll stand here on behalf of the Minister of Health and tell them that we’re ready and committed to do the work that’s necessary.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: What the minister failed to talk about is the $330 million cut annually in mental health and addictions finances that this government has made.

Every single day that this decision is delayed it means more people are dying. When people are no longer alive, they cannot seek treatment. The evidence is overwhelming: These sites are saving lives. What evidence is the Premier waiting for?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: I entirely reject the premise of the leader of the official opposition’s question. This government is going to bring in an unprecedented level of funding for mental health, addictions and supportive housing, to the tune of $3.8 billion. That’s unmistakable. It’s undeniable.

We have said we are committed to reviewing the latest data, the evidence and current drug injection sites. Both myself and the Minister of Health have been consistently meeting and touring across the province to those who are affected. But I say again, Speaker, we have hit the pause button on three injection sites. The federal government has allowed that extension. We are committed on this side of the House—and, by the way, on that side of the House—in ensuring that we have the proper supports for those people who are struggling with mental health and addictions, including in the opioid crisis.

They can squeal with righteous self-indignation all they want; we’re going to act.

International trade

Mr. Daryl Kramp: My question today is for the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Yesterday, the United States, Canada and Mexico agreed to a new trade agreement called the USMCA. The new agreement included major, major concessions from Canada’s agricultural industry on class 7 milk and increased access to Ontario’s dairy, chicken and egg market.

One thing is clear: Ontario’s dairy, chicken and egg farmers are the ones who are on the hook for this federal government’s negotiation position.

Can the minister please inform this Legislature today of what our government for the people is doing to stand up for this very, very critical part of Ontario’s agricultural industry?

Hon. Jim Wilson: Thank you to my honourable colleague for the question. For months now, Ontario has been working with the federal government, going down to Washington and standing up for Ontario workers, Ontario farmers, steelworkers and aluminum workers. We were disappointed yesterday that the federal government—everyone knows that dairy has been on the table for a while—didn’t have any details of a compensation package ready—

Interjection: Unacceptable.

Hon. Jim Wilson: It was unacceptable, as one of my colleagues just said. It was shocking, and it’s also shocking that they left the steel and aluminum tariffs on the table because, while we might have a new NAFTA here, the US still has the ability to put tariffs on anything they want in the future, therefore making the new NAFTA practically useless. It’s steel and aluminum today; it could be something else in the future depending on what the flavour of the month is down there.

We call upon the federal government to come forward immediately with the details on the compensation to our dairy industry. We need to make dairy, poultry and eggs whole again. We need to save the 3,600 family farms that are active in the dairy industry in Ontario.

That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to stand up for Ontario farmers.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.

Supplementary? Start the clock.

Mr. Daryl Kramp: Minister, thank you so kindly for your response and your affirmative action on this file. It’s a relief to hear that our government continues to do its part to defend this important part of the agricultural community and the many, many families that depend on this. This is not just an industry, this is a group of families across this province.

We’re aware, of course, as well, that the minister testified at the US Department of Commerce public hearings on section 232, which is the investigation of imports on autos and auto parts. Despite reaching an agreement in principle the other day, discussions around steel and aluminum have been inconclusive. We have heard that 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminum still remain in place.

Can the minister please inform this Legislature of our government’s position on these tariffs that continue to absolutely penalize Ontario’s industry?

Hon. Jim Wilson: Thank you again to my colleague for an excellent question. As I said in the first part of my answer, while the threat of tariffs remains in NAFTA, you can drive a Mack truck through it. For the time being, they solved the threat of auto tariffs and auto parts tariffs; then, they say to us on the phone, to the Premier, yesterday that section 232 tariffs on aluminum, steel and God knows what else in the future are separate issues. They’re not separate issues. The technical briefing at 1 o’clock said they had tried to discuss that at the table but were rejected. The US didn’t want to; they want to keep hanging this over our heads.

If they keep hanging this over our heads, thousands and thousands of people on this side of the border will be affected—their jobs could be affected—and millions on the other side of the border.

So we’re asking the NDP to stand with us today, to stop putting down the police and stand up for workers—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Once again, I’ll remind members that these kinds of personal attacks lead to a degeneration of the debate. We don’t want to go there like we did last week.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The House will come to order.

Next question?


International trade

Mr. John Vanthof: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

All farmers are impacted by trade deals. The new NAFTA agreement will have a major impact on the dairy and poultry sectors and everyone else involved in the industry, including processors. It was signed by the federal government, but agriculture is one of the sectors that has federal-provincial responsibility.

Under the deal for dairy, class 7 of milk was eliminated. The classes are regulated provincially under the Milk Act—that’s not a federal issue—and the elimination of class 7 could have a much bigger destabilizing impact than the loss of market access, which should be compensated. But the destabilization could permanently damage supply management.

What is the provincial government going to do to stabilize the industry because of the elimination of class 7, which is a provincial responsibility?

Hon. Ernie Hardeman: I thank the member for the question.

I know that many Ontarians, including our agriculture communities, are concerned about what the new USMCA deal could mean for industries that rely on trade. We’re still reviewing what the impact of these changes will be, including the class 7. However, it’s clear that the concessions made in the new agreement will hurt our supply-managed sector, particularly dairy.

We have reached out to our stakeholders and are committed to continue to work with them as we determine the details of the impact of this new deal. We’re calling on the Trudeau government to use federal funds to compensate dairy farmers. This new deal cannot leave our farmers behind. Farming jobs and farming families must never be used as bargaining chips.

From day one, we have offered full support for our farmers. Our Premier and our Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade travelled to Washington to raise the concerns and make sure our farmers are top of mind. We will continue to stand by—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mr. John Vanthof: The long-term stability of our dairy farm families relies on the stability of our milk classification process. The elimination of class 7 destabilizes that process. The classification system is a provincial responsibility. This isn’t about federal compensation, which is a totally separate issue. This is about the provincial responsibility to maintain the stability of the system which farmers and Ontario consumers—and Canadian consumers—have relied on for over 50 years.

Again to the minister: What action is the government going to take to stabilize the milk classes so supply management can continue to exist?

Hon. Ernie Hardeman: Again, I thank the member for the question.

As I said, we are continuing to review the impact of this new deal in its entirety, and its impact on our dairy industry; that includes class 7. The issues in that deal are negotiated by the federal government, and the responsibility to look after that is the responsibility of the federal government. That’s why we need to make sure we review the process and then make sure the federal government deals with the financial assistance to our farmers in a way that deals with all the impacts they have created through this negotiation.

Community safety

Mr. Kaleed Rasheed: My question is for the Attorney General.

Yesterday, an article in the Toronto Sun reported that over the last five years, gun violence and murders have spiked across the greater Toronto area. The article stated: “Shootings are up more than 130% from just a few years ago and with three months remaining in 2018 the city is expected to smash its all-time record high of 89 homicides set back in 1991.” The article also found that not since 2007 has Toronto seen so many killings in a single year.

Mr. Speaker, the people of my riding and all throughout the GTA are understandably concerned about the levels of violence experienced in our city this year. Could the minister please share with us the work this government is currently doing to stop gun violence in Toronto?

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I’d like to thank the member from Mississauga East–Cooksville for that thoughtful question. No one should have to live in fear of gun violence. Our hearts go out to the many people across this city and this province who have been affected by violent gun crime, which is why in August our government announced it is taking action to protect families by investing $25 million in new funding over four years in initiatives aimed at fighting gang and gun violence.

This includes investing over $7 million over the next four years in a brand new intensive firearm bail support team, which will support existing justice resources. The team will consist of five crowns and five case management coordinators who will work with police to develop local expertise and compile information to ensure that the strongest possible evidence is placed before the courts when the crown is seeking detention for serious firearm charges. Having dedicated crowns to focus on firearm bails will help keep people who present a danger to the public off our streets.

Mr. Speaker, I’m happy to report that as of yesterday, the team is up and running.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Kaleed Rasheed: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to thank the Attorney General for that update. I agree that it’s important that people feel safe in their communities. I’m glad that our government is taking action to ensure that that is the case. There have been too many tragic headlines over the past year, and I look forward to the success of this initiative as well as all efforts aimed at curbing gun violence.

The Attorney General has given us good news with the announcement that our legal SWAT teams are now in place. I’m hoping that she can provide further information on how they will assist in keeping violence off our streets.

Hon. Caroline Mulroney: I’m very happy to provide further information to the member and to his constituents. On August 4, I stood with the Premier and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to announce this initiative. Yesterday, I met with the team, and I can tell you that they’re enthusiastic about getting to work and putting a dent in the gun violence experienced in this city this year.

It was our aim to have this team up and running in six to eight weeks, and yesterday was their first day on the job. They’re stationed at courthouses across the city and moving where they need to go on a daily basis. They’re working with the police to ensure that the best possible evidence is before the courts during a bail hearing. It’s an innovative approach that will deliver real results to tackle gun crime in the city of Toronto.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Mr. Peter Tabuns: My question to the Minister of the Environment. Ontario is facing the potential for many billions of dollars in damages and potential loss of life from climate-change-related extreme weather events in the years to come. Cap-and-trade funds were raised to reduce emissions from greenhouse sources. The projects were meant to help protect Ontarians for the future.

When the government wound down cap-and-trade, they cancelled many initiatives that would have helped reduce emissions, including hundreds of millions of dollars for hospital, school and social housing upgrades. It was not necessary to cancel those initiatives.

Can the government inform the House as to what they will be using the cap-and-trade funds for, if not for reducing emissions?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, I thank him for the question. He’s quite right that this government did make a clear commitment in the election that it would wind down the cap-and-trade program. One of the first actions of this government was to do that, and as a result, we are putting $260 back in the pockets of Ontario families.

He raises the question about cap-and-trade funds. Some of the cap-and-trade funds that were going to be spent, for example, were on an electric truck company that’s backed by Warren Buffett and Chinese billionaires. We decided those weren’t good things to spend money on that Ontario taxpayers were subsidizing.

The monies that have been raised have been raised under a charge that was appropriately for greenhouse gas reduction. The funds that were raised for that will be used either to fight greenhouse gas emissions or for the wind-down of that fund, as I’ve said before.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: The minister says the funds meant to be spent to reduce emissions will be spent for that purpose. That’s what he says. Then why did the government cut funding for schools and hospitals when those projects would have cut emissions?


Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know entirely what funds the member is talking about, but let’s talk about what we did, which was responsible. The responsible thing to do, when we cancelled the cap-and-trade program because it was ineffective, was to cut the funding, to remove the dollars that were being spent that were raised by that program. It was the only responsible thing the government could do—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The member for Waterloo, come to order. Premier, come to order.

Hon. Rod Phillips: The only responsible thing that the government could do at the end of that program—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Premier, come to order.

Hon. Rod Phillips: We’re committed to the orderly wind-down of the cap-and-trade program and this fall we’ll talk about a made-in-Ontario solution, a solution that doesn’t take money out of Ontarians’ pockets, but reduces greenhouse gases.

Employment standards

Mr. Michael Coteau: My question is to the Premier. Bill 148 brought in fair and important changes to the Employment Standards Act for workers in this province.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Government side, come to order.

Mr. Michael Coteau: Mr. Speaker, I think it’s reasonable that workers be given fair notice or compensation when their employer cancels their shift. It allows employees to have some stability in their schedule if they’re going to school, to ensure they have adequate child care and if they’re working a second job.

We’ve heard from the Premier or we’ve heard from this government that they’re considering rolling back these changes in addition to cancelling a $15 minimum wage. Does the Premier believe that it’s fair that work can be cancelled only hours before a shift with no compensation? My question, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier: Will he commit today to not rolling back this important aspect within the legislation?

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: When I travelled across this province and talked to thousands and thousands of people, I found out very, very quickly the number one issue was hydro. Number two was Bill 148, that your party destroyed this province, that put us in more debt than we’ve ever had, the largest subnational debt in the entire world—the entire world, thanks to the Liberal government.

We’re going to make sure we tell the world Ontario is open for business. We’re going to make sure we’re competitive around the world. We’re getting rid of Bill 148. We’re going to make sure we protect the front-line workers, because 60,000 people lost their jobs under Bill 148.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Michael Coteau: There are going to be certain aspects that we disagree with on 148, certain aspects of the bill. But let me try another point in this question—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order on the government side.

Mr. Michael Coteau: Premier—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I hesitate to interrupt the member. The government side has to come to order. The member has the right to place his question.

Again, I apologize to the member.

Mr. Michael Coteau: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m going to ask a very simple question to the Premier. Some 1.6 million Ontarians do not have sick days. In the legislation it guarantees two days to Ontarians. Mr. Speaker, this is about decency for employees, employees who work hard to support businesses here in the province of Ontario. I think when those people go out, those 1.6 million Ontarians, and support businesses, the businesses should support the people who support those businesses.

Does the Premier believe that two sick days is too much for people in Ontario? He says he stands up for the little guy. He says he stands up for the people of Ontario. Two sick days is decency, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker, and to the member for Don Valley East: Again, when I crisscrossed this province, I talked to the people who earn minimum wage, the ones who even were able to keep their job. I’d go into a little Home Hardware and rather than having seven employees, they’d cut three employees because of Bill 148.

The people on minimum wage—we’re actually going to give them a tax credit. Unlike the Liberals, who jacked their taxes up over $1,000, we’re going to reduce their taxes by $850, putting more money into their pocket. That’s what you call tax relief. That’s what you call supporting minimum wage workers. We’re going to create more jobs so we can hire more people, unlike the Liberals, who destroyed this province.

Refugee and immigration policy

Mr. Dave Smith: Mr. Speaker, with a nod to the member from Nipissing, my question is to the minister of many things, including children, community and social services.

More than 34,000 illegal border crossers have entered our country since 2017, overloading our housing and social assistance systems, so much so that the federal government is forced to put them in hotels across the GTA. Today, we learned that their stay is being extended by four weeks while they wait for their asylum claims to be heard. Meanwhile, the federal minister responsible has tried to tell us that the overwhelming majority have left Canada—pure fiction.

Costs are piling up. Would the minister please tell us how Ontario will handle the growing financial burden to services, such as education, legal aid, social assistance and emergency shelters?


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. Start the clock.

Response? The Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

Hon. Lisa Macleod: My greatest appreciation to the member opposite, whom I’ve been speaking with on Immigration and refugee issues for the past week.

I want to be very clear, and I hope the federal Liberals are listening: The federal government has sole jurisdiction over border management in this country and on Canada’s asylum and refugee programs, including who is eligible to make a refugee claim. The federal government’s failed policies at the border in Quebec have allowed people to enter this country illegally and then seek asylum without following the proper processes.

This government, the Ford government, has called on the federal government to actively manage the influx of illegal border crossers and provide full compensation to the province of Ontario, to the tune of $200 million. Those concerns and those questions have gone unanswered. There has been no indication that the federal government has a plan to deal with this, and there has been no indication that the federal government will pay for it.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Mr. Dave Smith: Thank you to the minister for her detailed answer. I understand the cost Ontario faces. The minister has been perfectly clear in this House—

Interjection: Crystal clear.

Mr. Dave Smith: Some would say crystal clear—with the federal ad hoc committee on migration and with the Minister of Immigration on the $200 million that’s owed to Ontario. The stack of bills is mounting. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services still needs to pay for its priorities: programs for autistic children; funding for the children’s aid society; youth in care; custody; and so much more.

Does the minister believe that the costs for illegal border crossings are increasing, and in light of the state of the deficit and the results from the line-by-line audit, do these escalating costs concern the minister?

Hon. Lisa MacLeod: That was a very important question. I’ll have more to say on some of the extensive costs we’re starting to see as a result of kids going back to school in September.

But let me be clear: The federal government should be compensating Ontario for $74 million and growing in temporary housing in the city of Toronto; $11 million and growing in the city of Ottawa for temporary shelters; $3 million has been given to the Red Cross; $20 million for primary and secondary education spaces; and $19 million and growing on the social assistance rates.

Our government isn’t the only one that is concerned. There’s a new government elected in Quebec that is in line with where we’re at in telling the federal government that they have to pay their bills. We also have all Premiers across this great country who have lined up, shoulder to shoulder, with our Premier in saying that the federal government should fully compensate for the costs to the provinces.

And that’s not it. We also have a federal Liberal MP who says that the only fair thing for everybody to do is process them quickly. I think that’s where the government’s weakness is. That’s John McKay, a federal Liberal member of Parliament.


Ms. Marit Stiles: My question is to the Minister of Education. It’s now October and students have been taught an archaic curriculum for one month now, a curriculum that does not address the current realities that Ontario students are facing. Teachers, students and concerned parents, to name a few, have literally stood on the lawns of Queen’s Park speaking out against this sex ed curriculum rollback, but it is painfully clear that this government has not been listening to them.


Then, last Friday, the government quietly released a predetermined form online that appears to be this government’s version of the “largest consultation” in Ontario’s history, and then the minister said that the government will only be promoting the consultations within their regions.

So which is it? Will we be seeing consultations in every riding in the province, or will only the government be picking and choosing which voices they feel like hearing?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you, we are very assertively addressing the archaic math curriculum that’s out there. We heard loud and clear from parents that the math was not cutting it.

Our consultation is going to be very comprehensive, starting off with hearing from parents, hearing from teachers, hearing from businesses how we can better equip our students to be competitive in today’s global economy. I can tell you, the people attending, our guests today in the members’ gallery, will be applauding us for taking a look at STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That’s everything that the agri-food and the business of food in particular need to be competitive in today’s global economy.

We are moving forward, and I invite every single member in this House to participate and read your mail. You received information on Friday—


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. Order.

Start the clock. Supplementary?

Ms. Marit Stiles: Well, the only ones who got any information about this on Friday were the school boards. The public didn’t find out anything.

Back to the Minister of Education: That was an incredible non-answer. I suspect that perhaps she’s feeling a little ashamed, looking up at all of these students who are here today who want a real answer about the sex ed curriculum.

Education consultations do not mean much unless those most impacted are invited to the table, Minister. Students and teachers must be consulted. Indigenous youth must be consulted. Queer and trans youth, differently abled youth: They must be consulted. The list goes on.

It is irresponsible of this government to make decisions without listening to those who are going to be the most impacted. Mr. Speaker, why is this government trying to hand-pick who will be involved in the sex ed consultations, and what are you so very afraid of hearing?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: I would suggest to everyone in the House today watching that this is a lesson in what not to do. This is a lesson on how not to stand up, how to be poor opposition. We need to have an opposition that stands with us. I invite the member from Davenport to stand with us and actually go back, because she was absolutely incorrect in saying that the members have not received information.

I can confirm 100% that everybody received information about this consultation on Friday. We’re very proud to be embarking on an initiative that’s going to invite business, parents, teachers, boards, trustees—every single person who wants to exercise their voice about STEM, about job skills, about mental health, about health and—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.

Next question.

Government accountability

Ms. Donna Skelly: My question is to the Minister of Finance. Minister, when I listened to your speech on the findings of the Independent Financial Commission of Inquiry, like most Ontarians, I was truly shocked to hear the reality of the province’s financial situation.

Clearly, our government needs to take action. Not only do we need to fix the financial problems that we have inherited from the previous government, but we must also determine how the situation was ever allowed to get this bad. That’s why I’m encouraged that the motion to form a Select Committee on Financial Transparency was passed this morning.

Could the minister please reiterate the importance of the Select Committee on Financial Transparency that is being formed?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you to the member from Flamborough–Glanbrook. This morning we took the next step in restoring accountability and trust in government. The formation of the Select Committee on Financial Transparency solidifies our government’s commitment to restoring the public’s faith.

We must remember: We are in an unprecedented time in history. The public’s trust has been shattered. The previous government’s accounting scheme was deliberately designed to keep the true cost of the Liberals’ spending off the books. This is simply unacceptable. The Select Committee on Financial Transparency is a necessity. They will find out who came up with this scheme.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Ms. Donna Skelly: Back to the minister: You know, I am really encouraged that we are taking action to restore accountability and trust, and I’m confident that the Select Committee on Financial Transparency will discover where these schemes came from and hold those responsible to account.

However, over the past week, many of our critics have claimed that the select committee isn’t necessary. The naysayers and critics have shrugged off its importance, but there is a larger principle at play here, and that is accountability. It’s unfortunate that some people simply don’t recognize the importance of seeking accountability.

Could the minister please inform the House why restoring accountability and trust is so important for our government?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you to the member. The importance of restoring accountability and trust cannot be understated. Remember, it was the Auditor General who used words like “conceal,” “bogus,” “deceptive” and “unreliable.” She used those words to describe Liberal documents tabled right here in this Legislature.

The Auditor General also issued this warning to the people of Ontario: “When governments pass legislation to make their own accounting rules that serve to obfuscate the impact of their financial decision, their financial statements become unreliable.” That is why accountability and trust need to be restored. It was absent in the previous government. We can calculate the cost of the deficit, but we cannot calculate the cost of the trust deficit.

Investment regulations

Ms. Sandy Shaw: My question this morning is for the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. This government recently made a decision to ignore the concerns of both investors, investment regulators and seniors’ advocate groups such as the Canadian Association for Retired Persons, who called for the banning of deferred sales charges on mutual funds.

Mr. Speaker, people across our province struggle to save and put a little money aside for their retirement, and these deferred charges are an unnecessary and extra burden on these people. Why is this government ignoring the voices of seniors and people who are saving for their retirement?

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Thank you for the question. I’d like to refer the question to the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Our government is absolutely committed to making Ontario a competitive place, a place we can invest in, grow and create jobs. We want the world to know that Ontario is open for business. We will continue to work with other provinces, other territories and other stakeholders to explore potential alternatives outside of the measures of the Ontario Securities Commission. What they are proposing is one thing; we will continue to work with our partners to look for other proposals. We want the market to be a fair place for investors.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Ms. Sandy Shaw: Back to the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility: If this government won’t listen to our own seniors and groups like CARP, who say that deferred sales charges mean Ontarians will not be able to save, invest or fund their retirements effectively, will they listen to investment regulators such as the Canadian Securities Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission who studied these charges? They have long described these fees as bad for investors. Or is this really about making Conservative lobbyists happy?

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Response, Minister?

Hon. Victor Fedeli: Thank you very much, Speaker, but I won’t thank the member for the insult to our party whatsoever. I do find those types of comments are not helpful in this Legislature. She’s not only imputing motive, she doesn’t have her facts right.

The member should understand what the embedded commissions were all about. She may want to study what happened in the UK with embedded commissions and how this did not work, Speaker. She may need to do a little bit of studying of other embedded commissions and the damage that it caused elsewhere throughout the world and begin to understand that we’re trying to consult with the other provinces, the other territories and other stakeholders to make sure that our marketplace is a fair place for investors. We’ve got all of the people in mind as we continue to look for a better way.

Correctional services

Mr. Aris Babikian: My question today is for the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Ontario’s dedicated correctional officers and staff have faced a significant amount of work-related stress due to the previous Liberal government’s neglect and their failure to act in providing these men and women with the tools they need to perform their duties safely and effectively. After 15 years of mismanagement by the previous Liberal government, our dedicated correctional officers and staff were ignored for too long. Speaker, the safety of our hard-working and dedicated correctional officers can no longer be ignored.

To the minister: Can you please update the members of this Legislature on what you are doing to enhance security and improve safety in Ontario’s correctional system?

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: Thank you to the member for Scarborough–Agincourt for the question. Mr. Speaker, this past Friday, I was proud to stand alongside the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and the member from Chatham-Kent–Leamington to announce our government’s new plan to enhance safety and security at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. As the member stated, the previous Liberal government failed to act and left our correctional officers and staff in harm’s way for over 15 years.

Prior to this announcement, I visited the city of London and heard first-hand the challenges that front-line officers and staff are encountering at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, as well as the challenges being faced by police and community members in the city. Our government is listening and remains committed to providing our hard-working and dedicated correctional officers and staff the necessary tools and resources they need to do their jobs properly.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Aris Babikian: I want to thank the minister for his response. I am proud to stand here today knowing that our government for the people is taking the safety and the security of our correctional officers and staff seriously. Our hard-working and dedicated correctional staff deserve better after 15 long years of mismanagement and neglect by the previous Liberal government.

Speaker, can the minister please explain what actions he is taking to address the safety of our neighbourhoods and the security of the province’s hard-working and dedicated correctional officers and staff?

Hon. Michael A. Tibollo: I thank the member for that question.

In response to the recent inmate overdoses at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, our government introduced enhanced safety and security measures to ensure that our correctional officers and staff can perform their duties safely and effectively. As of yesterday, staff at EMDC will have access to a dedicated canine unit, additional correctional officers, enhanced body scanner training and new drug detection kits to quickly identify whether a found substance is contraband.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, our government is piloting a dedicated hospital escort team for inmate health care needs. Our government also plans on hiring more health care staff to support inmate care, enhancing staff training to recognize the signs of potential overdoses and piloting an ion scanner that can identify trace elements of drugs on items that enter our facilities.

We are using evidence-based—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Next question.

Consumer protection

Mr. Tom Rakocevic: My question is for the Minister of Government and Consumer Services. Now that John Tavares is on the Leafs’ roster, we all know—


Mr. Tom Rakocevic: Thank you. We all know there will be a Stanley Cup parade here in Toronto next year. You heard it here first. But—there is a but—after reading ongoing investigative reports that have shocked sports and music fans, not only in Canada but in the United States as well, it’s clear that most hockey fans in my riding won’t be able to afford Maple Leafs tickets. This is because of unethical ticket scalping practices that have been not only tolerated but enabled by Ticketmaster. What is the minister doing about these unethical and unfair sales practices?

Hon. Todd Smith: Thanks very much to the member opposite for the question. Finally, we found something that we can agree on with the NDP, and that is that the Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup this year. I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be happier that John Tavares is a member of the Buds here in Toronto this year as we commence on our Stanley Cup parade.

I can tell you that what was happening previously with the Liberal government on the ticket sale issue wasn’t actually helping those who wanted to attend sporting events and concerts and other big events that were happening. This first came to light, actually, when the unfortunate diagnosis of Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip occurred, and the government made some changes to the Ticket Speculation Act during that summer.

I can tell you that our government is committed to working with the Ministry of the Attorney General, our Attorney General here in Ontario, and making sure that we bring in some legislation that has some teeth so we can keep ticket prices low for those who want to attend these events.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Tom Rakocevic: One of the very first things this government did when it assumed office was to block legislation that would have stopped scalpers from selling tickets for more than 50% of the face value. I don’t remember the Premier telling anyone before the election that he would do this.

Why was it suddenly the government’s top priority after the election to help Ticketmaster and the scalpers, while hurting music fans and hockey fans?

Hon. Todd Smith: Speaker, I should acknowledge as well that this is the first question from my critic, and I appreciate the question in the Legislature here this morning.

But I should say that what the Liberals used to do when they were the government of Ontario was they would bring in pieces of legislation that actually were just all about fluff. They made you feel like the government was actually doing something, when clearly the legislation didn’t do anything to attack the problem at hand, and that was ensuring that ticket prices remained affordable for the average person across the province.

What we’ve done is we’ve paused the implementation until we can actually bring in legislation that’s going to take these scalpers off the streets, that’s going to take these scalpers off-line. It’s not just simply putting it down on a piece of paper that you’re going to bring in legislation; you actually have to have legislation that’s enforceable. We’re bringing in meaningful legislation for the people of Ontario—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. Stop the clock.

Start the clock. Next question.



Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: My question is to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Speaker, this past Monday, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport visited the Niagara region and engaged with stakeholders on red tape reduction in tourism. The wine, culinary and agri-tourism industries are a growing and key component of tourism in Ontario, adding good jobs to our economy, especially in the Niagara region I’m proud to call home.

Could the minister please explain to the House what steps our Premier and government are taking to make sure that Niagara and Ontario are finally open for business?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Thank you for the question, and thank you for participating in the round table yesterday. It was very valuable.

There is no doubt that our Niagara region is a success story. We have some incredible businesses that are doing great work. But we need to do better as a government, and part of the round table’s goal was to listen to those stakeholders, listen to those agribusinesses, listen to those tourism operators and find out where the regulations and red tape are that are blocking their ability to expand.

We want to make sure that Ontario is open for business. Yesterday was a first good step towards that goal.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Mr. Sam Oosterhoff: I know that big job creators in my riding were very pleased to see the minister down in Niagara, and they’re pleased that steps are being taken by our government to address the unfair regulatory burdens that have been plaguing tourism and business in Niagara for far too long. I’m confident our government and our Premier will make it easier for businesses to thrive and succeed in the Niagara region, something that the former Liberal government failed to do.

Could the minister please elaborate to the House on what is being done to attract tourism and increase business to both Niagara and Ontario as a whole?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Well, yesterday’s round table, as you know, really showed how we need to work together. We have impacts and regulations that all of our caucus and cabinet colleagues have to deal with, whether it’s municipal affairs and housing, whether it’s infrastructure or finance. All of us need to work together to make sure that the regulations that are in place are protecting our people and our businesses, but also that the regulations make sense. It was enlightening and very helpful to have those stakeholders share very specific examples of how we can do better. I can assure the member that, with his help and with our government open for business, we will do that.

Energy policies

Ms. Jennifer K. French: My question is to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Speaker, Sunrise Seniors Place non-profit housing co-op is a vibrant 58-unit seniors building in my riding. Sunrise has to replace their makeup air unit, which brings in fresh air from outside. It would improve air quality and reduce energy.

The cost of replacement is $105,000. Sunrise applied for the GreenON social housing grant and was successful. Unfortunately, as of July 9, this grant has now been cancelled and with it the money for Sunrise.

Does this government want seniors in Oshawa to be able to breathe easily, and will this government reinstate the grant to cover the cost of the air quality unit?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member: I appreciate the question. As I’ve said before in this Legislature, when our government was elected on the basis of getting rid of the cap-and-trade program, responsibly we also needed to wind down the costs of the various items that were being paid for by that program. Very early, we announced to transfer partners that we would be doing that.

It’s being wound down in a very orderly fashion. We’re working with the various organizations that were transfer partners. In some cases, because the contracts have been signed, programs are going forward. In the cases where they’re not, the responsible thing, because the program has been ended, is not to proceed with that program. This is because we believe that affordability is a critical issue. We believe that putting $260 back in the pockets of every family is an important item. We believe that reducing gas prices and natural gas prices are the priority, and that is the approach we’ve taken.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary?

Ms. Jennifer K. French: Again to the minister: One of the Premier’s first priorities was to cancel support for green initiatives, improvements and repairs across our communities. This government cancelled the GreenON social housing grant and so now Sunrise Seniors Place co-op has had to cancel their plans to install this necessary air quality unit. This government cut this grant and seems proud of that decision, but our seniors need to live in healthful environments.

Sunrise reached out directly to the Premier’s office and has heard nothing back, so I’ll ask the minister today for them: Will this government work with Sunrise to ensure they can move ahead with their building improvement plans?

Hon. Rod Phillips: Speaker, again, through you to the member: With the end of cap-and-trade also came the end of that program. This is a government that is enormously sensitive to seniors and to all of our citizens in the Durham region. That’s one of the reasons that we did not proceed with the NDPs plan to close the Pickering nuclear power plant, which would have affected 7,000 people.

The people of Ontario can count on this government to respect seniors and to respect all taxpayers, to behave responsibly with our finances and, obviously, to balance the needs of a healthy environment as well.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I want to recognize the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on a point of order.

Hon. Steve Clark: Thank you, Speaker. Point of order: I want to introduce, to you and through you to members of the Legislative Assembly, a very special guest in the public gallery: my daughter, Caitlin Clark. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Once again, the minister.

Hon. Steve Clark: I have another introduction today. We have the father of page captain Victoria MacLeod-Varner in the public gallery. I know that her mother gets lots of opportunities to speak, but I wanted to introduce her father, Joe Varner. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): This House stands in recess until 1 p.m. this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1147 to 1300.

Introduction of Visitors

Mr. Bill Walker: I’m not certain if they’ve joined us in the gallery yet, but today we will have Jaymee Maaghop, director of public policy at the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, and Doug Nugent, with Prostate Cancer Canada Network Ottawa, who is a patient advocate and prostate cancer survivor.

I’ll just offer that there is a breakfast for Canadian cancer survivors tomorrow morning here at the Legislature.

Mr. Deepak Anand: I’d like to acknowledge my friend Dipak Bhatt, who is here in the members’ gallery, along with Rohit Shah.

Mr. Speaker, I made a small mistake yesterday. I said Dipak wrote 389 letters on a grain of rice, which was wrong. It’s actually 396 letters.

Members’ Statements

Conditions in Bearskin Lake

Mr. Sol Mamakwa: On September 20, I spoke about Karlena Kamenawatamin, a 13-year-old girl from Bearskin Lake who had taken her own life. At that time, I also said that Karlena’s death was related to a health crisis, a mental health crisis, and then a crisis related to intergenerational trauma and the housing crisis.

I had an opportunity to visit Bearskin Lake over the weekend after the tragedy and saw many things which I think are important to share in this House today.

Not only did Karlena and her family live in a house which was run down, but her family home had no running water and no electricity, or very limited electricity. Simple things that we take for granted in most homes in Ontario, like cooking meals on the stove and keeping food in a fridge, were not possible—in 2018, Speaker.

Lack of running water meant that the family had to rely on water from other homes in order to bathe, wash dishes, flush toilets etc.—conditions many Ontarians would consider to exist only in the Third World.

To make matters worse, Karlena’s family had moved into a home seven years before, and the electricity had already been shut off—at this address.

I’m left to wonder: Where else in Ontario would such conditions be tolerated?

Canadian Cancer Survivor Network

Mr. Bill Walker: Tomorrow morning, I have the honour of hosting the seventh annual reception for the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, CCSN, here at Queen’s Park.

I have attended Canadian Cancer Survivor Network events here at Queen’s Park in the past. As you will see tomorrow, they are a great resource for cancer patients and survivors in Ontario. Patients, caregivers and survivors from all over Ontario will be attending, and they look forward to meeting all MPPs and to share their experiences while living with and beyond cancer.

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network works to promote educational activities for cancer patients, caregivers and survivors on the impacts of cancer. They also empower patients, families and communities by providing access to related counselling, information and support group programs.

This year, they are bringing to all MPPs general awareness and understanding of biologic and biosimilar drugs. These medicines provide patients with more choices for their cancer treatments, and are also an opportunity for potential savings in the Ontario health care system, since some biosimilars will be more affordable for cancer patients.

I also want to recognize Jaymee Maaghop, director of public policy at the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, and Doug Nugent, with Prostate Cancer Canada Network Ottawa, a patient advocate and prostate cancer survivor. They’re here in the gallery today and look forward to meeting many of us tomorrow.

Please join me in congratulating the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network for all the great work they do. I invite all MPPs to come by the breakfast reception tomorrow in Room 228 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Sexual violence and harassment

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: Today in my riding of Kitchener Centre, people are excited as they take part in celebrations like Oktoberfest and homecoming. While I look forward to joining them all on Friday, I’m also aware that this time on university and college campuses sees a dangerous spike in sexual assaults, especially when alcohol is involved in the celebration.

Organizations like the SHORE Centre, which is the centre for Sexual Health, Options, Resources and Education, remain concerned that people have not been taught about affirmative consent or the role that alcohol plays in consent. Both topics have been removed from the interim sexual health curriculum which is being used in Ontario today. This is not only worrisome but it’s also extremely dangerous.

Today I am standing in the House to call on the Premier and the members of the Conservative caucus to do things differently. I am asking each of you to take concerns around sexual and gender-based violence seriously.

Building a culture of consent takes real work. It takes real political will. Neglecting the need to put financial resources into agencies like the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region will have a lasting impact on what my riding looks like today and how safe survivors will feel during the next few weeks. The organizations cannot rely on individual and community support to build a sustainability plan. That’s not how you build a culture of consent.

It is time for the PC government to do better.

Claude Nunney

Mr. Jim McDonell: This past weekend in my riding of Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, we celebrated British Home Child Day and the plight and contribution of the 130,000-plus children who were part of the child immigration movement from Britain to Canada between 1869 and 1938. Orphaned children and children in poverty were relocated as workers looking for a better future in Canada.

One such child, Claude Nunney, was placed in my hometown in North Lancaster in 1905 at the age of 13 and became the most decorated Canadian in military history.

In June 1913, Claude enlisted as a private with the 59th Stormont and Glengarry Regiment. Claude was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917, where he was wounded twice but continued fighting. Later that year, he was awarded the Military Medal for the greatest strength and courage in actions at Avion. He was hospitalized after being gassed in July of 1917.

On September 1, 1918, at the Drocourt-Quéant Line, positions recently captured by the Canadians were subject to heavy fire and counterattack. On his own initiative, Nunney left his company’s main line and went forward through the artillery barrage to its outpost line, where he ran from position to position to encourage his comrades.

The next day, Private Nunney’s exemplary conduct helped to inspire his company to carry out its objective. He was severely wounded on that day, and died on September 18, 1918. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for the dash and steadfast example he showed during the battle.

A stone monument was placed at the township hall in North Lancaster to celebrate Claude Nunney’s achievements.

Donna Strickland

Ms. Catherine Fife: I’m pleased to stand today to share the news that Dr. Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics early this morning. Dr. Strickland’s research in chirped pulse amplification, or CPA, has led to significant advancements in corrective eye surgeries.

She is the first woman to be awarded this prize in 55 years and only the third woman in history. This is a significant win not only for Dr. Strickland but for all women and girls who aspire to change the world through science.

While women represent the majority of young university graduates, they are significantly underrepresented in the STEM fields, regardless of their high school mathematics ability. Visibility and recognition are important. Women and girls need role models to see STEM as a place that they too could thrive.

To quote Dr. Strickland, “We need to celebrate women physicists because we’re out there, and hopefully in time it’ll start to move forward at a faster rate.” Let’s ensure that women don’t have to wait another 55 years to be recognized for their contributions to STEM fields.

Please join me today in congratulating Dr. Strickland, the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize in physics.


Cyprus Independence Day

Mr. Aris Babikian: In observance of Cyprus National Day, allow me to recognize and salute the 58th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus. I extend warmest congratulations to the government and the people of Cyprus and pay tribute to Ontarians of Cypriot descent who have become an indelible part of our cultural fabric and whose contribution to the growth, prosperity and vibrancy of our province is appreciated.

We commemorate the deep bonds of friendship that exist between Ontario and the people of Cyprus. The support of the Cypriot Federation of Canada and the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to Canada, His Excellency Vasilios Philippou, are deeply appreciated. I look forward to the further strengthening of our bilateral relations.

We pay tribute to all of those who lost their lives in the wars that took place in Cyprus, especially the 1974 invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus. We also recognize the tremendous contribution of the Canadian Armed Forces and the 28 fallen Canadian soldiers serving under the UN peacekeeping forces in Cyprus.

We extend our province’s gratitude to all those who share this great heritage and whose accomplishments, struggles and sacrifices continue to solidify Ontario’s position as a region renowned for our commitment to tolerance, diversity and multiculturalism.

Anti-smoking initiatives for youth

Mme France Gélinas: This July 1, the Progressive Conservative government opened up a huge loophole when it comes to vaping. Vaping was supposed to be restricted. Promotional marketing was supposed to be restricted in Ontario, but on July 1 they changed all of this. There is now a regulation in front of us that basically would allow for the big tobacco companies that own those vaping products to hook a new generation of kids on addicting vaping products; that is, the nicotine contained within the vaping pods in the vaping products.

Kids should not be exposed to vaping industry and to tobacco industry marketing and promotion. We owe it to ourselves, with everything we have done with Smoke-Free Ontario, to not take this huge step backward.

We now know that Juul has a contract with Shell gas stations, so every convenience store will have those big advertisings enticing children and youth to try vaping. The amount of youth in grade 10 and 12 that use vaping regularly is increasing by 400% every year. Two years ago, we were at about 15% of kids; now we are way higher than that.

The government needs to prohibit any vaping marketing, advertising or promotion that could be seen by our children.

Bells of Peace

Mr. Lorne Coe: I’m pleased to rise today to applaud the Royal Canadian Legion and its Bells of Peace initiative. The Royal Canadian Legion was formed at the end of World War I. It is fitting that this year it’s reminding all Canadians to cast their minds to the sacrifices made by so many during and even after the horrible conflict.

For a moment in time, we’re being asked to remember the elation that peace brought to the world at the end of hostilities in Europe, and the cost to achieve it. On November 11, 1918, church bells rang spontaneously in many countries in an outpouring of relief that war was finally over. This year in Whitby and in so many municipalities across the country, bells will again ring out as the sun sets on November 11. At five-second intervals, it will sound 100 times, one for each year since the end of the Great War, honouring the men and women who served in its battles.

I congratulate the Royal Canadian Legion for its initiative and look forward to participating in ceremonies on November 11. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.


Mr. Mike Harris: Oktoberfest has a long and rich history, both in Waterloo region and abroad. What started as a Bavarian tradition has grown into a global celebration. Oktoberfest celebrates German food, music, fashion, beer and more.

Hon. Todd Smith: Schnitzel.

Mr. Mike Harris: Yes, and schnitzel.

With Waterloo region’s strong German heritage, Oktoberfest has become a centrepiece of our fall calendar. This year’s celebration marks the 50th anniversary of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, the largest Oktoberfest in North America. I’m excited to say that I will be participating in the opening ceremonies of this nine-day festival, which officially kicks off on Friday, October 5, and concludes on Saturday, October 15.

The not-for-profit organization in charge of organizing the event was founded in 1969 by a group of volunteers committed to contributing to the social and economic vitality of Waterloo region, and, boy, have they ever.

The festival runs every October and is operated by eight year-round, full-time staff, over 450 volunteers and 1,300 community and service club members. The festival will host the largest Thanksgiving Day parade in Canada on Monday, October 8. In addition to various celebrations at festhallen and throughout the nine days, there are 40 family and cultural events—a little something for everyone.

Celebrations such as Oktoberfest are essential for preserving the social fabric of our community and provide a great opportunity to showcase to the rest of the province and the country some of what Waterloo region has to offer.

To community organizers and volunteers who have contributed so much of their time, money and effort towards making sure that this year’s Oktoberfest is the best one yet, I say danke schön and thank you for taking part.


Committee membership

Hon. Todd Smith: I move that pursuant to standing order 113, the membership of the Select Committee on Financial Transparency be appointed as follows: Mr. Baber, Mr. Downey, Mrs. Martin, Ms. Park, Mr. Romano, Mr. Sarkaria, Ms. Fife, Ms. Shaw and Mr. Vanthof.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Is there any debate? Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Motion agreed to.

Statements by the Ministry and Responses

Forest industry

Hon. Jeff Yurek: Speaker, I rise in the Legislature today to share with members an account of the success of National Forest Week, the first for me as Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Last week, people all across Ontario joined the rest of the country in marking National Forest Week. Some people took this opportunity to learn more about Canada’s forest heritage. Others participated in events that raised awareness about this valuable and renewable resource.

Our government is committed to supporting all the people, families and communities who depend on Ontario’s forests. Last Thursday, our government began to fulfill that commitment. I was pleased to announce the first step in developing a provincial forestry strategy with the launch of our round table discussions so that we can build a forestry strategy that will create a sustainable forest management plan, promote economic growth and foster competition in our forestry sector. This is an important first step because forestry is and has always been critical to Ontario’s economic prosperity.

Consider this, Mr. Speaker: Ontario’s forest industry generates over $15 billion in revenues and nearly 260 communities across Ontario depend on the forest sector for 150,000 direct and indirect jobs. The numbers reinforce what we know to be true: Thousands and thousands of hard-working Ontarians, their families and their communities depend on this bountiful, renewable resource.

What really sets our forests apart is the way they are managed. Ontario’s forest management practices are recognized around the world for being sustainable, one of the best. These sustainable forest management practices keep our forests healthy and productive. Healthy forests support a strong forest industry that provides people with jobs and creates a wide range of products like lumber, paper, panels, fuel, medicines and chemicals, and that’s just naming a few. Additionally, they provide recreational opportunities like hiking and hunting, and support our biodiversity.


We need a provincial forestry strategy to chart a path to prosperity, to create opportunities and take advantage of the full potential of Ontario’s forests. We want to ensure the forestry sector is driven by a long-term vision for growth and sustainability, and that communities across the province will share in this prosperity.

Over the coming months, Ontario’s government for the people will be sitting down with the forestry industry, municipal leaders and Indigenous communities to develop this strategy and open Ontario up for business. We are committed to standing up for these families, this industry and all of the people and families who depend upon it.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Responses?

Ms. Judith Monteith-Farrell: I am very happy to rise in this House today to respond to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry’s statement and congratulate him and the government for recognizing the important role of the forest industry in our province.

National Forest Week is a great time for citizens to reflect on and enjoy our province’s forests. The theme for 2018 is Research Forests: Canada’s Living Laboratories, which recognizes 2018 as the 100th anniversary of the Petawawa Research Forest, which is not only the oldest research forest in Canada but also named forest capital of Canada for 2017-19. This forest is right here in Ontario in Chalk River.

In honour of National Forest Week, I planted a tree in my yard. I am so very lucky to be surrounded by forests in my home, and forests cover my riding of Thunder Bay–Atikokan. I’m out hiking every chance I get. I have the good fortune to have met with the hard-working people who plant our forests, manage our forests, fight forest fires to protect and monitor the resource, and with forest scientists. I have witnessed the evolution of the front-line forest worker, who used to be a man with a saw who lived in a camp, like my old neighbour Mike Muller, to chainsaw operators, skidder operators, truck drivers and now advanced machine operators, to name a few. I have worked with the unions Unifor and United Steel Workers, who saw the destruction of the industry with many plants being shut down and their members displaced. As sawmills get back up and running now, working with employers, those unions see the challenges of labour shortages and the lack of skilled trades to keep facilities going.

I also hear the struggles of the owner-operator truck drivers who haul wood and wood chips to market. One of their struggles is the state of highways and access roads, something that needs to be factored in when talking about the forest industry.

The forest industry has come a long way. When meeting with the Ontario Forest Industries Association last week, there was such an impressive group of business owners and operators. Several spoke up that they had had up to five generations working in a forest plot, and their passion was inspiring as they spoke of keeping forests healthy and viable and of the 57,000 jobs they create. The products that they were producing were so diverse, from the obvious wood products and paper and cardboard to biomass fuel pellets and chemical derivatives used in, of all things, toothpaste.

The other exciting themes that many of those business leaders spoke of were the opportunity and innovation working with Indigenous companies and communities. Indigenous workers have long been involved with wood harvesting, or bush work, as we call it, but many communities, like those in my riding at Fort William First Nation and Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation, are establishing and partnering with the development of this resource.

The minister spoke of consultation in different communities, and I am so encouraged by that opportunity. There are so many people already engaged but so many more that have ideas and perspectives on forest management and development.

Forests are a renewable resource and can provide so many environmental benefits for our province. It is time for Ontario to notice and take example from smaller countries like Finland that have maximized their resource while maintaining sustainability. Ontario is three times larger than Finland, which harvests 15 million cubic metres, yet Ontario harvests 80% less than Finland.

Forest management and development have long been a subject of controversy because of the impact on the environment, which should always be kept in consideration. As industry leaders indicated, though, they are also very keenly invested in ensuring forests are healthy and protected from climate change.


Employment standards

Ms. Marit Stiles: It’s my pleasure to present a petition on behalf of my constituent Rob Gibbons. This is a petition to the Ontario Legislative Assembly:

“Don’t Take Away Our $15 Minimum Wage and Fairer Labour Laws.

“Whereas the vast majority of Ontarians support a $15 minimum wage and better laws to protect workers; and

“Whereas last year, in response to overwhelming popular demand by the people of Ontario, the provincial government brought in legislation and regulations that:

“Deliver 10 personal emergency leave days for all workers, the first two of which are paid;

“Make it illegal to pay part-time, temporary, casual or contract workers less than their full-time or directly hired co-workers, including equal public holiday pay and vacation pay;

“Raised the adult general minimum wage to $14 per hour and further raises it to a $15 minimum wage on January 1, 2019, with annual adjustments by Ontario’s consumer price index;

“Make it easier to join unions, especially for workers in the temporary help, home care, community services and building services sectors;

“Make client companies responsible for workplace health and safety for temporary agency employees;

“Provide strong enforcement through the hiring of an additional 175 employment standards officers;

“Will ensure workers have modest improvements in the scheduling of their hours, including:

“—three hours’ pay when workers are expected to be on call all day, but are not called into work;

“—three hours’ pay for any employee whose shift is cancelled with less than two days’ notice; and

“—the right to refuse shifts without penalty if the shift is scheduled with fewer than four days’ notice;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to honour these commitments, including the $15 minimum wage and fairer scheduling rules set to take effect on January 1, 2019. We further call on the assembly to take all necessary steps to enforce these laws and extend them to ensure no worker is left without protection.”

I am pleased to sign this petition, especially in light of the Premier’s unfortunate announcement earlier today to scrap Bill 148—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I would ask members not to make political statements in conjunction with presenting petitions.

Injured workers

Mr. Joel Harden: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario entitled “Workers’ Comp is a Right.”

“Whereas about 200,000 to 300,000 people in Ontario are injured on the job every year;

“Whereas over a century ago, workers in Ontario who were injured on the job gave up the right to sue their employers, in exchange for a system that would provide them with just compensation;

“Whereas decades of cost-cutting have pushed injured workers into poverty and onto publicly funded social assistance programs, and have gradually curtailed the rights of injured workers;

“Whereas injured workers have the right to quality and timely medical care, compensation for lost wages, and protection from discrimination;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to change the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to accomplish the following for injured workers in Ontario:

“Eliminate the practice of ‘deeming’ or ‘determining,’ which bases compensation on phantom jobs that injured workers do not actually have;

“Ensure that the WSIB prioritizes and respects the medical opinions of the health care providers who treat the injured worker directly;

“Prevent compensation from being reduced or denied based on ‘pre-existing conditions’ that never affected the worker’s ability to function prior to the work injury.”

I’ll be signing this petition, and I thank Ana Cruz-Zamara for bringing this to my attention.


Mr. Randy Hillier: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne, in 2015, imposed on Ontario parents, without proper consultation, an ideological sex ed curriculum that, in many places, was age-inappropriate and had the effect of sexualizing children; and


“Whereas the Wynne sex ed curriculum has, since 2015, forced Ontario teachers to promote ideology over facts, including the controversial and unscientific ‘gender identity theory’;

“We the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows”—Speaker, it’s a fairly lengthy petition. I’ll leave it at that, but they have petitioned this assembly much in the fashion that the government has acted.


Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: I have a petition called “Protecting Children: Forward, Not Backward, on Sex Ed.”

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the health and physical education curriculum empowers young people to make informed decisions about relationships and their bodies;

“Whereas gender-based violence, gender inequality, unintended pregnancies, ‘sexting,’ and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose serious risks to the safety and well-being of young people;

“Whereas one in three women and one in six men experience sexual violence in Canada, and a lack of age-appropriate education about sexual health and healthy relationships leaves children and youth vulnerable to exploitation;

“Whereas one in five parents reported their own child being a victim of cyberbullying; and

“Whereas Doug Ford and the Conservative government is dragging Ontario backward, requiring students to learn an outdated sex ed curriculum that excludes information about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexting, cyberbullying and safe and healthy relationships;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Education to continue the use of the 2015 health and physical education curriculum in schools and move Ontario forward, not backward.”

I fully support this petition, affix my name to it and will give it to page Deven.


Ms. Catherine Fife: I want to thank the students from Waterloo Collegiate Institute for collecting these names for this petition.

“Protecting Children: Forward, Not Backward, on Sex Ed.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the health and physical education curriculum empowers young people to make informed decisions about relationships and their bodies;

“Whereas gender-based violence, gender inequality, unintended pregnancies, ‘sexting,’ and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose serious risks to the safety and well-being of young people;

“Whereas one in three women and one in six men experience sexual violence in Canada, and a lack of age-appropriate education about sexual health and healthy relationships leaves children and youth vulnerable to exploitation;

“Whereas one in five parents reported their own child being a victim of cyberbullying;

“Whereas Doug Ford and the Conservative government is dragging Ontario backward, requiring students to learn an outdated sex ed curriculum that excludes information about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexting, cyberbullying and safe and healthy relationships;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Education to continue the use of the 2015 health and physical education curriculum in schools and move Ontario forward, not backward.”

I fully support this petition, will affix my signature and give this petition to Toria.

Traffic control

Mme France Gélinas: I would like to thank Mrs. Suzanne Moland from Wahnapitae in my riding for collecting all of these names—262 to be exact—on these petitions. It reads as follows:

“Intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 537.

“Whereas residents of Wahnapitae are concerned about the safety of the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 537 and would like greater traffic control measures in place to prevent further accidents and fatalities; and

“Whereas an accident that occurred on October 1, 2017, resulted in loss of life; and

“Whereas two different accidents occurred on October 13, 2017, that involved multiple vehicles and closed Highway 17 for seven hours, delaying traffic; and

“Whereas the Ministry of Transportation has jurisdiction over highways and is responsible for traffic safety in Ontario;”

They petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the Ministry of Transportation install traffic control measures such as a flashing light at the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 537 to enhance traffic safety.”

I fully support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask my good page Jocelyn to bring it to the Clerk.

Gasoline prices

Mme France Gélinas: I would like to thank Terrie Shinton from Levack in my riding for this petition.

“Whereas northern Ontario motorists continue to be subject to wild fluctuations in the price of gasoline; and

“Whereas the province could eliminate opportunistic price gouging and deliver fair, stable and predictable fuel prices; and

“Whereas five provinces and many US states already have some sort of gas price regulation; and

“Whereas jurisdictions with gas price regulation have seen an end to wild price fluctuations, a shrinking of price discrepancies between urban and rural communities and lower annualized gas prices”;

They petition the Legislative Assembly as follows:

“Mandate the Ontario Energy Board to monitor the price of gasoline across Ontario in order to reduce price volatility and unfair regional price differences while encouraging competition.”

I support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask page Katie to bring it to the Clerk.

School facilities

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: “Fund Our Schools.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas too many children are going to school in buildings without proper heating or cooling, with leaky roofs or stairways overdue for repair;

“Whereas after years of Conservative and Liberal governments neglecting schools, the backlog of needed repairs has reached $16 billion;

“Whereas during the 2018 election, numerous members of the Conservative Party, including the current Minister of Education, pledged to provide adequate, stable funding for Ontario’s schools;

“Whereas less than three weeks into the legislative session, Doug Ford and the Conservative government” had “already cut $100 million in much-needed school repairs, leaving our children and educators to suffer in classrooms that are unsafe and unhealthy;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Minister of Education to immediately reverse the decision to cut $100 million in school repair funding, and invest the $16 billion needed to tackle the repair backlog in Ontario’s schools.”

I fully support this petition, will affix my name to it and give it to page Deven.


Mme France Gélinas: I have this huge petition from the members of Islington United Church of Toronto.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas for six years the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) listened to thousands of former students of residential schools and their families testify to the devastating legacy of this national policy of assimilation;

“Whereas the TRC called upon ‘the federal, provincial and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with survivors, Aboriginal peoples and educators, to make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, treaties and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for kindergarten to grade 12 students’ (CA62.i);

“Whereas on July 15, 2015, Canada’s Premiers indicated their support for all 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action and said they would act on them in their own provinces and territories;

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

“That the Legislative Assembly of Ontario urge the government of Ontario to fully implement such a curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12; and

“Whereas, in 2017, the government of Ontario had taken first steps to fulfill this action with a planned completion date of fall 2018”;

They ask the Ministry of Education to “immediately complete and implement the comprehensive revision of history, social studies, civics and other curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 to fulfill the goals cited in call to action 62.i from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.”

I support this petition, will affix my name to it and ask page Molly to bring it to the Clerk.



Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: I have a petition entitled “Protecting Children: Forward, Not Backward, on Sex Ed.”

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the health and physical education curriculum empowers young people to make informed decisions about relationships and their bodies;

“Whereas gender-based violence, gender inequality, unintended pregnancies, ‘sexting,’ and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose serious risks to the safety and well-being of young people;

“Whereas one in three women and one in six men experience sexual violence in Canada, and a lack of age-appropriate education about sexual health and healthy relationships leaves children and youth vulnerable to exploitation;

“Whereas one in five parents reported their own child being a victim of cyberbullying; and

“Whereas Doug Ford and the Conservative government is dragging Ontario backward, requiring students to learn an outdated sex ed curriculum that excludes information about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexting, cyberbullying and safe and healthy relationships;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the Ministry of Education to continue the use of the 2015 health and physical education curriculum in schools and move Ontario forward, not backward.”

I fully support this petition.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The time for petitions has expired.

Orders of the Day

Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018 / Loi de 2018 modifiant des lois en ce qui concerne le cannabis

Resuming the debate adjourned on October 1, 2018, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 36, An Act to enact a new Act and make amendments to various other Acts respecting the use and sale of cannabis and vapour products in Ontario / Projet de loi 36, Loi édictant une nouvelle loi et modifiant diverses autres lois en ce qui concerne l’utilisation et la vente de cannabis et de produits de vapotage en Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: I want to take the time that I have in this debate to give maybe a bit of a different perspective with regard to this legislation. But first of all, before I do, I just want to make it clear so that nobody misunderstands what I’m about to say.

The federal government made a decision. The federal government has decided to legalize marijuana. It is not for this House to decide should that or should that not have been done. We are left with the remnants of a federal decision and we, as a Legislature, across this province, have to decide how we’re going to regulate the use of marijuana and how we’re going to dispense marijuana in this province.

There may be a lot of people in Ontario who like this idea, but there are also people in this province who don’t like the idea. I want to say I fall somewhere in between because I have a bit of a different perspective. My sister Louise is now dead. She became schizophrenic fairly young in age. She was about 17 or 18 years old. She was a perfectly normal young girl growing up, going off to university, doing everything that young people do who are trying to move along with life and, like most people of that age, myself included, doing pot. Unfortunately for Louise, she swore until the day she died that her schizophrenia was actually triggered by the pot.

Far too many times, our family had to deal with the tragedy of that. Louise, a bright, bright young woman who later died when she was about 61 or 62 years old, struggled with schizophrenia from the time when she was about 18 years old. Suicidal—my sister didn’t only have voices; she had visions. She would be sitting here and having a conversation with somebody she saw in the room who was saying things to make her harm herself. I’ve got to tell you, from her perspective, you can imagine how difficult that was, but from the perspective of friends and family it was horrible, because we didn’t know how to deal with it. We had no idea what schizophrenia was at the time as a family, having to cope with that, how to deal with schizophrenia, what to do to give our sister some support so that she’s able to be safe, survive and have a quality of life.

I’ll tell you, Louise had one heck of a ride. Far too many times she tried to end her life. Why? Because of the schizophrenia. Somebody would say to her, “You are not a good person and you should die.” My sister tried to take her life I don’t know how many times. My mother, my dad and eventually myself, because I was the only family member left in town in Timmins with her, often had to lock her up on a form 1, because it was the only way we could ensure security for her so that we at least could get her back on her meds. As long as she was on her meds, the schizophrenia was still bad, but she was not as reactive to the schizophrenia as she would be off her meds. We know that the problem with a lot of mental health diseases, such as schizophrenia, is that the person feels that they are okay: “There’s nothing wrong so I don’t need my meds.” The minute they go off their meds, they start to deteriorate, and the symptoms of whatever the mental health illness is come back and sometimes come back raging.

It’s kind of appropriate that we are doing Mental Health Awareness Week this week. We will have, later on this afternoon, people from across Ontario who work in mental health. I would encourage people to go to that reception tonight, up on the second floor, I believe, because the work that they do is really, really tough work.

Unfortunately, I know from the personal perspective of having to deal with my sister, who was schizophrenic—who eventually died of cancer. One thing, in passing, that was very interesting when she died: While she was palliative, it was the only time that she didn’t have any voices. In the last weeks of her life, for some reason, the act of dying took away the voices and the visions, which I don’t quite understand, but it was an interesting thing, just in passing.

In regard to this bill—and I don’t fault the government. It’s not your fault. You’re the government having to enact whatever it is that the federal government has put in place. But there is a debate about the appropriate use of cannabis, especially with younger people.

In the case of my sister, it almost killed her. It almost killed us as a family because we had no idea how to deal with it, and the conflict that we had trying to deal with this was quite dramatic. Eventually—thank God; and I say this as a person who is non-practising—the Canadian Mental Health Association in Timmins wrapped really good services around my sister and eventually had an ACT aide who was able to make sure that she was taking her meds. After my parents died and I was the sole provider, being in this place, I needed to have somebody back home who was able to make sure she takes her meds. That ACT team allowed her to survive. They would go in every day and they would make sure that she had her meds and make sure that she did the things that she had to do to be able to live an independent life as best as possible.

So I have a bit of a mixed feeling. I don’t do pot anymore. I haven’t done pot since I was around 17 or 18 years old. Most of us who were born in my generation and in generations after have done pot at one time or other in their life, or at least tried it. I was one of the lucky persons who wasn’t affected by pot in the way that my sister was. But there are many young people who had their lives turned upside down, and families turned upside down, as a result of the use of pot.

The problem that we have, as a Legislature, is that we can’t stop what the federal government is doing. That’s not for debate. The federal government has made the decision, and unfortunately we have to deal with that decision pro or against, because there are people in favour of legalizing pot—some of my own family members, I can tell you, as you have family members on your side who think this is a good idea. But I have family members, friends and people that I know who have some difficulty.

One of the things that I’m looking for in this legislation—and I hope that we do proper consultation on this legislation with the public—is: How do we deal with keeping, as much as we can, pot away from young people triggering diseases such as schizophrenia? I know it’s a hard thing to do because people will do what people do, right? It’s just reality. You either get it legally or you get it illegally. There are going to be people who use it no matter what, Mr. Speaker. We really need to take a look at: What can we do, not just by way of restrictions but by way of programs that help young people understand that utilizing pot could lead to quite traumatic experiences in their lives, as it did with my sister? That’s one of the things that I think this Legislature has to look into. To me, it’s one of the fundamental issues that we’re going to have a hard time dealing with, because the reality is that no matter what we do here, people are going to use it. Mr. Speaker, that’s just the way it is. They either do it legally or illegally. So, if we’re going to legalize it, we need to find some way of making sure that we, as much as possible, not only try to keep the pot away from people under a certain age, but those under a certain age are also informed about the dangers of using it, because it can be quite traumatic.

Unfortunately, I know a lot of my sister’s friends who went through the same type of experience. There were a couple of clubs that Louise was part of. I used to go to events because, like you, I would get invited to events, but also, I was a family member. We would get into these conversations about what triggered her mental illness. I’ve heard this story way too many times to tell me there is some sort of correlation. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a researcher. I am only going by what I know anecdotally. But we need to find something to do that.


The other thing in this particular debate that I’m a little bit puzzled about, quite frankly, is, why are we following the tobacco laws and not the liquor laws? The government has decided, by way of this legislation, if I understand it correctly—and correct me if I’m wrong. The government is going to allow people to utilize pot in the same areas that you’re allowed to smoke a cigarette. Well, I’ve got to tell you the truth—there’s a whole bunch of things, but first of all, as a non pot smoker, I hate the smell. I live at the corner of Bay and Edward in Toronto, and I live out at Kamiskotia Lake in Timmins. At Kamiskotia Lake, I ain’t going to smell it, because it’s a pretty big area. If anybody is smoking on that lake, I won’t even know. But when you’re living in downtown Toronto, in an urban centre, or downtown Timmins or Schumacher or wherever it might be, and people are walking up and down the street, you’re going to have the smell of cannabis, and for some of us it’s somewhat offensive. Some people get upset when there’s smoking of cigarettes in a building, let alone smoking of pot on the street.

So I’m curious as to why the government decided to follow the legislation that governs the use of cigarettes. Maybe we needed to have some kind of a hybrid, where we looked at the use of alcohol. We don’t allow people to walk down the street or go into a park with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine or a bottle of rye. If you’re caught, you can be charged, and it happens. People do it, and they get charged. Why would we allow the use of pot in the same way as a cigarette, and not take a look at trying to find a way—if you want to smoke pot, that’s your business, but that you’re not going to do it in a way that offends other people and their right not to smell it and not to be affected by the intoxication that may come from the use of pot.

You know as well as I do that there are people who misuse alcohol, and the misuse of alcohol can be pretty darn tragic, when it comes to those people affected and what happens when people are inebriated. Well, it tends to be a different type of high, I understand. When you smoke pot, you’re a little bit happier than you would be if you drank alcohol, because one is a depressant and the other one is to make you higher. Nonetheless, I don’t want to be around that. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t necessarily want to be around a bunch of people who are smoking pot and acting in whatever way they will, in a happy state—not that I don’t like happiness. I laugh with the members across here often on many things. But there is an issue of sensibilities for people out there.

So I think one of the things that we need to take a look at is, is it appropriate that pot be used in the same way as cigarettes? I don’t know the answer. The government may have some good reasons why they’re doing what they did, and I’m going to be curious to see what’s said in this debate and what’s said in committee. There may be some logical reason why the government has done what it did, but—

Hon. Jeff Yurek: CAMH recommended it.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Yes, I know. I saw that. I read it in the papers.

Still, you understand from my perspective, it’s a little bit passing strange that we’re going to allow people to smoke pot on Yonge Street but we’re not going to allow people to drink alcohol. I’m not making the argument that we should allow people to walk on Yonge Street with beer or a glass of wine. I don’t think that’s a good idea either. Why are we doing it with pot? That’s the only thing that I raise when it comes to that.

The other thing is the model by which we’re going to distribute pot. The one thing that we pride ourselves on in Ontario—and many places across Canada—is that we have something called the LCBO. We’ve all seen it as adults, never mind as legislators: You walk into the LCBO and there’s some young person trying to buy alcohol, wine or beer under age. We might have done it ourselves at one point when we were that age. Who knows? The LCBO has been rather good at trying to control who buys alcohol so that it doesn’t go into the hands of young ‘uns. So we’ve been very effective at being able to make sure we don’t sell alcohol, beer and wine to people under age.

I was fortunate in a couple of ways. I got to live in different places over the years, and I always remember, when I lived in Montreal for a while—the sale of beer and wine was always done in corner stores, and you’d see the young kids going to buy beer and wine for their parents with their little red wagons dragging back the cases of beer. That tells me it was pretty easy for them to buy beer for themselves. Now, I realize they don’t do that anymore, but the point is, the LCBO has a very good mechanism by which they screen people in order to make sure those who are buying are not intoxicated, that they are, in fact, in control of their faculty—I shouldn’t say “faculty,” but in control of their decisions—and are not underage.

The previous administration decided that we were going to follow an LCBO model. I recognize, from the Conservative perspective, “Oh my God, the government can’t do anything right”—according to them. Well, we happen to run health care; we do a pretty good job. We run this Legislature. Well, you guys don’t do a very good job there. It is a Legislature run by public servants such as Clerks and others. We run schools. Our schools are amazing when it comes to the opportunity they give young people and people at the post-secondary level. We have a mental health system run by the public. We do pretty good. The public services work quite well. Not only that; it’s less expensive to deliver services by way of the public system than it is to do it by the private.

I was saying here in the House the other day, just as an example, Mr. Speaker, that a neighbour of mine had a health crisis in Florida about three years ago. He almost died. They had called family, called the priest, the whole bit. He managed to survive, and when he was released, his wife was talking to me and I said, “Do me a favour. Get a copy of the invoice that is being paid by the insurance.” It turned out to be over $500,000. I think it was $545,000 for the stay, including hospital, doctors, ambulances, tests and everything else that was done.

I took that bill and I gave it to the hospital in Timmins, and I said, “How much would it cost if that was to happen in the city of Timmins at Timmins and District Hospital?” Some $27,000, Speaker. So clearly the public sector is doing something right.

From the perspective of being able to sell marijuana and other substances, it seems to me we would be better served from a social responsibility point of view to allow an LCBO model to sell it. Now, there are going to be good stores out there. Don’t get me wrong. I understand there are good business people and there are bad business people. There are those people who are going to try to do what’s right and make sure that they follow the law of the land. I understand that. But there are those who may not. There are pretty strict penalties here if they don’t follow the rules. I understood, when the government made the announcement that it was one infraction, you lose your licence. I don’t think that’s a bad idea; at least we’re thinking about it. But I would argue we’d be better served from the perspective of social responsibility to have an LCBO-type organization sell, and from the perspective of the money that is raised for the province by way of the sale of marijuana, it’s no different than the sale of alcohol. There’s a lot of money that we make by way of the sale of alcohol in this province. It’s over $2 billion a year.

Ms. Catherine Fife: It’s $2.l billion.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: It’s $2.1 billion now? So we make $2.1 billion from the LCBO.

We’re trying to figure out how to dig ourselves out from the debt and deficit and bad spending the previous administration gave us. This government already recognized last May in the debate on the budget that there was at least a $12-billion deficit as of last spring. It’s now $15 billion because time has marched on. The government is forgoing revenue by way of tax cuts so that deficit is going to be somewhere between $15 billion and $20 billion. Who knows? We’ll figure it out when the time comes.

We’re trying to figure out how to make sure that we have the dollars to pay for public services. Well, then, why don’t we run our own LCBO-type system and have that profit stay with the province of Ontario so that we’re able to provide the type of services that the public wants around health care, education and others? To me, the government is biting off its nose to spite its face. It’s saying, “Ideologically, we’re opposed to anything that’s government, so therefore, we’re going to privatize it and put it into the private sector.” I have nothing against the private sector. I used to run my own small business, so I understand what small businesses go through. Both of my parents were small business people. I grew up in a small business sector, so I get it. But there are some things that business does better and there are some things that government does better.

Do I want government running the corner store? Absolutely not. Do I want the government running the local mine? Absolutely not. But there are some things that we do better and the sale of alcohol is one of those things that we actually do quite well. We pay people a fair wage to work at the LCBO so that they’re able to provide for their families. What’s wrong with that? And we have social responsibility when it comes to making sure we control the sale of alcohol to those people who should be buying, that they’re not under the influence or underage, and we make the revenue from it. What’s wrong with that?


The idea that somebody working for an LCBO type of organization selling marijuana will make a better wage than the person working for the small, independent, private company trying to sell the marijuana—I’d just say to the government across the way: What do you have against people trying to make a fair living? You’re already dropping back the minimum wage by not allowing it to get to $15. You’ve already halved the amount of money we were supposed to give to welfare and ODSP recipients. You’ve cancelled the pilot program. I don’t know what you guys have got against working-class people, but we’re the ones who pay most of the taxes in this province.

Hon. Laurie Scott: We’re making life more affordable.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Well, it’s what you’re doing. That’s your record. Just look in the mirror. Take a look at what you’re doing.

My point is, what have you got against working-class people? Yes, you’ve got good rhetoric—“We’re for the people” and “I’m going to give you this” and all of that kind of stuff—but when it comes to your actions, it’s pretty clear that your decisions are not about working-class people and the working poor. Unfortunately, there are way too many working poor people in this province, and anything we can do in order to assist, I think, is a good idea. What’s wrong with making sure that people get a fair wage when it comes to the sale of marijuana, and following social responsibility, and having the revenue that comes from that so that we’re able to invest?

Again, I thank the members of the House for listening to what I have to say. I know we all have personal stories about the use of marijuana. I wanted to share what happened to my sister because I think it’s part of what we have to have in the debate. Clearly, we need to find a way in this legislation to do everything that we can in order to make sure that young people don’t utilize marijuana any more than they do now, in order to make sure that the experience of my sister is not repeated with them.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: It’s a pleasure to rise today and add my voice to the debate. I think that no matter what happens in question period, with the rhetoric that gets thrown around—if we say “black,” they say “white,” and vice versa. I think we can set all of that aside at this moment and agree that with regard to the debate that the House leader for the NDP offered up today, we have to agree that the safety of our children is paramount. It should not be painted by a colour or a stripe.

Furthermore, I very much appreciate you willingly sharing your story about your sister Louise. I’m heartfelt in saying that. I would also like to extend an opportunity, through you, to the rest of your party and to all of your followers to participate in our education consultation, because there is an element in our consultation that opens up the door to talk about cannabis. I want to hear from people like yourself in terms of how we can best prepare our children for the responsible use of cannabis and what the impact can be if they don’t respect the realities of it, like what happened to your sister. I’m sincere in saying this. Again, this consultation is very comprehensive, and I’m sincere of heart when I say that we need to hear from parents, from students, from teachers, from anyone who wants to exercise their voice, because the fact of the matter is, in the 2015 curriculum, cannabis was written up as an illicit drug. As of October 17, the world changes, so we need to hit the pause button and we need to take a moment to say, “Given this new reality, how can we best prepare our students for dealing with what’s going to be coming down the pipeline?”

I congratulate the Minister of Finance and the AG for the tremendous work they’ve done, as well.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Catherine Fife: I want to thank the member from Timmins for sharing his story and putting a personal perspective on the new act, the act to enact an act and make other act changes on cannabis—because it’s going to be messy. It’s going to be a messy rollout regardless. We sat through the summer. We sat through some weekends. We did some midnight sittings. We should have been debating and discussing this issue, because that October 17 deadline is right around the corner. Instead, we were debating other pet peeves that this government has. I think, actually, as we move forward on the rollout of this legislation, it’s going to take our collective efforts to try to make sure that we mitigate some damages and adapt to the rollout of this policy.

The member from Timmins talks about second-hand smoke. This is a real issue. Last year, I was on a panel with OREA. The then critic for Beaches–East York, who’s no longer a member here, said that there’s no difference between an avocado plant and a marijuana plant, which means that he was clearly smoking something before he said that statement. Real estate agents in this province are so concerned about these little tiny condos that we all live in—the smoke will permeate through those buildings, and there’s no strategy or plan to have some consumer protection from a real estate perspective, and also the viability of selling those units. So there will be an economic cost without having a plan in place, a strategy or a way to navigate that conflict and that tension.

As the member points out, ultimately the health and well-being of the citizens of this province should come first and foremost, and having some control measures on who accesses cannabis is the first line of defence. Our position has always been that an LCBO model would actually have served this province better in that respect.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Hon. John Yakabuski: A pleasure to join the debate on Bill 36.

I want to say to my friend from Timmins that my heart goes out to you on your sister, who, for most of her adult life, suffered from schizophrenia and mental illness. As someone who has lost two brothers to suicide, I certainly understand where you’re coming from there. We have a lot of work to do in that regard.

On the cannabis legislation, I want to point out to the member that it’s law enforcement that was very strongly suggesting that we use the Smoke-Free Ontario Act as the guideline for cannabis—and CAMH as well—when it comes to the establishment of where it can be smoked with regard to condominiums and rental housing versus owned housing, etc. We didn’t come about this on the flip of a switch; there was a lot of consultation that went into this before we came up with the new model.

I want to speak, for example, on his position. I understand that New Democrats would want the LCBO model. The reality is, our government is not looking at this from a revenue point of view. This is not about making money for the government. Small business will be able to get that part of it. But the biggest reason, and the clear suggestions that came from people who understood the business, is that it was very limited under the LCBO and was going to lead to much more of a black market. We want to eliminate the black market for this product so that everyone is getting their cannabis from a legal, single source. The Ontario Cannabis Store will be the distributor for legal cannabis in the province of Ontario—the only legal distributor. If we can have people getting their pot through a legal source, it’s certainly much better, much safer, better for our children, than getting it through the black market.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Sara Singh: Yesterday, I did an hour lead on this. Just a few more points and comments: I did want to correct my record from yesterday. I shared a very personal story about my dad’s health care journey. In that, I was actually remiss to not thank the doctors and nurses and health care professionals who provided such excellent care with compassion to my family. I just wanted to thank them for their service.

As we’ve been debating Bill 36, there have been some very interesting points that have been brought up from both sides of the House, actually. So it isn’t just from our caucus that concerns are being brought up here to government; it’s from members of their own caucus, where they aren’t maybe necessarily so supportive of legalization. There are a lot of public safety concerns that are still present within this bill that need to be addressed as we move forward.

The Minister of Education has now left, but as we were discussing yesterday and somewhat today, there needs to be a stronger mechanism for public education and harm reduction within this legislation, and that currently is not the case. We do not know what tools are being provided to teachers and students to learn about the legalization process as they access what is now recreational and legal cannabis. We need to ensure that we are not stigmatizing users of recreational cannabis, and we need to ensure that a harm reduction approach surrounds the education we provide.


I’ve heard from members of the minister’s team that there will be diversion programs that will be offered to young people who are found to be in possession of cannabis after October 17, but I would just like to remind the House that what we have seen in reality is that often many young, racialized people in our communities are not given the opportunity to pursue diversion programs. What has actually been the case is that those with the means, the affluence, are the ones who are given a second chance and are not the ones who are given a criminal record. So there needs to be serious consideration as to how those diversion programs are created and who is being given the opportunity to access them.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member from Timmins now has two minutes to wrap it up.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: I want to thank all those people who commented on what I had to say. I just want to add this: We’ve known for quite some time that October 17 is coming. This Legislature has been seized by all kinds of things that turned the clock back on all kinds of issues, like climate change and changing the size of the city of Toronto in order to let the Premier have his little vendetta that he did. Where were you? The House sat all summer, Mr. Speaker—

Interjection: We’ve been working on it all summer.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member should know that you’re impugning somebody’s motive when you use the word “vendetta.” I would ask you to withdraw.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Okay, I withdraw “vendetta.” Thank you, Speaker.

But my point is, the government knew for some time and brings the legislation in this week, and—

Hon. Todd Smith: The House was supposed to tackle this—

Mr. Gilles Bisson: You had the House back all summer. We sat till midnight. We sat all night. My point is, the government could have brought this legislation much earlier. They could have used a better process by which—yes, cabinet’s got to do its thing and the ministry has got to do its thing; we all understand that. But if you had been able to bring this earlier, which you had the opportunity to do, we could have engaged the public in a meaningful way in order to make sure that we get this right. Because the decision that this House will make, eventually, at third reading will be the system that’s put in place. If we don’t do it right, there are all kinds of repercussions to the people of Ontario and families across this province.

I just think it’s bad management on the part of the government to leave this to the last minute. It seems that this government wants to create a crisis and run from one crisis to the other. I’m just saying that’s not the way that this place and the government should be run.

If you’re so serious about, “I want to run government like a business,” then maybe you should take some of the examples of how people plan things ahead of time instead of doing things at the last minute, such as you’re doing in this legislation.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Thank you.

I recognize the member from Guelph on a point of order.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to go out of order of debate to allow the Green independent to speak at this time.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The member from Guelph is seeking unanimous consent to go out of order and speak to this issue at this time.

Interjection: For how many minutes?


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I’m hearing for three minutes. Is it the favour of the House that the member be allowed to speak at this time? Unanimous consent. Member from Guelph.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the House leader and opposition House leader and all members for granting me the opportunity to speak at this time to accommodate my schedule.

The Green Party believes that the top priority for cannabis legalization should be public health and safety, and eliminating the unsafe, illegal, underground market. For over a year now, Greens have said that the previous government’s cannabis monopoly would do little to stop the unsafe, illegal, underground market. Forty government-run retail stores will not be enough to stop the underground market, nor will it succeed in getting organized crime out of the cannabis market.

That is why we believe the new government is largely on the right course with their changes. The best way to combat the unsafe, illegal, underground market is to have a number of retail dispensaries located in communities across the province.

I was elected on a pledge to do politics differently, to reach across the aisle and work on issues together when it’s appropriate. So I want to be clear that I largely support the government’s move with Bill 36, but I also want to raise a few concerns.

First of all, I believe the bill should go to committee. This is a big change and we need to hear from the people of Ontario. I’m particularly concerned, Mr. Speaker, with section 4, which aligns the cannabis legislation with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. While I understand the reasons of the government for doing this, I think we need to hear people’s concerns about smoking cannabis in public parks. Do we really want cannabis smoking to take place in areas where families gather with their children?

My second concern is that the cannabis market should clearly prioritize that regulated small businesses and Indigenous groups receive licences, not well-connected large corporations. We can use legalization to stop the underground market, boost local economies and create jobs. Licensing small private retailers is the best way to do this.

For this reason, I encourage the government to amend the licensing and authorization section to place a cap on the total number of licences that any one business can hold while proceeding with not placing a cap on the total number of licences, modelled somewhat after subsection 4(4) of the legislation.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I ask the government to consider amending the legislation to include provisions around public education and harm reduction to serve people with mental health and addictions challenges associated with cannabis.

I want to be clear that I intend to support Bill 36, and I encourage the government to listen to people at committee and make appropriate amendments.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Aris Babikian: It gives me pleasure to stand up here and make some comments. First of all, I was surprised to hear my colleague from Timmins accusing us, that we are against working class people. I am a working-class person. An overwhelming majority of my colleagues in the caucus are working-class people. We struggle, with the rest of the population, the people of Ontario, and we go through the same things.

I wanted to focus on another issue, and that is the safety of our children. I agree that the safety of our children and youth is paramount for all of us. I have been a soccer coach. I have been a Wolf Cub leader, a Boy Scout leader. I’ve trained youth. I am very concerned with them. I am sure that after lengthy consultation with all these experts that we had, with the health care people and different stakeholders, we will be able to bring proper controlling measures so that we will make sure that the children will not be able to have access to those things.

On the contrary, I think by bringing this resolution and legalizing it, we will be able to control the distribution of cannabis around the schools that we have, the illegal market that we have right now. That is the best way to safeguard the safety of our children, by licensing them in a special shop.

There is not 100% or a perfect mechanism. I mean, they suggested the LCBO—LCBO has its own ups and downs also. We have seen so many horror stories come out of LCBO, where underage people have been able to buy liquor. So the model that we have suggested—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Thank you. Questions and comments?

Ms. Catherine Fife: Listening carefully to the member from Guelph on his comments around the regulation around stores and the privatization, really, of marijuana sales, I have to say I think we have to step back one step, because the whole goal of this original legislation was to lessen the pressure on the court system and the pressure on our correctional institutions.

I’ve toured Maplehurst and Vanier, and I wish I could unsee some of the things that I saw in those institutions, quite honestly. There are people in those institutions who are there on remand—60% of the people are on remand at Maplehurst, which means they haven’t had their day in court. Many of them were caught with small amounts of marijuana and cannabis. That’s not a good use of tax dollars, Mr. Speaker.

That is the missing component in this legislation, that proactive component which actually ensures that there are resources for people who are addicted, who find themselves in situations like we did last Oktoberfest.


Oktoberfest starts this Friday. It’s the chicken dance all day long, I’m telling you. But last year we found that drinking and driving had lessened considerably. The education campaign around drinking and driving—it’s embedded. It’s part of our culture now. But there were more people who were pulled over for smoking pot and driving than ever in the history of that festival, which means that the other shoe has not fallen on this issue and that people still think that it’s okay to smoke up or ingest edibles.

Edibles are not part of this legislation, and quite honestly, that’s a big factor for us as well. But that educational component has not been factored into this legislation. People still think it is okay to drive and smoke.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Natalia Kusendova: It is my honour and pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill 36 on cannabis and vapour products. As we all know, this is a bill by our government that is in response to the federal imposition, and it is something that our government takes very seriously. Our Attorney General, Caroline Mulroney, announced that it is our intent to protect public health and public safety through a highly regulated private cannabis retail store model. I am very proud of the work our Attorney General and the Minister of Finance did on this file in a swift manner, with the October 17 deadline in mind.

It is the priority of our government to support law enforcement and to give them all the necessary tools and supports needed to enforce this new legislation. It is well-balanced legislation that, if passed, would mirror the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which our law enforcement is already familiar with. In addition, municipalities will have the flexibility to opt out of having cannabis retail stores in their community before January 22, 2019. It allows the province to establish distance buffers separating these stores from the schools.

Finally, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that we keep our citizens safe by having even stricter rules around the consumption of cannabis. For example, it will be prohibited to consume cannabis in a motor vehicle or in a boat. I am very proud of the work that we are doing as a government to introduce this legislation swiftly, again with the October 17 deadline in mind.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Laura Mae Lindo: It has been very interesting sitting and listening to the debate about the legalization of cannabis. I was actually just reading a newspaper article. Judy Merkel, the superintendent of safe schools for Waterloo Catholic District School Board, is quoted as saying, “It’s certainly going to make our roles more challenging.” Part of why she’s saying that is what we’re discussing here. What are those controls going to look like for young people, and what typically or traditionally has happened when we’ve had a young person caught in class with a small amount of marijuana?

I can tell you that, from my background in education, oftentimes that small amount of marijuana leads to a pathway that a young person—often Black, brown, Indigenous—can’t recover from. That small amount of marijuana that may be legal, according to what I’m reading now, is going to be treated in practice as though it’s not in a school system. I’m curious to know what is going to happen in the long run, because for some of these students this means suspension. The first suspension leads to yet another, then expulsion, and then they find themselves unable to access work.

A lot of young people in lower-income neighbourhoods will also turn to what we seem in this House to be calling this underground trade to be able to survive, to get food on the table. As much as I think it’s great that we’re saying that in some circumstances this will be okay, this is a livelihood for some people. We’re denying them access to support to address the root causes of what makes them turn to something that’s now legal, but only for some of the people.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I would now return to the member from Guelph, the leader of the Green Party, to wrap this up.

Mr. Mike Schreiner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the members from Scarborough–Agincourt, Waterloo, Mississauga Centre and Kitchener Centre for your participation in today’s debate.

I would certainly like to reach out to the member from Kitchener Centre and say that all of us need to be aware of the racialized history of the prosecution of people using cannabis. I think that’s an important part of a whole public education process, as we think about how to move forward. It’s why I want to just highlight what the member from Waterloo said about the importance of public education in harm reduction—providing people with the supports and the tools they need if they’re struggling with mental health and addictions issues.

I also want to make the case that I think the best way to destigmatize cannabis use and to make it more fair and equitable across the board is to open—


Mr. Mike Schreiner: Yes. I don’t toke personally—to have small businesses be able to be licensed and heavily regulated and participate in the marketplace. Maybe we can think about it a bit like craft beer, where we support local economies and local communities, but then we take the revenue—and I think this is so important: The revenue the government receives from cannabis sales should go into mental health and harm reduction policies, should go to supporting municipalities, to help municipalities make the transition to dealing with the legalization of cannabis.

I want to close by just saying that we haven’t used the committee system much in this Parliament, and I think this bill is a perfect opportunity to use the committee system to improve this legislation and have us all get behind it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Hon. Todd Smith: It’s a pleasure to join the debate here this afternoon.

First of all, I would like to say how pleased we are to hear that the leader of the Green Party is going to be supporting his first piece of government legislation very soon. We’re all very excited about that. All I can say is that it’s about time, because everything we’ve done so far has been for the people, and you would think that the leader of the Green Party would have supported all those other great pieces of legislation we brought forward too.

It really is an honour to rise and speak to Bill 36, which was brought forward by my colleague the Attorney General, who has been racking up quite a story here in her short time in the Legislature. She has been very, very busy. If I might be permitted a little bit of leeway at the top of my remarks, I’ll address the bill’s sponsor, instead of the topic, for a few seconds.

Our Attorney General has been tasked with a lot of important pieces of legislation. Not all of them have been in her name, but certainly she has been very active on the legislation that we’ve brought forward. Those of us with a sense of history have to consider that, for the Attorney General, her first speech in this House was delivered this month in defence of the Legislature’s right to use the “notwithstanding” clause, and her first piece of legislation will make her the first cabinet minister to substantively end a major substance prohibition in almost a century, as well. So it has been an historic time here for the new Attorney General. She has a great sense of history, and she has a great sense of humour too.

Turning to the subject of the bill, it’s important to mention, off the top, what we’re not talking about here—and the member from Timmins did the same thing. We’re not here today to talk about whether cannabis should be legal or not. That was decided by the federal government. That’s an area of public policy over which the federal Liberal government has sole jurisdiction right now. They made a decision on that previous to now, and they’ve tasked us with making sure that we’re bringing forward a retail model and online model in the most responsible way. They got to tell us, and they get the responsibility to tell us, what will and won’t be criminal.

In this case, the federal government has decided that it’s going to legalize cannabis and leave the province to sort out how it’s going to be dealt with. That’s typical of this federal government: Pass things and then let the province figure out how we’re going to do that. It’s sort of a “father knows best” federalism. You can understand where that’s coming from, given a lot of the players who were here at Queen’s Park when we lived in the nanny state, previous to our government being elected. Now the nanny state has moved from Queen’s Park here in Toronto to the “father knows best” Liberal government up in Ottawa. You can see how that has taken place. Those people have just moved from the centre of our provincial Legislature to the centre of our federal Legislature or Parliament.


It’s also worth pointing out that since the federal government has been seized with the issue of cannabis legalization, the provinces have loudly and repeatedly told the federal government that they weren’t given enough time to set up appropriate regulatory and retail regimes. We took office—our cabinet was sworn in on June 29, and we’ve been seized with a lot of important pieces of legislation. This one is a rather complex piece of legislation. We’re here today dealing with what has been left to us.

Originally, the date that the provinces had to have a legalization plan in place was July 1 this year. You’ll remember that a lot of people were talking about this about a year and a half ago. They were calling it not Canada Day but “cannabis day” because it was supposed to be legal on July 1, but of course we warned that it probably wasn’t going to be ready in time, and the date was pushed to October 17, just 15 days from today. We’re committed to meeting that deadline.

I can tell you that when I was here in opposition—and it was probably about this time of year, a year ago. As we often do, we’ll be here for afternoon debate and members will walk across the aisle and talk to ministers about different subjects that are important. I recall one afternoon that I was in the Legislature and there was a group of cabinet ministers who were here, including the former provincial finance minister, and the Minister of Labour was here, and the former House leader and the Minister of the Attorney General were here. I was having a chat with them at that time, and I said, “How is this cannabis legislation coming along, anyway?”, given the fact that, at that time, it was still supposed to be in place for July 1. They looked at me and they said, “Smitty, there’s no way we’re going to get this done. This is a very, very complex piece of legislation, and it takes a lot of time to make sure that we’re going to get this right.”

The good part about this is, we’ve been working extremely hard over the summer. The members I referred to earlier—our Attorney General has been working very hard, in collaboration with our Minister of Finance and other ministers as well, to ensure that we’re putting the best possible piece of legislation in place. There may be problems with this piece of legislation, and the good thing is that we do have, two years from now, the ability to look at this legislation again and determine whether or not, at that time, we should be making changes to the legislation. That is written right in there.

This is a necessarily complex piece of legislation. It involves broad consultation with municipalities and also input from those same municipalities who will be able to determine if they want cannabis retail facilities in their communities. As a member who was elected at the height of the green energy scandal, this really is important to me. During the 2011 election, I always used to say that it made no sense that a municipality could decide where a Tim Hortons or a McDonald’s could be located in their city, town, village or community, but they had no say at all whether or not a 40-storey industrial wind turbine would be located in their community.

I was just—on Sunday night, actually—in southern Prince Edward county. You’ll recall that very, very important piece of legislation that we passed earlier this summer, the Urgent Priorities Act—

Mr. Gilles Bisson: The Todd Smith bill.

Hon. Todd Smith: The Todd Smith bill; yes, thank you—when it was passed cancelling the WPD project in Prince Edward county, which never should have been approved anyway because the notice to proceed was granted during the writ period of the election. But I was in Milford on Sunday night, and I’ll tell you, it was fantastic because they had a victory party there. When I walked in, I got a standing ovation. Then I gave remarks and I got a standing ovation, and then when I left, I got a standing ovation. It was kind of like when I stand up and answer a question here in question period, Mr. Speaker; I always get a standing ovation. But people really were concerned—


Hon. Todd Smith: Thank you very much. Come on; what are you waiting for?

It was very important that that community had a say in this huge project that was going to completely change the face of that community, having these industrial wind turbines in the community.

What we’ve done and what we promised municipalities that we will do is consult with them so that we can make sure that their ability to plan their municipalities will be respected.

We’ve heard from a lot of people about where they feel these stores should be located and what kind of retail environment they want for this product. That’s an important part of this process, Speaker.

I’ve been thinking for the last few years, since the federal government announced its intention to legalize, about what it would take to put the black market out of business. I want to just paint a picture for you. In my community just to the east of Bay of Quinte, there’s a First Nations territory. Right now, there are 50—50—cannabis dispensaries on a small First Nations territory. You can imagine the impact that those dispensaries are having not just on that territory, but on our community as a whole. People are driving every day onto the territory to purchase cannabis. There are not the checks and balances in place that there will be with this legal retail model that we’re putting forward. I know kids who are as young as 14 are going out there and purchasing cannabis.

Cannabis is already everywhere in our communities. I heard the member from Timmins earlier saying, “Do we want people walking up and down Yonge Street smoking cannabis?” They’re already doing it. All you have to do is go out any day or any night of the week and that’s all you smell when you’re walking out there. Where are they getting it? They’re not getting it—well, nowhere is legal to get it now, but on October 17, we want them to be going to legal retail storefronts and purchasing there because then we’ll have some control over the quality of the product as well.

The biggest rule for me with the legalization of cannabis is that we’re not creating a new market or regulating a new product; we’re inserting a bunch of new legal actors into an existing economic space that has just been legalized, as of October 17. There are existing people currently trafficking, as I say—and that’s the right verb—until 15 days from now, on October 17. They’re doing so illegally. They’re doing so dangerously. They’re often doing so with connections to organized crime and without the appropriate quality controls around the product that they’re selling. This can be a very, very dangerous product if it’s not controlled.

It’s important to note that when you create those kinds of intervening processes in a marketplace, you’re always at risk of driving up the price. That’s something we can’t do either. Price—this is important—is the most necessary step to helping us put the black market and organized crime out of business. We need an effective and accountable supply chain, we need stable and accountable quality controls, and we need a thorough regulatory regime, but we also need to realize that we’re creating absolutely none of those things in a vacuum. This isn’t Uber or Airbnb, Speaker; we’re not dealing with a sector disruption or evolution here. We’re dealing with a basic marketplace, an item with a consumer demand that, nationwide, is assumed to be in the millions, and an existing illegal supply network that has to be competed out of business. We have to put those bad guys out of business.

I want to address a few of the remarks that were made in the debate yesterday and today by the member from Timmins. He suggested a couple of things: first, that it was strange that the law regarding cannabis will more closely resemble existing laws around cigarettes than it will alcohol. I thought it was interesting that the member thought that was a failing of this law and not of existing alcohol laws, but that’s likely a debate we’ll have here another day.

The reason I believe that it’s important for cannabis restrictions to mirror tobacco restrictions is really simple: It’s going to make enforcement easier. I heard the member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke mention it earlier in his remarks. This is what law enforcement wants. This is what CAMH wants. When bylaw officers or enforcement officials see somebody lighting up somewhere that they shouldn’t, then they should be written up. I don’t want them playing a game of “stop and smell” everywhere in the community. This is going to be legislated. It’s going to be clear to those who are enforcing the rules.

Improving efficiency on the enforcement side is important as we move from an era of prohibition to an era of legalization. That’s key to ensuring that the public has faith in this law. This has raised some notable questions in the media about locations where people can and can’t smoke cannabis, but I think on the whole, the simpler we make the law and the easier it is to enforce, the more it actually will be enforced.

The second issue that the member raised—and this one is where I think our disagreements are likely to be more on ideological lines—comes with regard to having private business sell cannabis instead of having the government-run monopoly sell cannabis.


I remember during that afternoon discussion that I had with Charles Sousa here in the Legislature about a year ago, I said to the Minister of Finance at the time, “How much money is the public model” that the Liberals were proposing “going to bring in in revenue for the province?” He said, “Well, Smitty, we’re probably going to lose money in the first couple of years.” I said, “What? We’re going to lose money selling cannabis?”

This starts from the premise that because alcohol is currently sold by the province, that necessarily means that the province should sell all controlled substances, but we already know that that’s not the case. It also makes a couple of assumptions. The first is that a system that’s 91 years old necessarily works in 2018. We don’t think that’s true for just about anything else, but somehow it seems to be, from the NDP, true for controlled substances.

The second assumption that it makes is that the current system necessarily works well. It ignores the significant private role that we do have in the beverage alcohol sector. The Beer Store has something like 400 locations. There are small convenience and general stores all over Ontario that sell beer, wine and spirits; we call those “agency stores.” We also now have grocery stores almost everywhere, it seems, that are selling beer and wine. To say nothing of the fact that we’ve never had a public retailer of cigarettes in this province; I don’t think that’s a very good idea, and I would hope that the members opposite in the NDP don’t think that that makes sense either. So the idea that we somehow could only sell cannabis at a public retailer simply never made any sense.

Now, if you’re trying to increase the price, then it makes a ton of sense. If you don’t want to drive the black market out of business, it makes a lot of sense, but that’s not very good public policy, and that’s actually one of the aims of the way that we’ve drawn up our approach to legalizing cannabis, or at least setting up the retail sector: We want to drive those bad apples, those bad actors, that underground black market out of business, so we have to be able to compete on price.

The LCBO at present is the single largest purchaser of alcohol in the world—the single largest purchaser of alcohol in the world. However, as Don Drummond pointed out shortly after I was elected to the Legislature, it doesn’t do a particularly effective job of ensuring that its overhead is under control, and the result of that is higher prices. We can’t have higher prices on cannabis, otherwise we’re never going to drive the bad actors out of the business.

Now, to be sure, a big part of the reason that alcohol is so expensive in this province is taxes. Successive governments of all stripes in this place, either in the name of social responsibility or simply because they know Ontarians enjoy a good wobbly pop every now and then and want to get their hands on more money, have made sure that excise taxes on alcohol are very high; you used to see it in almost every single budget. But there can be no doubt that having the government in the retail business, where it is currently competing with Loblaws, Walmart, Metro and Sobeys, is helping to keep the price high. Keeping the government out of the bricks-and-mortar business side of cannabis will ensure that we’re still able to exercise appropriate social responsibility cost controls without creating a massive expense on the government’s books.

Our plan does have the government involved in the retail aspect online. As the minister responsible for Ontario’s Digital Strategy, I know that we have some of the best digital minds in the business helping us transition government services online so we can provide those government services to people as efficiently, effectively and quickly as possible. But I’m not convinced that having a bricks-and-mortar retail presence will do anything other than increase prices and keep black market profiteers in business. That’s my main reason for supporting this bill: I want to get the organized crime element out of the cannabis market as much as we possibly can.

I was talking about the First Nations territory just to my east, and I actually took the opportunity in April of this year, just before the election campaign started, to tour one of those businesses, Legacy 420. It’s a company that’s trying to get its licence from Health Canada. They’re in the process of doing that. They’ve invested a lot of money there. It’s one of the 50 dispensaries that are currently operating on the Tyendinaga territory. They understand the need to control the quality of the cannabis, and that’s why they’ve hired students from Loyalist College—by the way, in Belleville—which has the only cannabis program right now in a community college. They’re training people in the laboratory there to test the quality of cannabis, because this is obviously going to be an emerging market here in Ontario.

I want to get the organized crime element out of cannabis as much as we possibly can. There are things that are important to do that, and I believe this legislation does cover them. Essential to limiting the black market influence and the sale of cannabis is ensuring a safe supply, and by involving the government in the wholesaling aspect of the system we’ll be able to do that.

Many jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis have tried to have some sort of quality tracking system in place to ensure that the supply chain operates to the benefit of consumers. But it’s also important to treat cannabis users like adults. If we’re going to be a society that legalizes the product—as I said off the top, that’s the discussion that we’re here to have today—then we have to be one that treats cannabis users like whisky drinkers or cigarette smokers and have tight, tight regulations; have good and predictable and simple enforcement mechanisms; keep costs reasonable to try to discourage black market activity, while also acknowledging that a price that’s too low does create a social cost.

We have to acknowledge the appropriate and expected role of government, but I’ve yet to hear a convincing case to be made on the floor of the House for why it’s appropriate for the government to involve itself in an economic space in which it’s already proven to be incredibly inefficient. I’ll almost guarantee that no one in the House has ever heard of an LCBO—not an agency store—being shut down for selling to underage consumers, but it happens to convenience stores all the time. How is that not a great regulatory disincentive against illegal sale?

You can put the black market out of business. No one in this House should pretend that that will happen instantly; it won’t. But if we control quality, pricing and variety of products, then we will do it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Judith Monteith-Farrell: I’m happy to rise to speak on the cannabis debate. I congratulate the government for their work on the bill. It’s a large undertaking.

In my riding, I have two areas of concern that have been brought to my attention, which I want to bring to the attention of the House. One is from the police, who I had discussions with, who feel that they will need extra resources and tools to actually enforce impaired driving and different aspects of what they see might be the result of the legalization of cannabis. Will everyone start using cannabis and driving their cars? Will people who never used cannabis now start using it because it’s legal? It’s hard to tell. But we know that’s what a lot of people are banking on, because you see the industry rising and the stocks and the different types of businesses that are already in place and applying for licences. The police have a legitimate concern. They say they have imperfect tools to judge whether or not people are impaired by cannabis. They also brought up the idea that people are not educated about the different levels of intoxication they can have when they are using cannabis, because of different THC levels.

The other thing that someone brought to my attention is the use of edibles. They’ve already created things like gummi bears, candies and lollipops and are selling these, and they’re in people’s homes. There has been an increase in overdoses of children because of cannabis. So that regulation around edibles needs to be examined so that it is not attractive to children to use the drug.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Paul Calandra: I do appreciate the opportunity to speak on the bill. As a former federal member, this is something that I had been seized with for a number of years when the policy was first introduced by the third party in Ottawa. I can confirm that I was a very stringent opponent of the proposal then. I don’t think it’s a good proposal, right now, that the Liberals have forced on the province of Ontario. I think in jurisdictions where this has been done, the results have been not something that anybody would be happy about.


Having said that, Mr. Speaker, since this Legislature has been forced to deal with this issue, I think we’re all seized with the challenge of how we can make this as successful as possible an undertaking in the province of Ontario. I want to congratulate the Attorney General and the members of the cabinet and, really, all the members, because this debate has been a good one so far.

I think the legislation that we’ve brought forward really does this in as best a way possible as we can. The Attorney General has obviously reached out to police officials and health care officials and brought forward legislation that balances the needs—or the requirements that had been put on to us by the federal Liberal government through their legislation—with making our communities as safe as we possibly can, and making sure there is access that respects the law that has been brought forward by the Trudeau Liberals.

Whilst it’s not perfect and while there are, I’m sure, many suggestions that many members will have, I think it’s a good start. We’ve put a balance in place. I wonder if, in his closing remarks, the minister might also highlight some of the really hard work that has happened over the last couple of months to meet the deadline imposed on us by the federal government.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Catherine Fife: It always surprises me—when I was listening to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services—that we fundamentally agree on some core principles going forward. We also agree that it was incredible that the former Liberal government openly said that they were going to lose money on selling cannabis in the province of Ontario.

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Pretty hard to do.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Pretty hard to do.

This goes back to the point, though, that the minister mentioned, that they’re not creating a new market. I genuinely feel, with respect, that that’s a very naive comment, because there is a grey market right now that exists and those are, right now as it stands, illicit growers of cannabis, of marijuana. Those producers are going to want to enter into this new market, and this legislation gives them no legitimate way to re-enter into that.

My son is apprenticing as an electrician. I’m incredibly proud of him. He’s with this new mom-and-pop company in Kitchener. The majority of the business that they’re doing right now is creating grow ops, putting the systems in for grow ops—massive, massive grow ops. Wait till they get their hydro bills; we all know that that’s not going to be a fun thing. But these are small and medium-sized businesses that have entered into this market not even knowing the rules of engagement.

I have to be honest: This piece of legislation is going to catch them off guard a little bit because their entry into this new market—which essentially it will be; you are creating that. Because when you legalize a product, that product floods the market. There will be people who don’t go to their dealer; they go to the corner store now. So that will change the dynamic of the culture.

Also, I agree, though, with the minister: Cannabis users should be treated as adults, but only if they are adults. So that is the other missing piece that I think we all have to be cognizant of with this legislation.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Randy Hillier: It’s a pleasure to join the debate today. Also, I’d like to comment that the quality of debate has been very effective this afternoon and it’s wonderful to see.

I will make a couple of points. The member from Thunder Bay mentioned edibles, and I’ll just state for the record that edibles are still illegal. The federal government has not put any legislation forward for edibles at the present time. So if there’s some gummi bears with THC in them in Thunder Bay, they are illegal there, as they are elsewhere in the country.

I will also make mention to the member from Waterloo that this is not a new market. To think that anybody is going to go out and become a user of cannabis because it’s legal—I can’t understand anybody believing that. People have ready access to cannabis now. As the Minister of Government Services mentioned, go to Tyendinaga. There is a raft—we call them dispensaries. They’re retail stores selling cannabis products. I know people from my area who go down to Tyendinaga to purchase them. The marketplace is there. People are using this product.

To think that I’m going to go out and use cannabis now because it’s legal—no. I would ask anybody else in this Parliament: Are they going to go out and do something just because it’s legal?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Yes.

Mr. Randy Hillier: No.

Listen, I will say that I believe that we’ve got this right. We’re on sound Conservative principles of an open marketplace, treating adults as adults, and we’ve got a good bill in front of the House for debate.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): We return now to the minister for a two-minute wrap-up, please.

Hon. Todd Smith: Thank you, Speaker, and thanks to all of the members for chiming in on the debate here this afternoon. The member from Lanark-Frontenac knows full well what’s happening on the Tyendinaga Mohawk territory, and he’s right: These aren’t just dispensaries; these are full-blown production facilities. In the case of Legacy 420, which I was speaking of, people are driving from all over the province to go get their fix at Legacy 420, and they are selling the edibles.

The member from Thunder Bay–Atikokan made a very, very good point: We do have to be very wary, when it comes time for those to be a legal item for sale in the province of Ontario, that we do ensure that our children and our young people are very aware of how dangerous these things can be.

But I can tell you, those gummi bears are being produced, and those marshmallow squares, brownies and cookies are being produced, on the Tyendinaga Mohawk territory. They are for sale in a market that already exists. Now, it’s an illegal market that already exists—or a black market—but there are people in all of our communities. As I mentioned, on the streets here in Toronto, people are smoking or vaping or eating cannabis every day, and they’re getting it somewhere because there’s a market that already exists. It’s a black market. It’s an illegal market.

What we’re trying to do, by bringing in this new retail model in the province of Ontario—and, again, we were handed this by the federal government. We had to deal with this. But we are going to eliminate, over time, that illicit market.

I appreciate the remarks from all of the members, but I can say, to answer the question from the member for Markham–Stouffville, that we’ve been working very, very hard, as a cabinet, on this issue, from the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services on the enforcement part of it, to the Attorney General, to the Minister of Finance, to all of the ministers, because it affects so many different things. We’ve spent the summer working on this. I hope it’s—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Thank you. Further debate?

Mr. Joel Harden: It is a pleasure to join this debate today. I’ve been listening keenly to everything that others have said here. I’ll frame what I’m about to say in the way I approach politics, actually. Before I got here, I was a community organizer. What I learned from people who trained me in the art of community organizing is that the first, most important thing one has to do if you want to be a successful community organizer is not talk but listen.

During the election campaign and before the vote, when I knocked on so many doors in Ottawa Centre with a terrific team and kept hearing the issue of cannabis brought up at the door, and I didn’t have sufficiently detailed answers to offer them in response, I said to every single person I spoke to, “Look, if you give me the good fortune to be your member of provincial Parliament, I promise that one of the very first monthly town halls I’m going to hold is on cannabis policy, because we have to get this right.” Ontario and Canada are venturing down unchartered territory. We’re going to be one of the only nations in the world with a legalized cannabis market. We have to do it right.

We recently had that town hall, Speaker, and it was fascinating. What I began to learn, as I’ve learned on so many issues, is that people in Ottawa Centre have a lot to share with the rest of the province. Ottawa Centre, for example, is home to what will be Canada’s only cannabis-only pharmacy run by a pharmacist because, as I learned at the town hall and as I learned from this small business owner, what happens currently, even in the medicinal cannabis market, which is legal with the proper prescription, is that the pharmacist is not allowed to actually prescribe a certain strain of cannabis to their patients; they’re given the obligation to then buy it on the market.

I had three pharmacists show up to the town hall, Speaker, including this small business owner, saying, “What is going on? There are over 410 strains of cannabis, each of which has a unique impact on our physiology. We can’t have a scattergun approach to it, and we can’t assume that everybody selling cannabis is aware of how all of those products are going to interact with everybody’s physiology.” So that was something I learned, which was profound.


Other people who came to our cannabis town hall were veterans. These are people who are dealing with post-traumatic stress, who lobbied the then federal veterans affairs minister, Julian Fantino, to stop his policy of taking away legalized cannabis as a legitimate thing to prescribe for post-traumatic stress. My grandfather was a veteran, as I said earlier this week. These veterans spoke to me with the same frankness my grandfather would speak to me with. They said, “Joel, we fought for you, and we fought for Canada. We would much rather use cannabis that we have grown ourselves, in some cases, or that we have been prescribed by doctors than be addicted to opiates. We don’t want to use opiates. We’ve seen what that does to our bodies, and we don’t think it’s the right choice for us.” They informed residents of Ottawa Centre at this town hall and they informed me, when I met them on the doorstep at the Legion and in other places, that it was my job to make sure that their interests were not steamrolled by an emerging cannabis industry.

That’s what I want to spend some time talking about today. We’ve had a lot of discussion here about the need to protect children, the need to have public safety. The member for Timmins spoke eloquently about the need for us to be mindful of how excessive cannabis use or cannabis use at a young age has dramatic impacts on your physiology. What nobody has talked about in-depth—there was a brief reference to it by our friend the leader of the Green Party—is the fact that, it would seem to me, putting my political scientist cap on here for a second, the cannabis industry is coming on force and the timing of legalization is opportunistically meeting it.

For years, we had a narrative in this country—it’s not from my generation; it’s probably from the member from Timmins’ generation and others—of Reefer Madness, that this was a product that was going to destroy our youth, that this was a product that was going to tear our families apart. Meanwhile, as so many people have already expressed, it was being widely used in our country.

Canada has, for youth, the highest usage rate of marijuana in the world, across the whole—

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Really?

Mr. Joel Harden: Yes, there was a UNICEF report in 2015 that documented this. For the entire population, we are near the top; we’re number four.

So as my friend the Minister of Community and Social Services has mentioned, the market does exist. But the question is, why are we seeing a wholesale rush to legalize cannabis in a particular way at the very same time that we see a booming trade in what people in my town hall showed up to tell me about as large-scale cannabis capitalism?

And who are the players brokering the deals? At the federal level—I’ll start there: people like Senator Larry Campbell, a former RCMP officer, a former mayor of Vancouver, adviser to Vodis Pharmaceuticals; people like Julian Fantino, who, thankfully, veterans convinced against taking access to medical cannabis away. Julian Fantino has gone from being a public official who likened legalizing cannabis to “legalizing murder”—I’ll pause for a second, because those were the actual words that Mr. Fantino used—to now being the spokesperson for one of the largest cannabis organizations in the country, Aleafia. We can also look at Chuck Rifici, a former chief financial officer of the Liberal Party and a founder of Canopy Growth and Tweed. We can look to Mark Zekulin, current president of Canopy Growth and former senior adviser to an ex-finance minister in this House, Dwight Duncan. Why are all of these connected political operatives all of a sudden finding themselves in executive positions in cannabis corporations? I would say, Speaker, it’s because now we’re transforming something that was once taboo, something that was likened to Reefer Madness, to being something much more commercial and profitable, to being cannabis.

While in principle I actually support the idea of what we talked about in this place, of having a regulated, safe market for cannabis, what has been left out of this discussion, despite a brief mention of it by my friend the member for Brampton South, is the people who have been disproportionately criminalized for decades under the early Reefer Madness assumptions that informed our criminal justice laws and informed the approach that we had to cannabis.

In my own city, in Ottawa Centre, I had police officers come who talked about the fact that they were tired of being tasked with a criminal justice approach to excessive abuse of drugs—all kinds of drugs, but in this case cannabis. They saw something that police officers and countries like Portugal have seen: that excessive use of any kind of drug is not a criminal justice issue, it’s a health care issue.

We tie up too much of our criminal justice resources when we compel police officers, our court systems and our prison systems to deal with abuse. We know that in the city of Ottawa, black residents are 6.3% of the population, but the Ottawa police has told investigative journalists that 22% of arrests for cannabis possession are black citizens of the city of Ottawa. We know that there’s a racialized dimension to Canada’s war on drugs.

So the question that the federal Liberals haven’t resolved and the question that I haven’t heard my friends in government today resolve is, what are you going to do with Ontario citizens who have been charged with offences that were cannabis-related? Are you going to do what the federal Liberals have done and say, “Well, we’re going to get to that after legalization. We’re going to pursue legalization because we think we have to quash the illicit market”?

Seemingly at the same time, these very well-connected political insiders are growing these massively profitable cannabis industries. Speaker, if you look at the three big cannabis companies on their own—Canopy Growth. If you were to go to a financial adviser and you were to ask, “I need a decent rate of return on my retirement savings,” you’d be looking for something in the range of 4% to 7%. Canopy Growth, last year, returned a rate of growth of 63%. Aurora, one of the other bigs, returned a rate of growth in the third quarter of 2018 of 211%.

So what’s happening right now, in capital markets, is a lot of people are making a whole pile of money getting ready for the era of legalization. But what’s not being remembered are the 560,000 Canadians with criminal records for marijuana possession in this country. They are being forgotten. The officials are telling them: “We’re going to worry about that after the era of legalization has passed.” I think that’s absolutely unconscionable. It’s unconscionable because we know that marijuana usage is across the board, but we also know from policing statistics that it’s criminally enforced in certain neighbourhoods more than others.

What happens when you get a criminal conviction for possession is not insignificant. There are employment considerations. There are travel considerations for when you head over the border. The question we really have to think of, as a society and as a province, as legislators in this space is, are we prepared to get ready for cannabis because the federal government forced us to? But the federal government, for some reason, seems to not care about all of the people who’ve had their lives ruined, in some cases, by criminalizing the possession of cannabis.

My question for those charged with running our province is, do you care? Direct question across the aisle: Do you care about people who have had their lives ruined? Or are you more concerned with figuring out how we can get an infrastructure in place for the consumption of cannabis that, by the look of it, from what I can tell, already has made certain people a lot of money and will continue to make people a lot of money?

I had people show up to the town hall who are home growers. Some of them were veterans. They were asking me, why is it that the provincial government and the federal government have all kinds of subsidies for small businesses, for the fossil fuel industry, for various things through tax exemption? Why is there no support—

Mr. Randy Hillier: We’re getting rid of them.

Mr. Joel Harden: Pardon me?

Mr. Randy Hillier: We’re getting rid of those subsidies.

Mr. Joel Harden: Oh, you’re getting rid of the fossil fuel subsidies? I was unaware of that. I look forward to hearing more about that.

Mr. Randy Hillier: Tell me which one.

Mr. Joel Harden: We’ll meet offline.

The point that was made to me by veterans is that they would like to be able to manage themselves the ability to grow their own medicinal or recreational cannabis, as is stipulated in Bill C-45 and C-46, the federal rules—four plants per household. Because kitting yourself up in your apartment or home is not easy, they have told me that they would be much more able to do that in a cost-effective manner, because veterans live on modest incomes, if the provincial government supported them. What will the rights of home growers be?

I want to return to the issue of safety for kids. One of the speakers at this town hall was Heather D’Alessio. Heather is with the Ottawa chapter of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. She is somebody who herself went through her college years, as she described them at the town hall, with a “wake-and-bake” approach to life. She used cannabis regularly to distance her mind from her pain. She had a difficult upbringing, she dealt with significant mental health issues and cannabis was a way in which she managed her pain, but she did it to an excessive extent.


What she told us at our town hall was, “Look not at my usage of cannabis as the problem, at overmedicating myself and the neurological impacts I’m doing to myself.” What about the pain that she had to deal with and the lack of mental health supports in our province that were available to her that had nothing to do with drugs, like psychotherapy and help to deal with various traumas that she had experienced as a teenager?

We are debating a government bill around the legalization of cannabis, but what I invite my friends to consider is that at the same time as we’re doing that, there are other major forces at play in this legislation. There’s a huge industry waiting for this moment. Is the cannabis market in Ontario going to serve their interests or is it going to serve regular people’s interests in the province of Ontario? There are a lot of people wondering.

California has led with Proposition 64, which actually commuted and pardoned sentences for cannabis possession and resentencing for more serious cannabis-related offences. What will the government of Ontario do for people who have been criminalized under the previous regime? Are you going to follow the Liberal model of saying, “Talk to me about that later”? Are you going to show some leadership? Is the Attorney General’s office going to show some leadership, to make sure that people who, unlike me—when I’ve used cannabis in my life, I’ve never been criminalized, but others who don’t look like me, who are from different neighbourhoods, have. I don’t think that’s fair, Speaker.

I also think that as we wander down this road of thinking about the cannabis market, it’s an opportune time for us to think about why substance abuse is rampant. When high school kids showed up at our town hall, they were very explicit to us: If the province of Ontario is going to create another This is Your Brain on Drugs video, that would be the best pot-smoking video they could ever hope for in their lives. That’s actually going to have the reverse impact.

If the government of Ontario is serious about making sure that they can encourage young people to not ingest excessive amounts of cannabis, they have to treat youth with respect. We don’t just treat adults with respect in our smoking, alcohol and cannabis rules; we have to treat youth with respect and not infantilize them. We have to say to them, “Look, we know that cannabis is present in the market. We want you to consider that there are these issues that you should be grappling with.” But those same youth, as they did in the town hall we recently held in Ottawa Centre, would turn around to us and say, “Well, okay. Then tell me why so many adults so regularly consume alcohol. What are the impacts on our life?”

To answer the question, Speaker, a researcher showed up at this town hall and said that Statistics Canada, through the Canada institute on health studies, estimated that the alcohol-related harm cost to the Canadian economy was $14 billion in 2002. That’s impact on the medical system, and we’re talking about impacts on various aspects of our economy. Deleterious health impacts are not unique to cannabis. Cannabis is a substance, like any other thing. If it’s used to excess, it has a negative impact on your physiology, as does alcohol, as does eating too many doughnuts.

But the point that we need to keep in mind here in Ontario is, given what I agree is a lack of thoughtful leadership and a holistic sense at the federal level, what kind of signal are we going to send out to the five million people who consume cannabis in Canada right now? Are we going to tell them that we have this massive recreational market, and we invite you to be bilked by Canopy Growth, Tilray, Aurora and these other companies that are now going to be the providers to the Ontario Cannabis Store—the exclusive providers, because the Ontario Cannabis Store is going to be the exclusive wholesaler store? Or are we going to invite more consultation with the community?

I echo my other friends here, who have said that this bill absolutely has to go to committee. I am not a cannabis expert by any stretch of the imagination, Speaker, but through one town hall in Ottawa Centre, I learned a lot. I invite the government to do the same. Don’t time-allocate your way through this. Open up your doors and listen. That’s what this place is suppose to be about. I hope that we can make the kinds of decisions that will ensure that this will actually be something you will be proud of.

You have a real opportunity here as a jurisdiction that’s going to be leading in the world. We’ve seen what’s happened in the state of Colorado. The state of Colorado has had an approach to cannabis legalization that generates billions of dollars of revenue. They are fixing public schools in Colorado. They are dramatically reducing tuition fees in Colorado.

When the minister spoke about grow ops at Tyendinaga being sophisticated retail operations, I invite him to consider: Is that really a bad thing? Is it really a bad thing that Indigenous organizations would be leaders in the cannabis industry? In the absence of any clear leadership, what are you doing as an MPP to help those folks ensure that they get treated with the same level of respect that the licensed producers that Julian Fantino, Mark Zekulin and other people lobby for? We need to make sure that the hustle that’s going on at an elite level in the cannabis market is open to every single citizen. So to me, there are Indigenous organizations where I’m from that are trying to lead. I think they deserve as much opportunity in this market as all of these other insiders that I’ve named in this speech—that I didn’t know existed, that I have now been educated to know exist.

In fact, of all of the knowledge I’ve gained in my life, Speaker, I have to say that some of the most powerful has been Indigenous knowledge—the notion of thinking, “Seven generations forward and backward.” The Algonquin peoples where I’m from, some of whom are engaged in various marijuana enterprises, have told me that they are uniquely positioned, actually, to create products that have the community in mind, that give back.

I’ve bashed Canopy Growth a little bit in my speech here, but if I’m fair, if you drove through the town of Smiths Falls, which is just south of where I live, that town has been completely remade. That town is now thriving with small stores and businesses. Canopy Growth and Tweed were present in Capital Pride this year. They were an attractive force that is giving back to the queer and trans community in Ottawa. I think that’s great.

But my point, Speaker, just to summarize what I’ve said: I went to the effort to try to listen to people where I live on a subject I didn’t know a lot about. I learned a few things that I think could inform how this bill gets rolled out. I invite this government to make sure the bill goes to committee, because what we need in Ontario is to move past the era of Reefer Madness. We need to deal with the damage done by Canada’s unique war on drugs and how it’s impacted racialized and Indigenous peoples. And we have to think about a way in which cannabis can be rolled out so that we could say, “Hey, we were legislators at the time that this happened and we got it right. We did things that even the federal government wouldn’t do. We made sure that the people hurt by previous policies weren’t hurt by us.”

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Goldie Ghamari: Mr. Speaker, Ontario is on the right track to the legalization of cannabis. This is not something that I have said; this is something that the Star editorial board actually wrote about. What they say is that, “Regardless of whether you’re for or against making cannabis legal in Canada, it’s going to happen on October 17.”

And so, Mr. Speaker, provincial governments are mandated with making clear, sensible, enforceable legislation that gives consumers access to cannabis while curbing the black market and keeping it out of the hands of underage children. That is exactly what we have done with this legislation.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to turn your attention to some important information, because the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will be responsible for licensing dispensaries. The legislation is going to allow for a regulation-making authority to set concentration limits for how many retail store licences a single operator can hold.

It’s also going to allow for federally licensed producers to operate one licensed dispensary, and it’s aligning with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act in the places where it can be consumed. If municipalities are concerned with that, they can either opt out or they can enact further bylaws to limit places where cannabis can be consumed in public. However, we have to keep in mind that if the intention is to eliminate cannabis from the black market, then we need to ensure that people have proper access and proper resources so that eventually we can see less of this on the black market.


So, Mr. Speaker, again I echo the comments of the Toronto Star in thanking our Attorney General and our finance minister for a responsible, sensible piece of legislation.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I want to say that, first off, I really appreciate the speech by the member from Ottawa Centre: very detailed, very concrete and very practical. There are a lot of questions that we’re all going to have to deal with on this issue over the next few weeks and, frankly, over the next few decades, and I’m glad that he touched on them. There are two I want to follow up on.

First, there’s this whole question of consultation. The member from Timmins also touched on this. We have known for a long time that October 17 was going to be the date. This is not a surprise; we weren’t told two weeks ago. Yet this bill is coming forward almost literally at the last possible moment. It is going to be very difficult to have the kind of extensive public consultation that I actually think would make a big difference. As the member from Ottawa Centre was saying, when he held that public meeting he learned a lot from talking to the public about what the issues were and what the perspectives had to be to take it on in a way that was effective and fair.

The fact that we spent weeks debating the council of the city of Toronto in this chamber when there was no need to do that and instead ignored this issue, where there was a hard deadline where we had to act, was irresponsible on the part of the government—irresponsible because I believe that we will have very little consultation. An awful lot of people out there are going to be very surprised when they see this legislation go through without them having had the opportunity to get at it, talk about it and really have an impact.

One other thing I want to say: The Attorney General earlier today talked about very strict regulation by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. I have to say, as a former city councillor, that it was very difficult to get the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to do the enforcement on the ground on existing licensed places. They don’t have the resources. And if the resources aren’t put in, this system is not going to be well regulated and we are going to have substantial problems.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Kaleed Rasheed: I would like to thank Minister Caroline Mulroney and Minister Vic Fedeli for working diligently on creating such a robust legislation in such a short period of time. Let’s remember that this was the federal government’s mandate to legalize recreational cannabis in Canada. The Ontario government was tasked with developing a retail and distribution system. Mr. Speaker, it was originally not our choice, but our ministers rose to the occasion and worked extremely hard, day and night, alongside our Premier, in developing legislation that works for Ontario.

We developed legislation in consultation with municipalities, Indigenous communities, law enforcement agencies, public health advocates, and business and consumer groups. We worked in collaboration with everyone. The main message we heard was to ensure that cannabis distribution and consumption is tightly controlled. That is why we proposed to designate the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as the regulator for all cannabis retailers.

Ontario will be ready with rules that keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth and that combat the illegal market when the federal government legalizes cannabis in Canada on October 17, 2018.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: I want to thank the member from Ottawa Centre for his comments—very well thought out. I think it’s also refreshing to see that members are engaging their constituents in these types of town hall meetings in order to discuss what decisions we have to make here at the Legislature. That certainly helps inform us here in this Legislature.

I also want to touch on the fact that the government has left this thing to the last minute. They found all kinds of ways of bringing the Legislature back: this summer; in the middle of the night; on Saturdays; on Sundays. In the middle of the summer, we came back twice; this is the third incarnation of our returning to the House. They were able to find time to deal with all kinds of other issues where they created the crisis—the city of Toronto, for example, and other issues that they dealt with—but they couldn’t come forward with a bill at second reading that could have been referred to committee and allow the committee to do its work this summer, prior to October 17,, so that the bill could be passed in time?

I say two things to that: One is, it tells me that the government really doesn’t want to engage with the public when it comes to having real discussions about this and engage through the legislative process. They want to be able to control whatever comes out of it by way of their own consultation process and not allowing the legislative committee process to determine what is fed into the body of work that we’re doing in this area.

The other part that I think it is rather unfortunate is that it demonstrates to a certain extent that the government is not organizing itself in the way that they should to move legislation through the House in the most effective way. Up to now we’ve found that it’s lurching from crisis to crisis. We’re having to deal with this before October 17, the date of legalization, when we could have done this a lot sooner.

I just hope the government, at some point, finally figures out how to run this place in a way that’s more conducive to good democracy.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): We now return to the member from Ottawa Centre to conclude with a two-minute wrap-up of what he just heard.

Mr. Joel Harden: I want to thank all my friends who commented on what I had to say.

I want to begin by thanking John Akpata. John Akpata is somebody who has been invited by the mayor of Ottawa’s office to help them understand cannabis policy for the city of Ottawa. John Akpata has run for the Marijuana Party three times. He’s actually the peace officer for the Marijuana Party of Canada.

One of the things I take great pride in is that when I asked for John’s help to plan this town hall, he said, “Joel, you’re one of the first politicians who has actually treated me seriously. I have ideas in my head that can help inform intellectual discussion.” John is one of the proud spoken word artists of our city. He’s one of the leaders—he’s middle-aged; I guess he’s my age, forties—of the Black citizens’ movement in our city. John said that the reaction of a lot of officials to his advocacy for cannabis has been, “Go back to your reefer madness.” He was really heartened to see a public official treat him seriously—working with John to actually create a town hall where some of his ideas and resource networks yielded what I thought was a really stimulating conversation.

Something I forgot to say: There are 23 illegal dispensaries right now in Ottawa Centre. When I talked to a police officer, who wants to remain anonymous, that police officer told me that every single raid of those dispensaries that has happened—and there have been several of them—cost $750,000 in resources, resources that were given to them by the previous Liberal government here in Ontario. He turned around and he said to me, “Joel, imagine that money going into mental health supports or supportive housing or services for people with disabilities.” He said, “I can’t believe that I’m being asked to sit outside an illegal dispensary. This is a waste of my time.”

I want to say to this House that it will be a waste of our time if the cannabis policy that gets debated here isn’t opened up to the public and works for the interests of big cannabis companies and not people.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: It’s a pleasure for me to rise to speak to Bill 36. I will speak to the bill from the perspective of work that I had the privilege of doing earlier in my career. I had the honour of serving as the president of the Law Commission of Canada, which was the law reform body of the federal government. We had a project on what was the proper use of criminalization and how you move from a criminalization model to decriminalization.

For the last few years, I also had the pleasure of participating in several round tables on cannabis and the way in which we should move forward.

I want to put forward a little bit the theory that Bill Bogart, a retired law professor from the University of Windsor, put forward, which he calls the “permit but discourage” model, which, in essence, recognizes the public health concerns that may be raised around any substances.


What he suggests in his book is a decriminalization of many of the prohibited substances. But the way in which we approach them is not about encouraging or normalizing but, in a way, to discourage and nudge the consumer a little bit to abandon, to not consume too much etc. In this context, I think I’ve reviewed several of the ways in which we should approach this.

Some of the big questions that continue to raise debates are whether the availability of the product, whether it’s gambling, alcohol, cannabis or other drugs, leads to more consumption and whether that’s a danger and a difficulty—its greater availability, not only in terms of access to purchase points, but also access to locations or places where you can consume. I think you’ve heard a lot about the position of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which continues to argue that making availability too ready will lead to increased consumption and, therefore, to increased public health concerns.

It’s a concern here, because at the same time—and this is an objective that I share with the government—we want to curtail the black market. So there’s tension here that will need to be resolved. If you want to undercut the black market, then certainly I think you want to make access to purchase points available, but you may be concerned about what, in the long-term, this choice of availability will do to your public health concerns.

Another aspect that you need to pay attention to if you are in the “permit but discourage” model is that you want to ensure that you have a really well-grounded public education system that continues to be re-energized constantly and that speaks directly to the users—and to a variety of users, because there will be different markets that will be using the substance.

Finally, you want to treat addiction. You want to continue to invest in good science, to understand the path to addiction and also the path to healing. These three issues—how to deal with addiction, how to deal with public education and how to confront the big issue of greater availability—are ones that I think should be looked at in this context.

I think the previous government’s approach had been one of caution. Some have suggested it was too cautious. Nevertheless, I think the experience of Colorado has been that you may want to be a bit more cautious and proceed in phases so that not only your law enforcement and your markets but also your society adapt to this change of culture. Indeed, I think the three objectives of the government—keeping the substance out of the reach of children, ensuring safety on roads and curtailing and eliminating the black market—are all goals that we share, that everyone probably shares around this House. But in Colorado, the experience has been that these three goals were not achieved. Indeed, that was the evidence that I found compelling to value a cautionary approach. The moment that they opened up the market to large range of private sectors, there was an increase in the number of deaths on the road due to smoking and driving while high.

A second thing: They have not been able to eliminate the black market. Now, we might be a little bit more successful here, since other states around Colorado are not supporting the legalization of marijuana, so that creates a particularly strong point for Colorado. But they know that a lot of the illegal organizations moved to Colorado to cultivate and to buy and operate legally, to then feed the illegal market around the world. So that’s a concern of theirs, and I think it’s worth noting it that was their suggestion that the cautious approach was valuable.

Thirdly, they have not been able either to have good success on preventing youth from accessing the substance in two ways. Number one, youth continue to use the black market and, secondly, they were able to access the myriad of stores that existed. There was an enforcement issue that was raised, and I think this is an enforcement issue that we’ll have to confront here in Ontario.

Certainly, on that basis, we had suggested a cautionary approach that was going to aim for liberalization over time as our legal enforcement became comfortable with the tools they had, with detection on the road, as our society was adopting and adapting to the variety of ways in which the new substance was going to create some conflict in condo associations and workplaces and so on, giving it a little bit of time for it to play itself out.

The Liberal approach had been a little bit—I want to go back to what we knew in the “permit but discourage” model, that we used whatever restrictions existed for alcohol, whatever restrictions existed for smoking, whatever restrictions existed for gambling and tried to bring all of them to bear on access to cannabis. For example, on gambling, there is money from gambling in a dedicated fund that is there to help on public education, to educate people about the dangers of becoming addicted to gambling, as well as trying to help people who become addicted. This is one of the suggestions that I will make here for the improvement of this legislation.

Certainly I think for me, the way in which we are approaching this also warrants caution for three reasons. Number one, there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the long-term health effects of marijuana consumption or cannabis consumption, and the reason why we don’t know is that we don’t have as good studies as we want. It’s very difficult to test and do good public studies when it’s an illegal substance. From the moment that it becomes legal, it will be easier to do scientifically validated studies to see what the long-term effects are.

We don’t really know, or we suspect there might be some effects with heightening the likelihood of schizophrenia being declared younger, but we don’t know fully how this will play out. We also don’t know whether there are people who become addicted to cannabis—and I have some in my family who become depressed when they smoke cannabis and eventually their depression increases. So the medical uncertainty and the uncertainty surrounding the use of cannabis continues to be there.

Also, on the other side, many people point to the uncertainty in the medical use of cannabis and that maybe in cannabis there could be a substance that helps people deal with their stress, helps people deal with their PTSD symptoms. This morning at the Lung Association presentation, we had a reflection of some of the ways in which cannabis could be used to help, from a pharmacist’s point of view, actually. It could be used to help some people who are suffering from chronic diseases.

Certainly I think we know that there continues to be some serious issues about the availability of law enforcement tools to detect people who drive while high. Finally, I think we know as well that there’s some uncertainty as to the way in which our society will deal with the consumption of cannabis everywhere.

I was actually surprised myself when I saw the position of the government on a few aspects. Those are my suggestions, which I hope will be taken up, at least in committee. I understand there’s a certain urgency but, in my view, it might be worth splitting the bill to ensure that at least, on smoke-free Ontario, you hear from the public. I think this is going to be the part that will create a little bit more difficulty.


I know that many law enforcement are in favour of it. CMHA may be in favour of it, but in my riding, there are a lot of concerns about that. I was surprised because, indeed, when I looked at the comparative that we had—once it had been decided that they were going to go the private route, I looked at what Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta did and looked to see where we were putting ourselves in terms of that group of provinces that had decided to go with the private retail. My understanding of it is that we actually are going further than all three of them.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba both have either caps or waves of licences, which creates, I think, the ability to tweak the model or adapt it a little bit. That would have been something that I would have suggested, that we have at least, if not a cap, some waves of applications, so that you can learn from the previous waves as to how you’re going to indeed appropriate or accept the licensing process. There may be some learning that needs to get done here, and I think to give the possibility of learning from one wave of applications to a second—tweak the regulations a little bit if things are not going well—would be appropriate.

The second one is that obviously the government chose the Alberta model, but it’s important to note that in the Alberta model, it does not allow smoking in public places and you have to make sure that if you’re smoking, you are outside of the reach of anyone in a vehicle or so on. They are trying to protect against second-hand smoking.

I think it’s important, if we’re moving with one model other province, that we look at all the ways in which they have attempted to negotiate these difficult spaces where we are indeed coming into uncharted territory in adapting to marijuana.

My five suggestions for the bill: First, I think it is worth clarifying the powers of municipalities to regulate where the retail will take place. I know the city of Ottawa has some concerns that they have for many years wanted to regulate where payday loans could be concentrated. They would like to have the same possibility of regulating a specific concentration of retail stores. This will be very important in certain areas of town, so I think it’s worth considering. I know that Mayor Watson has written to the Attorney General in that respect.

Secondly, I would recommend looking, as Saskatchewan and Manitoba have done, at either caps that change over time, or waves of applications to ensure that you’re doing best practices and continuing to learn from the processes. I would certainly recommend that you hold committee hearings on the normalization of use that can come from using cannabis under the smoke-free Ontario. That’s the concern that people have, that you’re moving from “permit but discourage” to “permit to encourage” by normalizing the use of cannabis. That’s the fear.

I would include, certainly, in the bill a commitment to public education and, finally, a commitment to having money that comes from the taxes that will be, I assume, put on the product to be dedicated to healing addiction and continuing public education, science and good research on cannabis use. I think that has been helpful in the gambling sector, to have dedicated money to continue to study the problem. I would encourage the government to do that.

En conclusion, j’aimerais expliquer à mes collègues, surtout d’Ottawa–Vanier, qui ont exprimé beaucoup d’anxiété vis-à-vis cette nouvelle légalisation du cannabis et cette décision d’aller vers une approche beaucoup plus libérale face à l’accès au cannabis.

In my riding of Ottawa–Vanier, people have expressed concerns about the approach of liberalizing access to consumption without ensuring that the government has sufficient resources for enforcement, research, public education and ensuring that the system continues to respond well to the needs of all Ontarians.

Mes concitoyens ont aussi exprimé beaucoup d’inquiétude quant à l’impact du cannabis sur les relations de travail.

They want to know more about what the regulations will be around smoking on the job and whether this will lead to an increased use of drug testing for employees. They want to know whether this will have an impact on landlord and tenant relations, with respect to ensuring that tenants who say they are allergic to cannabis are not exposed to cannabis smoke, and how we’re going to negotiate protecting the rights of one versus the rights of others.

Certainement, je sais que mes concitoyens et concitoyennes soutiennent l’approche et les objectifs du gouvernement. Ils soutiennent certainement l’objectif de ne pas permettre aux jeunes d’avoir accès au cannabis—plus jeune que 19 ans. Ils s’inquiètent que le modèle privé aura moins de capacité à gérer le risque. Ça va être plus difficile et ça va demander davantage de ressources en termes de s’assurer que les lois et les règlements sont bien respectés. Il y a beaucoup d’inquiétude de ce côté-là.

Mes concitoyens et concitoyennes dans mon comté s’inquiètent aussi de la possibilité de pouvoir fumer du cannabis dans les endroits publics. This has been raised over and over in our office, about the way in which cannabis smoking in public places may be in a way supporting greater use of cannabis than was anticipated.

Finally, I think there are concerns that there won’t be enough money to support good enforcement throughout the province, as well as enforcement that aims at a strong public-education mandate that would help us ensure that we permit, but discourage too onerous and too widely spread, the use of a substance that may have long-term effects on our health.

Merci beaucoup. Merci de la possibilité d’avoir discuté du projet de loi ici.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Randy Hillier: It’s a pleasure to comment on the member from Ottawa–Vanier’s thoughtful comments on Bill 36. I think what we’ve all heard this afternoon is that there is widespread and general support for the government’s initiative on Bill 36, as we see very little light between the bill, the Conservative approach, the Liberal member, the Green Party and the NDP, even so much as the member from Ottawa–Vanier mentioned that we’re taking a more liberal approach to this than her Liberal Party did previously.

But I do think that what it speaks to is the effectiveness, the quality and the effort that the Attorney General has put into this bill and the consultations that have gone into it, to find the right balance as we navigate this new reality, this new environment that we must face in this province. The product, cannabis, is going to be a legal product, and all of us together have to find the best way forward to ensure that these concerns are addressed.

Especially with the member from Timmins’s comments earlier today, we understand that excessive cannabis use on young, developing minds can have significant and detrimental effects. And it’s not fully known yet, so we do have to make sure that we do this as thoughtfully as we possibly can.

I think that in the discussion and the debate this afternoon it bodes well that everybody in this House is looking at this not in partisan terms, but how to best implement things for public policy.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Paul Miller: I would like to commend the member from Ottawa–Vanier for a good presentation. Merci beaucoup.

I’m certainly going to approach this from a different angle. Obviously, I believe in the decriminalization of marijuana. I also believe in the use for medical purposes. When we run into the part about recreational marijuana, I want everyone to be cautious as we move ahead with this legislation that there are people out there who don’t use this product. I’ve had complaints already in my office on more than one occasion, in multiple-housing units or apartment buildings, where people, whether they be elderly or non-smokers, have complained about the smell. I do believe it comes in chewable form, too, so I don’t think that would cause a smell.

There are going to be some problems because I don’t believe that the police have the resources to enforce the—how would I put it?—control of the odour that appears. Even in backyards, there could be problems with neighbours. If you’re having a barbecue out in your backyard and two people on either side of you decide to have a party, what are you going to do? Are you going to have to go back in your house and not be able to enjoy your backyard?

I really think they haven’t thought this out at the federal level, and I hope, at the provincial level, we get it right and get the laws in this province correct, because people who do not use this product have a right to their space too. I think we’re going to have a lot of legal challenges and a lot of police calls that we are not going to be able to enforce or to have the people satisfied with the outcome. I think we should be very careful on how we go down this road, if we don’t get that right.

Also, in Colorado, fatalities on the roads have doubled from the use of cannabis—just another point for thought.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Ms. Donna Skelly: It’s interesting that I’m following the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, because he’ll probably recognize the story I’d like to share.

Like you, Mr. Speaker, I spent many years in television. I recall a discussion about the legalization of marijuana involving two very colourful characters from Hamilton, Brother Michael Baldasaro and Brother Walter Tucker, who founded the Church of the Universe, whose sacrament was marijuana.

During the interview, I asked Brother Michael—it was actually during a commercial break. I said, “Brother Michael, how much is in a joint, and how much does it cost?” And he shared that information with me. Then the commercial was over, we continued with the interview, and they left. These are very colourful characters.

About two hours after the interview, I could smell a manila envelope coming down the hallway, and it arrived on my desk. I opened it, and it said, “Dear sister, in the name of research, I have enclosed a sample of our product and some brownies baked by the ladies’ auxiliary. Please do not smoke the brownies.”

We’ve come a long way in the last, I’d say, 10 years since that interview, but this is an issue that we did not bring forward. The legalization of cannabis for recreational use is something that we had to deal with because it is something that the federal government has implemented.

I think that our party is being more than responsible in the legislation that they have proposed. Of course, their paramount concern is the safety of our children. I have two young sons, and my concern is also thinking about how you’re going to be able to understand if a young person or a person is consuming recreational cannabis and driving.

I think we have taken a fair amount of time and spent an awful lot of time speaking with stakeholders, municipalities, provincial police and members right across the province, in ensuring that when we have to deal with this legislation, what we’re putting forward is recognizing that they have concerns. I think that what you are seeing today, if passed, will actually—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Thank you.

Questions and comments?

Mme France Gélinas: I thank the member for Ottawa–Vanier for her comments.

We have to realize that the bill that this government is bringing forward will facilitate hundreds, if not thousands, of stores to sell the products. What does that mean? That means that we are normalizing it.

For all of the people who have been smoking cannabis and buying it on the illegal market—good for them. We won’t make criminals out of those people anymore. But for all of the youth out there who will now see cannabis as a normal part of life, who will now see people smoking cannabis as a normalized activity, we are going back in time three decades, when we were trying to convince people to stop smoking. What did we do? We de-normalized smoking, and this is how we got our biggest bang for our buck. This is how we brought smoking down to 18% in Ontario.

With this, we will go back to smoking rates into 30%, I guarantee you. The first thing is, cannabis is hard to roll. What do people do? They mix tobacco with it to make it easier to roll. That means the addiction to tobacco will continue. Plus, because it will be so available, youth will see this as a normal product. They will be more likely to use it, to smoke it. We know that for youth under the age of 25, the use of cannabis has an impact on the development of their brain. Has the government gone out and done public education? Have we seen health promotion ads all over the place to get ready for October 17?

October 17 is in 15 days, Speaker, and we haven’t seen anything. In 15 days it will be available, it will be accessible, it will become normalized again, and the government has done nothing to prepare for it. Shame on them.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments? The member from Orléans.

Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde: It’s a great pleasure, actually, to stand up and reflect back on the—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Sorry, member. It was my mistake. We have to go back to the member from Ottawa–Vanier for her two-minute wrap-up. We’ve had four questions and comments. I thought I had discretion. I was told I did, but I guess I don’t in this case. So back to the member for Ottawa–Vanier for her two-minute wrap-up.

Mme Nathalie Des Rosiers: Merci to the members from Flamborough–Glanbrook, Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston and my good friend from Nickel Belt for their comments.

I just wanted to make clear, I would prefer the approach that we had put forward, which I thought was more cautionary. I preferred a model that would be slower and I certainly would prefer the prohibition of smoking in public places, knowing that my role as an opposition member is to try to suggest amendments and possibilities to improve the legislation, and that’s what I’ve done.

The suggestions I’ve made are there to suggest some tweaking that may be done to improve the bill, because I think that’s our role here. It’s talking to our constituents, arriving with the baggage that we have, the experience that we have, to try to make the best possible legislative product coming out of this place. This is the reason why I certainly suggest that some aspects of the bill could be improved and particularly that we need to commit to very strong public education. We should reflect a little bit whether smoking cannabis in public places will be a good thing for Ontario.

I tend to agree with my colleague from Nickel Belt. The entire framework I was trying to put forth, which was the framework that the law reform commission suggested, was that you permit, but you discourage. You don’t permit and encourage or normalize. You continue to be aware of the public health concerns that you should have. That was the point of my comments. Merci beaucoup.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mr. Lorne Coe: Good afternoon to those viewers who are just joining us now. We’re debating the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018, Bill 36.

What’s clear with our debate this afternoon is that the passing of the legalization law by the federal government is a fact. Consequently, it’s now left to the provincial government to structure the distribution in such a way that it balances the safety concerns of Ontarians with the practical distribution and usage realities.

It’s a difficult balance, and we’ve heard that in some of the presentations this afternoon. It’s a difficult balance. I think that the Attorney General and the finance minister—in particular, the Attorney General in her speech yesterday—explained well how we will achieve that going forward.


Now, within that context, we must bear in mind that in managing the market, we will be dealing also with the illegal distribution chains. This is indeed one of our key objectives: to eliminate the underground market for the sale of cannabis.

Speaker, let me now touch on the private retail market first. The legislation, if passed, will create a highly regulated licensing model and a regulatory framework for private retail sales of cannabis in our great province. The design of the model was not created without consultation. It was informed by broad engagement with municipalities, First Nations leadership, and key public safety, industry and health stakeholders. In the new model, private retailers will be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp. will be the exclusive wholesaler and online retailer of cannabis in the province.

It is important to note that the AGCO currently licenses, regulates and ensures compliance with the alcohol, gaming and horse racing industries in Ontario. Clearly, it therefore offers a significant base of experience as a regulator of controlled substances. The oversight of the AGCO, as the independent provincial regulator, will oversee the private channel.

I think it’s clear that we must, in any adopted system, combat the illegal marketplace and, most importantly, protect the youth of the province. How will the AGCO do this, Speaker? It will, after due diligence, issue a retail operator licence. It will issue a retail store authorization to a licenced retail operator for the operation of a specific retail store, but, Speaker, only after the location meets the specified requirements and after there has been a local public notice process. You’ll know the importance of that from your broad experience. Only after an extensive investigation and consulting process will the cannabis retail manager licence be issued. The AGCO will continue oversight by conducting compliance and audit processes including store inspections.

There will be additional store operating parameters, including store format, security requirements and staff training requirements. Applications will not even be accepted for consideration before December 2018.

Speaker, there will be distance buffers between private cannabis retail stores and schools established through regulation in advance of December 2018. Again, the regulations will not be created without additional consultations with municipalities and key stakeholders.

First and foremost, Speaker, municipalities will have the absolute right to opt out of cannabis retail stores in their communities. They do this by providing such notification prior to January 22, 2019. Municipalities that opt out may opt in later, but municipalities that do not opt out before January 22 cannot do so in the future.

If a request for a store authorization is received, the AGCO will begin a public notice process, which is important, in which the impacted municipality and the public both would have the opportunity to outline their concerns within a 15-day period.

Speaker, you’ll appreciate this as a former councillor: Municipalities will not be able to spot zone or designate specific areas from which cannabis may be sold. Retail sales will be permitted locally in the appropriately designated commercial retail areas. Licensing of retail outlets will remain with the province, and municipalities will not have the right to impose additional licensing requirements on the retail outlets themselves. To have given the power to municipalities would have effectively passed the ability to manage many significant parts of retail distribution to the municipalities themselves.

All of these points, Speaker, highlight that the government has been very attentive to local municipal concerns, as well as to broader provincial ones. Understanding that municipalities across the province will be burdened with some new implementation challenges, the province will provide $40 million over two years to help municipalities with the implementation costs of recreational cannabis legalization. Each municipality will receive $10,000.

Now, Speaker, just like yourself, as someone who had the privilege to be a local and regional councillor, I’m grateful that after new councils are sworn in after the election on October 22 across the province, these men and women will have the time to look closely at this legislation, provide input and make reasoned decisions. Our focus in this House is provincial, but our roots remain in the communities where we live and raise our families.

Finally, it’s also important to note that if the province’s portion of the federal excise duty exceeds $100 million, the province will provide 50% of the surplus to municipalities that have not opted out as of January 22, 2019. Again, Speaker, our government does not have the authority over the legalization of cannabis; that’s clear. That rests with the federal government. But it bears restating, because Ontarians—some of whom might be watching this afternoon, some of whom might be following the media on this particular topic—must always remember that this government is the body overseeing implementation of federal policy. We’re not its creators. But in managing distribution, we continue to make every effort to strike the appropriate balance in a smart, sensitive and efficient manner. Again, Speaker, it comes back to balance.

Now, one of the greatest areas of concern in creating the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018, is that of dealing with those areas where cannabis may be legally consumed. Indeed, it may be the one topic that creates the most conversation.

The government has made the decision that, should the legislation be passed into law, it will align the usage of cannabis with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act that you’re well familiar with, and many others in this Legislative Assembly are familiar with in its broad application.

As you know, Speaker, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act contains an outright ban from smoking at playgrounds, child care facilities, schools and hospitals. Also, the municipalities retain the ability to enact appropriate bylaws to restrict smoking in other outdoor spaces, including parks. In the town of Whitby, they did exactly that. In the other seven municipalities that comprise the region of Durham, they did exactly that, as they should have.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Cannabis Act would be amended in this process to clarify where smoking and vaping medical and recreational cannabis is permitted, as well as where it is prohibited. For example, the prohibition would extend to enclosed public spaces, enclosed workplaces, vehicles and boats.


All methods of consuming cannabis, whether by smoking, vaping or ingestion, would be prohibited in vehicles and boats that are being driven or under a person’s care and control. The maximum fine for using cannabis in a prohibited place will be $1,000 for a first offence and $5,000 for a subsequent offence. These are the same fines that apply to smoking tobacco or using electronic cigarettes in a prohibited place.

The government has also been attentive to the use of vapour products prior to the implementation of the legislation. There will be independent rules for vapour products, including the display and promotion of products.

On October 17, the Ontario Cannabis Store will be the exclusive online retailer for legal cannabis in Ontario. Consumers 19 years of age and older will be able to purchase cannabis via an online retail platform. And the government is implementing online sales in a socially responsible manner, including secure home delivery with age verification at the customer’s door. No packages will be left unattended. The OCS will also be the exclusive wholesaler to all retail stores.

It’s also important to note that, in terms of governance, the board of the OCS will be reporting directly to the Attorney General and not—this is important, Speaker—as a subsidiary of the LCBO. This change better supports the mandate of the Ontario Cannabis Store as Ontario’s online retailer and cannabis wholesaler.

I’d also like to note that the government is being sensitive to our First Nations community. Proposed amendments would require the OCS to implement a prohibition of on-reserve delivery when requested by any First Nation community through a band council resolution. In addition, First Nations will be able to opt out of private retail cannabis stores by way of a band council resolution. A band council resolution will be required to approve of a store on a reserve before the AGCO issues a retail store authorization. And, finally, the Attorney General will be able to enter into agreements with First Nation communities on a wide scope of legislative components.

It’s important in this discussion, I believe, to understand how the legislation will be implemented and some of the most profound factors that impact it. And so it has been my intention, in the earlier part of my presentation, to outline those factors that have come into play as we’ve worked through this process: the hard work of the Attorney General, the hard work of the Minister of Finance, and the hard work of the Minister of Health over several weeks to bring us to this point. It’s not exhaustive and refinements will follow as we develop the finer points of regulation.

I’ll take you back to yesterday—you were in the House at the time, Speaker. As my colleague from Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte said, “Safe, affordable, legal and reliable.... I think we’ve struck a good balance. I think we’ve struck the right balance.” I could not agree more.

We have to be realistic with the realities of what we are challenged to do, and we therefore have to be absolutely considerate of the public interest. That’s why consulting will continue, so that we will do the very best as we roll out our plan.

Again, I think it’s important to note that we have a period of time between October 17 and April 1. The online feature will be operational on October 17, but we will have time, leading up to April 1, 2019, to get the retail brick-and-mortar stores properly established and managed.

What are the next steps? By way of synopsis—and I’m conscious of my time—here they are. If the legislation is passed, regulations will be developed to enable the AGCO to accept applications for retail licences in December 2018. Municipalities will have the ability to opt out of retail stores by January 22, 2019. And until April 1, 2019, the government will continue to consult—which, as you and others in this Legislative Assembly understand, is where good policy is developed and program delivery succeeds—to refine the details that will enable the successful rollout of retail stores by April 1, 2019.

Speaker, any new government is faced with a host of challenges as it hangs up its “open for business” sign. We have commitments to fulfill, offices to open. In that regard, this government is certainly not unique.

I would like to take a moment to applaud the Attorney General and the Minister of Finance and their staff, as well as the Minister of Health and her staff, for the comprehensive manner in which they’ve approached the task of creating, if passed, this significant change to Ontario law.

I’d like to highlight and reinforce a couple of key messages.

The AGCO would leverage its existing experience to regulate cannabis retail stores, building on its mandate to regulate in the public interest—and just stay with that for a moment—and its 20 years of experience as the Ontario regulator of alcohol, gaming and horse racing. It also has a dedicated, fully integrated OPP bureau that works with other law enforcement agencies to ensure integrity and public safety.

In closing, Speaker, the government will continue to consult—and this is something you understand—with municipalities, First Nation communities, law enforcement, public health advocates—as a former president of the Ontario Association of Local Public Health Agencies for two years, I understand the importance of engagement with front-line health care providers—businesses, consumer groups and representatives overall to ensure the success and the implementation, if passed, of this legislation.

Speaker, I thank you very much for your undivided attention. I look forward to some subsequent discussion on this particular topic. It has been an absolute privilege to be able to debate this bill this afternoon.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mr. Terence Kernaghan: I really enjoyed the comments by the member from Toronto–Danforth, who talked about the way in which this legislation has played out and how we should have been focusing on this over the summer but, instead, we were looking at other issues.

The member from Whitby has talked about where cannabis can be legally consumed as well as the practical distribution of this substance.

We should be looking at cannabis more like alcohol than like cigarettes. Unfortunately, this government is treating cannabis like cigarettes: allowing it to be consumed in public places, and not thinking about the impacts it’s going to have on labour, both for employers and for employees.


I think the previous model in having this be a publicly run institution, much like the LCBO, would make a great deal more sense. Starting it off, and starting it off in a logical way, with 40 stores rather than opening this up to the private market makes a lot more sense. People at the LCBO are already trained in Smart Serve. It would allow for greater oversight. Furthermore, there are already locations. But this government is forging ahead with a lack of forethought.

Allowing municipalities to opt out prior to January 22 has also created chaos for businesses. There are many private businesses that are vying for these prime retail locations. They’ve plunked down a great deal of money on a location, and the municipality may, in turn, opt out on them, so they’re going to actually lose that money, which is not fair to them. It’s chaos for business.

Now, also, we have to look toward what the tests for intoxication are going to be. Some will say intoxication lasts four hours; a medical doctor will say that it will remain in your system for 28 days. This government needs to do its due diligence and pay a lot more attention to this file than what we’ve seen previously.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Harris: I want to thank the member for Whitby for his thoughtful comments on this.

I just wanted to touch on a couple of things. I’m very proud of what our government has been able to accomplish with regard to Bill 36. Our ministers have been working very hard; Minister Fedeli and the Attorney General, Minister Mulroney, have been working very hard to build this framework. Our primary focus has been and will continue to be the safety of our children and communities.

We were handed this decision on the legalization of cannabis by the federal government, and based on the decision made, we have put out a well-thought-out and reasonable plan. It is not simply a plan that was abstractly devised on a whim. No, Mr. Speaker, our plan was developed through extensive consultations with community stakeholders, public health officials and municipalities. It’s a plan that is straightforward for producers and not overly burdensome on those who seek to purchase and recreationally consume the product.

Aligning our rules relating to cannabis consumption with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act ensures that government is committed to regulating cannabis consumption in a socially responsible manner. Let me remind the House that the Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits the smoking of cigarettes and cannabis on or around playgrounds, parks, child care facilities, schools and hospitals. As the father of five—


Mr. Mike Harris: I know, I like to bring that up often, but I’m proud of my family, right? I think we should celebrate our families.

I’m also really happy to see that the packaging of this product is going to be very plain. There won’t be advertising in stores. There won’t be advertising on the outside of stores. Locations will be very bland-looking. They’re not going to entice our younger generations to come and take part in this product.

Thank you for the time, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Questions and comments?

Mme France Gélinas: It was interesting to listen to the member talk about the online retailers that will start. We are 15 days before millions of Ontarians will light up. Ask any of the members here, “Do you know how to get in touch with the online dispenser? Has this information been made public? Do we know what kinds of strains will be available to the public? Do we know how much they will cost?” None of that has been done.

The black market is certainly fully ready for the increase in demand that will come to them. The online dispensing from the government? Nobody knows how to get in touch with them.

Have you seen a good, robust health promotion program so that parents can have good talks with their kids, now that there will be more of this available all around, now that you will be able to smell it everywhere you go? Absolutely nothing has come.

We’ve all seen that the Smoke-Free Ontario Act talks about tobacco and talks about cannabis, but specifically excludes vaping. Am I the only one here who knows that you can vape cannabis right now in Ontario? You can vape in schools, you can vape in restaurants, you can vape in bars, you can vape wherever you want, because there are no regulations for vaping. You can vape cannabis wherever you want—in the school cafeteria if you want to.

Is it being done right now? Absolutely. I have kids in my riding who have not been allowed to go school for three days because they were vaping in school.

It is happening right now. You have to open your eyes and realize that vaping needs to be regulated, that if you want this to work, people need to know where this online is going to be and how much it’s going to cost. None of this has come out; all we know is that we will have 1,000 stores in April.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Further questions and comments?

Mr. Norman Miller: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to comment on Bill 36, An Act to enact a new Act and make amendments to various other Acts respecting the use and sale of cannabis and vapour products in Ontario, and comment on the speech from my seatmate, the member from Whitby, who I thought did a really good job of laying out the approach that the government has taken to this legalization of cannabis. As he pointed out, this wasn’t a decision by the Ontario government to legalize cannabis; this was imposed by the Trudeau government.

There have been very tight timelines. This government was just elected June 7, and the online selling of cannabis will be October 17, so they are extremely tight timelines. I credit the Attorney General and the Minister of Health, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Finance, who have done the consultation with public health, with municipalities and with Indigenous communities to come up with the model that we are using.

I think the member did a good job of explaining that AGCO, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, is going to license retail outfits that are going to be able to sell. But, of course, the prime objective is the safety of or children, the safety of our communities and the safety of our roads.

That’s why we brought forward this balanced approach. You have to be 19 years of age to be able to obtain cannabis. I think we placed an important role for the municipalities. They can opt out of selling cannabis if they so desire, a very different approach than the past government used with, for example, the Green Energy Act. They will receive a minimum of $10,000 from the $40 million that’s been allocated, and if there’s surplus money they will benefit even further. There will be a two-year review for any parts of this that aren’t right as well.

Congratulations to the member from Whitby.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): We now return to the member from Whitby for a two-minute conclusion.

Mr. Lorne Coe: I want to extend my thanks to the members who spent some time commenting on my presentation. I’ve always found, in the time that I’ve served here in the Legislative Assembly, that those comments are constructive and well presented in and of themselves overall.

I do think, though, that it’s important to recap a couple of key points. The legislation, if passed, will provide certainty to the marketplace, along with peace of mind to parents and families that when it comes to public health, public safety and protecting youth, our government will never compromise our commitment to the people.

Yesterday, and I cited this earlier with the member from—I’m going to mix this up, Speaker, so forgive me—Oro-Medonte-Barrie?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Barrie-Oro-Medonte.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: Very close.

Mr. Lorne Coe: I tried. I was close, wasn’t I? I was close.

I want to cite one part of his answer that I think is material to our conversation and a good summary point: “I think we are being realistic, but we want further feedback from people as we move forward. We are not just launching this and then moving on to the next thing.” Embedded within this legislation is a two-year review. After two years, we’ll review what has occurred, if the legislation should be passed: “We are going to go through this process of launching ... online, which has great integrity.”

So overall, our primary focus has been and will continue to be the safety of our children and the communities, the great communities, that form the province of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Pursuant to standing order 47(c), I am now required to interrupt the proceedings and announce that there have been more than six and a half hours of debate on the motion for second reading of this bill. This debate will, therefore, be deemed adjourned unless the government House leader specifies otherwise.

Hon. Todd Smith: No further debate, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): No further debate.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.

Time allocation

Resuming the debate adjourned on October 2, 2018, on the amendment to the motion for allocation of time on Bill 4, An Act respecting the preparation of a climate change plan, providing for the wind down of the cap and trade program and repealing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): I believe Mr. Smith from Bay of Quinte has the floor.

Hon. Todd Smith: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. At this time, I would move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Mr. Smith, the government House leader, has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour, please say “aye.”

All those opposed, please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1631 to 1701.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Mr. Smith, Bay of Quinte, has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour, please rise.

All those opposed, please rise.

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 0; the nays are 71.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): The motion has been lost.

Moving right along, Mr. Bisson has moved an amendment to government notice of motion number 9, relating to allocation of time on Bill 4, An Act respecting the preparation of a climate change plan, providing for the wind down of the cap and trade program and repealing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a no.

All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

Oh, wait a minute—this just in. We interrupt regular programming for this important message:

“To the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly:

“Pursuant to standing order 28(h), I request that the vote on the amendment to government order 7 be deferred until deferred votes on Wednesday, October 3.”

Vote deferred.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Orders of the day.

Hon. Todd Smith: Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Is it the favour of the House that the motion carry? I did hear a no.

All those in favour, please say “aye.”

All those opposed, please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it. The motion carries, as I see it.

This House will be in recess—

Interjection: Adjourned.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Percy Hatfield): Adjourned, I’m sorry. I misspoke. This House is adjourned until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1705.